Monthly Archives: November 2011


I have sewn through the night and early morning and finished the 48 flags. I need now to attach them to some yet-to-be-made tape, which doesn’t need to be bias tape. Straight tape would do. That might be tonight’s job.

The computer and some of the bits of technology that it usually talks to seem to be having a standoff. Since I wrote that and went on to muse about this morning’s rowing standoff, most of this post has disappeared. I lack the energy to redo it.

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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Rowing, Sewing


sewing along the line

I’m pleased to report that I’ve only 10 flags remaining to sew for the Christmas bunting. That means I’ve done – oh, wait, I could go and count them or maybe my mental arithmetic is up to the task. It means I’ve done 38. Wow, I feel a bit faint when I think about that, only because it seems a lot and it hasn’t taken all that long. I’ve also made a handful of lavender pyramids for a Christmas giveaway.

Boy has rowing training early tomorrow, Dr B will be taking Nonno to hospital for a surgical procedure and I should probably do my best to be at work on time for a change, buses permitting. Off to bed I go, then, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to dream of sewing flags. Even once I’ve sewn them all, the bunting won’t be finished as I have yet to make some tape. I doubt if bias tape is required, though you might argue that it’s always a good idea because you get better shaping around curves, but in any case, I shall need a lot of metres of whatever tape I use.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Sewing


sew much fun

Whether or not we like early mornings, we have a lot of them in this household. Boy goes off to rowing and Dr B heads off  on his bike. Or if he’s not going out on a ride, he might well be writing up a long report. Me? I just go to work so I try to stay in bed. But sometimes, because all the racket they make wakes me whatever the reason and then I can’t get back to sleep, I get up and sew. Yesterday I was able to make visible inroads on a pile of bunting flags. I fnished off a dozen. That means I’m 25% of the way finished!

I like the way they’re looking so far, but wondering if I’ll need more than I’ve cut out. The space for which they’re intended is quite large and to have too few flags a-fluttering would make the whole effort ineffectual. The visual effect needs to be generous. Should I need to cut out more, I have enough left of the patterned fabric but would need to purchase another solid colour. Well, it is payday today so with a couple of dollars in my pocket I could head off at lunchtime and join the shoppers.

Meanwhile, Boy is rowing, Dr B is snoring and I’m going to sew for a while.

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Cycling, Rowing, Sewing


knitting for the long term

As I mention knitting in this blog’s description, I thought I should share one of my longer term projects, which started in London and finished, 25 years later, in Australia. I’m one of those knitters reluctant to frog something which I might, potentially, maybe get around to finishing at some stage even if not immediately, particularly if I’ve put a lot of work into it already.

This knitted article acquired the nickname of the jurby for reasons related to how long it was taking which some might consider a sign of incompetence. Those who know the works of Douglas Adams will recognise the reference as being from The Meaning of Liff. A jurby, he and John Lloyd declared, is:

a loose woollen garment reaching to the knees and with three or more armholes, knitted by the wearer’s well-meaning but incompetent aunt.

My jurby started out as being a lacy cardigan with the usual number of armholes and not unduly long. It never arrived at the point of reaching the knees nor did it acquire extra armholes but, because I obviously hadn’t done something properly in my calculations and ran out of yarn, it did have only one sleeve. The adventurous amongst you might not be unduly disturbed at the idea but in a cold place, which you’d agree London often is, the usual number of sleeves is much more useful.

Many moves later (back to Australia, interstate, back to the originating state again), the jurby was still not finished but still too pretty to frog when, you  know, it might be possible to rescue it. Somehow.

Fashions are constantly changing but a vest or gilet or waistcoat is often a useful extra and their styles fluctuate widely. I decided that the jurby could be turned into one of those by doing a crocheted edging around the armholes. If I’d ever bought buttons, which I probably had done, I’d either used them for something else or put them away safely and forgotten where, so I scouted around in my button box and found some wooden buttons that seemed about the right size. Here’s the finished jurby.

No sleeves at all

So you want some details? It was an Argyll Wools Ltd pattern for their Chameleon range of mohair yarn. The leaflet was number 681 and it’s dated 11/85.


