Flashback Friday

Of a different kind.

A little while ago Martha wrote a post on green.
Then Loraine asked me about the colour of the walls in my house.

It seemed right to post about green walls.

This is my old studio in inner west Sydney which I shared with another designer (still a great friend long after both of us have moved on from the studio).

It was situated in a three storey warehouse of uncertain vintage.
But what I do know of its narrative is that during the 1930s it functioned as a Speedo factory, back in the day when Speedos were made out of wool. (Imagine that! What springs to mind for me is memories of those Swimming Medallions we were all made to do at school which often involved jumping full clothed in to the deep end of the pool, staying afloat and 'saving' classmates).

I know this because one day a middle aged man and his rather older mother came in to our studio and asked to look around.
Turned out that this lovely little old lady had worked in the building in the 1930s, making swimming costumes, at a machine which stood in the very spot my desk stood. She looked out at the same view as me - the same church spire- all those years ago, except back in those days it was still a cemetary. These days the cemetary is banished to much further back, clinging to a scrap of land around said church, leaving a grassed over parkland which fills with dogs each afternoon.

By the time we moved in, our floor had been reduced to nasty 60s-era boxy offices, and we did much DIY renovation. The walls facing out on to the park we painted Wattyl Florida Palm -a dark complex olive- which were a perfect foil to the clean white of the other walls and the raw timber of the impressively massive beams.


Post Election

... puns fail me.

You're probably breathing a collective sigh of relief at that.

For my non-Aus readers, there was a Federal Election here on the weekend, and after eleven (was it only eleven? It feels more like eleven
million) years of Conservative government, we have a change of leadership (to slightly less Conservative).

I feels somewhat of a hollow victory, as I was really looking forward to seeing Howard cry in some candid capture of an unguarded moment on National Television.

Just the smallest quiver of that protuberant bottom lip, just a
hint of mucous running down from that smug nose -with Janette leaning over with a maternal Kleenex- would've sent me into a giddy celebratory dance through the house let me tell you.
Mere schadenfreude you might say. And you'd be right, but remember Nietzsche said something like

Never trust those of whom you must stifle the urge to punish.

Or something like that.

Last election, I woke the day after, capsizing somewhere between "Wanting to cut my own throat"Land and "Planning immediate emigration to New Zealand or Canada as a political refugee" Island.
this time,I woke feeling relieved and that perhaps everything wasn't quite so intractably grim.
So that's good.

Goat, the girls and I celebrated the Downfall with a sit in the park eating Golden Gaytimes* (which would've been more appropriate if the Greens had got a seat in the Senate).

And now...the part you've all been waiting for...is the Post Downfall Celebratory Knitting!

I only managed to sit through about an hour of the blow-by-blow accounts of the vote itself, but I
did manage to power through almost the entire back of Mimosa!
Hard Core enthusiasts can see action shots here, but I warn you it's so exciting that you may need a couple of Qualudes to calm you down when you get back, and a sit down in the Ambient Knit Room**

Now this is seriously celebratory, in colour at least:

Rike Feurstein's long scarf.
From Australian Vogue October '07.

*An icecream with a certain retro appeal, yet yummy!
** I'm wondering what the Ambient Knit Room would look like? Lots of crochet in pastel angora, maybe?


I couldn't decide

whether to call this post The Dining Table, or The Exchange Department, or A Whole Lotta Stuff, or even Massive Clearance (to catch all those christmas online bargain hunters, oh the disappointment when they got my blog . . . nothing here for you shoppers! )

Because in a sense all these titles are apt.

Lately there's been a lot of packages arriving in the mail (and don't we love that)? Some from just around the corner, some from interstate and some from much, much further afield. So I took a brief pause before marking student work to carefully art direct, array, randomly pile everything on the table and photograph it.

From top, L to R.

