Friday, March 28, 2008

Inspired to Dye

This is the result of a brief experimentation with some kettle dying I did a few nights ago. The yarn was from Virgina Farm Woolworks and I originally bought it to try out colouring with Kool_Aid in a microwave. The resulting mix of Yellow, Red and Purple was pretty average and the whole process of Glad wrapping and zapping I found to be fiddly and messy.

The gorgeous colour is from a deep enamel pot mix of Landscape Kingfisher left on the stove on a rolling simmer - a few rinses later and this rich hue resulted. I had heard that Kingfisher is a difficult colour to make fast so I made sure all the dye was exhausted before taking the yarn out.

I think there may be more skeins heading for this pot and the lad wants to tie-dye a few t-shirts while I'm there!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Looking at the Chooks

The next best thing about the Easter Show besides the Craft are the animals.

We were rained out of the Woodchopping so we sought shelter in the Poultry Shed. That's where I met this beautiful breed of Chook known as Laced Wyandottes. I didn't think a hen could look this pretty.

Some of the more exotic poultry breeds with poofy hairdos and strange protuberance were a bit too much but these fat
colourful girls caught my eye.

There was also sheep shearing for the kids, both machine and hand,

three little piggies and a few more,


cows and

gentle fairground rides (as different from the ear-splitting, in-your-face carny kingdom at the other end of the Show.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Going to the Show

We went to the Easter Show yesterday. We bought our tickets from the Post Office a few days before, checked out online which show bags to buy and took all our own food and drink. It still cost us over $100 for the day which is why it's not an annual event.

My main aim was the Craft section to see how Captain Underpants was faring in his Creative Knitting category - as I expected he didn't win any ribbons but he did stand out among the nice Cardigans and Sweaters.

As is traditional we went to the CWA for Scones and Tea, bought some of their preserves (no Plum Jam left but I did get some Quince Jelly) and then checked out the baking and cake decorations.

The displays were mouth-watering, entertaining and magical.

I'm still at a loss as to the criteria and standards for judging - among the knitted categories they seem to be a well-kept secret known only to those who have been initiated but that won't stop me from trying again next year. Subtlely subversive is my motto.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The garden is coming inside - the traditional built-in sunroom of our fibro cottage has been replaced by an open verandaha that brings air and light into the rooms it once enclosed.

The process has been gradual as work commitments and weather allow but the difference is wonderful. A fence has yet to be put up but in the meantime I enjoy the uninterrupted view through the doors and down the garden.

I've mostly been an observer of all the hard work that's gone into this process but I appreciate the skill and commitment that has broken down the barrier between inside and outside space.

While all the hard labour was going on the background I tried to gain some leeway on the Bag Swap I entered in Ravelry. As I don't really trust my sewing skills I've been making a test lining out of calico to make sure it will fit. The postal deadline is only a week away but I don't want to rush this project.

The past two weeks busy-ness has finally slowed down but it seems to have taken its toll on my brain. I knitted a full 6 inches of a new project only to find that I was making a mobius strip. You'd think that 5mm needles and bulky wool would make a twist in circular knitting obvious but I did it twice. I do like this soy/wool mix rich colours of this yarn but the Hourglass Sweater and the Moda Vera Mousse is having a little respite until I get my brain back.

Perhaps a few hours sitting amongst the greenery will help achieve this.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The 306K

This is the favourite of my many Singer sewing machines - it is in full working order and has just finished seaming up the lounge curtains.

It's not a pretty machine and it has obviously seen a lot of action in its working life. All the shiny enamel has been worn away and the timber veneer is paper thin but the motor purrs like a kitten and the shuttle action is smooth as silk.

The action of this machine is so simple and straightforward that I think it would easily match the output of a modern counterpart. It brings to mind the comparison audiophiles make between the warmth of analog valve amplifiers and the clinical sound of modern digital equipment.

This lovely machine reminds me of the big old Steam Engines of my youth and it has a similar warm smell of oil and metal once it gets into its stride. I can't remember exactly where I got this robust workhorse but it came with some valuable additions - lots of strange and wonderful attachments and full set of Bakelite stitch templates.

I've not had an opportunity to use the Ruffler, the Foot Hemmer, the Multi-Slotted Binder, the Edge Stitcher or the Shirrer but it's nice to know they're there if I ever require them.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Captain Underpants

This is what is keeping me occupied when I'm not doing mad hours at work. The deadline for delivery to the Sydney Royal Easter Show is the end of this week and Captain Underpants Mark 11 is still missing a goofy smile and a red cape.

If I had bothered to read the entry form several months ago I would have noticed the category I applied for was "Creative Knitting: of Original Design". Captain Underpants Mark 1 did not fulfill this criteria because it was someone else's pattern. I could have entered him into the "Soft Toys; class 202" section but this was several pages on, past the "Slipcast Ceramics" and "Mosaics" sections. Bleedin' obvious.

Nil Desperandum as they say, so rather than forfeit my $10.00 entry fee I set to and made my own Original Design. The body is knitted flat with a back seam and the limbs are a combination of i-cord and Double Knitting. Some parts are not as neat as I would like but as I'm not planning on winning any prizes with this fellow I'll let it stand. His entry is a mild protest against the clowns and toilet roll cover dolls that seem to make up the vast majority of knitting at the Easter Show.

One of these days the permitted entries may be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century and ipod covers and funky handbags will be allowed to see the light.