Saint Vessel: a dip into the surreal.

Bugheart made an allusion to Saint Lucia (or Saint Lucy) the other day.
Intrigued, it got me researching.

I found a 1521 painting of her by Domenico Beccafumi.
It's in a very mannerist style, the proportions are quite distorted but what really fascinates me about this particular depiction is a surrealistic detail:

The allergorical meaning of which I still haven't got to the bottom of. But it does make for an unusual episode of vessel wednesday.


Contact Love* Project

bigger version here

bigger version here

No engineering.
Just side by side in my Contacts.
Serendipitous juxtapositions.
*Thanks 6.5 for the title.


Kikuyu Tiara

is what Scout made me this weekend.

Well ok it was a bi-product of her hole digging activities but it had been left rather neatly on her blanket so I assume it was a gift.

I don't intend this to become a sick dog blog, but seeing as Scout has just been discharged after two days in animal hospital, we're feeling very indulgently towards her at the moment and she can excavate the entire back yard if she so desires.

Besides, I think every knitter needs a Kikuyu Tiara to wear while they knit in the winter afternoon sunshine.

That and the fact that I feel like I'm running out of things to blog about.
My knitting is proceeding very slowly and you can only post so many photos of centimetre by centimetre progress shots before the novelty starts to pall.

To demonstrate:

The results of last weekend's knitting / & this weekend's knitting:

The Leaning Tower of Clessidra:
immediately prior to its Terminal Lean, I think this is the last round where it's still able to support itself.

Glacial isn't it?

In the background that you can't see is other WIP: my late 50s/early 60s sofa being stripped down to its frame prior to being reupholstered. Yep, we're in it for the long haul here at Needles Edge.

At a friend's 40th (did you know 40 is the new 30?) I ran into an older and much wiser friend who, recently back from delivering a paper at this conference , reminded me that it's not merely OK but in fact necessary to dream: something that we get inculturated out of in these economic rationalist times. Ever the cockeyed optimist she really rejigs the "Hopeless Dreamer" into "Hopeful Dreamer" and that's something we all need more of.

Hope everyone else had a similarly auspicious weekend.


vessel wednesday: splinter of light

Yes, you've seen the one on the left before, but it did have a mango in it at the time.

Once again daydreaming at the stove making coffee and seeing this little splinter of sunlight beaming through the shelves- onto this bowl and then onto the square platters made me think: vessel wednesday.

I particularly like the way the light 'pooled' in the bowl, making the crackling in the green glaze really stand out.

Which I tried to capture but of course couldn't really.

And I mas musing on how high a proportion of the vessels in the pool are round or curvilinear, and what that might mean.

And then my coffee was ready.


Cinematic Knits V

Stepford Wives - the 2004 remake, starring the increasingly oddly-nosed Nicole (who incidentally went to the same highschool as me ...bugger! that couldn't been one of my Random Facts. Oh well, let's make it Random Fact #8).

In an otherwise formulaic and
very broad bru
shstroke style of film, there are two saving graces (make that three: Glenn Close pretty much eats the scenery in this one).

Firstly, on black-

Walter Kresby:
"Only castrating Manhattan career bitches wear black. Is that what you want to be"?

Joanna Eberhart: "Ever since I was a little girl".

Secondly, this pretty cool knit.
click to enlarge

Is it a scarf? Is it a cape? A scape? A carpf?
Whatever it is it's very drapey yarn. And the colour? Nice.

I'm so glad I tagged Charlotte, have you seen her response? It's this very charming photographic essay, go check it out.

Remaining tagees:
Loraine, Martha*, Fee, Girlprinter and the Eminently Taggable Eero!


Tag virus hits blogosphere: Scientists baffled.

Pen & Purl and Christy did it.

You know the symptoms by now: "
Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blogs seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog".

Now, what can I say? The word fact throws me off on an existential tangent. However rather than get bogged down in a linguistic/semantic discourse here, I'll instead join in with the spirit of the thing.
(Especially when Christy refers to me as one of her peeps).

Fact. n. [fakt] A truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:

1.I've lived in 29 houses in 6 different cities, two of them overseas.

