Click, clack…

This poor, sad, neglected blog… posts have been few and far between lately… partly as I’ve lacked a lot of energy to do much of anything except work and sleep!    And a fair bit of that work has been spent working from home, so my usually 2 hours of guaranteed crafty time on the tram has diminished.

And even when I did have to go into work, for some reason, doing the ‘fancy work’ I had been enjoying, just wasn’t working for me.   Partly a mixture of fatigue and headaches impacting on my ability to do any sort of fine eye work for a sustained period, and the fact that the project that I am desperately trying to get finished (as it’s a very overdue commitment) involves changing and sniping threads often!

So, what’s a girl to do – when she’s got a 1 hour each way commute, well she knits…

This is a shawl I finished for Mum’s birthday using Sarah Bradberry’s wonderful Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl – Ravelry link.   This is a very simple pattern, once you’ve established the pattern, as long as you make a note of where you are up to when you put it down each time.   I did most of this while travelling, except a major last ditch effort to get it finished and blocked in time for her birthday.

I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 3ply in Almond and after blocking the shawl finished up at 58 inches wide and 26 inches deep.  

Having got that finished, I dug out 2 skeins of some hand-dyed sock yarn I’d bought several years ago, when I misguidedly thought I might make lots of socks!    And went searching through Ravelry for a scarf/shawlette design that I could use for under 400m of yarn.   Found the Baktus design by Strikkelise, and then from there found the design for the Lacy Baktus by Terhi Montonen.

This was perfect, again a simple to learn 8 row pattern repeat, and better yet, I increased until I finished one ball of yarn, and then started decreasing with the other.   Had a slight panic attack when Gertie decided to ‘kill’ my 2nd ball of yarn and consequently ate through several sections of it… but did manage to eek out enough yarn to finish… about 1 metre left… phew!    Am going to do a simple crochet edging on this one in a plain purple… so will post photo’s when finished and blocked.

The yarn is the now defunct Angels & Elephants Hand-dyed 4ply wool in the Polperro colourway… a gorgeous mix of sage green, blues and purple.

Songs to remember by…revisited

My response to Pip’s post about the soundtrack of our childhood reminded me of a blog post on my old blog…

I’ve realised that music is something that I can measure my life by, important and not so important moments, both good and bad times… there is usually some song that reflects that time or feelings, with songs capable of bringing back a time and place so vividly…

I love music, and love singing, though was told as a young girl in the school choir to sing ‘quietly’ i.e. mime, so was very self-conscious of singing for most of my life… and equally as self-conscious of dancing until I hit my 30s (would only dance when I was drunk before then and then I would dance on the tables!).

That doesn’t stop music from being as vital as breathing to me… so here then are some of the songs that reflect me and my life…

Someday, One Day – The Seekers (people say your a dreamer, what do they know of what your thinking, if you believe in what your doing, then believe in what I say)- this creates the most vivid memory of first year at primary school, and being dropped off at a family friends house before school.   I have never been much of a morning person, even as a little girl, so being bundled out of the house to go to a strangers home at the start of each day was a stress for me… but this song, which must have been in the charts at the time always seemed to be on the radio, and we got warm porridge and honey for breakfast …yum…

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime – Dean Martin – we had a turquoise VW beetle with a radio that didn’t work, so car trips usually involved us kids sitting in the back singing songs to entertain my Dad. Invariably, he would warble this to us – but changing the lyrics to ‘something in your kiss just told me, I’ve just kissed a cow!

Lullaby of Broadway – goodnight baby, goodnight, the milkman’s on his way, sleep tight baby, sleep tight, let’s call it a day – my first dance lessons, in a local hall with the daughter of a neighbour, we did a dance routine to this song, a sort of tap/ ballet fusion… I was probably 6 and already completely uncoordinated and had such a miserable time of it that I didn’t dance on stage again until I was 38!

Lipstick on Your Collar – Connie Francis – cousins, myself and my sister age about 9-10, learning the lyrics and putting on a show for the family. For some reason this song also has the visual memory of cousin masticating a banana sandwich with her mouth open… yuk!

Slipstream – Sherbert, Living in the 70’s – Skyhooks, Hard Road – Stevie Wright, High Voltage – AC/DC – the soundtrack of my teens, the first 4 albums I bought when I got a part-time job in a lotto/record/gift store. My first concert, Festival Hall, Buster Brown with Angry Anderson on vocals, Skyhooks just as their first album was released and Sherbet!

