Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh my

I received the most fabulous package on Thursday, completely out of the blue, which cheered me up no end - it's been a frustrating week at work, so this was a lovely surprise.

A month or so ago, I won a prize from m1k1, for commenting on one of her posts. It was a surprise prize, in that I didn't know what it was going to be until it arrived.

And so when I unwrapped this, I was blown away! The most fabulous lace, in a cashmere/silk blend, knitted on 2.5mm sticks!! It is just the softest, lightest, most lovely thing, the photos really don't do it justice.
I can't decide if I want to wear it as a lovely light scarf, or use it as a table runner. Wearing it would allow me to feel the most amazing softness of the yarn and to show off the colour, but it would of course scroonch the pattern up and spoil the blocking. Using as a table runner means I can display it in all its glory, but won't have quite the same pleasure in touching it as much! I guess I'll do the latter though - I can't quite bring myself to scroonch it up!
Thank you so much Jen, it was so much more than I ever expected and I love it!! And if you haven't checked out her blog, A Little Bit Crafty, check it out to see the most amazing lace knitted on very very VERY small sticks!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is ... where I live

A few weeks ago (quite possibly a month - my how time flies!) Tinkingbell wowed us with her castle home, in Tasmania, and tagged me to show where I live and talk about why.

So this is my house - a California bungalow style house, built in the depression years. Not much to look at from the front (although I have to say, a bit better than when we bought it!) but very nice inside (although, clearly, I am somewhat biased!!).

So why did we buy it? Well, we could afford it, for a start! It was a good area, quiet and close to the city but nicely suburban, with a good set of little shops at the corner (fruit & veg, corner store, pizza shop, chemist) and close to the bay walk. Also my brother lives in the next suburb, so it was good to be close to family.

We bought it at auction, as is the norm in a lot of Sydney, and after it had been "knocked down" to us, an older man came up to us and welcomed us to the neighbourhood, and told us that his dad had built the house (along with a lot of others in the street). We didn't get a chance to talk to him further as we had to sign the contract and pay the deposit, which was a great shame, as we haven't seen him since.

It needed a bit of work when we bought it - in fact, my mother cried when she first saw it - coming from the country, I think when she heard what we paid for it she was expecting a mansion. Which it was not (and still isn't - see Tink's place if you want a mansion!!).

So when we moved in we painted, polished the floorboards and put a door on the outside laundry and glass into the window space (!!). We mowed the backyard and chopped down the very straggly mulberry tree. We also took out the hills hoist which, along with the mulberry tree, took up the whole backyard. We got the gas connected and put in gas heating and a repro art deco gas fireplace and surround in the formal lounge.

A few years later we put in a new kitchen (gosh I love my kitchen!) and then a new bathroom. And we planted out the front garden (which, when we bought it, was covered in pebbles and concrete pavers and not much else). Then a couple more years later we pulled down the garage and built the deck in it's place.
Which is now perhaps my favourite spot. As it is north facing it gets all the sun all day. Fantastic in winter, although a little warm in summer - but very nice in the evening! I'll miss this deck a lot.

Here's our backyard. Postage stamp sized, but neat and easy to maintain.
When we planted those trees they only just reached over the top of the fence. Clearly, we planted them a little close together - so hard to know how much they will spread when they are so little! They probably weren't the best choice for the area, but they have given us a lovely private backyard.

But I won't be living here for much longer! As I somewhat cheekily hinted last week, we've bought a new house! I didn't want to jinx it by posting too early, but since we've now signed the contract, I can't hold back on the news any longer.

So this is our new house:
(I borrowed these photos from the sale website...). It's a federation house, built about 100 years ago, lots of lovely old features like picture rails and open fireplaces and a fantastic front verandah, with a modern extension at the back with open plan kitchen/dining/lounge area.

And a really, really big backyard.
OMG! Will have to get lots of vege patch advice from Bells! And also a compass so I don't get lost getting back into the house! I'm going to miss our lovely house, but it's exciting to be moving to a new area and into a new house with lots of possibilities.