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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Knitting


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sculling for the win

This morning Boy rowed in a club IV Round the Island and looked fairly glum about it. He’s generally a strokesider but for various reasons, including because he can, ended up rowing bowside. He was not entirely happy and, because he hasn’t done it recently, he had a cramp in his forearm from around 1500 metres into a 7000 metre race, so he was at best in a fair degree of discomfort. It was not the most brilliant performance from the crew, which might have been a bit unbalanced overall; but they came second in their category. Photos of that race show him grimacing more than usual.

Then in the afternoon, once again rowing for the club but this time in a 3rd grade quad race, the different and slightly younger crew looked the certainty they proved to be for the gold medals. I’m not an expert so I have had explained to me by someone who is why that crew works so well: its member are much of a height with similar levels of fitness and skill and their techniques are very similar. Damn, they look like a crew to reckon with. And although their coach was a bit glum about the narrowness of their winning margin, because he reckoned that if they’d rated slower and put in more pressure they could have won by a lot more, he was also quick to congratulate them for winning against older crews. Photos of that race show determination and afterwards they show the broad, winning grin.

Hard workers lining up for gold

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Rowing


sombre day

Beyond the still water there's a mighty river

My job involves all sorts of things related to typing transcript from sound that I might also have recorded. There are days I hate it all and days it’s bearable. Sometimes what I type is heartening or humorous, even if occasionally very blackly so, but oftentimes it depresses me utterly. Of course we’ve budgeted on winning the lottery so I can give up work, but in the meantime I’m stuck there. Today has been particularly bad because my researching for one matter led me across altogether too many details of a truly ghastly murder.

This was not a tidy, Agatha Christie murder where you can have fun guessing whodunnit (I rarely get it right) but the real and very horrible one of a young woman, who met her grisly end when she was only a little older than Boy. I often have moments of being fearful for him, but part of being a parent is learning to let go of the child and the fearfulness. Today I have wanted to order him home and lock him up! There are evil people in the world, there is no doubt at all about that.

But then I see him managing to steer a reasonably confident course along some of the shoals his peers aren’t negotiating with anything like his grace and good humour and I think that, no matter what I do, there will always be evil. Dr B and I just have to make sure that Boy is sufficiently self-aware not to be duped by those who might perpetrate any on him. We have to be confident that he can leave the safety of the billabong and make his own way out on the river.






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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Musing


knitting in the heat

We’ve had a burst of summer which I’ve enjoyed. It seems a most inappropriate time to be knitting winter woollies but that’s what I’ve been doing.

I’ve finished a Christmas gift intended for someone who will be living in Germany next year. It’s an adaptation of a pattern I first saw at Did You Make That, for a snood – no, not one of those things you use to keep your hair tidy but something more akin to a cowl – with some shaping that fits the neck. The shaping was the really nice bit about it. I mean, a snood/cowl isn’t a fitted garment but I didn’t want it to be too loose, otherwise you don’t get as much warmth as you need in those northern winters.

The snood bug that Karen has sneezed around the blogosphere Is for a snood/cowl made to a free pattern from the Guardian. I chased it up and printed it out. Of course I didn’t have the right yarn but found something soft in my stash that I thought I could knit in such a way that I might get close to the suggested tension. I know from experience that I can’t handle the required size of needles. They’re simply too big for my hands and I make a mess of everything I knit with them (trust me; I’ve tried).

Therefore, I used slightly smaller needles. I expected that my finished article might be a snugger fit than those knitted with the correct yarn and needles. I toyed with the idea of increasing the stitch count to accommodate those considerations, but decided that I’d probably get a usable result by sticking to the pattern.

As you’ve gathered, to some extent I just winged it. I wanted a different look in the sense that I’m not quite so enthusiastic about the amount of roll a stocking-stitch edge invariably gives. I think you need something that sits well under the high collar of a jacket, so I worked the edge on mine in garter stitch. That makes it sit flat but it also reduces the stretchiness. So I have what is a very snug snood/cowl indeed. It’s for a very slender young woman and I think it will look fine on her. It fits me. I know that because I modelled it for Boy’s comment and he thought it looked nice. He’ll usually tell me if he thinks something I’ve done is rubbish.

I’d actually started out with the intention of doing the bandana cowl to be found at Purl Bee, I lacked the amount of dedication required to deal with the short rows that provide the point. What that really means is that I was having trouble seeing what I was doing, so I was after a solution that wouldn’t require too much effort. Therefore, I reckoned a straight number with a couple of simple decreases was readily within my grasp. And so it proved.

