Thursday, December 23, 2010

Travelling Woman and The Colour (Purple) Turquoise

Aka a study in turquoise.
Its become my 'summer purple' this colour of the sea. Heavily enabled by some glorious colour as amateurely photographed underwater (by me) in the Coral Sea while snorkelling - my own Liquid Light show

Travelling Woman Shawl in Kaalund Enchante 2 ply silk (Left unblocked, right blocking).
I think it's the light in the tropics that's drawn me to a broad spectrum of blues, especially turquoise.

The recently completed Travelling Woman shawl really has been travelling all over with me. To a wedding in Perth and a visit to Sydney and she's booked on the trip to India in February. My next lace shawl project will be 100% wool, rather than silk as I was a little frustrated with it by the end (a little splitty), even though it shines so beautifully and on wearing I vowed to work up the Silver Sword Silken Thread care of Knitabulous sometime soon.

I've always had a thing for purples and deep reds, but not really blues. They 'belonged' to my younger sister. I was always the one dressed in reds. I also developed an aversion to navy and most blues care of my school uniform. I mean you wear similar colours for 13 years and you kind of get over it. Maybe that's why some of the nuns became nuns, or folks joined the Navy - they liked the colour.

It's possible I've hit on turquoise recently as its just the next natural step for me and my personal colour cycle. I started with blue for school, red at play, white and yellow were told to go make friends with someone else. I moved to black for work (and everything else) when I left school. Turned the purple corner and hung out there very comfortably in all its shades for many years. Had a brief affair with bright orange, which fizzled as quickly as it began. Fell out with brown and burgundy in the winter of 1998 when we over did it together. Was drawn to silver and grey more than ever before shortly after, or perhaps as a result of, the millennium partying, plus it was 'critic preventing' black. Default purple and black again.

If you've read a recent post you'll see I've had a bit of a pink thing going on, which is fairly limited to strong, dark pinks and fuscia's, especially when they go near intense oranges. Some green and teal crept in through a Wollmeise loophole and that's when I think the greens morphed into good strong teals, which became the recent turquoise obsession.

In this Turquoise Gallery of Delight: Travelling Woman Shawl, recently started Lace & Cable socks in Koiggu, complete with home made butterfly stitch markers (more on butterflies another time), sewn double pointed needle holder with pretty Japanese fabric button in turquoise and a touch of left over pink Koigu icord, earrings and bracelet made by a local designer (she's at Port Douglas & Cairns markets, I've just lost the tag) and some fabric stash just to add to the tropical challenge dresses that conspired with the Wollmeise earlier in the year.

But wait there's more: the yarn line up photo helps me document the turquoise creep and now I see that it started 2 years ago...with some very humble Peaches & Creme Cotton and without sounding too much like Miss Helena from Romper Room (in which I appeared when I was 5 year old!) there's Rowan Kid Silk Haze in Mist, All Hemp6 in Deep Sea, the Koigu, Kaffe Fassett Regia, Knitabulous Mumbai Skies (really says "take me to India" doesn't it?), left over ball of Kaalund silk, Woolorganics, Caraibes Bouton D'or cotton, Cascade 220 in Caribbean Sea, Madeline Tosh Sock in Oceania and Cotton Fine in Caribbean - definitely a theme here.

I wonder what's next for me in this colour cycle and what will 'suddenly' have taken over my wardrobe in 2 years time?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

you know November Has Come, when it's gone away

Apart from my recent obsession with Gorillaz, its been a pretty full month.

A birthday celebrated with lunch at Hanuman's in Cairns (Indian & Thai cuisine) and a bit of Monkey Bay to go with it.

I just realised the completely unintentional and overwhelming primate theme here...when I get obsessed I really go OTT! New charm bracelet, lippy, cook book, yarn, nail polish and Sanskrit learning cards.

I couldn't have asked for a better selection of gifts, and really birthday's aren't so much about the gifts as to the thoughts others put in to them and do, create or find something that has meaning for you. My friends and family clearly know me well.

The yarn is Wollmeise in Campari Orange and Rosenrot, or the 'red of roses', destined for socks or a shawl in 2011.

There's also been a quick trip to Perth for my friend's wedding. It was a stunning day at Bluewater Grill overlooking the Swan river, seeing them married under a grand Eucalyptus tree. A few Singapore slings later (well that's where they currently live so it was only polite to indulge!), a great catch up with old colleagues and friends, fabulous food, music, dancing and lots of laughs. Travelling Woman also did me proud with the silk dress I wore.

