Not a lot of business sense

MS Outlook is pretty good at finding spam: not a single email bearing an African name gets through [grin].

I rather like the ones that have Subjects like “Hello dear”, or “Wells Frago grant” – spam that can make me laugh is pretty good, I sometimes think.

But one from today takes the cake:

Hmmm .. shall I open it ? – might it have a genuine offer inside ?

Oh, blogging ..

I’ve been here, I’ve been there.

Tried dabbling in my own deep interests (e.g., US politics up to Joe’s much sought-after and totally vindicating election; or vegetarian recipes).

I’ve tried theming my blog.

Of recent times I’ve so done away with theming that I don’t even have categories or tags.

Some masochists might recall that this time ’round I opened it up in crochet and knitting mode.

Sighh ..

Somewhere I lost my way.

It’s possible that I’ve grown anxious about providing stuff that interests everyone who  visits my blog. (I left out the ‘l’ in that last word; and the resultant sentence caused me to fall about laughing. Possibly my problem is simple-mindedness ?)


There is a porpoise to all this whingeing. And yes, I believe FIRMLY that the word must include an ‘e’; whinging simply doesn’t look right. But .. I shouldn’t need BOTH an ‘e’ and an ‘i’ to soften the ‘g’ .. So perhaps I’ll bit the bullet from now on.

There’s a purpose to my whinging (eeeek !): I’ve decided to revert to some topics, but not many.

    • Knitting and Crochet (the activity I spend most time on)
    • Aging (the various signs of  which are creeping on)
    • My environment (nicely non-specific, covers a shitload)

One thing you will see very little of is gardening, as in days of yore –

because my balcony has proved itself to be a furnace. Last week we had days of around 30-32 degrees from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive: as my balcony is never less than about 12-15 degrees hotter than the BoM says is happening, all the little plants in my standing planter-box were cooked. I watered them when the sun wasn’t around, but it didn’t/couldn’t save them.

I do have – Something ! in mind, though ..


No: CALs are not for me

  1. I decided some time ago that motif crochet has lost its appeal. Why didn’t I stick to this ?!
  2. Not having done so and started on the CAL, I  find I prefer JAYG (join as you go) anyway – which can’t apply to making something whereof the rest of the parts are unknown.
  3. Tunisian crochet doesn’t seem to like to be made into ‘squares’ (quote marks because they’re rarely equal all ’round). Well .. perhaps that’s a stupid thing to say: if you’re a tunisian professional you might well be able to start at the bottom and crochet up and it looks great.
  4. I have no need of a blanket; and I don’t have the space to display it (were I able to complete it well enough).
  5. A blogging friend, the professional Dora Does, has written of her gradual separation from an overwhelming need for ‘perfection’ – this I comprehend well as a drive to not make ONE SINGLE MISTAKE, and to frog fiercely (and with rage) when one is found. I am still struggling with overcoming this; and an entire blanket’s creation is not going to help.
  6. It is very expensive in terms of the necessary yarn. Possibly this is, in truth, my main rationale ..    :\

So much for the old man’s underpants. But thanks to the talented Rachel Henri, I now know at least one way of making a square in the round in Tunisian crochet.

Here’s a thing to do

I’m on my A-line shape thing again.

To enable the effectiveness of crochet patterns for jumpers and cardis for women with big (_|_)s, the first step could be said to be—


That’s a chart for a really nice (existing pattern) cardi. Had it a third column, of hip measurements, it would show clearly that my top part is in the range of one of those sizes but my lower part within the next one.    :(

Here’s a sketch from a pattern I once bought:

“April Sweater” – Originally Lovely pattern

Amazingly helpful info., except for the missing hip or bum measurement.

ANYWAY .. The extraordinarily productive and helpful Dora Does has put out an eBook called “How to Crochet Clothes that Fit (and you actually Want to Wear)”, a very appealing title ! The key to the whole thing is, as I have already realized, GAUGE. And here is where my insuperable problem raises its horrid head ..

