cloggin along

So there I was researching 18th century shoe buckles online for a design I'm working on for "Jonathon Biggins as Peter Sellers as Amish/Jewish Leprechaun" costume (as you do), when I just thought I'd log on to whipup..you know, just have a browse... then I'll get right back on those buckles and yamulkas... no really I mean it.

So this rough n ready button I whipped up in about five minutes last week for the Curiously Clever Clogs KAL (while procrastinating yet again from costume drawing...are ya sensing I have a problem with procrastination?) was staring me in the face, if an electronic image has eyes and is capable of staring.

Bugger, that means I have to drop everything and post a hi-res version onto flikr toot sweet, as the existing one is off floating, homeless in cyberspace in an embarrasingly low-res incarnation.

Ah well, the leprechauns will just have to wait.

Meanwhile I'm hoping the clogalong will save me and my.... er... clog... from a fate worse than death, which is being stuffed into the nether regions of a knitting bag and into the back of a drawer, which is where it currently is.

I guess I'm just not in the right frame of mind to deal with the ambiguities of stitch pickups and mystery dart issues.

Can I hear the sound of ripping?


post xmas

This was going to be our xmas card this year.

One very hail damaged but now on the mend Agatha all gussied up for the occasion.

But it was ixnayed by Goat for being "too phallic".

Hmm...I thought it was a study in geometric form... you know, a cone-within-a-cone.

Oh well.

But this one got the seal of approval (it looks pretty good printed on proper stock).

And so off to the neighbours it went.

Speaking of neighbours, the 70-something matricarch of our Street who has lived here since she was a little girl is like our very own
Mrs Madrigal (except for the pot), and yesterday from her eyrie (a first floor deck which I suspect is so not Code) she gave me an extended rundown on how her xmas day went, apologising for the noise (there was none, save for the odd hoot and champagne cork popping), the various dynamics of her extended family, along with an invitation to next year's festivities.
Let me tell you she is o
ne groovy granny, with a whole wardrobe of 60s terrycloth shortie jumpsuits in wild colours.

So her husband was off to the beach and she was settling in to enjoy the peace and quiet with a Brandy Alexander (it was 11 am).
And who can begrudge her that? She's earned it.


My friends Peet n Benhur have a veritable Warhol Factory humming away up in Lismore, NSW.

And I thought I'd share their little xmastime offering with the blogosphere.

It's weird this time of year. It's a mass winding-down (work slaving) concurrent with mass winding-up (shopping).
The streets are already so quiet, everyone's left town..but to where?
I must say I do like living in Sydney at this time of year though, as it's the only time of the year you can find a parking spot.
The Goat was up at the crack of dawn off to the Fish Markets.
Apparently only 20% of Sydneysiders are in town but those that are... are all at the Fish Markets. Buying lobster.
So that and the nieces/nephews shopping/wrapping frenzy...
Well all I can say is I'm glad I don't do xmas anymore.
But I did contribute a small something to the Goat's familial ritual, these little tags courtesy of the lovely Camilla Engman.
(You have to scroll down a bit to get to the "Merry Christmas" post, where there's a downloadable pdf).

Have a relaxing holiday everyone and thanks to everyone for stopping by.


Latest addition to the family


The things you find

I've been researching 60s Carnaby Street/Kings Rd fashion today at the...(I hope some of my students are reading this!) Library.
Yes, one of those funny buildings full of Actual. Books.
How analogue..how time-consuming, how very old-fashioned!
(Ashley, I know you know what I'm talking about). But I digress.

Sadly I didn't find exactly what I needed, but I did find this:

From a book about "Granny takes a Trip" in swinging 60s Chelsea.

Apologies for bad scan.


Neat n Orderly

Neat n orderly desk

Neat n orderly pile o knitting


The curiously clever clog was going swimmingly until reaching an impasse of bafflement.

I was up to the part where I had to simultaneously cast off the edge of the outer sole whilst simultaneously attaching to purl bumps of the upper sole.
Now, I like to think I'm reasonably adept at solving technical problems, but this just has me stumped for about 2 nights in a row. In the end I just frogged the whole damn outer sole back to the upper. Clearly these are not going to be ready for xmas.

On the up side our bathtub is now so dazzling white you have to wear sunglasses when entering the bathroom.



THIS is my small contribution to the "Spirit o' the Season".

And a belated vessel wednesday

Japanese Ceramic,
Gardenia radicans.
From grounds of Sydney University.
December 2006.



Quantity of deadlines before xmas eve: Three.

Guestimate of costume drawings to get done by next week: Eighteen.

Headcount of completely unknown new assistants to break in before deadlines: One.

Amount of days notice given by ol' Alma Mater for 14 hours worth of fully prepped teaching: Two.

Tally of anal-retentive guests arriving for pre-xmas drinks whose presen
ce (not presents) requires a total cleaning of house so it looks like no one actually lives here, it's just been styled : Two.

Amount of landlord inspections of house before xmas ev
e which requires ditto: One.

