Saturday, 21 July 2007

The possum has landed ....

I have had a comment from Kathy to say that her prize has arrived, so I can now reveal the possum: I love these mugs with Australian animals and flowers, so a possum mug seemed very appropriate. There is also a piece of fabric with Australian wildflowers, some sock wool imported by Bendigo Woollen Mills, postcards from " A Cavalcade of Fashion" - I love the embroidery detail - and a Nikki Tervo thing for your scissors so you don't lose them all the time (mmm - wonder who does that?), which is, don't faint, "Made in Australia"! There is a name for those things, but I can't recall it, offhand. So, thanks again for participating, Kathy and everyone else. It was fun.

We had three kookaburra visitors this morning -

I love their fluffy chests and the beautiful blue on their wings - unfortunately the camera doesn't do them justice.

I spent today with a very dear friend , spending her money, and shamefully, buying myself a ring. I still can't believe I did it, but having done it, I intend to enjoy it (apart from the momentary senses of panic I get at the thought of having spent such a lot of money on myself). The woman in the jeweller's shop assured me that I was on the cusp of a brand new life where I would acquire a wonderful collection of "jewels" - I haven't told Grandpa Flea that this is only the beginning - ssshhhhh - not a word! he might hear!! Tomorrow - the Lyn Johnson workshop. It's probably illegal to have so much fun in one weekend!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Is that knitting content??!!

Oh yes - at last. I have at last finished the Noro Eloise cardi for the oldest Flea - this will no doubt elicit many rude words from youngest Flea Katie, and her partner FiFi who will remind me of the Jo Sharp jumper I started for FiFi some years ago - it was a wide loose fitting style, but FiFi wanted it much shorter with longer sleeves. It languished half done for months because I couldn't bring myself to make it shorter when all the cold air would just circulate up the body - when I eventualy checked the fitting, it was too big (in MHO) so despite FiFi's protestations, I frogged it - then reknitted it - and it was too small - so I gave it to my DIL. Every time I see Katie & FiFi they give me stick! When I mentioned this to eldest daughter, she reminded me that she's been waiting for a handknit for longer than we have known FiFi ...... still, I MUST do the FiFi jumper - I just don't think I can face that Jo Sharp pattern again - it was a pain to knit. Mmmm - maybe I feel another Eloise coming on in a different colour.

Eldest daughter's Eloise is longer than the pattern - I humoured her on this despite my reservations. I used knitting in elastic with the yarn because my own Eloise has stretched so much - the fact that I have worn it nearly every day for the last 10 months hasn't helped! Originally I was just going to put it in the ribbed part, but decided to do it all over as my own was getting bigger by the day. The elastic made the fabric much firmer and denser, but I like it.

Last weekend while the 11 year old little Flea was here she spotted a scarf at Cherryhills and wanted one - that instant - BUT (why do my family always want variations?) she wanted pockets at each end for her hands. The yarn is Funky Fur (or some similar name) and the scarf was done on 10mm needles, so the pockets stretched when sewn up and I had to gather the tops in, but it should do the trick. Ms 11 has just read Roxie's book - Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice. She loved it, and can't wait for the next in the series. I loved it too - Roxie writes very well (and I'm very critical), and it is a delightful story incorporating Roxie's love of knitting. Apart from nagging me to ask Roxie to give her a pre-release version of the book (which I declined to do, as I want to buy her one for Christmas so she can have a matched set - and I also want to support Roxie's foray into the world of publishing), Ms 11 was very keen for me to knit her a pair of self heating mittens, the pattern for which is in the book. Unfortunately, I flunked out of sorceress school, apart from a low grade in ESP, so I can do the mittens (if I ever get the book back - it's been reread at least once) but can't do the self-heating part. She also has a yen for a bag that is bigger on the inside than the outside - you can see it hanging from Sanna's waist on the cover of the book. I must admit to a hankering for one of those too! Guess I'll have to go back to sorceress school! I asked Ms 11 to do a book review - here it is as left on the voice mail:

"Hi Grandma - and Pa - can't forget about you, Pa - just calling and here's my book review. I finished it in 2 days which is a new record for that sort of book, Grandma. And here's my book review. It was funny, romantic and very obvious that the writer is also a knitter. I couldn't put it down and I can't wait for the next one, however I think the ending was a bit short and that it didn't finish well - it could go on a bit longer and I never found out what happened to that cape, unless I skipped some. Would you please knit me a pair of self heating mittens, thank you. That's what I've written down on a piece of paper, but I still stand by that the ending was very, very short. He arrives and then he just says some stuff and he leaves. And then you're sort of left with the impression that the horse is just standing there and you want the book to go on. So, all in all, I think it depends on the sort of 11 year old reader. If it's someone who's into books, they'd enjoy it. And if it's someone who really isn't into books and more into, like, magic and sorcery, they should also enjoy it, but if it was someone who wasn't into things like that, they should also enjoy it. I keep laughing when I think of the power gem in Sanna's mouth, with the two chains coming out of her mouth. " (There is more, but I have mislaid the piece of paper I transcribed it on. I will post it, Roxie, as soon as I find it.)

