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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Baby Bear wanted a warm beanie to take to Europe with her for January and February.  I had a big bag of yummy skeins of handspun in a variety of colours donated by Yarnivorous when she left Melbourne a few years ago.  She expressed a desire for the beanie to be made from a selection of appropriate thick warm yarns, and this is the result.

It's just a very plain beanie with a double fold-up brim for extra warmth and a pom-pom.  I used The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd which gives sensible basic patterns for things like beanies, gloves, jumpers, etc based on the weight of the yarn.  Yes, I had to do a tension square!  And then another one because the first time I cast on I obviously had too many stitches!

Baby Bear says it is nice and warm, she loves the colours, and the 11 year old boy she is staying with (obviously, a whole family, not just a boy!) likes to steal it!

I don't finish things very often these days, but this was a quick knit for a specific purpose and therefore I actually managed to get it done.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A List

Courtesy of Pip Lincolne ;

I have taken a couple off weeks of blogging,, due to exhaustion, family issues and freaking hot weather.  Now a list looks like a good idea. In the first three weeks of 2014 I have been doing these various things, on and off.

Making : A pair of socks for George and a shawl for me (in cobweb weight yarn!)
Cooking : All sorts of things, I've been having fun cooking different things.  The latest fun and yummy thing was a grilled peach, pecan and proscuitto salad from Matt Preston's new book (though I left out the goat's cheese).  I've also been barbecuing a lot.
Drinking : Quite a lot of New Zealand white wine.
Reading: I'm about to start 'Enders' Game', after seeing the film late last year.
Wanting: A happy resolution...
Looking: At my beautiful dog :)
Playing: James Reyne last time I had music on
Deciding: That life wasn't meant to be easy
Wishing: That some things were easier than they are
Enjoying: Reading, watching, knitting, thinking
Waiting: For a certain university administration to get on with their job and allow me to enrol!
Liking: My Weber BBQ
Wondering: When will a certain situation become more bearable than it is at present?
Loving: The immense choice of books available to me in my TBR 'pile'
Pondering: Why?
Considering: What?
Watching: A lot of the Ashes series - more cricket than I have watched in the average summer
Hoping: For a brighter future
Marvelling: At the variety of weather Melbourne loves to throw at us all the year round
Needing: To lower my anxiety levels
Smelling: Rose geraniums
Wearing: Today, jeans and a Tshirt. Yesterday, a long black sleeveless dress.  Melbourne weather!
Following: Oddments of the Australian Open
Noticing: How quiet the house is while Baby Bear is overseas
Knowing: That nature vs. nurture can be a redundant concept
Thinking: About alternative histories and speculative fiction
Feeling: Sometimes paralysed with anxiety, sometimes quite cheerful
Admiring: Bravery
Sorting: Clothes and shoes for charity
Buying: As usual, too many books
Getting: Enough sleep, surprisingly
Bookmarking: Knitting patterns on Ravelry
Disliking: The REALLY hot days
Opening: My laptop far too frequently throughout the day, often for no productive purpose
Giggling: At the stream of emails George is receiving from a friend

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sheep Art of Kaniva

This is a companion piece to the one I did on the Mooving Cows of Shepparton.  I look forward to finding other interesting country towns to profile in this way for you :)

They are gorgeous.  I am going to let the local website, and the photos I took last week, speak for themselves.

'Two years ago, local artist Sharon Merrett had an idea that her hometown of Kaniva could embark on a community arts project to celebrate the town's sheep history with a flock of painted sheep.
The idea grew with a stencil day held in November 2010 where over 100 property stencils were bought in to record Kaniva's sheep history. Oral histories were also recorded and an extra piece of wall was painted to fit more stencils bought in later on. A small 'Sheep Art' committee was formed and they applied for funding to various bodies for community groups to purchase and paint a flock of fibre glass sheep. Although these applications were unsuccessful, local businesses and community groups were willing to get behind the idea and donated money to enable the project to proceed. A special mould was made to create a smooth sheep that could be painted as a canvas based on the Texcel breed by The Sheep Bloke


The appeal was put out for community groups to partcipate to paint the proposed 30 sheep. The response was overwhelming, overall 37 applications were recieved, but the group initially only had enough money to purchase 20 sheep. (Another 16 sheep will be painted in 2012 and added to the flock.)
Several workshops were held where local groups shared their stories artistically using the sheep as canvases.This was also the first community arts project for the town and for some people, it was the first time they had painted anything. The project has been run soley by volunteers and clearly demonstrates the volunteering that forms the backbone of small towns like Kaniva. Furthermore the sheep themselves help showcase the large amount of volunteer community groups needed to create a vibrant small town.

