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Archive for April, 2007

Proof that I did knit (and quilt) while Gorgeous Man was away. This is a Debbie Bliss pattern, with two strands of local yarn held together. It’s pretty cute and I’ll probably end up making one for me. This is destined for a friend who is due any day now (we’ve been saying that for the last 2 weeks). I’m waiting to see if the child is a boy or a girl before sewing on buttons.

I’m currently knitting a baby v-necked jumper for my baby.

This is the back, and this is a close-up of the yarn. This is local yarn.

Fat Boy continues to use his blanket –

I’ve since shifted it onto the couch and he is very happy. He’s not going to be happy next week when he goes back to the vet to check the progress with the leg. He is a little phobic about the car…

We had another appointment with the Ob/Gyn yesterday and another scan – picture will be uploaded when it’s been digitalised. I was pleased to discover that I can hire a TENS machine for labour, and a new maternity shop has opened this week in our area. We drove straight there and came home with some clothes – pictures to follow.

Tomorrow is Freedom Day – celebrating the first multi-racial elections in South Africa in 1994 that brought an end to apartheid and elected Nelson Mandela to power. We are going to take advantage of the long weekend and visit Ado Elephant park (about 4 – 5 hours away) and spend the weekend there. Hopefully we’ll have good weather and there’ll be lots of pictures when I return.

I’ve narrowed my scarf – using the beautiful silk Gorgeous Man brought down to three possible patterns:

It’s a wrap

fircone triangular shawl

and

iris shawl

I’d be interested to know what you think…

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Gorgeous Man made it home safely last night, a little tired and worn out, but in one piece. I have to admit I felt a little like a member of a cargo cult once he started unpacking and passing on gifts.

Let’s start with the stuff for the offspring. This I knew was coming. Gorgeous Man likes it because it got good reviews, me because it was purple…

The getting of this pram is a whole blog post on its own. I will say here a huge thanks to Gorgeous Man’s online friend W who consented to have it (and assorted other goodies) sent to his house.

Next gifts for the offspring,

A t-shirt from the space centre in Huntsville, Alabama and a book (of course) from the Native American Museum in Washington DC. We are collecting quite a few books that tell stories from around the world, and this one is just lovely.

I placed an order on e-bay for this yarn

10 balls of Yarn Treehouse. This is going to be a diagonal baby blanket. It’s a bit chunkier than I anticipated, so I have to go and buy some enormous sticks fatter needles.

Because I have a thing for bookmarks

“I cannot live without books” Truer words were never said.

I suspected that Gorgeous Man had made a trip to a LYS in DC when he left a comment on the blog saying that it wasn’t too cold. He out-did himself.

Online sock yarn from Germany. When I commented that I’d get two socks out of each ball I was told that this is for offspring cardigan. The lady in the LYS showed him a pattern using this yarn. Now I have to find a comparable pattern online…

and this is the crowning glory

Mulberry silk – 5 balls of it. I’m thinking some sort of lace shawl. I’m new to lace knitting so any ideas and pattern suggestions would be most welcome. Gorgeous Man did suggest a baby blanket, but this yarn is all mine.

However, the best present was just having him home.

With the return of the camera there will be some Finished Objects and Works in Progress tomorrow.

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Gorgeous Man is due home tonight. I’m a bit excited. He’s bringing me some cool stuff, so there’ll be some pictures tomorrow.

I had a nice quiet weekend at home working on various projects. I got some knitting for a jumper for the offspring done, I worked on a sock for charity, I got some more of the giraffe quilt block stitched down and I started a crochet blanket for the pram. Since Gorgeous Man is bringing back the camera tonight there will be pictures of all projects soon.

Fat Boy has been using his rug, but only until I sit down. Then he wants to sit on me…

I also finished book number 21 for the year.

21. Mao – The Unknown Story –  by husband and wife team Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. They certainly had access to a very impressive range of people and sources. Because Jung Chang is a novelist this reads more like a novel than a historical biography and there are some claims that cannot possibly be verified, such as stress over Mao caused Stalin’s fatal stroke in 1953, and that Mao was the inspiration behind the Berlin Wall. On the whole though a very sobering read, the sheer number of lives lost boggles the mind – 70 million dead as a direct result of Mao’s policies during his lifetime. This number is a little higher than many historians allow.

This book will appeal to the general reader and the historian.

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I had my first ‘tummy rub’ today (not from a stranger, I don’t look that pregnant yet). Is it permissible to haul back and punch in the face when this happens? I don’t like being touched by people outside of my close circle at the best of times – it’s only been recently that I’ve gotten over my whole aversion to hand shaking…

This is only going to get worse right?

