Archive for May, 2007

Not much to talk about at the moment. I have a pretty bad cold with a sore throat, so have really just been going to work and then coming home and crashing (I also did a few half-days at work this week, which seems to have helped with recovery time). I am also snoring terribly and keeping Gorgeous Man up at night – so he tells me.

I did manage to finish off another quilt block last night.

It is flat in real life, honestly. Only 3 more to applique and then the piecing can start!

I’m hoping to get another hat for Hottentots Holland Hospital Helpers finished tonight, and then cast on for something bigger with the beautiful yarn I was sent last week. We’ll see how I feel.

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Late last year applehead offered to send me some yarn culled from her mum’s stash, to turn into garments for the local charity that I knit for. She posted it in mid-December and it arrived on Friday. The customs invoice lists the country of origin as Tuvalu (a lot of Australian parcels do that) so I don’t know where it’s been. The package was packed full of beautiful yarn. Here’s a picture of the goodies

Lots of yarn of the same type, which means that I’ll be able to make bigger garments for toddlers. There was also a little gift for me,

A very cute apple tree which is now hanging on the door to my sewing room/husband’s study. Thank you very much!

Erin emailed me a vintage baby cardigan pattern last week and I’m planning on using some of this yarn to try it out.

The yarn has already been put on the needles I used yarn from the stash and edged the hat with some of the new white yarn. This is for premmies at the hospital (and another one is on the needles). This picture was taken in the nursery and those are the curtains that I made. Gorgeous Man picked the fabric.

There’s been another finish for charity

A little beret. They will get handed over on Monday.

We had the nursery furniture delivered yesterday. As soon as I have sold the desk that is currently in there, and we’ve got it set up I’ll post some pictures.

Reading update,

Books read in 2007:

28. Balancing Pregnancy and Work by Nancy Hall and Karen Sullivan. I should have read this before becoming pregnant…

29. Nebula Awards Showcase 2004 Vonda N. McIntyre (ed). A collection of science fiction stories. I really enjoyed most of the collection. Well worth a read.

Thanks once again Marianne for the yarn, it’s going to be put to very good use!

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First up a Finished Object. The latest in the knitting for the offspring, a pair of socks – you may recognise the yarn.

One with the cuff folded down.

I also finished another applique block – behold the monkey!

I’m on the downhill run now – only a few more blocks to go and then I can start piecing them together.

I took the students to The Castle of Good Hope yesterday. This is the view from the courtyard. We got very lucky with the weather.

That’s Table Mountain in the background.

They have a changing of the guard ceremony and a lighting of the signal cannon. This made me laugh – this is the actual size of the cannon that they used to use

to signal that all was well. It makes a surprisingly loud noise.

After the Castle we walked to Greenmarket Square. It’s a very cool market with goods from all over Africa. This little lass from The Congo followed me home (the dark one in front)…

Gorgeous Man muttered something about not needing a breeding colony when he saw her, but she was too pretty to pass up, and I got a good price.

This is the “Eggy Man”

He will let you take his picture for a small donation. His clothes are made from shredded plastic bags. I was impressed with his friendliness and his ingenuity at making a Rand or two.

The saddest point of the day was the young boy sniffing paint from an old chip packet and realising that we had just given away our last piece of food to a woman who had asked for money. I encourage the student to give food rather than money if approached by beggars.

The highlight of the day was when I was approached by a The Big Issue vendor. I love The Big Issue and believe that it is a wonderful publication that gives dignity and hope to the homeless and unemployed. We always bought it when we saw it in Australia and I was thrilled to see it here. Anyway, I bought a magazine from the vendor and some of my students asked about it, then they all bought one too, and this guy sold 7 or 8 copies in 5 minutes. It made his day too.

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Gorgeous Man and I received an email from some friends in Australia yesterday. The highlight of the email was the following line:

– your Xmas card arrived today! Post marked 12th Dec 2006!!!

It only took 5 1/2 months to get there. This gives me hope for the parcel that I’m expecting from Australia that was posted in December. But I have to ask: “What is my mail doing for all that time?”

I finished a small child’s sock after choir rehearsal last night, but will wait until it has a mate to show pictures.

Book update:

Books I’ve read in 2007

27. Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen.

This was a really good read about the interesting and (very) unusual characters that inhabit the world of orchid breeding, showing and collecting.

I think I’m reading less than last year, but I’m quilting more, knitting more, and singing more so something has to give I guess.

I’m wearing my jaywalkers under my boots today – yes, it’s cold enough to wear hand-knitted socks. My feet are feeling lovely and toasty.

