>OCD queen

>I swear I had today’s post all planned out.

It was all about the evolution of an idea

I was going to explain to you all how a really simple freebie headband pattern lead to a beret
[ that I haven’t shown you yet, despite the fact that it was finished halfway through last year ] which lead to some wristwarmers
[ that I also haven’t shown you because they’re not sewn up ]
which lead to the leggies that I kinda slipped into the last post
and then to the current project … which I was confident would be entirely finished, ends sewn in and photographable by tonight


in the long established tradition of best laid plans ‘o mice, men and Catsmums going aft aglay

just as I was casting off, I noticed a row count error

90 rows back

and yes
I nearly said something less than ladylike
and yes
I did pull it all out
and yes
I have started again

but that will be a post for another day

>this week

>Nadie and I spent some quality time with Bear at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens

I made a new bit of garden … which has been subsequently rearranged several times by the cats

so I’ve temporarily given up my landscaping attempts until the irresistible attraction of newly turned earth wears off

I also designed and knitted some legwarmers for The Girl

Nadie made sushi for the WIP [works in progress] day that we had yesterday

and we marked Earth Hour 2011 appropriately [ Nadie and The Boy playing cards by candlelight ]

>do or do not … there is no try

>Why is it that as soon as I say … well, okay,write … that I’m going to tell you something in particular in the next post, other stuff intervenes ?

In this case, like a whole bunch of other bloggers, I have found myself just overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the continuing disasters in Japan.

It seems insensitive to blithely witter on about my latest knitting / gardening / singing, etc in the face of yet another horrendous natural occurrence


First it was floods in Queensland, and then in New South Wales and Victoria.

Then the horrors of Christchurch

and now Japan

so do I blog about my inconsequential stuff or don’t I ?

Today as I trawled through my favourite blogs, and read about Bell’s newest gorgeous shawl, and Sheepish Annie’s ongoing battles with her students, I realised that reading … and writing … about the normal stuff is one way of dealing with the overwhelmingly big stuff.

as promised

the backstory to my Zen Shawl:

back in October of 2008, I was working on a pair of Broadripple socks for Nadie.
I’d already made a couple of pairs for myself and just loved – and still love – the pattern.
I had decided to dye some cream sock yarn with a totally random [ and the key word here would be ‘unmeasured’ ] mix of blues, purples and hot pink.
It turned out just as I wanted. So far so good
until … I ran out of yarn with just the toe of the second sock left to do.

Cut to frenzied gnashing of teeth

Granted I could have just unpicked the toe of the first sock and given both of them a contrasting toe. That trick has gotten many a savvy knitter out of a tight spot before this … but did I consider that ?
Never even crossed my mind for a second.
Instead I attempted to duplicate the ‘random’ dye job.

First attempt: came out as a pretty but very pastel version.
Second attempt: surprisingly close.

If you look at the photo in the link above, you can see that one toe is ever so slightly paler than the rest, but as the person for whom they were made was happy, I decided not to listen to the OCD side of my brain, and to quit while I was ahead. Said socks were duly finished four days after I started them.

The full ball of attempt 1 and the almost full one of attempt 2 were relegated to the sock wool tub where they lived in complete harmony with all the other sock wool candidates for a couple of years.

October 23rd 2010

I was about to catch a train down to Melbourne to spend the evening-before-her-wedding with my darling girl.
As I headed for the door, bag in hand, ‘She who must be obeyed’ [ aka my BFF Beryl ] yelled “Take your knitting. You’ll need something to keep you calm tomorrow morning!!”

far be it from me to argue with SWMBO

but what to take ?
the then current – and still unfinished – project was far too complicated.
I needed to start something new…
I needed to find yarn, pattern and needles … like right NOW

Snap decision: lace, but something I could do with my brain in neutral. It pretty much had to be another a Forest Canopy Shawl
but what yarn ?

okay, that stuff leftover from Nadie’s socks is pretty and I can dye a couple more balls darker for the border later

needles? these 4mm KPs will have to do. They’re already screwed together. I don’t have time to fiddle around changing the ends.

