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Thursday, November 30, 2006

in case anyone wants to buy me the obligitory calendar this year...

every year I seem to get a calendar in some way, shape or form for xmas - so I thought I might leave a few hints of what might be appropriate....

a page a day.... a pattern a day - can't be beat...

thou it is proving difficult to find (shoulda bought it when I saw it - was sold out at borders when I was there last night, however, there were plenty of *shudder* the crochet version) so there is another choice...

From the stitch'n'bitch francise - had a peek and looks rather interesting. Some patterns, some facts and some tips... and without the pages and pages of 'learn to knit' that is annoying with the book.

This one has great novelty value. Each month has a flower and each day you get to pick off a petal. There's a happy thought for the day on the back of the petal. Oh so cute and girly... but sometimes things are overly sweet...

So you need a little subversive cross-stitch to tell it like it really is. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the instructions...

1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)

2. Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)

Ping Technorati.

Okay - how fast is the blog-land? I'm doing my bit to help. Read about the experiment here. Follow the instructions above (particularly if you have a knitting blog - geeky fibre artists of the would unite)

I'm off to ping technorati...

Here's another cute pic of Pierre (c/o Momma Tuff) to reward you for your help with this research....
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Sunday, November 26, 2006


My SP9 sent me a few questions a while ago, and seeing as without photos of my WIPs I am in need of a little blog fodder... so I present the following...

do you like spicy? i noticed there's a favorithe indian restaurant you i would assume at least mild spice you can tolerate! (i LOVE spicy!!!)

I love a little mild spice, but flavour rather than heat. I do have a favourite Indian restaurant(Blu Ginger in Nth Sydney, for those of you playing at home) but my favourite dish is butter chicken. Tuffers and I are a big fan of brunch on weekends, and my special dish is a tomato, capsican and red onion relish I like to throw a little fresh chilli in with for a teeny kick. I also like to throw a little chilli spice / sweet chilli sauce in when I'm whipping up a spag bol or lasagne.

does pierre wear clothes? if so, what kind? what colors? does he like treats and other yummies? what's he allowed to have? not allowed to have?

At the moment (coming into summer), P doesn't wear clothes, but seeing as he is such a little dog, he hates getting wet, and we will be moving to Canberra next year (some would say Canberra is proof hell does, in fact, freeze over) I think he may be in need of some warmer stuff. However, I pledge to only dress him in tasteful clothing (nothing reminiscint of tinkerbell or legally blonde) carefully handmade, and no brands (the exeption may be a driza-bone dog coat, but it's an aussie icon, will keep his fluffy coat dry, and isn't a diamante gucci pashmina for puppydogs...) My sis bought me a book of knits for dogs, so I will make something for P, but nothing that makes him look like I haven't outgrown the need to play dolls (such as a tiara or tu-tu)

In regards to treats - it appears quarantine has a bit of a problem with anything made from animal by-products. The dry kibble-like treats my ISE pal sent me made it through with no problems, but whatever you sent this time is going to be incinerated and destroyed :( The only thing he isn't allowed is the stuff that is unhealthy, and dangerous for dogs (ie chocolate)

He also likes soft toys he can 'kill' and pick up and drag around for a game of catch.

do you have any specific allergies to food stuff? anything food wise you absolutely CAN NOT stand?

No allergies to food, and it is fair to say that anything that most things I don't like won't make it through customs and quarantine.

anything that is hands down, no question...a favorite food of yours? do you do organic? only organic?

I- like candy... I have a big big sweet tooth. As far as organic goes, I'm half a dozen one way, six the other. (okay - I don't have a preference) I have to say, I made those green tea muffins yesterday - and despite looking like a prop from a ghost-busters flic prior to going in the oven - they were fantastic. Keep the surprises coming. But occaisionally feel free to chuck in a sample of american candy like reeses or milk duds or tootsie rolls (now that I know you're in the US!) For some reason these haven't caught on here.

coffee? tea? preferences in either category? (ex. green jasmine tea, ethiopian or colombian coffees, flavored coffees???)

I love coffee, I love tea... I love the java java industry...

I used to work at starbucks. I have been thoroughly brainwashed. Coffee - good. Tea - good.

Tuffers and I often will share a pot of tea - we will brew anything from english breakfast to 'Budda's Tears' (a great herbal blend by t2)

any particular colors in yarn you prefer over others? any particular needle sizes you are in need of? any notions? books?