My backcopy of IK summer 06 arrived, so I could finally cast on for (Black)Mimosa;

The very wonderful and spontaneously generous Mari sent me some Marimekko fabric (way off in the background) that I'd been casually eyeing off a while ago (along with some other little Portugese goodies.. alas no tarts but maybe the Customs guys ate those on the way through, bastards!) Thank you Mari ;

Thanks to Di, who sent me some of her stash Rowan Cotton Glace, I can shortly br
ing you the definitive findings on the Great Cotton Swatch Off. The colours of the swatches tone nicely with the cover artwork on the novel I'm reading The inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai ( a great read);

Great steaming cup of coffee (a belated vessel wednesday by the way);

Veronik Avery's
Knitting Classic Style. Oh the loveliness. Her style is very eclectic but at the heart of it lies simple shapes and understated, interesting textures. This will be well thumbed soon I'm sure;

Merino/silk DK from the Knittery. Just like Jaggerspun Zephyr only Chunk-eeee (you have to do that last bit with a silly accent a la the old Cocoa Pops ad, trust me it's better);

Plate 12 from an exquisite collection in (wait for it) The Documents from the Bar-Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters: Hebrew, Aramaic, Nabatean-Aramaic and Greek Payyri. (I'm currently researching Aramaic script for a job, as you do) ;

Lee Miller : A life
by Carolyn Burke. Loving the B+W photos so far (I always look at the pictures first) and can't wait to get stuck in to the text (after Desai);

Last but most definately not least is a flashback from when Ele was still hanging out with us.

There he is, hanging out in the fruit bowl, with the fruit and the balled up yarn. Oh yeah, and that's a much better shot of Mari's marimekko print. I'm going to have to make another Ele. For our vet, who has a bit of a fetish for elephants. Oh, the torture! How will I ever cope?

** I'm 'upgrading' my Blogger, so if there are any glitches in the next few days, please bear with me.


A long-overdue dpn roll in progress.

Some plain indigo linen and cotton stripe to offset the screen-printed Cloth linen.
I got about two thirds of the way through this afternoon, when the Singer -which is the same vintage as me- exploded.
Okay, not technically exploded, but certainly made a really loud pop, followed by that delightful electrical burning smell and the main power fuse to the house tripping. Some machine shopping is in order tomorrow morning.

I've decided sewing machine shopping is a similar experience to mobile phone shopping, in that there's not much between your Beginner Basic, and your SuperComputer 2,500 Stitch (2, 497 of which you'd never use) that also burns DVDs and makes you a cup of tea while zigzagging.


What does it all mean?

What does it all mean?
Originally uploaded by carson.a
I particularly like the resonance between #4 and #10,
but there's a few resonant juxtapositions there.

( That's right: Max and His Resonant Juxtapositions will be playing their very special Acid Jazz stylings for you in the Emerald Room tonight Ladies and Gentlemen).


When good experiments go not so much bad, as slightly awry.

Here's the thing: I bought the most perfect piece of headwear in Montreal a couple of years ago. A simple cotton beret. Not huge, floppy or fussy, but just the right scale with a devil-may-care roll up hem. The ultimate all-purpose, bad-hair-day-rescue, roll-it-up-and-stuff-it-in-your-pocket, stylish (I like to think anyway but then I have major powers of self delusion) chapeau.

Now I'm obsessed with being able to knit myself a hat that is equally up to the task.
This is about my second or third attempt, but I'm afraid the jury is still out on this particular one. It's certainly not the fault of the design, which is clever, fully charted, and easy to memorise. In fact the gently undulating cables remind me of Minoan wall painting motifs.

No, I think where it went awry was in my yarn choice. I was attracted to the idea of the silk/cotton mix of Summer Tweed in which to work up this hat so it would be cool, soft and breathable in hot weather.
So much for the theory.
Here I am apprehending the large grey lump on my head.
Moi? Je suis une Stunned Mullet, or La Mullet Stunne.
Regardez! Les dark circles !
(No, it's not snowing here, I have a very dirty mirror it seems).

In practice what I ended up with was a slightly harsh, rope-like yarn that doesn't have the necessary elasticity or body
required for the pattern. And don't get me started on stitch definition! What I will say though is that it smells rather nice - that lovely raw silk aroma (so I'm a weirdo, what are you going to do about it? ) I've also found that I love the look of the fabric it makes in reverse stocking stitch and in fact it may be reincarnated that way, in a more 'pure' form.