We stayed with cousins which is always a laugh. Their 7 year old girl and 4 year old boy are lots of fun and sure do keep us on our toes.

When I'd seen them earlier in the year I'd promised to make our niece a knitted bag - just as well I did too, she doesn't forget a thing. I had a lot of fun making it, especially the lining, and the button - a tiny pink bag - was the finishing touch. It's a perfect fit for her DS, lipgloss, camera and other essentials every 7 year old girl needs!

Then back to Sydney, to prepare for the next quick trip to Sydney in December - where yes, I will go to see the Gorillaz perform!

"Well you know November has come when its goooone away..!"*

*Demon Days album, Gorillaz

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.8

1.8 viparyayo mithyājñānamatadrūpapratișțham

Misapprehension is that comprehension that is taken to be correct until more favourable conditions reveal the actual nature of the object

Like when you think you know who the actor is in a movie then look it up on google and find it was someone else. Or when you thought you knew what you were doing in your Trikonasana until you caught yourself in the reflection of a mirror or door and saw you version was looking a little saggy. Hang on 'favourable conditions', well that's not open to interpretation is it?? That could be good lighting (eg knitting, yoga, cooking), ambient temperature (eg knitting, yoga, cooking).

BKS Iyengar interprets this Sutra as "Illusory or erroneous knowledge is based on non-fact or the non-real". Further as ..."wrong knowledge is caused by error or misconception, or by mistaking one thing for another". Actually with my vision, I do this quite a bit. #1 favourable condition for me then: clean contact lenses (and snorkel when swimming in the Coral Sea).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.7

1.7 pratyakșānumānāgamāh pramānāni
Comprehension is based on direct observation of the object, inference, and reference to reliable authorities

I have no debate with this sutra, I think it's fairly straight forward really and ironically doesn't require too much reflection on my part. I've always been one to delve further down the rabbit hole in search of information closer to 'the source'. More often I've had trouble remaining focused on the original enquiry and get lost in/on tangents. This was probably quite infuriating for my mother when I was young - she'd ask me to look up a recipe and I was gone for hours. I've always had discreet book collections, mostly reference material of whatever I was into at the time. I've usually been quite fortunate too, to have access to some fine authorities and mentors in relation to most of my past and current interests. In yoga there is high importance placed on knowing who your teacher's teachers are/were and to know your yoga lineage. I think this is a good approach to take with many other aspects of life. "Don't Believe the Hype", said Public Enemy. It's all part of having a credible source of information and a good reminder to seek out reliable authorities. Wikipedia can be a good start, but is not always reliable. Google is a pretty good modern guru, always ready with an answer or pointing me in a direction that may be closer to what I'm looking for. I've always liked the Sherlock Holmes stories with their lessons in deductive reason and logic.

This coupled with my own practice and experience has helped me fine tune my understanding of what I observe and what I can deduce, as well as what I don't know and what I need to learn more about. And if all else fails, as is want to happen with knitting projects, consult my Elizabeth Zimmermann's, or Barbara Walker's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

(isn't she) Pretty in Pink...

Molly Ringwald has a lot to answer for, for some of us growing up in the 80's, even if her career kind of collapsed afterwards (the curse of the Time magazine cover). Apart from showing you can do wonders with a sewing machine and a few funky bits of pink material, she also gave those of us with a fair complexion and reddish hair hope that we could one day pull off wearing pink! Hope should never be understated, Viva los Chilean Miners! I digress, this is actually about my very pink socks and how appropriate I thought the combination was of the sweet sixteen (candles) 'pinkyness' of the yarn with the sweetness of the Hearts & Flowers design. I am also fairly realistic and most pinks don't look good near my face - purples yes, but on my feet I can get away with anything.

They are made from Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) 4 ply yarn (say that fast out loud 3 times), which is a delight to knit with, so soft and squishy. I used 2mm needles which are the thinnest I've ever used and I was frequently reminded of their fineness throughout when I stabbed myself in the fingers as a result of being quite a tight knitter. I started them on 2.5mm, then down to 2.25mm but I eventually capitulated to the pattern suggestion and picked up the 2mm. It was going to take me longer to knit them (took me 6 months to get around to finishing them anyway!) but I could see the result would be far more satisfying, and it is. It just took me a half a sock's worth of knitting to conclude this, hence I started knitting the second sock on the smaller needles and gave myself a break before ripping the first 2.25mm sock out and started again. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I've successfully turned a heel too, though it can be most frustrating when you stuff it up and have to rip it back a few times to 'get it'. It was at this point a few months ago my sock mojo soured and into the naughty corner they went.

