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Saturday, December 29, 2007

last one for the year...

Well, i have been pretty slack with the posting of late - however, my computer is dying (the fan no longer works and I need to sit it on icepacks to stop it from frying itself) and has trouble talking to my camera and is really really slow :(

I plan to upgrade (well, buy something that runs a little better) but will be waiting until I start studying next year (I'll be doing a studio textiles&design course at RMIT) because I am not sure whether the department uses PC or mac - and I'll want to get something compatible. Blogging will continue to be sporadic until that happens. Oh - and will probably be non-existant for the next couple of weeks while I am in Thailand. The man and I plan to rough it - a bit of a holiday from technology and such :)

I hope you all had a good xmas, solstice or whatever - and wish you all the best for the new year. I hope to be back regularly next year with all the details of my new life as a student again :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

a little insane....

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but the Man is taking me to Thailand for 3 weeks in January (actually, we leave on NYE... and arrive in Bankok at about 8pm...)

Apart from a few things I want to do (heffalump rides, silk and textiles warehouses) the plan is to spend most of our time hammocked up on a tropical island (the basic sort of island, not the resort type!)

I have a bit of a vision of me with a very simple dress I can pull over my head.... something out of bamboo and cotton... oh.. and I want to knit it myself.... hence the insanity :)

I have spend the last couple of days knitting away at this dress while sighing over DVDs of the doctor ('who...?' I hear you ask.... well David Tennant) So far, I have made some progress - I am already up to the waist!

Pictures will be forthcoming...

PS - The time is Thailand is still rather fluid, I'd love any suggestions you have of what not to miss!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mary Mary Quite Contrary, How does your garden grow???

UP! stoopid...!



hehehe.... I think that was a poem from 'Far Out Brussels Sprout' (or perhaps 'All Right Vegemite'?) when I was in primary school. Anyone else remember those fantastic introductions to poetry, rhythm and rhyme???


Oops - slight digression there, before I even start...


A couple of the men in my life have been conspiring to give me a new hobby. One that gets me out of the house a little bit....


These are some tomato seedlings that my Pop gave me after one of his markets. (well... the seedlings have been in the ground for about a month now...)Having joked about my 'black thumb' (I have been rather unsuccessful with anything green - so much that The Man suggested I try a Bonsai Mountain aka a pet rock), Pop gave me half a dozen of these seedlings to have a go with and The Man, despite earlier commentary, has been encouraging me quite a bit too. And they have been amazing me - I didn't know that tomato plants had flowers (apparently the ones that don't get you unfriendly calls from the narcotics squad!) I am happy to report that as of this morning I have two teeny tiny green tomatoes on these plants.
And I got a nice pumpkin plant....
And Pop gave me some magic beans (well, okay, they are regular climbing beans - they didn't quite grow up to the clouds overnight, but they are popping up rather quickly)After this, I took advantage of a sale at kmart and came home with some mixed capsicums...

and eggplants (they aren't doing too well thou :() That's just a sample of my new green finery :) - The Man visited his Father (also a keen gardener) in Melbourne yesterday and came home with some more additions for the backyard - including a strawberry plant ... yum yum!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sweater Curse be Damned!





I have to say that I have the bestest boyfriend in the world... he has been keeping me entertained and looking after me (and pierre) quite well over the past couple of weeks... hence the main reason for not keeping up with the blog so well...






Not only does my man find my yarn and fibre stash amusing, he also has no quarms about me pulling out a WIP in public - even if we are having a casual drink in a pub. My Man also is happy to spend a saturday in the workshop to make me an andean plying tool so I stop cutting off the circulation to my fingers when I spin.






He is also a bit of knight in shining armour for me.... I was beginning to have some financial troubles (the job at the LYS fell through and my savings were running out) and he took sword and shield and went to do battle with centrelink for me (I had a claim rejected because of some paperwork/filing error) .






He cooks wonderful, simple food - like the most mouthwatering rissottos made from good fresh ingredients - and is beginning to fatten me up somewhat :) When you are having a bad day, this is the best sort of comfort food!






He also is encouraging me to stretch my comfort zone - the Man has taken Pierre and I to a 'bush block' out in the sticks past Colac, to play at dog beaches and to enjoy walking through the greenery at Daylesford. If he keeps this up, I'll become one of those 'outdoor' people with a camelback and a 4WD and *shudder* a TAN! Oh, and he is taking me to Thailand to spend a couple of weeks on a tropical island for the New Year. (P will have to stay home for that one :(






So... how do you thank a guy that great???






Given that I was having financial troubles, I couldn't go out and buy him a present...






if only I had some talent to show him how much I appreciate all he has done for me...






oh.. hang on... I can knit.. and he had been hinting about a nice woollen jumper...






....but what about the sweater curse....






damnit... !!!!!