Turn the Beat Around – Vicki Sue Robinson – 17 years old, Collingwood Districts Football Club Disco – at a hall in Carlton North every Saturday night, $3 for chicks, $8 for blokes, as most of the chicks brought their Asti Spumante, and they had a keg of beer for the boys. I drank beer with the usual result of being totally rat-assed by the end of the night. A gorgeous (think young Robert Redford) boy used to pounce on me most Saturdays, put my hand in the back pocket of his jeans, and dance close, telling all and sundry I was his wife… and then completely blank me if he saw me on the street during the week, only to repeat the whole routine the following Saturday… talk about being confused… He gave me my first (and probably only) illicit drug, telling me it would make me feel better, and then had to spend the night wrapped around me in the backseat of a car while I screamed and howled my way down from the trip from hell. He spread the word that anyone giving me anything stronger than beer was going to answer to him, and then blackened his mate’s eye when mate shoved a bottle under my nose, saying sniff this!

Counting the Beat – The Swingers – my semi-punk days, short peroxide blonde hair, with jet black wispy bits stuck to my cheek, a multi-coloured bomber jacket, tight black skirt, one aqua stocking, one red, covered by fishnets… thought I was really cool, but never wore the outfit again after we walked into the pub one night to hear ‘OK, we can start now, the circus has arrived’

Walking on the Moon – The Police – giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon, I hope my legs don’t break, walking on the moon – first full-time job, living away from home for the first time in a share house with 2 chicks and a bloke in Richmond. The band stayed at the motel I worked at their first tour out, and we saw them play at Festival Hall…

Gonna Fly Now – The Theme from Rocky – aah, liniment, smelly socks and boys… football club rooms and the big difference between juniors and seniors is that seniors like to walk around naked… oh my… I don’t like football… I like footballers!

Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac – My First Love sang this to me the night we met… both slightly intoxicated, sleepily sitting on Gossy’s mum’s couch close to midnight after he’d played in the winning grand final for his local team. He sang this quietly into my ear while he stroked my hair and then he kissed me…

No Lies – Noiseworks – one of my groupie stages (no sex though drats!)… sent the guys a bunch of balloons while they were recording their first album in Melbourne and came home to a gorgeous message on the machine from Jon Stevens. Meet them after a gig at the then Bell Street Rock one Easter, and they put my name on the door for every Melbourne gig for the next few years. Even got an invite up to Sydney for the filming of an MTV special when the album was released.

How Do I Live Without You – Trisha Yearwood, Easy – Faith No More, Throwing Cooper – Live – sitting on the swings at Fairfield Park at 3.00am talking to Boomerang Boy on our first date, and his relief after about half an hour of debate in discovering yes, we did like some of the same music – he was a metal head, and I’m a musical theatre girl! I sprinkled these songs through mix tapes that I played at ten pin bowling and we’d make eye contact across a crowded bowling alley and smile at each other.

Big Spender – Sweet Charity – so let me get right to the point, I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see – finally putting the past and self-consciousness behind me and belting this out at karaoke at a work Christmas Party without worrying about what I sounded like… the fact that I was 12 kinds of inebriated probably helped… but singing the love song duet with my boss at midnight was probably a bad move…

Would you…? – Touch and Go -I’ve noticed you around, I find you very attractive, would you, um, um, would you go to bed with me? – I laughed out loud (it was either that or cry) when this was playing on the radio after leaving Boomerang Boy’s house the ill-fated night he planned the big seduction scene. I arrived to find him almost crippled with back pain, which was bad enough, and then his brother deliberately came home to check me out, when he’d been told to stay away – add a malamute that went for the crotch snuggle every time she came into the room and his bedroom walls covered with photo’s of naked women in poses only their gyno should see and is it any wonder I said there was no way I was going to get naaaaked!

The Healer – John Lee Hooker – first time I got my feet and brain to work in sync at Miss Lou Lou’s Tap Dancing Academy, age 38!   Went on to dance at the National Theatre to The MilkShake – The Village People dressed as a cow, Tijuana Taxi by Herb Albert in sombrero and poncho and a fake moustache that kept falling off, as a gold tinselly sausage, I mean, showgirl to Madonna’s Hanky Panky, and my swan-song – Singing in the Rain by Gene Kelly dressed as a duck!
Heah ma, I can dance!    

