Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I'm lucky enough to work in the city, although I don't really get out much to enjoy it during the day. Today was a little different. I had an errand to run, then some lunch to buy. I wandered back through Garema Place, as I heard music and thought I'd track back to work that way. Why not?

Wait ... it can't be... yes, it was indeed James Morrison and band giving a free concert to the people of this city. Thanks to the Groovin' in the City events, public servants, mums with bubs, grey-bearded men with their cloth hats and walking frames and even a slightly crazed junkie, all got to enjoy an hour or more of fabulous jazz and beebop and funk, while sitting in the sun, or standing (and groovin') under the shade of those big old oak trees.

I've really got to get out more. What a great city.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Is it Springtime yet?

Why do we turn into hermits when it's cold? I feel a bit like I am emerging after a winter, cocooned indoors. The seasons in this part of the world are a little skewed yet, but I look forward to more time outdoors, time being more creative and time enjoying the company of friends.

And, I'm off to a good start.

Last weekend I enjoyed dinner with a friend and a performance of Twelfth Night . I have been going to Bell Shakespeare when they come to town for years and years and years now. Yes, I've missed a few, but I try not to. Love it. And I'm already looking forward to next year's season.

During the week I spent an evening (along with 450 others) with my long-time favourite social commentator Hugh Mackay, who talked to us about what makes us tick. Interestingly, he ranks our desire to be taken seriously as the highest of our social desires.

On a knitty note and in keeping with the theme of this blog, I can report that I have been making fair use of indoor time in winter.

Even a little crochet:
And today I spent a fun afternoon with a bunch of very crafty gals and produced my own gocco-printed golden dragonflies.
I feel almost artistic!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Happy Days

This little darling is a Sisters Day gift from my favourite sister. This year we spent the Day together. Even better, we are spending the whole week together. Our time together so far has been filled with quiet pleasures, artistic appreciation, yarny challenges, long talks and some crazy moments, fuelled with good food, fine wine and many cups of tea. It is oh so nice to be with her. These are my happy days.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Time to read

What happens in our busy lives that means we don't make time to read? Over the past several years I find myself reading less and less. Until a few years ago, I had belonged to a book group for over twenty years, but gave it away because I just wasn't reading the books. Not because I didn't want to. But usually just because I hadn't made the time.

Then my favourite sister invited me to join Goodreads. I did, thinking that it would give me a little incentive to read more. It hasn't. Not really.

I don't even have much to say when friends ask me what I've been reading lately.

Now, just to be clear, I love reading. I love language. I love a good tale. I have a great collection of as yet unread books.

So what is it?

When Bec and Bron suggested a bloggy sort of book club, I thought that maybe if I jumped in, I might just start reading again, as avidly as I once did. For me, I have to allocate reading time - bedtime reading just doesn't cut it any more. So, while I have this eclectic little collection on my bedside table, I rarely get through a couple of pages before dropping off...zzzz...

So I'm going to join my friends and talk about what I'm reading each month, here in blogland.

I have just finished a delightful little story by Paul Auster (a favourite author of mine, as he writes tales set in one of my favourite cities, New York). Timbuktu is a quirky little tale told about Mr Bones. Well, told by Mr Bones. The dog. And I loved it.

But in August, I am going to read Margaret Drabble's The Garrick Year. I'll report back later.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

It's the little things

Most of my knitting of late has centred around keeping this little parcel of total joy and delight warm in this frosty southern winter. A simple beanie goes well with his Eyelet blankie, or this Pi blankie borrowed from his cousin.

And simple beanies are so simple, that I can't help making more.

A favourite pattern of many knitters is the magical Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I have made two for ma minette, and I love it every time. This one for our little Bear is done in Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Damson colourway and fits him perfectly.

I wasn't so clever with the sizing of this next cardi. It's a great topdown seamless design by Jacki Kelly called Felix's cardigan. I used Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8ply, and it might fit him a little better several winters from now. He is such a tiny wee thing, and I should have used a 5ply for this one.
And that ray of sunshine who makes us laugh all the time, ma minette, scored another pink Malabrigo hat, the Tri Peak Hat from Woolly Wormhead. It's a bit on the small side for her, but she doesn't mind. She just needs a hat to drag onto her head every time she says "Can we play outside?" at Chez Nettie. The icy weather doesn't deter her. Brrrrr.

Ahhh, my life is good.

Friday, 28 May 2010

"Precious knitting time"

Recently, on Rav, someone posted a question about why one would spend "precious knitting time" on knitting wash cloths. Many views were posted for (quick gratifying project, portable, practise new stitch patterns, nice gift, handy little product) and against (a bit yucky, socks are just as portable, you can practice patterns on other items). But apart from the cloth discussion, this concept of "precious knitting time" sort of rankled with me, and I wasn't quite sure why.