Finally sorry to the person who found their way to this blog by searching “make me gorgeous” – no beauty tips here 🙂

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I got photos this morning from Gorgeous Man. First, proof he is using the scarf

This is him on the steps of the Library of Congress – where he spent most of his time while in DC.

Proof that there are some signs of spring about.

And some pictures from the museum he visited on the weekend, note the sewing content.

Today he heads for Alabama, and the conference which is the purpose of the trip.

Self imposed rotation of crafts continues to work well. Yesterday was quilt day I worked on a giraffe block. Starfish I can’t tell you what a difference having those proper applique needles that you sent in the Favourite Colour Swap makes! Thank you once again. I only got half the block appliqued down though as I was feeling a little weary and ill and went to bed early. I then spent half the night up with (what they call here) a running stomach…Not feeling too crash hot this morning, but I should be able to make it through the day. I probably won’t make it to choir rehearsal though.

Tonight is knitting for charity night and I’m working on the second sock for Hottentots Holland Hospital Helpers. This was gifted by Shelly and was some of the yarn she was inundated with when the Yarn Harlot asked knitters to bury her house in yarn.

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Last autumn, the embankment outside my office was covered with little pink flowers whose faces follow the sun. They only flower for one day and are then replaced by others. As I was walking across campus today I noticed that they are back. Unfortunately no camera…

Yesterday was “Knitting for me day”. I pulled out the yarn stash (yes, my entire stash of personal yarn is contained in one plastic tub), and after much deliberation decided on a yarn (black, white and grey plied together – I’ll need to get some more though, what a shame, another trip to the yarn store) and a pattern: a simple v-necked jumper for the offspring.

I actually knitted a tension square. I know it is called a gauge swatch elsewhere, but in this case tension square suits it perfectly. I needed 22 stitches to 10cm. I got 20, so I switched to smaller needles, next size down and got 24, back up to the original needles and got 23. One stitch on a baby’s sweater won’t matter right? Right?

So I got lots of knitting done, but not much on the actual jumper.

Tonight is quilting night (under my new self-imposed rotation of projects). I’m girding my loins to attack the applique again. But first I have to put away the yarn stash and assorted knitting tools, vacuum and do a load of dishes. Don’t you hate it when reality interferes with crafting? I’m enjoying the applique process, I find it very relaxing, but my results, to be honest, are less than stellar.

My next-door neighbour quilts – sometimes (she’s in the process of finishing a quilt top she started 20 years ago – she does lots of embroidery and stuff like that), anyway she came over yesterday with 2 metres of material she found in the fabric store that she couldn’t resist – for the offspring. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. When I get the camera back I’ll post a picture here and ask for ideas.

There has been stash enhancement by proxy. I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to buy some yarn off ebay, have it posted to a friend Gorgeous Man is going to meet up with in Alabama, and have him bring it home. (Good thing too since it’s been too cold to go exploring in DC at the moment). It’s arrived and is waiting for Gorgeous Man to pick it up. Most exciting, and no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending him all the way to the States to get me yarn…

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Fat Boy is not a smoocher. He loves to be brushed, but being picked up and held, or snuggling on a lap is not his thing. Occasionally he will scoot between the two of us on the couch or sit on Gorgeous Man’s lap, but not often. All this has recently changed. Since becoming pregnant my cat has had a personality transplant. Every. time. I. sit. down. the cat is wanting to be on my lap. Now that’s not too bad, I can knit or applique around him, most of the time. He usually ignores the yarn or needles and if he gets too interested a simple no usually means that he ignores them again.

However, yesterday he went too far, I guess he’s preparing me for the complete lack of privacy that apparently comes with being a parent. He pushed open the bathroom door and tried to sit on my lap while I was in there. TMI?

On the injury front, he’s obviously feeling better since he jumped out of the bedroom window (very) early this morning. Unfortunately he was unable to get back inside, so guess who had to get up and let him in…

I’ve finished the baby cardigan for my friend who is (literally) due any day. It’s come up well cuffs, neck and button band are in moss (seed) stitch, it’s a Debbie Bliss design, but I knitted it in acrylic I found here, two strands held together, light purple and white. I’m waiting to see if she has a boy or a girl before I add buttons. Pictures to come when Gorgeous Man and my camera return. Not sure I love the pattern enough to repeat it for myself though.