 Well, actually I can’t really… why a girl who spends most of her time dancing from the waist up, lots of hand gestures, not a lot of foot work, ever took up tap is beyond me. The first time I ever persevered with something I suck at big time! It was fun, but after 5 years you were actually expected to be pretty good!!!

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet…

Remember in my last post I mentioned that Alicia and Pip were/ had compiled reading lists?

Well, Pip has set up a Book Club with people choosing one or both of two books to read over the next couple of months…

One of which, is Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.   The other is Cate Kennedy’s The World Beneath.

Am definitely going to read Anne, as I have the whole Anne of Avonlea series and The World Beneath also sounds like a fascinating read.

Now, to tell you a convulated story about me and Anne Shirley.  

I missed these books growing up, was too enamoured with the March sisters in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Eleanor H Porter’s Pollyanna and Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did

So my first exposure to Anne, Marilla, Matthew and Gilbert was the wonderful TV Miniseries of the same name and it’s sequels.   Loved Megan Follows as Anne, and especially loved Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla – wow what a wonderful actress she was!

Flash forward to 1988… and due to a recently developed but mild case of groupiedom for the bank Noiseworks (really a bit of a crush on Jon Stevens, if I’m honest!)… and meeting and hanging out with the band in Melbourne, a friend and I were invited to the launch of their second album to be filmed for MTV Australia in Sydney.   

The only way we could manage it was to travel by train overnight to Sydney, spend the day there, attend the launch concert that night, and then travel back to Melbourne the next evening by train – staying awake all the way.  

So hence, I needed some reading material… so what did this mid ’20s year old girl, whose wardrobe consisted of nothing but black, right down to the undies and socks, with a wild mix of permed red/brown hair almost to my waist and kohled eyes buy to read but Anne of Green Gables…. gee I’m a dag!

Which I happily read sitting up on the train on the way up and back!   Have never read the book again, and haven’t read any of the other books… so am looking forward to reaquanting myself with Miss Shirley and friends in the coming months.

Drive by blogging…

 funny pictures of cats with captions
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My poor neglected blog hasn’t got a look in lately for a number of reasons.

Have been unwell, a mix of viral infection, insomnia, fibromyalgia and inner ear infection has seen me down for the count for way too long… though I am starting to feel a bit more human.

As a consequence, not a lot of crafting going on… and what I am doing, is secret squirrel business for swaps, so I couldn’t show you anyway.

So what’s a girl to do when she needs to lie prone, but she can’t sleep… she reads… a lot!   Have read 9 books in the last month… averaging a book every 3-4 days.  

So it’s very timely that Pip at Meet Me at Mike’s has started to compile a list of must reads and that Alicia at Posy Get’s Cosy has produced a Children’s Summer Reading List.   I’m in bookworm heaven… as I have quite a few of these books sitting on shelves to read.   Pip’s list is still being compiled so I’ll post a link to it when it’s finished.    By the way, both these blogs are required reading not just because they love books but they also love a lot of things I do to!
funny pictures of cats with captions
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Will be back later in the week with some photo’s of Flossie’s recent finished items… nice to know someone in the family is being productive.   And will show you the photo’s of one of the secret squirrel swaps which has arrived at it’s destination.

Best laid plans…

Well my planned Friday Night Sew In was a bust…

Have been struggling with insomnia for the last 10 days, with resulting fatique, headaches and general aches and pains.

Lucky if I manage 4 hours sleep each night… so by Friday I was literally running on fumes… and woke up Friday morning to ear ache, sore and itchy eye and blocked nose… but only down the right side of my face!

A very late start at work, mean’t a very late finish… so I went home and curled up under a crocheted blanket and watched a repeat of Agatha Christie and then a soak in the tub with the hope of getting some sleep.

Didn’t quite work out that way… still awake at 5.00am, but when I did go to sleep I slept through until the phone woke me at 12.30pm.

My weekend was a write-off really… though I did manage to do some work on the Butterfly wallhanging on Saturday night.

