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Monthly Archives: May 2020

man on a mission

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Auditing joining-round colour options for the next blanket 😉

When I ran out of yarn, I sent Dr B on a mercy mission to purchase more! He was looking for an excuse to take his motorbike for a run, so I asked if he could drop in to the LYS and pick up some more white for me. He was delighted to oblige. When he returned triumphant, he said he’d felt quite overwhelmed by the experience. I’d given him ball bands and clear instructions, but the present staffing levels arising from COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow personal assistance and he’d had No Idea what he was looking for (or where to look for it) in what is one of the larger stores. It’s a bit how I feel when they send me off on lunchtime errands to auto shops or bike shops (not something that happens often nowadays, but certainly did in the past), so I was generous with my thanks and praise.

I’ve crocheted through another couple of – shorter – work meetings to great effect, using the new yarn. The end is almost in sight, because what’s left now is the border. If push came to shove, I would call it finished as is: the squares are all joined together and, as they’re edged with white, there’s necessarily a white edge around the whole thing. I think it needs at least one more bordering round to tidy the corners that don’t meet as well as they could; but more likely three, to set it off nicely and reintroduce some colour, perhaps in a simple but decorative manner. So, when I’ve an hour or two to spare – and without doing all the joins, straight crochet around the edges of a baby blanket is a lovely, simple thing! – I can probably sort that out.

Meanwhile, when I can summon the concentration for trickier work, I’m doing quite nicely with the African flower squares. They’re very different and equally as lovely but work to a slightly larger finished size. This is somewhat headache-inducing in terms of calculating how large a blanket they will make in comparative terms, so that there’s a reasonably equitable outcome. I will soon need to make a decision about not only the number of them I require but also which joining method I intend to use. A variant of the one I used for the rainbow blanket is likely to come out the winner. I reckon I understand that method now, and it’s a good way to tidy up any dodgy edges. I found more of those than I’d expected in the rainbow squares. I knew about one in the first square I’d made but  – as you might expect in something made over such a long period of time – I discovered a couple of others that had escaped my attention. Ahem.

I also need to consider what joining colour to use, because – experience being a great teacher – I’ve realised that I absolutely don’t have enough of anything to do the joining round 😀

 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in Crochet, Motorcycling

 

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it only takes a couple extra efforts

Definitely going to need another ball of yarn. The big one at the back doesn’t match.

Yesterday’s “short, sharp and shiny” meetings – we’re usually very good at ensuring that they are – were long, blunt and quite dull. There was a lot of important information, but because of my not having any workplace equipment at home, I could zone out during that part. I did; to the extent that I managed to finish attaching another row of my blanket.

I did more of it last night, very dedicatedly shutting myself away from the boys and the TV to keep up with the joining.

Today it was computer outages that allowed me a bit of extra hooking time. And, you’re right, if I’d thought about it soon enough, I could have used my slightly-too-thick white yarn to do the lot, and nobody would have noticed. I didn’t think about that as a solution until much, much too late. So, you know, bother, and a trip to the LYS has become a necessity. But I am very pleased with how the blanket is looking and the speed with which it is now progressing.

Details at some later date, but in the meantime… I’m off to be a hooker 🙂

 

 

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stuck here for a bit

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I have completed a bit more since joining my new yarn

As you can see, the blanket-making is showing good progress, but Life pressing in with its usual urgency means I’m now going to struggle to find large chunks of time that aren’t circumscribed by employment necessities.

YoungB will be back at his office from tomorrow, hence today is a little less casual and cosy than it could be as we get the last bits and pieces sorted out. He took his equipment back yesterday and plans to ride his pushbike tomorrow so that he doesn’t lose the benefit of any lockdown fitness gains, or squander money on a bus fare when he could choose a cheaper option. Really, Adelaide’s bus fares are not as exorbitant as he thinks, but they are a consideration when you’re trying to be careful of both your money and the planet. Later on, he’ll do a cook-up.

