>Gothic yarn, vampire visitation and a phantom guest

>No brekkie for me this morning!
I was due at Maldon Hospital at 10am to take part in a Victoria-wide health survey which involved fasting for 12 hours followed by a visit to the friendly neighborhood vampire and a battery of tests, measurements, and questions,

I was 20 minutes early – no point hanging around in town after dropping Dave off and hardly worth going home for the sake of less than half an hour – and was armed with my current travel knitting but wouldn’t ya know it, just because I came prepared to wait, I got shown straight in… bugger

Luckily for me, no one has ever had any difficulty finding a vein or drawing my blood … which was just as well given the surprisingly large amount of it that was removed.
The lass before me wasn’t quite so lucky and ended up on the floor for about ten minutes, which isn’t really what you want to see as you walk in!
An hour, a bit of cottonwool, a cup of tea and a biscuit later, I was home again and racing around doing all that stuff one does when a visitor is about to arrive … and then I waited
… and waited
… and waited

I checked for phone messages

and went back to waiting [ and before you ask, no, I don’t have her mobile number, and she’s house sitting at the moment and neglected to pass on that number ]

Finally as darkness closed in, dinner was cooking and five hours after Lynnie should have arrived, her daughter rang to say that L was unwell and wouldn’t be coming, and that she [ the daughter ] should’ve rung in the morning but hadn’t gotten around to it !!!!!

So I have a nicely clean house, extra food, and an unplanned free day tomorrow
I’m sure I can think of something to do with it that obviously won’t need to involve much housework

It might involve playing with the superfine merino laceweight that I dyed yesterday:
I was aiming for something suitable for my daughter-in-law’s birthday but the warm brown-and/or-black that I had in mind turned out to be a luscious aubergine, purple and black – very gothic- so I’m calling it Nightwings [ unless one of you comes up with a better suggestion ]

Back to slaving over a hot microwave with another hank of the same BWM 2- ply and this time it came out a really deeply saturated black [ much darker than the photo shows ]

I love it when a plan comes together

so that will be for DDIL
I’m leaning towards Ice Queen again

but that ruby red Mooi from Ecoyarns is calling its siren song and ooh, that Nightwings really really wants to be something as well.

Lead me not into temptation … I can find it perfectly well all by myself!

>Yes folks, it’s Sunday

>and we all know what that means, right ?

Yup, another Sunday Salmagundi of the bits and pieces that I didn’t get around to showing you during the week

midwinter morning …

delightful squishy mail:
You may remember a couple of weeks ago when I was rhapsodising over having won a voucher from Ecoyarns.
Well, thanks to the fact that Vivian is having a June sale, and with a bit of my own funds added as a way of saying thankyou, I was able to get even more bang for my buck
and this is what was waiting for me at the Post Office on Friday:

one gorgeous, unbelievably luscious, soft skein of Louet Mooi Laceweight [ bison, cashmere and bamboo ] in Ruby – a lovely heathered soft country red

which is thinking about becoming a cowl, probably Ice Queen and in the meantime I will just love it and pet it and try very hard not to drool on it

and 13 balls of SWTC Inspiration [ soysilk and alpaca ]

that’s 4 balls of a lovely magenta called Magic and 9 [ all they had or I would’ve bought more I suspect] of Memories.
On my monitor Memories showed as a medium Wedgewoodish Blue but what arrived was more of a blued/greyed lavender, which I like even better than what I thought I was getting, and, thanks to the above mentioned sale, it was 40% off !!!!

and this is a not-at-all-gratuitous cat photo
Oakley inspecting my new short cowdy boots that I found at Tar-zhay.
Needless to say, they aren’t leather, and I fully expect them to get trashed, because these are going to be the ones I wear pretty much all the time, when I’m not wearing my bestest red-and-black ones, from now until about the end of October. Okay, so they’re not one of my colours, but for just over $30 [ shoe sale! ] I’ll manage with tan.