June Friday Night Sew In…be there or be square…

I missed last month’s sew in – not that I wasn’t sewing, just that I wasn’t around to flaunt my work, as I was away on retreat. Planning for this one though… finishing off the Butterfly wallhanging mentioned here – just to sew down binding and hanging sleeve and it’s done… and doing some work on extra something for my cat loving swap partner to apologize for being so tardy… and also working on a teacosy for another swap partner.

Will need to be careful about photo’s as I think the girls look at the blog sometimes!

Memories of Maldon…

As I mentioned in previous posts, I had my annual retreat at The Parsonage a few weeks ago.   While I wasn’t very well over the weekend, and there were a couple of other sickies amongst us… it was still a lovely time and I think we all suffered a bit of a pang as this will be our last year at The Parsonage, and next year we will need to find other accommodation.

As usual on the drive up we did a bit of a shop hop, meeting up at Gisborne to check out Quilters Bazaar and the Drapers of Mount Macedon, and then on the advice of Catsmum, we stopped off in Kyneton to visit Pick Up Stitches, a new to me, Wool and Patchwork shop, who were having a sale.

So, I ended up with a bundle of Heirloom Magic Merino yarn and over the weekend away I stitched some more Grannies, which I found easier to work on while we sat and quietly chatted or watched movies.   I’ve enjoyed these so much, I rang Pick Up Stitches last week to see if they still had the same dyelots in store, and bought some extra yarn to make a largish lap rug.

The inspiration for these grannies comes from this post at the always inspirational Lucy at Attic24, which lead to me to here and more especially to this photo and all it’s lovely green goodness.

And for some more intraweb crafty goodness – check out the Quilt Gallery on Threadbear’s site of the splendiforous show and tell at The Applique Society meeting we were lucky to attend while we were away…    I could make all of these… and it was funny how many of these I have patterns for already!

Butterflies, flutterbies…

I am part of a private Flickr group that is making tea/coffee themed blocks each month … well, I’m mean’t to be, but still trying to work out what I want to do.

But, they also have organised monthly swaps, that you can volunteer to participate in.

I showed photo’s of the pincushion swap here, and last month’s swap was butterfly themed.   I love butterfly quilts, have one on the go, and plans to do others at some stage.   So you can imagine my delight when opening my parcel from the lovely Kate in the UK to discover this bounty…

2 lovely appliqued blocks

A truly gorgeous needlebook

And a lovely mug warmer.

With most of May being a bit of a write-off quilting and stitching wise due to the dreaded lurgy and subsequent headaches/migraines, I, of course, am running behind on my project for Kate.   But here is a sneak peak of a appliqued and stitched butterfly wallhanging that I’m hoping to have on it’s way but week’s end.

Oh it’s hard to be random…

Even before I finished the Giant Granny Square I had started some other crochet projects.

Having gone to Spotlight to buy a crochet hook and discovering they had a sale on Spotlight Basics 8 ply, I bought a bundle of 17 different colours and a bag of white and searched Ravelry for a random project that would stretch my skills a little by doing some other than a standard granny!

And found the Lion Brand Traditional Granny Blanket – sorry can’t link to pattern, as you need to subscribe, but if you like knitting or crochet I’d advise that you do, some fantastic freebie patterns.

So over the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve been slowly making up these wobbly circles in various colour combo’s until I used up all 17 balls, and will now turn these into squares using white, when I feel so inclined, and catch up with some commitments.

Random Granny Blanket centres

Am trying to weave in the ends as I go along, so it’s not a major drama at the end.   Have no idea what the finished blanket will be, as I’m using a different ply and hook size so these will come out smaller than the pattern.

The Big Reveal… Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange

I’ve posted quite a few times about the Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange… a 9 month block exchange where a group of 9 friends made Dresden Plates to the specified pattern, colour and size all to be revealed at our annual retreat at the Parsonage in Maldon end of May.

I can now reveal all of the sets of blocks made (except mine… which was left behind in Melbourne and I still haven’t received… sigh!)

Pam's Pink and Green Dresdens

Jayne's Pink/Red/Cream Dresdens

As you can see, Jayne made extra’s – and still has more to make – she wants this for her bed!

Blurry photo of Debbie's Dresden Hearts

Jenni's Autumn Dresdens

Megan's Red and White Dresdens

Jule's Peace on Earth Dresdens

Kylie's Pretty Spotty Paisley Dresdens

Catherine's Red, Green, Brown, Pink Dresdens