As you have no doubt already guessed, I love green in all shades. However, probably due to the fact we are coming into summer, I am being drawn to nice, bright, bold, primary colours. The colours you dress kids in before they can choose their own clothes. Look at me colours :)

I don't really need any needle sizes, but as I tend to have more than one (or ten) projects on the go at once I welcome multiple of the same needle size. My preferences:- circular or dpn needles, usually nothing bigger than 4.5mm, and I like the feel of bamboo or wood.

I have recently started making my own stitch markers, so I like funky beads to make these with.

and, of course, I have already hinted that I'm keen to try some kool-aid dying :)

Another pic of the pup courtesy of my dad. Doesn't it make you want to come and visit the harbour city and take a cruise? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SP9 update

I recieved my first Secret Pal package - and it looked like it was sent by the Weasley's! (I would put a picture up, but my camera has decided not to play the game... anyone know a good camera repairer)

The box was completely covered with stamps!

The entire postage between the USA and here paid in local stamps! I will pass them all onto my mum who is a bit of a collector. There was also a bit quarantine sticker on the outside, and a bunch of paperwork inside. The treats for Pierre,were apparently of a dangerous nature....

However, the gorgeous mint green silk blend wool, the yummy cashew snacks and the green tea muffin mix all made it through. I have some other treats for Pierre - but it is a bit of a shame.

However, now I know that my pal is in the US, I will make a teeny-tiny request... I have about 15kg of top waiting to be spun.. it is currently all a bland white. I would like to try some kool-aid dying (hint - hint)

Just because a photoless post is a boring post, here is a pic of P as a scruffy puppy, taken by my dad a few months ago when my parents where visiting. Isn't my boy such a poser!

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Home alone

Pierre's second favourite toy is the cardboard tube from inside the toilet paper roll. Obviously, being made of paper, this toy has a very short life-span, a day or so, before one of P's humans through out either a manky, wet, drool filled piece of cardboard, or picks up several hundred scraps of paper that in a previous life were once a toilet roll inner.

So what does a bored puppy who is home alone for several hours do when he hasn't got his second favourite toy to play with?

He goes to the bathroom to find his favourite toy.... (the cardboard tube with the paper still on it....)

He grabs the end of the paper....
drags it past the shower...
all the way into the hall before going back and doing it again...

...and the best bit...?

when his humans come home they give him his second favourite toy to play with (after they have cleaned up the toilet paper mess) Posted by Picasa


Oh yes - my sis and I travelled to Bendigo woollen mills to go shopping in the infamous back room...

This is the 'seconds' or 'clearance' room... my oh my... Bendigo Woollen mills sells cheep natural fibre yarns... but it gets even cheeper here....

No... your eyes are not decieving you. They do sell it by the kilo!

Yes... sis and I went home with a few kilos of yarn between us. More than worth the drive out there. Posted by Picasa

wool museum cont...

The second gallery at the museum is dedicated to the processing of wool... scouring, carding, combing, spinning, dying, weaving, knitting, finishing... here tuffers learnt a little bit (like why I was insulted when I was given a 15kg garbage bag of top and he called it manky sheep fleece) and was a little interested in the big industrial machines used for processing. While I liked looking at the big mechanical processes, I really prefer the more human way of doing things... like this adorable little 4-shaft loom... I want, I want, I want.
I spend quite a bit of time playing with this, infact, so long that Tuffers went all the way through the rest of the museum and had to come back and find me... and then do all the museum again with me :)

I was rather interested in this machine. Can you guess what it does? The items on the wall may help... Yes, it is a sock knitting machine. It was used by Scalliwags socks before being donated to the machine, but there is a loverly little story book full of photographs with this machine about how it was made by a husband and wife who both worked for underwear companies (he for holeproof, she sewed toes in stockings) and he built it from spare parts he brought home from work with him. In the end they built about 13 sock machines and had their own business before selling them all to Scalliwag.

We continued on to the third gallery which had "quilt-art" on display, but I can't show you any pictures of this featured exhibit because it was a strict no-photo display. There is some info on the wool museum site though :) There was also a good exhibit on Public Service animals (not to be confused with those public servant animals...) such as Quarantine beagles, customs canines, mules, horses, camels, carrier pidgeons and sled huskis that have all served the Australian goverment in some way. They even went down to the nitty-gritty of cane-toads and how they were a big mistake. This exhibit was aimed mainly at children, with lots of demos and buttons to push... at this stage I think Tuffers was over the place and wanted cars and crash-test-dummies, so he rushed through while I played around.

