I blog therefore I am ?

So I haven't been blogging much.
Ever have one of those weeks [months, years, lifetimes.. Please circle appropriate choice]
where you feel like you have the Midas Touch in reverse?

I have spray paint nozzle spit issues.
I have broken two teapots.
We are reduced to preparing beverages in a chipped old one from Chinatown we usually reserve for emergencies.

Call it exhaustion induced klutziness.
Seems like almost anything I touch snaps off, combusts or just dissolves into undesired unruliness.

You know the ball of small calamities that rolls along forming one giant...well, dungball really.

photo: CSIRO

And so I am way too nervous to handle anything breakable at the moment let alone photograph it, so this week's vessel wednesday is brought to you by a perdurable source: the Conde Nast Archives! via design sponge.

photo: Hannel Cassidy. 1944

Knitting follows suit; I can't remember the last time I held yarn and sticks in my hands.
The one constant truth of freelancing is: that August is the crazy month and JanuaryFebruary are the quiet months. So one must make hay while the sun shines.... as they say in the classics.
And at least the sun is , in fact, actually shining.

A special shout out to Michele who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in her sleuthing out Banff yarn opportunities for me, and who incidentally also has the Habu Love and is doing some very lovely things with it.


The many moods of mohair

Long time readers will have already surmised that I like mohair. In fact some may think I have a bit of a fetish for it. And they would be right.
It's just one of those deeply irrational, subconsciously driven attractions that govern most of our choices in life.
But if I was forced to analyse it, I guess I would say it say all stems from a couple of plaid mohair rugs my mother had when I was little. There was some quality about those rugs that I -clearly- found profoundly comforting. A sort of fuzzy bulwark against a sea of angst and uncertainty.
And why thank you Dr. Freud, yes I would love a cup of tea thanks. Lie down on the couch? Don't mind if I do, I am feeling a tad peaky.

On the weekend I was on the Upper North Shore and so I thought I'd pop in to Rubi + Lana for another ball of their fine house brand 3ply in
Dark Charcoal so I could finally start Clessidra #2. (For the record: one Clessidra singular takes 80 grams). No Dark Charcoal left! Serves me right for never buying enough. Thankfully they have some 'in the warehouse' , which is the story of my life at the moment. Which means Clessidra number two should be underway sometime in September.

But back to the mohair...
Maybe it was because I was feeling so blue at having my plans for casting on another Clessidra at that afternoons SSK so cruelly foiled, that my eye was drawn to this colour: Lorna's Laces 'Glory'. Mohair blend (blended with what?) in Navy (huh? ?!! I would call it Periwinkle). I found myself actually petting it right there in the shop. So...I had to buy it. I really don't need a single skein of yet more mohair. But it makes me happy. I think it's destined for neck wear of some kind as Goat assures me it "brings out my eyes". Out of what, exactly, is unclear.

What is crystal clear however, is that I have no readers in Antarctica

see? no markers!

I'm even more disappointed to see I have no (regular) readers in Canada.
Reason is, Goat is off to a conference in Banff soon and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for indigenous yarn goodies around there that I should know about so I can 'get my order in'? Initial googling reveals Qiviut, but I'm not sure whether Sydney is ever, even with global climate change and all, really going to get cold enough for Musk Ox.

Oh, and thank you Heather. Apparently I rock.

Edited to add: A shameless plug for my friend's latest show.


Soul Candy

Remember when you'd stop at the milk bar on the way home from school, rummage through the linty coins in your uniform pocket and hand them over to the shopkeeper behind the glass-fronted counter that held all the lollies?
And the very drawn out and considered ritual called: "How much do I have left"?
Since most of the items cost around 2 cents each (back in the day when we had 2 cent pieces), this could and usually did, take quite some time. You'd select, say 3 cobbers (my favourite) then ask the shopkeer:

"How much do I have left"?

Then another agony of decision in which you'd opt for say, four milkbottles, followed by:

"How much do I have left"?

Then two honey bears, and so on and so on, with the shopkeeper keeping a patient tally until your 20 or so cents were all used up. Then you'd get handed a small white square paper bag that was sealed with a
deft flick of the bag, twisting it at the corners ( a pretty smooth move I used to practice a lot at home with any bag I could get my hands on. I liked to call it the Grocer's Flick). It may have been hell on the teeth but it was quite good for the mental arithmetic.

Very early this morning I was conducting a similar transaction via phone and email with a lovely old guy called Roman (who I shall probably never meet, but who I will always be indebted to) working out of a warehouse somewhere in Illinois.

Except I was trying to sleuth out some obscure and out-of-stock architectural model parts instead of cobbers and honey bears.

What is it about people in the mid west? When I was there in 2005 everyone I met went out of their way to be polite and helpful. Perhaps the fact that I find that noteworthy says more about life in

Of course Illinois has more to offer than politeness and model parts.

Farnsworth House in Plano for example. I have this vague recollection of seeing, when I was still in school, a black and white photo of it which infatuated me. Flash forward twenty or so years later and I find myself in Plano walking through blossoming woodlands, crossing babbling brooks, smelling cedar chips in the air - half expecting Bambi to come scampering through the scene- when suddenly I catch a glimpse of the House through the trees which takes my breath away.

