Tuesday, March 31, 2009

52 in 52 Monthly Recap - March

Since my last post on the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge I've only finished one title - but it was a most excellent one!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is set in Regency England, Jane Austen style but a somewhat more gritty look at society given the primary fo the tale takes place in an industrial town.

I had seen the BBC adaption and was very keen to read the book, encouraged by a fellow Austen-phile ;)


So I hunted it out on Librivox and Lo! Fabulous, legal, free audiobook download - magic!

I highly recommend it if you enjoy period writings such as Jane Austen.

I'm still behind on the yearly average - 9 titles in 12 weeks so far. R&R coming up tomorrow though (!!!) and I plan to download a large array of audiobooks that I can take up north again when we return to work - ha! My own little 'North and South' lifestyle!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Natural Wonders

I've always been one of those people who delights in the simple things - the seemingly normal and unordinary things - things with a certain innate beauty or wonder or magic about them, even though we see them every day.

This morning, as I packed my lunch from the over-crowded bustling mess room, this pear was my morning wonder.

pear w leaf! (2)

Since I was a child I've loved fruit with the leaves or stems still attached even after the whole process to get the fruit from orchard to me, amazing! - in fact I think I've posted about it before!

This little leaf was not on still clingly tightly to the pear stem, it was bright green and lush!

pear w leaf!

I have since eaten the pear, but the little plucked leaf is tac'd to my monitor to remind me all day of this beauty :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Knew Knit Meter!

I'm gradually returning my blog to the state I'd like it to be in - little pictures and links in the side bar and so on. This morning I discovered a little widget that is very interesting and will definitely be added!

The Knit Meter!

I think it'll be super interesting to see what all my project knitting equates to in a length factor - metres and kilometres. I still have to do the calculations to work out how much I've knit so far this week/month/year, so bear (bare?) with me!

Next up I must find the html codes for the little percentage complete bars I used to have too, and put little thumbnails of the projects finished so far this year.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Extreme Shepherding!

I've found a new hobby for when we have our farm!!

C/- Cute Overload


Found in the Forums of librivox...

knitting librivox

Thursday, March 26, 2009

52 book Challenge; Mid-March Update!

My book list is slowly catching up to where it 'ought' to be at this point in the year.

11 weeks in and I have 7 completed books on my list, most recent the following titles;

The British parliament's Riot Act
Eleanor Howell-Abbott's Peace on Earth and Good Will to Dogs
Jane Andrews' Tales Mother Nature Told her Children

As you know I'm reading In Tasmania from an actual book - enjoying snuggling in bed with it, taking the volumne down with me to the mess when I have dinner, reading as I walk around camp etc.. but I don't have much other time in the day (read, I don't MAKE much time in the day) for designated actual reading moments.

My dance card is so full with the many things I discipline myself to do each day, but this is ok as it's also balanced with those things I choose to do for pleasure also, so if I don't have much time for reading, that's ok, I'll mosey through the book at my own pace.

This is why audio books get so much more plat time with me. I can listen while knitting, on the bus to and from work, while I'm at my desk performing the more mundane tasks each day and so on. So the three listed titles were in audio book format, courtesy of the ever-fabulous librivox.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jane Andrews' Tales Mother Nature Told her Children - such imagination, such beautiful descriptive phrases and imagery! I highly recommend reading these stories to any children you might have anywhere in your general vicinity - just the thing to stir the imagination and encourage amazement in nature :)

If I can finish 4 more titles before the end of the month I'll have caught up to an average of one book per week, right on schedule to read 52 in the year, if I can maintain that!

So we'll see how I go! I'm compiling a list of books I've always wanted to read in the hopes of devouring a few of those in my reading adventures too!

And I'm always interested in adding more titles to the list...
What are your favourite books?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Having now knit about 40%, the Liesel lace wedding stole is coming along very nicely indeed, thank you! The repetition of the lace, quite a short amount of rows to repeat over and over and over again I'm very familiar with the stitches and, though I can't knit it by memory yet, once I've glanced at the print out to remind me which row I'm up to I can knit merrily away. It's a very smooth and relaxing process and I'm very much enjoying it :) Wedding lace tangle! There have been occasions of annoyance of course, as is pretty much unavoidable with lace knitting I think. Double-stranding from outside and centrepull of the same yarn cake proved to be too tangle-tastic - fault of the centrepull with this fine yarn I think. So I've switched to knitting from the outside of two cakes. Luckily I wound the original cone off into two cakes initially, so that came in handy!
Weddign lace
I very much like the fabric of this knit already, in all its wavy undulated unblocked glory.
The yarn really is delightful - soft and light with a slight fuzz of merino and the gloss of shimmery silk - gorgeous!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trippin to Tassie

Our lightning trip to Tassie a couple of weeks ago was a great success! Apart from the cold I caught somewhere between the multitude of planes that is..