Even though I don't find myself wearing socks much these days living in the tropics, I still like making them, so portable and not 'hot' in your hands. Lately, there's a day every couple of weeks when it gets cool enough for socks and handknits get to strutt their stuff on my feet. Even more enjoyable now that my 'sock knitting mojo' has returned. You see, I actually began these socks in February this year, after deciding to make them last October on the way back from Knit Camp and Webgoddess had begun her Sherie's Posies socks from Wendy Johnson's book, Socks from the Toe Up. It's a great book, I could happily knit all the socks from this book, if only I knit faster or didn't have so many other projects in my knitting pipeline. All the lovely patterns, and most heels are to be turned the same way reducing time spent on redo's. I do try to stop myself from starting the next sock project before I finish at least one of others on the go. Alas, I've already started winding the next lot of sock yarn (more KPPPM in blues) and it's only due to pattern indecision I haven't started them yet.

I was also spurred on to finished these in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month, taking on board all the recent comments about the commercialisation of 'Pink October' (ie. actually finding a cure and doing away with the need for it - same goes for Prostate Cancer Movember). Once upon a time it was hip to be Green. It's also well as Rocktober, Blocktober, Oktoberfest...

So Hearts & Flowers will come to India with me, along with my Shantarams and a few other choice articles if I can finish them in time for next February. In the meantime they will satisfy my 'Pretty in Pink' teenager moments and not make me look sallow, given they are far away from my face, certain yoga poses notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

White Light....White Heat, aka Project India

I've booked myself on a 'Yoga Tour' of India next March. It begins in Delhi, then up to Rishikesh for a week at the Parmath Niketan Ashram for the International Yoga Festival. It then continues up north to various sacred sites and temples until we get to Dharamsala, hoping HH the Dalai Lama is in residence and concludes with a trip to the Taj Mahal. Of course I've begun planning my knitted garments for the trip. Some are already made courteousy of Knitabulous' Indian Summer Yarn Club I joined earlier this year. I have green Shantaram Socks and the purple Bollywood Shawl. I have a few other pairs of socks made and my nearly finished, very pink Hearts & Flowers. Any other socks I complete in the meantime will just be a bonus. Travelling Woman in Turquoise will no doubt be finished soon too. February Ladies Sweater in Ravelry Red Malabrigo Worsted is on its way down the Finished Object highway too.

But here's the thing, at the Ashram we are to wear white.

Anyone who knows me knows just how allergic I am to white, I'm far more comfortable and considerably less 'dirty' looking in black and other strong, dark colours. I reinforced this recently when I went to the movies and grabbed a (relatively newly purchased, hey, what can I say, I don't knit everything I wear and I just liked the lightness of the fabric and its drape - a circle with 2 cut out cicles for the arms) white wrap. Not for 2 hours could it stay clean after I dropped chocolate on it from my ice cream. How on earth will I cope wearing white 24/7 at the Ashram?? The tour operater's notes state that white cotton clothes can be purchased outside the gate of the Ashram for about $5 a piece, so there won't be any shortage of basic yoga wear (turmeric and saffron aren't exactly stain free) and I'll just have to try my best not to be needing a new set each day.

Its the knitted items that have me in a spin. I will endeavour to salvage my Shipwreck Shawl, even if I need to abandon the Madeira Lace and choose a stitch pattern that doesn't require 'jogging'. A suitable Lotus pattern perhaps.

I have New York Cardigan in my queue and I'm thinking the Margrite Karabella that's in my stash will be good for that one. It might be more cream than white, but I think it will pass the 'white' test. Its a lovely soft and squishy 80/20 combo of merino/cashmere and there's something a little poetic about taking a garment with cashmere in it 'back' to somewhere near Kashmir. This would be a good use of this yarn seeing as it's been hanging around for years after being a mistake purchase, when what I really meant to order was the red (pesky colour numbers instead of names!). This was the beginning of my current stash actually. Rosered may recall this as she ended up with the red without incident and was laughing at me being 'concerned' about having yarn in my house that didn't already have a designated project! How I've grown.