I made it for him anyway, and worked on it in secret (rather difficult seeing as we spend near on every single second together) and he tells me he loves it :)






Anyway... I am trying to get back to more regular blogging. In the meantime, enjoy some piccies!







Friday, November 02, 2007

Fight the Black Dog #8 - November 07

Yes - I am approaching you hat in hand - if youare so inclined, please click on the dontate button in the side bar to help out with my internet related costs. I would like to raise enough funds to create a dedicated page for this cause.





Tale from another black dog knitter



Although I don't know you personally, after reading the story that came out today in Knitty I feel like we have much in common. I have suffered from depression since high school (for about the last 18 years or so) and know what it is like, and also know how hard it is to realize that you have to get help (being in total denial until after college). In my own experience, mental illness is one of those things that people sometimes think you can just "get over" -- I have been told that I was focusing too much on myself, I should just "stop thinking about things too much" and that I was selfish, while in fact I had a serious issue with depression and anxiety. It is a horrible thing to go through -- it takes your time and energy away from things you love, from your friends and family, and turns you into a different person that does not reflect all your true skills and talents. After 8 years on SSRIs, several attempts to get off the meds, and a couple of severe relapses, I am now medication-free and a lot happier. I want to wish you the best in your treatment and recovery, and would really like to thank you for being so open about this issue. Like you, I too have found that knitting has offered me a way to calm my mind, focus on something, and feel like I have the potential to create something beautiful and appreciated, even if I don't feel so good about things otherwise.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bargain Books :)

Small book sale :)

I have extra brand new copies (... one of each) of

'Knitting Beyond the Edge' by Nicky Epstein, and

'One Skein Wonders' by Judith Durant.

These are brand new (never been read virgin text!) and I'm willing to sell them for $30 (AUD) each plus postage. Payment would need to be made via Paypal or Direct bank deposit.

If you interested, email me at ginger_nut@bigpond.com - first in best dressed!

If they sell thru the blog I'll throw in a couple of goodies for the buyer, otherwise I'll probably end up putting them on Fishpond if I don't get any bites here anything by the end of the week.

Monday, October 08, 2007

mental health awareness - black dog special

Just a quick note - should have mentioned it in friday's post.

- October is Anxiety and Depression Awareness month;
- this week (7th - 13th Oct) is Mental Health Week; and,
- this Wednesday (10th) is World Mental Health Day.

If you are looking for ways to participate I suggest you pop over to the beyond blue website for some ideas. This is for Aussies - if you have a link to an overseas organisation please email me or link it in the comments.

nerd???

bah... just cos I have a copy of the illiad i'm a history/lit nerd??

NerdTests.com says I'm a Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

lucky there wasn't a section for knitting/crafts! i'd definately be in the high percentile there!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fight the black dog #7 - October 07

Fight the Black Dog #7

– a contribution from another “Black Dog Knitter”

I found your blog through whipup.net. I think that
this is a great thing that you're doing. I thought
I'd write something and send it in... If you post it,
I wouldn't mind being named as just June.

Umm, I wish you luck with this! I'd like to read more
stories that people send in. :) I think it helps.

---
Everyday I'd think, "Why do I have to exist?"

My boyfriend called while my roommates and I were
watching Nip/Tuck, so we paused it. When I came back
a few minutes later, the DVD had returned to the main
menu. It wasn't paused anymore.

"What took you so long?" one of my roommates asked.

"What do you mean?"

"You were gone for like 15 minutes."

"I was only gone for like 5. That's what my phone
said."

"Well we already finished the episode."

I threw down the remote and said, "Fine." Like a
sulking child.

"We're just kidding!" They gave each other looks.

I ran off to my room, tearing up, citing that it had
been a bad day, and I locked myself in my room and
cried for hours. My roommate didn't try to come in.
That made it even worse, you know? Knowing that
nobody cared enough to comfort me when I was crying.
I was always waiting for someone to bust in the door
and cry out, "What's wrong, June?" and hug me and
everything would be better.

I think 6 years of hiding it from my parents helped me
hide it from everybody else too. I can't expect
someone to make me feel better if I didn't let them
know. I locked myself away because I didn't want
people to know. I was alone because I made sure I was
alone.

The reason I'm writing about this incident is because
this is the one that made me realize that I needed to
find help. I couldn't possibly live with this
overwhelming despair about my useless and worthless
existence. I couldn't live knowing that I was
pathetic. There are people in the world who remain
strong, facing shit that I could never even imagine
facing... and here I am, crying over a fucking TV
show? How pathetic. What a pathetic person.

I thought, "I don't want to feel like this anymore."

Admitting it was such a hard step to take. Actually
doing something about it was even harder. That phone
call to the counseling services on my university
campus... there were moments when I wanted to hang up
and forget about it....

