Curious Facts

It's vessel wednesday!
Yay! I hear you exclaim...
Well, I'm quite chuffed that I've managed to inspire
I admire on the road to vessel documentation

Two circa 1950s handpainted glass sweet dishes (from a set of six) which belonged to Goat's nanna

We had a good friend over for dinner on Saturday night (a much needed pick-me-up) and when I came downstairs early on Sunday morning, some of the dishes that can't go in the dishwasher were sitting there very photogenically on the counter and so I had to document them, and also this one:

With a story attached: we were taking Scout to her new favourite "beach" we were walking the back streets, feeling fairly & squarely bummed out about our impending homelessness*, when this cute little girl, about eight, in a white sundress and big grin (seriously, she was right out of a 1970s baby shampoo commercial) gave Goat and me these sprigs of Lavender. Her dad was out on the porch only just getting around to taking down the xmas decorations, and we all shared a little 'Minties Moment'

Which leads me to
Even when you start to lose faith in human nature, something small happens that restores it.

This and * leads me to
We've had offers of accomodation from all & sundry which leads me to conclude that the generosity of the knitting blogosphere knows no bounds.

In the course of researching aboriginal bark canoe making for my next gig, I am trepidatious about designing something that culturally sensitive.

The human brain takes up 2% of the body's mass, but 20% of its energy, according to Bill Bryson.

A recent keyword analysis reveals that someone googled "Can I do without a pressure valve on my boiler?" and got my blog.


Come in Spinners

No, not the Dympha Cusack novel, or even the TV adaptation...I'm talking that rarified, mysterious art/craft form that in my mind is up there with illuminating medieval manuscripts and artisanal cheese-making..
I'm talking about wool spinning.

An activity I have vague, yet fond memories of being taught to do by a kind and patient friend of my parents when I was about...thirteen or fourteen.

But now...well mists of time and all that, but amazingly the memory (completely forgotten until that moment) of which was conjured up when I took up knitting last year. Something about the tactile sensation or the rhythm of the wool slipping across my fingers.

But in a more recent flashback, you'll remember I adopted Bob, a merino lamb at Uamby, last year
Well in addition to receiving 2000 adoptions (!), the good folk at Uamby have also held back some wool from market.
They have:

16 microns lambs wool and 18 microns ewes & wethers wool. (Spinners, I'm sure you'll know what that means)

And they'd love to hear what you need.
You can email them at Michael[at]newhorizon[dot]au

Some of that wool might just come from 'my' little Bob! And I'd love it to go to a loving home.



Released from the shackles of yet another deadline!

Such giddy relief!

By popular demand (and by 'popular' what I really mean is Martha at Uniform ) I give you a sneak preview of some cozzies I've been working on,
shown in their various states of completion. (click on any to enlarge).

Materials: graphite, pen& ink, gouache, acrylic, coloured pencil, patone pen, metallic pen, collage, coloured card, acetate. (phew!)

I actually gave myself caffeine poisoning last week.

By the time we got to Chalk Horse, the tiny de-oxygenated room was starting to spin and so we had to spend most of the night out on the footpath- along with 100 or so of the unbelievably hip, young and beautiful.
(Nothing like an opening to make one feel daggy, old and deeply unfashionable, and by the way it was well on its way to a sell-out..well done guys)

But back to the caffeine... I've heard (from a scientist that was doing a study into such things) that it all depends on the milligrams of caffeine per beverage.
Well I had way too many milligrams.
Today is my 4th day without coffee and even the thought of it makes feel slightly queasy.
And the other day as we were driving past Campos, our favourite bean purveyor, I inhaled a nostrilful of roasting goodness...nope, nothing but nausea.

Am experimenting with a myriad of teas (none of which give the same buzz..but fortunately also not the same unpleasant toxic overload).

And the deadlines? Two down, one to go.

All that leaves is doing 3 years worth of tax returns and... oh yeah, finding somewhere to live. We're looking to see what we can afford to buy (that 19th/20th most expensive city in the world stuff? well forget it..word is it's actually the 7th)!
Now..just how close to the railway line can we get? And you don't mind showering in the back yard do you? Who needs plumbing when there's a perfectly good garden hose.


