Archive for May, 2009


This Week I Became . . . .

28 May 2009

A Professional Knitwear Designer!  Well, I’ve had a pattern published in a magazine, anyway.  I haven’t got a photo, because I’ve never knitted the one exactly as I wrote the pattern, but there are a couple of pictures on the Yarn Magazine website ( scroll down to picture No. 5 and there’s another shot if you click on it).  

Just about everything I knit is from my own designs because I got fed up looking at patterns and thinking “I’d really like that with short sleeves and a different hem. I don’t really like the collar and wouldn’t it look better in a finer yarn “.  It’s easier just to start from scratch. 

Whether I’ll bother to submit another item to a magazine, I’m not sure.  I found it a disorganised hassle and it took a year from submission to publication.  So when life gets a bit less busy, I’m thinking of putting some up for sale and free on Ravelry as that would appear to be a much easier option.  No worry about seasons, for a start.  No great time lag (knit it, write it, put it up for sale). 

But there’s nothing like the buzz of having it in print. 


At A Snail’s Pace

24 May 2009

I love knitting.  I’ve been doing it for over 50 years.  It keeps me relatively sane.

I attend a number of ad hoc knitting groups, where we ‘oooh and aaah” over each other’s work, swap notes and advice, and then spend the rest of the time putting the world to rights.

But Stitch N Bitches aren’t Knitting Guilds.  Guilds have specific purposes – to preserve the history of the craft, to teach it and promote it, as well as the swapping notes and advice bits that you get in SnB’s.

I joined the NSW Guild.  I’m on the Executive Committee (of 9) of the NSW Guild.  And yesterday, after a busy week’s work, I dragged myself out of bed to leave the house at 8 in the morning so I could spend the entire day on Guild business – first up a 2 hour Special General Meeting, followed by a Committee Meeting.  Got home at 5.30. 

The purpose and events of the SGM are well described here by Mary-Helen and here by Kris.  How the Guild keeps such good members is purely a matter of faith on their part – that things WILL get better. 

I was thinking today of things that the Guild should learn, and learn quickly, if it’s to survive:

1.     We may be a bunch of volunteers but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t even ATTEMPT to run the Guild in a professional manner.

2.     If someone has particular expertise that could be used, USE IT.   (And in a group of nearly 600, we must have an amazing range of skills and experience)

3.     We are run BY the members, FOR the members.  I find incredibly depressing the belief that suggestions coming from members should be in the main ignored because to implement changes at members’ requests would imply some sort of weakness on the part of the Guild,  We must stick to our guns through Hell and high water, apparently.

4.      People get old and frail and DIE.  Over the last couple of years, younger members have joined but we need more.  AND we need to listen to them and use their skills.

5.      The internet is the Guild’s friend.  It’s just sitting there waiting for us to tell the world (well, knitters in NSW anyway) all about us.  And we can do that AT NO COST.  And finally,

6.      The behaviour of little children should have ceased with childhood.  Adults should be able to disagree with each other without the level of animosity shown in the Guild.  Adults DON’T roll their eyes or turn their backs on someone because of some perceived slight that may have occurred years ago.  They don’t support or reject ideas based purely on whether the suggestion has come from a member of  their clique. Most people by the age of some of these Guild members got over that years ago. 

I did get agreement to a couple of VERY slight changes yesterday and I did realise when I got involved in this that progress would be slow.  I wasn’t quite realistic about how slow it would be.    












































My Misfortunes

21 May 2009

I’ve only come across this recently when two friends posted it in their blogs.  Google your name, preceded by “Unfortunately”.

So what did “Unfortunately, Sally . . . . ” bring me:

Unfortunately, Sally was only interested in Vegemite sandwiches.  Nope, wrong there.  I may have become an Aussie citizen, but I didn’t have to pass a Vegemite test (can’t stand the stuff). 

Unfortunately, Sally had a poor singing voice.  Wrong again.  I don’t think anyone has ever described my singing voice as ‘poor’ – that would be far too complimentary.  ‘Dreadful’, ‘atrocious’  maybe, but never ‘poor’.

Unfortunately, Sally’s lower right canine (fang) tooth was showing signs of advanced periodontal disease.   Nearly right, though I wouldn’t call it a fang.  Ten minutes before I did the Sticks and Strings interview, a front tooth dropped out!  Hence, if you know me, you’ll notice rather slurred speech.  Now all fixed, I’m pleased to say.

Unfortunately, Sally’s monthly expenses exceed her monthly income.   AT THE MOMENT that isn’t quite right either, though with the current economic situation, who knows?

Unfortunately Sally, who was hard of hearing in her right ear and left nostril, heard that as “tonight you are free to speak jive”.    Hard of hearing in her left nostril?  I suppose that describes me though I’d always just assumed that EVERYONE has problems hearing through their left nostrils – and their right ones too, come to that.

Unfortunately, Sally forgot for a brief moment that she was a leper.  Yep.  Completely slipped my mind. Although in some quarters, I’m receiving constant reminders (in-joke, sorry).

Unfortunately, Sally was still normal size and cracks jokes about it.  The only jokes cracked about my size usually come from my sister.  I’m NOT normal size (I’m short, OK?) but I don’t consider it a misfortune (except when trying to buy trousers or in a large crowd).   