And I think ol' PBB is definitely worth another round but she may have to wait 'til the weather starts to cool again and I can start reaching for the merino instead.

Pattern: Parisian Beanie Beret by Tina Whitmore available here.
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed. Hurricane. About a skein and a half.

Both PBB and Summer Tweed are destined for other, better things.... just not together.

Contemplating the Broadhurst, or just falling asleep?


The Coping Scale : Some quantitative data

Lace. Work by Cecilia Heffer

On a scale of one to ten, where
ten is a Queen Boudica-like
"Bring it on, bring on your slings and arrows, for I Am Indomitable" !
one is
"Please institutionalise me now" !
I am teetering around a 1.5 to a 2.

These 5 am wakeup calls may be the death of me.

Work to be done, but instead there's lying in bed in the middle of the afternoon clutching eye mask, chamomile tea and hot water bottle to the soporific sounds of Harper eating the floor. No, not something on the floor, but the floor itself. Then another, different sound, one which pulls me from my deathbed to investigate. One of my shoes is in the process of being deconstructed and eaten. And not any old shoe either but only my most comfortable shoes EVER.
(I know, I know...I have been through this puppy thing before and I know I shouldn't have left my shoes lying on the floor especially with a young dog with an exceptionally low boredom threshold. Momentary lapse of judgement brought on by sleep deprivation). Walk through house to hurl remains of shoes disgustedly into closed-off room only to step in giant puddle of piddle, even though the back door to the yard is wide open. Try not to cry in exhausted exasperation while mopping up.

Ok, enough of that.

Right, knitting.

Knitting, knitting, knitting.

I have almost finished a hat.

[Huge round of cheering and applause]



It is 5 am, and you are listening . . .

Don't you just love waking up at 5am?
Harper woke me.
(Thanks chickadee: half 15kg kitten, half kangaroo)

And you know there's no getting back to sleep at 5am.

Now that the car alarm outside on the street has stopped (!), it's oh so quiet, it's oh so still, as Bjork said.
Goat has taken Scout to the office so it's just me + Harps today, and she's (surprise surprise) chilled out.
It's overcast and cool, lightly drizzling outside.
I did a black wash this morning, and I was in the bathroom noticing how sculptural the clothes looked against the white tiles and the soft light.

So right now I should be researching Arameic typography and graphics.
But you know what, I think I'll just keep coveting books and blog. Don't tell anyone.

Does anyone else miss Flea Bites? Especially the weekly fauna updates.
We don't live in any where near the same level of leafiness as Grandma Flea does, or rather, used to, but amazingly we still get some biodiversity.

A neighbour's gum tree is in full flower right now, great boughs groaning with beautiful creamy white blossom.
By day the Rainbow Lorikeets flock in by the dozen and feed on the nectar with much trilling and squawking. By night the Fruit Bats do the same, with even more squawking.
But the smell, oh the smell.. on a really warm breezy day, a deliciously strong honey aroma wafts over from the flowers. Heaven.

And, oh yeah, I made an elephant.

Well, you could say it's a construction in spheres, cylinders and semicircles.
Or, indeed the most impractical child's toy in the History of the World.

But did I ever have fun making it. And I learnt a new increasing technique; the M1R, shown here at the fabulous KnittingHelp.com.

I'm not used to assembling objects that are so soft and yielding and so my sewing techniques (ahem) are a tad wonky, but I hope secured firmly enough.

Pattern: Elefante by Susan B. Anderson available here.

Yarn: Eki Riva baby alpaca in grey for the main body. Naturally off white merino for the paw /trunk pads and ear lining. Mohair eyes, which I hoped would fuzz, giving the impression of eyelashes.

Mods: Such was my glee at starting this fun project, I didn't realise until I arrived at that point in the pattern, that the ears are in fact crochet. I did attempt to teach myself crochet but let's face it, I had no idea what I was doing, so I found help in Cleckheaton Wildlife in 8 ply (which seems to be no longer available). I adapted Barbara Lennon's Tasmanian Devil ear shape and it worked out rather well I think.

Stuffing: I used poly fill, the kind you get in cushions.

General fun + Cuteness Factor: Pretty damn high.

off he goes...waddle, waddle.