Saturday, January 27, 2007

2007 ufo's

The next stage. To get a realistic picture of my Stash and projects I have done an audit of my UFO's - some which date back several years.
It is interesting to see how my pattern preferences have developed, even in the short time since 2003 when I had my 'renaissance' back into knitting.

Paton's Zhivago - a large wrap in basketweave stitch that is so, so close to finishing. Reason for stopping? It's Boring!! Endless rows of K3P3 with a little diversion of garter stitch for the collar. If I had a long plane journey or the complete Season 3 of Deadwood to watch at one sitting maybe I could complete it.

Rowan Linen Drape cardigan - I love the weight and fall of this brand, I don't like the harsh feel of the yarn as it knits. I have an entire back completed with darts. It would be easy to reproduce this for the front and make a simple shell. Again, it's mindless knitting and I obviously have a short knitting attention span.

The Eki Riva alpaca/silk blend cardigan. I love the yarn and ventured forth on a composite pattern to combine it with a little Mollydale mohair trim. But I didn't do my prepwork. The measurements were wrong, the pattern was wrong and precious hours of knitting time disappeared into the frog pond. I could have been knitting the Zhivago!

Studio Mohair cardigan - I started this April last year in one my favourite yarns from a pattern book I hope to do a lot more from. Only a sleeve to go so the reason for delay? The weather - hot and sticky. Honourable mention goes to the Guild "No Pattern" Cardigan in Shepherd Aran 12ply. This is an on going experimentation in technique and requires a bit more thought and preparation. Maybe the skills I learn from it will prevent any more Eki Riva cardigan disasters.

Last but not least is the pile of variegated Totem 8ply that is destined to become a little woven stitch vest. It's holding my rosewood circulars hostage as a guarantee that it will be finished.

There are other projects that exist in a limbo of potential. The Green Acrylic mix Man's vest that needs a neck adjustment; the lace weight Magenta yarn from Rubi & Lana's; the rainbow mohair yarn that made it all the way to a completed garment only to be summarily frogged soon after. Bring on the cooler weather and oh, what progress will be made (hopefully).

Monday, January 22, 2007

2007 projects

In a vain attempt to be organised I've gathered together all the front pages of my 2007 projects and put them in a ring-binder. I have the yarn and the patterns standing by and all I need is the time and opportunity.
Here is a gallery of bashful models to show off these potentials. (look at the camera dear! - Look at moy, look at moy)

If this hot, sticky weather continues the next on the needles is Green Gables in Classic Elite Provence. A top-down creation from Zephyr Style a la Picovoli.

Next we have Pullover Flair by Ann Budd from the Spring 2006 Interweave Knits. I hope to use Cleckheaton Country Silk for this once I sort out the transition from the specified viscose/cotton. This has been in my want-to-do list for some time.

Another long term contender on the wait list is Knitting Pure & Simple's Top Down Cardigan. Some Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool is standing by for this.

Naturally's Merino et Soie yarn for Leo from for my man. I ordered 20 balls of the lovely dark blue shade from the Wool Inn before Christmas and they have it in my "off-site stash".

The Sirdar Cotton top has only the sleeves to go before completion. The Inknitters directions leave a little to be desired. They have a unique terminology that requires several readings before it all makes sense. I've muddled through so far but I'm glad it wasn't a complex pattern.

As well as the aforementioned jumpers I also hope to tackle a pair of socks for the first time - maybe Wendy's toe-up pattern. I have been reading her book and enjoying it. I like the mix of chatter, patterns and techniques. There is also no Knitting 101 - how to knit' section in her book - she takes it for granted that most of her audience can knit garter stitch.

So, there is my 2007 list - all the yarn is in the stash already - in their own little project bags with a working copy of the pattern. I hope this time, next year, I can look back at this post with satisfaction.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dinosaur Stomp

A Torosaurus and baby T-Rex

Last Wednesday, matinee day for most theatres, we became a paper audience. Just by being in the right place at the right time we saw two spectacular shows that needed "bums on seats".

In the morning we saw Walking with Dinosaurs. Based on the original BBC television series it features teams of puppeteers and drivers operating life-size dinosaurs prowling around the arena in a hazy atmosphere created with a minimalist set, inflatable plants and palm trees and very effective lighting.

Brachiosaurus was the tallest, Ankylosaurus the most armoured and the T-rex the most 'maternal' for a roaring, 14 metres tall, 5 tonne monster.

These beasties were Life size and Loud, the detail of the skin and facial features was precise and their movements were fluid and lifelike. A few children were frightened - more by the sound effects and atmospherics, but most of the audience was enthralled.

It is an impressive Australian production with all 15 mechanically-driven dinosaurs being built locally and it is set to tour worldwide at the end of the Australian season. I hope it does very, very, well. It was a professional, well produced show that wasn't subject to the usual excesses of many arena events.