My office starts a staged return the following Monday, whatever that means in real terms. I have no departmental equipment so I might be one of the first to return because I can simply go to my desk, stoke up and start working. Or, because I don’t have any departmental equipment, I might be one of the last so that I can continue to be productive at home while everyone else gets IT issues sorted out amid considerable noise and disruption. It won’t be seamless, but our local corporate team is excellent, so it will certainly be as smooth as possible. As I’ve said before, I’ll simply do as I’m told.

Given that our “new normal” probably means future WFH is likely to be approved for folk not sick enough to stop working but potentially carrying a contagion – if, for example, you have a cough that is probably harmless but might not be; and nobody would want to risk the latter – I will buy another ergonomic mouse this week, so that I have one at home and one at work. Just in case. Also, flu season is on its way.

I’ve already done a reasonable amount of joining work on the blanket: by now seven squares are fully enclosed. However, there are 35 squares in total. As you can see, some are already partially enclosed but I don’t think I could claim I’m truly at the halfway mark and I’ve had to start my second ball of white cotton yarn. Considering all of that, I might also make a mercy dash to my LYS to purchase another one. I can’t imagine how cranky I’d be if I ran out half a square from the end! As it’s white, it would always be useful for something.

I pause to note that my stash contains a 200g ball of white cotton yarn that would have given me ample wiggle room; but it’s the wrong thickness and noticeably different.

May all your existing yarn be precisely adequate for your needs 😀

 

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bewilderingly different

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How amazing! It looks just like the picture. Oh, wait. It should. Right? I’ve now finished that dangling row and the fourth is almost at that stage.

Via one of those circuitous routes for which www is (in)famous, I’ve spent a few hours listening to some wondrous renditions of folk music. It wasn’t traditional in the sense of being hundreds of years old with more versions than you’ve had hot dinners, but it dated from the 1970s, so that’s probably traditional enough for most of us, and with enough versions to invite good comparative analysis (which, you’ll be relieved to hear, I won’t be entering into).

I started out with the latest post from one of my favourite knitting blogs, among whose comments was a mention of some lyrics from When Yellow’s on the Broom. That caught my attention because it wasn’t a song I knew. Off I scurried to look it up on YouTube. As you do. Right? I clicked the first I found, and I was hooked. It intrigued me enough that I chose to listen to several other versions and seek the lyrics (which you can find here or here – that one is an odd location but has chords if you’re at all tempted – or in a slightly more readable and informative version here).

Because I was otherwise occupied, I let autoplay take over. Via the Fields of Athenry – again, there are many recorded versions – and a few other unexpected delights, I ended up listening to a version of Eric Bogle‘s And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. There are many recordings of Eric singing it, too, but I like this one where Eric is older and has unapologetically changed – without oversimplifying – the melodic line to accommodate his older voice.

The version that autoplay happened upon was totally bewildering. I think it’s fair to say we’d all have our own favourite singers and styles. Many would argue that anyone can sing, and anyone can sing anything they want to, if they can. Yeah, I know. I spent many years as a community musician, so I genuinely appreciate the value of encouraging everyone to join in.

To hear what is essentially a folksong sung by an operatic baritone was… unsettling. It wasn’t bad or unintelligent, and he does have a lovely, smooth voice. He has a couple of lazy habits that made me want to smack him – oh, all right, maybe just pull him up sharply in rehearsals and tell him to be more careful. I discussed it with Dr B, because I was struggling with the level of my own discomfiture. The singer’s mix of operatic technique and careful pronunciation with occasional deliberately careless pronunciation or mispronunciation and a few spots where he couldn’t quite make up his mind how many syllables he was going to use (but wasn’t consistent about that), plus the oversimplification of the melodic line (which might have been the arranger’s doing; I’m not necessarily blaming him for that)… the doc and I agreed it didn’t work. Sorry, Nathan. I think it would be a treat to listen to your operatic offerings but, yeah, nah. Leave the folksongs alone, mate.