Neither Sir Shweetie nor I had been to the Apple Isle before so we were pretty amped to get on over there and check it out :)
From my experience to date Tasmanians are pretty awesome folks ;)

We were amshed into hideous seats on all journeys - how do super tall people handle economy flights?! - which made sleeping an impossibility so we pretty much ran on excitement and clean air for our one-day-trip.
We'd scooted over to check out a property we're interested in and were NOT disappointed, just look at the beautiful country side to be seen!!

Lovely Tassie view

We stayed one night but were up super early to get cracking on another flight, one to head home just in time to hang arounda t the airport and fly straight back up to work - Yeeesh!!
Sadly I oculdn't even knit to keep myself entertained on the flights...

Hazardous knitting

As you can see, Australian flight security is still extremely tight and heinously prejudiced against needle crafts. If a person can bring a ball-point pen on board why on EARTH shouldn't I be allowed my knitting needles?! I know I could harm someone JUST as easily with a pen as I could with a knitting needle..

In anycase, I had a new book purchase as my companion, bought at the airport moments before boarding - a little reminder of the juiciness and fabulousness of Tasmania :)

Good read

As you can see, seriously warm gear was required, and it's not even winter! I think the quick change from the heat of the Pilbara to the cool of Tassie Autumn had me running for my warmest item of clothing- my Hoodie!
Lovely to have a chance to wear it and enjoy the snuggly warmth of pure wool

Flight map!

So we soared back over across the bight having seen our continent's island state, and been very pleased with it indeed :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Presto Lentil's beginnings

Time to update on a little knitting I was doing mid February or so but as yet haven't uploaded the pictures to be able to post!

I am very excited to be gathering knitting patterns and ideas like a crazed bowerbird as a close friend of mine gave birth to a lovely little boy a few weeks ago!

All through his gestation Mrs Mum and Mr Dad took great pains to avoid finding out his gender. So being without pronoun they referred to him as Lentil! I thought this an absolutely adorable name, and have catered my first handknit for Lentil around his endearing nickname.

I've admired the Presto Chango pattern for a while, and when I looked at it again as I hunted around for more baby patterns, I decided the lace pattern on the front looked very much like little lentilly pea pods!

So when I ordered the yarn for Bink's wedding shawl, I added two skeins of Malabrigo organic cotton in a nice nuetral colour (at that point I didn't know Lentil was a Sir Lentil either!)
Presto Chango Swatch (2)
I knit up my swatch on 5mm needles and while I initially thought it was too gappy and loose, it proved to be just right when washed and blocked (yes I'm a very good girl with my swatches!)
Presto Chango Feb 23 (3)
So I've gone at it hell-for-leather (is that the expression?) and have now finished the back and knitting up over the shoulders, casting off for the neckline and have continued down the two sides. Now all that is left to complete is the front lace panel and Hey Presto! A magic lentil baby cardi :)
Presto Chango Feb 23 (2)
NOTE: This progress was all made while I was inbetween needles sizes on the shawl, hemming and hawing over how many repeats and what needle size would work best - so I wasn't technically being adulterous on the lace project at the time ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh noes

Imagine the horror...

funny pictures of cats with captions

(care of I Can Has Cheezburger)

Monday, March 16, 2009


How I love beautiful and unique stationery...
wedding seal
These enchanting wedding invitations were even written in a font based on Jane Austen's own handwriting

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lace crisis - averted!

I wanted to add the resolution ight up there in the post title - to assure all readers (particularly those lace knitting readers) that the crisis has been averted, lest the smelling salts or difibrillator need to be summoned!

The tale begins on one of the many flights we took over the last week - I believe we were flying up to work again, back in WA. I was happily knitting awayon the leafy lace creation for Bink's fast-approaching wedding, feeling relieved to finally be making some headway. I seem to be coming across errors I've made so often in this knit; one stitch too few, one stitch extra, so it had felt like I spent most of my time tinking back to see where I'd gone wrong! But I was finally on smooth sailing, merrily knitting away with such smooth and glossy magical yarn.
Bon's lace March 09 (2)
But - gah! The yarn would keep getting caught up from the centre pull ball! Being a 2 ply yarn, I've wound the yarn from he cone into a centre pull yarn cake and am knitting double stranded using one strand form the outside of the cake and one from the centre. Generally this is fine, but with reasonable frequency the centre pull resists then pops out with a gret clump of yarn, rather then a fine issue of one strand.
Bon's lace March 09 (3)
This was one such incident. Normally the little clump untangles very easily as it is all yarn still nicely wound but just a little to eager to burst forth and be knit. This clump however, had mischeif on its mind. It resisted and resisted and became... a KNOT. Prevously with these 'knots' I'd been able to pull gentley and the knot would come undone - not really a true knot, but more like a slip knot. Not this time.. I pulled and instead of the satisfying 'ping' of the knot coming free, I saw this;
snapped yarn! Bon's lace march 09 (2)
broken yarn! On lace!

