30 May 2008

26 May 2008

in which the blog becomes the baby book

you lot know me so well. of course i will ramp up the posting now that i have a deadline.

i've also decided to liberate myself from capital letters cos i'm currently carrying an injury (left pinkie, terribly challenging when one types for a living).

it's rather freeing actually, not bothering with that shift key.

anyway, the lame shanks and a post over here and another over there and a great one seen here prompted me to do something i've been meaning to do for ages, and that's record more of the children's quirky baby sayings because i can't put them in their baby books because, of course, the only baby book that was ever filled out with those dates of first smiles, first wobbly steps and first wobbly teeth was son #1's. the other two remain blank, oh the shame the shame. i can't even remember how much the third child weighed at birth i'm so slack a mother. he is however, the most laid back, centred and well adjusted member of the family so clearly benign neglect is a perfectly valid method of parenting.


low-too (yellow) - say no more, our eldest was/is weird
viloin (violin - he was obsessed at the age of two)
fock (fork) (if given a spoon he'd wail 'but i neeeeed a fock!')
went through an endearing but brief phase wherein every word had an L after the first letter, as in 'shlut the glate we're going to the shlops'
also, and you must wipe this from your memory after reading, his younger brother's name is Patrick, but son #1 gave it a looong A sound, so he was referred to as Paah-kick. sometimes we still refer to the middle one as Paaahkick. we also sometimes call him kirtap, but that's another story (it's patrick backwards. i am known as nasus. mr soup's is by far the best but i've already given you one real name this post and it's freaking me out enough).

headcups (hiccups)
seagirls (seagulls, blogged elsewhere years ago before i had any readers probably, oh yes here. took him years to ask why all seagulls were female)
old macdonalds (when we passed the golden arches)
his best one: he asked me 'mum what does god look like?' and before i could open my mouth (heaven knows what i would've said) he answered himself with 'oh yes i know, she's blue'.

pirate (parrot)
when asked to write things on the shopping list:
- lame shanks
- grunure (tuna, i know, wtf? i stood in the supermarket aisle for ages pondering this one) - this one has gone into the family lexicon. we now say things like 'don't forget to buy a tin of grunure when you get milk' and reply 'big tin of grunure or small?'

it's like they invent their own creole isn't it? my cousin worked in PNG for a few months and can do a great pidgin. i love to listen to her. on a similar note, you might enjoy this LOLcat translation of the bible. Ceiling Cat. took me a minute ...

and now i'm off to get the chainsaw sharpened. cos that's legitimate procrastination, right?

gratuitous yarn dyed with food colouring shot. pretty huh?

Red Sky at Night

25 May 2008

lame shanks and other goodly delights

hand dyed sock yarn

I think the blog is going to be [even] quiet[er] for a while as we're at the pointy end of semester and I have essays to panic over, plus an upcoming market to knit and dye for not to mention some little knitted thankyous still to complete. I've also lost my blogging mojo somewhere. Seems like after nearly three years I've finally run out of things to say and, you know, a blog filled with nothing but yarn photos could get dull. Who woulda thought?

Speaking of yarn photos, up there you can see some rather delicious sock yarn that was a present from Nicole dyed with Kool Aid sent to me by various generous Americans and Canadians (see what I mean about all the knitted thankyous I owe?). I love these skeins; I'm on quite the sock kick (hahaha me so funny) these days.

In other news, the overnight temperature was forecast to hit freezing two nights ago so we kindly left the ageing cat inside for the night, an act of generosity she repaid by peeing on the hall runner. Mr Soup is out buying carpet shampoo this afternoon and I am sitting by the fire with the laptop, researching cars because I'm embarrassed to drive the 16 year old smoke-belching bomb any longer I'm investigating the perks of salary packaging* and trying to concentrate on the scent of lame shanks** wafting from the slow cooker rather than the abominable feline odours coming from the hall. Oh, and guess who I had coffee with on Friday night? Hooray!

That's it for now. I'll try and remember my bloggy third birthday (because hey! remembering it would be a first!) and return here with a competition or giveaway just to ensure you don't all forget me. Till then, auf wiedersehen (pet).***

* Honda Odyssey or Toyota Avensis; all anecdotes and reviews welcome
** lamb shanks but I prefer Son #3's spelling
*** they should totally bring that show back

19 May 2008

ivy league sock

one Hedera, aloft

Da da! We have hand dyed sock!

one Hedera

The sock is Hedera from Knitty to be specific. It's my first attempt at lace knitting and despite my mistakes (multi hued yarn is great for hiding errors) I'm very pleased. (Although if I knitted the pattern again I'd make the socks longer).

Hedera is also the botanical name for that bane of my garden, ivy. The lace pattern is supposed to resemble ivy climbing up one's leg I imagine.

Let's take a closer look.

