Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pcinic day in Sydney

What a glorious day in Sydney. Winter, almost spring, and it is warm and sunny. We went for an afternoon mini-picnic to Berry Island , near Wollstonecraft on the northern side of the Harbour. A rug, a couple of chairs, some coffee and jam sponge rollups, the Sunday NYTimes puzzle, and the sunshine. We met some friends for a chat. Jonty needed some shade from the sun. He's very happy with his position on a lap, and his Nebraska Huskers cap for shade. We went for a walk around the 'island' and Jonty managed very well with some assistance up the steps. Our friends had their guide-dog-in-training, Goldy, a young golden labrador. She wasn't wearing her pink guide-dog learners jacket today, but she was very well behaved.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Out, out, damned junk!

D-Day has arrived. Ditch that junk! See all these balls of cream wool in the bin? I bought those in 1988 (yes, you see it correctly, nineteen eighty eight) from a shop which no longer exists, for $32.00. Yes, sadly, I even still had the docket. Even in those dim dark days that was REALLY CHEAP for that wool. I bought enough to do an Aran jumper. I had my eye on cables and bobbles. I had the pattern, and what a great deal on the wool. Knitting began. The wool began to reveal itself for the junk it was. It broke every now and then. I knitted on, thinking it might be just one ball. It wasn't. I wasn't going to waste my time doing something as labour intensive as an Aran jumper. But could I throw it out???? Would you???

Oh no, I decided to crochet granny squares from it. If it broke, it wouldn't matter too much. The blue wool came from leftover cardigans and jumpers of yore. Of course, other more interesting projects intervened. The squares and the wool gathered dust and moths in the cupboard. Finally last week I took them out of the cupboard, and with the support of my husband and daughter decided they had to go. So they went into a plastic bag in the front bedroom. Should I give them all to St. Vincent de Paul? If I did that, some other muggins would seize the wool and try to do something with it, encountering the same frustrations I have had with it.

So as you see it now, it really is in THE RUBBISH BIN where it has belonged all these years. Aaaahh. Such a relief. Now I can get on with some more projects.......

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I confess, we have a cat

I confess, not only do we have a pug, but a CAT! This is Portia, who gets along very well with Jonty. Portia is probably 17, but we aren't really sure. She more or less came with the house.

She and Jonty cooperate at dinnertime, lobbying for their eats. They think dinnertime is 3 pm. I think it is no earlier than 4 pm, but they do wear me down. Portia is extremely vocal, and as she winds up, so does Jonty. By 4 pm the combined effect is irresistible. Dinner is served. It takes a lot less time to eat it than it does to convince me to give it to them. Working from home makes me an available target for their wiles.

I've spent all day thinking about interoperable metadata schema for an 8 am conference call in the morning. I've also done my business activity statement. Phew! That's something I've been putting off, but it isn't too bad once you get going.

In another furious bout of time-wasting I have gotten together all the equipment I need to record my vinyl record collection to hard disk/CD. Many happy/unhappy hours have been spent trying to get the adjustments right, but I am still getting distortion on my files. The records themselves play just fine through the computer speakers, but not the recordings. Either another sound card is required, or I am doing something wrong.

More happy time-wasting has been spent on getting Skype installed. This involved buying a microphone for the PC, which naturally led (don't ask how or why...) to the purchase of a new flat screen monitor. Happy scrabbling around under the desk with a zillion cables later, and Skype works. Happy birthday to my sister in the US! Skype allowed a very pleasant phone call.

Isn't technology fun? Don't you just LOVE new toys??? Don't you adore crawling around under the desk to see what is plugged in where, untangling masses of cords and wires? I think I'll go back to my knitting...

Monday, July 25, 2005

The beginnings of a tatted tablecloth...

Here is a piece of tatting I tend to carry with me when I travel. It is called Patchwork, and comes from Mary Konior's book Tatting with Visual Patterns. Tatting is great to travel with. It is small, it is light. I have a plastic shuttle for working with, so I can carry it on a plane. You don't need a hook, the shuttle I use has a pointy tip for pulling picots through. You are allowed to carry tweezers on planes. These are essential when you have made a mistake and have to unpick rings. Thank you Mary K for teaching me how to do that - it is impossible to unpick rings if you don't know this trick.

Will it end up tablecloth size? I have other pieces of work that haven't made it - bits of crochet and such. I guess I'll have to do a lot more travelling. Did I really say that? Don't I spend enough time on aeroplanes and waiting in airports?