I'm glad I didn't.
---
June

– how to contact me and/or show your support
if you would like to contact me, you can do so at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if you are sending me a story of your particular battle, please try to include whether or not you want me to include your details. I received some emails from anonymous email addresses, and that is fine as well. I’ll include those stories later one.
I was happy that people have posted about depression on their own blogs, as well as sharing the button I created. If you would like to show support with the button you’ll find details of how to create the link via the first weeks post.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has mentioned my campaign on their blogs, podcasts or web-zines – I have tried to visit everyone who left a comment, and if you look at my sidebar you will see my bloglines list has grown quite a bit. If I have missed you, please leave a comment or send an email.

– a brief disclaimer
I need to point out that I am in no way an expert or professional in the field of mental health – everything I share with you here derived from my own personal experience and treatment in conjunction with ‘self-education’ from wanting to know more about this condition. I have started this campaign to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness and to help support others who are affected by this (whether directly suffering or knowing others who suffer) If you are in need of help, please contact your doctor and speak to those in your family and circle of friends.

Cheers,

Ginger_nut aka Meg

a quick FO update :)

Despite the lack of blogging, there has, infact, been quite a lot of knitting going on here.

I snapped up the new Patons Inca book when it came out, and really like the fair isle yoke sweater. Especially when I realised it would use up stash yarn, and it would be a quick knit on 8mm needles.

Yes - I have strayed from my usual pattern :) This top in neither green, nor in the same colour as the picture :)
A close up of the colourwork - it pulls in a bit at the bottom of the sweater because I found it difficult to leave the floats long enough with the bulky yarn.
The finished item - all attitude :)

As you can see - the model looks extremely slim and flattering, while I look a bit more 'human'. I know that high-necked yoke styled tops aren't the best for my figure (whadayaknow - a gal with boobs!) but this is still one of my favourite tops. It is incredibly warm and comfy. I did convert the pattern to an EZ one piece sweater and am very happy with the results and the lack of seaming.

I also got a request (albeit in jest) from a rock-climbing friend for a nice natural fibre beanie for use in the himalayas (or some other high altitude part of the world... I'm hazy on the details :)) Knowing a hand-knit gift would be appreciated by this person, I decided to take the request seriously, and make him a hat.

May I present the 'Mountaineer's Beanie'


Double knit in Paton's Jet - so is double sided and has alpaca for extra warmth. Quite happy with this hat - I think I managed to encompass the personality of the friend in the finished article.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

ME-Yow... or... I'm not a cat person but...

One of the best things about being back in good ol' G-town is the sense of community it harbours.... particularly when it is a one horse (well, team) town...

The past two years I had been in Sydney for the AFL grand final (which is also a one horse AFL town) and apart from the TV broadcastors trying to make it a big deal you would never have known that they were in the grand final both years!

No chance of that happening in Geelong - first to start painting the town blue and white was the art shop...
They started the same week as the finals....I love this set up of the team in their windows....However, they weren't the only ones to show off their blue and white...

Next door, griffiths (the best bookshop in G-town) got a bit of blue and white happening... Prints when up in windows...Blue and white merchandise is displayed all over town...
Yep - even the salvos got in the act!
The band wagon included dentists....
... and real estate agents.......and loan sharks......and crazy P-platers...
...and yes, even the local porn shop...

...and although geelong isn't a country town, come last saturday afternoon, everyone had somewhere better to be....


... Yay Cats....

Everyone in my world is incredibly happy happy joy joy this week....
there will be a lot of smelly blue and white hooped jumpers come next week! *I was tempted to title this post "We love you cos you're a vic-tor-i-an".... especially after storm won the NRL!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Earning my keep

And here we return to a bit a knitting content!

Those of you who visit the blog, may have notice that ol' Winston has been bumped down a little bit in the sidebar - I have added a couple of new self-promoting segments to the sidebar (after all... a girl needs to eat)

One is my Market Diary. As of this weekend I will no longer be spending my Sundays lolling around in bed until noon. I will be bright eyed and bushy tailed and trailing the markets down on the peninsula - the next one is at Queenscliff, and it appears that the weather will be playing the game. I'll be there from about 8 til 2, socialising, knitting and spindling - so if your inclined come down and say 'hello' to me. Feel free to bring your knitting and show it off! No pressure to buy, but I will have some yummy handspun yarn and kitchsy stitchmarkers available.

The other is my class timetable - I will be teaching a 3 hour class on a Tuesday evening at the LYS here in Geelong (Stitchery Blue for those in the know!) The class will be on sock techniques and will cost you $27 for the the evening... What does that $27 get you, apart from my wonderful company and expertise? Well, we will also provide you with a light supper, and you will leave having made a complete (albeit tiny) sock! The sock you make will teach you all the techniques needed to make comfortable, cuff-down, handknit socks - and I will be sending you home with a pattern for adult socks. If you're at all interested, call Stitchery Blue to sign-up...

No, really, please do!

I need a minimum number of students to run the class or else it will be postponed til next autumn. If you have ever wanted to learn how to knit socks, or just interested in perfecting techniques come along. I promise we will have fun (and besides - it will be in a yarn store after hours... that in itself it worth tuition fee!)