I also have plenty of white Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton (10&4ply) which could easily turn into something worth doing yoga in. I also want to try some reversible knitting and make the Flip Your Lid reversible beanie and Syncopation reversible headband. It will be Winter in India, which could mean anything, from cold to mid 20's celcius and I'll need to be prepared, or at least wrapped in hand knitted whites and plenty of white light...oooommmmm

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.6

1.6 pramānaviparyayavikalpanidrāsmŗtayah
The five activities of the mind are comprehension, misapprehension, imagination, deep sleep, and memory

As I contemplate, indeed, comprehend, this sutra I have noticed just how much the mind is responsible for in terms of my overall health and wellbeing. My thoughts can determine my moods, my motivation, how much I sleep, the bizarreness of my dreams via my imagination, the quality of my memory. Before I go to sleep most nights I reflect on what I did that day and what I would like to do the following day. I see it as trying to 'pre-program' the mind so that I have a better chance of doing half the things I want to try out or complete. Which is usually a mixture of the things required for living, like washing, cleaning, food shopping, paying the bills and things I enjoy, like knitting, reading, sewing, cooking, swimming and yoga. So why, oh why does this not always translate to the next days' activities like I want it to?

I don't yet have the answer/s, but I think asking myself these questions is a good start at working it/them out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"...kissin' Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream..."

Another treat while in Brisbane was going to the Valentino exhibit. I'd seen the posters while I was in Sydney, noted it was at the Gallery of Modern Art, GoMA, in Brisbane and it was on until November. "Shame" I thought, I don't see myself going to Brisbane just for that, "but maybe, who knows". Who knew indeed, two days later I was booked to go assist at a yoga workshop with one of my gurus! I can highly recommend this exhibit. Here are some of my favourites: from left to right: #130 S/S 2003 Crimson Chiffon, Taffeta Roses, Pink & Grey; #184 S/S 2008 Pink Silk Voile; #184 F/W 1990 Dress:Pink Chiffon Shirred Skirt, scalloped top, embroidered, sequinned in Baccarat Crystal design. Wide Pink Satin Coat, padded lining in Baccarat Crystal motif, Beige/Pink/Fuchsia. An emerging Pink theme now?

I know it sounds really superficial, a display of dresses by a suave Italian designer spanning the last 40 years or so, using glorious flowing, feminine Italian silks, velvets, bead work. Worn by Hollywood starlets, royalty and Oscar winners. Covetted by many more, myself included, over the years, not a hope of owning such a gown or having an occasion for such a gown, inspiring none the less. I was so taken with the historical significance and beauty of the collection I couldn't wait to purchase the catalogue to serve as permanent inspiration. But they'd sold out in the first 2 weeks of the exhibit. Ah!!. Despite the fact that I would have really struggled to fit it in my bag, it was still a let down. I did find a copy of a Missoni book on sale and Christian Dior's Little Disctionary of Fashion and yes, they had a much better chance of fitting in my suitcase. My name was on the list, they'd call when more stock arrived...I walked home via the Go Between bridge again, inspired but a little unfulfilled (see my previous 'Brisbane' post). So cool that it was named after the band. They were influencing me musically in the 1990's while YSL did so with design, it was kind of a poetic moment...I'm getting ahead of myself though. I was reminded of times I'd seen Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (together and separately) play the Annandale hotel and Powderfinger supported one of them in their very early years and my friend sent love notes to Bernard Fanning during the gig! Too bad they are sold out in Cairns tonight.

So what's the story behind my excitement around the Valentino exhibition, apart from all the colour and movement? Well, twenty five years ago I visited a retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney. I was a keen textiles student at high school and fortunate that was a good enough reason for my mum to indulge her own couture eye and take me to see it. Not only that, she bought me the catalogue, well it was in the name of education.
That exhibition left such a big impression on me, maybe it was too big and that's why I chose a different direction as I completed high school (I wonder what might have been with a formal education in textiles instead of psychology!). I still made my own clothes and a few formal outfits for my sisters. For most of my life I've had a growing collection of material, ribbons, buttons, old clothes ready to be recycled and have their adorable fabric recreated into something other than its original form. More recently my 'fabric corner' became my yarn stash and now they both share a room.

Then the YSL book disappeared. For over 10 years.