The Lost and Found Orchestra, on the other hand, was an entertaining show burdened by an oversize rig and a complicated set. I may be a little biased because I spent several days working on the show and was probably too familiar with it, but it seemed to lack the energy of the first Stomp production I worked on.

The end result of all the hardware and scaffolding in the air was fairly pedestrian. The word was that they were trialling it for an American tour - how off-Broadway can you get? For a supposedly touring rig it took a long time bumping in, it was fiddly to rehearse and it's going to take a lot to get out.

That's the trouble with giving tickets to people like me - we spend more time staring at the rig and the set than we do enjoying the performance! Oh well, Busman's Holiday ....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Have you any wool?

Yes Sir! 15 bags full, in fact!

These are all piled high on my front verandah at the moment, courtesy of a school that has a flock of sheep. I was contacted by a local resident whose husband does maintenance at the school and he came by in his ute and dropped them off.

Hopefully I can find a good home for them all as I am not a spinner. David has one bag and a few of the Spinning crowd at the Guild have offered to take a few more. If you live in the Sydney area and would like a bag of mixed-breed fleece, fresh off the sheep's back, drop me a line.
Baa Baa......

(3 gone, 12 to go!)
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rubi & Lana's

Left to Right: Meg, David, Paula, Sally, Jenny, Mandy.

Despite cancelled trains and wayward buses I managed to work my way to Rubi and Lana's in Gordon to find a goodly lot of knitters enjoying Paula's hospitality.
Sally was there with her stylish new knitting bag full of pockets, compartments and trays. We came to the conclusion that it may have started its life as a professional makeup bag but it has a much more useful purpose now. Sally was also wearing a lovely ruffle edged shrug she designed in Rowan Tapestry Patons SWS. The yarn has a delicate colorway reminiscent of Noro but with a much softer feel to it. I am going to put it on my potentials list. Mandy came to the group for the first time, showing off a lovely mohair jumper that was an explosion of colour and texture.

Podcaster David was swatching some soft Alpaca yarn for a vest and bought along his beautiful Fairisle Torino sweater. He also has Sapporo in the pipeline apparently.

Jenwren also made her first visit to R&L. She was in town for her niece's birthday and just happened to read on This Very Blog that there was a knitting meet in the morning. Draped over the table is her newly completed Icarus shawl in Mollydale Silk. She and Meg were both working on RPM .the same sock pattern - the name of which escapes me as I am not Sock Literate. There was much talk of toe-up techniques and heel turns but much of it went right over my head. One day I might cross over to the Sock Side as I have seen their power - even against the might of financial institutions.

This is the last meeting at R&L for January but there are other things in the planning stage such as a knitting at Opera in the Domain on Sat 27 January and an excursion to knitsibs in the Mountains in February.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's too darn hot!

It doesn't seem right that yesterday it was 26C in Sydney city and 33C up here in the mountains! It is supposed to be cooler up here dammit - that's one of the reason we moved.

We're going to pack up for the day and high-tail it down to those cool sea breezes. This means I can also fit in a long overdue visit to the Saturday Rubi & Lana's meet at 10am tomorrow. Win, win.

Look what I got in the mail today - the latest Vogue Knitting! This makes up for the one I didn't get last year. Despite this I'm not going to renew. I'll vet each edition at my local newsagents as they arrive. It should be noted that the amount of knitting related literature at said newsagent has increased tenfold - even when you count the Creative Knitting/Simply Knitting clone.

The knitting in the picture is the progress I have made on the Rainbow cotton top from Inknitters mag. I did have a progress bar in the sidebar but that got eliminated by the Blogger upgrade. More housework.
The Sirdar Luxury Cotton is nice to work with, not as soft as the ecoyarn pakucho but it has a nice firm definition. I'm swatching the Noro Kureyon at the same time and it feels so rough in comparison. I'm wondering if the finished garment is going to be as scritchy as the swatch.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007


Well, Blogger! - I gave in to the nagging that Blogger was doing and went across to the other side. Now I've lost all my sidebar buttons. I thought I had been careful and saved all the code but they're all over the place. I will have to go searching for them.

I've found the code now I have to get the buttons. And the web album link - what else did I lose?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Here be Dragons

What with work and School Holiday responsibilities I haven't been able to get much knitting in. I've been carrying it around with me in my bag in the vain hope that I might get a row done in the commute down to the city and back but as it's all been car travel not much is happening.
In my capacity as Designated Entertainment Officer on our last city trip we went to the Powerhouse Museum. This is a place with which the family is well acquainted and which had a homely familiarity to it.

I had a very pleasant surprise on this visit to find that someone has given the interesting but slightly tired exhibits a total Son et Lumiere makeover.
The Transport Room, home of the Catalina Flying boat, the Dick Smith Rozier-type balloon and a lovely Steam train, is now transformed into a magical experience. It even has Dragons!

He's just a few months old according to Scott, the cryptozoologist who was guiding the tour, but he's very friendly.
There he is in the top picture hiding behind the 1243 engine. Then he hears the tour calling and comes rushing past the old Central Station Indicator Board to get a snack of Ming Vase scraps.
He's a minevore or mineral eater and as he's only a young Draglet he isn't up to eating large jade sculptures yet. They're taking good care of him at the museum and let him wander around browsing on the odd door handle and escalator. This does lead to a few embarrassing Dragon droppings but nothing that can't be cleaned up. He's very social, very friendly and loves kids.

Monday, January 08, 2007

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top...

Helter Skelter - 3 days of it, but I got through. The White Album was great to listen to though tricky to light at times. What do you do when you have a black stage and the muso's are wearing black clothes? You light the ceiling!

The Concert Hall is an incongruous performance space - big white ceiling and a brown stage, great for orchestral performances but not great for mood lighting. Sound mixing in this big cavernous 'live' room is also a challenge apparently.

Even though I was stressing about the show before Christmas it all came true - as always. The day I get so blase about a show that I don't stress out is the day I stop doing it.

My favourite Aussie actor/singer, John Waters, was the stand out performer in my humble opinion. He gave a very professional show and didn't balk when I asked him for a groupie shot.

The show itself was a bit of a Parson's Breakfast (that's a mixed metaphor BTW) as was the audience. Some people complained it was too loud, others said they couldn't feel the bass. Considering the ages ranged from 8 to 80 I'm not surprised.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Trip Continues

Google is being difficult so I have to spilt my posts.
Our trip continued on through the Pioneer town of Gulgong and a visit to its Museum full of interesting paraphenalia, knicknacks and stagecoaches.

Then to a night at Zoofari lodge in Dubbo. A Zoo-full of animals this time, with 2 guided tours, a wonderful three-course meal, great accomodation in a 'Safari' tent and handfeeding Black Rhinos and Giraffes.

The early dawn tour through the Zoo meant we had an unplanned stop at Wellington as we were both too tired to safely drive the 300km back home. This meant that we were able to see the Caves and spend a very quiet New Year's night at the salubrious Wellington Caves Holiday Complex. I would describe the unit as 1970's shabby chic.

New Year's Eve celebrations were held at the local RSL Chinese restaurant with the dulcet tones of the Lucky Door Prize draw in the background.

Next morning, after a quick tour through Cathedral Cave we dropped into Burrendong Arboretum. This huge Botanic Garden is full of Native Australian plant species. Unfortunately midday in January is not the best time to see them so we made do with the Fern Grove and Harris Lookout.

I definitely intend returning in early spring to see everything in bloom. We saw several Kangaroos, some with joeys, bounding along the pathways ahead of us and a wallaby snacking in the Fern Grove.

Lunch was had in Orange - one of the greenest and prettiest towns in Central NSW. The civic gardens remind me a lot of New Zealand with their emphasis on plants and trees from the 'old country'. The lush foliage was a stark contrast to the dry grounds of Burrendong, only a short drive to the North.

As we drove through Lithgow and up Victoria Pass the rain came down. We were driving into the clouds sitting on the Mountains. Down in the Bathurst Plains the ground was brown and dry while a few hundred meters up and along the highway it was misty and wet.

Our Big Trip

Our Big Trip itinerary started with two nights in lovely Mudgee in the Garden Cottage at Getaway Cottages ; Fresh vegetables freely available from the surrounding gardens, a menagerie of animals including an Ostrich named Gloria, an Alpaca called Kerry, a Horse, a Turkey, Mohair rabbits and lots and lots and lots of Guinea Pigs. The Cottage was large, clean and well appointed with a view over the Cudgegong river to the hills beyond.

The weather wasn't too hot - around the high 20's - with a cool overnight rain making the day even more pleasant. It was hard to leave this wonderful place which I came upon by chance. I only got the booking because of a cancellation so it was obviously supposed to be.

This is one holiday place we will be returning to in the future

Monday, January 01, 2007

We're Baaack

This is Jiji - my lovely birthday present. He travelled with us on our Central New South Wales holiday - 5 whole days away from a computer - how did I survive?
Most nights we were too tired to miss watching TV or the internet and we went to bed before 10pm. Very early for us. It must have been all that fresh country air and wholesome food.

Now I have to catchup with all that email, gmail, yahoo groups and blogs, compose a brief post for this blog and then plan a Lighting rig for 'The White Album'.
Knitting - when do I get time for that?