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Archive for December, 2006

um…

Choir was interesting last night. I seem to have established myself as the resident knitter. I was arranging my music – we have a new order for the last two performances for the year, when most people came in. At least ten of them asked where the knitting was, one woman actually asked for the pattern that I was knitting – it’s a free internet pattern so I don’t feel bad about passing that along. I’ve converted another one.

There was nearly blood shed last night too: One older gentleman came up and asked what I was knitting, I told him it was a baby’s jersey for Hottentots Holland Hospital Helpers. He then PATTED me on the stomach (don’t touch me you freak) and commented that he couldn’t see anything in there. I’m telling you if all four dpns hadn’t been engaged I’d have stabbed him in the hand.

Moving right along… The gifted knitting needles do fit in the container that I use to store my needles

This originally held a calendar that my MIL brought for us when she was working in China. The calendar went up in my classroom at school – I was teaching Chinese History and I kept the container for my knitting needles. I also used one of the pages in the calendar to cover  a shoe box which now holds my (rarely used) rubber stamps.

Problem is, this is now full to the point of bursting, so I need to make a needle roll. I have the fabric that I want to use, but I’ve only ever seen needle rolls on-line and never in person. I’m not sure how hard it will be to create one from scratch. I’m thinking I might have to play with some scrap material before cutting up the good stuff.

In all my free time of course…

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We had our inaugural braai (South African for barbecue) on Sunday. We broke in our new BBQ with a small gathering of friends and a lot of food!. Since the men cooked, I got to sit, chat, drink coffee and work on thisI think that in my joy at finding self-striping sock yarn, I may have picked up different dyelots, but they don’t match so it shouldn’t matter too much. These are my ’round the house and watching tv socks’. I need to finish some of the charity items before I venture back to the LYS to buy the dpns I need to make jaywalkers. I did the toe shaping and finishing after everyone had gone home, I can’t talk and shape yet.

I feel a bit odd about doing this, but some of you have been asking, so Gorgeous Man has set this up for me (I’m not technologically literate enough). If you would like to hear my track from the cd you can go here.

The cover of the cd, this is taken on our campus.

Tonight is the penultimate rehearsal before the Carols by Candlelight, and I’m going to go, and smile nicely…

Typepad and Livejournal hate me. I have been trying to leave comments to folks that I normally visit, but keep getting a message telling me that I have been identified as spam and can’t post. Any ideas on solving that one?

Please spare a thought for the bushfires in Australia today.

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The first Christmas cards from Australia arrived today, which was very nice. It’s lovely to hear from old friends, most of whom have been pretty slack this year since we’ve been away. It always interests me when you move away from your friends, sometimes people you don’t expect keep in touch really well and others who you were quite close to don’t.

Anyway moving on to the bounty. My step-mother-in-law (hello G) sent me this, It’s going up in my office. Very cool.

I also got given this today, a bunch of knitting needles. One of Gorgeous Man’s colleagues is retiring and they are moving and downsizing, after over 30 years in the one house they have a lot of downsizing to do! At last I’m seeing some advantages to moving house/state/country every few years, you only keep what is really important to you and jettison most of the superfluous stuff, but I digress.

His lovely wife gave me her entire knitting needle collection! Apparently they have been sitting idle for years, she told me all she ever made was a jersey for her and one for one of her children, her husband was complaining the other day that she never made him a jersey, I told them about the curse of the boyfriend sweater and that seemed to make him feel better.

There are sizes in there that I don’t have and the shiny plastic ones are really heavy and I’ve never seen them before, I think they might be old. I hope I’ll be able to fit them all into my knitting needle container. I’ll show a picture of that in the next post since I think it’s kind of cool.

I don’t understand the local weather patterns here. Yesterday it was well over 30 degrees c (about 75F), today is cold and rainy and I’ve got the heater on. Oh well, I guess I’ll be able to wear my completed socks sooner than expected.

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Thanks to everyone for your comments regarding the whole performance issue. I’ve decided to take the path of least resistance and do what is asked of me with a smile.

There is always next year, and musically I’ve achieved a lot this year. If you had of told me last year that I’d be on a cd this year I’d have laughed at you.

The cd goes on sale this week. It’s being used as a fundraiser for a pipe organ. I’ve ordered 7 copies, there’s the Christmas shopping for the family done. It’s not just singing, there are beautiful violin, viola and cello trios that make me want to weep and some piano pieces as well. Quite a classical feel.

Second sock continues to progress, though not as quickly as I’d like, life keeps getting in the way.

We have dinner guests tonight, a colleague of Gorgeous Man and his wife, so I guess no sock knitting, curtain making or quilting tonight either.

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More on Australian politics

This is why I like Kevin Rudd, he is an scholar, a historian and a believer in social justice. If you don’t want to read the whole essay, try just the final two paragraphs.

Several of the issues mentioned are uniquely Australian, happy to provide background if you are curious.

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But first the good news: Kevin Rudd won his challenge for Labor leadership in Australia yesterday! Wooo Hoo. I think we may just have a chance at unseating John Howard and the Liberal Party in the next election now.