Hedera sock, lace detail

Hmmm, I'm not sure I can see it.

However the name comes from the ancient Greek meaning to twist and turn (as do the tendrils of ivy around my poor strangled trees) and the pattern certainly does that. The lace pattern itself is a four-row repeat; perfect for beginning lacemakers such as myself and quite simple to memorise. Not that I ever really trusted myself. I kept the chart close by at all times.

The yarn is my own hand dyed (dyed at the last Craft Retreat and blogged here) and I am absolutely thrilled at the way it knitted up; it's just as I'd pictured it.

When I was grafting the toe I happened to be wearing a green lambswool jumper and the mister exclaimed at how vibrant the reds and pinks looked against the green. (I've told him before to not say a word to me when I'm grafting but luckily I was able to [temporarily] ignore him until I'd finished. I remember when I first learnt how to graft, the instructions I was following said "First lock yourself in a quiet room away from children, husbands and tv." Sound advice indeed).

Anyway this morning I found a big green cardigan at the op shop, so I'm going to knit a scarflette from the remainder of the sock yarn and be vibrant this winter.

one cold foot

After I've defeated Second Sock Syndrome, that is.

12 May 2008

random snippets on a Monday

• Last night I started reading The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett and can't put it down. Looks like it will be as good as Bel Canto if not better. Hooray!

• The day before that I started Intuition by Allegra Goodman. I could only get a large print edition from my local library and it actually hurts my eyes to read it. What's up with that? Enjoying it nonetheless.

• I am loving the blog Record the Day.

• That book Heroic Australian Women in War, the selection for bookgroup tonight which I was so looking forward to, was terribly disappointing. If I were less polite I'd say it was appalling. How could the publishers let typos, spelling mistakes, sloppy scholarship and lifeless writing get through like that? I noticed that the front of the book states that the author lectures at the University of Queensland, yet when I got to chapter three, there is a little sticky note on University of Queensland letterhead saying (and I quote) "Much of the info contained in this chapter is not accurate and the quotes attributed to A.K. are manufactured. This work should not be used as an academic text." Then throughout the chapter are little pencil marks denoting all the errors. (I wonder if the author still works at UQ? My guess is no.) I must say I felt vindicated when I read the note as I always feel oddly guilty if I criticise a book, especially one from a respected publishing house. Is it just me? I always presume people who choose to write about facts check their work, and that they have editors who recheck their work, not to mention provide ghost writers to wrangle flat, dull writing into elegant prose. Sigh ... I stopped reading at the end of chapter two. Updated to add: looks like her latest book is just as shambolic, if this review is anything to go by.

• Mothers' Day around here featured three homemade cards, a small boy in tears because he'd left his present at school, and a mandarin tree. I nearly have the full complement of citrus trees now, but as Son #3 pointed out, there's still a grapefruit tree to go. Next birthday is my guess. I did not get a fish oil capsule and now feel a little unappreciated, frankly.

• Mothers' Day also featured the distinctive smell of death. Throughout the afternoon that familiar rank smell grew and grew until we realised that another mouse had gone to god behind the refrigerator (where god resides apparently as all mice go there to end their days. Either that or behind the washing machine. God is in the whitegoods, clearly). Mr Soup did the honours with a dustpan and brush and the aid of a pissweak torch given to me at work the other day along with a showbag of other promotional goodies. That reminds me, does anyone need a new mousemat or stubbyholder?

• I kettle dyed some sock yarn recently. The lovely and gracious Nicole sent me a gift of three skeins of undyed sock yarn to play with. There's another skein in the dyepot this morning, being overdyed as it emerged looking like a candy shop, when I was after something slightly more subtle.

This skein, however, I LOVE.

hand dyed sock yarn, Plum

I've also been continuing my obsession adventures with natural plant dyeing. Photos to come soon.

5 May 2008

Spring socks for Autumn

Thanks for all the shop love! (And the sales). I'm busy packing up orders now and heading to the post office.

Before I go, I need to show you these socks, finished on Friday night and blocked by wearing them to bed. (What? Isn't that how you block socks?)

Opal handknitted socks

The sockyarn was my Christmas gift last year from Sandra at Winterwood. She saw me ogling this colourway when we were arranging the yarn on the shelves.

Opal handknitted socks, heel detail

I've been knitting these socks during lunch hours at work, before lectures at Uni and while various children played soccer.

Opal handknitted socks

The pattern is that generic Opal sock pattern and boy, I am finally ready to move on. Eager to try short row heels, lace patterns, maybe perhaps possibly even that two socks at a time method. (Uh, or not. Best not get ahead of my skills).

Opal handknitted socks

The colours of these socks feels very Springlike to me, all new growth and lilac buds, which is appropriate for all you northern hemisphere types I suppose even if it's all golden and autumnal round here. I don't think I can hold out until Spring to wear them though, they're too warm and cosy.

