Sandra is in Brisbane for the week, learning about something estoteric: Multiple Regression Analysis. Sounds attractive, doesn't it? I'm so glad I don't do quantitative research.
How was the Wharf Review? Fab-bo! It was called "Best We Forget", and the crew maintained their usual high standard of incisive political satire. Well done, team. Having covered the celebrations for ten years of Liberal rule (we specially loved "The Quatre Hommes") they moved on through the state of the Labor Party and the Democrats (who? I hear you ask) to a Bollywood-style marriage between Mother India and George Bush (aborted due to his previous infidelity with Pakistan - with a nod to Brokeback Mountain - and eventual seduction by China).
Last night we had a special treat: not only did we greatly enjoy Romeo and Juliet, but Kate arranged for us to go backstage and meet some of the cast afterward - both knitters. As I was wearing the Drag Queen Jacket I was able to impress them both hold my end up well. This morning we had a swim, then Toni reluctantly returned to her rural home and young family.
I haven't been posting. I've been setting up the blogs for my PhD study and that takes time, y'know? And of course I'm knitting, always knitting. The jacket is coming along - I've almost reached the second armhole. And I'm loving the Lisa Souza sock yarn! It's soft and firm and the colours are yummy.
And we have been going to the theatre. Last week we saw Urinetown, and we loved it. It was funny and engaging. We especially liked Shane Bourne as Officer Lockstock and Lisa McClune as Hope, and those wonderful long legs of Rhonda Burchmore as Ms Pennywise.
I think I forgot to review Mother Courage last month. Major oversight - this is a truly wonderful production. Pamela Rabe played the tough, endlessly optimistic Courage - she was granite, basalt, and the endless untiring energy source for her family, who are slowly being picked off by the forces of war and circumstance. It was amazingly sad, and so real. I don't think I will ever forget the last scene, with Courage pulling her cart (which was a cast member itself) round and round in circles on the spot, as the lights slowly dimmed until we could see nothing and the theater was filled with the sound of her laboured breathing.
Tomorow night there's another Wharf Review -the bi-annual political satire we enjoy so much. Can't wait! And on Saturday my old NZ friend Toni (who used to teach Shakespeare) is coming to stay and we're going to Romeo and Juliet at the Opera House. It's all go at the moment, darls!
Janette asks if my jacket is the same as Hanne Falkenberg's Mermaid. Steph made one of these recently and I thought it looked great. They certainly are similar, although the pattern I'm basing mine on has less shaping (and in different places) and more colour. I hadn't noticed before. Maybe it's a Danish thing...
But one thing they seem have in common, according to Janette's report: the pattern I'm trying to adapt is really badly written. I rarely if ever have trouble following patterns - I've been knitting for over 40 years, using patterns from the UK, US, Aus and NZ, and I haven't met anything I couldn't work out easily over that time. I don't think it's the translation; it's quite grammatical and the actual sentences are (generally) quite clear. It's the way the pattern was written by Solveig Hisdal.
Where it falls down is the order it puts things in. For instance, after the instructions for the underarm gusset it says "NB: You will need to work this in purl to make the stripes come out right." Now, that information should be at the beginning of this bit of the instructions, surely? And, in fact, it's not true! I reckoned that changing to an all-purl garter stitch from an all-knit garter stitch would cause so many problems (eg, what do you do on the rows that are worked over the whole thing if half the row is purled and half is knitted? no detail about that!) that I just ignored it and the gusset turned out perfectly fine. On the other hand, the bottom gussets do need to be done sightly differently. The change of colour needs to occur at the top of the gusset, not on the edge. It took one whole gusset with the stripes inside out for me to realise that - it's not in the pattern.
And, while I'm at it, this wasn't a cheap book. It has lovely 'arty' shots of the garments, but they are f...ing useless if you want to see how the thing is supposed to look. And then the patterns are badly laid out - no paragraphing or subheadings so you can't find where you're at. And, finally, there are no schematics. To me, this really is a cardinal sin of pattern presentation. If you want to change the yarn and use something that knits to a different gauge, or make the garment in a different size (there's only one size given), or heaven forfend, like me, you want to do both, you have nothing to work with except the barest minimum of measurements at the beginning of the pattern. For a shaped garment like this one that's really difficult.
But I press on - I'm nearly at the centre of the back, so half-way through the body. It seems like it will fit, I like the drape and the colours are really working. A triumph of persistence over incompetence.
Finally, in a postmodern addendum, the book says that the inspiration for this design was a be-ribboned medieval wedding dress. Mine is turning out more like a South American woven fabric, according to several people on Saturday. Think global, people.
We just got home from World Wide Knit in Public Day at the Sydney Opera House, which was a success, no question. Our photos are up at the SSK Blog, and you will be able to see more
here. Most of our regular SSK members were there, although some of them only visited briefly because they were singing Mozart's Requiem at The Opera House. We're a cultured lot.
And we got home to find that Riley and Maya seem to have declared a truce on the space in front of the heater.
What was I knitting? My garter stitch sideways jacket (scroll down). I love the way the colours are coming out - I really prefer it to the original.
You know, I have the feeling that Howard has over-reached himself this time. He is starting to face a backlash from his liberal supporters, from his backbench and from well-meaning heterosexual people all over Australia. (If you don't know already, the ACT - Australian Capital Territory - is the Aus equivalent to DC - it's an administrative area that encompasses Canberra, our capital city).
This latest kerfuffle may be the death knell of all this 'legal gay unions will mean the end of marriage' c-r-a-p. I just heard some idiot on the radio claiming that children of gay marriages have terrible pressure on them to be gay. Virginia Trioli simply stated "There are plenty of heterosexual people around who were raised in gay relationships", thanked him for calling and cut him off. The tired old arguments aren't convincing anyone anymore - they've been canvassed too often and are only being recycled.
And it's raining. Absolutely pouring, like a cow pissing on a flat rock. We had wonderful weather all the time we were away, despite everyone saying how awful it would be. Turns out that Sydney had the more rain than it's had all year in the last couple of days, and we had fine cool days and cold nights.
Photos and lots of the details of our trip are in the new photo album in the side bar, called Snowy June 2006. The holiday started perfectly with a visit to the Ashford Shop at Cooma - I did buy some things there, but not much yarn, as it happens. Just one ball of sock yarn and some roving for my daughter to spin. And a skein for the woman who minded Riley. And a teatowel for a non-knitting workmate. And some of those funny knitting greeting cards. I think that was all... Oh yes, the beading kit and soap-making kits for my granddaughters. I don't think I'll ever spin, but I really do want to learn to weave, and I do want to learn tapesty weaving. The shop was a kind of fibre workers paradise.
We loved Jindabyne; it is a tourist town but there was almost no-one there because the ski season hasn't started yet. We will certainly return to the area for another holiday in the future. Now go and look at the photos! You might want to look at them in rverse order - I can't seem to figure out how to reverse them.