I have never in my crocheting or knitting life been able to achieve gauge, and it’s always for the same reason: my ROWS get there without trouble, but my number of STITCHES is always, always too many. If the gauge is meant to be 7 rows by 6 stitches (within a 2″ square), I will never do better than 7 rows (√) and 8 stitches .. 14 rows and 16½ stitches and all I can come up with is 14 rows (√) and 19 stitches. I am cursed !!! Of course if I make my stitches wider, they always become, as well, higher.   [sob !]

So that although Dora’s eBook has some wonderful calculations meant to allow you to work out how to alter the size in various different parts of a garment, the calc.s won’t work for me because my gauge is out of whack.

Thus I’ve had to give up that idea, and simply do my own increasing. I’m currently on a sweater the pattern wants me to fsc 88ch for, which will end up with that same number at the top; I’ve started with 98fsc and am decreasing by 2 sts every 5 rows, starting with the 15th. I shall hold it up against me when I’m down to 88 and then continue to that “measured” distance.

But I am full of angst ..

ADDITIONAL – next day

The wonderful Dora has adjured me to forget the rows and concentrate on the stitches part of the gauge. Makes sense: especially for patterns wherein the measurement of the pieces’ height is not critical.

And then, as well, the amazing PDX Knitterati repeated exactly the same instruction (it applies to knitting as well as to crochet).

So: once I have achieved the relevant horizontal gauge, I should be hot to trot with Dora’s calculations ..

Back and Forth with The Back Row Manifesto

“the sins and damage of Trump and Trumpism”

As you might imagine, us left-leaning bloggers all hang out, wearing our silk smoking jackets and puffing on pipes while swirling snifters of brandy, discussing Marcuse, and listening toGang of Four. (Secret handshake optional.)

Among that club, one of my very great friends,Tom Hall, writes the trenchant blogThe Back Row Manifesto.Last week in his post “Trauma” (January 19), he called for a public acknowledgment of our shared national trauma, writing:

The battle for how we remember, process, understand, and overcome the trauma of Trumpism will define how we triumph over it. The first and most crucial step in the formalization of post-traumatic collective memory is to invest in transparency and truth.

No truer words.

That call also included a critique of Biden on that point:

Transparency begins with Joe Biden, and yet his calls for unity and the focus on his agenda…

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Dance ? – what, ME ??

No, not me .. Give me a break !!

But this-morning I landed upon a group of male dancers on YouTube who perform under their leader’s name – Ricardo Walker. It’s a video about dance’s evolution since the ’50s; and whilst I’m sceptical about a couple of them, by far the bulk are – well, take a look ..

Oh, but don’t unless you love to watch excellent dancers in  almost perfectly synchronized movement ..

How happy I was to see Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk – my favourite piece since .. I don’t remember when !

Which reminds me (no, don’t panic: I had that on my blog for long enough) of some more terrific male dancers ..

There’s something indescribably pleasing about these guys’ movement in sync., don’t you think ..? Here’s my final offering for today: it combines both Ricardo’s dancers and a song of Bruno’s.


Hit the Road, Jack

“Truly, this man is a human colostomy bag.”

“…..and that’s when they stole the election from me.”

It has been four very long years. So, now, on the eve of a historic transition, let us pause to savor the ignominious, much-deserved departure of Donald John Trump, a man who had no business being President of the United States (no business in public life full stop, if you ask me), who discharged the job in the worst manner of anyone ever to hold it, and who is now leaving in greater disgrace than any of his predecessors, even that guy from California who had such enthusiasm for tape recording technology.

It will take years of effort and encyclopedia-length volumes to detail all of Trump’s horrors, and I will not attempt a thorough survey here. We know them all too well, so let’s not be masochists and subject ourselves to a review right now. Plenty of time for that.


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That’s bloody IT !   :\

For a moment, I had to cudgel the ancient brain in an effort to recall how many times I’ve either made or almost made this square. It was all because I do not have the correct weight of yarn; so it was all my own fault. (Yesyes: mea culpa !)

But this yarn – bought only the gods know how long ago from Ice Yarns – has been the sole one to allow me to create a centre “daisy” that looks not so much like an old man’s Y-fronts as, possibly, one of those sink-strainers you use also as a plug .. Well, that’s my thought, anyway ..

