knitting and the life I almost have around it

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

out of my hands

So the whole uni thing is.. well. It has been a drama, but at this point i've handed everything in and all i can do is hope to pass.. and then i'll have my degree.
This is a deeply strange concept for me. and I'm not as thrilled as ought to be, partially because i have a sneaking suspiscion that the universe isnt done screwing with me and so i may not pass.. and also because it's only been about 6 hours since i handed in my last piece of work and it hasnt caught up to me yet. But Monkey and i have some alcohol and some thai food coming and i'm rewarding myself by knitting my silk shawl. so it will come.

Those sweetpeas that has me guessing have finally come clean; pink, lavender and deep pink. they are very pretty and i love the scent.
This is one of the roses i planted a few months ago, it was really just a stick in the ground a month ago. I believe it's calle Friesia (which seems a little odd). i think of it as candlelabra because the buds and eventual flowers are very long and very yellow indeed. can't wait for it to open properly.
Oh and tonights dessert. Can't tell you how glad i am i worked so hard on the garden this winter, it's really paying off. which seems to sort of be mirroring my career now doesnt it?

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

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Monday, October 29, 2007

cashmere... yes

So i havent been blogging it, but i've been spinning cashmere. for a couple of months. I bought a 50g bag from Belisa last year at Floriade.. and then decided i really needed some more so i bought another 50g bag at THIS year's Floriade. (the fact that it wen up from $15 to $20 did not deter me for a second. nor did the fact that i had to bum the money off Taph until i found an ATM).

So yesterday i got a little OCD (possibly because i had an essay to write) and spun like a crazy thing. for, literally, about 10 hours. So yes, the old pedalling foot is sore and so is my neck... but on the other hand, i now have a 100g skein of 2ply cashmere. about 410 metres. pardon the clear and embarrasing conceit that drives me to include a million pictures.. dammit, i'm proud.
It's fine.
and look and the sheen in the sunshine!!! so luminous! arg!

oh and my Just Joey hybrid tea is out. mmmmmmm. It's not strongly scented but has that lovely soft green smell... so fresh! so green! sigh. (no, we still havent gotten a lawnmower... )

Happy Monday
Ms Spider xo

PS. do not ask about uni, do not ask. thankyou for your time.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

a Rippin day out

As some of you may know, there was a little road trip yesterday to visit the divine Helen Rippin in the country. Round up the usual suspects (georgie, neet, Taph, joods, kms, Rachel, Kai, Hannah, and a gorgeous lady who is making a baby who's name i just didnt seem to catch, sorry)

Taph, monkey and i went up together. We may have been a little late because i foolishly said "ooh look Westies" and Taph was forced by DNA to launch herself at them. The dogs clearly knew what was what and promptly ignored the little kids who were playing with them to jump about impatiently til Taph got there. They were bloody adoreable... and we managed to leave without them.. just.

We met up with the rest of the crew in town and then headed to Chez Helen. It is...
Well.It's heaven. basically.
There was knitting and some drop spindle lessons (think i missed snapping those. needless to say we have some converts in our midst. You can see a few ladies spindling - the giveaway is having a hand up in the air)

There was a colour sampling demo. (Please note Jood's wee-wee jiggle. there was excitement and a half!) I was deeply satisfied to discover that even Helen gets dye on herself occasionally.

We each ended up with a set of colour sample cards. This was so exciting!

There was a delicious lunch care of used-to-chef-Helen. There was cake for kms's bday care of georgie. there was a run to town for the atm care of Taph (yes, we all brought cash to start with...). There was severe fibre whoredom.

A joyful and educational day was had by all. i sure know what i want to do for my birthday ^_^

Thankyou Helen, for your generosity with your time and materials. Those of you wishing to enquire about fibre you left behind, or other converts from the pics of her in-house yarn store can contact her at hrippinATbigpondDOTnetDOTau. but perhaps give her a few days to recover (a phew days even?)

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

PS apologies if i havent linked you to your blog or written your name properly or remembered your name at all.. feel free to comment and i'll edit this post to fix everything.

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Friday, October 26, 2007


well thank goodness the weather broke! we had rain for a whole day and my garden is just beaming now.
Had the last lot of my hideous dentistry on wednesday arvo and i'm still struggling to open my mouth properly. nothing like several injections in the jaw to put one in a jovial mood, eh?

