There was nature, with lichen and interesting rocks. There was a wallaby but it was too quick for us so you'll have to take my word for that.
There was a bush chapel. This was a new one on me, I must admit. I was expecting a building, but it was a clearing full of rocks with a pulpit which we had to try out.
There were fit people. I have no idea what they are doing in the first picture.
There were people in matching knitwear - you might want to say cheesy but I couldn't possibly comment.
There was competitive beanie knitting (the winner is in the first picture) and a pile of beanies for the fire appeal in Victoria was the result.
There was dyeing and buying.
But mostly there was knitting. Lots and lots of lovely knitting in a beautiful setting. SO peaceful.
Bonus picture of MissFee's pi shawl.
Thanks for your comments on my post about the Fish Wallhanging. And before you get too impressed, I will confess to you all that there is a really easy way to work the Persian Poppies pattern - or indeed any other of Kaffe Fassett's two-colour patterns, which repeat like fair isle but have large patterns, rather than the small details ones that characterise traditional fair isle. With this method you get a really rich colour effect, and it's not even cheating. The method is described in detail in Kaffe's book Glorious Knitting, my 20-year-old hardcover copy of which is falling into tattered shreds.
You take all the balls of yarn you have and divide them according to colour: it might be dull and tweedy in one pile and eye-popping bright in the other. It could be pale and neutral vs dark and rich. It could be blue/green vs red/orange, although this method works best when the tonal quality or depth of colour in each pile is quite distinct. You need a total weight of about 750gm to 1 kg for an adult waistcoat, depending on how big the finished garment will be - about half in each pile. Then you make a giant ball of multicoloured yarn from each pile by cutting lengths of 2-4 metres from each original ball and tying them together in random order. It's important to vary these lengths, and not to make them all the same - it's very tempting to just pull twice off the original ball (which will be around 2 metres) and cut. If the yarns very slightly in thickness it won't matter, but it's better to try and make them all around the same - 8 ply is good, as you can run 2x4-5ply lengths that are close in colour together for extra tonal depth, or use 10 ply. It will all even out in the end.
When you've finished this and you have 2 giant balls, the pattern is worked like a fair isle, in which you use only 2 colours in each row. You knit the background from one ball and the poppies from the other. The row that includes the middle of the poppy has three balls, as you need one for the centre stitch of each 'poppy' - but you can embroider this on afterward and I think that's both easier and neater than carrying that third colour along behind.
You can use this method with any large 2-colour pattern. It is pretty much foolproof. There are a couple of other KF patterns that work like this too: if you look at http://www.phoenixshopbigsur.com/kaffe/ and click on the link for 'garments' you'll see some of his own knitting for sale and imagine how they could be done like this, eg, the 'Jack's back' vest done in rich/dark and black. But check out the price! Those are US$, BTW. And look at the butterfly waistcoat - that is an absolute work of art (tapestry, not knitting), and the price reflects that. That shop is run by his family, in the place where he grew up near Big Sur. I have been there, and it is bloody amazing. Beautiful views of the Southern California coast, interesting shop, great cafe.
And that is enough Kaffe Fassett namedropping for one day.
For several years I have been a member of the Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR). This is a group of people from all around the globe who are interested in the social effects of internet technologies - in how people actually use the internet in their daily lives. Members include Danah Boyd, Nancy Baym, Charles Ess, Barry Wellman, Christine Hine, Annette Markham, and many other people whose names will float to the top of just about any search on writing about use of the internet. Every now and then discussion erupts on the AOIR email list about different the methods of researching this area of human culture, or different ways to think about and write about what is happening there (different methodologies, if you will). It's all really interesting to a theory junkie like me. There is often discussion between researchers who are interested in technical matters, measuring and counting interactions, finding out what kind of documents are most often accessed and so on, and researchers who are more interested in how people make meaning from their use of the medium.
Recently I got involved in an interesting blog comment discussion among the Hoydenizens, in which most people seemed to see the internet as only a means of communication. My explanation of why the internet is much more than that wasn't very well received - people seemed to find it quite confronting to read the internet being described as something that is not only a cultural artefact created by humans, but also as something that has the power to support cultures far beyond what its inventors (or even, apparently, most of its users) intend. It made me very glad that AOIR exists and that I'm part of it.
In this morning's Herald, a conference was reported that marks 20 years since the invention of the first networks that grew into what we call WWW, and in the report was this statement:
"What we did not imagine was a web of people, but a web of documents," said Dale Dougherty, the founder of GNN, the Global Network Navigator, the first web portal and the first site on the internet to be supported by advertising.
That's what I call a lack of vision! And that's why we need AOIR, because without them (and other organisations like them) only a part of the story will ever be understood or discussed.