2.The only two musicians I would queue up at four am to buy tickets for are Cassandra Wilson and Tom Waits.

3.I currently have 180 books catalogued in my library thing.

4.My favourite tea is Assam loose leaf.

5.I drink between three and six cups of it a day.

6.I have never jumped out of an aeroplane.

7.I have the stinkiest dog in the Inner West. Seriously, that is one funky-ass pong.

Now I have to tag seven others.
I may have to tag one a day for a week.
Tagee #1: Charlotte

Ok, I'm off to remedy fact #7.


If you ever wanted...

to know what a Dog Boot looks like.
Yes, that's right.
A Dog Boot.

It looks like this:

Now, please. Before you start posting those comments in with harsh comparisons to Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, animal cruelty and downright stupidity. Stop!
And consider for a moment...
This is not what you think it is.
This boot is for medicinal purposes.
I know that's what Aunty Mabel used to say about the bottle of cooking sherry tucked into the toilet cistern, but honestly, this really is.

In Scout's never-ending quest to find excuses to go and visit her favourite
Vet where she is plied with lovin' and gourmet treats (because she never gets that at home..it's a veritable Spartan bootcamp here) she somehow managed to find the only smouldering cigarette butt in 44 hectares of parkland and step on it, resulting in a nasty burn.
(I know that readers of Needles Edge who smoke would never even think about dropping a burning butt into the mulch at a dogpark).
So after a couple of days of home-treatments and Scout perfecting the
pitiful three-legged hobble, she convinced me this was a case best left to the professionals.

"She's going to need a boot" the vet informs me, and before I have a chance to digest this info she's disappeared and returned, tugging at what appear to be laces on something small and black in her hands.

"These are RM Williams" she says as she deftly fits the toilet-roll-size tube of black leather onto Scout's recalcitrant paw.

"You're kidding"! I reply, knowing she's an old leg-puller (or in this case paw-puller) from way back.

Turns out RM Williams does dog boots.
Apparently they're for the working dogs out in the paddocks all day to prevent paw problems.
By now I'd not only gotten used to the idea, but actually started thinking it would be pretty cool (Scout could herd sheep! Just like a Kelpie!), but wouldn't you know - it's a size too small, and the last pair! Needless to say, it's the vet and I who are disappointed and not Scout.

"This isn't as cute, but a bit more...Adidas" the Vet assures me as she bustles back in with the sporty model pictured above.

Well, at least it "fits"

By the time it came to pay the bill and go, Scout was not having a bar of it.
I was perfectly free to leave and go home but there was no way she was coming with me, especially not with this damn fool thing on her foot.

And no amount of encouragement would prevent Scout from doing a mad three-legged-hobble combined with a manic Rimmer esque saluting thing with the offending paw stuck out in front.

The result?
She'd chewed through the buckle and got it off in the back seat before I even drove out of the carpark.

Scout does her Inscrutable Sphinx impression in the morning sun, sans boot thank you.


Triangular proportions*

l to r: approaching the Bermuda Triangle, othewise known as 'Zone of Strange Stitches'/ gratuitous lace purtyness/ new improved plain sailing: stockinette.

This little project has been through the Bermuda Triangle twice.

It mysteriously vanished from the sidebar and was never seen again.

It was a relatively simple lace pattern; an eight row repeat.
And yet twice I had gotten to half way through the sixth repeat or thereabouts, roughly about ten
centimetres into it, and suddenly I would have a randomly larger number of stitches on my needle than I was meant to. Twice!

Why is it so? as Julius Sumner Miller said. (and by the way god!, that guy used to scare me witless, somehow I got the idea into my eight-year-old head that his show was Highschool, and that I too would someday be expected to be as clued-up on the laws of Physics as those thoroughly-briefed and smartly-attired 'students' of his, not to mention be able to adroitly withstand the Professor's seemingly rabid interrogations about iron filings and magnets).

Where was I?
Oh yeah, the Bermuda Triangle.

Right alongside the mystery extra stitches.

Ok, I can cope with ripping back once, but twice? Surely I couldn't be momentarily losing my concentration for a split second -just long enough to get totally out of sync- in the same place twice... was I perhaps dreaming of a house with perfect light and enough room to paint and...
See? there I go again.

