Tuesday, February 28, 2006


jane austen was my age when she died. as tom lehrer said "when mozart was my age he had been dead for 3 years" or something like that. seriously it does make you feel a tad mediocre.

i've just finished reading claire tomalin's brilliant biography of ms austen and it is warm and compassionate and witty. i loved her biography of samuel pepys too

today i have folded washing, put washing in the machine, hung out washing and contemplated what has still to be washed - i feel like mrs tiggywinkle :(

i have also
  • fed the cumquat, lemon and seville orange trees
  • tended to my sick with a bad cold A
  • watched bear in the big blue house with W
  • worried over E's hat whihc i'm afraid will be too big for her
  • lay in the big bed with W getting him to sleep while finishing the jane austen bio
  • surfed the net looking for fabulous fleece artist yarn and also blue moon fibre arts yarn, both of which i covet deeply and jealously and neither of which are sold in oz. i must remind myself of my stash and lack of money and look forward to the bendigo sheep and wool show in july

5 things i did on the weekend....

kath is asking what 5 things you did on the weekend. here are mine:
  1. Friday night did the supermarket shopping with 8 year old E who has a different view of what we reeeeely need to eat - we stuck to the discipline of the List and only bought a few treats
  2. Saturday morning back to the physio to get the week's kinks ironed out of my back
  3. then to Psarakos market to buy wonderful fruit and veg (including the most beautiful mauve and white patterned baby eggplant, baby red peppers, a bag of apples and fabulous end of summer fruit - nectarines, mangoes, peaches, grapes.... then swung by the fish shop for a smoked trout and a dozen oysters, and the butcher for beef mince and diced blade steak which became spag bol sauce and goulash respectively later in the afternoon
  4. my cousin Peter came for dinner and M made dhal, chicken and beef curries and other lovely things. I made raspberry cake for dessert.
  5. Sunday morning was book group at the Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder where I put away a disgracefully large breakfast of poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, bacon and mushrooms.... and of course we talked about The Book which this time was Jane Eyre. I hadn't read it since I was at uni and had forgotten how wonderful Charlotte Bronte's writing is. Next book Portrait of a Lady...

Sunday, February 26, 2006


it's been a bit quiet here - due to back constraints i haven't been doing any sewing. although i'm doing my physio exercises and starting pilates soon so i hope to be back to the quilting soon.

i did finish susan's pincushion though:

i've also been knitting - a pair of socks, a hat for A and i've started a hat for E. Hat for W will be next and then a shrug for me. hopefully by then the jo sharp silkroad dk that i ordered from knitter's workshop be will be here so i can knit this in a lovely green called cedar i think.

the spring interweave knits arrived this week and i can't say i was inspired to make any of the projects in it. i do like reading the ads though....

on the other hand my across australia catalogue arrived this week too and the quilts in this exhibition are mind blowing. see details here at the curator dijanne cevaal's blog
and in the new down under quilts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


last week i made this huswif/sewing kit,
based on the pattern here and using some amy bliss fabric.

doesn't 'huswif' have a great medieaval chaucerian sound to it?

the pincushion has a kitchen steel soap pad inside to keep pins and needles sharp and rustfree (a tip i got from the scquilters' list)and the needlecase has raw silk 'leaves'. i ironed interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric to stiffen and strengthen it slightly but didn't want the bulk of batting.

i'm also brewing a plan to enter a piece in the Wool Quilt Prize. i could salvage some disastrously felted socks that were beautiful until washed (note to self do NOT use jo sharp dk for socks ever again). entries don't have to be in until july and i quickly sketched an idea this morning so this might be a goer. and of course there's nothing more galvanising than a new project....

in my defence i can't use the sewing machine for a bit as some overenthusiastic weeding has sent me to the physio for my back..... that old slipped disc is at it again and machine sewing is really bad for it.

knitting and hand sewing i can do standing up. once it has calmed down a bit i'm going to do some pilates to try and tame it.

off to brood over some of my felted wools...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

productive? moi?

after some angst the borders on the convergence quilt are done (i was going to do mitred borders but something went terribly wrong - so we have 'normal' unmitred ones - don't ask). as this is going to hang in michael's office the quilting needs to be as good as i can make it so i have been practising my free motion quilting and guess what - having a darning foot makes all the difference :) the quilt is made using ricky tims' convergence method which is like magic - you have to be careful and not mix up your strips and follow his directions to the letter to get the effect.

on the knitting front i have finished one of michael's socks using bendigo wool mill's rustic 8 ply - i'll take a pic when i have finished the other one, hopefully by next weekend.

i also made a hat for my niece who turns 1 tomorrow (happy birthday lillian!) out of the most pretty but most god awful mohair acrylic mix that i have ever had the misfortune to knit with. it was a lovely swirly pink and white fluffy yarn that was sticky and hard on my hands and i hated working with it so much that i didn't want a photot to remind me of the pain of knitting with it. there was half a skein left when i finished the hat and it gave me great pleasure to throw it (the leftover wool not the hat) in the bin. the hat looked pretty and the pattern is great, easy to follow and fast to knit - it's dylan's hat from leigh radford's alterknits. i'll use it to knit a hat for w - with some lovely soft handspun from the spinners and weavers guild

Monday, February 06, 2006

monday night poem

Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.