Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mouse in the house

Posting to this blog has been sparse this year,  what with a vastly increased workload and a correspondingly decreased pot of time and energy. I have been mostly amusing myself with small things; knitting socks mainly, and cutesy little woolly things ...

Mice have fascinated me always.  I don't get that some people feel a significant aversion to these soft and warm little critters. We have had the odd mouse in the house frome time to time,  and they wouldn't bother me except for their destructive ways (and of course,  the smell!).

But this little mouse is very welcome in the house. Can't wait to knit up a whole family of mices for to play imaginings with my bubby R.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beads and Beading: In the Land of Counterpane

I was playing with beads recently; home, sick in bed.

I felt like the small boy in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Land of Counterpane.

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

I have forgotten so many things in my lifetime; most of them completely trivial, some of them probably quite important … but this poem has stuck with me from the days when Little Golden Books reigned supreme.

They were not sophisticated beads; not special or even particularly beautiful, but those cheapie glass and plastic beads that my young-uns used to string into tawdry baubles on rainy Saturday afternoons.

It’s amazing what remains stashed away in my sewing room …

Over a series of sore-and-sorry days, tucked up with comfy pillows, a talking book and a sleepy puppy, I frittered away my convalescence stringing beads and working them into crochet creations.

Cheap and cheerful!
And super-easy to do. It would be a snap to teach crafty-minded kids to whip these up with their busy fingers.

Even as a relative grown-up I find it’s a maddeningly addictive pastime. It would be fun to collect lots of random interesting beads or found objects, shells or seeds even, and work them into stringy, beady bespoke trinkets.

I've been brave enough to wear both of these beady things to work. They seem to go with almost anything!

I still haven't made much of a dent in the big tin of glass beads and pearls. More fodder for those lazy-bed days that come around every so often.


Ball of coloured crochet cotton
Crochet hook (whatever gauge you like)
Assorted beads
Wool or tapestry needle.

Begin by threading your needle straight from the ball, and commence stringing beads. Once you have a good number of beads threaded (say, around 100 or so), make a slip knot about 15cm from the cut end of your thread.

Using the crochet hook, commence making a chain of single-crochet (SC) stitches, and work for about 10-15cm. Slide a bead up the thread until it meets the last crochet stitch that you made. Extend that chain stitch over the bead and draw the thread into the stitch so that the bead is locked in. Work another five SC, then slide the next bead up as before and continue in the same manner until you have the length that you want. Finish your string of beads with 10-15cm SC to match beginning of work.

(I hope that all makes sense!?)

I worked several rows of single crochet stitches into the ends of my necklace and added a jump ring and alligator closure. You could just join the two ends with a slip stitch and a knot if you would just like to keep it simple.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Summer greenery (and finished socks)

Hot summer days and warm summer nights. Not all that conducive to knitting. But they are done; the Highland Socks. Picked up here and there, to pass away spare moments, or as a way of relaxing at the end of a weary day. I have also gone back to full-time work after, um, about eight years I think. Knitting time has been suddenly and drastically diminished.

Yes, there are two socks (with 'erbs)
My boys are picking up the slack around the house, now that I am not so very available. While facebook has its detractors, I just love it for the way that it links my friends, and most conveniently, my family, together. I have groups set up for (a) my very closest friends; (b) my reading group (c) the quilters (d) my extended family, and now (e) my co-habitors (otherwise known as "the boys").
It is so easy to post a message asking my son to bring in the washing, or my husband if he would cook dinner. He ALWAYS says yes. :)

We love to eat outside, under the big cedar trees. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee ... it's like having our own outdoor cafe most of the year round.
And apart from scrubbing my bathrooms, mopping my floors, hanging out washing and cleaning up the kitchen, they have also been digging in my garden, planting new plants to take advantage of the rest of the growing season.

We have been grateful for a little bit of rain here and there to get things going.

The boys have also been re-arranging furniture for me, moving bedrooms from one end of the house to the other, but more excitingly, they have moved all of my fabric and yarn and my desk and my cutting table into my new sewing room. Not that I have had time to organise it yet. Maybe tomorrow, before the heat of the day sets in. After that, it might just have to be a lazy afternoon, with a glass of wine and some stitching under the cedar trees.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Evie :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Summer holidays and highland socks

My husband is a bush-bashing 4WD enthusiast. For months and months he has been anticipating a post-Christmas trip into the Victorian high-country for a dose of dust and dirt infused camping. I can't say that it would initially have been my holiday of choice, but in recognising that we have to live life in order to live, I put on my happy face and prepared to tag along ... with knitting. I have been calling it "my knitting holiday".  Euphemistic much ...

So, on 29 December, with the Jackaroo packed to the rafters with tents and sleeping bags, crates of food and fresh water, we set off from our Mountains near Sydney to the Mountains near the NSW/Victorian border. Despite our high Summer there were still patches of snow visible on the high peaks as we drove through Thredbo.

We crossed the head of the mighty Murray River at Tom Groggan, which is also the border between New South Wales and Victoria. River crossings are ever so much fun!

The boys got the full force of all the action. I sat in the back ... I tried to knit ... but I really couldn't manage much knitting when things got rough.

Wild dogs beware ...
Tall trees, blue skies, crisp mountain air. So very beautiful.

Up the mountain, and up and up and up. Are we there yet?

Still going.
Mount Pinnibar, looking towards Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia. The ridge-tops are lined with the ghosts of forests-past; they look soft like velvet from this distance. It was one of those magical light, bright and airy days, and atop the wind-swept mountain there was nothing but wild beauty on every side.

And tiny signs of life all around

Our fourth (or was it fifth) water crossing at Shady Creek was pretty dodgy, and despite taking a good line through the creek, and *nearly* making it out the other side, we ended up with the front wheel suspended in the air over a giant rut, and come to a stop we did.

Those plastic surfboard thingies came in handy after all. Placed under the back wheel, it gave us enough traction to push out of the rut and get back on the road again.
We camped at Wheeler's Creek for several nights, nestled in a sheltered valley beside a pristine trout stream. The boys braved the icy-cold water; I was grateful for the solar shower option offered by our generous friends. :)


There was a rustic and whimsical logging hut at Wheeler's Creek. There are four rudimentary bunk beds and an old pot belly stove, still in working order I presume. It is never locked, and seems to have been preserved and respected.

CC and I playing Edwardian ladies and knitting socks (me, not CC)

Campfire Dinner - Happy New Year!

Our final day saw us drive the logging roads from Wheeler's Creek to the Davies Plain track via some dodgy not-often-used trail. Where we got stuck again. Our new winch came into play, again hauling us out of a muddy, watery ditch just as the spitting rain started to fall.

I used the time to search out minutiae and play with the close up settings on my little camera.

I braved an OUCH for this photo

Back at the Murray River again

Passing through Thredbo and heading home

Heading up the Monaro Highway ... and still knitting
And now that we are home and all the trappings of our camping adventure have been disgorged from the 4WD, I find that I am still reliving the adventure, remembering the beauty and the sense of wonder at being five small humans drawn deep into wild places, accessible only to those with a capable vehicle or a holicopter! And still I keep on knitting those highland socks. The first one was finished last night and I have cast on for the second. They will always remind me of a cool place in Summer, of the generosity of friends, and of rivers and mountains and wilderness scenes.

Happy new year everyone.

Evie :)