Planking – that demon craze!

•May 19, 2011 • 2 Comments

Yes – the papers are full of warnings about planking, and how it will ruin your life, cause tongue psoriasis, nose hemorrhoids and possibly: cause y0ur belly button to turn inside out. 


Because people can’t work out that it’s schtupid to try and balance on a railing 8 storeys up and there is only one point lying flat on the ground.


An Alpaca Planking. Everyone else can give up now.

to soak up the sun.


On the Beingness of Things or even: The Thinginess of Being

•May 2, 2011 • 1 Comment

Making changes to your life, deciding what stays and what goes seems to be one of the hardest things to do.

I found that people seem to come and go, without rhyme, reason or explanation.  Only occaisionally do you have to make the deicsion to put them away.  That said,  this does seem to be the year where some come back around. And seriously – 2011? Season 3, Ep 21 of Castle ? – you can go and salute me on the hind parts.   Putting labels to some situations, as I am labelling boxes to move out of the Custard House, is also proving nigh-on impossible.  If there was no word for what you were to someone then, how can you put a name to what you are now?

Finding new owners for the horses is challenging enough, fortunately Ziggy has found a terrific family of three small people all roughly his eye level, Matilda has gone already and Orion was tried yesterday – my fingers are crossed.

That’s the massive Orion, named after the constellation I would watch out the window in the Land of Shiny Rocks.  He is completely diesel powered and I am so hoping that the girl who tried him will actually buy him.

Destashing yarn is hard – some yarn that was bought on spec has been easy to let go of, and joined the parade down the hallway. Other yarns, embodied with hopes and plans and could bes, are more of a wrench to put out into the corridor.  The process of cataloguing and photographing has to be done, so don’t think, don’t remember. Just pick up, put down. turn on camera, click, It’s just a symbol, it doesn’t mean what you think. 

This concept – the quality of an item taking on it’s own history, becoming a totem of memory for the circumstances under which is what bought, the purpose for which is was intended and the paths it accompanied me on… All summed up in the demise of my Big Red Laptop on the Thursday night before Easter.

All the airmiles, all the blog posts, the emails and pictures that he and I logged… Wow. Conversations with people, hopes that rose so high when someone remade contact after a year of silence all tied up in one .. object. No – the data is not lost, but… that quality of Being – is.

Big Red Laptop’s replacement is a far slimmer, equally capable beast. We had our first roadtrip on the weekend to the coast and we’ve overcome a bunch of teething issues – involving the 23rd Python and whatever the hell it was doing to my .dll files I may never know, but we’re back and running.

Being laptopless over Easter prevented me from making reference to Mother_figure and my Hobbit trip to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.  We went there and back again, on a train, which had the great thing of giving me 8 hours of crochet time, with no airline personnel accusing me of terrorist sympathies.

But we had a great trip and for the first time, I got to see my entries… and Ribbon winners (and class winners!!!) in situ. And discuss them with other showgoers – Muggles and those bitten by the yarn bug.

This was the year we cracked it though – 2 seconds: My Freeform Bag and the Round Ripple and 2 First places.

 My second slightly altered version of the Nicky Epstein Medallion Medley Shawl picked up a blue ribbon. Last year’s was a highly commended – so.. improvement.   And of course – the shawl has sold. <sigh> That’s great and all – but.. um.. d’oh. As a word of warning – anyone who starts making a Medallion Medley – some of the medallions do not lie flat and that just makes my toenails feel two sizes too small. I added some extra medallions – making big flat ones and some mid-size elements as well as attaching buttons from F_F’s mother’s button box, and silver beads.  I wasn’t happy the night before delivery (shock) with the gaps between the medallions and felt that it lacked a unifying feature, so I added fillin circles of beige Alpaca and a border in the same.

and our old friend: The 2ply christening Gown (as opposed to the Laceweight Christening Gown) who went from ignominy at Canberra to a First at Sydney.

There were oohs and aahs from passersby, and sibling Bob during her own trip to the Royal even snapped photos so… yeah – pleased 🙂  Each row, each stitch is a moment, thinking, tv, listening to people talk.

The Bodice was started at the house of many labradors, two years ago and then sleeves were done when yarns parted, or I came across a join in a part ball when I didn’t want to make another join in the skirt.

Lots of work.. but it is a thing.

and time to decide what to do with more things.

Yar is back up on eBay – frogrockr!