I cast on going down in the train and got a couple of repeats done

and of course this brings us to the next morning. Nadie’s wedding day.
Amidst the chaos of hair and makeup people, I sat in my oh-so-elegant white, fluffy dressing gown, knitting fine lace

I only had to pull out a little bit when I lost the plot for a few stitches [ but I didn’t tell you that ]

and that whole ‘keep you calm ‘ premise ?
It actually worked.


pattern – Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence [ ravlink]
yarn – Arlaan Arwetta [ ebay purchase ] originally cream
needles – KP Options 4mm
yardage – 760m or 830 yds [ 4 balls ]
mods – 7 extra repeats of the diamond pattern and 8 extra eyelet rows in the border

and in case you missed it the photo is here

>dum dum dum dum

>… another one* bites the dust**


* unfinished object finished
**with apologies to Queen

I started this one back in October and just finished it this week. There’s a story attached. I’ll try to get back to you with that tomorrow.

>The Great Muckleford Cat Rescue of 2011

>Time – just after lunch this afternoon
Place – the BIIIIG tree directly in front of the house

The predicament – look closely at the centre top of the photo

that is the younger grandkitten, Suki, precariously perched – and extremely unhappy about it – almost 20 feet up a gumtree

Point the first: only Nadie and I were home at the time.
Point the second: my ladder is only 10 feet long … and that’s measuring total length to the top step upon which no sane person would stand.
Point the third: I am not good with rickety ladders.

While I went to the shed and lugged down the sturdier of the ladders, Nadie managed to entice Suki down about a foot, but have any of you ever tried to get a feisty feline to come headfirst down a sloping branch when she’s 16 -18 feet off the ground and terrified ?

Did I perhaps mention that ladders and I are not friends ?

Anyway, I inched my way to the second top step, wrapped one arm around the trunk [ all the while telling the Man Upstairs that I would take it kindly if there were no Wolf Spiders lurking in the immediate vicinity ] then stretched as far as I could in any kind of safety and discovered that I was about two inches too short.

Deeeeep breath
Cautious realignment of my stranglehold on the trunk

and …
managed to get a couple of fingers around Suki’s fore-paw … which she promptly and firmly dug even deeper into the bark that she was hanging onto like Grim Death.
After readjusting my own death grip on the tree, and several failed attempts, I caught hold of her paw again [ and remember that at this point I was balanced on the top of a ladder at full stretch, holding an overweight chat by ONE FLAMING FOOT.

I suppressed the momentary vision of myself scratched to ribbons, heaved and ended up wearing a Suki collar.

Poor baby was so stressed, she didn’t even manage a decent hiss, let alone any claw work on my quivering carcass.

Suki, Nadie and I have all survived her little expedition [ even if my knees did go all wibbly wobbly once I was back on terra firma ! ]

>This is becoming a habit

>Part the first
Once again I’ve managed to go a whole week between postings … and it’s not like there’s been nothing to blog about either … but I think that certain things are conspiring to keep me from posting:
Of course the most obvious one is just the general upheaval of normal patterns that is the inevitable consequence of trying to amalgamate two separate households but we are getting there.

Mind you, there are definite benefits

All this cupboard reorganisation and rationalisation means that I’ve rediscovered a whole bunch of stuff that I’d forgotten I owned:
Things that I’d hung onto “just because I had the room” have been re-appraised and, where necessary, sent ruthlessly to the Op Shop.
That poor guy who works in Receiving at the local Thrift Store winces when he sees my car pull up.

Then there’s the stuff I hadn’t really thought about … like the fact that Chris & Nadie would be hauling up the contents of their pantry.

Suddenly we had TWO huge tins of Milo to find a home for, two large jars of Vegemite, two sacks of Basmati rice [ and jasmine rice, and arborio rice and … ]
and so began the Great Pantry Tidy of ’11.
Past-Use-By-Dated groceries have been hunted down and terminated
Oh, I feel so virtuous

but all this virtuosity takes a toll on a Catsmum

hence the non-bloggage

part the second [with no attempt at a segue ]

about a week ago I did actually get as far as scribbling down a list of some of the stuff that I could share with you.
So with some additions from this week – and absolutely no expansions or explanations – here’s the list:

garlic porcupine meatballs

feather and fan shrug [ which did make it into a post ]

ebook reader

weird weird weather [ okay, so I lied about no explanations. It’s the first week of March. If the previous 6 years were anything to go by, it should be peak bushfire season. Instead we’ve had more rain, and mornings hovering only a handfull of degrees above zero ]

Fred-the-duck MIA

Lonely George. Tuesday. 4 degrees.


Viva Verdi Concert

humungous blisters

cat politics

Bear and Chris

Flourless Almond Orange Cake

Chat Warblers

Peace Choir


Purls Palace closes


WIP Day:

Bear-based yarn tensioning device



any or all of the above may now form the basis of forthcoming Blogfodder if so desired. just ask okay ?