It's the Triangle I tell you.
What are the chances of losing your place twice in the same spot? I'm no statistician, but I'd say a lot to one.
Let's just say it was driving me up the wall and ,really, with Clessidra on board as well at the moment, frankly I need a no-brainer to balance things out.
Just easy old K1, K1, K1... etc...you know the one.

Which is what I'm doing now.
A little something by Kristin Spurkland aka the Painless Knit.

And the lovely Clessidra ...

embryonic hourglass cable emerging, I know you can't see it, but I know it's there.

Well, she is an exacting mistress let me tell you, but I'm still enjoying the project.
I view knitting the minute, complex rows as something of a ritual, and not at all the anticipated Task of Sisyphus (thank you Eero for the apt metaphor!)

*Or: It's Pear-Shaped


This week I 'ave been knitting mostly *...

The Cuff of Clessidra.

Which sounds like a long forgotten suspense novel.
This is only my second go readers, that's all.
Even though my work puts me fair and square into the world of the micro millimetre on a daily basis apparently I can't add up.
I get to the cabley bits and I realise only then that I've cast on 78 instead of 80 stitches and I'm wondering why the pattern sequence isn't working out.
I am however loving the Rubi + Lana wool. Lovin' it sick (as Kimmie would say...except that I'm sure Kimmie would only knit in hot pink acrylic).
And very happy with the new 2mm dpns.
Shopping for which I ran into lovely Missy Fee who I haven't seen for years. As energy-challenged as I was at the time (sorry for the braindeath, Fee!) I wasn't so tired to not notice her cute knitting bag in this that I've been coveting for a while.
So buoyed up on "new project rush" brought on by finally procuring the tools I needed for Clessidra, I don't think the full enormity of the task ahead really sank in until I printed the pattern out.
I think it was a few minutes later when my printer was still spitting out pages that it finally did sink in.
Seven pages. Add to that two pages of Knitty-specific abbreviations and another two of the accompanying 'cable cheating' tutorial and that comes to an eleven page pattern! For a pair of socks!
So these may just be ready for wearing on Christmas Day (a little reminder for our Northern Hemisphere readers...Xmas day in Australia is usually somewhere in barbeque/sauna territory).

Knitpicks marketing dept seems to have gone into overdrive getting their needle range into Aus stores, and I was tempted to try the 'two circulars' method on Clessidra while eyeing the knitpicks circs off, but Gabriella seems to have written the pattern specifically (or is that "Pacificaloy"...more culturally specific Kath & Kim references..sorry again to non Aussie readers) written for four dpns and who am I to ignore that?
That and the fact that I may just have to enroll in the upcoming and spookily well-timed "Knitting Socks on Two Circulars" class at Tapestry Craft before I'm game.

* Apologies to Fast Show


Workaday items.

These were in my peripheral vision as I stood there making my coffee this morning, so they became vessel wednesday.
Plain ol' IKEA votives.
They may not be Ballos, but they come in very handy for holding PVA glue (this is just between you and me dear reader, Goat need never know about it) which is something I certainly wouldn't do with a Ballo...but then again if it was at hand and I couldn't be arsed getting up for something else...

-All pics enlarge-

The glue i
s for these

s pile will become 30 scale chairs for the model.

My desk at 4.15 pm:

If I look to my

If I look to my left

If I look up

And if I look down...
"Can we go to the park now pleeeeeeeease"
(she's usually blurry like this; she is terrier after all).

I've also been squeezing in the odd couple of rows of this

As usual, I'm loving the wrong side; the undulating stickey outy dimpley surface of it.


Cinematic Knits IV

Cinematic knits continues, somewhat peripatetically.

I watched Whale Rider for about I think the fourth time on the weekend.
And it still stands up.