Another reason I wanted the garter stitch edge on my snood/cowl was so that it would match the cap I’ve almost finished as part of the same present. Only the latness of the hour now when compared with the earliness of the hour at which I need to start my day tomorrow deters me from clambering up on a stepladder to haul down the box in which there’s more yarn so that I can continue knitting until I do finish it.

What yarn did I use? Two shades of Cleckheaton Flair, an acrylic 8-ply yarn, held together with an unbranded 5-ply acrylic that’s very, very soft. All of those came to me from Great Aunt, otherwise I would have had to go out and buy something and at the moment we’re on a tight budget. The colours are mostly blues but there’s a fleck of greenness in one of the Flairs. As the young woman for whom the snood/cowl and cap are intended is a redhead whose favourite colours are blue and green, I think I’m on a favourite and potentially a winner.

There will be photos. And when I’ve time to sit and tinker there’ll be links to such things as the Guardian and Karen’s blog.


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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Knitting


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rhymes with morning but isn’t

It’s what we do at night, however, and I’m doing it. Yawning. It’s been a long day. I don’t know how Boy is still relatively compos mentis. Dr B and I certainly aren’t. This evening’s laundry is hanging on the inside line, though tomorrow’s temperature is forecast to be good drying weather. In that case, another load can go on the outside line tomorrow. Meanwhile, it’s not morning and I am yawning.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Musing



Karen over at Did You Make That is discussing wardrobe space. I well understand her dilemma. I have at different times had adequate wardrobe space. I’m presently allowed two-fifths of our large, built-in robe. I also have to store my clothes and my shoes and the spare pillows and all my handbags and the sleeping bags and – well, I did have the sleeping bags. Now I have only mine and I’ve told Dr B that, as he has three-fifths of the wardrobe and no longer a need to use it for business suits, he can look after his own sleeping bag.

We are all a bit attached to our stuff, though. I try to destash. But I have to have some clothes and most of mine are old and worn, whether they’re work clothes or non-work clothes. That means that to keep warm these days I need six layers where one might once have done the job. I do have some dresses that I rarely wear (annually for Christmas dinners, that sort of thing) and others I don’t wear and perhaps never will again. But I can’t find it in me to throw out my wedding dress (throw out only in the sense of “put in the charity bin”) or the handsewn dresses that help to inspire me.

Is it silly to be sentimental about clothing? We generally take the view that if we’ve had our money’s worth out of it but it no longer fits and is still in reasonable order, then it should go into the charity bin (some of Boy’s clothes, for instance, as he grows out of them). That way a charity earns money from the sale and someone else has the pleasure of wearing whatever it might be. We’re not big on selling things. In the case of my clothes, you couldn’t because they’re so worn; but even were they not, would I want to sell them? Not really. I can still use them.

There’s another dilemma: do you hang onto clothing because you can still wear it? Should you? What do you think?









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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Musing


thick in the clear

Boy had a cold that lingered and lingered but eventually responded to antibiotics (suggesting that it had gone beyond being just a cold). He now has either another cold or very bad hayfever. Either way, he sounds terrible and says he’s sick. Not throwing up, just puffing and panting and probably feeling as unwell as he sounds. It’s a crummy time of year, that’s for sure.

On an unrelated note, today was Melbourne Cup Day. Of course I had a couple of tickets in the office sweeps. Much to my delight, one of them netted me a 300% return on my original investment, so I now have enough money in my pocket to go fabric shopping at Spotlight’s <; “empty the bolt” sale (30% off if you’re a VIP member and you empty the bolt with your purchase). That was Dr B’s suggestion and it would be ungracious of me not to heed his advice, don’t you think? (Apologies: for some reason, I wasn’t able to add that link properly, so I’ve settled for just pasting in the URL for now.)

On another unrelated note, tomorrow morning’s early start (4.20) has morphed to a much more civilised 6.30.  Boy’s rowing training has been cancelled. He’s upset about that, because he loves club training and the Head of Yarra regatta is only a few weeks away now, but pleased to be getting a bit more sleep which will undoubtedly mean he’s better rested tomorrow than he was today, and might help reduce his general unwellness. I’d be lying were I to imply that Dr B and I won’t appreciate some extra shut-eye, too.


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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Musing, Rowing, Sewing


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