The following organisations are represented in the present flock of sheep: KDPAA, Kaniva A&P Society, Kaniva Cancer Council, Kaniva Rotary, Purple Starfish, West Wimmera Women in Ag, Kaniva Leeor United Football Club, Kaniva Traders, 1st Kaniva Scouts, Wimmera Regional Library Corporation. Kaniva College, Kaniva Kinder, Kaniva Playgroup and several local artists.
Other groups waiting to paint a sheep in 2012 are: Kaniva Community Roadhouse, Kaniva 1st Guides, Kaniva Lions Club, Kaniva Foreign Wives, Probus, The Salvation Army, LINK, Day Centre, Oasis, Kaniva Childcare, Bills Gully and more local artists.

the industry

Kaniva has traditionally been a very strong mixed farming region, but since the decline of the wool industry in the 1980s, many farmers turned to growing agricultural crops. However there are several famillies in the district who are committed to improving sheep genetics, both for wool and meat production. With the growth in the lamb market and strengthened wool prices, farmers are now seeing the rewards for their commitment and belief in the industry.
There are several farming famillies that see a bright future in the sheep industry including Hannaton, Oakdale White Suffolk & Prime Samm Stud, Omad, Blue Hills, Duenclin, and Hayelle. Of particular interest is local Kanivaite Damien Hawker, who started his sheep stud Omad whilst still at school and has also gone on to become a professional shearer. Dinyarrak Dairy's Robin Smith is also a fascinating story of diversification - milking sheep to make speciality soaps!'

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Enough With the Beaded Knitting Already!

I think I might now be a bit sick of working through Betsy Beads, fun as it has been.  I'm not too pleased with my latest effort - my fault, not the instructions or anything - and I want to move on to something else.  But I heartily recommend the book as it is chock full of fun things to try and good instructions.

This time I made a gathered beaded bracelet.  I think I twisted it accidentally at the end and I'm not wild about the way it looks, and unpicking the relevant bits don't really interest me.  It may be usable in another craft piece at some point in the future - nothing need be wasted.

This is lace weight cotton and size 8 beads.

I do actually have a major piece of beaded knitting still lined up, but not like this.  I want to do a shawl which will have some beads added to it using the crochet hook method.  But I don't want to start that for a couple of weeks as it's a biggish project and I don't want the distraction of Christmas and a possible holiday afterwards to get in the way.

And now for something completely different.

Just to prove that even big kids like construction toys:

'I was tidying up upstairs and I got distracted.'

And we have pigeons nesting in the passionfruit vine directly the side of our patio.  It is rather cute watching the little baby pigeons get bigger.  I took this photo a week ago and they are bigger already.  The mum is very devoted.

Owing to complicated family issues, Christmas is still slightly up in the air, though I am still intending that we will spend it with George's sisters-in-law and the children that are currently in Australia.  It will the first Christmas without their mum and that will not be too easy.

George and I are hoping to go to Adelaide for a week after Christmas, but again family circumstances make it a bit hard to gauge whether we can actually go or not.  Nothing is booked yet (except for a dinner date in Glenelg on December 28th!).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Knitted Beaded Beads

More experiments inspired by Betsy Beads - I'm getting my money's worth from this book!

I made knitted beaded beads for this necklace, using instructions from the book.  Although there are several different types of beaded beads in the book, I essentially ended up using only three - rolled, beaded-end soft bead; rolled, knit-side-out soft bead; and rolled, purl-side-out soft bead. There is a cloisonne bead in between each knitted bead, alternating white and black.  I experimented with some others - there is one slightly larger rolled bead but I decided they used too many beads, considering that I had a limited selection of size 6 seed beads of appropriate colour ways to make this necklace look coherent. (Like the last necklace, this is made using 4ply cotton and size 6 seed beads).  I had a go at knitting bead covers for large round beads but couldn't make them look neat enough - I will have another go at that at some stage but there are other techniques in the book that I want to play with, so I don't know when I will go back to them.

This is an example of a rolled, purl-side-out soft beads.

On the left is a rolled, knit-side-out soft bead, and on the right is a rolled, beaded-end soft bead. And you can see one of the cloisonne beads.

And I hope to wear it tomorrow with a plain black Tshirt and the upcycled skirt from the last post.