Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vale, Good Kharma Bunny

"The Good Kharma Bunny likes all things textiley, especially if it involves yarn! She's like a swan, exuding good kharma on the outside and paddling furiously underneath, to keep up with life."

I just read the so, so, sad news of the death of Alice Cox, aka Good Kharma Bunny and Knitter Exchange participant.
She was a young woman with two young children and her sudden passing in the early hours of Sunday morning must have so traumatic for her family. The brief contact I had with her revealed a vital, creative, woman with a keen and active interest in crafty pursuits.

Her husband Simon wrote the last poignant post on her blog on Monday morning - not an easy thing to do in the circumstance -
This blog, the contacts Alice made across the world due to this blog and the 'secret pals' she took part in meant a great deal to her and helped her through some difficult times so thank you all, you meant a lot to her. She was one of a kind and I will always miss her very much. Thank you all Simon

My deeepst sympathy goes to him and my heart goes out to his young son and daughter now coping with the absence of their mum.

Monday, July 30, 2007

There was cake...

..and there were gifts and good company.

So the week ended better than it had started.

Despite a post-midnight finish the night before, after three shows and two bump-outs, I still managed to get to Teddy's birthday party.

Mandy had excelled herself in the cake making, knitting was de rigeur and French champagne flowed. I couldn't partake, unfortunately, as I still had to make the journey home but Sally's Lemon Meringue pie was compensation enough.

In a valiant attempt to reduce the number of UFO's listed on my fledgling Ravelry account I am only working on the Studio Mohair ribbed Cardi started over a year ago. For the past 6 months it has languished, needing one lone sleeve for completion.

I must admit to being slightly overawed by the potential of this uberknitting website. Although the catalogues and cross referencing of patterns and yarns is very exciting I am unfamiliar with the protocols of "social network services" like facebook or myspace, or of the concept of linking to "friends" I have never met.
Sure I may know many details of their lives through long association with their blogs but I'm still reticent to present myself like a pre-schooler and tag them as my "friends". Maybe this word is going to evolve in a totally different direction over the next few years because of the growth of such sites. In the meantime I think I will just concentrate on listing how many 4mm circulars I have in my stash until I get used to the concept.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dr Egg and the Big Hat

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, no

After three days of drama (excuse the pun) I'm finally back home - all a bit Twilight zone - she left in the morning and was not seen until three days later.
Two and a half fourteen hour shifts with two ten hour breaks, no time to travel home and back; thank goodness for spare knickers in the locker and the little room in the city to bunk down at.

I had to fill at the last minute in for the Lighting of the world premier production of "Dr Egg and the Man with One Ear". It wasn't a huge rig nor was it a challenging plot (slight problem with a DMX triggered Animation sequence that the 510 backup decided it didn't like) but I only expected to be there for one shift.
I only had one lot of knitting with me and NO knitting Literature. Okay, I could cope with the fact I had to wear the same pair of Jeans from Monday to Wednesday but not with the fact that I had left Elizabeth Zimmerman at home in both book and DVD. That's tragic.

To rub salt in the wound when I finally did lurch home on Wednesday evening after falling asleep on the train several times, I found a Ravelry invite waiting for me. Yay (zzzzz).
I started to surf through its huuuuge database and forums and patterns but had to stop because my brain is totally fried. It just ain't fair.

The one bit of knitting I had with me is finished of course - it was the box hat from Cleckheaton's Vintage Hues. I made it a bit larger than the pattern because I've got a big head and I also wanted to felt it a bit. It's made from one 100g ball of the Ashford's Tekapo Pure Wool I bought from Cooma. So far it is proving very resistant to any felting or shrinkage, despite a fair bit of rigorous handling in hot water. This lady says its a fabulous felter so I will persevere - tommorrow. I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Snow

The final destination - the Snowy Mountains. One of the few places in the Australian continent that snow falls to a decent depth.

At 2,228m, Mount Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the Australian mainland but we didn't see see any proper snow until we reached Perisher Valley at 1680m.

As soon as we could we stopped and threw a few snowballs then built a snow man.

It was my first time in this ski bunny capital and I made the mistake of heading for the Village centre to maybe get a cup of coffee while snowballs were thrown.

It was worse than Central Station on Grand Final day; crowds of people inside and shooshing past outside on skis and snowboards.