I have explained to Ms 11, that books with sequels always leave you wanting more - but she still wants the contents of the NEXT book, in this one! I think you have a hit on your hands here, Roxie.

I said in my last post that the glider possum was a squirrel possum glider, but after talking to the Council's wildlife officer today, and checking the internet again, I realise it is a sugar glider.

I'm doing a workshop at Cherryhills on Sunday with Lynne Johnson - I'm really looking forward to it.

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging ....

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging - and the jetlag from that knitting trip around the world didn't help! But it was fun. Kathy should receive her prize soon - I only posted it last Friday (sorry, Kathy) - but there has been a lot happening. I hope you like it - a small possum is involved!

The three big Fleas accompanied by various partners and baby Fleas congregated here, recently, to work out what they wanted to take from the various pieces of furniture that won't fit in our new, yet-to-be-completed, downsized home. It was lovely to have them all together, for the last time, in the home where they grew up. The eldest Flea was three weeks old when we moved in. The builder had gone bankrupt early in the piece, and we had lost money in the process. I was pregnant and had to work until later than we had intended and had no sooner left work than I was put to bed with toxiaemia. Meanwhile, Grandpa Flea would come home and tell me that the tiles (or whatever) we had chosen weren't available, so "choose one of these" that the builder had given him. The builder who finished the house was a darling and let some of our friends, who were tradesmen, do the electricals and plumbing, which meant that Grandpa Flea could labour for them on holidays and weekends to save money that way. We were on a short term lease in a small flat, in a house which had been sold, so we HAD to move out just after the baby was born. Again, another darling, the bank manager, came to our aid and let us move into the house before it was painted. And then our friends came and helped do the painting. So, despite the financial hardship, we were very lucky.

But I've become distracted - in the process of prowling around the closed-in storage area under the house, yet another possum guest (pictured above) reared his/her head to inspect the intruders, then went quickly back to sleep - although I suspect it was operating on the principle that if it couldn't see us, we didn't exist!

We have had a bit of a possum party recently. One night there were two little glider possums on the feeding tray with a rather nose-out-of-joint brushtail, peering down from a higher branch. I haven't seen this particular little glider possum before - it has a long tail like the brushtail, but is much, much smaller. I think it is a squirrel glider, but have to check it out further. Squirrel gliders are on the "vulnerable species" list.

Glider possums have a flap of skin between their front and back legs. There is different fur on the underside of the flap.If you look carefully at these photos (below on the right) you can see the edge of the flap - it looks white/cream along the side of the possum.

I haven't cropped the first photo so you can see the difference in size between the brushtail (the large, blurry shape reaching the feeding tray on the left) and the glider (in focus on the lower right). The other little glider hid on the other side of the tree when the brushtail buzzed them off.
Our new house is taking shape - slowly. There has been a lot of rain which has delayed things, but after beginning to believe that the end of the world was nigh, with the lengthy years of drought and the water crisis, I am not complaining. We are able to stay in our present home until the very day we leave to go to India, as the new owners wanted an extension to the settlement date so that has been very fortuitous for us.

On the knitting front - I started to knit the jacket that Kate did - have a look at it on her site archive ( However, (does this sound familiar), in my haste, I knitted the two sleeves, then started the back - which was HUGE - and I'm no small person. On reading the pattern (notice I say "reading" the pattern - why didn't I do that first!) I discovered that the biggest size (the one I started) was in fact for a much bigger bust size than I could ever hope to achieve - my spare tyre would fit, perhaps, but they don't make bras for spare tyres! So after frogging the four inches or so of the back, I couldn't face it again. It's now on its way to becoming a jumper for Ms 11.

I finished one sidewinder sock from Nona's site, but will unpull it, and do an ordinary pair as I'm not too happy with it. I had a lot of trouble with the pattern, despite every other blogger in the world saying how well written it was. It may have had something to do with the fact that I tortuously followed the instructions - "do this and that for thousands of rows" - then when I'd begin the next part, it would say "AT THE SAME TIME ..." - get the picture? I'm a slow learner!!

I will put knitting photos up, next time. I have been using Grandpa Flea's camera and have managed to destroy the download port. The photos above were read off the card at the camera shop. It appears that the damaged port is part of the ?motherboard which costs $500 to buy! So things have been what we might call "a little tense" here. However, fortunately, I can get a card reader for only a few dollars and access photos that way. As I'm the only person who uses the download to computer feature (GP Flea always does it with the card at the camera shop), it really doesn't affect him, but it IS his camera. I will have to resurrect my smaller camera I think - but then again - his camera does take much better photos!