Saturday, January 31, 2009

call it superstitious

but i just had an ack moment when i saw there were 13 posts for january.... can't have that so here is a gratuitous photo of the vietnamese chicken salad we had for dinner

and in a last heatwave comment it has cooled down here considerable - 22 degrees with a velvet breeze :) it's supposed to be 18 degrees tonight - 11 degrees cooler than last night's minimum. here endeth the weather moaning.......

some retail therapy

i went out for a brief respite from the kids (4 days of super hotness plus 3 kids, especially a despotic 4 year old) and mysteriously found myself at gj's......

they don't have air conditioning there so it was a quick survey and pounce on these:
  • 2 metres of chocolate poly cotton
  • a spool of thread in my endless search for the perfect turquoise
  • 4 spools of ribbon, on sale at $2 a spool
  • and another silicon thimble (i think bill must be eating them - this is my fourth or fifth. they do look like sweeties, don't they?)
i hope to get some sewing done before i go back to work on tuesday - the heatwave splatted my plans for a nice relaxed mix of sewing, creativity and cruising bookshops and cafes.

and i don't think i have shown my camera bag before?
i made this little bag using an almost impenetrable pattern i bought at a quilt show about 5 years ago and some vintage kimono scraps. it has housed silk embroidery threads for the last few years but proved to be the perfect size for my birthday/cmas camera from urbane scrumping. :)

it got worse

remember thursday was hot? unbearably hot, the chooks were drooping and we lost power....

well, it got worse. according to the car and the northcote rsl temperature gauge it was 48 degrees at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon and 10% humidity. it was so hot in melbourne that a house caught fire from the heat coming through a window! the big ferris wheel at docklands and the train tracks melted.

w and i went to the local shopping centre to get in supplies and to take advantage of their air conditioning. except they had turned it down - the government asked everyone to use less power after midday as the power resources were being stretched so the air inside the shops was better than outside but still quite warm.

the longed for 'cool change' came about 5.30 and the temperature dropped to 35 degrees which felt like a blessing. i took e and w to the pool again although they weren't letting anyone in when we arrived as tempers had flared and a group of disengaged yoof had had a stoush in the cafe. the poor bloke on the door saw our mute overheatedness and relented and let families in for nothing!

then the power went off - across the state! apart from 'power shedding' (rolling power cuts with no warning) an important part of the system exploded and cut off the main power cable supplying most of melbourne and some of the bigger country areas. luckily we have gas cooking and hot water but it was a bit scary not knowing what was happening or when things were going to come back on. we ate dinner outside on the trampoline as the house was still gaspingly hot and it was much cooler outside.

as an indicator of the heat and its effects, last night billthdog didn't fancy his dinner. he forced down a grape or two but preferred to lie on the floor panting. toby, with his plushy black coat, is also feeling the heat and is lying on his back on the floor.
i feel a bit self-indulgent complaining of the heat this week when other people have had it much tougher - 10 houses have burnt in the bushfires in gippsland, at least one country town has completely run out of water, adelaideans will have 40+ temperatures for at least another week and something truly, unspeakably dreadful happened on the west gate bridge on thursday.

it has been a bad week but right now we have power, water and gas, we're safe from bushfires and most importantly we have kids to hug (when it gets cooler, of course).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

46 degrees

i kid you not - the northcote rsl and the car both said it was 46 at 4.30 as we went to the northcote pool and still 46 when we came home more than 2 hours later.......

the trip to the pool was prompted by the power going off at 3.30 - within 15 minutes the house felt like a sauna. the pool was lovely although if you unwisely lifted your head over the parapet of the pool wall you were assaulted by a blast of hot northerly that scoured your face......

before we left home i did a quick check of chook health and was not surprised to see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego strolling about.
the trees are all wilting
and even the tallest weed is looking poorly


you may already be aware of this but it is bastard hot here in victoria - we're on day 2 of a 3 possibly 4 days in a row heatwave of 43 degrees. i just went out to collect the post and it literally feels like an oven - i'm sure i could cook scones on the roof.

poor billthedog is slumped on the floor, the cats vamoosed early this morning and i am worried the chooks won't make it through in spite of extra water and the quick hose spraying i gave them to their great indignation.

melbourne's infrastructure is also falling apart in the heat - yesterday the rail tracks buckled in the middle of the city and we are expecting power cuts. last night it didn't "cool down" to 29 degrees until 3am.: we went for a drive in the air conditioned capsule at 10pm when it was still 37 degrees....