I’ve decided to acknowledge that I’m not very good at working on multiple projects. I tend to get obsessed by one thing, so I’ve decided to try an experiment and break the days of the week into different projects that I want to complete, yes I’m a touch OCD. So Monday night is choir rehearsal (no crafting, but I’ll probably knit a few rows before going to bed) and Tuesday night is going to be knitting for me, Wednesday to work on the quilts I want to make for the offspring, and so on and so forth. Hopefully this will increase productivity across the spectrum of crafts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Gorgeous Man is still freezing in DC. In a few days time he’ll be heading to Alabama where, hopefully, it’ll be a little warmer.

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When I was younger I believed that I was fat (oh to have that figure now…). This belief was ‘helped’ in part by my very tall, thin friends. I also mistakenly believed that the way to deal with this figure flaw was to wear large bulky items.

I had just finished university, was unemployed, and at a loss for something to do. I decided to make a jumper (sweater for my American friends). I went to my LYS and found the perfect cotton yarn. White, slubby (thick and thin) with a pale blue cotton thread wrapped around the white. I started knitting. The jumper was big, very big, and long.

I completed the parts of the jumper, including the nifty fold-over collar, and hit a snag. I had no idea how to sew the thing together. Jumper got carefully folded and put away.

Gorgeous Man and I got married, and jumper (still in pieces) came to our new home, but I knew no-one who could help me sew it up, I was working my first job and knitting fell by the wayside. I probably would have been a lot less stressed if I’d kept knitting that year…

The next year saw us move from Sydney to a small town in country Victoria, Bendigo. There I met a very talented knitter (who is sadly no longer with us), she took my pieces of knitting and showed me how to piece them together and, most importantly of all attach the nifty fold-over collar.

I was very proud of my jumper, it was warm and snuggly and cosy, but not very flattering. To be honest I looked like a marshmallow on legs. The jumper never saw the outside of the house.

Fast-forward to the noughties, I’ve learnt that I look better in finer knits and more tailored fabrics, so the jumper sat unused and unloved in a draw I knew I was never going to wear it (the cotton had stretched and now came to below my knees) but I couldn’t let the yarn go to waste. Finally it was frogged and the yarn lovingly rewound to await a new fate.

At the end of 2005, and many towns later, Gorgeous Man was looking for work, my year 12 History class’s assessment profiles were due (Queensland has school based assessment with external moderation – lots of stress for the teacher) and I was in desperate need for something to knit. I rabbited through my very meagre stash and found the jumper cotton.

Now, I was in need of relaxation knitting, nothing fancy, so I cast on as many stitches as my 4mm straight would hold (yes I am insane) and started knitting a blanket.

Gorgeous Man got a job (in Africa) and the blanket got packed in a box with other things to make the trip across the ocean on a big ship.

When I unpacked the knitting box I had a “What were you thinking?” moment, the blanket, in all truth was/is ugly – too ugly to use and too ugly to donate to charity (I don’t believe in giving stuff that I wouldn’t use myself. Just because they’re poor doesn’t mean they deserve ugliness). So the blanket sat, unused, unloved, unfinished gathering dust.

A few days ago I was visiting Simone and she confessed that the baby blanket she had started for me had been stolen by her cat. A light bulb went on in my head – Fat Boy and the ugly blanket, a perfect match.

Last night I shoved all the stitches back onto a needle and cast off. What do I have now? One finished blanket and one cat who can’t believe that it’s for him. We’ve trained him not to sit on mummy’s things so it wasn’t until I spread it out in front of the heater – his spot – that he got the idea it was for him, and he was using it this morning when I got up. Pictures as soon as I have the camera back.

I’ll throw it in the wash and block it out on Sunday – it may even look better than I think.

Gorgeous Man has arrived safely in the USA, after a four hour delay in Johannesberg with no explanation from the airline. By the time he arrived he’d been up for 38 hours. Just want to say that I love IM. It makes communication much easier, and cheaper than a phone call.

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I’ve been reading with interest the Thinking Blogger Awards floating around the internet recently. The thought crossed my mind that my blog was rather shallow. Rather than compare knitting or quilting to life’s great lessons my posts tend to consist of the ‘look at what I made; where I went; what I read; my moronic injured cat’ variety.

So imagine my total and utter surprise to find myself nominated not once, but twice, for this meme yesterday, by Femminista Della Casa and bit for bit/Piece by Piece. Thank you, I’m a little humbled.

The rules are very simple:

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

I’d do number three if I was more computer savvy, but I’m not so number one and number two will have to do.