Someone is going to point out, I dare say, that he’s probably ahead of his time: the day will come when that folksong is only ever heard in quasi-sacred settings in concert halls, and accompanied by an orchestra. After all, someone will say, Gaudeamus igitur began life as a student drinking song. It’s now a fairly serious anthem that gets dragged out for graduations and demands respect. Uuh, yeah. Yeah, I know. I do. I know.

Although I didn’t intend my comment about being hooked as a pun, it’s appropriate because I was, in fact, hooking all the while. I’m now almost halfway through joining the rainbow squares, after weeks of being unable to do much at all (for various reasons, not all Covid-related). I found a method of JAYG that I liked better than the one I originally looked at, which would be quick but leave gaps I’d prefer to avoid. It took me a while to find something else that I thought I would be able to do. I looked at this one, and liked it but decided that I would struggle to make it work with my squares. Someone more experienced could doubtless work it out; but there are days I sadly remind myself I’m first and foremost a knitter!

I dismissed this for similar reasons, and because I didn’t like the end result quite as much. I finally decided that I could make this method work, despite it being also intended for solid squares. Coming from underneath was the trick that sold me on it: you get a nice finish on both top and bottom. Oh, yes, you’re quite right, I could have simply used a (UK) double crochet seam, but that would have given me a ridge. I’m not in the camp that likes ridges. I prefer the join to be a smooth as possible.

My concern now, however, is whether I actually have enough white yarn to finish the job! Bewilderingly, I appear to be running out 😀

 

 

 
 

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and another one

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Walking-trail company to watch the sun come up – hence the gloominess of the shot 🙂

YoungB and I capitalised on Sunday’s sunshine, of which, we agreed, there’s undoubtedly a dwindling amount available as winter knocks at the edges of our daylight hours. We went for another walk in a nearby recreation park. This one was kinder to our knees, a shorter, less rugged and less steep trail, and we made reasonable time (an hour or so, I think, to walk about four kilometres). We did a mix of trails, which was easy enough because they criss-cross frequently, and deliberately kept climbing to a minimum.

Interestingly, I was stiffer after that shorter, kinder walk than after the previous week’s gruelling endeavours! I won’t be doing any more walks with YoungB. Our fitness levels are so disparate that neither of us gets full benefit or enjoyment from the outing. We enjoy each other’s company, but might have to limit it to sharing jokes at the dinner table rather than sharing the great outdoors. He’s fit enough to jog part of the trail, I clump along in my boots and feel grumpy!

But we could get lucky and see a few more of the locals if we really made an effort 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Health

 

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the usual caveats re cold

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Oooh, yes, it was cold. The colours didn’t matter 😀

I know I’ve said it before: people from truly cold climates can start laughing now. I hear you, and I acknowledge your right to be amused, but I don’t care. Friday here was bitterly chilly and most of my WFH colleagues were lamenting their inability to type because of the icy fingers factor.

You might argue that we need better heating, or a heavier intake of calorie-dense foods and hot (or alcoholic, or hot and alocholic) drinks, but whatever we lacked, it seemed that we all lacked it, big-time. Warmer clothing wasn’t the whole answer, and I can say that with some authority because Dr B laughed at me for being so rugged up!

I was cold, despite the fact that I was wearing my thick, handknitted jumper – you know, the one I made for the first winter in Italy, where it helped to keep me warm even when there was snow? I was also wearing my grey beanie – you know, the one I originally made for YoungB but miscalculated the size and which has been keeping my head warm ever since? And I was wearing my fingerless mitts – you know, the ones I made for someone else, but then needed myself, and which I wear often to assist in keeping my fingers nimble when I’m typing at the computer?

But, yeah, all of those lovely, woollen bits and pieces just weren’t doing it. And my crocheted, scrappy cowl – the one that was just a protest against things that weren’t working terribly well and the fact that I’d knitted so many mittens I needed a change (Ravelled here, but never blogged)? That helped a bit, but by the time I resorted to donning it, I’d had an afternoon snack that consisted of a big mug of hot, milky cocoa and a serve of cheese and crackers. It could have been the snack as much as the extra layer of cuddly warmth. Who would know?!

