Wednesday, June 26, 2013

yarn along

I’m a bit sad tonight, Australia’s first female Prime Minister and avid knitter, Julia Gillard, has been ousted by her own party and is Prime Minister no more.

Julia knits

Yesterday the Australian media was getting stuck into her for doing a photo shoot for a women’s magazine that showed her knitting a gift for the expected royal baby. Some of the the comments from the media in relation to knitting and feminism enraged me – implying that a person could not be both at once. Really? I knit, how does that exclude me as a feminist? How is it even related? Ideas of womanhood in this country are really twisted and skewed.

Anyway she is gone. I am sad (devastated actually). She is an intelligent, gracious, witty and hard working person – who regrettably was sabotaged by a narcissistic phantom menace who is now Prime Minister elect. She was never really given a fair go by her own party and the Australian media. Latent sexism in Australian culture became all too evident and frankly was very depressing.

Meanwhile I have been knitting for baby #4 who is due at the end of September and flicking through knitting books overwhelmed with inspiration to knit more and more and more. On the weekend I finally finished the Paxton Newborn Jacket, which had been set aside waiting for the ends  to be woven in and a single button attached. A newborn baby hat was also finished.

yarn along - knitting for my newborn

Today though I worked on my daughter’s ballet wrap top. I knitted in the car, I knitted at the hospital while I had a standard glucose test and somewhat ironically I knitted as I watched the political spill on tele.

knitting in the car waiting in pathology at the hospital watching the spill on tele

Knitting along with Ginny and many other women with diverse and progressive views.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

notebooks

Perhaps I am projecting my baby brain onto others, because these days if I don’t write it down there is little chance I’ll remember. Often I find myself standing in a room wondering why on earth I am there. I wander around the house aimlessly blundering through domestic chores. I’m no chance to remember the essential grocery items at the shops if I don’t have a list with me.paying it forward

Last year I signed up to pay it forward. I missed the yearly deadline by months but finally last week I got some covered moleskin notebooks off to surprise their recipients. Hopefully they’ll prove useful.

for travellers

My folks are heading O.S. in a couple of weeks. Their first big overseas adventure together, well since they retired anyway. As a bon voyage gift I sent these travel inspired notebooks. They were sent in a parcel full of Auskick fundraising chocolates. I’m so grateful that they bought so many. Fundraising drives can be so stressful. Frankly I’d rather just donate the profit margin, especially while my kiddos are still too young to go walking around the neighbourhood flogging chocolates on their own.

Anyway – I digress.for travellers (2)I do so hope my folks have a wonderful adventure … and secretly I hope too that one day I’ll get to see the notes, lists, drawings that they write while their away.

I’m easing my way back into this sewing caper. Good to be back at the machine.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

yarn along

bookclub night - savoury things

Book club was at my place last week. We met together to discuss The Slap. I put on a spread of Greek food – stuffed vine leaves, olives, tzatziki and baklava. It was good to discuss the text, most everyone enjoyed it although there was agreement that the characters themselves were not particularly likeable. Everyone except for Richie who seemed to be a favourite amongst the readers. I did sense that people were holding back a bit in their discussion, perhaps not wanting to share their truest thoughts, feelings and reactions to the text. Perhaps because they were cautious not to offend others, but perhaps too because it is hard to be honest about reactions and responses that are so deeply personal. Either way it left me feeling frustrated.

I must share with you that I was rather anxious about the readers meeting at my place.  Would people judge my humble home? Was it clean enough? Did I make the right wine choices? Would people eat the food? Would the lounge room be warm enough?  I do find it nerve wracking welcoming people into my home that I don’t know particularly well. Sitting here reflecting on it now I can’t really make any rationale explanation for it. Fear of judgement I suppose. Fear of being looked down on. I haven’t always been like this. I think, but am not sure, it started after I had children. Mmmm. Certainly something worth musing over more.