This is a sort of non-post, because i got ready for work but dont have to leave for the bus for 15 mins. ho hum.

i started another sock on tuesday, and I'm just loving the yarn. It's the Lincraft Hot Socks and as you can see it has a lovely long pattern repeat. And it's nice to knit with. but please, dont buy all of it before i get a chance to snap up all the other colourways...

ok, pretty much time to go now.

Peace out,
MS Spider


Monday, October 22, 2007


...and the heat thing again. When it gets above 30, my usual coping strategy is to hide indoors with the curtains drawn and flop about in my underwear. What does one do when one must teach? I got my code of professional practice book last week, and underwear on it's own is definitely out.

wish me luck and keep cool.
Ms Spider xo


Sunday, October 21, 2007

twelve-year-olds are crazy

just sayin', they might be making me a bit more that way too.
of course, the unseasonable warmth isnt helping my sanity along any. there is a small range of temperatures within which i remain composed and happy. sadly this range is between about 18 degrees celsius and... about 22. this 31 business, right in the middle of october? just plain rude.
add to that the care of 80 or so insane 12yos, buses that consider themselves on time if they arrive 7 minutes either side of their scheduled arrival time, uni work that is making my brain bleed and a Monkey who is taking to sleepwalking on a regular basis (not that he does anything particularly worrying.. he just walks into everything and wakes me up. and tackles me.).. it's fair to say i am a little stressed. and tired. i feel like i havent slept in a week.

My classes are.. interesting. There's a certain amount of power struggle whenever there's a new teacher.. always. even if you know 'em. i expected that. what i am constantly surprised with is their incredible range of bizarre behaviours designed to drive me out of my skull. half of one of my french classes launched into an extremely loud and proud rendition of the school song the other day, halfway through an explanation of verbs and why you need to say them right. top points for creativity really. then there are the two girls who ask to go to the bathroom together.. every lesson. straight away. and they ask and ask and ask until i decide that whatever they are going to do has got to be better than them annoying me and interupting my lesson. and sometimes, when they get back after 15 minutes or so, they'll say they forgot to go get a drink. They certainly found my achilles heel quickly - i take issue with this whole 'dont let them leave, they need to learn to pee/drink/get belongings at lunch/recess' thing. because, basically, stopping someone from going to the bathroom when they need to is a violation of basic human rights... and i stand by that.
i cant explain these girls in any more detail, they are nice and they like me... they just frustrate the hell out of me and clearly dont think they need to be doing any work at all.

In knitting: went to snb for a while today :) was a good turn out, lots of newbies! left sort of early with monkey to help him get some new work clothes (and because of the reasons i listed above, i'm tired and stressed and reached my fun quota for the weekend). saw three kids i've taught and they saw me. kids seem highly diverted when they discover that their teachers actually have lives outside of school, there was much pointing and whispering. If that's the reaction from a SnB sighting, i am very tempted to plop myself down outside Kingo's after school one day and have a few bevvies! maybe even bring some clubbing clothes with me and change... yeah. i know. it's sick. i just find it sooooo funny.
Finished monkey's Opal socks today too. He loves them, and is SO excited they are finished. Of course.. the heat-wave thing. oh well. (this photo brought to you by the miracle that is air-con... and he's doing a crazy foot pose. don't ask me why).
and my new Pomatomus sock is chugging along. I like the way the stitches pop out - it's a very pretty pattern indeed. I'm just not enjoying knitting it that much. I'm not sure if this is because the sock yarn i'm using is scratchy and bleeding blue dye onto my fingertips.. or the pattern itself. i find all those twisted stitches slow me down and as a rule.. i dont like being slowed down. But really.. i think it's the yarn.

Wish me luck for tomorrow. i have all three classes on!

Peace out,
Ms Spider

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

you know you're a teacher when... pass out on the couch before 9pm.

goodnight xo

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yup, is done. And because i can't photograph myself we have two almost identical pics.I likes it. i think it will need to be worn in a little - the velvet ribbon is a bit stiff and i need to find a clasp i really like. but yes, c'est finit!

Ms Spider xo

PS yes, those are all my circs hanging above my left shoulder.

