>quilts and completely gratuitous goats

>I am soooooooooooooooooooo behind
cast your mind back to Feb 15 – almost two weeks ago – yes folks, that’s how far behind I am
well anyway
Late on that sunday night – very late – my BFF Beryl – she whom I stayed with last October – arrived on the doorstep from Tassie via the Conference of State Quilting Guilds which had been held in Sydney.
We had 4 lovely days together during which time we did a lot of stitching:
This is Ms BJC working on a Hopscotch ‘mat’ after raiding my stash for a few extra butterfly fabricsIt’s to be given as a 7th birthday pressie on her arrival back in the Apple Isle next week so the pressure was on.
In a bit of synergy, I was using a similar palette to sew basic brainless scrap triangles. These will be a queen sized quilt for the bed in Nadie’s room up here – not that there isn’t one on there already – and it’s an exercise in stash reduction ‘cos I have got such a lot of fabric in these colours … was going to write “too much fabric” but can one ever have too much ? What if there’s an apocalypse? or a world wide cotton blight? Quilters everywhere would be glad of my stashing habits then I tells ya.On the Tuesday, we were joined for the day by our mutual friend Corrie, seen here doing some synchronised ignoring with Sophie:
Then on Wednesday we went to Bendy and staged lightning raids on Honeysuckle Patchwork and Bendigo Pottery, followed by more retail therapy at The Village Patch in Maldon
Can’t remember what we did Thursday – I suspect that there was more stitching involved but the press of trying to get ready for Nadie and Chris’s engagement party up here this coming weekend has made a blur of most of the last fortnight.
and with no attempt at any kind of a segue, we have goats:
who have been very vocal about the lack of caprine gorgousness on the blog of recent times
“does this make my nose look big ???”

>Daylesford fires

>I was going to do a general catch up post about the last week, which has been incredibly busy, full of visitors and party preparations, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow.
The bushfires are still dominating the news after over a fortnight, and I’ve already received emails today from friends in Melbourne unsure of whether the current blaze near Daylesford is likely to affect me and mine.
The short answer at the moment is no.
Obviously David and I did not go to dance class there last night
but
Daylesford is 40 odd km away and while the Gippsland and Kilmore blazes have proved that 40km is nothing to an aggressive fire front, I am well to the north of Daylesford and the hot conditions forecast for later in the week are most likely going to be driving fires southward.
I am far more concerned about my friends in and around town – Zoe and Andy from Purl’s Palace, John and Kath and their puppies, who live out at Sailor’s Falls not far from the current Muskvale -based fire, Robyne and Paul and the goats at Eganstown, quilting friends, SueB and Robyn C, and many others.
This is the screen shot from the DSE website at midday:

the arrow is where I am, the red dots to my north, east and south east are the fires from a fortnight ago, and the flame symbol southward is Daylesford. You can all see the horrendous red splotch to the east of Melbourne. THAT is who and what we should be most concerned about at the moment
Hopefully there will be a return to normal blogging tomorrow

>by hook or by crook

>okay folks, listen up
my friend Shaz leads a group of junior Girl Guides in Corowa, New South Wales.
This in and off itself is not remarkable.
Like all such groups they operate on a limited budget and, of course, at the moment any fundraising efforts are focused on bushfire relief. In fact, this bunch of 7 -10 year-olds spent last Saturday pushing shopping trolleys in the local Safeway carpark to raise over $400 for just that cause.
so

good kids

who want to learn to crochet so that they can make blankets for the R.S.P.C.A. animal shelter [ bless ’em ]
and this is where I’m hoping some of you will come in

they do have some yarn, and volunteer teachers, but what is seriously lacking is 3.5 and 4mm or even 4.5mm hooks. A small country town 50 km from the nearest craft store isn’t likely to have ’em and in any case Shaz would prefer not to spend the money when it can be used in other, more pressing ways.

if you have a bunch of your mum’s or nanna’s [ or even your own ] hooks that are a suitable size for using with 8 and 12 ply yarn [DK and worsted ]
you can contact Shaz on
shadowsquiltingAThotmailDOTcom for the address

>Black Saturday

>
These were taken in what should have been broad daylight at about 5pm on Black Saturday
by Crazyhaberdasher who has recently moved down to Gippsland, and rather closer than was comfortable to the fires at Churchill.
Those white spots are hot ash.
The colour of that sky is …
oh words fail me

>Just When my faith in Human Nature Has been Confirmed…

>A Message for the scruffy couple at Bunnings, Kangaroo Flat at 2pm last Thursday:

Perhaps you were feeling guilty because you didn’t have the necessary $5 to donate to the Bushfire Relief Sausage Sizzle
So then maybe you shouldn’t have fronted up and demanded 2 snags.
You could have donated $2.50 and shared a snag between you.
If you didn’t have that much, you could have still tossed your change into one of the many dedicated donation boxes in the store.

but that’s not what you did

You waited until the server’s back was turned and dropped a 20c and a 50c into the plastic tub to make the appropriate noise, smirked at each other in that ” aren’t we being clever, getting two sausages for 70c” way, then collected your ill gotten booty, made a facile remark about the great job that the Bunnings staff were doing in the heat, and left

… but it’s okay because the next person [me ] gave extra
There have been some magnificent gestures from all sections of society this week. The sort of stuff that makes us proud to be Aussies … and then there is you!

