Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A night at the movies

I have two 2-for-1 ticket vouchers for the Dendy/Palace cinema groups to see the French Romantic Comedy, "I Do" sometime between 21 June and 18 July.

To get your hands on one of these little beauties, email me - address in my profile.

The film opens in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne on 21 June.

Crikey, that was quick. Spidey and Bells scored a 2 for 1 voucher each. I'll see you both before the 21st, I hope, and will hand them over then. Otherwise, email me addresses and I'll post them out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vale Vinnies

It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that the St Vincent de Paul shop at Curtin is closing this week.

There is to be an afternoon tea on Thursday 31 May at 3pm for those who would like to attend. I am very sad not to be able to go.

When I found out last Saturday that it would be my last time there I almost cried. I rang TSS immediately - knowing it's a favourite of hers, too. Sounds silly - it's only an op-shop.

It's been in a basement at the Curtin shops for as long as I can remember. When I was a very small girl, Mum used to buy Fletcher Jones' kilts and trousers and cut them down into dresses and pants for me, and pants for my brother. She used to buy jumpers there, unravel, wash and re-knit them into woollies for all of us.

When I was at college it was on my route home (well, to my boyfriend's home, then mine) and was a major source of funky vintage clothes, records, fabrics and accessories. I still have my first Akubra hat bought there and somewhere there is a 1950s school leather satchel that started a craze for them among my friends. Quite a bit of my marquisite jewellry came from Vinnies Curtin. I bought my eldest godson his first paisley shirt there in the 1980s and more recently I've bought books for BookCrossing and wool and needles for creating. Mothers of old friends were volunteers there and it's still a source of clothing.

It isn't just an op-shop - it's part of my life and I will miss it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Here's your hat, what's your hurry

Time Thief Watch Caps 2007.40-49

The hat on the top left is in Spidey dyed yarn. It's lovely. The scraps went to making a child's pair of wristwarmers. Mum's now doing them in 3 sizes. Bloke, woman/teen, kid. The children's ones are the cutest things out and all of the kids in the neighbourhood are sporting a pair. Mum reckons it's a great way not to waste the ends of balls. The boys next door reckon they make the playing of knuckles a heck of a lot easier.

The black, cream and red one on the bottom right was mostly knitted at the Save Albert Hall meeting last Thursday night. It was going to be just black and cream, but the meeting was so passionate it needed that little bit of red.

Here it is posing on the sundial as we went in.

TRIVIA: The sundial pedestal was part of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, England. In 1934, Mr JN Reeson acquired several pieces of decorative stonework that had been removed during refurbishment, and presented some of them to the Federal Government for use in Canberra. A bronze sundial and a plaque were cast for the pedestal, and in 1936 the circular rose bed in front of the Albert Hall was slightly modified to take the new structure.
Source: Very well researched and edited article on the ACT Heritage Library's website.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I think I'll be leaving now

You all remember my dear old Mum, don't you?

Mum with Rosie, 24 May 2007

You know, the woman who recently took up knitting after a 12 year rest.

The woman who has knitted through my 8ply stash in two months, making well in excess of 50 pairs of wrist warmers to date.

The woman with whom I had this conversation over a cuppa this morning.

Mum: "I was thinking about that sock wool you saw at the market last week."

Taph: "Mmmm?"

Mum: "The nice printed stuff that was 3 balls for $25".

Taph: "Oh yes, the Opal."

Mum: "I was thinking you should have bought some."

Taph: "But I have a lot of sock wool already - I don't really need more just now."

Mum: "I meant for me."

Taph: *gobsmacked stare as comprehension dawns*

Mum: "I could do socks; they look like fun."

Now she wants to share the sock stash. She's not a mother, she's a moth!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Kate tagged me. I'm not passing it on. Here's a bonus thing about me - I never pass on chain letters of any description.

