We are losing Cat Bordhi

I post this terrible fact because I need to.

Cat has been a totally joyous person in the craft world: her amazing discoveries regarding true moebius knitting and her subsequent illustrations of them for the benefit of all of us have been made in the spirit of happiness and generosity that has been her signature. Always.

All I can do is weep to think that she will be gone, so early and so .. unnecessarily.

She is telling us goodbye, here, in a manner entirely hers. When my American knitting friend Michele Lee Bernstein posted about this imminent loss, I followed the link to Cat’s post and read it with tears; and then I wrote to her via the special email link. I reminded her of one of her countless acts of kindness ..

Oh,  by all the gods that man has ever invented, I shall miss her ..

One-twelfth of a project

Last night I was able – thanks to BOM’s always showing each day’s lowest temperature before the day has ended – to finalise July as the first month of my temperature blanket. I planned it in Excel for two reasons:

    1. there IS one calculation column within it;  and
    2. it’s much quicker to tabulate input and move it around in Excel than it is in Word.

I have wasted literally hours trying to solve the problem of linking to an Excel spreadsheet that one has uploaded to one’s Media Library. Every time it appears to be fine until clicking on the link; and then one is told the file is corrupted. So, after a whole big lot of swearing and grinding my teeth, I can only insert part of the Excel page as a screengrab:

I had decided I’d use

    • Winter solstice = lowest temp.s
    • Spring equinox = mean temp.s
    • Summer solstice = highest temp.s
    • Autumn equinox = mean temp.s

but I was wrong. If you check the sole calculated column within the document – and here I’m hoping you can see it, in all its truncated glory – that are the mean temp.s, and observe the colours each day’s entry produces, you’ll see how extremely boring they are. I mean, two colours only – Alaska Sky and Periwinkle – with a single day of Cobalt (off the bottom) ! No way will I risk that lack of differentiation in my “blanket” !  So it’s going to be the first two low and the second two high. More colours !   :)

Now to take a couple of terrible photos. Wait one ..

As big a wide shot as I know how to produce ..

 

Wee bit closer – not so’s you’d notice.   :}

 

Not exactly a close shot .. mebbe a mid-shot.

 

And here, folded over, is my dilemma: I really like the back ! If only it weren’t for all the knots ..

So the completed .. thing will be 12 times that large. I’m going to have to stop deleting posts older that six months.   :\

Regarding my mention of (ACK !) knots .. At the beginning of this project, I must have tried about ten different stitches, each time determined that THIS WILL BE THE ONE ! For at least nine different reasons, I changed my mind. Hence knots. At least they’re invisible knots ! (Should you check that link, first mute your machine then go to about 1’28” to get to the useful stuff.)

There will be another 11 posts like this one.

I fervently hope ..

OK: time to reveal the reverse gussets ..

You may/may not recall my whingeing how no pattern fits me on account of my distinct pear-shape, yes ? (or no ?) – in this post ..

So I finally got ’round to it and finished off my version of the Fiber Spider’s double-hexagon pattern for a granny-stitch cardi, complete with said reverse gussets. These, I think you won’t have difficulty in believing, are NOT in his pattern !

Here you can view the gussets in all their weird glory:

(Well, you try crocheting short rows !)

I’m considering trying to get hold of those little double grab thingies to attach: yes or no ?

And I fear my total lack of photographic ability is once more at the fore with the photo hereunder:

I have NO IDEA how to take a selfie with my phone. Yesyes, I know you can see that for yourselves: shut up !

The cardi actually goes the whole way ’round my (_|_) and could be done up, had it any buttons (or little double grab thingies). Wonders will never cease !

[grin]

Quick peek because of my new Tunisian stitch

Here is less than three weeks of my temperature blanket.

I mean in future only to post a photo at the end of each month; but I simply have to show you this because I haven’t found this variation on Tunisian crochet anywhere on the Web.

150 sts wide: the white will be between each month. This is the front.
Zoomed in on the front.

This is the back; and I haven’t yet decided which of the two I prefer !

I offer a small prize to s/he who can find this stitch on the Web.

Far as I’m concerned, its name is Funnycomb Stitch. Tunisian crocheters will realize that it’s the alternative to Honeycomb Stitch.  [grin]

My temperature blanket

I discovered this enticing idea through an on-line American woman whose posts I’d first found a long time ago, when she was just a really keen and really able crocheting person. Now she’s a business, and doing so well as to have a DreamBox !! Sighh ..

It was through Toni that I learned of a crocheting project (although it could be knitted, I haven’t found a single example) that takes a year. Exactly.

It’s like this: you take the highest temperature your town/city experiences and the lowest, and divide that range into small groups – mine is in groups of 3°; then you allocate to every group a colour.  My total of colours is 14 (I think, without checking). You choose your starting date – it can be as noteworthy as January 1st or as insignificant as May 23rd – and off you go.