Here are a few pictures of the sample sock I have made (that you will make in 3 hours) - it makes the perfect mobile-phone cover, or alternatively - make two and give an infant you know happy feet!




Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fight the black dog #6

I have to admit I have had a lot going on in my life in the past month... have you missed me???

Thanks for those of you who have been hanging around while I had a little blog-hiatus. All I can say is that it was an absence more because I was feeling happy than down - the short version is I gots me a new job in a yarn shop (yay!) and I have been busy getting a fashion / knitting design portfolio together to apply for a course, oh, and a new man (who is actually an old friend) . If you know relationships you'll understand that while this is new, I may be a little distracted of late (though I have still been getting some knitting done - hopefully I find some blog-time sometime this week!)

Welcome to everybody who found me via Dave's wonderful article in knitty.com - I didn't know the article was being written, but have communicated with Dave since to thank him for helping with the exposure to my campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues ( - and a sidenote, I also let him in on the big secret that Pierre is not me, but my dog, and I am *gasp* a gal :) Those of you who have not seen the article can find it here.
a
I have had an overwhelming response to that article - it seems to have hit home for a lot of people, and will be sharing the stories sent in to me over the coming editions of "Fight the Black Dog" - however, I will be making a few changes to this newsletter.

First and foremost - I will not be trying to push out an issue every week. As you can probably tell, I am having trouble sticking to this timetable. As much as I want to create awareness for mental illness, I find that each edition I write sucks a little of my blogging energy out - I want to continue to enjoy this process, and rather than placing demands on myself that I know I can't keep, I will be making the first Friday of every month a designated "Black Dog" Day. Hopefully then, even if it takes a couple of days of blogging out of me, I will still have three weeks to get some knitting content up- after all, this is primarily a knitting-blog!

Secondly - I have been trying to get as much medical information out about depression as I could. This is something that I would really like to do, but really I am uncomfortable doing as I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor, pharmacist or someone who works in any kind of mental health organisation. I do not want to be personally responsible for someone getting misleading information and incorrect treatment because of something I tried to pass of as fact here. I will continue to talk about what works for me, and sharing other peoples stories so you may get some ideas of how to manage your own mental health from this, but I will not be passing on anything I am unfamiliar with - and I will try to provide some appropriate links, but I won't be going into any details about things such as medications.

I'll be back with another "Fight the Black Dog" the first Friday in October. Til then, I hope to get some knitting up - I have a whole bunch of FOs to share with y'all!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fight the Black Dog #5

Fight the Black Dog #5: Lets all get talking!

In this weeks edition of “Fight the Black Dog” you will find the following:

1 – Lets all get talking!

2 – how to contact me and/or show your support

3 – a brief disclaimer

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

1 – Lets all get talking!

I started this campaign to get people talking about depression, yet, I must admit that I have been rather remiss with the talking about it myself in recent weeks. Why is depression and mental illness so hard to talk about? I have a couple of theories about this.

The reason I haven’t posted any newsletters recently is because I have been having quite a good run. Quite obviously I have managed to achieve a balance between my lifestyle and happy pills that has resulted in me barely thinking about the condition of late. Some days, I have been feeling so good that I have forgotten to take the happy pills.

When you are feeling good, you hate to admit that you have ever had the bad days. Thinking of what you were, until recently, completely incapable off, can put you at the tip of a slippery slope. That small, teeny, negative thought you have been so hopeless niggles at the back of your mind. Much better to ignore it and pretend nothing was wrong… right???

Of course, on the flip side there are the extreme lows. The days when you are so bad that you do not have the energy to deal with things. The days you cannot talk to anybody about anything, let alone how you feel. The days when you are incapable of getting out of bed. The days when you just want to fall asleep and never wake up because you’re not going to accomplish anything anyway. I have had these too, but not for several months now.

And sometimes… you can experience complete apathy. Meh. It not that you can’t do anything; it’s just that you don’t see the point. Why would you even bother talking about it? I was wavering about this type of depression when I started ‘fight the black dog’ Fridays. I had absolutely no motivation. It was all so blaaaah…

The last appointment I had with my Dr (a few weeks back) he asked me why I was doing so well (apart from the fact that we have played around with the happy pills). I am still awaiting to see a psych – but I think that just being able to talk about some of what I have gone through by posting here, has helped me quite a bit.

‘Fight the black dog’ has provided me with motivation – talking about depression was hard, but it appears, from the feedback I have had so far, that knowing that you are not alone can help. Sometimes there are reasons for depression, and sometime there are not. Not having to justify why you are feeling the way you are also helps. Feeling that I didn’t deserve to indulge in an illness such as ‘depression’ because I didn’t have a terrible childhood, or hadn’t been verbally or physically abused made me feel ashamed that I was suffereing such an illness, and perhaps it wasn’t real and all I needed to do was ‘cheer-up’ like everyone kept telling me to do. I understand a helluva lot more about the illness now, and I want to talk about it to help other people understand more as well.

Please do continue to talk about this on your blogs, or emailing me. If you are having trouble talking because of the reasons I mentioned above, or even some other reasons, please feel free to email me anonymously on ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if it helps, write it all in third person. I’ll try to get back to anyone that emails personally.

2 – how to contact me and/or show your support

if you would like to contact me, you can do so at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if you are sending me a story of your particular battle, please try to include whether or not you want me to include your details. I received some emails from anonymous email addresses, and that is fine as well. I’ll include those stories later one.

I was happy that people have posted about depression on their own blogs, as well as sharing the button I created. If you would like to show support with the button you’ll find details of how to create the link via the first weeks post.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has mentioned my campaign on their blogs, podcasts or web-zines – I have tried to visit everyone who left a comment, and if you look at my sidebar you will see my bloglines list has grown quite a bit. If I have missed you, please leave a comment or send an email.

3 – a brief disclaimer

I need to point out that I am in no way an expert or professional in the field of mental health – everything I share with you here derived from my own personal experience and treatment in conjunction with ‘self-education’ from wanting to know more about this condition. I have started this campaign to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness and to help support others who are affected by this (whether directly suffering or knowing others who suffer) If you are in need of help, please contact your doctor and speak to those in your family and circle of friends.

Cheers,

Ginger_nut aka Meg

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rockin’ socks..

Beware – there is a spoiler below for the most recent delivery of the rockin’ sock club – if you haven’t got yours yet, and you don’t want details yet... don’t scroll down too far!

Yarngasm!

I got my latest fix from blue moon today, and thought it was about time I reviewed what I had managed so far with this club…

#1 First and foremost – the Monsoon Inside-out sock, AKA the penis sock...

As you can see, I haven’t gotten far. This is because the cable has made the ankle too tight, and I can’t get it over my heel :( I think I may have to frog this sock and consider a different pattern (truth be told, I wasn’t incredibly keen on the ribbed sole anyway…)

#2 – the silkie walkin’ on the wild tide grasshoppers.

Well, these got put off while I wanted for the extra skein to be delivered so I could make the knee-highs.

#3 – the firebird solstice slip.

I made quite a bit of progress with these. And as they are toe-up and I have past the heel, these technically pass as a pair of socks. Very short anklet socks, but socks nonetheless. Hmmm... I really should finish these!

#4 – the newbies :)

This is my favourite out of the lot, so far. Purdy colours, and purdy lace :) Hopefully I’ll finish these before summer… And how cool are the temporary tattoos!

Rather ironically, the only pair of socks that rock that I have finished were made from an extra skein I ordered with my silkie. The little monkey foo foo socks…

So if I haven’t been knitting my rockin’ sock club socks … what have I been doing?

Making up some noodle knit kits for the markets! This is the prototype, but the plan is to have complete kits with needles, yarn and pattern for sale. Yeah, a tad bit gimmicky, but I am hoping to sucker in some beginners :)

And because it has been a while, a puppy pic… poor abandoned Pierre!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

THIS is it!

Exactly one year ago today, I was so bored at work that I decided to start a knitting blog…

(A few short weeks later, and blogger was no longer accessible on the work network… hmmm, a tool for procrastinators, perhaps?)

Hoodathunk that single action would have had such an effect on my life… I made so many friends, some I have even managed to catch up with in the real world!

oh, and… Pierre has enjoyed the last year too – and yes, he is still a snob. He is currently interested in my newest pet skein (and a treat for myself for my blogiversary), some gorgeous buffalo gold from Mandie at Ewe give me the knits. Don’t know who is going to get socks from it, but I’m just going to enjoy carrying around and stroking it for a while J

Don’t forget to leave your comments to win prizes! (And I will not be parting with the buffalo, so don’t get any ideas too ethotic!)

PS – did you know stashes can hide passports?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"completely organic 100% pesticide free silk"

A quote from a fashion magazine - anyone else have a problem with this?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

handspun yarn pr0n

Not a lot of knitting is happening round here – but I been spending heaps of time at the wheel…

Just a bit of what I have created thus far...and these are my lucky jitterbug socks that got me the gig at stitchery blue (yes, it is the LYS in Geelong) - colourway mardi gras... And this little fellow all dressed up for the mardi gras was some secret knitting I sent to Lara...Bazza the Ram (complete with tail still attached)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ugg...

me facebook...

ugg...

me find six degrees...