And now for something completely different. It is always a bit of a lucky dip when my husband goes to the video shop. He tends to return with black and white submarine movies made in 1956. Bloke movies. He has a theory that the video shop gets only one or two copies of interesting things, rather than the many shelves full of the latest Hollywood monstrosities. This has resulted in some interesting choices. A couple have become firm favourites. Tais Toi, with Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno. The hilarious Wasabi with Jean Reno See IMDB review . A couple of nights ago he came home with another winner - Bubba Ho-Tep. Yep, you got it. But wait, there's more. You wanted to know the real story about Elvis? About JFK? It is all here in this movie. Since seeing it, Bubba Ho-Tep has become a stock phrase of ours. We are now referring to Jonty as Pugga Ho-Tep. Don't just take my word for it, the IMDB reviews agree with us. It will become one of our regular borrowings, along with the two Jean Reno movies, Men in Black I and II, and Galaxy Quest.

Over and out for today, heaps to do.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Starch that bonnet

It isn't a good picture, but it shows the effect I was after with the starching. The brim now sits out like a proper bonnet brim should. I'm happy with it. Most of the bonnet was tatted with a shuttle, but the rondels (which really need to be ironed properly) were done with needle tatting. I've been a shuttle tatter for a long time, but on a recent visit to the US we went to Amana. There in the schoolhouse was Bonnie, sitting tatting with a needle. After long and detailed consultation and comparison of techniques, I bought a book and the tatting needles in Hastings, Nebraska. It is quite a different technique. Fast and effective.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Knitting not tatting

Here I go again. This is the back for the jumper I knitted, only to pull it all undone. Unpicking was no fun, as I had sewn it up all too well, and it was difficult to get it apart. I salvaged as much as I could. I'm using the Boyes knitting set my aunt gave me. Holding the knitting feels quite different with the flexible needle, quite unlike stiff needles. I like the feel of it. The knitting goes quickly, as this is 12 ply. Just as well it does, seeing as I am knitting it twice!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Three days of meetings in Melbourne. Glad to be back home! Jonty is pleased to see me home. He was sick again, but the cause has been isolated to some leftover rice which really did not agree with him. But he is chirpy and enjoyed his walk, so I am not worried about him.

Here is a picture of him looking regal on his pug cushion. Don't those legs on the cushion look like his?

I did try re-starching the tatted bonnet, and it has worked better. The brim stands out more stiffly.

Today I am going to get back to the knitting I ripped up, and make a good start on it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I can't believe I'm doing this!

I swore I would never join those people who feel it appropriate to share the minutiae of their quotidian doings, but when I saw the chance to join the Knitters with Pugs webring, I knew I had to do it. Just to see whether I liked it. So here goes.

Requirements: Pug

Yes, I have a Pug. Jonty the Magnificent is nearly 11 years old. He is a fine Pug indeed. Once he was a show pug and became a champion. His breeder used to take him off for shows, and he loved it. Now he rests on his laurels. He is also father of champions. His breeder used to take him off for dirty weekends, and he loved that too. Now that he is an elder statesman, he is content to sniff other dogs, and sometimes get excited. But that's all. Today he is not well. Ate grass this morning, and has thrown up many times. I hope he gets better soon.

Knitting or other textile craft: Oh yes. I knit. I crochet. I bead. I tat. Projects on the go right now include:

A jumper in Jo Sharp wool that I knit to the end. Tried it on. For the first time ever, I unpicked the whole thing. It was too big, too short, the sleeves too long. I am just beginning to re-knit it. Same pattern, smaller size, shorter sleeves, longer body. Pictures will be posted soon.

I recently finished a baby shawl for a good friend. I started it for her first child, finished it for her second. Picture attached.

Last night I finished tatting a lace bonnet for a big doll I had when I was a child. It is currently drying, having been starched. I need to iron it, pull out all the picots, and make sure it is in good shape. Then I will post a pic.

Finally, projects I have planned:

  • Finish the Jo Sharp jumper
  • I have some blue velvet on which I am going to applique a tatted picture of a willow tree, adorned with some Swarowski crystals and turn into an evening bag
  • A dress for the same dolly who now has the tatted bonnet drying on her head.
  • Sundry black material to make into tops for me, when/if my daughter gives back my sewing machine.
I think that's enough for now.

My first post....

Tatted bonnet

Here are pictures of the little doll bonnet. Finished. The starching didn't seem to work as well as I hoped, so I have folded back the brim.

I think I will have another go at the starching thing, and have the brim forward and stiff. I think about trying hair spray but am tentative about that. See the cute pug cushion in the background? This is one of Jonty's favouriet cushions, he likes to lie upon it in regal splendour.

He thinks the doll is for him to play with. Sorry Jonty, not today.

Here is another picture, showing a pug cushion in the background.