I was totally disoriented until I found the sanctuary of the local hotel's very empty public bar. Over a gourmet lunch and a quiet ale in front of a roaring fire I relaxed and knitted while Tubetown was explored. Each to their own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tharwa to Cooma

The magic continues - after we left the pretty village of Tharwa we travelled via a roundabout route to Cooma - our overnight destination. Little did my travelling companions suspect that I had a slight detour planned. The Past Times Craft Centre had been highly reccomended to me by Sandra at SSK. I knew there was a craft shop in the vicinity but what a shop, what a wealth of fibre goodness.

It was a feast to the eye and all the other senses and I had a lot of trouble deciding what to look at first, the beautiful Ashford Tekapo Yarn, (gorgeous colourways) the Needle Felting, the Rainbow Slivers, the spinning wheels, rag looms, Knitters Looms, Wool Dyes, Vegemite Tea Cosies, cute postcards, Buzzy Bee and on and on...

I wasn't the only one to be captivated by all this and when we finally left I was amazed that my shopping bag only contained 2 balls of Tekapo yarn, 3 Ashford patterns and 1 Buzzy Bee key ring. It was a lovely shop and the sales person was extremeley helpful. Her patience in explaining the Knitter's Loom to the young lad was commendable - I'm not sure if he is into the whole weaving thing but it kept him distracted long enough for me to scout around both floors of this lovely shop.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tidbinbilla to Tharwa

Tidbinbilla is home to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, a marvelous place to take a 9 yr old (and his Dad).
This is DSS 43, it was tracking Voyager 2 when we were there and we watched it slowly and gracefully set itself into position.

There were moon rocks to admire, a life size replica of the Mars Rover vehicle, the latest images from Mars, spacecraft models, and real, flown space hardware. We saw the foods that astronauts eat on the space shuttle and space station, (not very appetising) movies on the history and future of space exploration, and detailed models of the Solar System.

The Moon Rock Café had gourmet pies and "the best coffee in the galaxy".

A few kilometes down the road is Tharwa, a pretty little village on the Murrumbidgee River, once accessible from Canberra via a timber bridge, now isolated by the bridge being closed for repairs.
Sadly this resulted in The Primary School also closed last year despite a brave attempt by the community to save it and the Preschool.

The General Store and Post Office is still going strong. Inside it is an Aladdin's cave of of knick knacks, antiques, jewellery, buttons and books.

Room after room of neatly labelled treasures. We came away with a Button Person, several vintage knitting pamphlets and accessories and souvenir spoons.

I hope the little village can survie and thrive into the future.

You are #6628 on the list.

Back from the Snow, stuck in bed with a dose of cold and flu and catching up on lots of Blogs; I've discovered that even though my Ravelry invite hasn't arrived yet I can find out where I am on the waiting list - I didn't realise I had left my application so late but at least I'm in the queue.
  • You signed up on June 4, 2007.
  • You are #6628 on the list.
  • 1153 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 9626 people are behind you in line.
  • 33% of the list has been invited so far

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Pile of Stash

Does this look like someone who has been on a stash diet?
Despite appearances to the contrary I am keeping to the Knit From your Stash pledge I took last year in December and going through the stages 12 step management plan including;

1. Assess and organise
5. Periodic Evaluations.
10. Review
11. Reassess
12. Re-evaluate. Frequently.

I'm trying to see the floor tidy up my little yarn corner as well as prepare for Ravelery (I'll wait, I'm patient) so this evening I pulled out everything that wasn't in a WIP bag and took its photo.
The good thing is that in the process I have identified at least three lots of yarn that I can get rid of and have reacquainted myself with lots of lovely fibre. It was good to just get it all out and remember when or why I bought a particular skein of Mollydale or a packet of Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille.
Trudi's Stash Manifesto and her Afterthoughts, though tailored to her specific needs, are an inspiration and a great place to begin the journey of Stash Management. I have never wanted to have Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy but it is not always easy to exercise self control in the face of tempting yarns and nice LYS.

I also organised a lot of my Knitting Books and loose patterns into one location instead of being stored in stacks on any flat surface that was close. The next thing on the agenda is to sort all the WIP's and UFO's. I will probably find that despite the demoralising picture of a Queen size bed covered in yarn I have been productive and true to my pledge.

