Archive for March, 2008


A Day In The Life . . . . Or Is It A Weekend?

24 March 2008

After 5 years in Australia, I’m getting used to the Seasons being the other way round and it’s really of little concern to me whether  the water goes down the plughole clockwise or anti-clockwise (which I THINK has nothing to do with the hemispheres anyway, but I’m not much of a scientist).

But I am a bit confused about the way time is described here.

There’s a renowned sporting event in the calendar of the Northern Territory, called Yuendumu Sports DAY, when Aboriginal people from all over the State gather for a WEEKEND of sporting competitions.  

Then we have Canberra Wool Week, which takes place on a Sunday in May. 

And why is the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine a monthly publication?

So to put that lot together, I find that Day means Weekend, Week means Day, and Weekly means Monthly?  Has it always been like this?

And why?





Russell’s Teapot

23 March 2008

Thank you, David, for introducing me to this website.  I’ve always been a great fan of Bertrand Russell but didn’t know about this wonderful comic site based on his statement:

“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”

– Bertrand Russell 



For The Love Of Ravelry?

22 March 2008

I didn’t really see much point in Ravelry but joined after pressure from my knitting friends.  And it’s great! 

For those of you not familiar with it, it’s been called “Facebook for Knitters and Crocheters” but it’s much more than that.  Have a pattern and you’re not sure what yarn would look good?  Look in Ravelry at other knitters’ interpretations of that pattern.  Have some yarn and don’t know what to knit with it?  Ravelry will show you what others have used it for.  There are forums for discussing any topic, groups for every kind of interest and so much more.  And today Ravelry reached 100,000 members!!

But there are a few things that REALLY annoy me and I’ve decided to post here rather than on Ravelry as I don’t really want the abuse.  (I’m taking a leaf out of Petunia’s book!) 

I’ll just mention the one today and revert to the subject later in the week.

I’m sick to death of the “discussions” about copyright.  And I put the word in inverted commas deliberately.  I’ve read so much abuse and witnessed what I imagine to be major foot-stamping as soon as the issue is raised.

I realise that Ravelry originated in the USA and that the majority of Ravellers are probably American.  BUT it’s an INTERNATIONAL FORUM.

Every time the subject of copyright or any other legal matter arises, we’re inundated with barrack-room lawyers telling us what the law is.  The AMERICAN law.  It really doesn’t seem to occur to these people that Australians living in Australia, or Scots living in Scotland are NOT subject to American law.  It doesn’t even occur to them that maybe laws are different around the world.  At this moment in history, American Law is NOT World Law.

You can shout out your rules as loud as you want, and be as abusive as you want to anyone who disagrees with you.  But YOUR rules are YOUR rules. 

If we ever reach the stage where Australian law originates in Washington, you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it.

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Sydney Easter Show . . . Part 3

21 March 2008

Well, I got to the Easter Show and saw all the knitting “in the flesh” as it were. . .  and I came away really depressed.

Yes, there was some beautiful workmanship.  No doubt about that.  But if you’re a knitter, a trip to any knitting group in Sydney would excite you more.  There was very little that was original or innovative (and what there was, was largely ignored by the judges),   There were no hats, gloves, socks, bags.  There was little in the way of modern knitting construction.  There were loads of beautifully made Aran-type sweaters but I wouldn’t wear them . . . and I’m no Spring chicken.  My mother, at 87, wouldn’t wear them as she chooses clothes in much more modern styles and colours. 

Shops in the Northern Hemisphere this Winter have stocked an abundance of modern and more unusual knitted garments.  They’re starting to arrive in the Southern Hemisphere for our Winter.  I could count on one hand the number of items at this Show that didn’t have their origins pre-1970.

And where are the fashion students and young designers?  Presumably they don’t feel it worth their while entering this competition, which is a great pity.

Could the Show organisers please completely rethink the categories?  Will they please encourage ORIGINAL design?  Will they include among their judges at least one or two people who are not necessarily knitters but who are capable of recognising fashion innovation and style?  Will they get proper sponsorship from yarn retailers and producers, knitwear manufacturers and knitting publishers?  Companies that can not only give decent prizes, but who can offer the opportunity for a leg-up to the knitters by publishing their patterns, or producing the item for retail sale.    