what else?
what I’ve been knitting this week?
a couple more cowls … which I haven’t photographed yet … but one’s pale blue and one’s black and both for DD
what I’ve been reading ?
Well, thanks to a major bout of not-sleeping that saw me totally conscious, if not at my best, from 3.15 am yesterday, I’ve finished the last of my Terry Pratchett’s – Making Money – which makes 34 novels read so far this year.
After a mild panic attack about what to read next, I picked up the first Artemis Fowl.
It’s a kid’s book, and I guess because of a lot of hype, I was hoping for something in the same league as the Harry Potters … but … so far? … not really … nope.
I’m working my way through #2, having read #1 yesterday, and I’ll read #3 as well, but only because they’re here.
Mind you, I also had a less than thrilled reaction to Eragon and only got about a third the way through the first one, whereas Nadie stuck with them and says they improved.
If it turns out that Nadie likes this lot, they’re hers.

and what’s on the horizon?
an ex-student is arriving tomorrow because she wanted to go see the Archibalds while they’re in Bendy.
I didn’t really get asked.
I got told …
so it’s just as well I love her to bits, cos this means I’m going to be missing Purl’s Princesses on Wednesday.
The Archibalds!
all good

>Where were you …

>… when you heard that …
Kennedy had been shot ?
ditto John Lennon ?
or that Princess Di had died ?

in my case the answers are
a] no idea – I was 9
b] in the car on the way to a dental appointment
c] at a dance class with my daughter

and today that list was added to …
so where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson had passed away of a heart attack, aged 50 ?
– because I didn’t have the radio on in the car this morning, I found out when one of the other girls mentioned it over a cup of tea at Robyn’s a couple of hours ago

and it feels so odd… even that the eternal Peter Pan was 50 seems hardly credible.

what a strange sad end to an equally strange life

>Monday Miscellany

>Still no sign of Fred … and it’s not very likely that he would leave Ethel’s side, so I’m forced to entertain the idea of FOX, and I’m afraid that idea is just not at all entertaining. At the risk of anthropomorphising what is essentially a bloody chicken, I would have to say that Ethel appears to be missing her man.
and basically because I’m feeling bummed about Fred, you’all are going to have to make do with the bunch of totally unrelated images from the past few days which would, under happier circumstances, have made up a tasty Sunday Salmagundi:
an unseasonal irridescent visitor to the garden
– the huge cherry picker which has been blocking half the main street for the last week or so

as the Post Office gets a fresh face lift – and not before time too … the accretions of pigeon poop on the top of the tower were threatening to mutate and climb down under their own power.

– Scrumptious fabrics that parted me from my cash at Honeysuckle Patchwork in Bendigo … those three on the left have DRAGONFLIES on them. I love dragonflies

and speaking of species Odonata,
as I believe we just were
– Sophie overseeing Tara’s production of an intricate sock in a gorgeous shiny greeny grey merino/tencel blend called … yes … dragonflies – but I cannot for the life of me remember whose yarn … bad blogger … bad! ]
As you can see, Soph takes her role as knitting quality control officer and patented yarn tensioning device very seriously, even if it means that poor Tara has to bend herself into some very creative positions in order to keep on knitting

So I guess that there was a connection after all, albeit pretty tenuous, between those last two photos, and maybe we could stretch the insect imagery to include the shiny bug in the first one, but I’m buggered if I can figure out a way to tie the cherry picker into that lot. Three outta four aint too bad!

>wherefor art thou, Fred ?

>It never ceases to amaze me just how quickly particular sounds become part of our aural landscape – the largely unheeded background of our day to day doings

I’ve only had Fred and Ethel for a few months and without me even noticing, their constant chatter has seeped into the ‘normal’ noise around here.