I still remember being struck, the first time I saw it at the cinema, how spot on Kirsty Cameron's costumes were for this story. Particularly the handknitted jumper Paikea wears for the big penultimate scene where she rides the whale back into the sea.

still from Whale Rider 2002

There was something intuitively so right about that jumper, the way the honest texture of it somehow echoed the barnacles on the whale's back as she hugged the great creature, then when it was completely soaked from the sea, how it stretched and sagged so heavily on her, making her seem so small and vulnerable; a perfect counterpoint to the brave act she was about to perform.
And this was all years ago, way before I caught the knitting bug.
And so it's interesting to re-visit that scene now and still be struck by its perfectness.

Laughed yet today?
If not, take a look at Gottle of Geer Productions latest, coming to a theatre near you!
And last but by no means least check out the latest from these old dudes via Poppalina.
(ok, so I'm a bit obsessed but I'll never forget circa 1977 listening repeatedly -
hypnotised- to Autobahn on my parents' new stereo and watching the dimples on the turntable go round and round, and the lights on the graphic equaliser go up and down).


Mohair Mark II

Goat: "So what's the subtle and important difference about this one"?

Me: "Well, the main difference with this one is that I'm actually going to finish it".

Goat: "Not really subtle, but I can see why it's important".


'bout time

So many new vessel-ers sharing their glory on flikr that I've been shamed into pullling my proverbial out.
My excuse so far has been the appaling lack of adequate light in this house we currently call 'home'. And it's true.

But there comes a point where you just have to forget your previously taken-for-granted north-facing floor to ceiling glazing, move on, and make do with what you've got dadgummit.
And so without further ado

Mandala Opera by D3 DESIGN. Part of the mint range.
Recyclable polypropylene.

A gift from the lovely and ever-stylish Sylvia.(blogless! shock!)

The chevron graphics and arc shapes evoke the forms and tile work in Utzon's Opera House (fantastic model and wip shots from the Mitchell Library's collection here), hence the title. It comes flat, with pre-punched holes so you can arrange it in to different formations as the mood takes you. Although after some initial excited experimentation, it's stayed in its' present formation ever since.

MO currently lives at the top of the hallway shelves under a skylight, where it catches my eye almost every time I pass, and cheers me.

It's like a house-plant, it seems to be reaching for the sun under the skylight up there.

Thanks Syl.

A couple of recommendations on the theme of German:

If you haven't already, you should check out Pikku-Kettu's German stockings. The detail is pretty spectacular.
Also definately worth a look is The Lives of Others. Intelligent, precise, modulated, beautiful. Don't be put off by thinking it might be a downer, it's actually more about the possibility of altruism and hope.
Lastly, another lovely friend doing his best Kraftwerk impersonation. It's funnier with a Scots accent trust me!


Fits + Starts

clockwise from top right-
one last look before I rip: the mohair/ the Aedificium + bookmark/ stitchy shadow on elevation/
flikr favourite: Residence temple, Mt Koya Japan.

There are projects you work on that are so engaging and exciting that you feel invigorated in all other areas of your life.
Then there are the projects that feel like ten years with hard labour, and the irksomeness likewise bleeds out to other apsects of your life.
I'm working on one of the latter- an opera.
And at night I'm re-reading Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.
So every night I re-visit the labyrinthine Aedificium and have to keep referring back to the schematic plan at the front of the book trying to get a handle on the layout.
The mohair is following suit.
There's been some false starts: it's been a few inches of a number of things already, with the latest being a cabled sweater loosely based on Heather. It fits well, but I'm not really happy with the vertical proportions, the cables are barely reading at all in the black and so frankly the amount of fiddliness is not really justified. Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of subtle, but this is ridiculous.

Plus I'm starting to not like the yarn so much. Last week at Rubi + Lana I had a feel of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which makes the Jo Sharp feel like an old hessian sack. Even Mist from Naturally -
which I felt (yarn shops are all about the tactile experience aren't they?) at Champion Textiles on the weekend- feels way softer than the JS.
Significantly softer. And less than half the price.
It will be something soon.

Hopefully the opera model will be too.

Thanks again for all the concern for Scout. A little update: it turned out to be a Melanocytoma (potentially malignant cancer). Our vet got it all and the take home message? Don't worry about it.
Which translates for me into I'm going to be paranoid about every tiny lump on Scout for ever more, but seeing as this one started out as looking just like an angry-looking mosquito bite, it's probably a well-founded paranoia.