It’s going to have to do, at least for the time being. I shall post it on my CAL2021 page (remember Pages as opposed to Posts ?) as Square No. 1; and only when I have entirely forgotten it might I make another, better version – possibly even using worsted weight yarn !! And this is why I haven’t blocked it. No, that’s a lie: it’s one of the reasons why .. and the other is that I have no blocking materials. All that stuff is so hideously expensive for an old fart living on the pension and in a high-rise apartment she shouldn’t be in in terms of rent.

But don’t you think the burgundy and gold go well together ? – such a pity that in order to end up with a 30.5cm square with a centre that one’s eyes can slide over without causing one to cry “Eewww ! – what’s THAT in the middle ?!” while using too light a yarn (which also meant NOT going no.s 10 and 9 in hooks) my gauge had to be hopeless.

I am very sorry, Rachel, if you happen to come across this post: I meant to do better by you, truly !

Still doing that ..

I have finished Rachel’s square.

Don’t bother to complain about the soft focus or the curling up or the lack of blocking. This is going to be frogged, and I’m going to make it again again again. I cannot live with the old man’s undies.

I will not resist the chance to say that my gauge matches Rachel’s to the centimetre ! [smug smile] Here’s hoping I can replicate that; because I’m going to use different wool for the next one ..

C’ing AL

You’ll have to put up with the fact that I’m deeply engrossed in this, and will be posting about it whenever I need to ..

Firstly, here is, again, my first (unfinished) version of Rachel’s square:

which was created using a very short size 8mm double-ended hook.

Here is my current (equally unfinished) version:

which is underway using [gasp !] a size 10mm (green) for the pattern rows and a size 9mm (blue) for the reverses. I had made another square using a size 8mm on one end and a size 6.5mm on the other; and when I reached something like row 10 and was still a bridge too far from completion, I realized that I was going to be using far too much yarn. Hence the frogging of that square and re-commencement with the much larger hook sizes.

Here is the designer’s own:

and what is making me rage futilely is that beautifully neat centre – a little star-flower, see it there ? My centre, although I followed the pattern exactly, looks like an old bloke’s underpants.   :(

The rest of mine is .. OK; although my incessant froggings and startings again loosened the twist of the wool. Recall, if you can stomach it, the weird way I hold the yarn: in my right hand and therefore looped around in a direction opposite to that in which the rest of the world loops it. Since about 98% of yarns are what’s called S-twist – left-to-right – my opposite direction gradually UNtwists ’em ! (The other 2% are Z-twist – right to left; and I would like it if all yarns could be bought either one or the other. TFB. Sighh ..)

Oh well. As long as I don’t embarrass la très talentueuse Rachel, I suppose I’m doing OK.

My first EVER CAL !

What is it ?, I hear you cry plaintively ..

Crochet ALong. And, as you may work out eventually, there are aso KALs.    :D

Someone online – it can be ANYONE ! – announces a CAL on her blog. She describes her plan for whatever it is; she usually talks about yarn and hooks and gauge and stuff; she might provide suggestions for specific yarns or colours. The object she has planned – an afghan, a shawl, a blanket, etc. (it has to be something fairly large, to occupy a number of posts) – is divided into [X] periods and the starting date provided. Almost every CAL ever dreamed up is then packaged in a Facebook site, where everyone (except me) can join and post images of how they’re going.

You have KALs like this:

and CALs like this – motifs are always popular:

and even CALs like this:

Many of them are shown in advance, so crocheters know what the completed thing looks like. But of recent years there’s been a trend to have them as ‘mystery’ projects: you only know which bit you have to do in the next period (however long it be).

Mine is a MYSTERY CAL: until it began, last Wednesday, no-one other than the organising blogger had the faintest idea of anything about it – other than it was to be in Tunisian crochet. That’s why I signed up for it: I wanted to learn more Tunisian stitches.