Guinea Fowl males call ” chichichi” and the girls call ” buckwheat buckwheat” [ a bit like a squeaky gate ] and they talk to each other constantly, seldom straying more than a foot or so away from each other as they potter happily around the goat paddock

So it seemed eerily silent – despite the normal morning noise of umpty gazillion magpies, pigeons, wrens and honeyeaters and the the background mumbling of four goats – when I went out to feed everyone and found only a bewildered Ethel, buck-wheating at a fraction of her normal volume.
Maybe I’ll be able to report Fred’s return soon but I’m not feeling spectacularly hopeful

>Those are meant to be rosehips ?

>Remember last weekend’s sneaky peak at this?
It’s a lino cut that I started last Friday.

Marcy asked in the comments on that post about the process of linocutting which basically involves coming up with a suitable subject – in this case, some large rose hips – drawing it onto a piece of linoleum, and then selectively carving away whatever seems like a good idea . A large roller or brayer is rolled repeatedly backwards and forwards [ and sideways ] through a glob* of printer’s ink until it’s perfectly even – which is harder than you’d imagine – which is then rolled onto the surface of the design. Anything carved out doesn’t pick up the printing ink and will show as a white area or line on paper or fabric.

You pretty much carve a bit and do a test print
carve a bit more, print it again
carve a bit more
… and then decide that you probably should’ve left well enough alone after step 2!

Anyway, I spent some time yesterday with my friend Robyn, ‘refining’ the design and printing it up three or four times and this is the final result.

… and gratifying as it would be to have you all believing that this is just another one of my many interests, it would definitely be a stretch to say that I ‘dolinocutting.

This is the first time I’ve played with those little chiselly thingies probably since about 1992, and before that it was probably back in my art teaching days sometime in the Late Cretaceous.

Blame or praise Robyn … it was all her idea [ and her rosehips ]

* this is so a totally technical term

>Baby it’s cowl-ed outside

>A few weeks ago I gave my cousin Judith and two of the aunts a little cashmere/merino neckwarmer each- one of those little short scarves that crosses over in the front and buttons.
Apparently I have started something, because Jude has picked up the sticks again and in the few spare moments when she’s not frantically doing uni assignments or studying, she has been trawling through Ravelry looking at endless patterns for fingerless gloves, berets and above all cowls, and consulting by phone, email or Facebook as needed.
… all of which got me thinking that a few cowls wouldn’t go astray up here either, especially with hair as short as mine currently is
so this lovely aran [ worsted ] weight merino from BWM had a quick trip through Dorothy the Dinosaur in a nice warm bath of Kelp and Tarragon dyes from Landscape
and came out looking like this
and I have to say I’m rather liking this new yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills . I don’t really buy Luxury as a name for a good workhorse superwash merino no matter how soft it is [ Luxury to me speaks of superfine cashmere or silk ] but it really is quite soft, and so far it’s not scratchy against the skin… and it’s a very reasonable price too. So A++++ in my book.

Anyway … cowls … I have plenty of lovely cowl patterns that are in my to-do queue but I opted instead for just improvising with a lace pattern that appears in most stitch dictionaries. The Harmony Guide calls it Fishtail Lace

and as this one’s not quite finished here’s one I prepared on the weekend:
This is some 8ply [ sport ] that was in one of the stashes I’ve inherited in the last year. Moggy’s Mum’s maybe? Do you recognise it Jane ? – ‘t’was called Pronto and there were 6 x 25 gram balls of it. I used 3 and a smidge of the 4th. Obviously it’s a finer yarn than the Aran Luxury so more stitches and repeats, and the grey one has a larger diameter for a more drapey cowl [ photo carefully cropped so that you can’t see the remains of the black eye from 2 weeks ago and the aged, crepey jowls that, according to the aforementioned cousin Judith, are a family trait]

while the green one should stay nice and snug around my ears … but apart from that small matter of gauge, weight and diameter they’re the same.
They are!
A free ‘pattern’ could be forthcoming if some of you would like it

and that ‘outside’ I referred to in the title ? – Monday night was zero, last night was minus 1 and tonight should be 1 degree [ 3 .5 at the moment ]