As a result of a couple of housemoves, including extended visits overseas I lost track of my YSL book. I thought maybe I'd lent it out or given it away when I went through a major book cull before going overseas. It wasn't until I visited the Valentino exhibit that I realised how much the YSL book meant to me and how much I missed it. A call to mum and a couple of days later, low and behold she'd found it! It had resurfaced recently would you believe, emerged out of the garage while being cleaned out. I was so delighted, especially when it arrived in the mail last week. Followed by the Valentino catalogue a few days later. GoMA came through. So there they are side by side on my 'inspiration' shelf. A couple of suave Italians and stylish Frenchmen. I almost want to get back into a fine cut black woollen suit...
And male designers on one side of the book shelf and female artists (Kahlo, Broardhurst, O'Keefe) at the other end, I've never noticed that. Interesting.

Now no holding your breath while I whip up some inspired creation with my trusty Janome and no doubt many trips to the local Spotlight with its seemingly improving selection. And what ever happened to really great fabric shops like Home Yardage (yup, never thought I'd say that back in 1988) and the Fabric Shop which completely captured the imagination and had comfortable stools and little pencils with slips of purpose-printed paper to jot down all the Vogue, McCalls and Butterick patterns you wanted to 'do something with'? Thank goodness there is still Tessutti to idulge the occasional tactile needs, its just not the same buying fabric online.

Actually it did turn out to be a 'manic' Monday and its taken me two days to realise.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Through the streets of your town"

Well not every day, but for the best part of a week I recently made my way through the streets of Brisbane town. It was an impromtu visit, on the back of a yoga workshop I attended in Sydney with one of my favourite yoga teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater. There was an opportunity to assist her when she presented the workshop again in Brisbane the week after, and in all of about err 3 seconds I'd decided I wanted to assist. Its just not that often you get to be near 'the source' for an extended period. This year seems to have become one adventure after another, so I just keep going with the flow and pleasantly so.

I made the phone calls you do when an opportunity like this presents itself, booked the flights and no sooner had I arrived to Cairns from Sydney, washed and repacked I was on a plain to Brisbane. It had been years since I'd visited, owing to the fact that, well it was Brisbane. I lived in Sydney, why on earth did I need to visit 'BrisVegas' unless I was on my way to see relatives or friends for weddings, funerals or trips to somewhere else near Brisbane? I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe its because, now that I live in Cairns Brisbane seems like a big, sophisticated city, or maybe its just because the city has undergone something of a cultural revolution in the last decade. I really don't mean that to sound disrepectful either, oh just keep reading...

I decided to adopt my 'London' approach, ie. land, run around the city as much as possible on public transport en route to where I was staying that evening, taking in as much as I could stand, until the shops shut, or I ran out of hands to carry my purchases along the way. I was deliberately travelling light, yoga mat, clothes and small case to facilitate easy of getting around, but with enough 'room' to pack any bits I bought. Well there went that idea pretty quickly. No sooner had I landed, found the train to Bowen Hills, bus to Newsmead and walk to Tangled Yarns, bumped into LynS (just arrived at the shop from Sydney!) and decided on purchases, I'd run out of hands! I really enjoyed visiting Tangled, such a lovely, bright shop, with plenty of captivating yarns to drool over.. Possibly why they serve tea and cake (Turkish Apple, Orange Poppy Seed respectively), or maybe they saw me coming and in need of sustenance after the trip.
Scores on the doors included Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Wild Orange to complete my mother's request for Fallen Leaves from Haiku Knits (I know, I've finally given in to mum's request for something in orange even with her very red hair, it will be a fun knit), a mixed bag of the Cascade 220 to play with (Plum, Turquoise, Mimosa), some Madeline Tosh Sock in a beautiful Oceania turquoise and an assortment of Brown Sheep Cotton Fine 4 ply (Raging Purple, Prosperous Plum & Caribbean Sea) to make at least one garment from Interweave Knits Summer/Spring 2009/10. Throw in a few magazines (Knitscene, Spin-Off) and satchets of Soak (well the bottles just wouldn't fit in my bag) and I was done, baked, as nicely at the cake. I needed a nap after that and a restorative yoga pose - Viparita Karani, or 'legs up the wall', perfect for travelling. It also dawned on me that a new theme colour had found its way into my knitting. Turqouise. I just keep finding myself drawn to it. It will never replace my purples, they are regally safe. Maybe it is living at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, or the light.

Another little gem while visiting a yoga friend's home was this: An original copy of 'A Manual of Dyeing: for the Use of Practical Dyers, Manufacturers, Students, and All Interested in the Art of Dyeing. Volume 1' by Christopher Rawson, Richard Loewenthal Edmund Knecht (Paperback - Jan 1, 1893). The things you find on other people's book shelves!

