25 February 2007

All hail the cotton top!

Friday brought storms to Canberra yet again. We're getting a lot of thunderstorms of late, which bring welcome rain, exciting thunder and lightling (as my brother used to say), but also a fair amount of damage. We got hail this time, and our backyard looked like it had snowed (albeit lightly) :

And since the Sister Socks are done, I've got back to work on the Cotton Top, the one I'm making up designing as I go... I'd forgotten where I was up to with the lace pattern, so figured this was as good a time as any to start on the stocking stitch section ;) I'm also putting in a little bit of side shaping, a few decreases at the sides now and then. The aqua blue bits of yarn mark the sides, and are from a ball of Dotter's handspun.

Heading off in a while to our extra Stitch'n Bitch this afternoon in Belconnen. Shall be without Dotter, as she was rather annoying and stupid silly and stayed up til 5am.

22 February 2007

Shiny Sister Socks & Gratuitous Food Porn

Say that three times fast ("Shiny Sister Socks", that is. Saying "Gratuitous Food Porn" three times fast will just get you some strange looks, and possibly evicted)...

Isn't it funny how you finish the entire second sock, and those 24 stitches are just sitting there, waiting to be grafted together. And then they sit there. For two days. I got fed up of them looking at me (there were so!) and stitched the little buggers up this afternoon. And I even know how to do Kitchener Stitch without reading the instructions any more. Yeah, it took me 5 minutes. Clearly worth all that procrastination.

Dear Dotter is modelling the socks here, and they look a little big, which is a Good Thing TM, as Sister has size 8 feets, vs Dotter's size 7 feets.

Socks will be presented (only 1 month late) to my Sister next week IN PERSON (yes, she's here from London, for a whole FOUR months!).

And now - you know you want it - Gratuitous Food Porn...

I was making an Indian Chicken Pilau the other night; I like putting the spices (cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and turmeric in this instance) in these cute little silicon pinch pots... and the sun was coming through the window, and they just looked - well, you know what I mean. I got my camera, and told the spices to 'Work with me, baby!' – Enjoy!

18 February 2007

The Homing Yarn & Pink Lace

Now here's an interesting little story for you...

My pen pal Cindy (she of the Colour Change Laces fame) also sent me this ball of un-labelled sock yarn. I knew I'd seen that colourway before, so I hit the online shops, and, sure enough, it's Heirloom Jigsaw Sock Yarn, colour #38. It's an Australian brand. Cindy found it in Pennsylvania USA, whimpering in a homesick manner – and now it's back in Oz!

And here's a progress pic for you of my Spring Shawl... it's coming along very nicely, the lace pattern is finally stuck in my brain, the Addi Turbos make knitting and sliding stitches a breeze, and I'm quite happy (so far) to have ever-increasing row lengths - it's over 200 stitches a row now. I'm really enjoying the process, and hoping I'll have enough of the pink to make it a decent size before I do the border in my 'caterpillar yarn'.

Here's a close-up of the lace when it's stretched out - which I suppose is what it'll look like once it's been blocked. The knitted lace sort of buckles a bit at the moment. Can someone reassure me that it will lie flat after blocking?

My apologies for SnB today - a combination of PMS and a virus mean I'm really not well enough (or nice enough) to be out in public :p Lulu is most put out, she keeps butting my ankles...

16 February 2007

Still sticking...

Here's the latest pic of the Waratah collage... still laying down the main colours, with a few edges going in. Fine details, shading and edges are the final part, a little ways off yet.

This is a PNG file, my first use of this file format on Blogger - hopefully it won't cause any problems to anyone!

The Sister Sock is into the final stretch - the foot bit - and my Spring Shawl is coming along nicely too. The Addi Turbos are wonderful!

I'm feeling somewhat better too, although still not really well :p

15 February 2007

Just when you thought you'd seen everything...