It's a gnome thing

I'm meant to be doing a gnome for tomorrow night's Replicotta Warriors fundraiser for Chalkhorse gallery (part of the 1/2 doz Artist-Run Initiative ).
I was toying with the idea of knitting an outer shell for the little guy in some exterior material like stainless steel wire, or even rusty wire, or plastic or some such.

But hey, at this point some thing's gotta give.
And right now that thing is the gnome.

Sorry chalkhorse, sorry gnomey.

Right now I've got to get back into the *ahem*...studio (read as chaotic rubbish heap) and render up 20 costume drawings so I can hand them in before the public holiday on Friday.

Oh, and a Myna update (thanks Ashley) : the little bird survived the night.

Not merely survived but was hopping around like crazy in its little box the next morning. Tough little things aren't they? No wonder they're taking over.

Anyway so I drove it over to Scout's vet, filled in the paperwork and left it for the vet to do an appraisal. If it's able to be rehabilitated then they give it to a WIRES carer in the area or if not then they euthanase.
Isn't it amazing that
1) even though this little guy is a declared environmental pest someone is still willing to care for it? Just shows how humane/humanist/humanitarian (? I always get those definitions confused...I'm sure someone out there in the blogosphere can correct me) we can be, and
2) Vets do so much unpaid work caring for injured wild animals being brought in all the time.

Turns out this was the 2nd myna baby brought to the surgery in the last 24 hours..times are tough! Even for mynas! Don't you know there's a housing shortage and a drought? Get outta the nest already.

Scout was most put out that we went to one of her favourite places in the whole world (the vet..yes really) and she didn't get treats.Sulky Scout


Black humour anyone?

Birds eh?

What are they good for?

If they're not pushing their unfledged progeny out into the big wide world before they're old enough to fly only to land on the ground right in front of your dog, then they're shitting on your clean laundry drying on the line.

Now...just in case it's not obvious, I am joking. Of course.

Today was 40.8 C, humidity 66%, the cool change is only just starting to come though at 11p
m and I sit here with a baby Myna bird tucked in a box after chasing the poor traumatised thing halfway around the park with a towel.

Yes it did drop out of the tree, and yes right in front of Scout who set upon it with a gusto that is usually reserved for her favourite toy. But adrenalin is an amazing thing and while Goat and our fellow dog walker wrestled Scout to the ground I stooped around after it making what I could only assume were reassuring noises. We all know that birds speak English, right?
Right, so here it is, in a box with airholes, shredded paper towel and some water.

Thing is, Mynas are technically a pest. I've rescued a baby owl before,which was cared for by WIRES, and which we returned in a tearful 'Born Free' moment to the wild a few days later.

But this is not a native species like say a Lorikeet.

It's a pest bird.
It'll probably die of shock overnight poor little thing, and one of its wings could be broken.
If not then I'll call Scout's vet in the morning and get their advice.
But at least tonight it's not still fluttering around outside on the mulch waiting for another neighbourhood dog or cat to get it.

All in all quite the bookend to a fairly dramatic weekend.
On Friday afternoon we received notification that the man who owns our [house] Home is intending to move back from London and into our house.
Not with us in it of course, just him on his own.
And seeing as he owns it and tenant rights legislation being what it is in this country (sort of none) then we get to start spending our Saturday mornings schlepping around houses again. Hurrah.

I know, I know, Goat and I are very very aware of the necessity of saving our pennies and scrounging enough together to buy a pet-friendly studio apartment the size of a pocket handkerchief that we can call our very own.
However, I work in the Arts in Australia.
Enough said.
And Sydney is either the 19th or the 20th most expensive city in the world depending on where you get your information.

Ok, end of whinge. It's safe to switch back on now. And just to prove it, here's Princess Morte rallying around and doing her bit to help out.
She's browsing the listings on Domain for us. Well, it's technically only her front, but then it's fitting that her front has more initiative.
The back just sloths around in a bag all day long.

Hope everyone had a better weekend.


FO: They Might Be Giants.