Hugs to you all.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one!

•April 13, 2011 • 2 Comments

An Arab, a Dutchman and an Australian walk into a bar….

Also: a Belgian Bar in Wellington, New Zealand, so the multi-cultural nature of this situation knows no bounds.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the QANTAS club, being blared on by Sky news continuing the hyperbole regarding the ADFA cadets which has now morphed into the Women on the Frontline !?!?!  hoary old chestnut and aren’t we all thrilled to itty-bitty pieces about that?

The flight was paged, and this is where the Fates (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) must have decided to go on some kind of mad destash and use up some of that trendy 8ply Convergence. In the “You’re sooo screwed” colourway.

Because 2011 is officially the year of the Ex (and Dear 2011, if you’re saving up any kind of Amphibian encounter, you can zack off, right now) a gentleman I knew from last year until he uttered some particularly bizarre remark about wanting to pursue a friend of mine due to her more fluid orientation and what that would mean for him (not kidding…) was on the same plane.

Oh… Yey!

<muffled swearing>

Why doesn’t QANTAS serve champagne at breakfast??  This is Business Class… Helloooooo???


My seat mate, a nice man from the United Arab Emirates (Yes – horse talk!!!), sat down and I noted that he looked to be resenting the early morning start just as much as I was. This conversation starter would last from Canberra to Melbourne, and include his assistance when one of the Fates saw an opportunity to detach my phone, in his case, from my camera bag. Pattern instructions : Skip 2 stitches, chain 8, snaffle mobile phone, laugh maniacally.

You know that announcement that the airlines make about checking the overhead locker? Yeah – that’s good – if you can see INTO the overhead locker and don’t need any special kind of equipment to reach into the back. And someone isn’t swearing at you because you’re in Business class and they’re not and your effort to reach an overhead locker, which, let’s face it – is OVER my head, is apparently ruining just their whole day.

Anyway – my seatmate hailing from UAE, an ex – F16 pilot, and I found plenty to talk about regarding the state of the Defence force in both our countries, which followed naturally into my line of Search and Rescue.  His travelling partner, relelgated further back in the aircraft, was from the Netherlands and both got to witness my “ruh-roh” moment in the Melbourne QANTAS club.  Their assistance in lending me a phone to call the unhelpful Telecommunications company to put phone on hold – greatly appreciated.

Oh – yeah – 2011 – was hoping you’d forgotten me – so my phone is missing, and my seatmate’s place of work is a house in O’Malley, which used to be owned by… Thanks. You know – I really appreciate the extra effort you’re going to weave all these slubs of past experiences into the fabric of my day-to-day life but could you just quit it????

Anyway – crochet and visualise, crochet and visualise.

The pair were also on the same flight to the land of the All-Blacks, my Arab friend – after the cabin staff relocated me , once again my seat mate and he promptly fell asleep – I dared him to be asleep before the pilot called rotating, having been known to be asleep before the safety brief myself.  He went to the Land of Nod, we left Australia about the same time.  I worked on a new baby afghan pattern I have brewing, which, when my Seatmate returned to the land of Those who have slept in the past 24 hours, drew comment.  The cabin staff also were interested in watching the work grow from the three rows I boarded with to a 15cm deep section which is where we arrived, in New Zealand.

I watched with interest the way in which Dutch and UAE passport holders were treated by NZ customs. The Dutch being responsible for colonising NZ and an Arab passport – I guess has sensitivities everywhere.   I declared my bag to Biosecurity, having had both a labrador and a beagle take interest in schniffing (though didn’t indicate!) and I have three pairs of very clean shoes. We all finished up outside, and plans made for dinner.

If you want to know what restaurant you can choose that three disparate nationalities will be happy with when in a fourth country? Indian.

And to be precise – Balti Indian, which is in a hotly disputed area of the Kashmir region (so – Pakistani influences as well) and borders with Tibet (Ah.. China – there you are!)  This was the same Indian I fell into last time when cold, windblown and hungry. Turned out to be rated 4stars, which pleased my companions, but the service is ordinary which is a shame because the food is outstanding.

Anyway – I have a day of talking to people who find people in New Zealand, I delivered the wool to Jess at KnitWorld’s knitty gang last night (mission accomplished – and sweetie – remember: Taxis!!!  and no toads!) and I walked out without buying a ball.  I did.