And if I've done a good sales pitch on my current house, and you'd like to buy it, my email is in the sidebar!!!). And for anyone who feels minded to share, I'd love to see where you live and why!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SHOESday: Mistake #1

So I have to admit I'm coming to the end of the good shoes. But I thought you might be interested to see some of my shoe mistakes - there have been a few, although not so many recently - I've become a lot more careful with my shoe purchases in the last few years and I like to think my taste has matured nicely as well!

These ones (like most mistakes, to be honest) were bought on sale. I was clearly drawn to the red and also, probably, the suede. Clearly these were a mistake, as they appear to make me head over heels whilst wearing them.
(sorry about that - have absolutely no idea why a photo that was right way up in my computer has suddenly turned upside down in blogger. I blame blogger. That seems to the right thing to do in this situation)

If you want a shoe that makes your foot look like a boat, then these are they:
And also if you want your feet dyed red, these will also do the trick.

But at least they are comfortable, I'll give them that! Just not for me, any longer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Memories of Beijing 2008

I know it's not quite over yet - I'm watching the closing ceremony as I type this, but given that the last day of the Olympics always include lots of (occasionally nauseating) footage of the "tears and the triumphs" of the games, I thought I'd include my own. I am so NOT a sportswoman, but there's just something about the 'lympics that I love - I always have loved watching them, ever since I can remember. Especially with my dad.

Fortunately, I also did not compete in the Ravelympics, as I'm afraid I'd have a big DNF recorded against my name. But I've loved watching the 'lympics whenever I could - which, let's face it, has been every night of the week and as much of the days as well on the weeekend as well. Except for the travelling I've been doing for work, which has meant I've missed a few days here and there.

For me, what's really stood out this time is the achievements of the older 'lympians. I'm sure there have been just as many older athletes in previous olympics, but I've just really noticed them more this time. I guess that means I'm getting a bit older too...

It started with our opening ceremony flagbearer, rower James Tompkins, who at 42 is competing in his 5th (I think) olympics. And Dara Torres, the 41 yo American swimmer who beat an Australian swimmer young enough to be her daughter in the 50m freestyle (Dara got the silver, the Australian - aged 16 - the bronze). Then Jeannie Longo, the 49 yo French cyclist in the women's road race - amazing! And of course, Constantina Tomescu-Dite, the Romanian winner of the women's marathon, at 38 yo the oldest winner of any olympic marathon. And Oksana Chusovitina from Germany, who at 34 took silver in the women's vault in the gymnastics competition - again, competing with gymnasts less than half her age. Fantastic and inspiring and demonstrates the truth that youth is not necessarily all that!

And of course I can't forget the 67 yo Japanese rider in the dressage competition - Hiroshi Hoketsu - competing in his first olympics since 1964 in Tokyo. Our local broadcaster kept showing a highlight package of his ride - the horse was sweating, he was perspiring, and the horse spooked but Hiroshi got the horse under control to complete the course. And with his teammate, 58 yo Mieko Yagi, took Japan to a top 10 placing in the competition. I almost cry each time I see it, to watch his control and his concentration and his effort and to think about what must be going through his mind.

Of course, I did actually cry when watching the end of the men's marathon this morning - as I always do. I don't know what it is that makes me emotional but the marathon (both the men's and women's) always brings out the tears. I think it's partly the history associated with the marathon and the olympics and just the recognition of the sheer willpower (not to mention fitness) it must take to keep going for 42 km, and then to still be able to sprint to the line.

And for a final non-sporting highlight - how about those Chinese flagraiser dudes with the well-rehearsed flip of the flag. And the flagpoles with the little fan in them, to ensure those flags always flap in the breeze, even if there is no breeze. The Chinese miss nothing!

What were your highlights (those of you watching of course!)?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pearl Buck update

Even though I finished the back of Pearl Buck some time ago, I thought it might be interesting to share some photos of making the pleat - it's a very interesting construction and is so much easier than you think it's going to be - Kate Gilbert is clearly a genius!