... you find that you can buy Instant Color Colour Change shoe laces in America. My dear pen pal Cindy sent these to me - aren't they cool? They're white when you're inside, and in sunlight they gradually (I'm not so sure about the 'Instant' part) turn orange! I haven't managed the intense fluro-orange of the label, but I'll keep trying ;)

And you know what? My dear hubby really likes Yarn Harlot's At Knit's End book - he keeps reading bits out to me. He's read more of it than I have! LOL!

13 February 2007

Trying to be sensible

I've decided to stop weighing myself, and have removed my weight loss 'Ticker' from this page... I'm getting a little obsessive about it, as my weight is going up back to where I started, and then down, and then up again, and the numbers are making me depressed. They're only numbers after all!

I know that tracking kilos doesn't provide positive feedback (despite my also strong despire to see the kilos drop ever downwards)... muscle weighs more than fat for a start, so if I'm getting fitter (and I think I am, I've cut 10 seconds off my lap time), I could still weigh the same or even more. As Dr Rick says

"Don't get weighed down by the scales
If we are above our most comfortable weight and we want to change this situation, it is vital to focus on our thinking, our eating and/or our physical activity, rather than concentrating on what is happening with changes to our weight. By looking after ourselves and our bodies in the best way we can, our weight/size will be the healthiest level that is possible for our own body type."


"Health and vitality come in all shapes and sizes, and it is important to be the healthiest weight we can achieve and maintain, rather than focus on being thin at any cost. By looking after ourselves and our bodies in the best way we can, our weight/size will evolve to the healthiest level that is possible."

So yeah. I'll do that.

And bugger it, I'm coming down with some virus thing; the whole family is feeling vile - sore throats, aches and pains, desperately sleepy... so that's not helping much either. Bleah.

12 February 2007

Goody Goody Yum Yum!

Two packages of goodies arrived today! My Wool Shack package had "At Knit's End" by the Yarn Harlot, and my very first Addi Turbos (3.5mm 150cm - yes, that's one and a half metres - long) for my lace shawl)!

The Seasonal Produce 2007 Diary by Campion and Curtis is just perfect... I'm well overdue getting my diary for this year, and hadn't been able to find anything decent around town. I finally decided to order this one; it arrived quickly, and was even signed by Allan Campion! He wrote I hope you get a lot of ideas for seasonal shopping and great cooking in 2007! Wasn't that lovely of him?

I really like cooking seasonal foods, and this book has lovely photos, lists of seasonal foods for each Aussie month, and recipes on every week spread, as well as cooking tips along the way. Foody bliss!

09 February 2007

Roses in winter

This is the Rose collage I did for Taph's mum nearly 2 years ago, as promised. Firstly there's the work in progress, and then the finished piece. It's often hard to let my work go... this was a case in point. I know it is very well loved, though, so that makes me happy too :)

The background

I'll put the latest photos at the top, so eventually there will be a progression from finished artwork to just started artwork by reading down my Blog.

Here's the background finished, as of about 10.30pm last night. I'm still not getting really good photos, the colour balance is a bit off, and there's shadowing where I don't want it. I obviously need to RTFM (Read The F*****g Manual) for my new camera!

The leaves and flower petals will overlap the background, so it does 'go over the lines' intentionally :)

All the paper so far is torn coloured pages from glossy magazines, like Vogue Living and so on (best use for those mags, I reckon). The glue I use is matt acrylic medium, and my tools are a stiff flat bristle brush, a brayer (roller), cut up plastic bags (to put on top of the collage while I roll it with the brayer, so glue doesn't get on the roller), a pair of scissors, a water container, and my hands. At this stage nearly all the paper is torn into shape, not cut. Apart from the edges.

Here's the background partially done (and shot in bad lighting at night)...

08 February 2007


I'm doing this Waratah collage as a commission for a friend who has moved from Canberra to Vienna (Hi Penny!), and I thought it would be a bit of fun to show the stages on my Blog...

