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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It's hard to take a photo of a poncho when it's on a long circular needle and it's only a long rectangle in the making. This is a lovely shiny pink cotton (Online Bingo) and I think it will drape nicely when it is done. This picture shows it about two fifths of the way through - i am now about halfway through. It was supposed to be a 'Summer Poncho'. Well, summer officially ends next Monday, but it will be a lovely autumn poncho too!

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I've been feeling lousy all week - oh the joys of chronic fatigue syndrome. At first on Monday it could just have been a hangover (the result of a convivial Sunday evening with friends and five bottles of wine - among six adults, two of whom barely drank). But I am still feeling like the first stages of flu, only that doesn't go on for four days without developing further.

I went out to The Highway Gallery this morning for the monthly Friends' Morning Tea. It is their fiftheenth anniversary of being run by the committee of management (rather than being a council run gallery) and they are about to run an exhibition of paintings and ceramics by some of the regular exhibitors over the years. One of them, Barbara Better, gave a great talk about how she draws and paints, and passed around her sketchbooks. She does a lot of lovely Australian landscapes. I really envy people who can draw and paint, I can't do it at all!!!

Then we had a KnitFest meeting. KnitFest will be held in June and will be a celebration of all things knitty (and crochet!). I have volunteered to help hang everything, and also to borrow 30 chairs from church and have George drive them over there (in our brand new Toyota Kluger, which had lots of room and of which we are very proud!!).

I actually felt quite well and inspired while I was there - all those artistic vibes and all - but by the time I got home I was ready to collapse and now I feel so exhausted that all I can muster for dinner is McCains pizza and a couple of pieces of cucumber.

I made my first attempt at starting to design something from scratch at the weekend. It did not go well. I spent a couple of reasonably happy hours making a huge Magic Ball of various novelty yarns, then started to crochet a capelet. The idea being to design it on the hoof, so to speak, and to have all the ends hanging free and looking bohemian. Well, the first one got dumped when the shape was displeasing to the eye (read mutant furry thing) - and that's when I made the impirical discovery that you cannot frog a magic ball made from novelty yarns. Much swearing ensued. I started a second attempt with the seond half of the ball. Yesterday after dinner I got the kidlets off to bed, George out the door to a church meeting, then settled down in front of CSI Miami and Without a Trace to work on Mark 2. About halfway through CSI Miami I had thrown it across the room, used several rather unkind words about myself, and vowed never to design a capelet in multiple furry yarns again. I sulked for the rest of the evening, in between playing with Wombat's Gameboy Colour and reading the wonderful Jenny Dowde book Freeform Knitting and Crochet, which cheered me up slightly.

At the gallery meeting today I was cheered and inspired by a friend who showed us some great freeform knitting and crochet and embroidery and beading thingies. My mind worked overtime on the way home and I have now come up with a much better idea for a design which will use something lucsious that I have saved in my stash since last winter. Stay posted...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

This is a shawl I knitted two winters ago. It's a version of Lyn Johnson's 'Once More From the middle' shawl from the book 'Yarn Arts'. Each stripe is a different yarn and stitch (though a number of the plainer stitches are repeated in various stripes). I ended up using three circular needles, one for each side of the shawl and one as a working needle. It's great but I have trouble keeping shawls on - I love it though and everyone admires it. It's rather warm! It looks better as a throw than a shawl, maybe I should take a hint from that...

Friday, February 04, 2005

The calm after the storm

We had a storm on Wednesday night. A low pressure system sat over Melbourne for 24 hours without budging, raining on us. This is great, as we need rain. But not quite that much all at once, perhaps, as it flooded everything. And the strong winds did horrible things to trees and power lines. We were without electricity from first thing yesterday morning until after lunch today. We still had hot water (gas) but nothing else - the central heating is gas but needs electricity to turn it on and off. (And yes, it is February, normally the hottest month of the year in Melbourne, but it was bitterly cold for a couple of days, the coldest February day on record I believe).