As you knit the back, the section with the diamond shapes, which forms the pleat, has slipped stitches at either edge (the raised ones you can see below) and a purled ridge another 6 stitches away from the slip stitch line (which you can better on the left hand side of the picture below) - these are the "fold lines" for the pleat. Decreases are done inside the fold lines and in the diamond section as you work up the back piece.
Once you get to the top of the back, you do a regular cast off until you hit 6 stitches before the purled fold line. Then you do a 3 needle bind off (except with 4 needles!) for the pleat section. You start by transferring the stitches before the purled fold line to one dpn and the stitches between the fold lines to another dpn
Then you fold the pleat section inwards, and do the 4 needle bind off - it's just a little bit trickier to manipulate all those needles when binding off, but it just takes a little patience and a little time. Use a pointy needle as your main needle as well, it's a lot easier to get it through the 3 loops you need to for the bind off (yay KnitPicks Harmony!).

Also, it helps to have someone handy to take the pictures for you - which unfortunately I did not have!!

This is what it looks like from the back once half the pleat has been formed. So neat!

And from the front:

Then you repeat for the second half of the pleat and continue casting off the rest of the back. And then forget to take a photo of the completed piece!

I've read on Ravelry that lots of people have trouble keeping the pleat sitting flat in the finished garment, but you know, I'm not sure it's going to bother me that much. It probably won't sit flat, especially at the bottom, but I'm not sure I care - I just think it is so clever!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SHOESday: Yes, it's still the case

Clearly, I still wish I was in Fiji.
Although the sunshine on Sunday helped me feel less sad about not being there.
Oh well, soon it will be summer and no doubt I'll be complaining about how hot it is!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

who? me? bandwagon?

Rattle, rattle, om pa pa, whoa! scree! oof!

Yep, that's me jumping on the bandwagon that just pulled up (who'da thunk it would be an om pa pa band wagon). How could I not get myself a few of QM's fabulous sunnyboys?
How cool are these?! I especially love the red knitting one - of course. And the birds on the clothesline with the socks!
Love 'em. Perfect size for socks or other small knitting or crochet project. Do yourself a favour - pop over to Buttontree Lane and pick yourself up one. Or two. Or three. Or more, so I don't feel quite as bad!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Keeping Track - July 2008

I'm a bit late posting my monthly update - I also missed A Day in My Life this month. Darn work, actually keeping me busy and getting in the way of my blogging!

So a quick note on my stash honesty for July...I would have done ok, except for Spotlight having a sale on Lion Cotton (amongst other things) - how could I not buy more - it was less than half price!

Oh, and George and her German yarn temptations...I couldn't quite help myself with the sock yarn and some Drops Lin (just to see what it's like...)

And my workmate Sarah went to Liberty of London:
And all she bought me was this:
fabulous alpacky!!!

And even though I destashed somewhat for my blogthday giveaway, I've clearly still come out with more yarn at the end of the month than I had going in.

In: 36 x 50g balls
Out: 20.5 balls

YTD: +97 x 50g balls of yarn. Well, I kinda think I won't be buying that much yarn going forward - since we might have just bought a new house...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SHOESday: Because I wish I was still in Fiji

Because I wish I was still in Fiji, here's a pair of shoes I wore for the first time while I was in Fiji - I bought them in the winter sales - on huge reduction as they were summer stock.

I love the colour, I love the swirl and I love the small gold button where the toe strap thingy joins.
They are a bit long at the front of my front (I've got very short toes!), but I can live with that. A nice dressy pair of thongs. Can't go wrong! But I wish I was still in Fiji...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August IS for finishing!

I've become ever so slightly distressed by the growing number of WIPS I've got. I know the number of WIPS is my fault - if I didn't keep casting on for new things, I'd be ok, wouldn't I?! But I can't be monogamous when it comes to the knitting. However, I have decided that I need to be slightly less promiscuous than I am at present. I mean, I've got at least 14 WIPS right now! Bad RoseRed!!