Get it ?

You’re crocheting a blanket comprising a record (within 3° or whatever) of the temperatures of where you live, over a whole year, one day at a time.

Here‘s a perfect example, from 2016.

The woman who made that one has chosen an interesting group of colours, and you can imagine how other people’s blankets would be completely different. Hers was celebrated by our Bureau of Meteorology (known all over Oz as BOM); whereas mine also utilizes the BOM range, but interpreted differently:

There’s the colour range that BOM uses on its weather maps; but I don’t see, e.g., exactly the same colours in her blanket.

So: you observe that I’m doing a 1st July – 30th June year, and that so far only three of the colours are in play.

All I’ve been able to do to date is the very first row, which is a divider that will occur between every month: I don’t yet have the relevant colours in hand. My own fault: I meant to use the mean temperatures until I discovered through doing the sums that I was going to have a very repetitive colourway. So I decided instead to do what I hope can be read below the dark blue bit on the top left – Autumn equinox and Winter solstice the lowest and Spring equinox and Summer solstice the highest. Having purchased the colours for the mean temperatures, that left me without any for the lowest; but they’re now ordered – and posted ! – from Tassie, and will reach me some time this week.

Having seen the size of the blanket the BOM employee made, I’m going to copy Toni and do mine in five*# panels: that way it becomes a controllable and even usable object ! And I will use Tunisian crochet, too (won’t need a cable about 5m long if it’s in panels); but maybe not TSS .. Hmmm ..

This is very definitely a project that requires quite a number of posts. Stand by, anyone who likes the sound of this !

 

*I lied. It’s going to be seven panels.

#No I didn’t: five panels it is.

 

A problem (without images)

I am more than merely the “big” that my beloved second-eldest sister was wont to tell me – I am fat. Have been for nearly all my life – apart from those times when the need not to be over-rode everything else; but they were short-lived. I am a distinct A shape; I can often wear tops that are 3 sizes smaller than my pants – and it is always pants, for I never wear skirts (if you’d inherited my mother’s ankles, you wouldn’t either !)

So here I am, trying to make myself garments because I so detest shopping for them that 95% of my ‘wardrobe’ is roughly 17-22 years old – going back to when Chic was with me and would drag me off to buy some new gear. Then, I was unenthusiastic about it: now, it fills me with fear and loathing.

Consider this poor crocheting person: her shoulders are nothing like a swimmer’s, so there are many patterns I could use that fitted me from the top down to the waist. Thereafter they would fly apart and become useless in terms of protecting me from cold; and certainly any kind of button of toggle would be screaming in a tiny voice (like Boodie’s) across the vast tundra of my tum to its matching thingy on the other side – which would be screaming back “WHAAAT ?” – and never the twain would meet. Sighh ..

Now, were I clever enough to find a pattern that fitted my arse, its shoulders would be falling off mine, and the rest of its top half would be hanging in a wrinkly muddle almost down to my midriff.

What to do ?

There ! – I added an image, anyway. Reams of text are off-putting.

I had reached farther than midway point on one of those hexagonal granny-stitch cardigans by following instructional videos from the dearest bloke who works very hard to be as helpful as possible (and he is !) – the point where the tops of the inverted Ls have been joined and they have been crocheted together, and I tried it on. Same old same old. Of course.

So: am I going to frog it all – approx. 6 balls of Stylecraft Special DK, which is a shitload of wool – because whereas my instructor’s hexagons required 18 rows, mine required 24 – in a rage ?

I am not.

I am going to invent how to add an inverted V of short rows – yesyes, I do realize it won’t be in granny stitch ! – to each front edge. I shall make it as fancy as I can; but short rows’ being hitherto unknown to me I am not sanguine about the ‘fancy’ part. The gussets (sort of) will probably end up as garter stitch. But if they can achieve two straight edges that will meet, I shall be ecstatic, regardless of their total unlikeness to the rest of the cardi.

I shall post a photo or two along the way. You are at liberty to shudder and turn your eyes away ..

I am becoming ill with jealous rage !

Tonight I was watching a crocheting lady on YouChoob rabbiting on about her new “dreambox”. I mean like on and on and ON ..

Foolishly I decided to find out what a dreambox is.

How I wish I hadn’t !

Go here and look ..

Unless I win PowerBall or the Lottery (for neither of which I have ever bought a ticket) I shall not be able to afford one of these extraordinary and fascinating and WONDERFUL things. But come to think of it, I couldn’t even were I to suddenly come into a fortune: they’re made in the US, and sold there and in Canada and in the UK (for Europe). I have calculated that were I to persuade them to ship me the version I wanted, I’d be up for something like – oh, AUD8K.

[M.R. swoons away]

Il Rifugio Perfetto

Yes, it means exactly what it looks like: the perfect refuge.

