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Sunday, December 31, 2006

And So To Wrap Up The Year

I've seen this on some other blogs and thought it was quite a neat thing to do. A wrap up of this year's blog:

JANUARY - The Diamond Patch Jumper - I started this jumper last summer. (I.e. summer 2005/2006. It progressed about halfway, then I decided to have my op and realised that it was going to miles too big for me, so I used the unused yarn to knit the Norah Gaughan Vogue Knitting cardigan which I blogged about much later).

FEBRUARY - Books! - I'm obsessed with books. We are drowning under the weight of our book collection. (This was a meme about books I had read, was going to read, wanted to read or had never heard of. As a result of this meme, Taphophile gifted me a copy of The Time Traveller's Wife, which I have only just got round to reading, and it is one of the best books I had read in a long time).

MARCH - My Beautiful International Exchange Scarf - A little late, but no less beautiful, this is my International Scarf Exchange Scarf from Tina. Tina has no blog or website and barely posted to the ISE blog, so I know almost nothing about her, but she sure knows how to pick the most beautiful colours. This is a gorgeous thick and thin yarn, fairly coarse but I just adore the way the colours meld into each other. (It was a mixture of blues and browns and very pretty indeed).

APRIL - Use What You Have Month - I haven't written so far about my Use What You Have Month. I have managed not to buy any craft materials except for a few bits I needed for my course (and for this Friday I genuinely don't need to buy anything new! I really will be using What I Have). However I haven't managed to stop buying magazines, naughty me. I did also buy one book - I really wasn't going to buy any craft books this month but this one on art quilts was exaclt what I had been looking for to help with my two major assignments due at the end of semester :)

MAY - Project Spectrum May - Green - Also K is for Kid - Fashion Show at The Highway Gallery for this year's Come For a Yarn, their festival of knitting and crochet.It is a Shardigan, pattern by Terri Ranck (Google for her, she doesn't seem to have an actual site as far as I can see), knitted in quite different yarns from those used in the original pattern.On me it is a shoulder shawl. (This was a picture of Wombat wearing a green shawl - one of my favorites and one I must knit again in other colours because it is the right size and weight to go with all sorts of things).

JUNE - School Holidays - We're halfway through the school holidays here and it has been hard getting computer time, so not much blogging has occurred. We're having a pretty quiet holiday, as we were all recovering from (everyone else) or starting (me) yet more colds and things - it has been a bad winter for viruses. There's been lots of computer games, DVDs, Gamecube games, reading, beading and hanging out with friends, so that's been nice. Last night we visited friends for dinner and had a lovely evening - their house is full of dogs and artworks and artefacts from foreign travels, and they are wonderful people.

JULY - Stitched up Festival Wangaratta - I fear that a semester of 'art school' has turned me into an artistic snob. I found myself going around the exhibits at the aerodrome muttering under my breath. There was some lovely stuff there, certainly, but nearly everything that won a first prize in its section was so conventional, while the wilder stuff rarely got even a commendation. There was a lovely series of A5 embroideries, for instance, that made me think of encrusted corsets - lots of exciting techniques and effects - and absolutely nothing for them. That artist did win a prize in another section, but with the most conventional (and least interesting) of her pieces.

AUGUST - Gum Leaves - We aren't doing as much stitch work this semester as last semester, but this is one piece I did a few weeks ago. We had to do something illustrating over-and-under techniques. I had a huge amount of fun doing this!It is not necessarily botanically or zoologically correct - I don't think this sort of eucalypt has that sort of leaf gall, and i don't know if a spider that looks like that one spins webs and hangs around in trees like this, but I confess I was aiming for effect and not accuracy! (This was a textile piece that I was very proud of!)

SEPTEMBER - Hate CPAP Machine - Rotten CPAP machine. I thought I'd had a good night's sleep last night but I feel blinkin' terrible today - headache, all over aches, knackered, just like I'd never made any attempt to get the CFS under control. (I'm glad to say that the CPAP machine and I became firm friends, I felt heaps better, and now I have lost enough weight for my sleep apnoea to have vanished entirely and I am still feeling much more energetic. The CFS and Fibromylagia haven't completely vanished but they are much more under control and life is much better).