First 30.5cm square and I couldn’t even begin. Arunima, whose blog is the originating one, had chosen for the first of the crochet experts she’d arranged to provide the 24 designed squares, one per fortnight, the marvellous Rachel Henri – whose gallery of beautiful Tunisian crochet designs includes one that I HAVE ACTUALLY MADE !!! Rachel, in turn, had chosen a square that she’s constructed in the round. It requires a double-ended hook. A 25cm 8mm one. I do not possess one of these. I do have two cro-hooks – double-ended and enormous, which I can’t use for this design because it involves twisted stitches that cause the cro-hook to make huge bruises on my hand between thumb and forefinger. *

I whinged on Arunima’s site, and she says that she managed it thus:

Anyone who can explain HOW she does this will win a prize. Including Arunima, of course. Here’s an image of  interchangeable hooks – I have this very set:

You take a length of ‘cable’ (the red things on the right), affix your required size hook (the coloured things on the left) and add the end other end of the cable one of the black stoppers (below the hooks). I think Arunima is telling me that she starts off each pattern row with this setup – which includes the large red 8mm hook – then when she’s reached the end of a side of the square, she removed the cable/stopper and .. does WHAT ??: takes each stitch off from the non-working end of the hook and puts it onto the 6mm hook ? I tried that and ended screaming .. you would have to know this square’s pattern to understand ..

So this is as far as I’ve got .. and I go NO FURTHER:

That blue crochet hook (I managed to get this on-line from a totally reliable supplier, who sent it, as required, by Express Post and it arrived the next day !) is only 15cm long, and I cannot continue to build the square. Oh, BTW: nearly all Tunisian stitches curl frightfully, because they are different .. ahh .. tightnesses between front and back of stitch; they need robust and vigorous blocking.

I shall not crochet another stitch until I have a 25cm or so 8mm double-ended crochet hook in my hands. As the CAL goes for virtually the entire year and I can make this square whenever, it takes a back seat till then. Rachel has done her best to recommend sites for purchase; but the Aussie one’s no longer active, one’s Amazon UK (shipping prices make my eyes water) and one’s French and not shipping to Oz. Sighh ..


* Here’s where I tell those who don’t already know how I crochet. It’s unspeakable. I hold the yarn in my right hand, and I use the crochet hook like a knitting needle – pushing it R/L into stitches, rolling the yarn over and pulling the hook back. I’ll try to video myself doing it, one day ..

I have the solution !

.. so now it’s up to all those wonderful crochet designers to act upon it.


For an awful long time I’ve been plaintively hinting to the Web’s many clever designers of crocheted garments – specifically, cardigans and/or jumpers – to come up with patterns for moi.

These would need to be designed à la “A-line” to accommodate my somewhat more than sylph-like shape. What I mean is, to fit right around my (_|_) as well as fit my shoulders ..

And suddenly, this-morning, while perusing the latest offering from a wonderful Irish designer called Carrie, the .. erhmm .. equation hit me !: establish for each yarn weight the number of stitches per cm and design the A-line garment accordingly.

[pause ..]


[embarrassed grin]

That’s, like, gauge.

[clears throat]

Right, then. Let’s get on with the idea ..

So it shouldn’t be a complex thing for a designer to plot out a pattern that’s wider at the bottom and decreases as it goes (or, of course, verse visa), should it ? – or should it ?

I can google endlessly, but all I manage to come up with are designs like these:


and not one of ’em is without shaping. All I want is a simple pattern – just such as are devised by people like Carrie, by the wonderful Dora Does, by Sandra of Nomad Stitches .. these women are mind-blowing to me, and I would like all of them to design me a perfect A-line cardigan, please ! No shaping, no peplum – just measurements around the shoulders and the bum that result in a garment that can be done up all the way down the front OR hang open, and one that looks .. well, NORMAL.

I keep wondering if I should be able to work that out for myself .. but the ancient brain looks askance at the very thought ..


A somewhat different xmas day

As is generally known, what remains of my family is scattered here and there, with only a nephew actually on this mainland (over in WA). This xmas was to be my first in blissful peace and quiet, on me tod, because I’ve moved from where charitable people always invited me to eat with them. I planned to spend it with YARN, frogging two pieces of crochet and using my wonderful Stanwood yarn-winder to end up with neat cakes ..

