Monday, October 29, 2007

Sydney Medieval Fair

We travelled to the Sydney Medieval Fair on Saturday and watched large men in chain mail hit each other with big swords. It was great!

There was much trying on of chain mail and assorted helmets and sheilds.

The fact that there were no real injuries or heads rolling, guts being ripped out, and limbs being torn asunder made it a fantastic family day.

My favourite was the elegant rapier dueling by the ladies in corsets. It provided a welcome contrast to the general biffo of the large men and their broadswords.

There was also fire eating and market stalls and wonderful Mayan Coffee in a leafy valley in Parramatta park.

It was my first time at the Fair but if this is going to be a regular occurence I'll be coming back.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's a beautiful, cool, misty day here in the mountains and everything is looking green and lush in the soft light. Here is a part of the Woodford bends looking west with the treetops hidden in the clouds. The centre nature strip is full of Bottlebrush that are in full bloom at present. I enjoy driving down this part of the Great Western Highway because of the plants that line it. In the early Spring the wattles make a mass of yellow and green, followed by the red blooms of the Bottlebrush then white Ti tree and yellow Banksias.

As I was standing on the overpass taking this shot I saw two Black Cockatoos in a nearby bush. They weren't the usual big black cockys like the ones that ripped apart a Banksia bush in my back yard last year. These were smaller and less aggressive. My field guide says they may be Red Tailed Glossy Black Cockatoos and they seemed to be enjoying the cool mist. According to the guide "their populations have declined, with local extinctions and range contractions because of land clearing practices that have removed food sources and nesting sites."

The cool weather means it is the right time to make marmalade - Cumquat marmalade. An attempt was made yesterday but the result was more like syrup than jam so they've gone back in the pot with a green lemon to help it set. Our little tree in the backyard is extremely prolific so there may be many more jam jars needed . The possums and parrots are helping themselves as well - I just wish they'd tidy up after.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tales of Teapots and Cosies

These are the two of the three remaining Tea Pots I have of my once extensive collection. The top one is an smaller version of the family pot we used to have in New Zealand. A solid reliable pourer that gave a good cuppa for a family of 6. The little blue one is fine for a single cup but inclined to dribble a bit.
Someone on Ravelry is going to knit a tea cosy for one of them. Don't know who or what or when but I'll find out by Christmas.

I'm also doing my bit of cosy knitting;
Here is the lovely Ashford yarn being made up into the Autumn Tea Cozy from Not Another Knit Blog. Simple but effective - especially once I felt it a little bit. This teapot is more of a Herbal steeper. I think I won it at a cosy knitting competition a few years ago with this creation.

The original pattern was a baby hat called "Epponnee Rae Gumnut Baby Bonnet with Wattle Pompons" from the Kath & Kim ABC site. They have now parted company and unfortunately the website is no more. I only borrowed the wattle pompoms for the cosy but I may look through my archives and see if I still have the download as I would love to make the hat.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Exchange Time

It's that time of the year when knitter's thoughts turn to making suprises for people across the ocean or sea that they have never actually met.

I've joined up for ISE5 again and am past the first hurdle of which pattern to knit - I'm doing two! (Nothing like being decisive, nothing at all.) Jorgenhurst Fine Fibres kid mohair, in the antique stitch scarf pattern from the spring/summer 2005 issue of Vogue.
Red Belisa cashmere and Rubi & Lana merino combined to make Gypsy Rose.

Both are a fairly simple lace design and depending on their final length they may both end up being sent off (though Christmas is getting close).

I've also signed up for an Aussy Tea Cosy swap on Ravelry . The locale will make the Postage costs a bit more bearable so I can concentrate on finding the perfect tea cosy patten and the right kind of tea to accompany it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yellow Mondays

This lovely fellow was on our Mandarin Tree outside the kitchen. He's a Cicada - a Yellow Monday no less - and he is heralding the summer with a loud, distinctive song. I've seen lots of empty Cicada shells but never got this close and personal to a live one. They are truly beautiful insects with wings that remind me of filagree lace.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who left considerate comments on the previous post. The past week was not exactly normal but this is not surprising. Events like this do act as a short, sharp, slap into the realities of life and death. My commiserations really go out to my workmate's immediate family and his past partner who are far more affected by his sudden loss than I was.

I must say that my workplace was very supportive - they offered counselling if I needed it (which I don't - at least I don't think so) my Department Head sent a lovely, considerate email, (dashing all my cynical preconceptions about heartless bosses) and numerous people have approached me to see 'how ya going'. I'm not used to all this attention but really do appreciate it.

Knitting was a nice mindless routine to lose myself into so I've made a reasonable amount of progress on Cobblestone - I love this 10ply crepe (Bendigo?) yarn - it is such a reliable workhorse and provides a consistently good result. Coming from a anonymous market stall gives it a reincarnated quality that will make the finished garment just that little bit more special.

I have also joined ISE5 and as usual, am in a quandary about which scarf to knit. I thought had it all sussed but a big ball of Ashford yarn distracted and tempted me from the lace weight path I was about to go down. There are memebrs of ISE5 that have already finished their scarves and proudly display them to the procrastinators like myself.

Today's trip to R&L knitting group also helped redress the imbalance of the past week. Pamela bought along the lovely swag of yarn goodies her husband brought on a recent trip to Japan so there was admiration and appreciation all roiund. A good dose of knitting chatter in a room full of yarn and accessories is like a big swig of oxygen to the brain.