Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today is a good day

The girls are enjoying a pot of yoghurt between them. I was particularly trying to catch that adorable expression on Lola's face as she looks up, beak generously dipped in yoghurt, letting it trickle down her throat...

And that's all sounding so wrong.

No knitting to show today! Still working on all the insteps and soles of various socks. VCM took her birthday socks to work and I seem to have started taking orders.

I'm also trying to resist the Swiss Cheese mice from Scary Merry.

Oh, it's starting to rain - better go rescue their yoghurt pot as they take cover!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Being thrice a heel

Two of these socks are secret Christmas knitting and one is the Mystery sock, so I can't go into too much detail. But I found myself turning three heels at once! What was going on with that?

I took the top sock to o Vanilla today for a work meeting (yes, work meetings in cafes - what could be better?). They had the prettiest, most scrumptious apple muffins. As the waitress delivered my muffin, she gazed at my knitting and gave a gasp of surprise. "Oh, what are you knitting? It looks gorgeous." I think I'm getting a spurt of knitting exhibitionism going on.

And upon request - the new hen house. It hasn't been prettified yet, but I noticed that by facing the two hen houses not-quite-opposite each other, I now have a little 'hen lane'. The hens spill out into Hen Lane in the morning and come to the City Gates, where they stand, willing the Gate to open. Yesterday while I was on campus, the wind blew the Gate open for them, so I came home to find the hens pottering about, dirt bathing, and generally disporting themselves in the wilderness!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hens' Spa Day

I walked outside and found all four hens in a row (from the left, Coco, Lola, Fifi and Mimi) indulging in dust baths. For a moment, I thought I'd planted chickens!

A friend popped over yesterday and we put together a wooden dog house as the new sleeping quarters of Coco and Mimi, who are now far too large to fit in with Lola and Fifi. The dog house is really cute. It even has a little window you can slide open and shut! I'm so tempted to build a little window box for them!

And today I adopted a tiger!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Six facts

Yes, I was tagged by Chook'r'us to share six random things about myself. And I'll admit up front that I'm terrible at passing along these things as I don't know six bloggers well enough not to feel a little - a lot - terrified tagging them. So I'll pass it into the ether and if you read this and you have a blog - tagged! I'm so chicken (which is kind of appropriate).

1. I was once a temp from Chiswick, just like Donna in Doctor Who. (And I did later pass the Doctor in the street - Charing Cross Road, to be precise. Only, he wasn't the Doctor then. He was 'wasn't that the guy from The Herbal Bed?' But I think he was wearing a brown overcoat. Very odd.)
2. I have a talent for finding four leaf clover. I have thousands of pressed four leaf clovers (and five, six, seven and eight leaf clovers). I can walk down a street and spot a four leaf clover growing by the side of the pavement. I think it's the latent leprechaun in me.
3. I can't drive, but I do love Top Gear (the UK version, I hasten to add) and I would drive if I could have Emma Peel's car.
4. I can't swim, even though my high school produced several Olympic swimmers while I was there.
5. I love the scent of vanilla.
6. Blenheim Palace is my favourite place in the world. Not the palace itself (although it is awfully pretty), but the grounds. When I walk through Woodstock, past the gates and see the lake... the weight of the world is lifted off my shoulders.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lorikeets aren't popular, either

Ha - my order from Yarns Online arrived today, too! I tried to get the interest of the hens with my Fibreworks 'Lorikeet' lace weight, but they were more interested in the sunflower seeds I'd just sprinkled on the grass. Jumpy bunch today. I think the cat - who was reclining on the shade cloth over their hen house when I went out this morning - has them a little spooked. Coco and Mimi deal easily with the cat, but it must be annoying when there's a bully about who views you as a food staple.

Anyway, the colours are glorious, aren't they? I'm not sure which shawl to make - but I'll figure it out some time! And Yarns Online is quick and efficient with a stunning range (I also got the Noni Year of the Pig bag pattern). The Yarn Cafe is my favourite, though, I think, of all the Australian options. It's just that she does dye her own yarn and it's so gorgeous... tiger cub, tiger cub...

Fruitilicious

I asked Fifi and Lola what they thought of my new yarn (Coco and Mimi lost interest the moment I explained - with lots of hand gestures - that it wasn't for eating). Fifi shrugged and said she'd like to see something more 'sunflower seed' colour, but I kept Lola's interest long enough to snap a picture.

It's the Kiwi and Passionfruit (yes, Coco and Mimi pointed out that if the yarn was going to be named after food, they should at least be able to sample it as food) that I bought through the Yarn Collective from The Yarn Cafe. I can highly recommend Yarn Cafe yarn - it's gorgeous, soft, the bamboo shiny, the dye gorgeous. The Passionfruit was bought through the auction function at the Yarn Collective, which was terrific fun and I got a bargain, I think. Just $18! For merina and bamboo! I can't wait to knit it up into socks, but I have Christmas knitting on my needles that must remain secret.

I'm just trying to resist the Yarn Cafe's Tiger Cub colourway - seriously, it makes me happy. Perhaps because it makes me think of Big Cat Diary (okay, they don't have tigers... but...), which is one of my favourite shows *ever*. But she put a postcard of the colourway in with my order, which was brilliant, because it is the colourway I really love.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In honour of Starbucks stitchmarkers

I posted, then I read the Oct 17 entry from Yarn Harlot. My sympathies overflowed in the moment... my intermittent giggling continues...

Mystery Sock KAL


Don't say I didn't warn you - later in this post is a picture of the sock resulting from the first two clues of the Mystery Sock KAL. I did spot some other knitters blogging their results and since we're well into the week of the third clue, I figure it should be okay - particularly as I know of no readers involved. But so you don't spot it first, I've included a photo of my latest stitchmarkers from my favourite Scary Merry. Those are Ba - aaaa - ad sheep with little skulls on their heads. They rock! And then Starbucks for my knitting - the caffeine kick can only help. I actually don't mind Starbucks. I hardly ever go there these days. I did have a Starbucks spree in London in 1999. I know, because I have the postcard for hungover 2000 New Year's Day revellers to use (pictures of various beverages to which you could point to place an order - rather than having to make sound) from Starbucks. No, I wasn't hungover. I was in Vienna waltzing. I picked the card up later.

I think I'm developing a Scary Merry collection though...

I've been trialing Australian sock yarn sources. I've been using the Knittery for a while (and there's now a very cute baby at Knittery central). Then I discovered the Yarn Collective. I've already picked up some Monsoon Designs from there and am waiting for my next fix. Then I found Yarnomat, that has my favourite Crystal Palace Panda cotton/bamboo blend. It's the perfect sock yarn for summer and the colours are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. They knit up so gorgeous! And Yarnomat has them at affordable prices, now the $A is awful again. I placed my order on Wednesday and had the parcel Friday! Excellent service and particularly good postage. And so, below, with my Mystery Sock progress, using Yo-Yo's Berry Pickin', you can see my new yarn!

The brown is called Pinto and I had to get it in honour of the wild ponies out on the island somewhere in Virginia that a friend and I visited in January (or was it February... oh dear...). I'll see if he notices this mention.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another flying post

There's new coverage of Dolores' electoral campaign! And I've been busy tracking down Australian sock yarn outlets. News on that shortly. But I told you I wasn't going to let the economy tell me what I could and couldn't stash!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Socks on the Rise

SBS news tonight? Financial report. "Socks on the rise!" See - and you thought I was just being silly the other day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One Sock Cheer

All right, it's just the one sock, but I finished it last night! It will, alas, have to wait for a partner, as I've realised I've a pile of Christmas knitting waiting to be done. Socks and scarves and mittens... thankfully, most of my friends do live in cold-weather December climates! Although... this afternoon, I think I'll try a few rows of my Molly Ringwald.

This post from Bunkybobo's blog spoke to me. I think the problem is that the world economy doesn't run on something tangible... like handknitted socks or homemade soup. And I sometimes wonder what would happen if we refused to let Wall Street and all the CEOs etc run our lives for us through money...

Cheering me up, a viral whatsit that is a spoof on A-Ha's incredible, amazing, wonderful (yes, I was and still am a fan) of Take On Me. I found it via the Guardian this morning. Like I was alone in wishing I was the girl...

Although, it did occur to me - she's reading a comic/graphic novel (still largely associated with the male reader). One about motorbikes. For a girl from the 80s, she really did challenge a few gender stereotypes!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our special spaces

This, apparently, is Mimi's favourite spot. She has managed to dig herself a rather deep dustbathing area between potatoes and broad beans. In between pulling out lettuces and peas. She left all the weeds.

I get home these days to four little hens huddled at the gate of their coop: "We've been locked in all day. We'd like to go play on the grass. Please let us out!!" Looking at their perky chicken faces, I give in. Then four times I drag Mimi out of the vegetable patch... and that's in between dragging Coco and Lola out. By the end, Mimi would look up, spot me, and dawdle out of the vegetable patch with a heavy sigh, plopping down on the lawn just as I reached her as if to say: "you're back."

I can, however, vouch for chasing chickens as good exercise.

This is my new favourite spot - my knitting spot. It is decorated with my new (well, in the sense that I just bought it) 1940s bakelite telephone. On the dial, it has instructions for how to make a call! I love that. And it does work - alas, only locally, so no national or international calls, but at least locally I can pretend to be Lauren Bacall chatting to Humphrey Bogart!

It was a tough day, so I picked up a vanilla bean cupcake too, which you see garnished with my Sereknity 'Cowgirl', my favourite yarn of the moment. I walk about with it, wondering what I shall knit.

I am thinking of pulling out my Maelstroms in Pixie Park... I'm not sure the yarn/pattern combination is working. I was knitting away on the leg of my Mystery Sock last night while watching Doctor Who with commentary, but I didn't get far... obviously not enough cupcake.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Antique knitting equipment

Last night I tried out my 'new' 1940s yarn winder. I was winding up my Berry yarn from the Yo Yo ready for the Mystery Sock KAL last night (I'm half way through the cuff). It was a breeze! If only I had it before the Daisy yarn went all to... knots. I also tried out my Yarn Minder - a red bakelite contraption to hold the yarn ball neat and tidy. This one has an additional stitch guage in the bottom, which is kind of cool.

I also 'rescue' old knitting patterns - I'm still trying to flesh out my 20s/30s collection. So I was very supportive of this entry in 'Life in the Dome'. Crochet Lady is just glorious!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cakes!

I was away - I was celebrating the birthdays of two absolutely amazing individuals who teamed up to create the happiest of homes. So we naturally celebrated with cupcakes and tarts! The butterfly cupcakes on top have always been my favourite, ever since I was dressed up in pigtails and couldn't reach the floor with my toes when sitting on the dining room chairs. The cake stand is VCM's latest acquisition. It reminds you of afternoons in tea rooms in Woodstock!