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 ..

I’ve given up trying

Today I went to see my quack – a beautiful young woman who INSTANTLY recognized the term “laryngopharyngeal reflux” when I saw her last week, to my absolute joy* ! – to talk about diabetes. Yes, I’ve given up the attempt to eat the right thing: there are so many varying inputs that I can no longer pretend to be coping.

But the worst part has been not continuing on with my vegetarian diet. I LOVE the food I used to cook.

(Some of you might remember that I became somewhat leery about cooking a while back; but that was because I put pressure on myself to keep cooking new recipes. Once I settled on several tried&trues, I was laughing.)

No more. Introducing meat into my consumption has rendered me helpless. I can’t cook meat ! I mean sure, I can grill a steak and have it with vegies or salad

(or sausages, which I like as long as they don’t have bread in); but to cook a one-pot meal using meat ? – no way. Casseroles don’t have anything LIKE the variety that vegetarian recipes do !

I did my best to

  • not eat anything sweet (or with sugar in)
  • not eat carbohydrates anywhere near as much as I did when vegetarian
  • eat FAT – full-cream milk, full-cream yoghourt and so on
  • eat meat

but I was detesting it. In the end I had to admit that having my coffee with full-cream milk was making me feel sick; that adding cream to blackberries (gosh, they were yummy ! – but so short a season !) just ruined them; that I was missing my morning Freedom cereals so much I felt like crying; and that the meat-eating simply wasn’t working.

And added to all this was my absolute LONGING for one of my vegetarian one-pot wonders ..

At the beginning of this week I caved: I cooked a big potful of chickpea coconut curry with fresh tomatoes, and it was .. it was .. to tell you that it was the best thing I’ve eaten in roughly three months is no exaggeration. It was HEAVENLY. And I have one serving left ..

So the quack and I discussed all this and agreed that to get the advice of a dietitian who knows about diabetes and how to eat for it is indeed the best way to cope with everything food-oriented. My dear friend M is sceptical; but we shall see what we shall see – I see her next Wednesday.

I failed, see ? – failed at trying to approach my eating using common sense. I’m too torn: I don’t want to be eating more fat and less carbs, but I know I’m definitely going to have to cut down on the latter .. So to throw it all in someone else’s lap and just cry “Help !” seems good to me.


*as opposed to every GP I saw during the 4½ years I lived in Geelong, none of ’em either recognizing the term or indicating the slightest interest in reading about it (for I printed out and took to each one a most respectable article that had peer reviews ad everything)

You’re moving in today

(with apologies to Carol Bayer Sager !)

This was on moving day; and you can see that Boodie was absolutely terrified. Not. No hiding in the bathroom for him ! – once he got used to the bringings of furniture et al, he paid it no attention and simply gazed, transfixed, at his new view.

I didn’t let him out that day;  but the following day he was out there, peering down through the transparent balcony walls in absolute fascination. And he’s out there every day: sometimes sitting on top of the external part of the split system. It gave me a fright the first time I saw him up there – especially when he stepped elegantly onto the railing ..

But hey, he’s a CAT ! – they’re not stupid !   :D

Aussie interest in US politics

It definitely exists.   :)

Those of you who hail from America, don’t take offence at this little video: I think it’s so clever that it deserves to be bruited abroad.

Sammy J is one of our best-known wits. This will indicate why ..

No idea how to make this smaller. Have I said I HATE the new editor ?


So THAT’s over ..

I have decided that the basic difference between Democrats and Republicans is their smiles:

The best of all
Close behind
Nothing but dentures

Getting rid only of Trump and having still to cope with the DISGUSTING McConnell at the head of the Senate would be truly terrible; but at least it does mean that all the arseholes like the Trump children – known on Twitter as ‘the devil’s spawn’ (oh, how I love it !) – plus Barr, plus all the grifters like Betsy De Vos, etc., will be gone. There is some good to be found,

What am I saying ?! – there will no longer be the orange baboon !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear god ..

I wish I believed that you exist. Because then I’d have a reason to fall to my knees and pray that of the remaining four undecided Senate seats at least three go to the Democrats. For unless that happens, Joe’s victory will be the most Pyhrric of all times.

But I don’t.

OK: the Grand Move !

Today I went up to ..


to see my new apartment. It’s FABULOUS. I LOVE it. I knew I would, of course; but to have it confirmed so delightfully was a truly uplifting thing.

I hereby give yous something to do: google the suburb.   :)

I’ll help: that’s it, below; so see if you can place it in the map I posted yesterday. (Thinks: was it yesterday ..?) In the map I last posted ..

Thar she blows !

You can see the river from a couple of my windows !

The entire section of Maribyrnong in which my building is situated is chocka with development; it’s a huge residential complex of apartment blocks and scattered shopping, with buses criss-crossing –

My building is between the roundabout and the bus-stop, north side ;
and the bus goes to the biggest shopping centre there is.

But wait ! – I am getting ahead of myself ..

My apartment building, first sight

Which side is my apartment ? – neither the front nor back, but on the left ‘end’ ..

Second-top level, balcony full length of the apartment

Don’t be put off by my description of the area: there are no buildings jammed up against each other, and there are built-to-design-choice houses all over the place amongst them.

This kind of thing ..
Or this !

I even have a friend living there !

She, like everyone else I know, has a car; and lifts from the parking.

But if you want the pièce de résistance, it is this:

First recognize my building from above, then ..
See how far it is from an Aldi !! :D

Oh, I’m SO EXCITED ! And the apartment itself is full of light (that can be kept out by dropping the very classy blinds) and bigger than I’d expected. I like very much being on the end of the corridor, so that there will be no people walking past in the night. Something tells me I am not going to hear one single large, bored dog barking mindlessly – not ONE !

More later.