I guess that means I could list 10 blogs that get me thinking, but in the interests of brevity I’m going to stick to five. I’m not going to include those that I know have already been tagged by someone else. Also, there are blogs that make me laugh, or provide me with amazing inspiration and motivation to try new things, I haven’t included them. I’ve tried to pick the ones that make me go hmmm…

1. Anti-Racist Parent – for parents committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook. This is something I’ve always been interested in (much of this applies to teachers as well) but living in South Africa means that race is never far away. Maybe I notice it more because I’m on the outside looking in. So this blog gives me lots of things to think about and provides a variety of perspectives, experiences and viewpoints. I don’t agree with everything I read there, (and I lurk) but everything makes me think.

2. I live on a farm… – firefly lives in a truly beautiful part of the world and her photography is breath-taking. I admire her ability to see (and capture) the beauty in the mundane everyday objects around her. She also writes beautifully and I find myself agreeing with many of her thoughts about finding happiness where you are, and helping others. She also paints, knits and makes the most gorgeous figures out of found material.

3. Knitting Confidential – The Confidential Knitter began knitting late last year and has taken to it like the proverbial duck to water. His rate of FOs puts most of us to shame. It’s been interesting reading about his progress with knitting and as he explores issues of being a male knitting in public, perceptions of male knitters and other issues.

4. Hell or High Water – I ‘found’ this blog when Starfish was my swap partner for the Favourite Colour Swap (round one and two). It’s been fascinating sharing her journey to parenthood, the challenges of being a new parent, with a little knitting thrown in, and she has the most beautiful child on the face of the planet. I’m just saying.

5. Mental Tesserae – this blog is just amazing. Beautifully written, thoughtful posts about parenting, life and spirituality. What I love most is that she is able to take famous artwork and apply it to daily life in ways that would never occur to me. She deconstructs each piece of artwork the way I would deconstruct a poem I guess, but with much more eloquence. This blog has exposed me to art that I would never have otherwise seen or thought about. Also the things her kids say/write are equally hilarious and touching.

Well, there’s 5 blogs that make me think. There are many more (of course) and it was hard to chose.

Gorgeous Man is still in the air. His 2 hour layover in Johannesburg turned into a much longer one…

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about a decade old UFO that is finally finished. You’re going to have to use your imaginations though, since the camera is with Gorgeous Man.

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Well actually, he’s already gone. Gorgeous Man left today for the United States. He’ll only be gone for just under a fortnight, but I miss him already.

He took the scarf with him, just in case it’s cold, but there are no pictures since he also took my digital camera. He’ll be spending a week in Washington DC, so if you happen to be in the area around the Library of Congress and you see this man (not the best picture I know, but the best I could find quickly on flickr)

Possibly wearing this scarf Go up and say hello. He’ll then be travelling down to Alabama to present his paper at a conference of historians.

Autumn is finally upon us, today is cold and rainy and 18 degrees C (about 51F according to my very rough calculations).

Yesterday I ducked out of work for an hour and went and had a delightful cup of coffee with Simone – well she had coffee and I had hot chocolate and stared longingly at her coffee cup.

I’ve given up coffee for the duration of the conception, pregnancy and breast feeding. Like a true addict I can tell you the exact day that I had my last cup of coffee, and exactly where I’m planning on having my first… but we won’t go there.

After coffee and very average chocolate cake (such a disappointment) we went to check out the yarn store that Little Wilds told me about. They had some good stuff, and some yarn came home with me – no pictures since my camera is currently in the air headed to the USA. This yarn store didn’t have as much fake fur crap that most of the stores here stock. But the owner (like all store owners I’ve met here) treated me like I was a knitting idiot. I’ll probably go back though since it’s local and they have things I want.

Anyway, I almost forgot the most exciting news. When Gorgeous Man and I went into Cape Town for the scan last Thursday we stopped at the legendary store in Belville to have a look and they had Opal Sock yarn!! The yarn stores are slowly starting to get the hint. The Opal stayed in the store as I’m on a budget this month (what with Gorgeous Man’s trip away) and because the price caused my heart to skip a beat or two.

Yesterday in new yarn store I asked about sock yarn and self striping stuff, the owner pulled out an Opal advertising poster and told me she’ been scared to order it because of the price. She quoted a price that was 23 Rand dearer than Legendary Yarn store in Belville. Guess who’s planning a shopping day with some friends in Belville after payday…

Although, after organising my yarn stash last night (I did the Fabric Stash on Sunday) I’m not sure I need any more yarn… I have more yarn than I expected (more fabric too, funnily enough).

I organise my yarn in two places. The stuff that I’ve been sent or have bought for charity knitting lives in a big cardboard box with a lid on it, and yarn I’ve bought for my personal use (or has been gifted in swaps) lives in a big plastic tub.

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