So what is' the internet's place in your life? What does it mean to you that you are able to access more information that anyone ever dreamed possible? Things that you may never need yourself, like bus timetables for distant cities, maps and accommodation bookings for places you may never visit, reviews for books and films you may never hear of. To me it means that a world of infinite possibility has become very real.That people's little lives - like mine, like yours, maybe - have become manifest and visible. I always say "If you want the official story, read the news; if you want to know what things mean to people read blogs."
I need a new knitting project. I've finished all the knitting on Sarita, and just have the seams to sew. So I have only three projects on the needles (excluding the current sock and Sandra's glove that I could finish in a few hours) and that's just not enough.
Now, deep in the depths of our little attic is the fish wall-hanging. I've knitted about 15 cm of it, or about half-way up the first of row of fish, or about 1/8 of the whole thing. I haven't knitted on it for over six years - I was making it to hang over the bed in the apartment that Narelle and I shared. We had a real ocean theme going there but that decor doesn't exist any more. A lot of interesting yarns are presently hibernating in colour-coded zip-lock bags in the basket that contains the whole damn mess.
I need another waistcoat. A multi-coloured one. You can see where this going, right? It's RIP fish wall hanging, hello Kaffe Fassett Persian Poppies (rav link - you can use this link to flickr if you aren't in Rav or don't know what I mean). It's perfect for the yarns I have, many of which are partial balls.
This is letting go of something that I've lived with for a long time and have hefted from pillar to post, but it's something that I don't need or want in my life any more. It feels good.
One thing we did achieve over Easter was the organisation of the laundry. Last seen chaotic, with things thrown in the corner and propped against the wall, it now looks like this:
A place for everything and everything in its place.
On Friday evening we had the rare pleasure of a visit from Susan, who lives in Hong Kong and whom we stayed with nearly two years ago. I met Susan on the OWLs email list and the Gay and Lesbian Knitting List years ago. It was a fabulous evening, and we're now trying to to work out how we could manage to return to Hong Kong to see her next year. Why is the world so damn big? And why don't we have our own TARDIS so we can scoot around it easily?
Easter was a big downtime period for me. Quiet and unpressured. But a word of advice: if you're in Rav, don't stray into the Big Six forums. There are the biggest bunch of loonies lurking there that you'll have encountered... well, ever, if you're a sheltered kind of gal like moi. Brrr! Stay with the special interest forums, with people you have something in common with, and you'll be a lot safer. And you'll find it easier to control your blood pressure. It's like the difference between public transport and your knitting group. One's a means to an end and you generally don't want to get involved; one is really enjoyable and you want it to go on for ever.
Last night we saw the first preview of the Sydney Theatre company's production of The Wonderful World of Dissocia. I knew very little about this play except that it was like Alice in Wonderland with sex and violence, and found the first half delightful, if a little frightening at times. After about ten minutes I decided that it was a dream, which took the edge out of some of the nastier scenes. The second half — let's say I was glad I hadn't expected it or it would have poisoned the first half. Not that it was bad; it wasn't, just quite confronting. Today I found a short documentary that explained it really well - the playwright hoped that people would carry the fun of the first half into the second half; would remember, in the terrible bleak reality of the hospital ward, the excitement that Lisa had felt, and that was so hard for her to suppress by 'taking her pills'.
I've said too much; I don't want to spoil the play for anyone who hasn't seen it. But if you can see it, do. It's a cracker production.
Despite not having finished the Sarita jacket for my daughter (it's to be her graduation present in May, but I reckon there's only about one-two week's work to finish it) I have cast on a jumper for my son Daniel. I'm using Bendigo classic 8-ply for the two main colours, and lots of stash leftovers for the other colours. I'm loving the way the colours are coming out after the first pattern repeat.
This is a pattern with textured slip-stitch up to the armholes of the body and the elbows on the sleeves, then stocking stitch above. It's a pattern called called "Natural Forces" from the Vogue Knitting men's issue (2002). Quite easy and interesting to knit, although I've already found two mistakes in the pattern. ::sigh:: If you're in Ravelry you can see it there in my profile; otherwise I can't find a picture on the web to link to. The only one pictured in Ravelry is in, errr, interesting colours. I haven't knitted a jumper for a tall man for many years, so expect some whingeing in a month or two.
I am having a rare Day Off. No PhD, no work, no chores. Still in my jarmies, and it's 10.40. Might go and make another cup of tea and go sit and read in the back yarn on the sun. This is one of the nicest times of year in Sydney, and I'm looking forward to a peaceful long weekend. Some SSK, some household re-organisation, maybe a little sewing. What are you doing for Easter?