31 August 2006
On a roll after the satisfaction of the wardrobe spring clean, we gave the garden a spring clean. Eight black plastic garbage bags full of knee high bright green weeds from the dirt patch where we will, one day, build a deck. One cubic metre of mulch in the recently planted garden beds. A third of a bag of lawn fertilizer to encourage some fresh spring growth. More than a few buckets of leaf litter removed from the path and paving. Pleasingly, friends dropped over unexpectedly, just after we finished and before I'd jumped into a soothing bath to relieve my already aching muscles.
Catching up with four other chicks for a delicious Sunday lunch and crafternoon in my friend's inner city pad. One friend has recently announced she's pregnant, so there was much to gossip about. One friend pieced together a baby quilt with input from us all and few pieces from our gracious hostess' stash. One friend brought chocolate. I cast on for Scott's second wedding sock, and showed an aspiring sock knitter with a fear of DPN's how to knit socks on circulars. One friend patiently watched me knit, attempted her first fledgling rows of garter stitch on some large needles, and then knitted herself a scarf on her fingers. That's right- from complete novice to finished garment in a few hours. (Knitted with one ball of black Cleckheaton "Gusto", gauge about 2 stitches per 10cm on four fingers)
Making it to my first S'n'b meet in months. Amelia there in body (if not totally in mind) and with her child still in body, gleefully ignoring it's delivery date. Nichola looking more relaxed than last time I saw her, with some trashy mags to share. The Guru showing off her gobsmackingly fine spinning, and an amazing aran square she's knitted with the three ply aran weight yarn she's spun from her sister's sheep (2.1 kilos to go...). Lana with her beautiful River, despite it's injuries. Kitty coming to grips with sizing and getting Catherine to frog an almost-entire back of her current WIP (in a beutiful deep fushia pink). And everyone else taking turns to laugh out loud whilst reading snippets of the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules.
How could I forget meeting with My Florist. How posh, to have my own florist, even if it is just for a day. Selected the flowers I'm having for my wedding bouquet, inspired by the wonders of Jane's garden. I never would have dreamt that such delights existed, were it not for Jane and her blog.
24 August 2006
Ahah- there they are, my already well worn Rock Opera fingerless gloves from Shobhana. Perfect to keep me warm as I quick march it to the station in the morning, clutching my brolly.
Good news too for those of you heading into some cool weather- you can purchase the pattern at My Life in Stitches. I think they take 2 skeins of sock yarn. Makes a nice change from sock knitting. And they're lovely!
21 August 2006
But fear got the better of me: would they fit? (and I suppose a little bit of would he like them? too). So I showed them to him- and much to my relief, he likes them, and they fit.
They're in Lorna's Laces "Pin Stripe"- I do love knitting Lorna's- so smooth and even. I'm knitting them without a pattern, just winging a standard toe-up sock over 72 sts in stocking stitch, with a ribbed leg because I got bored with the stocking stitch but I couldn't think of something appropriately manly that would work with the pin stripe.
So I'm thinking now: I've got the socks of engagement, these will be the wedding socks, so maybe I need to start planning what socks I'm going to knit on our honeymoon..?
20 August 2006
Everything was pulled out and the old, frayed or badly fitting pieces (there was an element of dress-ups involved to verify the latter) bundled into black plastic bags to be dropped off at the local charity clothing bins- about six bags in all (excluding hole ridden socks). The remainder were reorganised, refolded and rehung. Somehow even with all the doors and drawers closed the bedroom now seems much tidier and neater.
I love opening the wardrobe and being greeted by a neat row of timber coat hangers, with everything in it's place. Mostly black but some splashes of colour. Everyday shoes neatly lined up ready to slip into, and my two pairs of glamorous high heels perched the top shelf along with the recently purchased shoes for the wedding, neatly packed in their box, waiting for their big day.
17 August 2006
Busy train to the city
Lady wearing burnt orange coloured jacket with matching "novelty yarn" scarf in a variegated synthetic hue
The hushed comment with concealed pointing gesture from my betrothed:
"Yarn of Satan"
I giggled and smiled proudly, "Yes honey, well spotted" (as I thought of Meg and wished I had a camera phone...)
8 August 2006
With the pressure of work I’m enduring at the moment, I know it’s really important to think ahead to the future, it's great to have the wedding (and perhaps more importantly, the holiday we're taking straight after) to look forward to. I also know I need to make the most of time out- so last weekend I made time for some social and creative inspiration escapes, in addition to blogging and web surfing.
