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. 

Crikey – another FO ! (smirk)

Here’s a photo S took of herself the moment she’d sewn on the buttons she bought for the cardigan I knitted for her:

I do not for a moment criticise her selfie: I’m unable to produce a selfie that doesn’t look as if I was falling over at the time.

The buttons are all identical: it’s just that the bottom two aren’t in the same fill-light that the top ones are ..

I am never going to knit in stocking stitch again. I have spoken.

I shall be blocking !!

Here is a cardigan I am in the process of making for my friend S, who wanted one done in stocking stitch – aka ‘stockinette’.

She chose the pattern (Berroco) and also the colour of the yarn: I had to point her in the direction of Bendigo Woollen Mills’ “Luxury 10 ply” as the only locally available yarn that could replace the Berroco “Tuscany Tweed” (hope I remembered that right).

It has to be rigorously blocked, of course; so I’ve told S she must come over tomorrow and help squeeze. And as I have no blocking materials, she’s bringing over an old blanket and some pins – the special nickel-plated ones I ordered from Spotlight have bloody gone missing somewhere. In the post, I mean. Bugger it !

And once it’s all been blocked, I have to assemble it and then knit the button band. No rest for the wicked ..

No more pretending

“The violence of police officers at protests reveals their true role

The job of law enforcement officers, according to the authorities who have called on them in recent days, is to keep the public safe. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, for example, said in a press conference on Sunday that officers are “here to protect people and property.”

But the police, in many situations, have appeared to actively work against public safety. It’s hard to imagine how macing a child, or driving a car into a crowd of people, could possibly be intended to keep anyone safe.

Instead, the police seem clearly to be treating protesters — members of the public — as adversaries. As Mara Gay writes at the New York Times, “an army of public servants entrusted to protect Americans treated them as an enemy instead.”

This seems to be happening not despite the fact that the protests are about police brutality, but because of it. Previous research shows that police are more likely to use force against protesters when the subject of the protest is police violence, Shaila Dewan and Mike Baker report at the Times. Police are also more likely to use violence against protesters of color than against white demonstrators.

Now “there’s deep resentment on the part of the police that so many people are angry at them, and they’re lashing out,” Alex Vitale, a sociologist at Brooklyn College, told the Times. “Look at what we saw — people sitting on their own stoops getting hit with pepper balls. Anyone who looks at them funny, they’re attacking them.”

{ … }

The protesters attacked on camera by police in recent days have been unarmed. They certainly haven’t been carrying rifles up the capitol steps. Yet the police have treated them not just like a threat but like an opponent.

It’s clear that for many officers around the country, what’s happening in the streets right now isn’t an effort to protect public safety. It’s war.”

That Vox article shows up one of the great conundrums of our times: society needs a police force, but any police force becomes a body apart from society.

There is no group in the world like police. They have a culture that says hurt, blame, point out, accuse, wound or kill one of them, and the perpetrator is marked for life by all of them. They say this is a necessary attitude in order to protect themselves.

It looks as if that culture is now in play up there in the good ol’. In most places, they’re carrying out their cultural fight. Or, as the Vox article says, their war.

A new oldie

Here’s a recipe that is in my .. erhmm .. history ? rolladex ? Whatever. It’s a recipe known to me and not one to bring sweat to my brow. It claims to be a curry, but you’ll need to hot it up if you like real curry.

Chickpea Curry


  • 1 onion, halved and sliced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped small
  • 1 long red chilli, chopped fine (2 is better !)
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds*
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 dried curry leaves
  • 1 tsp fenugreek*
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbs coconut flour

*if you have a mortar and pestle, these should be ground together; but if you don’t, see if you can buy ’em already ground


  • Place a large saucepan on medium heat and add the oil.
  • When the pan is hot add the onion, garlic, chilli & ginger, cook for 10 minutes stirring often. (This is the most important part of making the curry: getting your base ingredients lovely and golden will insure the finished curry has a powerful flavour. So says the AvantGarde Vegan — quite cute, if you go for that hair shaved up the sides thing ..)
  • Add all the spices & cook while stirring for another 3-4 minutes to let the spices roast & release their aromatics.
  • Throw in the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute before adding the chickpeas: stir well so they are coated.
  • Shake the can like mad and pour in the coconut milk and stir well; then bring the pan to a simmer.
  • Let the curry bubble away gently for around 10 minutes.
  • When the rice is cooked, just before serving stir the coconut flour into the curry to thicken it up a little.

I didn’t make this one for a long time, thinking in superior fashion that a curry of nothing but chickpeas would be, like, BORING ! – channelling Villanelle .. [grin]  It isn’t: the spices give the chickpeas a super burst of flavour.

Of course you can add any vegies you like: the harder ones come to mind. I think partially-cooked potatoes and cauli are great – you need to pre-cook ’em a bit to avoid having to cook the shit out of those yummy spices while waiting for the vegies. Just saying ..

Ahimè !

A couple of weeks ago I did something that astounded me – I joined the ranks of the twitterati. BUT ! – it is for the sole purpose of keeping up-to-date with the wonderful antics of Sarah Cooper – I do not tweet and I follow no-one but Sarah. And there is a side effect that’s useful: the online newspaper I subscribe to, The Guardian Australia, and also the ABC’s news site, often reproduce tweets in news articles; and being a member enables me to instantly see the whole thread.

Today I’d been reading something in The Guardian that had caused me to go to a Twitter link, and that led me off to something else, and so on; and then I found this:

Struth ! – Chic’s favourite building in the world, with a small sinkhole (voragine – isn’t it a fantastic onomatopoeia ?) in the ground outside !

Following this up led me to the story in The Smithsonian’s site, with the full story linked to the photo below:

Roma la bellissima, the city my husband loved most of all in our several European journeys, is apparently sinking all over the place. Only when there are cavities below, reporters write ! – that means bloody EVERYWHERE !!

What is going to happen to this fabulous (in the true sense of the word) city ?! Will restorers do the kind of thing they’ve done at Pompeii ? – spero di no ma credo di sì …

Ahimè .. Alas !