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I’m a happy lady. In January we asked that our bathroom cabinet (which was made from chipboard and decomposing onto the floor of our bathroom) be replaced. 5 months and several temper tantrums (on my part) later it was done on Friday. We will not talk about the entire eco-system found living in the actual doors and walls of the cabinet.

I settled my self on the couch with a quilt block while the guys worked and Gorgeous Man went out and did errands. Look what he brought home.

Pretty aren’t they.

In talking with many of my friends I realise that I am a very lucky woman. When we are both working full-time, Gorgeous Man and I share the cooking about 50 – 50. We both have dishes that we make, I make dahl and vegetarian patties, he makes curries and we both make pie. My speciality is a savoury pumpkin and feta pie, and his is mixed vegetable and feta pie. Now, my pies are functional. I battle with the pastry and it’s usually patched on the top from where it has been torn or not rolled thin enough. Gorgeous Man? His pies look like this:

The musical performances were pretty lacklustre on Saturday, so we won’t discuss them beyond saying that combining 4 choirs with little joint practice doesn’t work very well…

The weather turned nasty this weekend. Parts of Cape Town are flooded, and there is snow falling and predicted for most of the high country – South Africa is quite mountainous in parts. Today’s maximum is 13 degrees C (41F).

On Saturday the weather was particularly nasty – pelting rain and howling wind. My thoughts strayed, as they always do in weather like that, to those people living in the informal settlements in ‘houses’ made from salvaged materials. Suddenly the little bit of knitting that I do for charity seems woefully inadequate in the face of the need here in this country. Being foreign, and only speaking 1 of the 11 national languages does put me at a disadvantage, but I wonder if there is more that I could do?

On a happier note the crochet blanket is making steady progress, and I finished a hat. It’ll match the jumper, but is very big, so may not be worn at the same time. I’m now working on matching socks.

In quilting news the guinea fowl block is done. I did the head twice because I wasn’t happy with the first one.

It just needs some embroidered legs, the beak – in yellow, is embroidered too. I’m half-way through a monkey block at the moment.

We officially hit the 20 week mark on Sunday which was exciting, but also kind of scary.

Well I’m off to check out what other people have been up to this weekend. Have a lovely day where ever you are…

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Here’s the latest offering for Hottentots Holland Hospital, a pair of very small booties. Definitely premmie sized.

They haven’t turned out terribly well – hence no close-up shots, and the pattern has been quietly disposed of, but they will keep someone warm. I’ll hand them over at the next quilting guild meeting along with some other goodies.

These are also item number 10 for the year, for 25 Things for Charity

Gorgeous Man informed me this morning that we aren’t finished with furniture for the off-spring’s room. We still need a bookcase – there’s one in there, but it is full and “it doesn’t match”, and I forgot the most important item of all, the nursing chair! Good thing I’m working full-time this year.

Still no email – storms yesterday hampered repairs. Today is a lovely sunny day – cold, but sunshine so hopefully soon.

Rehearsal again tonight for the performance is over. That makes 4 rehearsals for the week, I’ll be glad when this one is done and I can get part of my life back. I’m feeling a bit weary.

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We’re feeling a little broke today. We bought the cot and dresser this afternoon. It’s very cute, but a big outlay. Mind you, by buying the floor model we did get a 20% discount, so it’s not as bad as it could have been, and it will be nice to have furniture in the baby’s room.

Photos next week when the furniture is delivered and set up in the nursery. The only things left to get now are things like a change mat, bedding for the cot and small stuff like that.

The guinea fowl block is coming along well. I didn’t get it finished though (choir rehearsal went a bit longer than expected last night and I need my sleep). It did go faster than some of the other blocks and I’m finding that I’m really enjoying the process of hand work more each time I do it.

In lieu of a photo of a half-completed applique block here are the blocks done so far.

They will be alternated with plain blocks, and some pieced blocks with African fabrics in rows going down, and then sashed between the rows with scraps from the blocks and applique. The centre six blocks will house a large appliqued elephant. Clear as mud isn’t it?

We have had no email coming in for a few days, something somewhere got damaged in a storm. Back-up systems mean that we still have ‘net access so I’m not completely cut off. I forget how dependent on email I am until I’m forced to go without it. So if you have emailed me, or left a comment and I haven’t replied that’s why.

Tonight is charity knitting night and I’m hoping to finish off a pair of booties and make a good start on a hat.

Just a quick question, does anyone have a chemical free way (ie herbal) to keep cats out of the garden. We keep ours locked in at night, but our neighbours’ cats roam the neighbourhood and keep digging (and crapping) in the flowerbed underneath our bedroom window. All suggestions will be considered. Thanks.