It made me realise just how much we rely on utilities. And how the utility companies have us over a barrel. The current (pun sort of intended!) arrangements are that we pay an electricity retailer for our power, and they in turn buy it from a distributor. In circumstances like these recent ones, it is the distributor who is responsible for fixing things up. As they are not directly in receipt of the customers' monies, they have no real fiscal interest in serving our needs. They certainly worked very hard to restore power supplies - at least the actual men on the ground did. The phone room employees obviously have no vested interest in any of this (they are probably paid peanuts) and by this morning they were not even pretending to help callers. We don't know when your power will be restored, we aren't allowed to give any information out, we don't really care, and we'll be as rude as we want to because it's none of our business and we have power at home, anyway. I have been simmering, no, boiling over with irritation about this.

But power was finally restored approximately 31 hours after it went out (we don't know exactly when it happened during the night, it could be several hours longer than that).

I fully realise that it was a difficult situation and that there were thousands of people with similar problems. Many of them had their power back 24 hours earlier than us, but maybe that's jusst bad luck on our part. But what really makes me mad is the lack of information that was supplied all the way through, and the treating of the customer with complete contempt.

Enough already. Yesterday was quite hard because Wombat was still unwell and, being a modern child, doesn't know how to spend a day sick without watching TV! And I wasn't feeling well either, so wasn't up to doing nice 'olden days' things with him (as he put it). He went back to school today and I spent the morning listening to the (battery powered) radio and knitting my pink and white poncho - completely mindless knitting that I found quite soothing.

We went out to dinner last night - I am getting a gas hob when we replace the kitchen but at the moment all my cooking facilities are electric. We went to the local Vietnamese restaurant, which is one of our favorites, and had a lovely night. They are very welcoming to children, and the children always behave immaculately there - hey, maybe there's a connnection!! After an ample meal of prawn crackers, spring rolls, satay chicken, sesame beef and a few other goodies, washed down by a bottle of Chardonnay and followed by indulgent pineapple fritters, we felt slightly happier with the world!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

These are the tube socks I knitted before Christmas. Because of the ribbing they look quite small but they are knitted on 72 stitches and stretch quite amply to fit my quite ample legs and feet!

I LOVE Melbourne weather!!!

No, that's not said sarcastically. Many people moan about Melbourne weather, but I truly love it. Yesterday reached 34C, which is far too hot, and today it's about 15C and pouring with rain. I'd hate to live in a place where the weather stayed the same for weeks on end!!! I'm very relieved that it's cooler today, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and hot weather is a real killer for me.

The last few weeks have sped by, leaving me little time or energy for blogging, but now the school year has started and things are slowly returning to normal. (Having said that, Wombat is at home today after spectacularly puking all over the carpet last night - probably a combination of swallowing too much pool water and then eating a large bowl of popcorn, but better to be on the safe side as he still felt sick this morning). Fortunately the carpet is very old and horrible and will be replaced sometime in the next couple of years, probably with tiles!

The summer holidays turned into one of those Hallmark idylls that I never thought I would have with my children. George had three weeks off work and we spent the time being a (mostly) very happy family unit, visiting friends, and most of all having a constant stream of visitors in and out of our pool. The barbeque got a real work out and there were several occasions when altogether too much wine was consumed! The bathroom never got clear of constant piles of wet towels and muddy footprints. Sometimes I lost count of the number of kids in the house; sometimes I would go into another room and find an extra one that I didn't even know was there! And it was all relaxed and fun and a good omen for the year to come.

Sirius has been in the wars. Just after Christmas Baby Bear was bathing her and got shampoo in her eye, and didn't rinse it straight out. By the time she told us what had happened, Sirius had already scratched her eyeball and needed vet attention. Eyedrops and anti-inflammatories and a veterinary collar cured the problem in about a week, but she felt rather sorry for herself. And then after another couple of weeks she got an insect bite on her leg which she worried until it bled, so it's back in the collar for her again. She hates the collar, understandably, and gets quite depressed when wearing it.

I have been knitting! Still on the four projects mentioned earlier. Plus I have bought stuff to knit the Sally Melville poncho on the cover of ghe current Knitters. Mine will be in pinks and whites and in totally different yarns, as I am using easily available Australian yarns.