The photographs don't quite capture the softness of the mauve or the appley goodness of the green. I was so enamoured of the green I even wound a few metres off the yarn so I could cast on with the green and start each sock with a band of granny smith freshness.

Opal handknitted socks, cuff detail

This is the third pair of handmade socks I've knitted for myself, plus one pair each for the children. Must be Mr Soup's turn - I feel a pair of gentleman's socks coming on, perhaps in a distinguished grey.

Opal handknitted socks

Whoops, pity I've already cast on the next pair for me, in this wool.

4 May 2008

retail therapy

It is with great excitement that I announce, the shop is open!

2 May 2008

book blogging in my pyjamas

I have read me some books.

But it's 10.18pm, the fire is dying down and lately there have been far too many 1.00am bedtimes and I'm ready for bed so this is going to be quick and dirty.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I've spoken about this several times recently, but can report that I finally finished. Verdict: Far too long, in need of a bloody good edit, waffly, inconsistent, irritating and dated. As previously reported, I read this back in the day and was impressed and inspired but now I'm old and cynical and I just cringed at a lot of it. (Sorry Stephanie).

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I think I wrote about this too; I'm getting repetitive aren't I? Mr Soup is now reading this as I saw him perusing the bookshelves and thrust it into his hands, assuring him he'll love it. He is. Fast, interesting, characters you engage with, colourful. Also the cover is pretty.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. My god, I loved this book. I finished it last night and I'm feeling completely and utterly bereft. It would make a great play, or an opera as Ann Patchett said herself in an interview. The story is gripping and I became totally enamoured of the characters as they lurched toward the-ending-that-couldn't-be-helped. (Although the epilogue was surprising). I've been listening to this on audio tape during my commute to work and as it came to the final tape I was filled with the dread of the knowledge that it would end and my companions of the last week or so would be gone, either dead or devastated by the events of the four and a half months that the book covers, and also that I couldn't somehow prolong it. Which is exactly what you're meant to feel. It's beautiful, elegant writing too. Just wonderful. I've put it on the bookgroup list for later in the year.

Now in the car I'm listening to The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan but I am still grieving for the Bel Canto folk and can't quite get hooked into Amy Tan's characters just yet. I feel like an adulterer; it's too soon. It is read by Tan herself though, which is a bonus. I remember thoroughly enjoying The Joy Luck Club and also The Kitchen God's Wife but Tan's books are getting a little repetitive now. Ah well, it was the only decent story tape on the library shelves last night and my tape of Black Swan Green by David Mitchell hasn't yet arrived. (His Cloud Atlas was one of the best things I read last year).

Last bookgroup book was Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I read the first three pages and returned it to the library. Life's too short.

Next up for bookgroup is the imaginatively titled Heroic Australian Women in War by Susanna de Vries, nominated by our group's resident nonfiction reader. The sorts of books this member of the group recommends never ever appeal to me, but I've dutifully borrowed it from the library and it looks interesting really. The last nonfiction book she recommended also didn't appeal but it turned out to be a little ripper - Into the Blue by Tony Horwitz who happens to be married to Geraldine Brooks. And has a connection with one of our bookgroup members which I suspect was why it was chosen. Anyway, it's good having members of the group who push you to read things out of your comfort zone. Heck, out of any of my zones.

A friend is lending me her Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book which I've been dying to read but when I put it on hold at the library I was 97th in the queue, which means I'll get it roughly in 2011. I'm trying to cut down on my book buying, even though most of the books I purchase are from Savers and cost between $1.00 and $3.00 We just don't have the space despite a study with a whole wall of built in bookshelves, two floor to ceiling bookshelves in the dining room and another in one of the bedrooms. Oops, well that's why I just bought one of these, only ours is a 16 cube version and it's not on wheels. I built it all by myself the other night with only the aid of an allen key and I'm proud to say it is not the least bit wobbly. It's still empty but I look forward to a big book rearrange this weekend. It's totally made the family room, which is a room I've never found particularly attractive or welcoming. (Our lounge room, on the other hand, is purdy).

Ok, well that wasn't quite so quick or dirty and now it's definitely time for book and bed. Right now I'm reading Saturday by Ian McEwan, whose books I haven't readily enjoyed thus far. Was bored by Atonement (but loved the film) but liked Enduring Love very much (but hated the film). I'm only on the first chapter so we'll see. Time to take a cup of tea to bed and try chapter two.

Nighty night.

P.S. Can I just say, half the books listed here were recommended to me by the inimitable BabelBabe. Without BB I never would have discovered all these wonderful authors, and on her recommendation I've put more Patchett books and one by Allegra Goodman also on my holds list at the library. Thanks BB, you are my literary guru, y'know lovey.