The postscript to the day is that QANTAS staff did find my phone, and someone was kind enough to scroll through the contacts to find “Mum” and our ever-valiant M_F, freshly exercised from having walked Fergus, retrieved my poor phone from it’s overhead captivity.   I know owners of iPhones have Angry Birds to amuse them, but my Snap’s entertainment value (apart from reading old texts) runs to the popular Bubblebreaker, and not being able to mindlessly pop bubbles to fill in gaps of my day is making my thumbs prick.

Stuff on eBay is selling – frogrockr, if  you’re looking!

hugs to you all!

you know things are bad, when you’re tired of the QANTAS Club

•April 12, 2011 • 2 Comments

Six weeks of no posts, lots of changes, and yet another morning in the QANTAS club, waiting to go somewhere and then come back again.

I’m heading to New Zealand for literally a go, talk, eat dinner and come back again.  I complained about this recently to someone who was most incredibly unsympathetic and well.. yeah – here we go again.

Unavailable for comment

Packing this morning, sans Small White Furry Helper (see picture – he’s currently terrorising the cats at M_F’s house) was relatively uneventful, the hardest part being trying to find a project to take with me. Having recently completed the Sydney Royal entry array, I really don’t have anything in the “able to travel” box. 

And to go without yarn on a 5 hour flight is unthinkable, and not to mention the temptation of buying when we get there….

Oh yes – I’m also taking a 2kg cone of merino with me for one of the yarn store gang I met last time I was in NZ.  If I can find the store again.  Better hope my yarndar is working.

Where I’m heading to in NZ is Wellington, well north of the devastated Christchurch, though earthquakes have been experienced.  I’m not a 2012 doomsayer, but lord almighty, New Zealand AND Japan in the space of a month?

And the Polar Bear died as well. 

This kinda sucks, folks.

The “skype scandal” at my alma mater, the Australian Defence Force Academy comes hot on the heels of some late night conversations with someone who crossed my path for the first time in *gulp* 17 years last year… who sounded like he had inhaled the phone when we first spoke, and almost prompted me to take refuge in a potplant in Darwin.  He still looks very much like the 19 year old with that sleepy smile .. a little more forehead perhaps 🙂

But the recurring theme behind our “remember whens” was at least some level of fun, and maybe just a little bit on the bittersweet side to remember as the end to our friendship came abruptly, but.. at least: we’re not looking back in anger, I’m not sure if the cadets involved in this will be able to say the same when they meet again in 20 years.

On the Plan Woolly front, inertia on the part of shire councils and other issues have combined to put the plans onto the shelf. Some sleepless nights and some soul searching will see changes, hopefully for the better, and Mother_figure will get to test Fergus’ cheese eating capacity to the limit…

I have also listed a bunch of yarn on eBay for sale – under the name frogrockr, including some Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette – check it out!

Canberra Royal 2011

•February 25, 2011 • 3 Comments

Today couldn’t be weirder if my boss had up and announced that he now wishes to be known as The Grand Duchess Ludmilla.   Features include: pen maintenance; a frantic trip through fog, complete with Llamas in the trailer in front of me, doing their favourite travelling game of pulling faces at passing cars, all but holding signs indicating that they were being kidnapped out the window;  a  delay of 15 minutes standing in a line that was queueing on it’s way to active revolt.  This delay  featured some interesting conversations regarding the level of stupidity and treasonous behaviour by our politicians (Hey Ms Gillard – one of your campaign promises was NO Carbon Tax!) before finally: we were at the The Show.

Important to note that while I was in limbo, not quite at the show, a blast from the past managed to stalk me to my desk.  Which I wasn’t at. Goodness or not is still to be decided.  Long term followers of the Blog need not be afraid, we’re not talking toads nor vanilla here. 

After detouring through the dogs hoping to restore my faith that West Highland White Terriers were actually named for the colour they were supposed to be, rather than just a dream that someone was holding on to,  I made it to the craft pavilion.  I had been asked to snap some shots of the papercraft section, and so that was my first stop as I walked in the door


the delicacy of her work is impressive!

I love the round ones in the front.


and here we are at the Crochet display section.

No Mother_Figure wearing a hat, as she and F_F are currently on holiday in Vietnam.

We can see my Caterpillar in the front left, he won his class, beating the Geisha into third. Interesting!  there was a LOT of thread work this year, including my own doily which took a second.  It’s reassuring to know you can hold your own!

Wish the Geisha’s head was at a better angle though!!