I am a big fan of Kim Beazely but I think he is too hampered by the memory of previous election defeats. Kevin Rudd was my local member of parliament in Australia. The school I used to work for was also in his electorate and he was very involved with our school and sponsored the Foreign Language Award each year. He has an excellent understanding of Asia, and speaks several languages, including Chinese. I think he’ll make an excellent Prime Minister, unlike our current lapdog of George Bush, John Howard. I’m just saying…

Now on to the disappointing bit. A few weeks ago I posted about how I was going to fulfill a childhood dream and sing at the local Carols by Candlelight, well, yesterday I was bumped off the stage.

One of the things about combining choirs is that it brings diverse people together. One of the choirs that joined with us brought a soloist who sings for a career – she’s done Phantom etc. She has a lovely voice and is a very nice person (which kind of makes it worse really), and has been the choir’s soloist for other songs we have done in performanes up ’til now.

Anyway, to cut a long story short they have decided to get her to sing and have me as the understudy. It was supposed to be the other way around. Now if I’d known from the start that I was going to understudy, or even to ‘just’ be part of the choir then this wouldn’t be a problem. But to be asked to do something and then have it taken away before they have even tried putting it together with the choir really kind of stings. Not to mention the fact that I look like a delusional liar because I’ve told people that I’m singing at this event.

We have two performances left. The Carols by Candlelight and a church service with a tiny very small congregation. I’ve been asked to sing the same song, the day after Carols at the church service. I’m in two minds about this. The first part of me says, that I’ve always wanted to sing the song and this is my chance. The other part says, that the church performance is like throwing a bone to a dog and that the choir will be used to singing with her and if I sing the day after comparisons will inevitably be made, and I’d be better off telling the choir director to let the soloist do both.

The thing is, I actually think that my voice is better suited to the song and the location.

I found this out after choir yesterday. I think it was as much of a surprise to my director as it was to me as he told me on Sunday that I was going to be the soloist. Even though there was only the four of us there talking about it, the woman who made the decision kept speaking in Afrikaans even though she is an English first language South African. Finally I said “Can you speak English, it’s only the four of us and I have a right to understand what you are saying since this involves me.” Once I worked out that I wouldn’t be singing I left them to sort out the musical details and went to the car.

In the car on the way home I had a bit of a cry, then said a lot of a few bad words. When I got home guess what I did,

Worked on the second sock. I worked on it until I had, as Gorgeous Man said, stopped scowling at the sock. No second sock syndrome for me. I want those suckers on my feet!

So here’s the dilemma:

1. Do I make a fuss and look like a diva and put the very nice soloist in the same situation that I’m now in?

2. Eat humble pie and sing at the smaller event and risk comparisons etc?

3. Go back to being a simple choir member and forget that I was offered the chance to fulfill childhood dreams?

Thoughts would be appreciatated. Gorgeous Man is opting for number 1.

I think I’m more stressed about this than I’m letting myself believe as I woke up with stress excema on my arm this morning and that’s always a sure sign that I need to just let go.

Sorry to be so whingy, back to positive self tomorrow, or the next day, no promises…

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The first ever sock is finished. I’m pleased to report that it fits perfectly, though there are a few modifications that I will make next time.

There are a few holes on one side of the heel, but not the other, and I need more ribbing at the top. I’d also like to try a different heel. I have to thank Silver’s sock class for the excellent tutorial that made the process really, really, easy.

The yarn is local yarn – Sidar, made in Turkey for a German company, they have a total of 5 colourways and that is the extent of self-striping sock yarn available here (that I have found so far).

My constant requests for self-striping sock yarn at the LYS  have paid off – one of the the LYS’ is now stocking it, but is selling it for 12 Rand more than the store in Belville. One has to way petrol and convenience… On another positive note, they also got in a shipment of quality yarn to knit with, not just the fancy fur crap stuff that is so popular here. So they must be listening to my grumbles.

Speaking of finds, ny local grocery store has started stocking the organic fair trade chocolate that we used to buy from the Oxfam store in Australia, so I’m very happy about that, and the big supermarket at the mall has started stocking organic fair trade coffee. This is a big deal to me since the coffee and chocolate industries are two of the biggest exploiters on the planet and I love both products. Now I can indulge with a clear conscience.

I found the missing needle… in the interests of complete honesty I should confess that I had forgotten that I had used it as a stitch holder for another project… moving right along.

I’m very tempted by jaywalkers, will this pattern be too difficult for my second pair of socks?

Sock knitting is so addictive, watching the patterns emerge is so cool. I’m a sucker for self-striping yarn at the best of times so this is like heaven for me.

I have to make curtains for the spare room. My MIL and her husband arrive on Friday, so knitting the second sock will have to be limited to in the car and choir practice when they talk at length in Afrikaans and I’m given a 4 word summary in English at the end.

The cd with me on it will be ready this week and because they have decided to press so many of them the price has come down considerably, which is good since the parents are requesting copies for Christmas. Yes, I have to buy my own copies, it’s a fundraiser, and I’m not the only person on it.

This seems to have turned into a knitting only blog. I do quilt, I promise. Hope to have a quilting block to show in the next day or three.

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