>dodging the bullet

>I had a rather unsettling phone call on Monday morning and it wasn’t really anything that I could share with you all at the time because I didn’t want to worry anyone [ specifically my daughter ] until I knew whether there was anything to worry about
which, as it happens
there isn’t

you might remember a couple of weeks ago that I went up to Bendigo for the routine mammogram … well, I got the call Monday morning informing me that there was an ‘area of concern’ and that I needed to go back Thursday.
My head may know that nine out of ten call backs turn out to be nothing but my heart wasn’t buying it.
In the midst of all the horrific news coming out of the fires, I was sitting here, trying very hard not to obsess about my own health concerns and feeling guilty for being so self-centered in the face of all that loss.
… not a lot of sleep was had, and that’s really saying something because I am one of the most chronically sleep deprived people on the planet at the best of times!
I even had to break out some pretty mind-numbing knitting for the waiting room because I kept stuffing up the current lace project, but it was better than sitting there reading ancient women’s mags with articles on Brangelina and Keith-and-Nicole.
The first wait wasn’t toooo long, then a short visit with a nurse practitioner for all the paperwork, and then into one of those flattering gowns and another waiting room where we all covertly eyed each other nervously. Then in for another [ much more specifically targeted and painful ] mammogram …
and another wait
and then an ultrasound
and so on
As each woman exited the last office there was either a smile of relief or … something else … and we’d all look sadly at each other and hope that particular scene wouldn’t be repeated for us.

and finally the news that – for me – all seems to be okay.

I can’t fault the care, sensitivity and respect that was demonstrated by all the staff, but still not an experience I want to repeat.

today I’m stiff, sore, battered … and bruised enough that you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve gone three rounds with a heavyweight, but I’m okay and that, for now, is enough

If you’re on my side of 50 and haven’t been mashed in the last 2 years, go make an appointment
NOW

and finally
THIS was the scene directly over the road from John of God Hospital, Bendigo. A small fire compared to the others this week, but one that came within 2km of the centre of a very large rural city and took everyone completely by surprise.

>Bamboozled

>It seems bizarre to be back posting about knitting in the face of possibly 300 deaths from the fires many of which are still burning but I can only take so much horror. I seriously need a little normality in my life in the midst of the stories of loss and heartbreak

so without any intention of trivialising the past week:

you may remember that I was knitting a tinkered with version of the Posh Wedding Shrug in finer yarn/needles. The bamboo was bearable to knit with in the 46C heat, and I don’t know that there are too many other yarns that I could say that of … even cotton is unpleasant at those sort of temperatures.
Let’s hear it for bamboo – not only is it the ultimate eco-friendly completely renewable resource [ and in case you didn’t know: a 60′ bamboo can replace itself in 2 months !!!!] but it’s nice to work with, has a beautiful drape, is lovely to wear in stinking hot weather AND has in-built antibacterial and antifungal properties that reputedly survive around 50 washes.

The shrug went along quite well when it was too hot to do much else – strange really: I could knit lace but couldn’t concentrate enough to do my other favourite low-energy activity – which is to read.

The picot cast-off edging took forever to do but looks good and I’ll get a decent photo of the object itself when there is someone up here to model it, because a shrug that isn’t on a bod is a damn hard thing to get a decent shot of, I’m here to tell you.

Since then I’ve also made these little mitts which are sorta kinda my Travelling Vine mittens [ free pattern link over there in the sidebar ]because it’s the same lace as the shrug. The yarn weight is the same as the blue ones in the pattern but I went down a size on the needle – unintentionally – and made a few mods. There are fewer rows of wrist ribbing … which in fact I would leave out completely next time, the lace continues over the palm, I left off the garter stitch detailing at the thumb opening and not as deep a lace band over the back of the hand seeing these are purely to look cute and pretty and not to keep the hands warm.
I was going to do the picot cast off to match the shrug along the top and around the thumb.
Well, not ‘going to do’ … I DID do it … but it rolled something shocking, so I frogged it back and did a conventional sewn down picot hem.


Did I say “a FEW mods”? I guess they’re really a whole different pattern.
I may have to write this one up [ without that wrist ribbing ], before I forget what I actually did.

and NOTE TO SELF: Self, old dear, you really don’t have photo worthy digits – get a shot of Nadie wearing these!