OCTOBER - FRAGMENTS OF ME - The original collage for this work consists of childhood photos, photos of my own daughter and niece and nephews, street maps of two of the most significant places I have lived, and the (present day) board outside the hospital where I was born.Although I was reasonably happy with this collage and played around with some stitching ideas to use with it, I then decided that the composition was too static. While playing around with photo-editing software I attempted distorting the picture several times, and chose these three distortions to place side-by-side in a triptych.It shows how our perceptions of ourselves as children are distorted in the real world, and those perceptions distort further as we get older and become parents ourselves. Different aspects of our lives take precedence at different times. For me, family is a constant theme that informs how I live my life. The stitched border represents the gardens of all the places I have lived in and the domesticity that forms the bedrock of my life and relationships with others.My grandmother’s charm bracelet completes the picture. Two of the charms (the sheep which she hung the wrong way round, and the flat iron) were makeweights that she put on to balance it out. The other charms are a St Christopher medal that belonged to one of her sons whose plane was shot down during WW2; a silver threepenny piece; and the navy badge worn by the other of her sons who was killed during the war, in the Battle of Crete.

NOVEMBER - a Finished Object That is not a Sock! - This is the cardigan I have just finished. (Actually, looking at mine next to the picture of the real thing, I realise that I have made a mistake in the sewing up which will require fifteen minutes rectification).
It's the cabled cardigan by Norah Gaughan (whose designs I love) from Vigue Knitting Fall 2006. Instead of knitting it in a wool/alpaca mix which I would never be cold enough to wear, I used the cotton/acrylic mix I have mentioned before, Stonewash by Elle. I'm not sure how many balls I used (me bad). It was a surprisingly quick knit, the scarf thing round the front took the longest. (This was what the Diamond Patch Jumper morphed into. I did rectify the mistake in the sewing, and it looks fab on - I wore it a couple of days before Christmas and was very pleased with it. I may still knit the Diamond Patch Jumper in something else, but smaller!)

I;ve just realised that I have given the last post of each month, not the first, but for December I will give the first:

DECEMBER - Saturday Sky - We had a weekend of running hither and yon. Grocery and Christmas shopping on Saturday for me, then Baby Bear had this sleepover birthday party (far more convenient for them to be sleepovers when it is a half hour drive into the back of beyond to pick them up!) She did unusually well for a sleepovers - I believe she got a whole five hours sleep this time! (Plus a Saturday Sky picture - I have been slack about taking these but at least I seem to be managing one a month!)

Next year - well, it will be full of more knitting, more pictures, more textile art, and dressmaking - I have recovered my dressmaking mojo with the weight loss and am gradually doing over my entire wardrobe - filled two bags with Fat Clothes for charity last night, bought a few in my current size in the sales, and am about to embark upon dressmaking in slightly smaller sizes (or very adjustable things!)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Day Sky

I haven't done a Saturday Sky for a while, but here is a Christmas Day Sky. It rained and was bitterly cold all day, which we welcomed because it gave us some respite from bushfires and searing heat. Then this rainbow came out at the end of the day and seemed to symbolise so much about Christmas.

Incidentally, Wombat, aged 10, took this with my camera, all I have done is sharpen the edges a bit. Posted by Picasa

Wombat is Suddenly Taller

Christmas Day at Moe - and Wombat is suddenly as tall as his big cousins. No, they are NOT his stilts, thank God, they are hugely expensive proper stage performer's stilts and the property of the cousin on the right. But Wombat certainly had fun on them!! Posted by Picasa

Z is for Zhivago

I finished my alphabet! This is a new cardigan I have just finished in Zhivago, which is a lovely lucious blend of 50% tencel (wood pulp) wrapped around a 50% polyester core for strength. It feels cushy and almost velvety. It was intended for next winter but I ended up wearing it on Christmas Day as it was so cold! I can be fastened with a brooch or left to hang the way it is in this picture, either look good.

It's from the Patons Zhivago Resort Knits book of a year or so ago. An easy knit though the first five centimetres of the ribbing are fiddly as you are using much bigger needles than usual for the yarn and it feels clumsy.

It was impossible to get the colour right. It is really a dark charcoal-blue, but this is the best I could do with fiddling around the colour effects, etc. It came out looking rather light denim in the original picture, this is closer to the real colour.

It is symmetrical, it's just not hanging quite straight! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Y is for Yule Cottage

Baby Bear made this chocolate house in the last week of school and is very proud of it! It makes me think of snow and and a European Christmas. Which is comforting at the moment as it is stinking hot and half of Victoria is covered with bushfires and even though we aren't anywhere near them in Melbourne, the air is thick with smoke and it is most unpleasant.