A few days later I was at my cousins home with his wife and their adorable children. They were on the other side of the city so I didn't stay with them during the yoga workshop. What fun I had with them when I did get there though. Bonding with my 'cousin-in-law' at a preview of Camilla Franks' Kaftans and post show drinks on the river at stylish Drifts. Even driving over the Go Between Bridge to get there.Playing yoga with the children and watching them come up with new yoga poses, eg the Caterpilla-Butterfly ie rolling self in yoga mat (possible when you're a slim child) and unfurling with wings flapping.

Another treat while in town was seeing the Valentino exhibit, a story worthy of its own post. It wasn't long before I was on a plane, heading back to the Cattle and Cane, satisfied I had options for future 'city fixes' and with many more ideas for my own yoga practice and artistic endeavours!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflections on Sutra 1.5

1.5 vŗttayah pańcatayyah klișțāklișțāh
There are five activities of the mind. Each of them can be beneficial and each can cause problems

I think its interesting that my 'Reflections on Sutras' project stalled at 1.4, being all about a disturbed mind's inability to follow a certain direction. A great deal has happened in my life since February when I last posted about the Sutras and recent yoga training and workshops has helped bring my focus back to them.

Sutra 1.5 really is a bit of a cliff hanger isn't it, what are the five activities? Before delving into them I think its good to recognise that regardless, each has a potentially positive and negative effect. Some one once said to me that "A negative is only a positive taken to the extreme" and I have observed this myself on many occasions. One piece of chocolate cake or a modest yarn purchase, or even a moderate yoga practise can be of benefit in the way it fosters contentment. Yet too much of those things can result in an unhealthy body, debt and/or clutter or a form of escapism.

So I'll sit with this thought for a moderate amount of time before exploring 1.6...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tropical Challenge #1 - Rainforest Ishbel

As part of Tropical Challenge #1 here is the first shawl + summer dress combination. In this instance I had already begun knitting the shawl when I bought the dress, but it was that good strong green in the dress that complements my Rainforest Ishbel Shawl that convinced me to buy it. And its going to be a little while longer 'til I finish Travelling Woman!
Days into challenge: 50
Days wearing summer dresses for at least half of the day: 43 (that's 86% folks, well I'm impressed!)
Number of knitting projects in queue to complement dresses: 8 and possibly increasing, bound to buy more dresses though...
On the sticks:
Tropical Teal Travelling Woman Shawl - Dress: Tropical Butterfly
Tokyo Rose Aestlight - Dress: White Mexican w/Embroidery
Elizabeth Zimmerman Silver Samurai Anniversary - Dress: Grey palm leaf
Summer Shetland Shawl (red) - Dress: There's a little black one looking for some red

I recently purchased Romi's 7 Small Shawls and currently deciding which yarn to use on which shawl to go with which dress. Will the madness never end?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mellow Yellow

I don't know what it is but lately I feel the need to have a stock pile of yellow squash at all times. Perhaps its because that they are in season and abundance in the local fruit & veg markets. Fortunately they are the central ingredient for one of my favourite receipes, Happiness Soup from Nigella Lawson's 'Forever Summer' cook book - fitting.

I've also found fresh turmeric at the markets, which is a real treat. Previously reserved for cooks who were committed to travelling all over town to hunt the little rhizomes down (even if they do look like mishapen toes at time). Home made satay, curries and soup, will never be the same again.

Getting to know you

So I've been in Cairns about 7 weeks now - just about time to find a local hairdresser and really inculcate myself. Highlights include a visit to the Atherton Tablelands stopping off at Lake Tinaroo a favourite fishing spot for Barramundi, so I hear.

The Curtain Fig tree at Yungaburra (must come back to this lovely little town, reminded me of Berrima) which is a fig tree that wraps itself around an (un)fortunate(?) host tree strangling it but leaving this remarkable work of art in its wake.

There was a visit to Gallo Dairyland for lunch, cheese and handmade chocolates, complete with a stop at Shaylee Strawberry farm on the way back - FYI Cash only if you're going and you've stopped off at Gallo's first and used up most of your cash.