I briefly considered removing all the STUFF that’s sitting on a table in the bedroom – all the yarn, the baskets, the needles, the hooks, the scissors, the patterns, the— oh, you get the idea. This table is my ‘craft’ supply place, for want of something sensible: I bought it because of its thin top – the yarn-winder affixes easily to it.

Being a lazy slob, I decided against removing all the stuff onto the floor and manoeuvring the table out into the living-room, having spotted that one of the little coffee-tables that Chic made would suit my porpoise. I brought it over to My Chair, a big recliner, attached the Stanwood and got started.

I spent a happy hour and a quarter(-ish) leaning over this, first frogging to one side one colour of the mosaic crochet I’d done and winding it then frogging to the other side the second colour, hoping that the growing pile of that wouldn’t tangle – and happily it did so only a bit. Then on to the other piece of crochet that was much smaller and had at least half of each of the two purchased balls still in original wind: the Stanwood wasn’t madly keen on this, and it took me a fair while to get it done.

And then there were four neat cakes and I was happy. I’m good with frogging and starting over – far too good: I do it all the time.    :\

I sat back.

Well, that’s not true: I went to sit back ..

Boodie leaped like a dog shot at: my yell of astonished pain would’ve wakened the dead.

I had absolutely FUCKED my lower back, location of problems at the best of times and now location of such pain as not previously experienced. I couldn’t move.

I managed eventually to get to my feet with the aid of my little wheeled set of drawers on my right and the column of the standing lamp that sits next to My Chair on the left; and the only way to reach the Panadeine Forte that’s scripted for me by my succession of GPs to let me sleep more or less through the night was to find something to hang on to for every step. Dunno how long it took me to traverse the short distance into the kitchen to get them, but it was quite a while. And there was an awful lot of yelling in pain and more of swearing ..

That was Friday morning. Since then life has been .. ahh .. limited. I suppose ‘restricted’ is a better word.

And here we are on Monday morning, last public holiday for almost a week. Yes, the pain is reduced. No, it hasn’t gone away. Yes, I need more Panadeine Forte. Yes, I’ve taken steps to get it. No, I’m not sure how effective they’ll be, as I have a new GP (I mean, the second one since coming to Maribyrnong) and have seen her just the once. But as I took a shine to her at once, I am hopeful.

I am also smelly, as I’m not prepared to take the risk of showering: standing is by far the worst aspect of whatever damage I did by that lengthy bending forward (almost doubled over, really). So as there’s no-one here to be offended by my state of filth, I remain unwashed until I have more Panadeine Forte in my hands and can swallow several of ’em.

There are good and bad things about living on yer own ..



Through the “looking”-glass

Just to let you see how frightened Boodie is of heights.

I used to stand next to the Daikin looking down the side of the building towards the Maribyrnong River. I don’t do this any more; as y-k-w took to rushing out of the loungeroom door and taking a flying leap to land beside me.

AAaaargh !

No good telling me how sure-footed cats are: the leaping was too much for the blood pressure (normally faultless), so I move away before he sees me there, now.

Boodie being the f.g. of a WS ..

Here he’s a MS, with the WS as background ..


And this is probably a FS of cat on high ..

Ah, the glory ..!

I had a handyman visit me to see what needs doing, last Saturday; and he spent a fair while gazing out my kitchen windows. When I explained that I pay a rental of $285 a week because this is an NRAS property, he thought about that for a bit, and then sighed “I’d willingly pay $400 just for that view !”.

It is pretty wonderful. The Saturday before that one you can see (above) the hot air balloons being picturesque; and just now, when it’s been raining and windy on and off all day, there was this:

with a second frame of it being this:

which you may find interesting as well as lovely, in terms of the tops of the houses down at ground level.

This whole enormous “development” is really amazing: I doubt that there’s one single building – whether apartment block or private house – exactly the same as any other. And it works !

Have I told you ? – I LOVE living here ..