My knitting time isn't so precious. Sure I love it, but I'm not racing to get something done, I don't have limits on my knitting time (well apart from tiredness limiting my evening knitting time, and mortality limiting my lifetime knitting time). I'm not in a rush to get anywhere. Any moment stolen to do a bit of knitting is pleasureable. And I have a lifetime of knitting time stretching out ahead of me - albeit finite, I know.
I rarely knit to a deadline and if I do impose a challenge upon myself, I rarely meet it (happily there are occasional exceptions - can I say it again: monogamous knitting!). I have many projects on the needles at any one time, and I'll happily knit away at the same project over many weeks or months. My friends will ask "is that the second sock?" when I'm still in the first, or comment "you've been knitting that blankie for ages". Yes, my friends, you know who you are ;)
So I wondered if this concept of "precious knitting time" comes back to that age-old question: are you a process or a product knitter?
I know what I am. What are you?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

In the pink

Ma minette thought it would be a good idea if I knitted her a new winter hat in mmmmalabrigo from my stash. This two year old knows luxury yarn when she feels it. Button Tab Knit Hat in Malabrigo merino worsted in damask rose colourway. Buttons from stash (a gift long ago from my favourite sister).

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Winter cardi

Way back in February, some of the Canberra Ravellers decided on a Cardigan for Winter knit-along. Being February and all, some of us chose the February Lady Sweater. Now, it is a long, long time since I have knitted an actual garment for myself - probably since those awful jumbo quick knits of the 80s. However, monogamous knitting (mostly) through March gave me a great start, but then she languished, while I was distracted by gift knitting. Just days ago, I challenged myself to finishing my Cardigan for Winter before the first day of winter. And I did.
February Lady Sweater in Cascade 220 Heathers (from stash) on 5mm needles and three lovely pearly buttons (also from stash). I've been wearing her all day. I think I love her.
In other knitting news, I recently finished and gifted to the lovely Beth these Blackrose wristlets in Shibui sock yarn that I bought on my last trip to the States. I think I'll make some of these for me too.
And a little surprisingly, I've been re-learning crochet after many years absence. Requires way more concentration than knitting!
Before winter well and truly hits us, I escaped to the Central Coast last weekend to spend time with several of my favourite people. While the water wasn't too cold, I hadn't expected to actually be required to be in the water, so didn't take my cossie. But what two and half year old doesn't want a swim at the beach - whatever the temperature.

Lucky I had a change of clothes.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Back to our regularly scheduled knitting...

After having my world turned upside down by the early arrival of a little person in our lives, it seems somewhat trite to talk about knitting. But even in my anxious state over a few days in April, I had to chuckle when my knitting friends commented that he dared to arrive before I had finished the border of his baby blanket! Nettie's Knits is sure to showcase photos of our little Bear in due course, but he is still so tiny and so precious and his presence constantly reminds me of what's important in life. My blog isn't the right place for him at the moment.
In the meantime, I did indeed finish his blankie. It's the Pinwheel Blanket in lovely soft Zauberball. A bit too fluffy for a swaddling blanket, but perfect for his pram.In other knitting news, I overcame my first very serious case of Second Sock Syndrome and finally finished my Retro Rib socks. Well, I though that I had finished them. What? A dropped stitch? Right at the toe? How can that happen?? Any sock knitter knows that we carefully ensure that there are equal numbers of stitches on each side leading up to a very neat kitchener stitch finish. So how I could possibly have an uneven number of stitches, one of which is magically dropped at the last minute, is beyond me.Luckily I'm skilled at tinking back and they are fixed and they are lovely. It's an unknown yarn that I picked up somewhere or other - I think an op shop. I suspect it is something like a special Bendi yarn that they make for school jumpers. It's soft yet tough and they are great socks. Now I only have about another 12 skeins of the stuff to get through.And to continue with the unintentional retro rib theme, this is a Retro Rib hand towel, made with self-striping Anchor Magicline, gifted to me in a swap, and finished off with a lovely vintage casein button from my ample button stash. It's cute and it hangs in my laundry. But I'm not really all that impressed with the absorbency of the Magicline cotton. Maybe it will improve after a few washes. And just to remind me on how much I think birthdays are really OK, my fab brother and his gorgeous girl sent me this as a really wild belated birthday present (with a couple of pages strategically bookmarked). Yes, it's signed and everything!!

Off to do some knitting planning now.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Life is good

Love a long weekend. Have I said that before? I think so. Well, this extra long weekend just kept on getting better.

Off to Brisbane with Daughter2 to visit Daughter1, where we lazed around, cooked up several feasts, ate okonomiyaki for brunch at Eumundi markets, had the obligatory trip to Ikea, watched Project Runway on telly, saw the divine hats exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery (go. it's sumptuous.), drank lots of coffee, got creative (well, Daughter2 did), browsed the Young Designers markets at Southbank, had lunch at the pub, and drank a bit more coffee.

Despite a certain person or two wondering why the Easter Bunny didn't come, we had our fill of good food, good coffee and great company. And with a home made Easter breakfast like this, who could ask for more.

Just to top it off, today I had a lovely long pre-birthday phone call with my favourite sister and a visit from my favourite two year old.