Pattern: Well, y'see...this is where it gets tricky.
As you know these started out as the Curiously Clever Clogs by Jennifer Hansen.
However as you also know, the pattern as written I found suprememly irritating and was consequently abandoned.
I think in all fairness the only elements of the original I've retained are the th
ree-colour idea, some of the gusset shaping and the i-cord edging.
Otherwise I would say it's actually my own.
Perhaps I should call them Second Season Slippers* (as heavily influenced by CCCs)?
But I'm not here to get bogged down in the vexed area of IP.
And so on with the details...

: Classic DK Wool/ DK Wool Heathers by Jo Sharp in Mulberry, Rub
y and Chestnut. Held double to get tension.

9mm bamboo straights (purchashed for $3 !!! from Scragfight- as Di calls it- which at first seemed pretty crappy: rough-surfaced and lightweight, but after working with them have re
ally smoothed out and actually aren't bad at all) plus 9mm Brittany birch dpns for the i-cord (tres pleasing to work with but hey they oughta be with the price tag).

Mods: Hooley dooley. This is the bit I've been dreading. Remembering and itemising the modifications.
The most obvious one being that I knitted 3 separate pieces; the upper, the linin
g and the sole. Then sewed them together.

Time: The entire 2nd season of West Wing* on dvd to knit and sew. One an
d a half hours (so much for the "make sure you check them every 5 mins" felting advice...I lost count of how many times I hauled out the steamy sodden pillowcase I had them secured in) in 55 deg C water to finally felt (man are they thick).

New skills: What can I say? It was an education.

Recipient: Goat

The verdict: Well...
I would say that if you're a really confident, advanced knitter you may have no problem at all with the attach-as-you-knit construction of the original pattern, and I can appreciate the advantages of doing them that way to cut down on the sewing time. However if you're a relative beginner like myself the technique is rather frustrating and not recommended.
I'm also not 100% happy with the finished blocked shape of the upper. Perhaps you need to use a shoe-tree -as Stitchdiva recommends- to really get that structured finish.
Would I do them again? Definately, but I would make even more mods to the upper: reducing it to 90% of its pre-felted size to begin with and losing about 8 rows at the beginning and end to eliminate the overlap under the lining which would mean less sewing.

But they are certainly comfy, warm and have a certain homespun charm.

top image: Arul Baskaran


Hi. Remember me?

I'm the one that used to keep this blog reasonably up to date.
But lately, between shooting all day and coming home to draw costumes for another gig all evening (thank you Goat for being sole Scout-walker, chef, barista and all-round domestic c
hore-er) and falling, comatose and rather gratefully, into bed for a few hours sleep every night to get up and do it all again...well, I've been neglecting the blog and checking in with all of yours!

So much catching up to do...

There was some knitting victory on the weekend however, the Clogs are done...as in felted, dried, beindigde volledig*!!!

Pictorial updates to come.

Meanwhile seeing as it's vessel wednesday, it seems fitting to end with the only vessel that's been seeing much action around here lately. Ah..bean...sweet giver of life.

* Dutch for finished and complete!!!


Friday Purples

Clockwise from top left to right:
Garlic. I love the shibori-dyed look of the skin/ Sprig of Wisteria, very out-of-season and found on the footpath near my house/ Clog with my (big) foot for scale, this is a clog for giants!/ The liriope is coming in to flower finally.

Some of you have commended me on my sticking power and tenacity in the clog department. Well, you are too kind.
Truth is that while I have inherited some (quite a bit) of obduracy from my grandfather (the original stubborn old goat), I think it's from years of building scale models for sets with all the necessary adjustments, amendments, improvements, experiements (I think that's enough ents for one post), doing and re-doing involved.
That I've just come to accept that as part of the process.
In fact in an almost perverse way I relish it as an opportunity to improve on the previous.

Or maybe it's just because it gives me a sense of order in a random universe (Bill Bryson's influence again...can I just say that particle physics is rockin my world? Almost quite literally)!


vessel wednesday brought to you by...

image: by permission Sara Paloma

Wheel thrown stoneware from Sara Paloma in matte white.

I was scanning the various items in the Kim Family Benefit (Needles Edge is really bringing up the rear on this issue) and was struck by the form of these vases.

Seems I wasn't alone there.

Minimalist, elegant stoneware...and she has a cute dog.
What's not to like?


clog progress

I wonder if TAFE offers a Cert IV in Clog Construction?
Strictly part time of course.

