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Today was pretty rotten. I’m not feeling great to begin with – just a cold, I think, but my eczma is flaring up and other physical signs of stress are banging me on the head, so maybe not? I was telling my workmate today that I don’t understand it because I don’t feel stressed… well, no more stressed than usual… She said pointed out that maybe it was not a good sign that that had become normal to be stressed.
Anyway, I was low level ick, depsite putting myself to bed super early last night. And then I had to format a bunch of powerpoints for our suicide prevention program. This is not unusual, the woman who runs the program had to be taught to double click when she first started working for us (true story) so her stuff needs a lot of attention. And while I would appreciate her being a bit more sensitive, by the same token, it’s my job. And I don’t want to not do my job.
But I was surprised by how upset I was. I guess I was feeling fragile to begin with, and that just tipped me over the edge, to the point where I was very glad I am tucked into a corner because a couple times I just gave up and cried at my desk. (If you’re knew and have no idea what I’m talking about, the trauma starts here.)
It was fine, but stressful, and tiring. I had that after-crying feeling where you feel all puffy and vague and slow. So I went home, had a beer, and did some embroidery. Just like last night, come to think of it.
I’m stitching a pattern by the lovely Andrea Zuill. I love her stuff and her blog. I kind of love the way this looks just in texta on the fabric. I’m a complete pleb, I have washable crayola textas that I trace with. I’ve not had a problem with them yet. I’ve been thinking about the bunny queen for a while, ever since I did the deer for my boss for christmas. I always meant to do some more for myself, to keep, and never did. Then I was looking for potential patterns for the tea towel swap, and I went ‘oh, yeah!’. The deer is in a couple of flickr groups and every now and then someone will fave it and I’ll look at it again and think ‘I can’t believe I did that! It looks so… pretty! And awesome!’
Although I really wish I’d ironed the damn thing before I photographed it. I was in a rush, ok?
I did the deer in all backstitch, with a teeny bit of satin stitch and some french knots, cos that was all I knew how to do. Oh, I lie, I did some stem stitch but it turns out I was doing it upside down, so it looked pretty terrible. I’ve been looking at tutes on the intarwubs, and I spent a lot of today on stitch a day and trawling flickr groups. Good lord! There is so much awesome out there.
Starting this meant cleaning up my threads which, as you can SORT of see from the top pics, were in a shambles. Enough that I couldn’t really find what I wanted. Tidying it up felt good. It was wonderful to have it all laid out in order, all that colour and potential just waiting…
Cross stitch was probably my first proper craft, certainly the one I’ve done for the longest – both since I started and in terms of hours spent. Looking for my stuff I came accross bundles of finished and half finished stitching. I really should do something with them. Over the years I’ve ammased a fair few colours. When I was a kid I used to have this fantasy that I would live in the house down the road with all the horse paddocks (someone else would feed the horses) and I would have a whole room with just craft stuff, and a whole rack of threads, like you see in spotlight, only all for me! And thus, the stasher was born.
I’m further along than this now, and I’m pretty excited by how it’s turning out, and by how much fun I’m having.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go choose the next colour before the light goes.
One of my recurring obsessions is Gingham. No idea why, but I love it. On the weekend I braved the Pit of DESPAIR!!!! otherwise known as Spotlight, and bought 4 metres of it. I am thinking maybe a skirt like this:
From Gertie’s blog for better sewing with which I am currently obsessed
I did find some gingham silk in DKs (the above skirt is made of taffeta) and almost had a heart attack on the floor, but it was $42 a metre (I did check the ticket twice because that didn’t seem right) which I couldn’t really justify. But maybe, someday.
I love the way it looks like paint strokes
But 4 metres will do me a shirt, too. I would LOVE a gingham shirt, but I don’t want to look too much like I’m heading down to milk the cows. Just enough like that. So I did a quick search and these two look nice:
From Fred Perry
I especially like the top one, I like the subtleness of both the peter pan collar and the black/red gingham.
And then I saw this photo on the craftzine blog.
It’s from the The Sewing Bible, which I might have to get my grubby hands on. I’d like to flip through it first to get a feel for the projects (the picture in question involves the skirt and not, I suspect, the shirt) but I’d like something like this for when I’m feeling nervous. I still am a bit manic depressive about clothes sewing – I either feel like I can sew ANYTHING EVER, or like everything is not good enough and it’s all too hard. Obviously the truth is somewhere in between. I like the idea of a book I can work through projects on, a bit like the Vogue New Book of Better Sewing that Gertie is working through, I guess.
Anyway, back to the gingham. If I don’t get around to getting my pattern blocks in order in the next few weeks, I might look into this pattern:
(Click on the pic for a link) That might be too many ruffles, but there is a one-layer ruffle option. Speaking of ruffles, there were some doozies on the McCall’s website. Like this. Or this. Or this:
To which my first reaction was ‘sweet jesus god!!! What IS this??’ and my second reaction was ‘contemporary trendsetting designs? REALLY?’
I’m not sure exactly what they mean by ‘contemporary’ (to what??) or ‘trendsetting’ or even, really, ‘designs’, but apparently that’s a ven diagram that includes minkie jumpsuits
That poor tot doesn’t know what to think!
And pet beds
From the stuff by hilary duff collection. I wish I was making this up.
PS, check out all my gingham!
I got to Melbourne a day before the rest of my family. I spent the day wandering around, eating Harajuku crepes and shopping. I freaking love those crepes. The first time I was in China, in SiChuan, we’d get driven into the city from our boarding school on the weekend. Me and Giorgio, one of the teachers. We would go to a Japanese department store whose name escapes me but had a logo of a dove, and I’d get a banana chocolate crepe from the foodcourt in the basement. It was fantastic. That’s what those crepes are. Melbourne Central, if anyone’s interested.
I also sat in Melbourne Central foodcourt looking down on the street and watched a man (a boy, when did I get old?) eat his entire lunch out of his girlfriend’s bosom. Piece by piece. Then in the evening, I caught the tram out to Bek’s house, met her goggeh and kitteh and Hugo (all of whom were very charming), and saw her redecorating which was really very impressive.
The next day my cousin Tess flew in. I love Tess, she’s the best. Except not to live with. But then, I have control issues. Anyway, I walked down from Vic Hall where I stayed that one night (very nice, except that you can’t turn the air con off in your room, only adjust the temperature, so I wake up all snotty and gross) to Uni House where we are staying with the rest of the family.
Tess! Now she’s on the internets!
There had already been some to and fro about the booking (they lost it, found it, moved rooms, forgot how many people we wanted) and I was to book in for everyone since they were getting in late in the evening. We were told that I had to book in in the morning, which I thought was odd, but whatever. When I got there, the lady was really rude to me, told me I couldn’t book in because I wasn’t the person who had booked the room originally, despite this all being pre arranged, spoke to me with a general tone of telling off a naughty child, and then suddenly changed her mind and said I could book in at 2pm. I agreed, stashed my suitcase, and settled in to wait for Tess to join me.
While I was waiting an Indian looking man walked in and started to enquire about lodgings as a student. The woman behind the counter was equally as rude to him. The sticking point mainly seemed to be that he was living somewhere without paying rent, and Uni House would need rent reciepts. This was told to him in a tone of great condescention, like you would address a whiney 5 year old who is asking for the tenth time if we are there yet.
He wasn’t paying rent, he said, because the house he was staying at was owned by the owner of the firm. Or that’s what I heard, anyway. ‘Firm?’ she said. ‘I don’t understant that word.’
‘FIRM. F. A. R. M.’ he replied.
‘Oh, Faym’ (nasal Aussie twang)
‘Yes. I am sorry for my accent, it is a little bit French. Do YOU speak French?’
I thought this was an excellent put down, but she didn’t even blink. ‘Oh no, you don’t have an accent. You just said it wrong.’
I winced and hid behind my book and just after he flounced out in a well done Gallic huff, Tess rocked up and we went for breakfast and then a very pleasant afternoon at the vic markets.
I love my family, but they do fuss so and it was nice to spend some relaxing time with one of the non-fussers.
Initial rudeness aside, Uni Hall was lovely and had a great view of Flinders St Station, which I am completely fascinated with at the best of times.
On Thursday I lay in bed and finished my book (the latest Kerry Greenwood, and very nice it was too, even if it did mirror my own life a little much) while watching three men in pink shirts have an hours long meeting in that window with the newspapers accross the top. They looked very serious and their ties were excellent but I felt that I was the winner in that situation, because I wasn’t wearing pants.
I also watched the commuters. It is nice to watch other people toil while you are free and idle. Poor commuters!
I like airports. And planes. I like trains and train stations. Bus stops, not so much – too ordinary – but planes and trains have so much promise, somehow.
Maybe it’s because they’re the ultimate in in between places. No one lives there, no one owns it, no one really likes it there, no one stays there for long. And yet, such magical moments happen there, such large transitions, farewells, meetings, returnings, exiles.
I love the in between places in life. When you have an epiphany in the shower. When you enter a public toilet stall and suddenly realise that something in your life has shifted and you were too busy thinking about what to have for dinner or how annoying the people you love are to notice but now, suddenly, in the spasming flourescent light, you realise that nothing is the same.
I was sitting in Adelaide airport, that morning a few weeks ago. Free from work, waiting for a long awaited holiday to kick off, feeling the absence of an accustomed weight. I sat opposite two women. They looked vaugely familiar – one looked like my year 9 art teacher, I realised, and one like the younger sister of my ostensible high school ‘best friend’. Then again, it’s Adelaide – they might be people I catch the bus with, or see at the shops. They might by my neighbour’s sister. I am almost certainly connected to them in some way.
You used to have to walk right out on the tarmac at Adelaide airport. Right from the lounge where your family waved you off into the weather. Starting your journey on foot. This is not quite the same, but there is something charming about a rubbish bin on a dolly and a string of flags being all that’s keeping the passengers boarding at the rear from being sucked into the engines.
I was half watching them. They were so different. The one on the left was short, fat, just creeping past middle age. Short red hair, dyed, glasses were a deep, bright metallic colour. Purple, maybe. Dressed the trendy side of expensive. She sat with her hands clasped accross her belly, legs out.
The one on the right was thin and angular, long blonde hair tumbling from her head, plain black thick rimmed glasses. Young – just out of university, maybe. Dressed the expensive side of trendy. The sat perched on her seat, folded up almost, hands draped on her lap or by her sides.
They looked so different, I thought. They must be related – otherwise I wouldn’t expect to see two people whose lives must be so seperate sitting together like that. And then I looked up from my book just as they had obviously finished one of those small conversations you have with someone you know well, while you’re waiting. They were both staring into the distance, half smiles on their lips as if they were savouring the echo of a pleasant thought. And they were eerily similar, the thing that looked out from under their faces was the same.
I don’t know what the moral to that story is.
I love flying. I hate rollercoasters. You know that feeling you get in your stomach, when you’re on a rollercoaster? Or on an aeroplane and there’s turbulance? When I’m on a rollercoaster, a machine built for fun, the clitoris of the mechanical world with no other function… all I can think is that the car is going to come off the tracks and I’m going to dye a horrible death, and then I won’t be that misfortunate person who died a tragic death, I’ll be that idiot who died a senseless death for the sake of a funny feeling in her tummy.
But turbulance on a plane? Love it. Pure joy.
Don’t the fields look like patchwork? A cliche, I know. But those colours – brown and green and purple, more purple in real life. Glorious.
New Twist Collective is up.
Flower quilt, made from thrifted embroidered linens.
I must say, I found it abit disappointing. Nothing really blew my mind this time round – or maybe that’s just because I already have so many things I want to knit, that I’m not so easily excited?
French toile quilt
The more disappointing thing is that everything I liked was in 10ply. Now, I know it’s a thing in the US that most knits are 10 ply, and it’s their autumn, so it makes sense. But I was really enjoying the resurgence of 8 and 5 ply patterns, not only from the point of view of finding yarn subs, but from a practicality point of view – I VERY rarely need an 10 ply jumper. From a warmth or an added bulk point of view.
Maybe I should get over it. I mean, I have two 12 ply jumpers (both open at the front thought) and Rogue is 10 ply. But I just feel like they have limited utility – even in winter, my office is heated so I end up wearing a lighter jumper inside. I don’t need more that I have, whereas there is a large gap in the 8 and 5 ply weight.
The only one that I liked that was 8 ply was tanit’s jacket, which is cute, but… kind of stumpy making, I feel. I just don’t think that one is friendly for the curvy among us. Which is fine, there’s no need for it to be. I guess I could lengthen it, that would help.
Also, I finally uploaded pics of the contemporary quilt book I was talking about earlier. I mean, obviously.
There’s many other nice quilts in there, these were just the ones that tickled my particular fancy. Mostly because, as I said earlier, they are not closely quilted, or not quilted at all. Pretties.
Dear imaginary friends,
Please help. My mother has said she will buy me an overlocker for my birthday/christmas. I am v. excited about this as I am pretending it will make me sew more. (hahahahah). She said to me, I can have whatever I like, jsut tell her what and how much and she will buy it, or else transfer the money and I can buy it. (!!!!)
But I know exactly nothing about overlockers. In fact, I find them vaugely terrifying. I don’t think I need a fancy one, but then, what do I know? Maybe I DO need a fancy one! And I don’t want to buy one and then find out ina few years that I need to upgrade. So, what do you all think I need it to do? What are your experiences with yours? What should I look out for, and what brands do you guys have?