I then tried Googling “Fortunately, Sally” and got some interesting ones from that.  But that will be another post.  






Could Mozart Crochet?

18 May 2009

Thank you to all those who responded to my request for modern crochet patterns.  I’m having fun looking around at ideas and have nearly finished a very simple little baby jacket which has shown that at least I haven’t forgotten how to increase/decrease etc.  I’ll put up a picture when I’ve finished (though it’s not really much to look at).

I was a bit confused this morning about one comment I got.  “Get David to talk about crochet a bit”. 

Well, my husband presents a classical music radio programme and I wasn’t sure why anyone would think that talking about crocheting would be appropriate.  And frankly my cat probably knows more about the subject than my husband.

Then it dawned on me (well, it was VERY early and I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee).  Wrong David. 

For the last few weeks, I’ve been talking about knitting at the Sydney Royal Easter Show over on David Reidy’s podcast “Sticks and String“.  I’ve just listened to the latest one (Show 103) and he does mention that if any of his listeners read my blog,  they may be confused by all the references to David.  I’m generally talking about ‘David, the Husband’  not ‘David, the Knitter’ (though DTK does get the occasional mention).

I’ll certainly pass on your request to the right David and will let you know what he says. 

In the meantime, many thanks everyone for all your help and ideas.


Well, I’ve Done My Bit

12 May 2009

Last week, along with most taxpayers in Australia, I received $900 from the Government, as part of their Economic Stimulus Package.  The idea is that we help the economy by spending it.

Not wishing to be accused of a lack of patriotism, off I trotted with $900 in my pocket – first stop, to replace my mobile phone.  Having a mobile that’s unreliable, as mine had become, is a bit scary.  They’re not much use if they’re not always working.  I met a very helpful assistant in the first shop I went to and in 10 minutes was the proud owner of a new phone.  Now what to do with the other $871?

Yep, I got a phone for $29.  The assistant asked what my requirements were.  “To make and receive phone calls.  Oh, and the occasional SMS.  That’s it.  I don’t need access to the internet, an MP3 player, a camera.  Just a phone”.  He wasn’t sure that they stocked such a thing but rummaged around the back and came up with the perfect one for $59.  I was happy with that and even happier when he took me to see the one out on display and we discovered that because most people are a bit more demanding than I am, it had been reduced to $29 just to get rid of it.

Having got the ‘essential’ out of the way, I wanted to go on to the ‘desirable’.  I had my heart set on a Netbook.  And as I’d found a very helpful assistant (and had done my homework beforehand so I knew what my options were), I stuck with him.  While all this was going on, I discovered he came from Bangalore so we compared notes – my parents were married there and I’ve visited twice.  He did assure me that he didn’t bear a grudge that my father and grandfather had both been part of Colonial India but he wasn’t very keen on the murdering.  I agreed that mass slaughter wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but my father HAD fought in Burma so had done his bit to protect India from the Japanese.  He seemed reassured with this and off he went to find me the perfect netbook – exactly the one I’d been looking at on the Net but $50 cheaper.

A good day.  I met a charming, funny and intelligent shop assistant, and came home happy with my goodies.  AND Mr Rudd would be proud of me – or he will be when I spend the balance (I’m not short of ideas!). 

Oh, and to name drop a bit, I’m having lunch next week with MRS Rudd (aka Therese Rein) so I must ask her to let him know.


I’ve Got A New Hobby!

10 May 2009

Many years ago, I used to crochet.  Far more crochet than knitting at one point.  My particular speciality in my teens was mini-dresses (AND I have a photo of me wearing one but at the moment have no way to scan it).

For some reason, crocheting has been forsaken – but then I went to the Easter Show in Sydney.  Wonderful crocheting – if you’re a Victorian lady (Victorian as in the British era, NOT the Australian State).  But where were the modern clothes? 

The categories for crocheting in the Easter Show are pretty limiting – the only place where for instance a woman’s cardigan could be submitted is in the Original Design section. 

So I’m trying to re-acquire the skill.  Started a few days ago with a very simple baby jacket (for the Winterwarm Project in Afghanistan (where I presume there will be no complaints if it’s not absolutely perfect).  Then I’ll move onto something for me.  Then I’ll try my hand at an original design.  I think that’s the way I’ll have to go with crocheting anyway as there are very few modern patterns out there, as far as I can see.  If any of you can point me in the direction of some great ones, I’d really appreciate it (though I realise that massive translations will probably have to take place if they’re American where single crochet = UK/Aus double crochet etc etc.  Quite confusing!)

If I can pluck up the courage, I’ll post the results.  If my crochet mojo really hasn’t come back, I’ll stick to my knitting.



Don’t Bother to Chuck Another Prawn On The Barbie

6 May 2009

Friends in the Northern Hemisphere assume that I spend the entire summer going to barbecues (I blame Paul Hogan!). 

But I’ve been invited to 4 in the 6 years I’ve been in Sydney.  And I wouldn’t need all my fingers to calculate how many times I’ve been invited to friends for lunch or dinner.

Now the OECD has announced that Australians spend the least amount of their leisure time (3%) entertaining friends at home of any of the 30 democracies they surveyed.

Phew!  That’s a relief.  David and I just thought we were really unpopular.