It's just that this 8 page document

cannot impart the finer points to us rank amateurs...

... of just what the hell I'm supposed to do with this:

(Outer sole and heel of the 'attach-as-you-go' version of the Curiously Clever Clogs,
othewise known as the Wooly Giant Squid).

And when they say Clever, they really mean it.
Forget the Cert. IV. I think you need a PhD.
Even Goat (the only holder of said qualification in this household) blanched.

Being an old self-educator from way back, I
Grabbed a pencil,
traced around the 'plan' photo in the instructions.
Made a couple of paper models,
carefully prised them apart,
and blew them up by 170%.
Giving me a 1:1 pattern to follow.
Shaped my knitted pieces accordingly.
Sewed it all together

Neat, as opposed to dog's breakfast.
Can see what I'm doing.
Call me old fashioned!

Ok, so there's lots of sewing, but I don't mind that.

Except that I'm not happy with the toe on the first slipper. I retained too much of the short row shaping of the original which turns out to be unecessary (in my version) and it's ended up rather lumpen.

Which I've rectified on the second slipper to a more pleasing tapered shape.
(Retaining 'purl bump' placement markers of the original)

You know what comes next...
Ripping the seams on the first slipper, re-knitting the Upper and then re-sewing it back in.
Which sounds like a lot of work but trust me, if I don't, I'll spend way more energy than that fretting about the "funny-lookin' toe".


Oh happy day

It was Scout's third birthday yesterday so we took her to all her favourite places one after the other.
First stop was Cafe Bones at Hawthorne Canal

You ordered a puppycino to go? : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : Excuse me, I ordered the skinnysoymochacino??!
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : Oh nevermind, I'll drink it anyway.

Ridgeback anxiously waits : : : : : : : : : : : : Bang a gong, bring it on:
for the dregs... : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : Scout and Poppy the Beagle size each other up before the game

Then it was on to her favourite vet (more free treats).
Then to Petbarn to get fitted for a new harness that isn't held together with rubber bands (and more free treats).

And finally back home for a pressie: Speja collapsible tube from IKEA, which Scout was initially somewhat apprehensive about but -with sufficient enoucouragement- embraced with gusto.

The Gattaca shot:

What with all the food treats, all in all a very good day according to Scout (and little wonder she's a kilo overweight).


Fear & Loathing in IKEA

It's not honestly 2007 already is it?

Seeing as we're all moving at an average of 107,218 kms an hour, it's bound to happen sooner rather than later. My current bedtime reading is Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and it's got me hooked on scientific factoids.

So we celebrated the impending new year with a trip to the Mega Ikea.
What can I say?
Everyone in the Greater Metropolitan Area
of Sydney was at the Mega Ikea.
In a curious twist akin to 'Freaky Friday', the Goat and I swapped personalities for the day with Goat full of cheer, hope and enthusiasm for the fu
rniture experience and me dragging the chain.
Even a hundred home-office storage solutions was
n't enough to shake me out of my torpor for very long.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that this new hyper-mart is the size of a large suburb and we were trapped in a one-way human stream of equally dazed shoppers who could barely supre
ss their hysteria and their singing along to ironic 70s disco (at least I think it's ironic).
I was suddenly full of nostalgia for the good old smaller Ikeas..where I knew all the sneaky short cuts and where everything was.
Well I was finally beaten into caffeine-starved, daylight-deprived
submission (the masterminds are taking some tips from Vegas there) and we were lucky to emerge from the carpark with only three hundred odd bucks worth mostly sticking out through the sunroof, and swerve around suicidal pedestrians hurling themselves onto the freeway-
"Get outta the way, can't you see we've got Flat-Packs here"??!!!

But part of the loot was this for the first vessel wednesday of 2007...

A nice piece of green glassware (which does freaky things to Agatha).

In knitting news, some alternative names for the Curiously Clever Clogs:
1.Curiously Complicated Clogs
2.Bedevilingly Bastard Booties

There's nothing for it but to make a scale model from recycled printer paper and masking tape.

version 1 version 2

All will be revealed -hopefully- if I can make my new improved pattern work.

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday.