Tuesday, February 27, 2007

DPN Danger

This is a knitter with attitude!
Courtesy of Vertigo comics Y:The last Man.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blind Optimism

Definition of blind optimism - taking 3 knitting projects to Work on the weekend.

Here I am about to start the 2007 Sydney Chinese New Year Gala Performance Evening - we are already 45 minutes over the advertised start time - the rehearsals were stopped with at least six more items to see (and light) because we were way over time.
I'm looking a bit pale because the five photographers lined up behind my lighting desk are all madly snapping away (and the show hadn't even started). 4 hours later at the end of the performance I was feeling totally washed out. We then had to take all the lights and hardware and hanging doodas down in readiness for the next morning's Brahms rehearsal. 8am start to a 1am finish. Am I mad about my job? I must because no one sane would be doing it. The knitting sat in my bag totally ignored but often thought of. The show itself was an absolute extravaganza. Much colour and movement and lots of flashing, in-your-face lights.
Subtlety? don't know the meaning of the word in events like this. These amazing acrobatics were one of the few dark scenes in the show and even then I had the Audio Visual guys nagging me for 'more light on the audience' because they wanted to film their reaction to the bone wrenching, tendon-snapping poses these two were doing.

There were some very pretty moments among all the excess - this star of the Beijing Opera was noteworthy for the style, grace and amazing voice he had, and for the fact that he was a bloke.

All in all I felt pretty good about the lighting - there were many cringing moments for me such as lights moving that shouldn't have moved - or when I was madly plotting the next item 'blind' and instead of pressing the Save button I went 'next cue go' - stage plunged into dark blue scene change state - AV guys really screaming. By this time I was totally drained and very, very over the whole creative experience so it wasn't as traumatic as it could have been.

I didn't go near a computer (other than my lighting desk) for a whole weekend so all my planned posts about finished knitting and circular needles comparison lie neglected. I returned the Bamboo Interchangeable Circular Kit to Kris today (very sorry to part with them). She had lent them to me for a practice and I am very taken with them. So more later (I hope).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just a simple twist of Fate

Jussi recently posted a wonderful description of her time in Christchurch and her solo travels through the back roads of Banks Peninsula. For me her description of the area and the places she went was so evocative it bought tears to my eyes.

The last time I was in Christchurch was to visit my Mum - she had just been placed into a home and this photo is the last time she recognised me. It was June 2001 and even though it was only six o'clock in the evening it was dark and foggy outside. I was only there for a few days so when I wasn't visiting Mum and making sure she was comfortable I drove around Christchurch and the Peninsula.

I visited Ferrymead - a Railway Museum full of old Steam Engines and other sorts of paraphernalia that keeps Train Enthusiasts like me happy (it runs in the family). The place was pretty deserted because it was in the middle of winter and it was foggy and cold but this suited my mood.

Even the prospect of fresh Bluff Oysters from the Lyttleton Fish and Chip shop didn't really raise my spirits much. I felt a bit guilty eating them knowing how much Mum loved them.

Mum died on Armistice Day that year and once again I travelled over to Christchurch with the family. We stayed at Diamond Harbour - a tiny little village on the Peninsula and it was again a cold and foggy day. Akaroa, the town that Jussi went to, is 'over the hill' from Diamond Harbour but the 'windy roads up and down steep hillsides' she describes are true of the entire area. It is an extinct volcano after all.

I suppose I was a little surprised at how intense my reaction was to her post - it is probably a credit to her writing skills - but I'm glad it created a chance to remember and reflect.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Welcome Visitors

Green Gables in process. I had to frog the latticework of the yoke at least three times for this piece. One slight distraction puts the entire pattern out of sync and this happened often during the three shows a day that comprised the Playschool season. I don't know how Justine did it but she was a real trouper. A room full of kids has to one of the hardest audiences out there, They expect 100% and can tell if they're not getting it.

Speaking of hard audiences we had another big turn up today to the monthly Guild meeting - despite the warm weather. (It would be so good for the meeting rooms to have air conditioning)
Lara, Sally, Meg, Mandy and Candi journeyed up the M4 (with a slight deviation to a certain Penrith Yarn shop) to visit us. (Meg has just been featured on the Lime & Violet podcast site for her Boobie stitch markers. They were made to help raise funds and Breast Cancer awareness and are practical way to support a very worthy cause. Drop over to her Etsy shop and check them out.)

The Guild meeting is a bit more structured then the usual relaxed get togethers around the big table at R&L or over a cup of coffee at SSK. Maybe my slightly frazzled and distracted air gave the visitors a clue to where my head space is normally at during these meetings as I try and keep track of time, people and tasks. I must admit I was a bit nervous that it would be too formal and busy to get in some knitchat time - especially as I hadn't seen Lara since she came back from Vietnam and I wanted to hear all about the trip as well as ask her some Apple Questions. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves though and I really appreciate their visit.

