Archive for September, 2012


I Won’t Even Pretend To Understand.

26 September 2012

Last week, at about 3 hours’ notice, I was invited to be interviewed by ABC Radio.  They were doing a few spots about traditional crafts and ways in which they could appeal to the “funky”. (No, I wasn’t sure what that meant either!).

Prior to the interview they suggested I talked about an item that could be knitted for a younger person, like a phone cover, and as I had already written a very simple pattern for one (for a class of 20-somethings women), I thought I was well-prepared.  I emailed the pattern over to them.

It didn’t start well when I was introduced as a “Knitting Nanna”, as the Secretary of the Knitters’ Guild (I’m the Treasurer) and given the wrong first name.  I pointed out that I’m not a “Nanna” and tried to say that we have an awful lot of members under the age of 40, including children, and some of our members are MEN.  But the presenter was not to be swayed – she was adamant that grandmother or not, I should be proud to be called a Knitting Nanna.

We then talked about the pattern and she was a bit surprised that the sides had to be sewn up – as this was for beginner knitters I quite reasonably hadn’t thought it appropriate to specify knitting it in the round on dpn’s.

Anyway, I had my 10 minutes or so, the presenter then signed off (again with wrong name and title) and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Half an hour later my pattern appeared on their blog, with a photograph of a completely different phone cover – wholly knitted in garter stitch whereas mine was in stocking stitch with a ribbed edge.  I did write and explain that this would cause confusion when a knitter found that what they were knitting (if they followed my instructions) bore no resemblance to the photograph,.  I’ve had no reply.

Please, ABC, if you’re trying to promote knitting (or any other “traditional” craft), you’re going about it the wrong way.  If you’re not interested in promoting it, don’t pretend that you are. 


Loving Your Pets?

19 September 2012

What used to be called the Liberal Party in the UK was, well, er…. liberal, funnily enough.  Why is the largest right-wing party in this country called the Liberal Party?  (I would genuinely like to know so if you have the answer, please post it here).

Today one of its members has really outdone himself.  Senator Cory Bernardi believes that any further legitimising of homosexuality (Parliament was voting on same-sex marriage today) will result in demands for the legalisation of bestiality.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone suggesting such a thing.

But to set the record straight, I don’t think there’s a problem IF:

1.    The animal is fully consenting,  AND

2.    That consent has been given in writing.


We Know Who You Are – But Do You?

14 September 2012

Interested to read the announcement this week of a new UK magazine, Be Creative, to be published by Claire Barzilay-Smith (previously an employee of All Craft Media) and her friend, Tallulah Ray.

Tallulah is unknown in the publishing world, as was, you may remember, Jenn Smith-Clarke until she took the helm at Modern Quilting and Simply Sewing. 

But the similarities between Jenn and Tallulah don’t stop there.

Rather strangely, they both have problems spelling their own names, a rarity I would imagine amongst educated, first-world residents.  Jenn is sometimes Jen, and the ‘e’ drops off the Clarke sometimes.  Tallulah is spelt like that on Facebook and Twitter but here she’s Talullah.

As well as not always being able to remember how to spell her name, Jenn isn’t quite sure what she looks like, and has used a photograph of Kerrie’s cousin, Nikki, in the magazines.  Tallulah is equally unsure of her identity and family circumstances.  On Facebook (which she joined only this week), Tallulah is married with 3 children and celebrates her birthday in July (date now deleted) but onTwitter (where she’s been for a few weeks), she’s a single mother of 4 children and a Gemini.

But the biggest similarity between Jenn and Tallulah can be found in the photo of her half-concealed face on Twitter. 

Yes – it’s Kerrie Allman.  As of course is Jenn Smith-Clarke.


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Big Plug No. 7

12 September 2012

I’ve found another great indie-dyer – this time in Holland.  Her name is Marleen and her website is Dutch Knitting Design.

She has the most beautiful yarn – loads of silk and cashmere.  But the thing I really loved is that she dyes the yarns in both semi-solid and multi-colour so you can buy “matching” yarns. 

And she ships to Australia (I checked).

Happy Buying and Knitting!


An Embarrassment of Riches

7 September 2012

The richest Australian and the world’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, earns $2 million an hour.  (Correction: she MAKES $2 million an hour.  Whether she earns it or not is open to dispute).

My views tend to veer to the left but I don’t have a great problem with people acquiring fortunes, particularly when they’ve done this through incredible talent and ingenuity.  Bill Gates changed the way the world operates but at least he has the humility to appreciate his wealth and the desire to want to use it to help others.  He doesn’t wish his children to become multi-billionaires through an accident of birth.

Gina, on the other hand, has amassed her wealth because she happens to be the only child of a mining magnate, Lang Hancock. 

This week she has gone onto You Tube to tell Australians that we’re overpaid and lazy and that African miners are happy to work for $2 a day.  Apart from the ludicrousness of her statements, I really would dispute her point about African miners.  You may remember that 37 of them were killed a few weeks ago by South African police for daring to ask for more money.  They may EARN $2 a day, but whether they’re happy about it, I would think is unlikely.  And if Gina is determined to reduce Australian pay rates, maybe she could start by persuading some of her fellow industrialists to cut their prices so that our demands aren’t so high.  We pay more than $2 for a loaf of bread and Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

I understand the complaints by Australian companies that it’s extremely difficult to make money in the manufacturing sector in Australia when we’re trying to compete with countries with much lower salaries and standards of living.  This is a problem experienced by most first-world countries when faced with imports from South East Asia and a lot of big-name Australian manufacturers have had to close in the last few years. But the mining companies in Australia are hardly struggling.  In fact, they’re booming.  Gina’s company is worth $30 billion for instance. 

The right-wing economists always bang on about the “trickle-down effect”, ie if the people at the top are wealthy and the companies are highly profitable, this will trickle-down to the worker on the shop floor or down the mine.  This was a favourite theory of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and has been shown time and again to be untrue.  Gina is a prime example of someone who has no intention of letting her fortune trickle down or trickle anywhere for that matter, except into her bank account where it’s not so much a trickle as a downpour.