Here endeth your virtual tour of the National wool museum through my POV:) Posted by Picasa

The national wool museum

Even after spending all of my youth in Geelong, I had only been to the National wool museum once, to see a 'Treasures of Egypt" exhibit that had nothing to do with sheep...(I think I learnt that the Egyptian clothed themselves in linen because animals were "unclean"???) But given my ever expanding love of textiles, I dragged Tuffers along to learn a thing or two about the boom and bust wool industry (to settle his manly pride about going to a girly textiles museum, I promised Tuffers we could go to the Ford Discovery centre as well, but when we got there we discovered only two things, neither to do with cars;
1. it was a tuesday,
2. the Ford discovery centre is closed on tuesdays...)
This automated rug loom is focal point of the wool museum - the ramps to the galleries circle around it, and you can purchase carpets made on it. (Aparently the punch-card system used for the automation was then adapted to be used by those pianos that make themselves, and even that cool street organ we saw at floriade - yes, the loom came before all of that)
Fleece anyone??

Yes, that is real wool just sitting there - I should have included something in the photo for scale. In fact, there are mountains of fleece just sitting around (with various signs saying please touch but do not take) the first gallery of the museum, which is all about the farming of sheep. You learn about breeds, breeding and black sheep (aka genetics). Animal husbandry, drought shearing, woolclassing and auctions. The million dollar bale, and the thousands of bales of wool going to be destroyed when there were no buyers.

Tea break anyone?

On the way to the second gallery (wool processing, which will be the next post) There is this delightful display of knitted fancies, kindly made by the local guild :) Posted by Picasa

to market, to market..

Every spring and summer, my Pop does a market tour of the Bellarine Peninsula, peddling wares made by him and my Nan...
The majority of his stall is knitted toys, and crocheted homewares made by my nan, but also plants he has propogated, windchimes made from recyled cutlery, and gorgeous boxes and chests made from recycled timber. As you can see, my grandparents are very hard-working for retired pensioners :)
As a trip 'home' isn't complete without a trip down the coast, and Tuffers hadn't seen my Pop's market before (and hence where my weird obsession with knitting comes from), He, Pierre, Mum and I piled into Mum's car and went for a drive to Queenscliff.

First and foremost, we found Pop's stall, where I purchased a couple of Nan's toys (elephants in sailor suits for friends kids) after much haggling (I tried to pay full price, but Pop doesn't like to charge family much, if anything, but I appreciate the skill and hard work, and that my grandparents are pensioners and if nothing else, need funds to replace their materials)

After this, we explored the rest of the market where we found this most irresistible stall "Tea with Alice cupcakes"

FuIll points for attention to detail and presentation . It was very difficult not to buy one of everything on the stall - and the cupcakes were as delicious as they looked.

Of course, the big surprise of the day was when we found another papillon puppy. This gorgeous girl was a little shy around boisterous Pierre, but we managed to get her to pose for a pretty pic. Posted by Picasa

The 30 year quilting project...

when my Mum was in teacher's college, some 30 odd years ago, she started a project...

It was a hand-peiced quilt.

Because she was a student and didn't have much money, a lot of the fabric was recycled. Mum bought clothing from op-shops (with funky 70's prints ;) washed them, and cut the fabric into hexagons.

These hexagons were all sewn together a la honeycomb style, and then (I am being a bit creative here... sorry Mum, if I deviate too much...) I am assuming she got pregnant, had a young family too take care of and started teaching full-time and focusing on a career...

For many years the hexagons languished inside a cane chest, some time at the end of Mum and Dad's bed before the chest was moved into the lounge room, had a pane of glass placed in top of it and became a coffee table...

Occaissonally (when the coffee table was clear) the hexagons came out of the chest, were aired a little bit, shown off to daughters and the rare guest, and then went back into its cane fortress of solitude.

Until recently....

The hexagons came out, had some wadding and facing tacked to them, and Mum started hand-quilting.

When I left 'home' to return home, just over a week ago, Mum was hand-sewing the edges and hem to complete the quilt. I am assuming it is all done by now, but before I left Mum had it laid out so I took a couple of pics of it....

She calls it a 'generous queen sized quilt' but I think it is closer to king size - what do you think??

Oh, and it continues over the back of the couch too...

hows that for a wardrobe re-fashion??
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I have recently been rather guilty of binge blogging... staying silent for far too long and then putting up a weeks worth of posts in one day. This will happen today, but I hope that now that I am back from my leave that this will not continue... apologies if it annoys you...

but here... I'll make it up to you with a cute picture of Pierre. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The other 1920s Singer

Remember my gorgeous antique Singer sewing machine?

My Dad found a different type of Singer at the Geelong Show and wanted me to add it to the blog :)

May I present Singer 1927

you can look at the number plate and can see for yourself.

I particularly like this picture that my Dad took of the top of the grill. The reflexion is great! Posted by Picasa