-----------

nearly as adictive as ravelry...

let me know i can find you over there - we can start a knit-bloggers group!

i'm off to re-connect with people nearly forgotten over the last decade :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whoring for comments…

I know – rather selfish of me to not post for over TWO WEEKS, and then expect you all to leave comments for me, but it appears that my blogiversary is coming up this month and it has become tradition to thank your readers by doing a bit of a giveaway…

But first – I have been rather busy… I have moved (well – as much as I can fit in the back of the focus with the seats down) in with a buddy, and as part of the fantastic services Tel$tra provides – was without the interwebs for a few days. Living with my parents again was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, so when my intended accommodation didn’t become available when expected and a room opened up at my old haunt, the decision was easy to make. The new house has a fully enclosed backyard that Pierre can run around in at his leisure, so he is enjoying the new digs too.

I have also been spinning like a fiend. I went to my first market on the weekend (lots of interest but unfortunately no sales) and have been trying to get a nice stock of handspun together. I be doing a market tour around the Bellarine Peninsula this summer, and once I get it all together will wack up a list of dates and venues in the sidebar.

I will also be teaching knitting through LYS, Stitchery Blue – starting with a 3 hour ‘Anatomy of a Sock’ workshop on the 8th of September. More on that in a few days…

And now back to the whoring for comments…

Everyone who leaves a comment in August will go into a draw to receive some goodies… not entirely sure what those goodies are, but most likely it will be some stitchmarkers or handspun (for the knitters) and if there are non-knitters I’ll make up sumfin’ special… a pair of socks or what-have-ye

This goes for all comments on all posts – yes, comments on previous posts, comments on Black Dog Friday posts (which – BTW will be back this week).

One comment per person per day will count – and at the end of the month each comment will go into the draw and pick out a couple or more winners at random. So the more you visit over the next couple of weeks and comment the more chances you have to win. It also means that those of you who have dropped in the past 2 weeks, when I haven’t posted, and left a comment get a bit of a head start.

Anyhoo – start the ball rollin’ by letting me know what you would like to win from Chez Pierre – especially any non-knitters lurking out there.

Now I need to go catch up with my bloglines – 1000+ unread posts! YIKES!

Friday, July 27, 2007

fight the black dog - temporary hiatus

no newsletter this week - I decided I needed a 'mental health day'

have a good weekend all!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bendy spoils, but no HP spoils…

**** edited to add photos*****

I think I managed to have the most perfect weekend.

The plan was good – get into town at before 9, get book at 0901 (or there abouts), get picked up by Gwet and Clare, and then speed read all the way to Bendigo

And then late Friday night I received a call from Gwet – Clare, for reasons beyond her control, would not be able to make it to the wool and sheep show… therefore… after deciding I would rather spend the day with my nose stuck in the book, Gwet and I decided to reschedule and head up Sunday.

I don’t remember much of Saturday – Mum at some stage tried to lure me out of Hogwarts with dinner, but I decided to finish the book before I ate (my first meal of the day…) You will find no more on the topic here….

However, Sunday was fantastic – happy, happy, joy, joy good.

I, of course, took the opportunity to dress in some of my new (and old) works –

Jo sharp Beret -

Newly blocked sea-wool clapotis –

And preparing for the worst of the central Victoria weather, my Jet sweater and crazy socks were also included in my wardrobe choices for the day. (Naturally, all of these precautions meant it was a fine and sunny day – I was even questioning whether or not my nose was a bit sunburnt last night!)

On its first trip out in the wild, the clap did not disappoint! Several requests were made for the pattern, and queries made about the yarn. I took pleasure in being able to show off – and love the fact that the marriage of a simple pattern and a great yarn could yield such favourable results!

Gwet and I decided we needed to pace ourselves, so left the Bead and Opal Queen with much restraint (although 3 balls of opal for $25 was an excellent bargain – I managed to pass.) The restraint lasted until we got to the Braeside- and Becreatif- alpaca stands. I fell in love with the suri roving, and the magic worlds “last two left” meant I had to grab one then and there. Gwet had decided to by some of the suri handpainted yarn, but due to indecisiveness, managed to leave the stand without a purchase (which lasted, mayhap, 20 minutes, before she had to go back and finalise the purchase.)

The next place of ill-restraint was the Collinette stand. I too, was tempted by the semi-solid jitterbug so many Sydneysider knitbloggers had bragged about following the craft show, and ended up buying 4 skeins. We had a great chat with Sarah Durrant, who agreed with me that there are great similarities between jitterbug and socks that rock, and perhaps the same blanks were used by both companies.

I managed to bump into Barb – the editor of Yarn mag. She, too, was dressed head to toe in handknits (loved those legwarmers!). I was glad to catch up, because I recently sent her an email with some feedback and constructive criticism and wanted to ensure no offence would be taken. We ended up having quite a yarn ourselves! It was also quite a treat to see the samples from the magazine patterns made up!

I made one final purchase before we decided to check out the fibre beasts – Nancy Bush’s ‘Knitting Folk Socks’. I love the historical content included in the chapters before any techniques and knitting patterns.

Gwet and I both fell in love with the alpacas, but I was unable to have a couple* of the camelids follow me home (Gwet was driving and it would have been a tad bit too crowded in the golf!)