bookclub night - sweet things

A colleague at work has leant me the TV series on DVD. On Saturday the sun did not shine – the perfect opportunity to watch a few episodes nestled on the couch, knitting in hand. I am enjoying it, but it isn’t as good as I had expected – yet writing that I realise that I have no clue of what I did expect. I suppose it was just because I had heard so many “rave reviews”. To date I am more impressed with the book that the series. I think it probably comes down to what is experienced first – since I read the text first it will inevitably be my preferred media for this particular tale. Is that how it works for you? Most of the time?

newborn hat  magic loop

… and as for on the needles? Well I am having my first attempt at knitting a newborn baby hat using the magic loop method. It took me a few attempts to get started, but I am making good progress now. There are some ladders in my knitting, but nothing too awful. The big plus of this single rib pattern is that once the hat is stretched over a (fingers crossed) small baby head the ladders are not evident at all. Got any tips on how to make the first stitch in the magic loop extra tight? Or is the idea to make the others a bit looser?

shawl collared jacket

 

Oh yes… a finally I have sewed on the buttons to the Shawl Collared Jacket that I started way back in November last year. Many a book as been read whilst knitting this number. It was tossed aside on quite a few occasions, and attaching the buttons somehow took weeks. Ridiculous really. It took me now more than ten minutes to do, and yet I put the task off for ages. I’m actually rather cross with myself as I think of it.

 

Yarning along with Ginny @ Small Things.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a wonky needle case

 

a wonky needlecaseinside the needlecaseA little wonky needle case. Much needed. Started many many many months ago. Finished today. Tick. Another unfinished project completed and struck from the list.  No more will needles to be lost in the mysterious core of the pin cushion. Yay.

O. chose the fabric. He was playing with my stash of fat quarters in the grey room this morning and came out sometime later and tossed this piece at me. Perfect. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the right one to finish this project. Serendipity.

Monday, June 10, 2013

on the weekend we ate cake

aftermoon cinnamon tea cake

On the weekend I made cake. A recipe that I have adapted from The Golden Wattle Cookery Book that has since become a family favourite.

On the weekend we celebrated Ms. M’s doll Susie’s birthday.  We put a candle in the cake. We all sang happy birthday and called out “hip hip hooray”.

On the weekend E. played Aussie kick as Ms. M lay on the picnic rug colouring and I sat watching, cheering and knitting.

On the weekend the whole family enjoyed the sunshine as we weeded and raked the front garden.

On the weekend I read more of my book.

On the weekend my footy team won, but Dave’s lost.

On the weekend it rained and we drank hot chocolates and ate marshmallows.

On the weekend we danced around to Groove Amarda.

On the weekend E. and O. had loads of fun on the skateboard.

On the weekend Ms. M jumped and jumped high into the sky on the trampoline.

 

What happened on your weekend?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

yarn along

in bedin hospitalin the bagin the deck chairin waiting with crocheted flower bookmark

Over the past month The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas has been almost a steady companion. I’ve read it in bed, in hospital, in waiting rooms and in the deck chair relishing the last of the autumn sun. I have lugged it around in my hand bag just in case I get an opportunity to read a page here or there. It hasn’t been a quick read though, it is the type of text that provides lots of food for thought, so much to muse over and contemplate. There is much in the novel that leaves me feeling uncomfortable, thinking about myself and those that I know. Reflecting on the culture in which I live and the type of parent and person I am and want to be. In this respect The Slap has been in ideal balance with my knitting. I read a bit, put it aside and knit while I muse. A perfect match if you will.

As for the knitting – well I am yet to finish the shawl collared jacket for O. It sits  complete except for the buttons to be sewn on. The little vest is finished in its entirety and being worn and enjoyed by the wee boy. An apple green baby paxton newborn jacket just needs the ends weaved in and a button sewn on and the white cotton ballet top for Ms. M is coming along slowly.

A quick success was the crocheted flowered bookmark, much better than photos, letters, tissues or whatever else is within quick reach.

One more chapter of The Slap to go so with any luck I foresee a weekend of reading and knitting ahead.