The numbers that come along to our Mountain's Guild have increased markedly over the past year or so and we have a diverse range of knitters that attend. Even though I sometimes feel stretched to my mental limits running the meetings I always get something out of the experience. The Show and Tell session is both a challenge (I have to make sure 30 or so people don't wander off track during the telling) and a pleasure as we see and hear about people's projects, their progress, their failures and their successes.

We've also had some great guests to our meetings and I claim no credit for this at all. Today Inga Hunter showed her creative genius with Beadworking and, unless there are 2 artists with the same name that live up here, she is a talented artist as well. I came across this example of her Lino cuttings and I am smitten. Lino prints are one of my favourite mediums and I love the simplicity of these prints as well as the familiarity of the spaces she portrays.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Good News

On a more positive note we have good news on the Stash reduction front. First off is Krista in Pachuko cotton, showing its wide decolletage and my pale Theatre Tan. I'm constantly being reminded that cotton is a very unforgiving fibre, both in the making and the wearing but I do like this brand. The shade apparently gets deeper the more it is washed.

Next we have a rather wooden modeling of the completed Inknitter cotton top with a few adaptations - the sleeves are longer and the hem is looser, to give more of a drape.

And an update on the fate of the many bags of wool on my Verandah - they've all gone to good homes in the Blue Mountains Spinning community. One of the recipients, Michelle, gave a very thorough analysis of the fleece in her blog. It's good to see that even though it's not pure Merino it is still a useful fibre. I loved its rich buttery colour and full Lanolin scent.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I am Wuss, hear me roar.

I thought I was a "Woman with Attitude" but today I was reminded in no uncertain term what a wuss I am in the face of conflict.
Not all conflict, mind you - there are some situations where I can weather all sorts of negativity and criticisms if I know I am in the right. These are mostly to do with logical sequences and inanimate objects. Personal interaction is where I am most at a loss. I have already posted about my ineptitude at social niceties and etiquette - today that was strongly reinforced.
The weird thing is that there are those in my workplace that would be suprised to see the blithering mess I feel I was reduced to. Sure, in the interaction I was out numbered two, strong, decisive, women to one and I was totally out of my comfort zone but here's the rub. If the people facing me had been of the male gender I am sure I would have held my own and not felt such a wuss. Is it because I have spent all of my working life in a male dominated occupation and have had to stand up for myself to survive? Is it because I felt constrained by social decorum and was unable to express my frustration freely?

Someone at work described me as having a Billy Idol strut on stage - why can't I maintain that attitude in situations such as this? Perhaps it's the black stage clothes that do it - I think I'm going to turn Goth - then I won't be such a wuss.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bamboo Update

I have been a bit remiss in not showing off my lovely new Stitch markers - bought from the etsy shop of Pierre the Yarn Snob. Here they are at the beginnings of Green Gable, sharing the glory with the new Knitpick interchangeables. The shiny cotton yarn and the pointy, pointy tips of the circulars are giving my fingertips a right good work-out. I'll either have to switch to continental knitting or develop some calluses soon.

Ever the fickle knitting consumer I was quite excited to hear on David's latest podcast about bamboo circular interchangeable needle sets. I am very tempted as they fit into a knit neat little carry case "about the size of a PDA". The Knitpick case I have is a solid item about the size of a small dictionary so I can see the commuter potential of the Bamboo.

Speaking of Bamboo I was impressed by the number of patterns in the new IK Spring collection that used Bamboo yarn. The issue features yarns like Classic Elite Bam Boo, Berroco Bonsai, Austermann Bambou Soft, Tahki Bali, and Alchemy Yarns Bamboo as well as some lovely patterns from designers like Eunny Jang, Norah Gaughan, Joan Mcgowan-Michael and Stefanie Japel. (Don't know about the thong though) I just hope my subscription copy arrives here before next Spring.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I like to sing, I like to knit

This is Miss Fee (newly blogged) and me admiring the lovely rainbow effects of "I Like to Sing", starring the lovely Justine Clark of Playschool fame. Fiona took a break from her current Gold Coast project to design this little gem of toddler entertainment. Her Rainy Day Umbrella is a wonderful creation.

We are each holding our current knitting projects - Fiona has a Jo Sharp striped top and I am swatching Green Gables. I think I will have ample opportunity to work on all my knitting because I have three shows a day to operate. The good news is that they're only on the weekend, the bad news is they coincide with all the local knitting groups.

My Stash-Along is going well - I have finished the Inknitter top and only have to block and sew up the side seams to complete. In the process I was reminded why I should use a loose cast-off for the neckline. Thank goodness for Montse Stanley.

Because this project is nearly finished the topic of Blocking is uppermost in my mind. Grumperina has an interesting post about "at which point does one block a handknit sweater project?" while Julie has shown the wonders that can be achieved with a judicious stretch. I will take them both into consideration when I find the time and space to block both Krista and this top.

Janette says the new Rowan Book is out and even though I am on a yarn diet it doesn't mean I can't look and drool. I especially like the Bamboo Tape Collection - the asymetrical designs are quite appealing.