This very deliberate, directed, slow revelation of the house reminded me strongly of the Buddhist temples I'd visited in Vietnam and China that were sited similarly.

So thanks Roman, not just for the help, but also for prompting me, in a very roundabout way, to finally upload some of my Farnsworth pilgrimage.


I was wondering...

if anyone else had noticed that in West Wing Season 4, Abi is starting to look alarmingly like Robert Smith. ** And I can't work out why. Maybe the regular makeup artist and/or lighting technician was away that month. Whatever it is, Stockard Channing is no slouch in the attractiveness department, yet they've managed to make her look like a drag queen.

** Warning: explicit high hair and saxophone solos.

K, nothing else to report so you're getting a completely gratuitous shot of Scout.

Or Scout's crusty ass to be specific.

She'd just had a bath and was all clean, shiny and sweet-smelling (oatmeal dog shampoo) then we went to the Park to finish drying off.
One slimy, muddy, boggy creekbed, one crazy yellow Labrador, and one very funny frenzied game of 'Chase me and Wrestle' later, Scout was thoroughly 'ochred'. Well she was dubbed The Most Holy Dingo by our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Fair Day, so I guess it's only fitting.
Needless to say she was on second bath detail when we got home.


Hockney-esque snapshot

of my life at the moment.

From L to R:
diagrammatic structural sketches, trace, sundry pencils, diary, tissues, SydneyDesign brochure, Sudafed, Butter Menthols, a (now battered) stainless steel case I got from Muji in HK ages ago, and in which I keep my mini-dogclips, calculator,disks, more tissues, water, pile of course notes and marking (trans: grading), pens, Thandi and Season 4 of the West Wing.


The Microbes are Taking Over the World.

We may think we're on top of the food chain, b
ut let's face it, microscopic organisms are definately giving us a run for our money.

Yes, I'm sick with flu. Again. I blame the increasingly Tokyo-style commuter trains, thanks CityRail!

A friend just passed his Physician exams and I missed the party (thanks again CityRail)
and so my life is reduced to this view with occasional evening forays into the living room to watch a couple of episodes of WW and get about one pattern repeat done on Thandi.

The Sudafed certainly makes thinking a little more possible, but it also leaves feeling a little wacky.

Thanks everyone who commented on my last post. I'm glad it sparked some resonance with others, and that's what it's all about isn't it?



above ground + underground

Aliceblue has been photographing the Magnolias of Newtown. Go and check out her beautiful images here.
And it reminded me that there is a particularly spectacular Magnolia in my old 'hood that I used to walk and drive past every day for years, always meaning to photograph and never getting around to it. So when I walked underneath it last weekend on a beautiful Saturday morning, I finally took some photos.

I taught and marked most of today and so it was with a feeling of having had ones brain sucked out through a straw, spat into the gutter and run
over by a truck, that I entered the subway under Broadway.

There are some fine lightbox installations down there by Merilyn Fairskye
I felt the pink one had some resonance in particular with the magnolia blossoms and as I was leaning up against it trying to block out the reflected advertising signs, a busker tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I'd like him to move out of the way so I could get a long shot. I felt bad about taking up his 'turf' in that premium busking space and declined his thoughtful offer. Then I noticed he'd gradually moved over to the opposite wall, all the while playing his violin beautifully. (To all my fellow closet-hippy readers out there: yeah, it reminds me of that Joni Mitchell song For Free too).

Minutes later Mr.'Spotless-Clean' came along with his dustpan and brush,wanting to see my photos on the playback screen and engaging me in a long passionate discourse on the faces that appear and vanish almost imperceptibly in the boxes. If the violinist hadn't already pointed one such spooky apparition to me I would've thought maybe it was a bit like seeing the Virgin Mary in a cornchip, that perhaps he'd gone a bit soft in the head on account of being so
sun-deprived down there for so long.

But no, they're there. A nice ephemeral touch.

The whole thing can't have lasted longer than 5 minutes, and it was such a rare, joyful, island-like moment of connecting with a couple of gentle folk who noticed things - in this case total strangers - while streams of humanity hooked into mobiles and mp3s surged around us.

And so I went from battered to elevated. The class I'd just been teaching dealt
with designing in four dimesions and the notion of ephemerality, so it seemed especially apt.

On the train home I watched a woman get out a bottle of nail varnish, balance it and paint her nails. On a violently lurching train.
Now, that's confidence.

Time for some thankyous

To everyone who commented on Bainbridge. Thank mintyfresh for coming up with the pattern.
To Melissa (and this one is very overdue) who deserves some kind of prize for having the last surviving copy, possibly in the world, of the pattern for these! ( I know a certain someone who is going to be pretty damn stoked with that). Thanks Melissa!
And to kgirl for her generous offer of a knit/elastic tutorial (lemme tell ya, sorely needed).

Never let it be said the knitblogosphere does not come through with the goods.