Archive for July, 2008


And I Thought I Was Rebellious

30 July 2008

I’ve always thought I was a bit of a rebel.  And I’m a knitter.  But apparently I’m not a rebel knitter.

Well, not according to the Guardian’s Rebelknitters Guide, published last weekend.

I thought it was a joke (the Guardian does great April Fool’s Day articles, but this was 26th July).  Apparently it’s not. 

I know there was a craze in the 80’s for Willy Warmers (not sure what they were called in the USA as I don’t think ‘willy’ has the same connotations).  But a Willy Warmer for a banana??!  An apple cozy to keep your fruit undamaged??!  Wrist warmers??!  Other than as a joke (which wears rather thin, as we saw with the Willy Warmers) what exactly is the point?  If you can knit, why waste your time on this?

And if you’re just learning to knit, you’re not going to learn much from making any of these. 

Where does the rebellion bit come into it? 

“I have such a rebellious streak, I’m not going to knit myself a sweater/hat/socks/shawl.  No, I’m going to knit a condom for my banana”

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Thank you, Kevin

29 July 2008

It isn’t often one wants to thank the Government – criticism comes more freely from my lips than thanks in such matters. 

But the Rudd Government has done something to make us proud again and they are at least being seen to carry out their election promises.

First Kevin Rudd signed Kyoto within minutes of being sworn in as Prime Minister.  Before Parliament had its first proper day’s sitting, he apologised to the Stolen Generation.  And now he’s doing something about the horrendous regime that kept families in detention centres in the middle of nowhere for years on end.

It isn’t perfect but at least it isn’t in total contravention of human rights’ conventions that Australia signed and then ignored.   

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WYD – The Edited Highlights

27 July 2008

Now that World Youth Day has come and gone, I think it’s about time we looked at what I thought were the highlights of this Catholic Woodstock, as I’ve seen it referred to a few times.

There was Cardinal Pell getting his knickers in a twist at every available opportunity.   Some of this was just downright immoral and revolting (when talking about child abuse by Catholic priests) and some rather bizarre.  The Pope gave a press conference on the flight over here to talk about climate change and the world’s responsibilities.  The Cardinal, interviewed on ABC’s Lateline that night, said (and I really do quote), “I’m a bit of a sceptic about the claim that human activity is likely to produce a man-made catastrophe”.   Well, I learnt something there.  I’d always assumed that’s why it’s called “man-made”.

Randwick Racecourse (re-named Southern Cross Precinct for the duration of WYD) was used for 2 days, with a singalong on the Saturday, an overnight vigil and a Mass on the Sunday – at a cost to the NSW taxpayer of some $40+ million paid to the racecourse as compensation. 

Sydney brothels claim they had a 20% increase in business, but the press is kindly attributing that to the increase in the number of their members in town.   

But the highlight for me was the re-enactment of the Stations of The Cross, culminating in an actor being hoisted onto a cross down by the Harbour.  I do hope the tourists that this event was hoping to encourage won’t be disappointed to discover that torture and flagellation at the Bridge aren’t normal parts of Sydney life.


The WinterWarm Project

22 July 2008


I’ve been trying for ages to find a charity which supplies warm clothes to babies and children in REALLY cold countries – Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet etc. 

But I preferred one with an Australian address (easier on the postage costs) AND without religious affiliations, if at all possible.  I’m not fanatical about the latter – I’m certainly not going to deprive children of clothing because it’s distributed by nuns.  All I would ask is that the recipients don’t have to pay or pray for the garments.

And at last I found such an organisation.  The WinterWarm Project.    

It’s run from Melbourne and provides clothing to Afghanistan through the Save The Children Fund.  Babies die for lack of a warm hat.  The temperature drops to levels below our comprehension ( minus 15 degrees celsius during the day is quite common).  Dianne, who runs Winterwarm with her daughter Lani, worked in Afghanistan and has seen the effect that the weather has on the health of the residents.  In the first month of last winter, 1000 people died from hypothermia and 800 had limbs amputated.

So I’m asking my friends in Sydney to get knitting – WARM clothing:  hats, gloves, mittens, socks, bootees, jumpers, cardigans.  Knitted or crocheted in wool for newborn babies upwards.   

If you’re in Sydney and would like to help, I’ll be collecting items at the end of August from the various knitting groups round town.

Rubi & Lana group in Gordon (meets in Bar Fresko) on Saturday 23rd August

Tapestry Craft group on Thursday 28th August

SSK (meets in Barmuda Cafe, Newtown) on Saturday 30th August

Or contact me, and I’m sure I’ll be able to arrange to get your donations.  (Incidentally, the Winterwarm Project doesn’t accept money).

I think this is a really good cause.  We’ve all got leftovers of wool that could become a baby hat, or a striped jumper.  These are all things that are quick and easy to knit.  We’re not talking intricate designs and high fashion here. 

We’re not even really talking about keeping babies warm.  It’s more a matter of keeping them alive.   

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The New Steve Irwin

20 July 2008

I think we all know that the Pope (and a hundred thousand or so of his followers) has been in Sydney this week.

On Thursday, he and his entourage sailed down the Harbour, on a lovely sunny day, past all the world-renowned Sydney icons.  I have to say that it was a beautiful sight. As the pictures were beamed around the world, David said, “For the tourism industry, that sort of publicity is priceless”. 

Nope.  Wrong there.  That publicity cost us $163 million (give or take a few million.  Will we ever know the final cost?) 

And then I had a sudden realisation.  The days of Paul Hogan (too old) and Steve Irwin (too dead) promoting the Australian tourism industry are over. 

I wouldn’t imagine the Pope normally does ads.  Not great at throwing prawns on the barbie or wrestling with crocodiles.  But he’s just accepted a $163 million appearance fee. 

I hope we get our money’s worth.


PS:  And it’s interesting to see that the only person arrested at the NoToPope demonstration in Sydney on Saturday was a pilgrim – for abusive and violent behaviour.   

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Little Teddy Got A New Outfit

17 July 2008

What does an experienced knitter, with a stash large enough to stock any self-respecting yarn shop, do with her time?  Some intricate lace perhaps?  Or a spot of fairisle.

No.  She knits a new outfit for Little Teddy of course.


 He’s not mine.  He’s the office mascot of one of the companies where I work and is about 15cms tall.  He’s got a new cardigan, trousers, scarf and beanie.  And a crocheted backpack out of sight. Last summer he went to Queensland with a cream and red T-shirt, red shorts and a sun visor.  Very fetching!   I think he needs a more formal outfit for special company occasions and then a new ensemble for the summer.


Knitting Rules . . . OK?

15 July 2008

If you’re reading this, it’s probable that knitting is your hobby.  That’s right – YOUR hobby.  As far as I’m concerned, you can knit what you want, when you want, in whatever yarn you want.  Whatever makes you happy. 

There are no Knitting Police.  And there are no Knitting Rules.

Well, I’m now wondering if perhaps there should be.  Or one, at least.  So here goes:


Knitting Rule No. 1:

If you are aged 10 years or over with English as your first language, you will not be permitted to commence knitting until it has been satisfactorily determined that you are able to spell the word ‘GAUGE’.

It has only 5 letters and is included in practically every knitting pattern you’re likely to have seen (unless, of course, it’s an older English one, in which case it will be called ‘tension’)