I am thinking that a cap of $1000 is reasonable, I don’t feel comfortable asking for something more than that, unless it’s absolutely necessary to get value, in which case I can pitch in some moneys.
I was in Melbourne, as some of you know, for my cousin’s wedding. The wedding got rained out (it was originally planned ot be in the Pioneer Women’s Gardens) but went fantastically anyhow.
I was knitting Juno for the wedding. I started planning when they announced their engagement, two years ago. It took me just on a year and a half, although there were several periods of no knitting in there.
I finished it the week before we left, which meant I had the weekend to block it. I rule at deadlines.
Here it is on ravelry.
As pretty as the lace on the ends is, I really love the railway track bit in the middle.
I know I’m about the fifty billionth blogger to say this, but blocking lace = SO MUCH AWESOME.
It went from a pretty pile of pretty fibre to…. a THING. So weird. SO magic.
The silk was from Sunshine Yarns. I bought it from their etsy store, which I believe is now closed, but they have a proper internet store. I am seriously tempted to buy more and make another one for myself. But then again, maybe I’ll make Muir or the Seascape Stole, both of which I covet, and have the yarn for.
This heatwave is really taking its toll on my knitting, though. It’s not been below 20 degrees for a week and this week we’ve got two days forecast to be over 40. IN NOVEMBER, I MIGHT ADD.
Last night my mother had a birthday party at her house in the hills. It was the first time my sister and I had been back there since the wake, and I must say I was a bit creeped out by the photoboard she made for that, with photos of my dad, still being up. However, it went quite well, mostly, I suspect, because I hadn’t been thinking about it and therefore hadn’t had a chance to work myself up about how terrible it would be.
Lots has changed and nothing has. It was so strange driving up there, along a road I travelled twice a day for so many years. On the way there, ‘Dr Worm’ by They Might Be Giants came on and everyone was saying ‘oh, this makes me think of the summer I was…’ It reminds me of driving to school with my dad – it would be played once a morning when it was popular and he thought it was ridiculous. I remember arguing with him trying to explain why it was, like, heaps cool and stuff.
But somehow none of that made me anything more than thoughtful. Which was nice.
I also had a lovely chat with my year 2 teachers. Wendy and David job shared, and they are possibly my favourite teachers ever. They have a daughter approximiately my age (I think a year or two older?) who knows my cousin. Ahhh, Adelaide. My mother is and was quite good friends with them. I went to their house a couple of times as a child and while I have a vague memory of the layout and the feel of their house, I have this extremely vivid memory of a spinning wheel sitting in front of the window. I’ve had arguments with my mother about it who doesn’t remember that Wendy spun. I remember looking at this fabulous contraption and not knowing what it was but knowing that it was somehow magical and I wanted in on the secret.
Wendy tells me she used to spin in the playpen, so that her kids couldn’t throw themselves in front of the wheel. We had a good hour or two of natter about knitting, with David joining in. It was absolutely fantastic. How lovely to connect with these people who were so instrumental in my life, of whom I have such fond memories – and now to be able to connect with them as people!
I also got my tatting stuff from my mother. Because what I really need is more craft things lying around the house.
Some things I thought of while writing that last post:
TED talks have this fantastic little snippet especially for WordPress for you to put in your post when you want to embed video. How lovely! I find it not so easy to get things into WordPress.
In that vein, I have discovered that I can copy my photos from flick still, without going into ‘show all sizes’. I just copy it from the front page bit, instead of going into each individual photo. This is actually easier, which is nice.
TED talks are wonderful – I subscribe to the audio podcast and I love them. Not only are there many though provoking and educational talks, I enjoy the sense of the atmosphere of hope and productivity and positiveness that seeps through them. Everyone there is excited and happy, it’s wonderful!
While I was finishing Sahara I listened to a lovely Podcastle episode called Daughter of Botu. It was beautiful, although I guessed the twist of the step mother being a fox far too early. When I was in China there were always these historic costume dramas on, with lovely magical realism and bizarre costumes. Imagine if ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ had been edited by Barbara Cartland, basically. And the women were always turning into foxes. I still don’t get it, but it’s clearly a meme of some sort. Then again, I never really got many European folk tales and their memes, although some of that is because I always heard the bowdlereised version – he cuts him open and they’re still alive in there? Please. Any self-respecting three year old knows that’s bunk. I wonder if that’s why I have this weird fear of being eaten alive and then digested – like, by a python. Or like wasps do to catterpillars. Shudder. Also, clearly the step sisters did not repent. Much more satisfying to roll them down the hill in barrells of spikes.
That is all.