i couldn't sleep so i got up and read compulsively until 3.30am - a friend gave me a patricia cornwell novel. i had heard of the kay scarpetta books but not read one before and i don't think i will be reading another. it's brilliantly written and absolutely compelling but it completely terrified me! trying to sleep after reading about a serial killer who tortures and kills women in their beds.........

on a brighter note i have read 2 brilliant novels by patrick gale over the last week and a bit - notes from an exhibition and rough music. i had read some of his earlier novels in the 90s and thought they were good but the latest ones are beautifully written and quite unputdownable.

of course having devoured the kay scarpetta book i am back to having une crise du livre - nothing to read......

and in wip news i started something completely different - a small handstitched piece - pics to come.

in the meantime here is the ever uber-photogenic toby (molly is just as photogenic but still combines elusivity witht quick silverness and is very hard to capture on film)
*****just did a quick chook check and they are sitting under the nectarine tree, beaks open but they seem to be ok. i also scooped up the cats who were under the fig tree and brought them inside. it's still 32 degrees in here, even with the poor old air conditioner chugging away, but that's 10 degrees better than outside. i could feel my contacts melting onto my eyeballs - yech.... hot hot day with a fierce northerly wind usually means bushfires - i hope all my country living friends are ok?

and i just checked the age and it's 43 degrees right now. and the hottest part of the day is yet to come....

4 weeks until autumn

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

i succumbed....

to the blandishments of this

the earliest hot cross bun i have ever eaten.

and it was lovely

Monday, January 26, 2009

creativitus interruptus

in keeping with the fallowness of this month creativity has been fairly muted chez seahorse. the sock have temporarily stalled (i took the sock with me to mallacoota but left the pattern behind - d'oh!) but the 600 gazillion hours of driving meant that i did 2/3 of the back of the gisela cardi that i'm knitting in elsebeth lavold hempathy.
and i did some stitching on the felted piece i made last week
here are some more felting experiments
this one is 2 layers of wool roving felted onto a piece of flywire. there are some mohair tops, a small amount of silk and some dyed silk bits (can't remember what they are called but they are the crimson bits that look like string)

and this one (which has too much silk and needs some more work)
this one similarly has an excess of silk and needs more work
this one is destined to be a solomon piece and has silk ribbon felted into it

Sunday, January 25, 2009

back from the beach

feet and waves
Originally uploaded by textileseahorse
we're back from a few days at mallacoota in the eastest part of the state. we drove there on the hottest day of the summer so far - 42 degrees when we stopped for lunch at lakes entrance. it was so hot the road was melting. thank goodness for air conditioned cars.

mallacoota is as far east as you can get - 20 something kilometres off the main highway and buried deep where the bush meets the sea. it was very quiet despite the full camping ground that lies along the shore of the inlet.

highlights included:

  • walking along the beach at twilight
  • watching a and e boogie board for hours
  • a having his first surf and actually being able to stand up on the board
  • w playing in the estuary
  • watching all 6 kids play and shriek around the big garden
  • reading reading reading
  • the local seafood (including the mussel that w was given while we watched the fishermen at eden wharf clean their catch - it was accepted gratefully at the time and disposed of quietly when we got home). on that same trip to eden (which is a port about 70 kms north of mallacoota) we visited the killer whale museum which was like stepping back 40 years. the carefully lettered signs were clealry original and would count as vintage and there were generous helpings of the work of some ancient local poet. the only reference to the local Aboriginal population was a display devoted to the noble savage written by that same local poet....
  • watching the amazing evening thunderstorms and lightning flashes over the mountains
  • seeing the pleiades (my favourite constellation) and the amazing wash of the milky way
lowlights - the most uncomfortable bed i have ever tried to sleep on, the abundant mozzie population and the loooooong drive to get there.
but the ocean - i love the energy and detached power of the ocean, the feeling of being at the mercy of a ceaseless, careless, huge something. and as w said after his first inadvertant mouthful of the briny - the sea tastes like oysters...

Monday, January 19, 2009


i have decided that january can be my fallow month - no pressure to make anything in particular, no deadlines or rules, just playing.

i have made some modest progress with my socks - i decided to use miriam's razorshell sock pattern (i'll use the wendy dennis yarn i bought at the colac visitor information centre last week to make the broadripples i think. the broadripple pattern is for dk wool and the gorgeous uluru coloured wool is sock weight...) the colac visitor information centre is very good by the way - friendly but not overbearing volunteers, a good range of local products (such as wendy dennis yarn) and clean lavatories.