  1. One of my favourite lines from a movie is Kevin Costner’s speech as Crash Davies in Bull Durham
    "Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”
  2. I once gave up coffee, chocolate, wine and spicy foods for 2 years. 2 years is a long time. It was a long time for me and a longer time for those who love me.
  3. I have no tolerance for social elites.
  4. Despite possessing a pretty large vocabulary (the Readers’ Digest "Increase your word power" section never held terrors) I use a lot of swear words.
  5. A career advisor once suggested I become a nun. I’m not Catholic but I did attend a Catholic secondary school and was Diocesan Youth Coordinator for the 1987 Papal Visit so it was an easy mistake to make. I suggested as a teacher he might have done his homework better. This was the first time I answered back to an authority figure.
  6. I have a tendency to self-sabotage rooted in self-esteem issues. I’m working on it.
  7. I like quality ….. AND quantity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's show time!

Social history + agricultural show = radio/podcast heaven for this little black duck.

If you have a spare 30 minutes, take a listen to Radio National's Street Stories program on Foster Show (scroll down to 6 May edition).

WARNING: May contain traces of knitting.

Speed knitting contest at the Foster Show 2007. Pic from ABC Radio National Gallery.

I'd rather be crafting than cooking

Originally from The Senior, October 2006, p. 15. I got it from the CWA Canberra Branch newsletter which crossed my desk today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's going to be pretty full on here at Chez Taph this week. Or rather it will be pretty full on and NOT at Chez Taph. I'm out or working every night this week, so apologies in advance for not responding to meme tags, comments etc. I'll get to it, just in bits and pieces.

Also, I'm really backed up on the blog reading front. I'll catch up just as soon as I can.

I will say this, though. Kate, I thought Sixty Lights was about fragmentation, or rather fragments and impermanance. Saying it was about photography is like saying the film I saw last week, As It Is In Heaven is about a Norwegian conductor and his choir. It may well be the plot device, but is sure as shit isn't the theme or the message. (Hint: the movie is about redemption but don't let that put you off, it's very, very good.)

Also, the hangover is still here. Judes is right - it's overstimulation. I just looked at what I bought, and I was remarkably restrained and came in UNDER budget. Most of it is spinning fibre which will be my entire entertainment for 5 weeks away with Mum. The yarn is destined for Christmas presents. Yup, I'm starting to plan my Christmas knitting.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


The Celebration of Wool was FABULOUS!

I took my camera but with hands full of yarn and fibre it was difficult to take photos. C'est la guerre!

So you know how the market was due to open at 10am - well Spidey and I got there at 9. We risked life and limb (according to the warning notice at the front entrance) by doing a quick reccy for our favourite stall holders. This took hardly any time at all and we had a mental map for Glenora Weaving, Waratah Fibres, Fibreworks, Flinders Island and, surprisingly, the Bead and Opal Queen.
Judes and Toniya found us having a quick cuppa (I took a thermos) and, giggly as school girls, we were hitting the stalls by 9.30. Everyone was set up by then, and no-one was prepared to knock by our dosh. The rest of the morning is a bit of a blur. We ran into old friends and made new ones. Helen Rippon and her offsider at Waratah Fibres we probably glad to see the back of us, so often did we return to paw her merchandise. Mind you, at least one of us made a purchase every time we passed!
I caught up with the owner of Booroowool (she's promised the website will be back up soon) and also Kate Sevier of the Wool Room at Young where I enabled Judes a little. Hope you win the scarf Judes. Said hi to a few spinners and knitters in passing and caught up, briefly, with Bells, Jejune and Othlon. I missed Gemma by minutes, which was a shame because I was looking forward to meeting her.

Here's a view of the passenger seat of my car on leaving the Market. It's not as bad as it looks - honestly.

A quick cuppa at Spidey's, made by her lovely Monkey Sherpa, and it was off to SnB.

I was a bit punchy from the fibre high, so when I saw our famously rude sheep sculptures in City Walk, I couldn't resist a photo op.
I also noticed this detail as part of the sculpture. I'd like to think it's knitted lace, but it is suspiciously like the craft that cannot be named.

A big turn out, some newbies *waves* and some old faces. It was lovely. Among many wonderous heirlooms in progress, Rachel was making a Kiri shawl from a kit she won at the Harlot Happening. It's a thing of beauty (and much counting).