*you need to get them in pairs or more, as they are social animals

And this guy looked like he would be right at home down the coast – it is possible to teach alpaca to surf???

Follow up with a bit home-cooked tucker with Gwet’s family (and her adorable min-pin puppies) and it was a fantastic day! I’ll definitely be making the trip next year!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fight the Black Dog #4

Fight the Black Dog #4: A Little Industrial Action at the Serotonin Factory!

In this weeks edition of “Fight the Black Dog” you will find the following:

1 – Depression and work

2 – a contribution from another “Black Dog Knitter”

3 – how to contact me and/or show your support

4 – a brief disclaimer

a quick note: thanks for all the emails and comments. I am terribly slow at getting back to people, and sometimes just need a bit of time to work out the response I want to a send (some of this is, in part, due to my depression). I am not trying to ignore anyone, and am thankful that you are sharing your experiences with me. I just happen to have lot of other crap on my plate right now, so am just trying to keep up with my weekly commitment – soon I should be able to focus more on this an put a bit more effort in. Thanks again, for all the support – please don’t stop because you think I don’t care!

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1 – Depression and work

I really feel the need to clarify exactly how my depression fits in with how my employment and career ended – yes, I did lose my job due to depression, however, that is just the specifics of my particular case. It was actually something quite closely tied to depression.

In case you have not figured it out by the many hints and clues I have dropped around my blog – or you new around here, I was previously employed by the military. As you would expect, there is a rather high standard of fitness and health required for this particular line of work, hence the intellectual, psychological and physical screening each applicant must pass in order to obtain a position within the ranks.

In order to retain this position, you need to remain relatively fit and healthy – and are subjected to various medical and dental checkups which categorise your health and dependant on what category you are in, decide where you can and can’t serve. Having depression does not necessarily place you in a certain category; however, taking anti-depressants does. A certain policy dictates that if you take any drugs to treat a condition (whether it be depression, diabetes, epilepsy or asthma etc), you need to be posted within a certain range of a doctor – or in other terms, you need to be posted at a major military base and are unable to be sent anywhere else you may be required for duty. In the case of epilepsy or diabetes, it pretty much means an automatic discharge – as you will be taking preventative medication for the rest of your service career and, hence, will not be able to serve in an appropriate manner. With depression it is a little different – they assume you will be on your happy pills for a period of time, but eventually will be able to continue without them and return to full employment. After fudging around for a long time with various anti-depressants, not taking them for a while, and then going back on them, it was decided that I may be one of the few who will need to take the happy pills as a daily ritual indefinitely. For these reasons I was medically discharged. I believe that if I did not attempt to manage my depression I may have declined to the point that I was a safety hazard, and then I would have been a psych discharge. To me, there is all the difference in the world – and it means that I can point out to people that it is a medical condition that I have, not a psychological issue.

That is not to say that I didn’t have a few people trying to tell me that I obviously couldn’t handle the demanding lifestyle required of military personal. A specific personal incident that had nothing to do with work was the catalyst for my condition. The lifestyle did more harm than good, but prior to this incident I had no qualms with my chosen career. It can be very difficult to explain to someone who has no understanding of mental health issues that usually it is a physical process in your brain that starts all this, not a thought process (however, the thought process is not far behind it!)

I had a little saying I used whenever any of my so-called colleagues used to tell me, usually in a very offensive manner, that my condition was “all in my head”. My response was always “Why yes, you are right. It is in my head, I happen to be experiencing a little industrial action at the serotonin factory! It usually opened up the door for a brief discussion on why depression is a medical condition– that serotonin in the main ‘happy chemical’ in your brain and my problem was that not enough of it was being produced. I may not have converted that many people, but I at least got them thinking about brain chemistry and hormones and mood levels… Please feel free to take my phrase and use it when you need to explain to anyone why what you are going through is a medical issue and not a psychological issue.

2 – a contribution from another “Black Dog Knitter”

I've been reading your blog and think you're really brave to be writing about your experiences with depression.

I've had it on and off for probably most of my life, although fortunately not to the extent that I have lost a job - although it has probably limited my career. I was crying as I scanned back through your archives and put together what happened to you. Depression has, however, certainly impacted on friendships and relationships. But one thing I would like to write about and which I am happy for you to use if you want to, is how mental illness, for all the work of Beyond Blue and The Black Dog Institute, etc and for all the publicity about one in five Austrians having it, still carries a huge stigma in the workplace.

I am sending this from my 'anonymous' email address because even in my lovely progressive workplace, few people realise you can be a competent employee and suffer from mental illness at the same time.

I deliberately do not blog about my struggles with depression as nowadays colleagues and employers and potential employers have a tendency of Googling your name and making judgments about you based on what they find; I was quite shocked the first time someone I barely knew via work made a comment about my knitting on the net.