I’m referring to the YouTube cooking site that seems to’ve grown hugely since I first became aware of it. But my impressive degree of ancientness means that I really don’t understand whose site this one actually is: it seems to be divided among 2 or 3 women .. I leave you to sort that out for yourselves.

This is how the title arose:

and in fact there are cleaning videos early on. I know this because, as I often do, I sorted the videos from oldest to newest; and at a sort of mid-point, I found these two side by side:

and from then on we appear to have abandoned the cleaning and taken with enthusiasm to the cooking ! (I wonder if she just exhausted cleaning topics, or if her husband said  – in Italian, of course ! – “Oh fer crissake ! – will you STOP vacuuming under my feet and .. and go and do something in the kitchen ?!”  [grin] In truth, there are a few cooking videos slotted in among the cleaning ones, but not many.

The place-marking video for the cooking ones has V/O and post-production; but, I am very happy to say, thereafter there’s no voice-over at all – just sound effects and some basic captions, deo gratias. She includes ingredients underneath every video (you know, above the comments), so it’s up to the viewer to note down the method for later. Or learn it off by heart if you’re clever like that.

Her particular schtick is (apart from the meals’ being Italian) low-cost cooking. She doesn’t ever use high-falutin ingredients: even the vegies are completely familiar. She’s largely vegetarian, but not entirely; and she does heaps of baking cakes and bikkies.

Check it all out: you won’t often be lucky enough to find cooking videos without dialogue – which is, in my opinion, a bloody blessing !

My music: the Soundtrack

There aren’t too many that stand out, imnsho; but one is head and shoulders above the rest:

with music by John Lurie.

(I’ve always found Danny deVito extraordinary: not only has his highly successful career included many amusing ‘little guy’ roles, but in movies like “Other People’s Money”, he is the protagonist to whom not a single reference is made regarding his height. And it works !)

Anyway ..

I was working for a Sydney group run by the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, and sent to attend a talk about Citrix networking given in a theatre not far from our building. In fact it was somewhat farther than I thought which resulted in my having to rush, but they were late starting; and I puffed in from the street, relieved to see all lights still on and hear ‘warm-up’ music still playing. I stopped at the back of the theatre, rivetted ..

“Chili Hot” ..

Happily for me, I was standing next to the bloke who was operating the sound desk whence came this super music, so I hissed urgently at him “What is that faaaaabulous track ?” and he grinned and said simply “Get Shorty !” Turned out he’d been asked that question roughly 100 times by people more conscientious than I, so there much earlier ..

Later, Stringer and I bought the DVD of the movie and enjoyed it enormously. Still more did we enjoy the soundtrack; and I can’t resist giving you one more example:

“Stink” ..

(The imagery fronting that track is fascinating: every famous mafioso features, among all the stills shown.)

 

Absolute aural joy

Thanks to my friend ST’s excellent book review site Whispering Gums I discovered the writings of Tasmanian Heather Rose.

My first Rose novel was Bruny, and I could scarcely leave iTunes, once I started listening. So much did I like it that I sent an email to her publisher to express my absolute pleasure in this terrific novel. (I got an acknowledgement from the Publisher, but I doubt that my email was passed on ..)

To me, that’s a somewhat underwhelming grab, even if all those things are true: they seem, somehow, to reduce the book to something less than it is. I have, I must admit, no alternative to present to this (to me) unsatisfying statement. Just be assured that this is my favourite book since Truth*, and that’s saying something !

So, with 1 credit available on Audible, I searched under Rose’s name and came up with The Butterfly Man. Audible’s précis is attention-grabbing, and I very willingly rendered up my last current credit. I must confess here that I am avoiding Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love, simply because I read of it when I was in Cluny mode, and was put off. (No, there’s no way of comprehending how my mind works: heaven knows, I’ve tried ..)

It’s really difficult to describe this book. Maybe if I tell you that it caused me to wonder how in the name of all the gods someone can put together such amazing fiction – so intelligent, so fascinating, so creative, so .. appealing ! .. then you might get some idea of the effect it had on me. I listened to it with awe for Rose’s skill – but that came after the actual listening response; and that was utter enjoyment.

I’ve often discussed with other audiobook ‘readers’ the importance of a book’s narrator. In Rose’s case, both Bruny’s Zoe Carides and The Butterfly Man’s Humphrey Bower are – well, ideal. Perfect choices, happily for me and for their other audiobook listeners. In fact, it’s my firm opinion – yes indeed, they are all firm ! [grin] – that listening to Bower’s gentle Scottish accent provides a better all-round experience that merely reading the book could. Mais chacun son goût.

I don’t intend to start posting book reviews, many will be happy to learn; but I haven’t experienced such pleasure in ‘reading’ two books by the one writer since the wonderful Peter Temple – all nine of whose novels are up there on top of my list.

 

*Peter Temple is now and always will be my favourite writer in the world. The news of his death hit me like a blow and took me a long time to recover from.