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lots of TV, perhaps?

tv-watching shawl

The amount of progress suggests entirely too much time spent either watching TV or accompanying Dr B while he watches it 😉

It’s a bit blurry, but there’s progress. Nothing exciting at all!

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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in Knitting

 

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getting another run

Wedding bunting

A bit wrinkled after more than two years in storage, but still looking fabulously festive 🙂

Middle Niece was married on Friday. The reception was held at her parents’ house, under a marquee on the back lawn. Among the decorations? The photo is a little blurry – phone cameras have their limitations, after all – but I’m sure you’ll get the general idea. It was lovely to see the made-by-me bunting adorning another celebration. This space was smaller than the previous one, with a steeper ceiling pitch, so the bunting appeared much denser and it certainly draped differently.

On the subject of matters crafty, I’m still knitting the scrappy scarf or shawl. It’s making progress. I’ve decided to embrace the knot. There seem to be many in the yarn I’m using and there’s a limit to my patience for dealing with them. My theory is that you’d be hard pushed to notice the occasional bump when the scarf is tucked under a coat collar, as is likely to be its final destination.

Also, I’ve booked to attend a beginners’ weaving course. It’s being held near the town where I grew up, so Dr B and YoungB will cycle the Riesling Trail (more info) while I learn all about looms, weft and warp and other wondrous new terms.

Whatever you’ve been doing, I hope your plans are all turning out exactly as you’d expected. Mine never do; but I hope yours are!

 

 

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revisiting your own past

1989-09-24 Armidale NSW_01

World premiere performance, concert version, Claudio Pompili’s “Songs for Ophelia” for unaccompanied female voice. Given in Lazenby Hall, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia, as part of the Musicological Society National Conference concert, on 24 September 1989.

Sometimes, as the years slide past, you forget the details of the good things as well as the bad. In my case, the bad might include mistakes I sometimes made mid-performance but the good definitely includes how stellar some of my vocal performances actually were. Luckily for my memory and the possibility of sharing some of that splendour with possible future grandchildren, recordings can bring a reminder. A few months ago, Dr B and one of his old schoolmates were working on Dr B’s motorbike together. They’re neither of them entirely capable of staying on the point, so their conversation wandered from motorbikes and strayed across many strata of music composition and performance and getting inside the technical stuff; and their physical presence wandered from the shed into the house for some musical evidence.

Some of the recordings Dr B used to illustrate points were of me singing his music (that’s not uncommon). A couple of works I’d practically forgotten, it’s so long since I recorded them and I probably never performed them more than a few times anyway (they were to some extent experiments by Dr B and not well suited to my vocal range or timbre but I sang them anyway in the spirit of collaboration and because they were too beautiful to let such minor details deter me utterly). Dr B’s Songs for Ophelia remain perhaps the most spectacular things I have ever performed, with all sorts of wondrous vocal pyrotechnics whose sparkle and agility still have the power to surprise even me; and I was the one pulling them off.

I would perform them differently now for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which would be that my voice is considerably older and darker than it was then (1989 – 1990) and, because rarely used nowadays, distinctly lacking in the sparkle and agility. I reckon, though, I’d still get the kind of reaction from the audience that I got the other day from the old schoolmate: a recognition of something special. (And a chuckle from YoungB who reckoned the resulting warbles were remarkably akin to those produced by the damn magpies when they start up at about 4.00 in the morning, as we well know from years of being up at that hour for rowing training.)

Now, you’re probably going to ask where can you hear any of this spectacular stuff and, I’m sorry, I can’t upload without going Premium. That’s probably not going to happen on our single income, particularly when this blog is not an essential part of anyone’s life.

However, I hope I’ve added a link to the page of Dr B’s recording where the Songs for Ophelia can be found; if you have time to scroll down the page. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day is short – we’re talking 22 seconds – but stunning, if you’d like an idea of why I’m pleased to have unexpectedly revisited that part of my past (yes, unexpectedly because, in the normal run of things, you wouldn’t expect motorbike maintenance to end up encompassing the sharing of what are now close to vintage recordings).

I tested the link, and it worked for me. I hope it will work for you, too 🙂 And of course the photo is of me singing my little heart out to a sizeable audience. The recording was made at the Ultimo studios of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (usually referred to as the ABC, the Abe – think the Beeb – or Auntie). I believe the original recordings have since gone the way of the dodo in one of the many clear-outs; but note that the copyright was originally with the ABC.

 
 

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excavations

Jpeg

Well, you know, it keeps me off the streets!

That excavator seems to be still waving its bucket around, but at least we now have some happier, sillier things for it to excavate, in among the health issues and potential surgery. The potential surgery would be for Dr B, much as we’d like to avoid it. But if it’s necessary, then he’ll have it done and I’ll take some time off work to soothe his fevered brow while he recovers.

The happier excavations include the forthcoming family wedding and all the usual, “OMG, what AM I going to do for a decent dress?” dilemmas. But even more than that, as Middle Aunt and I agreed when we were discussing wedding attire, there’s the all-but-insoluble dilemma around the availability of shoes that don’t hurt but look acceptable. Yeah, not thick on the ground. On the other hand, we agreed it’s not world-shattering if you end up with something less elegant than you’d hoped for if it means you can walk. Priorities. Right?