Life doesn't get much better.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Ahhh, the serenity.

Taking advantage of the Easter long weekend and grabbing a couple of extra days off was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.

On Wednesday, a friend and I drove to Bundanoon to spend a pleasant, mid-week day stitching. It was a damp day in the Highlands. Perfect for sitting and sipping coffee and talking and creating little grub roses and French knots.

Thursday gave me a day at home to do anything at all. I decided to search the 'mending' pile for items that had the potential to increase my wardrobe. Even though I tend to put it off, I do have a strange love of mending and repairing. It's like getting new clothes without having to buy them. I sewed up hems on skirts and jeans (sister, take note!), discovering how to use the twin needle on my machine. I repaired some loose lace on a top. And lo and behold: new clothes.

I did a little bit of knitting.
And the long weekend is only just beginning. Ahhh.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I'm not too fussed about birthdays anymore, but sometimes, they sure can be nice. I do love getting birthday calls from friends and loved ones - some of whom I don't get to talk with very often. And I love the fact that my two girls always think of something very special for me.

And I love, love, love that some people make things for me.
My favourite sister this year sent me this oh so lovely, subtly coloured and patterned mat for my kitchen.
See, it even incorporates Pisces.
Not only that, but it came wrapped in two metres of soft voile. I received parcels of thoughtful loveliness from new friends and good friends. Having crafty friends is an added joy this year.

Kelly knitted me a beeeeoootiful scarf.
Carrie crocheted me these funky little handwarmers (Michelle helped a bit).
Over the Weekend of Nettie, we had musical entertainment...And some serious balloon untangling...
And best of all, my family gathered around. There were more of us together than have been in one place for, oh, a long time. And those who weren't here, we skyped or phoned.
Yes, birthdays are OK.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Am I not a vegetarian any more?

Spending an entire long weekend nursing a sore head does crazy things to one's thought processes. Yes, most of Saturday, all of Sunday and all of a precious public holiday Monday I contemplated chopping off my head to rid myself of migraine pain. Medication came too late and so was ineffectual.

Not being able to face work on Tuesday due to the flatness of spirit that follows the demon migraine, I considered ways to avoid it in future (having the right drugs on hand and taking them before the stake gets driven into my skull would help, yes).

Now I have been vegetarian for some years now, and previous to that was never a great fan of la viande. Give me vegies any day. Love 'em. Love 'em. Love 'em. I don't have just one reason for being vegetarian. It's partly because I object to the animal cruelty that goes with farming pigs and chickens in particular. I believe that grain production would be more sustainable if it fed people rather than animals. I believe it is healthier for me. And I just don't like handling raw flesh and muscle, nor do I much like the taste and texture.

But in my post demonic state, I wondered if a change in diet might somehow make me feel better.

I went to the organic, free-range butcher (well, he's not, but his produce is) and bought a small piece of red stuff. Then I cooked it. And I ate it.

It wasn't too bad. But, to be perfectly honest, I really enjoyed the organic broccoli, asparagus, beetroot and potato better.

Even so, I feel that I have betrayed the cause. Sorry.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A perfect weekend

The perfect start to my weekend is always my local Saturday morning SnB. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 of us, sometime 6 or more. I love it. It sets my weekend up perfectly for other enjoyable activities, like Saturday afternoon baking cookies, with a most engaging kitchen hand. (Yes, her mummy ran the NY marathon and brought her home this Tshirt.)
And Sunday morning out in the pouring rain, unblocking some pipes and drains, and making sure that the runoff is going into the dam. Oh, yes, and jumping in puddles.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Skirting around

In my efforts to find a skirt pattern that (1) fits me well and (2) suits me well, I have been playing with a couple of different designs. I wanted a skirt that has a small yoke, so I tried McCall's 5524 - it has a yoke and a bias skirt. After chopping 30 cm off the length - as it is designed for longer, lankier women - I think it's OK. I even managed to perfect the lapped side zip. Fabric from Michael Levine in LA.
Next I wanted to try a more A-line style, and with a centre back zip. This is Sidonie from BurdaStyle - also cut on the bias.

Notice anything wrong? It's maybe a tad short for me? And it's not even hemmed?! Yes, that's right, while I went to a bit of trouble to make sure I cut the right size, I didn't actually check the length. It is the non-adjusted pattern length, which is usually OK, non? Only if you want to sew a mini skirt, apparently.

I modified the pattern to remove the waistband and replace with facings, so that my bulky middle wouldn't be accentuated. Luckily it's made from a cheap vintage sheet. I'm thinking of adding some lace or broderie anglaise to the hem.

Next project: How to take a decent self-portrait (and remember to replace daggy Tshirt with something a bit more suitable).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Just sayin'

One thing that might be really important if I am going to succeed with sewing my own wardrobe for a year is to learn to insert zips using my lovely newish Pfaff - inserting them easily, correctly, neatly and stress-freely. One thing that might help is to use the zipper foot the right way round. Back to front just doesn't work.