This blows my anonymous cover quite a lot, but, meh, I don't care any more. Amongst other things, I am a collage artist, and represented by The Green Dog Gallery in Gundagai. My work sells s l o w l y and takes me ages to do. I'm not trying to make a living this way, just doing what I enjoy.

Anyway. The collage area is 30 x 40 cm, and the Bainbridge board is primed with acrylic medium, which also seals the pencil drawing. I'll post the next stage pic soon, probably tomorrow...

Sister Sock!

The first Sister Sock is done! In record time (for me anyway)... I've cast on its pair, and hope to get it done by next Wednesday!

I hope they're going to be big enough - Dear Sister has size 8 1/2 feet. I made the foot length 18 cm before I started on the toe decreases... but it still fits me well (7 1/2). Hmmm. I suppose if they're really too small I can unravel the toe sections and reknit them.

Thanks to Dear Dotter for being the foot model here - as well as dying the wonderful sock yarn that I'm knitting with!

And here is my gorgeous niece Ruby, who's 5, meeting Lulu for the first time. They were very taken with each other (both being mischievous and lively young ladies), and Ruby was keen to give her a kiss. I hope BB isn't jealous ;)

07 February 2007

Negative grapes

This is a 'negative space' painting - an exercise from a book - which I did a few weekends ago. There is a splashy splattery underpainting, and then the negative shapes of the grapes are built up in layers (ie you paint the space around the objects).

I'm quite pleased with this result, but now need to apply the technique to a painting of my own... I know I painted this, but it was a copy of one in a book. The test of whether or not I've learnt anything about the method will come when I try to apply them to an original work.

06 February 2007

Stash chaos

As you can see, Lulu has created havoc in my stash (which lives in a wooden chest)... Luckily I was able to evict her from her wooly nest, and clear it all out. But no doubt, she will get in there again when I'm not looking...

03 February 2007

How to Beat the Heat

If you have no insulation, no money, and no air conditioning, this summer can feel like a very hot and sticky sort of death sentence. It does in our house, anyway!

Hubby came up with a brilliant partial solution... get a few rolls of heavy-duty aluminium foil, and a roll or two of sticky tape, and get to work. About half our windows now have a layer of foil, shiny side out, stuck to them (on the inside surface). He covered roughly half of each 'set' of windows, so we still get daylight.

Cost : About $6

Effort : OK, it's a bit of a pain putting it up, it took a few hours

Downside : We don't have such good views, the house is darker inside, and I haven't had to remove the sticky tape from the windows yet...


Effectiveness : Noticeably cooler inside for most of the day! PLUS the aliens can't read our minds any more.... ;)

02 February 2007

Reader outcry

Well, what do you know. I've caused a real 'reader outcry'. The dear readers of The Sunday Age were so incensed at the loss of their regular crossword, which was replaced with mine, that the paper is dropping my crossword, effective immediately. How fucky is that?

There's still a 6-month contract in place, so they'll be publishing one of my kiddie puzzles on the kids puzzle page instead. But it doesn't have the same weight as a serious crossword. There was I thinking I was getting somewhere. Ooops, I forgot hide-bound readers who don't want anything new.

01 February 2007

Where I Knit

This post is for Julie (aka Samurai Knitter) - this is where I knit when I'm at home. The basket next to the chair is my works in progress basket (as opposed to the huge wooden Stash Chest, which is opposite my chair).

My son's fish tank (along with attendant clutter and wirey bits) is next to my chair. You can visit his "Hi Fish!" Blog and make appropriate ooh and aaah noises - it's quite amazing. He also made my nifty little mini table, which I put my cuppa tea on.

Kitchen is right behind me (so I can leap up and rescue forgotten things on the stove, (lie mode) not that I've EVER done that), and twinkly Christmas lights are still hanging from the rafters cos I like em!

Artwork by myself is on the left, and a watercolour painting by my hubby's talented uncle is above my chair.