I work for a really good employer. The attitude is that as long as you get the work done and are available for required meetings, etc, you can come and go a bit as you please, work from home, leave early to attend the kids' school play, etc (it's the compensation for the overall low pay). They have been really supportive and accommodating of parents with caring responsibilities and a couple of employees who have unfortunately gone through cancer treatments. If any workplace could accommodate employees with mental illness, this is it. But even here, depression is still the illness that dare not speak its name.

My immediate supervisor is no fool and I think knows very well what my regular "specialist appointments" are and carefully ensures meetings are not held after them as I'm not always fully together then. He has told that he values me as an employee and wants to ensure I can keep on working there. But he also makes it very clear that he does not want to know anything else. Other colleagues, for some reason, believe the appointments relate to a chronic heart condition. And everyone is very nice and supportive and I find it fascinating that a life-threatening heart condition is more acceptable in the office than a mental illness.

3 – how to contact me and/or show your support

if you would like to contact me, you can do so at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if you are sending me a story of your particular battle, please try to include whether or not you want me to include your details. I received some emails from anonymous email addresses, and that is fine as well. I’ll include those stories later one.

I was happy that people have posted about depression on their own blogs, as well as sharing the button I created. If you would like to show support with the button you’ll find details of how to create the link via the first weeks post.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has mentioned my campaign on their blogs, podcasts or web-zines – I have tried to visit everyone who left a comment, and if you look at my sidebar you will see my bloglines list has grown quite a bit. If I have missed you, please leave a comment or send an email.

4 – a brief disclaimer

I need to point out that I am in no way an expert or professional in the field of mental health – everything I share with you here derived from my own personal experience and treatment in conjunction with ‘self-education’ from wanting to know more about this condition. I have started this campaign to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness and to help support others who are affected by this (whether directly suffering or knowing others who suffer) If you are in need of help, please contact your doctor and speak to those in your family and circle of friends.

Cheers,

Ginger_nut aka Meg

Thursday, July 19, 2007

BLURT!

I have a lot of things that I have been meaning to blog about in the past week or so, and just haven’t got around to it… so I have decided to blurt it all out here…

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This great little satchel is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa (www.theshoppingsherpa.blogspot.com) and I won it from her earlier this year in a blog contest. It is a very convenient bag, however, due to TSS’s monochromatic colour scheme it creates a great canvas for groovy badges and pins. Did you notice that one right in the middle? Let me zoom it in a bit for you…

This little jelly-baby pin was an impulse purchase when I was in line at the checkout – so cute that I had to grab one. It is to raise funds for research into Juvenile Diabetes and to attempt to find a cure. I am really glad that I did now, because it turns out that Dotter (aka Othlon) has been dealt the rather harsh hand of being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the past couple of weeks. Jelly-baby month is officially May – but there are still some lingering around. If you see them around, spare your 2 bucks for a worthy cause – I plan to have an army of different coloured Jellybabies on that bag eventually. To read more about how annoying Diabetes can be, check out Dotter’s blog over at Othlon’s Demon Knits, or her Mum’s blog, Jejune’s Place

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Centrelink. GRRRRR! Need I say more!

However, I did get a good deal of knitting time down on the “got any blacker” commissioned scarf. Too bad that I decided it should be narrower to add extra length and frogged it all when I got home!

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The yarn I used for my clapotis is Fleece Artist Sea Wool – it is a 70/30 wool/seacell blend and a gorgeous silk mimic. I bought it through www.littleknits.com – I think that Kate at Blue Mountains Knits, and either Paisley Womble (or maybe Ozknitter? One of the sock queens) also has had a play around with it.

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Those of you who are awake will have noticed the past tense in the previous topic ‘yarn used for clapotis’ – Yes, c’est fini! After wearing it last night and today, I finally bought some foam tiles to block it on. It’s HUGE!

And the best part – this is all the yarn I have left!

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Having finished my Tour de France knitting commitments, I went looking for another French inspired knit before I went to s’n’b last night. I found a couple of balls of Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton in the stash and a cute beret pattern in Knit2.

Well… c’est fini! Guess I will just have to make the “got any blacker’ commission scarf my new tour project. And really, cashmere in a man’s scarf – that’s very European, dare I say it, Parisienne!

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My new spindle I flaunted last week is a ringspindle from Golding Fibre Tools – these are like the Lantern Moon for Spinners. The make gorgeous objects that can be displayed as works of art by themselves, yet are also beautiful, well-functioning tools. Go check them out at www.dropspindle.info

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And Pierre is still alive and well – to cope with the wet and cold weather down here I made him a doggie-sweater. I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago, but completely forgot to post it.

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Also, someone asked me what EZ book I would recommend reading first – I think that you can’t go wrong with “Knitting Without Tears” – it covers all the basic EZ concepts and has patterns to keep you warm from head to toe.

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I think that’s the lot – I’ll try to avoid the monster posts in the future!