(this post may be a bit random as i have just consumed a small bottle of strongbow cider and am feeling a bit owlish. the alcohol is fuming woolly thoughts through my brain necessitating very careful typing {it feels rather like an internal angora beret}. and i promise i won't moan about how hot it is - 38 degrees and hot for the rest of the week. which reinforces what a daft idea colonialism was. my body was not meant for this climate)

i did have a go at some more washing machine felting - with rather mixed results. note to self: superwash roving will not felt, no matter how many trips it makes through the washing machine and dryer (with other stuff i hasten to add - i am not being reckless with water). my plan is make a few of these pieces and then do other stuff to them - embroidery, beads, embellishment, even the basis for a burnt quilt instead of blanketing or felted jumper.

tomorrow we are off to mallacoota for a few days (don't worry - my brother is moving in to look after billthedog, die katzendrei and the chooks while we're gone) a 6 hour drive east to stay in a mudbrick house with the rest of urbane scrumping's extended family. i have packed my crafting bag with The Sock, a felted piece that is destined to be the next in the alice quilt series and a small piece of raw silk that might or might not be used to practise on.

and in some exciting news, i am going to take some long service leave in july/august and we are going to go back to central australia for a couple of weeks! i am so looking forward to going back and just being in the desert. it is a magical, mystical place and i hope to come back with ideas for the next wave of alice quilts.

here is a picture of the current wip - in real life the colours are brighter and richer but photoshop is not to hand at the moment and i'm not sure if i could drive it even if it were (the cider is till seeping through the cortex) it's an alice quilt, felted onto silk and i am embroidering it with a range of silk, wool, rayon and cotton threads. i especially like the bumpy bits and will be stitching around them to emphasise the gibbery texture, so like the country around alice springs
(see bottom left 2 of the set of 6 aluminium spice tins i bought at 'know your product' in westgarth - fabulous shop, full of relics from the 60s and 70s)

Monday, January 12, 2009


i could felt some of that delicious roving like this.......
susan was right in her comment - i did give her my spinning wheel thinking that my dodgy back wouldn't allow me to spin again. but my Mother gave me her lovely sheridan wheel last winter and i felt the spinning addiction kick in. i just have to be careful not to do too much as spinning and dodgy back do not mix.

i spent an afternoon with dijanne yesterday at her second 'wonga day' - read cups of tea, careful examining of quilts, knitting and coming away with the stunning traveller's blanket, a piece of hand dyed muslin and dijanne's second book of alternatives to stippling. and some extra goodies including a new felting technique using the washing machine. which of course i tried out as soon as i could and it works wonderfully.

i see more roving in my future.....

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

silk yarn

i'm getting the itch to do some spinning - i spun this silk and wool mix last winter. (roving from the victorian hand spinners and weavers guild in the autumn colour mix)


i decided that, as in many situations, winnie the pooh was the best guide for such a dilemma. if in doubt choose both.

so just as pooh decided to have both honey and condensed milk (but no bread so as not to seem greedy) i am going to knit a broadripple sock and then exercise my option to knit the second sock as a toe up feather and fan.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

sock dilemma

i bought this gorgeous sophie's toes sock yarn from emily last month - the photo doesn't capture the depth and range of colours in this yarn, it is just luscious.

and i have some smoooooth knit picks double pointed needles freshly bought from sunspun this day.

so what's the problem?

i can't decide which pattern to use to turn this beautiful yarn into beautiful socks. i'm sick of knitting plain socks but am not quite up to a complicated pattern yet. it needs to be something i can put down and not get lost - something i can knit on the tram or in front of the tv that will survive the thousand and one interruptions that flavour my life.

my sister suggested the broadripple socks and i'm considering them or this feather and fan pattern - any advice?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 - resolutions?

upside down me
Originally uploaded by textileseahorse

i have been thinking about possible resolutions for the new year and came up with the usual assortment of do more this and less that and i assembled quite a potentially self-punishing list.

and then this afternoon i thought 'i think i will just enjoy being me'.

so i will try to be the best me possible, guard the karma and keep looking at things from a different perspective

happy new year all and sundry - and try to be kind to yourself, other people and the planet