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teaching and the like

So this week i started my semi-part-time un-official-better-not-call-it-a-contract contract teaching.
i have three year 7 classes (that means i am teaching about 80 12 to 13 year olds). My english class is extended academically (a good thing) but was unfortunately also extended numerically. It was supposed to have 27 students.. now i have 31. As a result there are not enough copies of the class novel returned to the library so i have been READING to them. insert croaky voice here. (well i was buggered if i was going to let them drag out the 'but we cant do anything Miss...' thing. This way we can do vocab and all sorts of stuff). They are a good bunch of kids and i'm pretty happy with this class... though i may need to get a nice loud whistle. classy eh?

I also have two french classes but have only had the opportunity to teach one of them so far. It's.. an ok group. there are a few students who are in serious need of extension while they are still interested.. and then there are the ones who hate french, hate reading, hate school.. and would basically rather be anywhere else. So far i don't seem to have any kids who actively hate me but i suspect that will change when i get to my other french class tomorrow. I'm struggling with this group a fair bit.. mostly because they are all at different levels. I cant spend the time with the advanced kids that they want.. because i'm too busy confiscating phones, cards, game-boy thingies, make-up, permanent markers and handcuffs (yes, really. Handcuffed his friend to the desk. That was exactly as funny as it sounds.. but i wasnt really supposed to laugh. i did anyway). I'm sure i'll figure out a balance sooner or later.

the other french class is.. well. we call them les garcons horribles. this is basically all the really really really out there boys i had for english during my internship... they struggled with english. picture me trying to get them to give a damn about another language that they dont even want to learn. There's only so far they'll go with a bribe of learning some obscenities (hey, it's still learning!!).

I'm nearing the second toe of my cashmere socks. so yummy :)

and today i finally bought some velvet ribbon so i could finish my cambio. I'm currently sewing it on by hand, and hope to have it done tonight. stay alert - there may be pictures tonight!

Thanks again for all the kind words. Working is helping, i can focus on the kids needs and my work and.. well. we all know i love it.

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

PS. may have let a class run away with me a little the other day... someone up the back started singing 'Baby got back".... until i took over. do you think singing "that butt you got make me so horny" is covered by the teacher's professional guide of practice?


Saturday, October 13, 2007

my backyard

Ok, this is a second attempt at showing you all my back garden, so hopefully the pics will load this time.

Firstly a shot of the two flowers beds i have put in myself. The first one was last year with a lot of help from Monkey (who somehow became Sherpa again in my last post.. go figure) and the second (and farther away one) i did all by my lonesome. I am rather proud, it was HARD work. The plants you can see (just) in the farther garden bed are three new rose bushes i put in a few months ago, some cornflowers, cosmos, snapdragons and the only thing to flower so far, pansies.I actually only bought these to help me work out a sock yarn colourway (ask Tinkingbell or Georgie) but they are such happy little chaps and are running rather rampant!

In the vege garden my broad beans are flowering away.. i was a little worried i had planted them too late, but so far so good. You can see failed brussels sprouts and a cabbage in the background too.
My sweet-pea is in flower. So far they are all pink, but i'm hoping there's some more colour in there.. maybe a dark red or purple..

My real proud garden moment this year has been totally re-doing a side garden bed. It was.. sad. sunken. full of suckers from a neighbours tree, rocks, and a Spikey Bush of Doom (official name - it served no purpose except drinking all the water, growing too tall for the space and being very very very dangerously spikey).
So on my weekends i have been tackling this issue. i dont think i actually have any before pictures which is rather unfortunate. Wait! a year old, but it will do. Note the unbalanced spiky bush (away from us) the rampant lemon balm, decent strawberries (and teapots of course).
Now (from the other end):Thyme, dill, sage, oregano, mint (in the pot to stop it taking over), spearmint, basil, fours kinds of lettuce, rocket, cornflowers, cosmos, sweet marjoram and some slightly subdued lemon balm. Righ at the other end you may notice greenery. This is my rescued and rebuilt strawberry patch (with one sucker i just cant budge... note the assault marks)
This garden had a lot of soil added to it, compost matter, rocks removed, aeration... it was work. and it looks great now, i am SO happy with it. and the berries are growing to decent sizes too! amazing what a bit of love will do for strawbs, they're very resiliant! these were all (except a few new plants) dug up, seperated, roots removed, you name it, and here they are chirpy as can be!

Of course, in the garden of chez spidey you would expect to see yarn...a skein of 10ply wool in 'Denim' drying. mmmm yarn....