I really do have a hangover. I'm tired and headachey and want to lie in a darkened corner for a while. I may well dream of fibre tonight.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Holy Day of Obligation

I know you're all dying to know how the last day of the road trip went but I interupt that scheduled programming to remind every one that this Sunday, 20 May, is

at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston

The barricades will be breached about 10am and it's every knitter for herself.

It's also a regular SnB day for the Canberra crowd.

We know there will be some Sydney visitors and we are looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Any other locals or visitors are welcome to attend.

So we extend an

Starbucks, City Walk, Canberra from 2pm for show and tell (all of the good wool will be gone by then anyway).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

S.E.X. on the Road II

We made good time to Wagga and found a motel within budget fairly quickly. We were both tired and emotionally drained. Mum was certainly not up to going out for dinner. As a bonus, the motel had pay tv movie channels available, so we rested, knitted, ate takeaway with wine bought in Leeton and watched movies. Luxury!

I admit to not being faithful to the travelling sock this first night in Wagga. Maybe it was the motel vibes, but I cheated by finishing the foot and toe of Mum's birthday sock before returning sated and just a little sweaty, to the travelling sock's gusset. The travelling sock pouted and refused to be photographed that evening.

The next day dawned overcast and rain threatened. It was Mum's 65th birthday. We celebrated by a trip to a very good Salvos shop where Mum scored a printed linen fancy work table cloth complete with colour chart which she will embroider on our next holiday together in July/August. She also sorted out a big bundle of short metal dpns for me. I found a heap of vintage Patons patterns which were not already in the collection. We spent so much time there that we couldn't make it to Tarcutta that morning as hoped as we were due to meet Kate for lunch. This meant we missed Miss Ginger and Pierre at Tarcutta, which was a shame.

I've forgotten the name of the cafe we lunched at but it was good. It was even better to catch up with Kate, though.

The sock consented to have it's photo taken with the birthday girl. I forgot to photograph it with Kate - oops.

While we were lunching we met a member of the Wagga SnB. Melva told us Vinnies had just put out a heap of knitting wool and she'd managed to snaffle a big bag of Cleckheaton Tapestry for a song. In what I hope was not indecent haste, we finished lunch and I dragged Mum over to Vinnies. Here we hit pay-dirt and got two big bags of mohair and another large bag of odds and ends of 8ply for Mum and big bunch of needles for the swaps basket. Other women were carrying off bags of novelty yarn.

We met Melva again not long after, when Kate took us to her local wool shop. It's in the garage of Melva and her daughter Faye's house. Faye Verrall is the business owner. The shop sells quilting fabrics and notions and has a room for workshops. It also has a very creditable range of knitting patterns and yarns.
This is part of one wall of the wool room. It's a small room and packed floor to ceiling with good yarns. Faye doesn't compete with the local Scablight and only gets quality merchandise.

Another wall.

She also knits up samples and knows her stuff. If you are anywhere in the region - go to Simply Stitches. It's open Fri-Tues 10-5, other times by appointment. Much to my delight, Simply Stitches has two resident dogs. After three days on the road, I was missing Peggy mightily. Faye's dogs gave me some much needed puppy love.

Influenced by the quality yarn fumes and the personability of Faye, there was an accident involving sock yarn.

Tofutsies in the Footsteps colourway.

We saw Kate home, and Mum chose to spend the rest of her birthday watching movies and knitting wristwarmers. Some of Mum's work to this point.

The sock forgave me enough to allow me to finish its toe. Here it is all ready for the graft. (It's still in that condition, btw, and so is the second sock).

Mum enjoyed her birthday and we were extremely pleased that it rained that afternoon and much of the night. The rain stayed with us the next day, too.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

S.E.X. on the road

I've travelled a bit in the last couple of weeks.

ANZAC Day + saw Mum and I on the road to Leeton to visit her mother. In a highly derivative mood, I took photos of my travelling sock, cast on at SnB the night before we left.

Here it is having breakfast at Rotten Ronnies outside Yass.