Yarning along with Ginny @ Small Things.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

jane seymour

Jane Seymour Henry's 3rd Wife

Straight up I should tell you that I’m a republican. I think an Australian should be our head of state. Even so I love the Queen and love lots of royal gossip too. It’s a hangover from spending too much time with my Nan when I was young. There have been times when I have sought the longest queue at the grocery store so that I’d have sometime to peruse trashy magazines for royal gossip. Awful I know, but we all have our shocking secrets.

The Queen herself was in Perth not long after baby O. was born for CHOGM. I’d given lots of thought to heading into town to see her, like Jennie did when HRH was in her neighbourhood, but decided that taking a two year old and a newborn into town on the train with the masses on my own might be a ridiculous and overwhelming endeavour. I regret that decision a little bit now.

One of the outcomes from the CHOGM meeting was the agreement that the succession laws be changed. No longer would a younger brother have more entitlement to the thrown than his older sister. About time.

Jane Seymour stitchy goodness

The Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in English history I’ve always found particularly interesting. Henry VIII got himself into all kinds of bother due to succession. He so wanted a male heir. Jane Seymour his third wife finally provided him with son he’d so desperately desired. Apparently she was less educated than Henry’s first two wives but was much better at embroidery. She was smart enough to keep her head which is more than can be said of some of Henry’s wives.

Jane Seyour kept her head

One of my favourite TV series in recent years has been The Tudors, it was not particularly true to known facts , but it spun a good yarn nonetheless.

This embroidery of Jane Seymour was stitched by an ex-boyfriend’s mother. She made it especially for me, and I’ve keep it for close to twenty years. It’s never been hung on a wall – in that way it is not to my style, but forever I have admired all the work that she invested in it, all the tiny stitches, the details. For now it sits on the shelf in the grey room. It really does deserve a better fate.

Perhaps it is about time for Australians to start talking about the republican debate again? Wayne and Malcolm seem to think so. Do you?*

* please don’t feel like you have to agree with me… I love to learn and think about different perspectives. Difference keeps life interesting!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

softies for sisters

softies for sisters - finally finished

Today was a public holiday in Perth. Yay for that!!! I was determined to finish some sewing projects that were started at the beginning of the year and had just been sitting around… waiting, waiting, waiting for the planets to align in such a way that I had energy, opportunity and will congruently. 

These softies were made for a baby girl born on New Year’s Eve and her older sister (wise owl). On the reverse side I have embroidered the girls’ names. Originally I made a mistake stitching the baby girl’s name upside down while crafting and chatting away with my creative buddies Megan and Sarah… we discussed various ways to fix it but in the end I just started again. It seemed like a better omen. Not sure why now but then it made some sense.

softies for sisters - hand sewing eyes softies for sisters softies for sisters - at the machine

Of course there is still more to finishing off of other started projects to be done, some mending as well… but at least I finished something. It feels good, not least because I know I am a step closer to my ultimate goal of starting new things!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

butter scarf

butter scarf rolled

Winter is here.   *sigh*

I’ve always adored Autumn but in this part of the world the season is fleeting. Indian summers are regular and it feels like the leaves have only just turned away from green, the brisk mornings, the warm pleasant Autumn sun* just beginning to radiate when suddenly there is a cold snap and winter is upon us. me wearing the butter scarf @ 23wks pregnant

I started knitting this “butter scarf” – named so because of its delicious butter colouring – at the end of last year, just as the summer began. Originally I used 4mm needles but after a while I realised that it was too dense, not floppy enough for a lovely draping scarf, so I changed to 5mm needles and started again while we were on Rottnest Island. The scarf is entirely of garter stitch. Simple as. I’m thrilled with it. Yet more evidence supporting my theories about the wonders and magnificence of simple things.

It is certainly lusciously long. I was having so much fun knitting back and forth along the rows that I kept adding balls of wool, “just one more” I would convince myself. I just didn’t want the making to end. The result, a scarf that is 196cm in length. 

Ravelled.

* as opposed to the harsh and pretty much intolerable summer sun that scorches Perth.