Thanks for the kind words.. it's just one of those things i have to struggle through. I'm trying to take care of myself.. and Monkey is being wonderful. i think he feels bad for not realising sooner.. but it ain't his fault if i pretend everything's great is it?

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend... i may or may not have cast on another pair of socks. sigh.

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo

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Friday, October 12, 2007

black dogs and garden tours

I'm having a strange week. Anyone who is watching the SSS blog will know i appear to be churning out socks at a rate of knots. It's not as bad as it looks, i had quite a few half pairs (and still do) and am just trying to get on top of them. but still, 12 days in and i'm 5 socks down.

Also this week i was forced to admit to Sherpa that my black dog is well and truly hunkered down.. and has been for some time. I think its been since i first went to the dentist and got told i needed root canal on top of $2500 worth of cavity dealing-with-ness.
I'm ok with my black dog usually. I mean, it's not my favourite thing, but i cope. I hand in essays, i dye yarn (not as diligently mind you), i go to work. and the only way i cope, really, is to pretend it isnt happening. Just get on with it, you know? and while Sherpa needed to know.. because it's starting to effect my uni work and there is mild concern about not finishing this year (which would KILL me) and of course it's his business because.. thats a full-paid job next year i'd be missing if i dont graduate... it kind of sucked to have to admit it. Because now it's out there and i feel worse. the rug has been pulled out from underneath me and i'm sitting here feeling sore and naked. so that kind of sucks.

to distract us from such sombre-ness, i'm going to take you on a tour of the garden. It's nearly a year since the first one, so i thought it was about time.

My own little Floriade: i put in some tulip bulbs months ago and totally forgot what colours i had, so it was a real treat when they finally exploded.
The banksia rose out the front. Gorgeous plant, didnt get great flowers last year because i HAD to prune the thing back (it was totally taking over). now of course the weight of the flowers is pulling it over and i need to wire it a bit.. train it to give some shade (i see myself with a little garden seat having a nice summer reading nook).
Random pink flowered plant that suddenly flowers when one least expects it. I never water it so it must be pretty resilient.
Random blue bush. i should know the name but i dont. all i know is it sheds little white stamen things in my hair when i walk under it, and the bees go nuts for it.

Now blogger is being cranky and refusing more pics. Lets call this part one and i'll show you the back garden another time.

Peace out,
Ms Spider xo


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

hee hee hee hee!

I love the internets...


Sunday, October 07, 2007

This whole Southern Summer of Socks thing has started rather well for me i think. I appear to be three socks down after a week.. is that insane?

the spider-web sockies were ok.. I mean, the beading was wicked fun.. and love the way they look... though once you get past the interesting beaded chart bit.. they're pretty dull. i mean, black stocking st on 2.5mms? i really wouldnt have finished so quickly if i hadnt had to go to a tedious all-day conference at uni on friday.. so let that calm those hyper-ventilating out there.

and i already had one of the peacock socks knit before this week.. one that i started back in August. so it's not as productive as it looks.. promise.

i hope everyone had a tremendous weekend.
Ms Spider xo

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Friday, October 05, 2007

blech ahoy

So i finished the stupid essay.. and it really REALLY is. ugh. And i am good at essays. i am brilliant at essays. I tutor kids doing the AST in essay writing for chrissakes. and if i had a decent topic, i'd get an HD no worries. As it is I'm hoping to pass. Ps make degrees people!

And just to top off my uni 'joy', today there is an all day 'mini-conference' on socio-cultural politics in education. most of them will be in lecture theatres ('Hello spider socks") but a few of my peers opted to do a presentation instead of an essay... suckers! so we get to watch them in smaller rooms and people will notice the knitter (though i can always argue with this subject that it's a part of my personal cultural identity and their lack of tolerance is offensive... which it is of course. but then i'd be a tosser like all of them.. and i'm much more likely to be honest and say "how else am i supposed to get through this? - valium is a prescription drug").

Anyway, i did have some knitting time yesterday while recovering from dental work (my favourite) and as a result I am up to the second heel flap. WHich is nice.. they are chugging along for what is essentially black stocking stitch.. but it does mean i now have no beading to bribe myself with. oh well.. i'm sure black 4ply stocking stitch will seem fascinating after 10 minute of mini-conference hell. They are pretty though arent they? i love beads.. and these socks rock. I'd better work out what's next though, or i'll finish and be all forlorn. my second peacock sock i suppose... remember your goals spidey, finish those WIPs!