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A knitting meme

I saw this over at Javajem’s and decided to play along.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby sized)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting) – tried a few test squares and plan to come back to it
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn (one day)
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting –taught ‘self when hand was bad, have forgotten how now.

Designing knitted garments – maybe

Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding

Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit – if I can find one interested 🙂
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art

Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Intarsia – next baby sweater
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
(not at this stage)
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (yuck, that just makes my skin crawl)
Hair accessories (strongly considering it – I’m growing my hair and it’s driving me mad)
Knitting in public

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I never leave the house without applying eye-liner and mascara. I don’t usually bother with foundation, but those two things are essential.

Yesterday I was teaching one of my classes when I caught sight of my reflection in one of the internal windows and realised that I looked a little wan and pasty. A quick visit to the bathroom mirror after class confirmed that I had indeed come to work without a skerick of make-up on.

Along with that episode of forgetfulness I also neglected to tag anyone for yesterday’s 8 random things about me meme. If you would like to play consider yourself tagged.

I have a finished object to show.

It’s a v-necked jumper. It turned out very wide (even though I got gauge). Gorgeous Man says it’ll come in handy if the kid is a rugby player. It’s very soft and snuggly though. The yarn is South African made courtelle. There’s currently a hat on the needles.

Tonight is quilting night, but I’m not sure how much I’ll get done as I have a small group rehearsal for Saturday’s performance tonight. Hopefully it won’t go too late. I’m eager to tackle the guinea fowl next – it’s the coolest block and I have the perfect fabric for it.

We decided to order the nursery furniture. We are going to pay for it on Thursday and organise delivery. That’s the last big item we need. MIL has offered to buy the car-seat of our choice. An offer which has been gratefully received and we are getting the loan of a baby bath and a few other items. Simone has instructed me not to buy any more baby clothes or items until after the baby shower that she and a friend are throwing for me. They have started planning it already which is very nice of them.

I hope your day is wonderful.

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Dear Vodacom,

I’d like to share a few ideas on marketing with you. SMSing advertisements to your customers at 10 minute intervals, beginning at 5am is not conducive to creating a positive frame of mind towards your company…

Seriously though, who thinks that sort of thing is a good idea…

I’ve been tagged by both Femminista della casa for the 7 things meme and by Keeping Me in Stitches for the 8 things meme, so I’m going to combine the two. Here are 8 random things about me.

1. I had carpal tunnel syndrome last year, but avoided surgery through a combination of physiotherapy and acupuncture. I’ve been told to expect it to return as the pregnancy progresses, but that it will go away soon after the birth.

On my first visit to the physiotherapist I told her I wasn’t prepared to give up knitting (though I did agree to an 8 week pause). By the end of my sessions she had actually started knitting again.

2. I read a lot, but mostly non-fiction at the moment. I read history books for fun, specifically modern Chinese history.

3. I look very approachable. Strangers come up and talk to me all the time (even here, though now it’s in both English and Afrikaans). Even if I’m sitting on a train reading a book people will interrupt me to talk. I’ve met some very interesting people…

4. I’m short, 5 feet 3 inches and 3/4 of an inch. Gorgeous Man (who is 6 foot 2 inches) laughs that I tell people about 3/4 of an inch, but when you are my height every little bit counts.

5. I am never happy with the way my hair has been cut. I’ve been happy with a hair cut roughly twice in the last 10 years. I hate visiting the hairdresser.

6. I love teaching high school and I prefer difficult classes. Having a break-through with a difficult class is extremely rewarding. Teaching high school is one of the things that I really miss about living in Australia.

7. I was determined to never get married. I’ve now been married nearly 10 and 1/2 years and it was the best thing I ever did.

8. I’m a list maker. I have lists of things to do; books I’ve read; books to be read; and even what day of the week I’ll work on each project. The division of the week is actually working really well for me and I’m much more productive.

I finally sewed the buttons onto the cardigan for my Canadian friend’s baby

They are really cute, silver with little embossed anchors on them. It will get given to baby this week.

Tonight is knitting for me night, so I’ll have the black and white baby jumper sewn up by tomorrow. I’m also going to do a matching hat, and maybe some socks.

In 1998 we bought a slipper orchid at a school fete. It was flowering at the time, but never flowered again. We left it with Gorgeous Man’s father and step-mother. Look what she did.

Amazing isn’t it?

There’s also been some reading.

Books I’ve read in 2007:

25. My Father’s Rifle- A Childhood in Kurdistan – by Hiner Saleem. Beautifully translated from the French, it’s a short book, but quite powerful in it’s own quiet way.

26. Chicken Soup for the Garderner’s Soul – Let’s just say I was in the mood for something light and fluffy.

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