Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It's one of many weeks where I seem to be making only scattered progress (sometimes barely progress) on many little projects and half-baked ideas.

These little stacks of circles are satisfying but just to get these building blocks this far has taken quite a while. Especially the felt ones, because my last batch of felting (with a few things other than these circles of course) sat in a bucket for days on end, between bouts of agitation.

It probably doesn't help that I keep using my one Wednesday off work per fortnight for other, admittedly excellent, adventures. No, I am definitely not complaining.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A wind makes a palm stop blowing

leaf yoke_front
This is the 'Leaf Yoke Top' by Angela Hahn, which appeared in Knit.1 Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've actually made something from one of the many knitting magazines around this place. I did the yoke sometime last winter, when I bought the yarn on special, then I put it aside for other things. I picked it up again a few weeks ago and the body went pretty quickly once I got going.

I was surprised when I spontaneously tried Lincraft Bamboozle and got the correct stitch tension/gauge. I had to adjust row gauge slightly, but this was no big deal as it is knit top down in the round, so I could try it on and make sure the shaping was in the right place. I really like the knitted hem, it's the first time I've done that and it was quite satisfying (and not at all hard to do). It's also the first time I've done an icord edging.

This bamboo/cotton blend is very cool, so it is wearable as a warm weather top. However it does still feel quite chunky (it's roughly a worsted/10ply equivalent), and as soon as I add a cardigan on top it's really warm. Although I haven't knit a lot of garments for me (yet) I think this confirms my preference for smaller gauge/lighter weight things, for more flexible wear and layering.
leaf yoke_rear
The yarn is very drapey and has no memory at all. As I tried it on during knitting, the armholes looked too big and loose. It's possible I could have made a smaller size but I like the amount of (positive) ease in this, overall. (Briefly, positive ease means the garment is bigger than you are, leading to drape. Negative ease means it has to stretch to fit you. Each can be appropriate depending on the fabric and the style of garment. The other bamboo top I made last year would be much nicer to wear with more positive ease at least from the waist down.)

The last step is an icord edging around the armholes as well as the neck. This pulled the armholes in a bit, but they still drooped too much. It would be possible to adjust the pattern but I wasn't about to reknit the whole body. In the end I cheated by weaving some hat elastic around the inside of each armhole, which doesn't show and just pulls them in enough without looking gathered. Although I've worn it once, comfortably, I'm actually thinking about doing the same thing to pull the back neckline up a little bit - doesn't the whole back look a little droopy? But I'm worried that this will pull the front neck in too, and there's nowhere much for that to go. I will try the elastic, and can always take it out again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All I wanted was a sign on the last day

blue necklace

I came up with another way to use those crocheted circles of waxed cotton. This idea popped into my head almost fully formed. Which is certainly nice, on when it occasionally happens. I was planning to embellish one or two of the circles, either with a silver border (didn't sit right) or with buttons (too much going on). In the end, the simple version was the best. I used sterling silver chain and jump rings to join them all together.

This was a birthday present for my sister. Didn't she style it nicely with her blue tops?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy ears, pleasantly tickled brain

Kungkarangkalpa flags

Donna Lee commented the other day "I find if I knit at an event, I always associate that event with whatever I was knitting at the time." Exactly! On the first evening of this year's Womadelaide, I was knitting during Calexico's set, and a man sitting behind us commented that I would always remember Calexico when I looked at that bit. (He was nice about it, but I never know what to say. Luckily there weren't many other comments, one or two admired the colours I think. Somewhat surprisingly, I only saw one other person knitting the whole long weekend). Anyway, that guy gave me this idea.

The annotated clapotis2

And here are the main acts I saw.
welcome dance
Kaurna Welcome - The festival always starts with the traditional owners of the land welcoming us to their country with song, and dance.

YAMATO, the Drummers of Japan
Athletic, loud, full of personality, lots of different drums (you can see them in the background of the photo above), and a nice gender balance to the show - they were fond of the small-woman-plays-huge-drum dynamic.

I saw them early on and really liked them. I had heard a song or two before but hadn't really paid attention - now I will be seeking out some albums. But, they were probably the loudest show I've ever seen at Womadelaide. When they were playing, they could be heard anywhere in the park, which was not ideal when you were trying to listen to one of the quieter acts.

Shellie Morris
Her personality and the personal stories she shared made this show really special.


Mama Kin

Mariem Hassan
From Western Sahara. I loved her music and her voice, bought the CD, she even signed it for me.

Gochag Askarov

Vorn Doolette
Cheeky and entertaining.

Djan Djan
A new favourite for me. Very unusual combination (blues slide guitar, Indian tabla and Malian kora) that sounds great. They came to Canberra last week so I got to see them again. When I looked back at the program to write this post, I was sorry I missed a solo show by Mamadou Diabate as part of the festival.

My sister loved these guys.

Jane Siberry
I've known of her but for some reason never really figured out who she was. Her show was one of my favourites of the festival. It was delightfully nutty, with lots of stream of consciousness comments and asides (sometimes in the middle of a song). You had to love her or squirm - I fell in love.

Babylon Circus
We got all fired up and danced madly to this.

women's voices
Women's voices
An improvised session with several of the female singers performing together. These (like the annual all-star jam) can be hit or miss - this one was great, at least the half I was there for.
Ross Daly
Ross Daly & Ensemble
We chose to hear this wonderful Cretan music instead of big crowd-pleaser Tim Finn. And we weren't disappointed. (though I would have enjoyed Tim Finn as well).
dub dance
Dub Colossus
Lovely singing. This was a workshop session and one of the singers loved to come down into the audience to give some dance lessons. I was glad to hide behind my big camera because I am quite the no-fun scaredy-cat when it comes to audience participation.

kamikawa & tadano
George Kamikawa & Noriko Tadano
A really fun and funny duo, some traditional Japanese songs and some blues covers, all done in blues styles, with guitar and Japanese banjo. Noriko was on 'Spicks and Specks' a while ago.

Lepisto and Lehti
Lepisto and Lehti
Two very experienced folk musicians from Finland make an unusual combination of double bass and accordion and make it work. Really lovely music and good stories too.

Amal Murkus
Unfortunately people were leaving half way through to get good spots for Ravi Shankar, on next on the main stage. We stayed to the end.

the park
Ravi Shankar & Anoushka Shankar
This was a sit-down show, unusual for Stage 1, but totally appropriate in this case. It meant I could arrive late, sit way up the back and still be able to see the stage. And the sound travelled perfectly. I hadn't quite known what to expect. There were a massive number of people there (not surprising really, probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most) and yet the mood was relatively quiet and meditative, in a really good way.

Besh o droM
I love gypsy styles and maybe built up my hopes too much for this set to be an end-of-festival high. We were a bit disappointed with the amount of switching of moods/styles of music and got a funny vibe like there was an odd mixture of moods among the band members too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green knitting at hippie festival


I took a ball of Noro sock wool and an old favourite pattern with me to Adelaide. It's only about half as big as it needs to be, and I'm ordering another ball of wool now. So I didn't quite achieve a whole project knit during the festival (nor did I expect to), but I did do lots of knitting - I think we gravitated to more sit-down shows this year - and enjoyed it enormously.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creature of habit

I just got back last night from my sixth consecutive Womadelaide festival!

The weather was not very good for photography (at least, not for my skill level) but I still (obsessively?) pointed my camera at the inevitable flags, trees and clouds. The music was MUCH better than the weather. And that's the great thing about this yearly ritual - I go to the same place, with the same wonderful people, every year, eating some of the same foods too, but the music is different every time, expanding my brain in different directions and always revealing one or two new pathways to follow during the rest of the year.