Ok, better go eat something... academics are even more boring when i have low blood sugar.

Peace out y'all
Ms Spider xo

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


Have i mentioned that i hate Uni? I do. It's pov. Right now i'm writing a 2000 word essay, analysing the key socio-cultural political issues explored within an Australian film. yup. I was going to do Lantana but i found it too depressing: i believe in marriage!
So, after checking it was ok, i'm doing Summer Heights High. Which is HILARIOUS. I dare anyone who has worked in a school to watch it and not find it funny. dare you. However, I am being reminded of an old quote i hold dear:

'Humour is like a frog: dissect it and it dies'
Mark Twain

Lets just say the essay are poo (just to illustrate how much it is hurting my ability to make sense as well). Binary thinking, heteronormativity, queer theory...

How about: it's just funny?
How about: kids are both bastards and sweethearts.
How about: no amount of thinking about human diversity will stop you from being a bigot if you really believe what you believe.
How about: interview every kid, teacher and parent i've ever dealt with and ask them if i respect and value diversity... in fact, ask them if it ever came up. Ask them if i was more concerned with the student's well-being and achievement than tip-toeing around their 'personal cultural fingerprint".

Ok, rant over. One term to go, 'Breathe, Spidey, breathe'.

Probably won't make it to SnB tonight. This essay is due tomorrow evening and i could knock it over in a couple of hours (if it wasnt so painful to write i need to take breaks) but unfortunately the next stage of my dental excavation is this morning and, as Monkey so gently reminds me, i tend to take a couple of days to recover form the injections. delicate flower that i am.

(lets pretend i have a picture of me drooling, half my face paralysed, passed out on the couch to illustrate Monkey's point shall we?)

I've finished the first Spider-Web Sock and am into the chart on the web sock.. naughty naughty. Have to have something to knit at the bullshite 'mini-conference' on friday: a whole day of new age academics wafting on about all this personal cultural identity crap... and then i get to write a report about it! wish you were me?

Peace out
Ms Spider xo

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Ok, so who guessed it was school holidays?
yeah. I know. and yes, i do have uni work to do, and lesson plans to prepare for next term.. and all that jazz.

but right now?
right now i'm loving the look of silver beads on black merino.. mmmmmmm tasty!

This is the leg part of the spider sock (rather than the web sock) and i'm using my foot to stretch it out enough for the spider to be clear.. pretty or what? it's just about time to heel-flap bab-ay!

Peace out
Ms Spider

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wheat-ear cable yoke

(those who may be wondering, i do actually have a perfectly serviceable pair of eyebrows.. they just seem to have absconded for this photo. you try looking into the sun at 9am .... with a monkey pulling faces at you).

In case i haven't made all my pattern specs clear.. Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke by Pam Allen from Interweave Knits Summer 2007. i used 8.5 5og balls of cleckheaton country 8-ply. addi turbos in 4, 4.5 and 5mm...
i think that's about it..? nag me if you need more detail, k?

Now i'm off to knit some socks y'all!

Ms Spider

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Monday, October 01, 2007

public holidays are go!

so my monkey is home :) and as almost his first act once through the front door.. he broke one of my tape measures. He did try to fix it, which i found deeply hilarious. i share for your viewing pleasure.
His being home has naturally been somewhat of a handicap to my knitting.. yet here we are nonetheless:
today is of course the first day of the Southern Summer of Socks and i have a new pattern, yarn and beads and have cast on.. but tragically i have reached the yoke of my sweater and it whimpers at me if i leave it alone.
so SSS has started for me... but wont get properly underway until i have cast off the sweater i think. but really... cables. do you blame me?

Oh and i finished my first peacock sock.. so the pattern is pretty much sorted but i'm too frazzled at the moment to sort out a pdf..I've been thinking about SSS and what i want my goals to be. it would be fair to say i'm in my element with socks.. and knowing me, giving a quantity i want complete is less that useful. all i will say is i want to:

  • Complete (or frog) and unfinished pairs.
  • Write up all my sock patterns properly, as in pdf files.
Does that sound reasonable?

happy day off to all Aussies!
Peace Out,
Ms Spider

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