Quantity of cleaning items that need to be purchased: Unclear.

Number of partners whose work
is making them totally stressed out (unless forced to do Yoga): One.

Number of pets who've managed somehow to ingest entire fruit stones resulting in puddles of dog spew all over yard: One.

Sum total of exhaustion/denial/ complete and utter inertia: Off the scale.

I know! I'll play around with some balls of yarn and some fabric for a while...

Yarn: Jo Sharp DK. You've seen it before, and you'll see it again, but let's take comfort in familiarity shall we?


Drag hits Mainstream

Drag has finally become so mainstream it’s in the knitting books.

Not since Brian Crossley as Mrs Flower Potts on Adventure Island (or “Bencha Nyman” as I used to call it when I was an avid viewer), has there been such a nonchalant bit of panto cross dressing slipped in to the mix.


from ( "Butch Knits" section of ) Rowan Book 39.
Stylist: uncredited



A few years ago I took some time off and did a farmstay on a friend's acreage up in the far north coast hinterland.
To work on some art projects, recuperate and just..you know..think.

My studio was this quintessential corrugated iron shed (a banana-packing shed put up sometime in the 70s and long since decommissioned).

This was (a very small part of ) the view to the World Heritage-listed Border Ranges and the mango-eating

You see up there in late December, January and February is mango season and there were 4 mature mango trees on the property; monstrously huge thanks to the rich volcanic soil.

One of those trees was right outside the entrance to the shed (you can see the shadows of the foliage in the photo) and every day the path from the house to the studio was carpeted ankle deep in
a fresh drop of mangoes from the trees.

Every. Single. Day.

Each morning would start, after a good espresso, piling as many mangoes as I could fit piled high in a wheelbarrow, slowly wheeling the whole groaning teetering pile down to the cow fence and tip the lot over. The cows loved 'em. To the point where they started waiting patiently and hungrily, all lined up along the fence every morning at exactly the same hour...waiting for their treat. Then they would snort them up by the bucketful. They weren't dairy cows so I never knew whether the high mango diet made their milk sweeter or indeed mango smoothie flavoured!

You could only dispose of so many that way, or make so many kilos of Sri-L
ankan style mango chutney (delicious!) to give away, and so the remaining ones (especially the ones that had been nibbled fussily on by bandicoots) would start to go off in the sub-tropical heat and you'd end up with mangoes just squelching between your toes.

You got used to it.

And so these backs back in the big bad city it still kinda irks me to pay exorbitant prices for a single mango.
But who cares. It's delicious.

Mango in ceramic dish with crazed green inner for vessel wednesday.


Ruby Slippers

No not those ruby slippers ... these.

No beads though.

I found it impossible to find bulky weight feltable yarn in a good range of interesting tertiary colours in Sydney that I could lay my hands on.
And I'm never again buying yarn online w
ithout first eyeballing a good actual sample of it in my hands first.
Nope I think as with all materials -unless you are very familiar with it already- you just need to hold it, handle it, look at various colours/gauges/textures together, and under different lights, in order to be completely satisfied.

So after extensive pondering of the Jo Sharp sample
cards (the strands are now so ratty I think I need a new set already) I'm going double stranded in Classic DK , which comes in a broad range of interesting muted tertiarys.

In this case- Ebony, Mulberry and Ruby.

Oh, and thanks to those of you who checked out my life outside knitting the other day and left such kind comments. Turns out the url I linked to was an object that I didn't design! how embarrasing! so I thought I'd post a couple of images here of my 'baby' the Golden Falcon and other objects I designed for the Science segment.



If all goes to plan - ie if the once-in-a-few-years-downpour holds off- some of my actual design work will be broadcast on sbs this afternoon 2pm Sydney time.
As it was taken out of our (the design team) hands in production, gourd only knows what it will end up actually looking like.
Two years work
Kinda excruciating.
I will probably watch the entire thing like this:


Curtis tolerates his hat

Imogen's 16 month old Curtis gradually gets used to the idea of a lifetime of modelling well-intentioned knitwear.

Yes I think that's Vegemite on the chin (Immi?)
No pristine infant a la 6.5 stitches. ..no sir, we're all kitchen-sink-realism here at Needle's Edge.

I always tell my students to keep all their process drawings, the early rough ones that lie crumpled furtively in the backs of folios and get hidden away, embarrased by their slickly refined photoshop replacements further down the line. Because they're invaluable for so many reasons; in their quick uncensorsed execution, they may contain the germ of an idea that got lost in the translation, or they demonstrate just how far you've come in your process and it's interesting and instructive to look back.

And this shows me just how far I've come in my process of learning to knit over the last 6 months.

This little hat for Curtis was my 2nd ever project. I'm not even going to start on the myriad of strange funny mistakes and choices, its unintentional resemblance to an acorn. That would be too easy. But I offer it up in the same spirit that I encourage my students to do.

And besides, like the booties, it was made with love. (ok, maybe more frustration than love at the balley part).