And while they’re at it, perhaps they could get professional window-dressers who are also not stuck in some 1950’s time warp?  I complained about the displays while I was there.  Some of these items won’t be fit to wear after they’ve been strung up with fishing wire and hooks for 2 weeks. 

In its current form, this competition is doing nothing to stimulate an interest in knitting. Quite the reverse I would imagine, as I think it’s just perpetuating the myth that it’s only for people who are dull AND old.   I can’t imagine that one visitor will be so excited by it that they want to rush home and pick up some needles. 

Having said that, I really don’t wish to knock the competitors.  They obviously know what the current judging panel is looking for and they’ve produced it.  I do feel sorry though for those who didn’t “obey the rules” and tried to do something a little more innovative.  I think Web-Goddess’s sweater was a classic idea with a new twist and looked lovely (great piece of knitting, Kris).  She received a Highly Commended. I agree with Knitabulous that the sleeveless vest with cables knitted on the bias was clever, stylish and modern, but the knitter came away with nothing.  I’m afraid I didn’t make a note of her name – I remember it was a ‘her’ –  but I hope she gets to hear that her work was truly appreciated.   

So how do we intend to change this?   

PS:  (Added later).  I’ve just realised that the wonderful cable vest was made by Quaffy.  I’m so sorry I didn’t know that, as I have met her and she really produces some beautiful work.


Sydney Easter Show . . . Part Two

20 March 2008

Well, they seem to have stuffed it up again!

Firstly, the prizes are peanuts.  Last year, Tapestry Craft donated substantial prize money and gift vouchers but apparently they weren’t asked this year.  Huh?  You’ve got a generous sponsor in your pocket and you don’t approach them?

Secondly, the prize ribbons seem to have been scattered every which way.  On Tuesday night, at Preview Night, one woman assumed quite logically that because her work had a First Prize ribbon on it, she’d won First Prize.  An assumption I think we’d all make.  BUT, when the list of winners went up on their website on Wednesday, her name wasn’t there.  The organisers had put the ribbon on the wrong item.  Another had no ribbon on his sweater, but the website told him he’d got a Second Prize.

Thirdly, a number of the items, particularly the lace, has been hung inside out! 

And fourthly, a lot of the knitting has been hung using some sort of fishing wire, which is going to do Heaven only knows what to the finished item.   The sweaters are on plastic coat hangers.

Fortunately, I didn’t enter anything.  And for that I’m feeling a bit guilty.  I’ve decided I’ll definitely do something for next year and encourage all my friends to do the same as these people seem to be stuck in some kind of time-warp and will only get out of it when they pressurred.   They have to change the categories for a start as they don’t take into account modern knitting trends,  And I think it’s about time they looked at their judging criteria.

That said, Congratulations to all those who won.  And to those who didn’t, and perhaps should have!  I’m looking forward to seeing the items “in the flesh”.  In the meantime, if you want to check them out,  Knitabulous has some great photos up here (and she has a bit to say on the subject too!)    


“I’m Sorry I’m Late – A Bus Got In The Way Of The Train “

19 March 2008

I had a very good reason for being late for work yesterday.

My local railway station found itself with a bus on the rail track.  It was a pretty stunning sight and I was reassured to hear that the bus was empty went it went on its journey down the embankment. 

But two bus journeys and 4 trains later I did eventually get to work.  AND I was believed. 


PS:  DON’T FORGET that all comments until the end of the month go into a draw for TWO prizes  –  one for Australian residents and one for readers from overseas.


What EXACTLY Does ‘Private’ Mean to You?

18 March 2008

I learnt from the news last night that for every $1 that comes out of the Government coffers to public (ie Government schools), $5 is provided by those same coffers to private (ie fee-paying, non-Government schools). 

Over the 11 years of the Howard Government in Australia,  money provided to private schools by the Government increased by $2.7 billion, whereas money finding its way to the Government schools increased by only $680 million. 

The Kings School in Sydney received something in the region of $5 million last year from State and Federal Government funding, thereby helping the school keep its swimming pool, shooting range and over 20 playing fields in tip-top condition.  Unfortunately some of the Government schools in this city have no air-conditioning, leaking roofs from storm damage about 2 months ago, temporary classrooms (well, they were supposed to be temporary when they were erected sometimes years ago) and a very limited supply of properly working toilets for teachers and students. 

‘Private’ schools should not be funded by the Public Purse.

Immoral, obscene and fraudulent.