The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr - a combination of merino and tussah silk (diviiine!) so I wasn't sure if it would felt enough to be spliced back together. But in situations like these you jump in like a gallant Indiana Jones to save the day, you don't stop to consider fibre compatibility.
Spit splice
Thankfully it worked and the silk grabbed hold of the wool as it felted and all is happy - relief! Looking at the two strands the spit-spliced yarn is noticabley darker and thicker, but can't be spotted now it's all knitted up. I'm just hoping it holds up when I get to blocking!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

52 Book Challenge!

I've always enjoyed reading, and begun my love of books very early in life. I remember reading much larger books than the rest of my peers (apart from my longtime childhood partner-in-crime Zoe, who was also an early bookworm and would read giant vetinarian tomes!) and found much inspiration, imagination and wonderful worlds of creativity in the pages of every book I encountered.

Over the last few years I've noticed my reading has greatly reduced. Due in part to my knitting obsession I think, and also now that I live with mah shweetie we tend to do things together, like watching movies (and knitting), playstation (and knitting), remote control buggy adventures (and knitting), shooting the air-rifle in the back yard (and knitting) - the times I'm not engaging in the activity itself, I'm watching and knitting merrily away. So we don't spend much time in quiet individual pursuits where I could read (and knit). Which is fine - I love the shweetie times of course :) But I also miss the reading and being completely absorbed in another world or fascinating tale.

So I was delighted to find the 52 Books challenge and am already in the throes of devouring as many books as possible in the year!
52 Book challenge
I'd seen a few book challenges over Christmas time - some for reading 100 books, some for reading science fiction etc.. but I liked the simplicity (and realism for me!) of the 52 Book challenge - and I'm thrilled the group has a Ravelry Forum too!

So I'll be attempting to tick off 52 books this year - an average of one per week. Luckily audio books are included, as I'm able to listen to them while I carry out the more mundane and mindless tasks at work.

So far my tally is as follows;

Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Hatchet - Gary Paulsen
Dead Until Dark (audio)- Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas (audio) - Charlaine Harris

As you can see I'm a little behind schedule, seeing as I only got on the band wagon around the start of February - but that's ok!! I'm sure I can make up the difference :)

I'm off work sick today (and yesterday) with the dreaded lurgey, so I plan to spend a lot of time lolling phlegmishly around in bed knitting and listening to audio books as I try to fend off the bugs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We're sitting in Melbourne airport - inside, through the security screening. In fact, we haven't actually ventured forth at all - we're newly arrived and about to depart again without so much as seeing Melbourne in sunlight!

Another half hour to wait and, you guessed it, no knitting to keep me occupied - despite the fabulous wedding shawl way behind schedule, or the little baby cardi so close to finished.. no no, all must wait, tucked away in the checked luggage, probably already in the belly of the next plane!

And where are we headed? TASMANIA!!

Kangaroo Paw

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Waterlogged Pilbara!

We had a VERY wet day on Sunday, and I have some exciting photos to share!

It had been raining all night as the tropical low moved in, and when we woke up the rain hadn't ceased so we made the mad dash through camp to the mess to pack our lunches and have breakfast as normal. Then out to the buses - dodging lake-like-puddles and deep suctioning mud - and in to the mine site. We all off loaded and were wet to the bone by the time we made it under cover - the rain was torrential!!

The fieldies stayed in the crib huts as it was impossible for them to work, and we office folks got a little bit done here and there before they eventually sent us home an hour or so later. Management said they needed to get everyone off site - even the people that could keep working since we were sheltered by the office - since the roads were getting so flooded it might soon be impossible to get out at all!!

Back at camp we settled in for a relaxing and unexpected day off - lots of lounging around inside watching movies and (in my case at least) knitting! When we popped our heads out the door to check out the weather (the rain had been unabating) we saw the large deep gutter that circles the camp was getting very full. I had been pondering "I wonder if it will overflow!?" so a short while later we thought we'd check on it again... Well... the answer was YES!
I thought it would be this deep
I threw on some work pants I didn't mind getting grubby and waded out into the gutter to see how deep it was - Shweetie humoured my crazy whim and took a shot of me from the bank! I was a bit disappointed since I had expected it to come up to my waist - but impressive none the less! I then embarked on a bit of an adventure around camp to see how bad the flooding was in other areas...

The fast paced run off from the flats surrounding the camp, gushed down into the gutters, creating a strong current in the water as it flowed.
lapping at stepThe water started to lap at people's steps and then their DOORS! One friend of mine had an inch of water in her bathroom, it came up through the drain in the bathroom floor and flooded it!

There were a couple of hilarious moments, such as a stranded carton of beer...
stranded carton
and some poor person must have left their boots out the front because they were casually drifting away!
floating boots

But it does make me realise that it's all fun, novelty and adventure at this stage - but how quickly things can turn disasterous and dangerous too.

All has quietened now and the waters have ebbed away, so we're back at work and back to normal - just a little bit soggy!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I am very much looking forward to this R&R - in fact it's safe to say I can hardly wait!

This swing feels like it has been 9 weeks away from home, not just 4!
The fact I have such delicious fabrics, my lovely sewing mahcine and much fibrous goodness to spin up all awaiting me isn't making the count down any easier!

Magic mushroom fabric

Thank goodness the count down is only "1 sleep to go" ;)