In an effort to try to keep my number of WIPS at 10 (or less), I've decided August is for Finishing! No more new projects this month, unless I also finish them this month.

I'd thought about doing the Knitting Olympics on Ravelry, as so many others are doing. But coming off the most excellent Tour de France KAL, and given that I'm feeling slightly conflicted about the whole political situation in China, I've decided not to officially participate in any Ravelympics fun but I'll still be knitting along as I watch the Olympics (as I have been every moment I've had a chance so far this weekend!).

So a round-up of the things I've put on my finishing list - I don't expect to get them all finished, of course, but these are the main targets:

Ruby Tuesday (my February Lady Sweater)
25% done - ideally I'd like to finish her so I can wear her this year before it gets too hot.

I haven't flashed dear Cherish for you yet. She's for a friend and I'm about 70% done. Unfortunately in a yarn which has been discontinued. I scored some more from Carson via Ravelry (thanks again!) but found I needed more. A desperate email to the ACS mill shop at Wangaratta yielded one more ball - their last - am just waiting on it to arrive.

Inga's Crochet Bag
I started this on the way to Fiji - I managed to get a bamboo crochet hook on the plane, and also thought a cotton crochet project would be good in the warmth of Fiji. Inga is about 60% done.

Denim Pinafore
This is the second one of these I've made - she's been in the snooze list for some time now (started in 2006!!) and I really don't have that much to go. So am planning on making a big effort on this WIP this month. Another one about 70% done!

Kristie's sock
Can't flash a picture of this one - it's a surprise! So far, about 40% done. Hopefully I'll get this one finished too...
Lady Eleanor
You all know what she looks like - I've done 22 tiers now ... only 12, or maybe 14, to go - hopefully, depending on the length when I get there!

So fingers crossed for me! I know I won't get them all done, but hopefully will make a big dent in the list ... as long as I avoid a certain bad influence!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Yes all, I was in Fiji - not the moon, not QM's frogpond and definitely not on the David Jones catwalk (although clearly Miranda Kerr would have nothing on me! Nothing I say! In my dreams, anyway!)

Imagine a place where it is sunny and warm all year around (maximums around 30degC/86F, minimums around 20C/68F), where everyone is relaxed and friendly, where everyone you walk past greets you with "Bula!" (Fijian for hello, good morning and good evening) where there is a cooling afternoon breeze, palm trees and the calmest ocean. If you can imagine this, then you have Fiji and in particular the fantastic resort I stayed at on Denarau Island, which is connected to the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu.

So grab yourselves a cocktail and a comfy seat, and take a little trip with me...
Imagine waking up to this view every day:
(the yarn especially enjoyed the view - before I unceremoniously dumped him back into the knitting project bag after I cast on a pair of socks).

And sitting by (and even occassionally doing a lazy lap or two in) this pool:
(which, by the way, was one of 4 pools all in a row, although the rest were smaller and shallower, designed for kids and/or pool aerobics - and yes, I did do pool aerobics during my holiday, once!).

Now where were we...ah yes, having duty free champagne (bought especially on your way out of Sydney) on your private verandah in the late afternoon:
Where you watch the torches being lit every evening at sunset:
(I know it looks overcast and yukky, but it wasn't - it was warm and fabulous!)

Where you can see this sunset:
Where you can have a beachside massage here (while wishing death, or at least broken limbs, on the jet ski-iers and so trying to concentrate on the sounds of the palms waving in the breeze and the waves lapping the shoreline):
(noting that this massage was in addition to your 1.5 hour deep tissue massage and your 2 hour mani/pedi).

Can you tell I loved Fiji? I would go back in a flash!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

SHOESday: Or should it be SHOESnesday?

A day late, I know - sorry about that. I've been a bit pre-occupied. And also without internet access, until today.

Maybe today's shoes might give you a hint of where I've been? Not that I wore these all the time! Just for a bit of time, on one day ...
Who can guess?