We missed all the ANZAC commemorations but stopped at the War Memorial loos (I kid you not) at Springdale.

I was touched by the care taken of this little memorial in the midst of the drought.

Leeton was reached just after 1.30 and we were starving. Not wanting to risk the local Soldier's Club on ANZAC Day, we found an open takeaway. The wouldn't do a salad sandwich but happily provided, at discount, a hamburger with the lot on bread, not toasted, without the burger. I'm such a city girl!

We spent a few hours with Nanna that afternoon and retired to our motel for much needed cuppa by the pool.

The sock seemed to enjoy it after the Alzheimers conversation it endured at the nursing home. You haven't lived until you've walked behind your mother and your grandmother, both on walkers, down the corridor of a nursing home. I have seen the future - it isn't pretty.

The sock also enjoyed a couple of glasses of local white wine and a very fine fish and salad for dinner cooked by my second cousin at the local pub.

The next morning the sock was up bright and early. We collected Nanna and after a series of enquiries and false starts, the great granddaughter of Nanna's neighbour at Stanbridge when Mum was growing up, found us a place that would give Nan a hair cut immediately.

A hair cut and a turned heel later, Mum and Nan had a race to the shop next door - St V de P. Mum won.

No wool or needles in this shop. I suspect the CWA have the op-shops in this (and other) country towns, sewn up, so to speak. A letter to the ACCC may need to be written.

The sock accompanied us on a drive around town and helped Nan eat a sausage roll and Mum, an iced bun in a new little shopping centre that had level access, wide self-opening doors, adequate disabled parking, disabled loos and a coffee shop. It was very nearly my favourite place of the day.

This was my favourite place of the day. The Leeton Salvo Shop. The sock liked it, too, although it preferred to stay in its bag for the photo.

Here we picked up some cr*chet cotton for a friend of Mum's, a couple of jumpers to unravel for wool and a MaggieT jumper for me to wear. It was not our favourite place for these reasons, however.

It was my favourite because it has a cafe inside the op-shop. I wanted to move in!

Alas I could not, so we returned Nan to the nursing home where both Mum and Nanna looked happy and just a little relieved.

Leaving Leeton we made our way to Wagga Wagga - which is a whole nuther post.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Normal services will be resumed as soon as possible

but for now I'm busy reading THIS

It came with the lovely Janet all the way from Ottawa. Janet also brought these special orders for me - you can look while I read.

Lucy Neatby hand-dyed sock yarn (on the left is Fiery Fuschia, on the right is Fiesta). I don't know if I can bear to make socks out of these - they are SOOOO gorgeous. Janet did some classes with Lucy just before coming to Australia for a holiday. She's also met Debbie Bliss and other knitting luminaries and works in a yarn store. I'd have to hate her if she wasn't so much fun to be around.

2 skeins of Sea Silk in Ocean I thought maybe the Sivia Harding wimple in the latest issue of Yarn. Dunno.

Also Bells, AmandaJ and Jejune - you know I'm SOOO up for doing the knitted ironing board cover - I'm thinking cables. I reckon it would be easier to fold an old woollen blanket over the board, though.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tips from the Vault: Ironing Wool


Ironing Wool: Lacy jumpers or other delicate hand-knitted woollens will press better if ironed under a sheet of brown paper instead of under a damp cloth. Always iron wool on wool. The naps cling together, and when they are pulled apart the nap is raised. This obviates the "shine" trouble.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spotted at a bus stop this morning on my way to work, a woman knitting something bright and chunky and at the Heraldry and Genealogy Society meeting tonight, another jumper for an AIDs baby was on the needles in the back row. As a guest speaker, I felt right at home and not at all resentful of knitting during my presentation.

Apart from SnB and the family; this is the most KIP I've ever seen and the camera was at home, drat it.

Also - give Bendy a break. The patterns may be uninspired, but we get fab patterns for free all the time (new Magknits and new Anticraft). Let them concentrate on great wool at great prices and be happy.

And on the subject of patterns - kudos to the Anticraft and Becca,the designer of the sock Vinnland which will fit my leg without having to do the effin maths.