The pink polar fleece square I edged and then appliqued irish crochet roses to has won a first, and the finger puppets for “Things of the Forest” has won not only first in a fairly hotly contested class but also Champion in the Open challenge section!

The Free form bag, peeking through to the right took a second, the item that beat it went on to win the Non-pro section champion and Overall Champion and can be seen in the shot above with the Red and white Rosette.

Something I am really pleased with: One of my own designs won a First in the Childrens’ Garment. 

 This is a Crocheted Duffle Coat in Lionbrand’s Wool Ease in Cocoa, Cranberry Heather and Blush Heather, aimed at a four year old, with cherry blossoms crocheted and sewn on.

Working this took a little bit of juggling to get the rolled edge to the hem, cuffs and hood edge.  I will be publishing this pattern for those who like Duffles!

More photos to follow, but generally we’re happy.  The Afghan and Baby blanket both took seconds – again hotly contested classes.  The felted slippers and the cushion were second placegetters as well and the challenge Scarf still has to be judged.  The christening gown and my shawl were also rans, but very strong classes.  My entries for the Jewellery section and  the Tunisian crochet scarf in a chenille both won their classes, so I’m quite chuffed about that!

 This was my first real go at Tunisian, the idea was to produce an item that was  reminiscent of Australian Landscapes. I used a fairly fine chenille that was dyed in the beiges and blue greys of the Australian bush and the long stranding of the Tunisian technique supplied the texture of branches, grass and gumleaves.

For those not familiar with Tunisian, it is worth a try! Using a Worsted weight yarn and a normal 4mm hook, you can make quite a neat scarf.

Anyway – a Section Champion, 6 firsts, 6 seconds and 2 thirds, not bad!

Before they were finished

•February 24, 2011 • 4 Comments

I thought it was time to look back on some of my items – I’m really pleased with the way some of these photos turned out, thanks to Mr Nikon D80 and the Speedlight Flash which gives a pretty light.   It’s also to distract me because tomorrow, the Show opens and those who have entered Canberra Show for 2011 can see what the Judge thought.

I am looking forward to hearing what the judge thought of my first attempt at Freeforming:

This is a look at the structural bits of my bag – there’s a satin lining over a layer of quilt batting then the shadecloth as recommended by Prudence Mapstone to make the shell of a bag, which I have to say: worked a treat.  I didn’t make motifs and join them, rather started with the base, and then worked my way up, using scraps.  The buttons came from my Grandmothers button box.

For the show, I turned the skein of 435gms of Naturally Cream Merino into basically, an Afghan Egg:

And forgive me here but:  That first egg was named Thought.  Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha says: “with our thoughts, we make the world.”  Elemental forces acted upon the egg – well.. at least me and a 5.5mm Crochet hook did… and out sprang:

My second Round Ripple using naturally coloured locally bred Merino.  This is the Afghan going in a chocolate round, about to change to the cream.  Something I learnt with this Afghan was the definitive need to have long tails to weave in.  In hindsight, my mistake was making it a 7 point, it was supposed to be a 6 point starter and the edge has gone ruffley.

Another item which is mindboggling for it’s content is the 2 Ply Christening Gown.  It’s not quite as fine as the Long Running Laceweight!  But I did start it two years ago, when I was living in the House of Many Labradors.

This is 2.7 kilometres of 2 ply Merino.  The skirt is 48 centimetres long, and then there’s the Lining:

That’s all been worked with a 1.75mm hook.


So – we’ll find out tomorrow…

And that’s over

•February 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

The run up to Canberra Royal has been and gone – I went without sleep for 28 hours, the loungeroom floor is slowly making a reappearance and now I just have to wait until Friday to find out what the judge thought.

I have caught up on a few patterns and have published my Single Sock Skein Scarf pattern and there’s a .pdf for those who prefer being able to print out the pattern.

There are a couple more on their way – including one for my Caterpillar, seen here in an embryonic state!

Others to come will be my Cherry Blossom Necklace and a Duffle Coat.

One of my Canberra Royal Items is a Geisha – I can post a picture now judging is over, I feel that it’s not appropriate to publish pictures until after the judging… So here’s one item, from a pattern sent to me through Misstitched, all the way from Sweden!

Forgive the gunky picture!

She’s made with a mix of Tencel and bamboo yarns, plus the trim on her kimono is in a handpainted sock yarn.