For anyone in Australia that is interested this is a 10 ball packet of Minicaraibi from Lana Grosso; 100% Italian Cotton 4 ply in Antique Rose. It's out the door for $45.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Knitter's treat - worth waiting for!

Hooray! My Knitter's Treat parcel arrived today - across the sea all the way from Cathy (not sure of your blog pseudonym) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I picked it up on the way to work so here is the yarn on my desk soaking in the sounds of Mahler's 6th .

There were lots of goodies packed into the little box sealed with Canadian tape (and reopened by Australian Quarantine) It took a while to get here but the wait was well worth it. Along with a little sketch of the parcel valiantly splashing its way across the ocean there was a card showing a ferry on Halifax harbour (and it does look nice) plus;
  • 1 x skein Turquoise Jorgenhurst Fine Fibres kid mohair, hand dyed by Gordon Jorgenhurst, the 70-something farmer who raises gorgeous little mohair goats.
  • 1 packet of Just Us Coffee roasted in Nova Scotia at "one of Canada’s most successful worker-owned businesses based on a firm belief in “people and the planet before profits”.
  • A sweet, silver and fused glass pendant handcrafted by Cathy herself, a sandlewood scented Candle, a copy of Hello! Canada and (yum) Salt Water Taffy!
Thank you so much, Cathy, for your lovely and thoughtful gifts. The incredibly soft mohair is already destined for a little shawl from issue 2 of Yarn magazine.

My treatee finally received her parcel a few weeks ago also and gave it a lovely review. So the Knitter's Treat Exchange Circle is complete. The tyranny of distance meant that I was unable to nominate anyone for Best Treater but I would have if it was still running. Thank you to the hostesses for putting it all together.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Elf Services

I'm very excited because I've just signed up for an Internet service that helps me keep track of one of my favourite occupations. I don't mean Ravelry - I haven't been one of the lucky ones to receive an invitation yet. Its Library Elf!

"Elf is a web-based and email tool for library users to keep track of their library borrowings. Elf is like a personal assistant, whose task is to help with keeping track of what one has on loan from the library."

This is something I've been wishing for, for ages. I am an avid library user and have several cards from several suburbs. This, of course, leads to complications as I try and sort out which book, Graphic Novel, DVD, or CD comes from where.

The Elf combines all the libraries into one page and sorts the items into categories like On Hold, Due, Overdue as well as making reading suggestions on the side. It has a nice clear interface with a search facility, book seller links and a calendar highlighting due dates.

I am so glad that the both the City of Sydney and the Blue Mountains have opted to enrol with this service. I noticed that Marrickville and Randwick are among the 35 or so Australian Libraries that have joined so far.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Badde Manors

I had a day in the city yesterday - a late start for work - too far to travel home to the mountains, so the time was mine. I went to The Glebe, an old stomping ground of mine from years ago. As a suburb it has a reputation for being a student hang out, slightly feral and grungy in some places, beautifully picturesque and historic in others; a place were all those leftie, intellectual, inner city types hang out.

Badde Manors Cafe was my hang-out.

"A local institution, Badde Manors is grungy and funky and very, very Glebe. Tables, booths and nooks are fitted into its eccentric shape and the decor is eclectic with a St Vinnies-meets-garage sale appeal. It is frequented by a warm and friendly crowd and boasts speedy service and delicious vegetarian cuisine."

It was half the size it is now, with cosy booths, great food and the only place in NSW (outside of that other feral hang-out - Byron Bay) that served real Chai, not the ersatz Nestle rip off that is now on supermarket shelves.
The secret ingredients were a healthy dose of grated ginger and a touch of Rose syrup, all served on a tray with teapot and sieve. It used to be a challenge to see how many glasses of Chai could be squeezed from one pot.

Despite its recent change of ownership it was so good to see that the cafe still had the same laid back attitude, cosy eclectic decor, great food and Chai of old.

Badde Manors was also the birthplace of the Cafe of the Gate of Salvation, Sydney’s popular non-denominational gospel choir. Several of the singers also worked there and on good days the customers would be treated with an impromptu performance. My music tastes were honed at this cafe, they always played the best background music - it was one of the first places I heard musicians such as Salif Keita and Astor Piazzola.

So yesterday afternoon for several hours I sat in the Winter sunshine reading and knitting, drinking Chai and eating the best Hungarian baked Cheesecake in the city.
Life is good.