She and I have both recently had optometry appointments and are eagerly awaiting our new specs. I haven’t had new specs for six years. That’s pretty good going. When I was picking out which of the multifocals I wanted, the girl who was explaining their various attractions started to talk about how one version is easy to scratch. But then, she pointed out with a bit of a laugh, I plainly don’t scratch my glasses. No. They’re either on my face or waiting to be put on my face, so the likelihood of their getting scratched is remote. Not beyond possible, but extremely improbable. It would, I suggest, be the result of a significant accident; in which case, scratched glasses might be the  least of anybody’s worries.

YoungB submitted his last ever essay (for a while, anyway. Nobody would ever suggest he might not return to study at some point in the future). We had a group hug to celebrate that, but agreed that the champagne can wait until graduation day. We also agreed it has been a long five years. But, you know, here we are and there he is and now let’s try to find a silver lining in the Centrelink queue when he rocks up there on Monday!!! (That would be our dole office equivalent, if you think I’m talking gibberish.)

And the simple shawl that I’m knitting? Yes, that’s making progress, too. It’s keeping me out of mischief while Dr B watched telly and that’s all it needs to do. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Health, Knitting, Musing

 

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telly-watching shawl

As long as you  understand that by watching telly I mean, “Keeping Dr B company by sitting there knitting while HE watches telly,” then it gets the telly-watching-suitability tick. The pattern? As I said, it’s based on the idea of Dreas Shawl, but I’m using stash yarn. And my photo doesn’t want to play ball, so this is just me checking in and maybe tomorrow there’ll be a photo 🙂

 
 

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the blessed silence

The organisation I work for has three offices. Because I was getting an inordinate number of interruptions at my home location, I recently spent a day at the one closest to where I live. That meant I could sleep till 7 o’clock. Even at peak hour, it took all of 20 minutes for YoungB to drive me there. Oh, yeah, and it was quiet. I plodded through a solid day’s work with almost no interruptions and actually accomplished a task I’d normally struggle to complete in a week or so at my usual office. I was mightily relieved, and went back to my own office the following day in a much better frame of mind.

I’d been helped in that by chatting with a fellow crafter, who crochets wondrous garments for her granddaughter. We agreed that Ravelry is a wonderful source of patterns and inspiration. And so it is. I tried trawling through crochet patterns to find some TV-watching yarny undertaking. All to no avail. So it might be a knitted shawl instead. I promise nothing complicated and all garter stitch. Something like this might be sufficiently interesting, so that I don’t fall asleep, but not so taxing that I make mistakes. It won’t be with pretty, handpainted yarn, just using up some more of that big bag of stash.

All the best with your yarny undertakings, and may you get to enjoy the silence.

 

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then, before you can say Jack Robinson…

…or knife, or whatever your favourite similar expression might be, it’s February! OK, there are two days remaining in January, to be technical and pedantic. But they’ll be gone before – see above.

excavator001

This year already feels a bit as if that excavator has had a go at it! Photo taken late last century. Dr B on the left wearing that wondrous jumper I knitted for him 🙂

Life has been hectic and full of small and not-so-small sideswipes that seem hideously unfair in many instances but totally expected (in a bigger picture way) in others. Nonetheless, you can’t help muttering with a fair degree of frequency, “Things can only get better.”

You mutter that particularly frequently with regard to technology but, you know? So far, not so much. It’s nicknamed “Cayman Mal’s Fraudband” for good reason.

Yeah, it seems that 2018 is already shaping up to be another of those years.

That’s not to imply that we didn’t have an enjoyable festive break. It’s also not to imply that I’ve actually taken down the Christmas cards. We’ve had a hot week, then today is so cool that I’m reaching for a cardigan and thinking that summer is over. It’s not. We’ll have more hot weather, but the mornings are starting to draw in; something we’d notice even more were YoungB still rowing. We miss that for all sorts of reasons but the early mornings don’t feature among them!

I have a couple of sewing projects that I should be turning my mind to – that new summer nightie that I wrote about ages ago? Yeah, I never did get around to doing that! – and there are always rescue missions on old and well-loved garments. The trouble mostly is that they are, in fact, old. Then the question becomes, how many times can you mend a jacket? And even if you can, should you?

I have one RTW jacket that was in time-out towards the end of last year because I’d had enough of mending it. After 20-plus years of hard work, it owed me nothing. But it’s a good cut, the best in-between weight jacket I own, and I needed it for work. So I mended it. Again. Ideally, I should unpick it and use it as a template. I’m not sure I have the space for that, but it appeals to me as a good option for ending up with a jacket that I can wear for much of the year. And I could spice it up by lining it with guitar-playing skeletons, couldn’t I? (I have some fabric like that in my stash, honest.)

Then there’s the, “I feel a mitten-knitting orgy coming on” urge that often hits at this time of year (as ridiculous as that sounds when the mere thought of woollen yarn makes hands sweat). The attraction of the idea is that there’s still some daylight when I get home after work, so I’m much more likely to be able to see what I’m doing. That improves my chances of completing things, particularly darker items. So if I start now, whether on something new or one of the many WIPs, I might have something ready to go when those winter birthdays roll around.

Also, I need some crochet to work on while I’m watching TV. I don’t watch TV often but, when I do, I find it difficult to just sit there. I make too many mistakes if I try to knit at the same time but I can manage simple crochet. So I’m off to dig up another lot of stash yarn to do a knee rug to take to work. Oh, wait, didn’t I say that once before?! I promise to stop earlier with this one; or make separate granny squares so that it’s a better commuter project.

Whatever the status of your year, I hope it’s providing you with plenty of crafting opportunities.

 

 

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