May your woolly bits keep you warm, even if mine were abysmally not up to it in that particular instance!

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2020 in Health

 

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sometimes you just have to

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Dr B was so worried that we’d get a birthday cake he didn’t like. We may have overcompensated 😀

When it comes to birthdays, most of us would be happy with a cake, as long as it wasn’t burnt or too dry. Right? Dr B has been worried for weeks that we’d get him something he doesn’t like. He even announced, in very worried tones, that he’d better order it himself. I told him that was a bad idea, as YoungB and I had already taken care of it… But, until it turned up, I don’t think he was at all convinced.

When you need a little pick-me-up, that’s a tiramisù (generally considered to be a dessert originating in Dr B’s part of Italy; so perhaps he has reason to worry about how good or bad it might be here Down Under, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic).

Never say he isn’t spoilt rotten!

 

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mostly not doing it now

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The pleats never seem to work very well, even though I ironed them and used pins before I stitched. That’s the right side.

Wearing masks, that is, although Dr B and I continue to wear ours. Like the idea of actually observing the physical distancing rules, masks just haven’t taken off in our small corner of the world. Dr B is the one out there doing the hunter-gatherer bit, and he laments that everyone else thinks they’re immune. I suppose that must be right.

Eldest Aunt asked if I’d make a mask for her. I’m sure it would have been quicker and easier for her to make her own, but I did; and it’s gone off in a parcel with a couple of other bits and pieces and she should have it in a week or so. Express Post is anything but express nowadays, but we still have a postal service, so we are fortunate indeed.

This time I used a flannelette lining, to provide some extra protection. It didn’t add greatly to the bulk. Once again, I used pipe-cleaner to make the nose grip, but I was happier with how it turned out.

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That’s the back of the mask, so that it’s easy to tell which side you’ve worn to your face. You could wear either side as the front.

I hope your sewing has also been quick and effective.

 

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oops – lost the title again :)

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The clouds delivered on the threat, but there were also moments of sunshiny warmth to make it worthwhile. Photo © Gianluca D. Pompili

We did that hike. This is how YoungB described it:

For Mothers day I almost killed my Mum 😂 I wanted to check out Black Hill Conservation Park but accidentally ended up taking one of the hardest trails there, whoops (sorry Mum) 😅 Despite the rugged terrain and drizzle (rain) that we got, it was a great day even if we are both ready for a nap 😴😁

I could not disagree with any of that. You intuit, I take it, that the drizzle was actually quite serious rain. However, it didn’t last for very long, and we dried off reasonably quickly. Most of the trail is rocky, so the mud factor was bearable and – happily, albeit unintentionally – we did the hard side first. That meant our being tired on the homeward leg of the loop wasn’t as much of a drama as it could have been. Plus, we saw some locals.

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Quietly minding their own business just off the walking trail. Photo © Gianluca D. Pompili

We returned home a few minutes before Dr B, who’d been out hunter-gathering some Lithuanian lunch (a Mother’s Day special, thanks to the wonderful cook at the local club). We’re now fed but are, indeed, well and truly ready for a nap. I’m looking at the state of my walking boots and wondering how best to tackle getting rid of what mud they have acquired. A stiff brush, I think, but after the nap!

I hope your day has been equally as enjoyable, whether or not it involved outdoor exercise 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2020 in Health

 

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but water is good

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Rainy view of the city. from the roadside. Photo © Gianluca D. Pompili

YoungB went cycling and got caught in a downpour. It didn’t last long, but he was decidedly soaked and cold enough by the time he arrived home. He was still on an exercise high and in good spirits, so he stripped off a couple of layers and hopped under a shower. The restorative value of hot water. Right?

He reckons that he and I are hiking tomorrow morning, to which end he has resurrected his water bladder. Yeah, sure. There are showers forecast but no downpours. I’ll let you know how we go 😀

 
 

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