Everybody have a happy and safe Christmas/festive season/holidays/whatever! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

X is for Xanthorrhoeaceae

I bring you Xanthorrhoeaceae - otherwise known as the grass tree, or in an earlier, less politically correct era, black boys. They are quite a common plant around many areas in Australia (and Xanthorrhoeaceae is a genus, so there are other types). It is prolific in the Brisbane Ranges, which are nowhere near Brisbane but are quite near Geelong, where my mother lives, so sometimes we come home that way when we have visited her. I have always liked their slightly improbably shape and their contrast of texture - the fine grass and the big spikey thing growing out of it. In bushfires the spikey thing (can't remember the botanical name here, but it has the flowers growing on it - the pistil, perhaps?) explodes in the heat, with exciting consequences. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

W is for Wool

Well, it would be, wouldn't it!

Clockwise from top left:

Handspun (badly overspun!) and dyed with lemon-scented gum.

Trinket by Kim Hargreaves, knitted in Kid SilkHaze (unfinished then, and I fear still unfinished - all I have to do is cast off the last beaded edge, but I shoved it away at the start of the winter at forgot about it! Never mind, next winter. I made it shorter than the pattern, oinly using two balls out of the three, because to my disappointment it was too itchy to wrap around my neck so I will have to wear it loose. What can I do with one ball of pink KSH, I wonder?)

Socks made from hand-dyed (by me) Patonyle, dyed in the ball so that the darkest colours are on the foot and they lighten as the socks works its way up the leg (knitted toe-up).

More of the same, Patonyle that I dyed in the ball. Posted by Picasa

V is for Verandah

We spent the weekend at George's mother's place, celebrating her birthday. She has just had the old decking replaced with this resplendent verandah the size of a room, which is absolutely gorgeous. Sadly the weather was revoltingly hot and very smokey indeed (we weren't near the fires, well not near enough for them to be a danger, but the smoke was quite thick and unpleasant) so we spent the time indoors with the air conditioning on.

If the weather on Christmas Day is suitable, that's where we are celebrating Christmas. If it's too hot or too cold (either is likely in Victoria at Christmas!) we'll have to be inside, but it would be lovely to sit out there and look at the beatiful view and eat Christmas lunch. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 04, 2006

U is for inUndation

A sad picture of the flood coming through from the hallway outside the bathroom, into Wo,bat's room. It has now been dried and steam cleaned and doesn't look nearly as sad. I guess it will take us weeks to actually paint the room and organise new storage, but as least he can sleep in it comfortably while he is waiting! Posted by Picasa

Saturday Sky

A little late, perhaps! Baby Bear took this at a friend's place in Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges on Saturday evening, this is the view from their back verandah and it is just stunning.

We had a weekend of running hither and yon. Grocery and Christmas shopping on Saturday for me, then Baby Bear had this sleepover birthday party (far more convenient for them to be sleepovers when it is a half hour drive into the back of beyond to pick them up!) She did unusually well for a sleepovers - I believe she got a whole five hours sleep this time!

Sunday we went to church (the steeple was not struck by lightning), returned a pair of trousers I had bought for Baby Bear that were a size too small (and I was feeling irritable enough to lecture the little shop assistant about their stated no returns, no refunds policy, and suggested her boss read some consumer law - I know I was shooting the messenger but it REALLY ANNOYS me). Then a pretty drive 'into the woods' (as Wombat always calls it) to pick up Baby Bear, and a visit to Knox because George needed to buy a torque wrench - which he ended up getting much later in the day, elsewhere, but we had lunch and a good time in Borders. George picked out a book he would like for Christmas, WOmbat found a new Simpsons book, Baby Bear chose a CD of some band I have never heard of, and I bought Debbie Stoller's The Happy Hooker (and some paperbacks of the 3 for the price of 2 type, which I nearly always do in Borders). I had sworn never to buy any of Debbie Stoller's books as I dislike most of the patterns and the writing style, I have been searching high and low for a particular type of crocheted, short-sleeved, cropped cardigan/bolero thing, and the pattern in the book was the nearest I have come to finding the right one! And I think I have enough of the Elle Stonewash left over from the Norah Gaughan cardigan to whip one up. Plus it had a Stitch Diva pattern in it that I have been lusting after for ages that in the official pattern only comes in really small sizes but in the book came in realistic sizes (I am not confident to alter crochet patterns like I could with a knitting pattern).

Then Baby Bear had to be taken off for a three hour choir practice - she auditioned for a special choir that the school is taking to Chengdu in China next April to sing at The Festival of the Giant Panda. THEN George flew off to Adelaide to speak at a conference.

Is it any wonder I fell into bed last night feeling a little worn out!

On the upside, George is back tonight, and Wombat is finally going back to school after a week off sick. I have the house to myself for at least a little while. Oh, the sound of peace when I come home from school! Posted by Picasa