The Cairns Show (complete with a public holiday for 'show day'!) was held recently at the local showgrounds, where I went on the Ferris Wheel and for the first time in my life I found myself wishing it wasn't quite so high up. This from a seasoned amusement park ride enthusiast which friends accompanying me to Luna Park (Sydney), Wonderland and Dreamworld could attest to. Maybe this is what happens when you visit LA twice but never make it to the gran'daddy of them all Disneyland! I saw some new friends at the Fibrecrafters FNQ stand and sized up the knitted entries in the Arts & Crafts Pavillion. I was very impressed with the numerous categories for entries (RAS take note!) and I'll begin planning a 2011 entry or two soon no doubt. Lots of bobbin lace on display and a few shawls (with just one scary clown but no two-headed upside-down dolls thankfully!).

I stopped to watch one of the finalists in the local Barista comp, which reminded me to go looking for coffee beans. My favourite coffee plantation so far is Skybury and I think sitting out on the massive 'tree-house' deck taking in the view and noting we were only an hour from the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago really sowed a seed that culminated in our move up north. Definitely worth a visit and the coffee is pretty darn fine too!

Now I must go put the coffee on and investigate what the mob of Wallabies that reside over my back fence (I know, how country 'ostraya!) were doing this morning, if I didn't know better I'd say they'd ganged up on a couple of geckos demanding their lunch money!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Slivering Suckertash Batman

Kpow! Took receipt of my first kilo of soft merino sliver recently as part of a dyeing workshop. Even though I have never spun anything more than for 1 minute trying out a friend's spindle, I can see I will become addicted to it. I also joined the Fibrecrafters FNQ Inc group in Cairns so I'm bound to get lots of mentoring as I go. The group I met were very friendly and I loved using the Earth Palette cold water dyes. And somehow this makes up for not going to Bendigo - at least until I heard how much fun it all was!! I will try for next year, cheap fares to Melbourne willing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tropical Challenge #1

With my recent move north to the tropics I've set myself a couple of little lifestyle-change challenges. Actually this first one was handed to me by my other half and involves ditching my 'Sydney Black' for summer dresses. So far...
Days into challenge: 25
Days wearing summer dresses for most of the day: 18
Number of knitting projects in queue to complement dresses: 7
First of these on the sticks: Tropical Teal Travelling Woman Shawl
Dress of inspiration: Tropical Butterfly Dress
Photos to follow in due course...!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Autumnal Bandit

Well it has been a while since I wrote anything, which doesn't mean that I haven't written any posts in my head, just that they haven't made them to my blog. It's been a rather full on couple of months - One sister was married with me and my other sister as Bridesmaids. My other sister's little boy had more operations on his heart and he's doing really well, to look at him you'd never know what he'd been through. Then my hubby and I decided we'd move from Sydney to Cairns, stepping closer to our dream lifestyles. Needless to say packing up, sorting through and culling furniture, books and clothes has filled our days quite well of late.

Somehow I've managed to finish knitting a couple of shawls, with just a few more projects on the sticks. The Autumnal Bandit was made for my dear friend who lives in the Blue Mountains. Its 4 ply Alpaca/Silk/Merino blend in, well Autumn colours and using the Sprintime Bandit shawl pattern. In naming this one I was also reminded of a friend's band 'Autumnal' that existed in the early 90's in Sydney (I wonder whatever became of them, google couldn't tell me), which kind of fits with the fact that my friends' hubby is a drummer in a band.

I also finished my Bollywood Shawl and am currently working on an Ishbel Shawl for my mother's birthday, which as with most birthday knits, is running late!
The biggest dilemma of course is what yarn to leave out of the packing to see me through until the boxes are received and opened once we are relocated to FNQ!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Zucchini Spindle Anyone?

I think I've seen it all now, watch this to see how to make your own Spindle from 2 Zucchini you might have left over from when you might have run out of sneeking them onto your neighbours doorstep in August - just watch the clip, it seems to make sense that way! Funny, I was talking to another knitter a couple of days ago about Spindles and having some to experiment with at a Guild meeting. We might just wait for the right season and harvest some Zucchini to make our own! Thanks for the link to the clip Zaz

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reflections on a Sutra - 1.4

1.4 vŗttisārūpyamitaratra
The ability to understand the object is simply replaced by the mind’s conception of that object or by a total lack of comprehension

Just when I thought I was getting this pattern, I wasn’t…and then I did…and then I had to put it down again…then I came back to it with renewed vigour and I would like to think, greater understanding.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Jivamukti Experience

I was recently fortunate to spend the best part of 4 days with 167 yogis attending a workshop with David Life and Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti yoga. I had read much about this style of Hatha yoga, and had their book, but it really did not compare to experiencing it first hand. Apart from be living examples of 'Spiritual Activism', they have a unique style of teaching. I loved the way music and sound was incorporated in their classes, either in the form of yogic chants to begin and end the practice (complete with harmonium) or throughout. It was unique, uplifting and truly inspiring. I mean, its not often you get a sampling of old school hip hop to accompany Downward Facing Dog!! I met lots of new people, found an old friend I used to take dance classes with (ahem, 20 years ago) and introduced a whole new group of people to the joys of sock knitting (the Shantaram socks are nearly finished).