First escape was to the Regent Theatre in Melbourne for a MIFF screening of Gillian Armstrong’s documentary about Florence Broadhurst, “Unfolding Florence: the many lives of Florence Broadhurst”. It’s filmed in a quirky style, mixing interviews that reveal almost as much about the characters of the interviewees as the subject of the film, with Monty Python-esque animations, archival TV footage and re-enactment of the day that she died. I found the mix a bit strange at first, but as the film progressed it seemed to fit with her intriguing and inventive character.
Having not read “A life by Design” yet (although it’s been languishing in the book pile next to my bed for a few months now, unopened since I picked it up from a second-hand bookshop) the film was a great insight into the life she led. I hadn’t realised that her screen printed wallpaper designs (which are now produced as printed fabrics by Signature Prints, and available from their online store or select retailers- Patchwork on Central had some fabric when I last visited) was a business foray very late in her life, a strange sort of offshoot from the socialite life she created for herself. She was a quite unusual lady. And an interesting film if you’d like to find out more about her without reading the book!
Second stop was the annual Melbourne Art Fair, held in the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. An amazing array of contemporary work in a vast range of styles. I’m always drawn to works on paper- drawing and print works, particularly etchings, and also some photographic work. A friend I was with has a small art collection herself, so there was the added excitement of a potential purchase- although she ended up deciding to think it over a little before making a splurge (buy a sofa or buy a piece of art…. Hmmmm). If I was in a position to buy some work, I probably would have picked a print by aboriginal artist Dorothy Napangardi (some images here). Beautiful monotone dot work, invoking sparse desert landscapes like the ones I recall from my early childhood, and woven textile patterns. There was also some textile work on show including the Melbourne Tapestry workshop, and knitted LOVE by Kate Just (image and info about Kate here).
Add in a trip to the veggie market; a sleep in; some gossips with girlfriends; bumping into other friends; some moments of sunshine; a spot of knitting on the train on the way home; and it was a lovely weekend.
5 August 2006
I was keen not to make my outfit myself. Being an experienced sewer, not necessarily put off by Vogue Patterns "Advanced" ratings, I have sewn myself a number of party frocks over the years. I didn't want to make another one for such unique and special occasion. For me, it would be particularly special to buy a dress from a designer I love. The pieces I usually buy from designers are durable garments I can wear to work, that would be difficult for me to create (or replicate), and usually on sale. To buy something gorgeous, precious, that made me smile (and look good) was my aim.
I tried on a few frocks here and there, but nothing seemed to simultaneously be "me" and appropriate for a celebration (let alone within budget). I was keen to find something that would really, truly, be wearable again (having been bridesmaid several times, and having parted ways with various frocks of that "of course you can wear it again" variety, without having ever having considered taking them off the hanger after the requisite event).
In the end, after a few brief shopping expeditions, I succeeded to find the perfect outfit where I had only dared to dream I might. I finally summoned up the courage to enter Akira's store in the GPO in Melbourne, and had fun with Scott and the wonderfully friendly and engaging sales assistant Daina, playing dress-ups, trying on at least a dozen outfits until we struck gold with a combination that Scott selected. Daina was very impressed, and eager to tell Akira about the outfit we came up with.
I can't tell you how excited it makes me. The care of the craftsmanship and hand detailing. The combination of cotton and silk. The way the fabric is pleated and tucked. There is white, and black, mingling Japanese and western wedding traditions, and being completely Melbourne too.* It shows off my body's most attractive features and cleverly conceals the remainder. It's feminine without fussiness. It's simple and stylish, glamorous yet comfortable. And it was designed by Akira Isogawa.
Just a teaser for you now- more pictures after it's debut.
* Akira is from Japan, where I understand it is traditional to wear black for weddings, and black is always the new black in Melbourne
WIP 4 August
Originally uploaded by Clementine's Shoes.
Knitting progress has been slow this week, with my day job throwing my daily routine into disarray by ever increasing interstate day trips for work. Early mornings, late nights, frantic mind numbing days and less train travel (my vital weekday knitting opportunity) have eaten into my time and mental capacity for crafting and blogging, exercise and socialising.
I'm hanging onto the belief that in a couple of weeks the currently bulging workload will ease, and some level of normality will return. Until then, I'm focusing on enjoying the challenges, finding moments to laugh when things don't go quite how I'd like, and not succumbing to my usual tendency to feel stressed about it all.
And inching my way along on Sleeve Number 1.