I was pushed to my limits physically as there were many components of the class I don't normally practise, or not in the same way. It was probably just as well it was as humid on the Saturday as it was since it meant we were all very warm from the start, though a cool change in the afternoon would definitely have been welcomed...

Mmm.. lets just see what gems I can dig out of my music collection and find an excuse to play in class, while more consistently practising śirșāsana (headstand) and contemplating Sacred Geometry and Quantum Physics...aaauuummmm

Friday, January 29, 2010

Reflections on a Sutra - 1.3

1.3 Tadā drașțuh svarūpe ‘vasthānum
Then the ability to understand the object fully and correctly is apparent

After a few rows of the Madeira pattern in the Shipwreck shawl I started to get the feel of the pattern and see when I was either about to make a mistake or had done so and could correct it. I find this applies to more than just knitting and it sometimes takes me a period of focusing my attention on something or experiencing it first hand before I develop an understanding of how it works. Then I am better placed to anticipate potential pitfalls and make adjustments accordingly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Cinderella Bolero (how lucky am I?)

So there we were at SnB last Thursday evening at Morris & Sons and MissFee held up her beautiful creation for others to try on. Surely it would fit 'just right' for someone around the table. This was after demonstrating to us the previous Saturday at Guild that after her labours it was too big in the back and just did not sit right. Around the table it went, too big in the bust, not big enough, too pregnant(!). Then it was my turn, as much because knowing the sizing issue, I didn't want to find myself in the same predicament when I knit mine (MissFee had enabled me with the book from whence it came already!). So there it was, the colour was me, the fit was good, hey presto a new bolero for me!

Many thanks MissFee and with any luck the Bolero fairy will visit you again soon.

Reflections on a Sutra - 1.2

1.2 Yogaśgcittavŗttinirodhah

Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distraction

Knitting the Shipwreck shawl is shaping up to be an exercise in focusing my mind exclusively on the pattern so as not to get distracted and stuff it up! I'm not sure this is what Patanjali had in mind when he wrote this sutra but that's what it means for me this week. After all sutra is Sanskrit for thread...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 a new odyssey

Laid low for new year's eve, was still getting over December. Kicked off the new year with a 'back to basics' health blast and tidying / reorganising of 'stuff' around the house. I received the 2nd package from Knitabulous' Indian Summer Yarn Club - a beautiful 120g of 50/50 Merino/Silk in varigated purple with a Bollywood Nights Shawl pattern.

I just realised I hadn't posted a picture of December's instalment, Shantaram pattern and sock yarn in vibrant greens, complete with goodies.

I've joined the '10 shawls in 2010' group on Ravelry and I commenced knitting the epic shawl pattern Shipwreck in Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace on new year's day - I will probably need all 1.1km of yarn to complete it!
With any luck it won't end up on the rocks...

It was a busy December

Indeed it was busy, with little time for blogging. There was the SnB High Tea , where we sipped sparkling and cups of tea with our sandwiches and scones. There was also a xmas swap - what would a knitting group be without a swap of some kind. I received a beautiful box of homemade xmas biscuits (thank you Cactuskelly!) and my recipient received a knitted tree.

I attended a Feeding Your Soul yoga workshop with Janice Clarfield all the way from Vancouver. I think she has taken a liking to Australia. There was the work xmas party, my farewell lunch and an attempt to buy a house (I can highly recommend a building & pest inspection before getting your hopes up!).

The highlight however has to be the birth of my nephew, care of my very clever sister and brother-in-law. He was born mid December and while we knew all along it was going to be tricky and there would be a stay at Westmead Children's hospital, he is doing very well. I just hope he likes tropical north Queensland weather as much as he seemed to like Sydney's. Note how overcast it was at xmas - hence the beanie - well any excuse for me to knit him something really.