Monday, November 29, 2010

Bolero testing

Lately I have been doing a lot of testing.  Not sure why.  I think I like to knit under pressure - makes something get done.
Could be the excitement of knitting a pattern that is limited edition so to speak.
Might be the fact that for some of the patterns people can't wait to see the projects coming out so they get lots of "love".

Whatever it is that attracts me to them, I do too many.  Usually I am pretty good and get them out on time.  Lately there have been a couple of exceptions to this rule (mostly as a result of life throwing weird stuff at me, and having to reorganise my life on a daily basis!!)

When Kath produced images of her little blossum bolero, I fell in love!  Could be the fact that everyone has a soft spot for matching flower girls, but I just knew that this was a knitted item that my crazy daughter might wear!  I put my name down for testing it, and a couple of weeks ago the pattern came up for testing.

I've knitted it in purewool, a uruguayan 3 ply wool that is lovely and soft, not badly priced, but pills like a MF and stretches terribly out of shape if you don't knit it tight!

I'm very happy with the result.  It wouldn't be the combination I would choose, but there is something nice about pandering to your child's wishes, and actually making something they want to wear, not what you would like them to wear.  She wanted the ruffle, she got the ruffle.  I wanted to do the lovely picot edging or perhaps the lace ruffle, but J won.

So there are several combos of sleeve and edging in this pattern, its a lovely fit and a reasonably easy and quick knit.  Well worth it I'd say!
To be released on December 1st I believe.  Go for it :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nitrogen Purge

I had restless dreams last night.  Mostly about the poor miners and their families.

All night I kept yelling out "purge the mine with nitrogen!!".  I was thinking about this a couple of days ago when it was still a rescue operation, but later I realised if they purged the mine with nitrogen, it would take away the breathable air too, and if anyone was alive, they would suffocate.

For those that are unaware, the air around us is approx 79% nitrogen gas, and 21% oxygen (with a few other bits in there as well).  The nitrogen is inert - meaning it doesn't react with our bodies or easily take part in chemical reactions.  So we breathe it in and out, and it doesn't take part in respiration.

If the rescuers flooded the mine with nitrogen gas (instead of normal air which has oxygen in it), it could displace all the toxic gases, possibly put out any remaining fires and push out all the wastes through a vent.  Meaning that for a short amount of time the explosive combos inside would be eliminated and the recovery of the bodies could go ahead.

I see from several articles this morning they are already considering purging the mines with carbon dioxide or nitrogen, so I think its just a matter of getting the generator in, and starting the process.

My gut feel is that the poor men in there probably suffocated very quickly after the first explosion.  While there was a compressed air line going into the mine, chances are the first explosion knocked many of them out, and then the carbon monoxide gases generated from the incomplete combustion of the coal and methane just kept them unconscious until their bodies shut down.  Probably a very peaceful way to go.  Hopefully the search and recovery reveals this was the case.

My heart goes out to the whole community.  We watched all the faces and realised that they could have all been men we have both worked with in various industrial environments.  So, so sad.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 days of Christmas swap

Over on Ravelry (my haunt for knitting related guff), the NZ and Aussie knitters organised a small swap for the 12 days of Christmas.
The idea was - 12 gifts, one to be opened each day, max $30-40 spend, and the last day is to be something substantial.

My swap partner is the lovely Hannah aka Rainbowchild, and I have had alot of fun getting it all together, but its done and ready to be posted!

Its all a bit out there, and I think on some days she will think I'm a bit odd, but on other days I think I've hit it on the head.

I've photographed everything individually, so I plan to do a daily reveal of the gift I have received, and the gift I sent.  I'm really looking forward to this!  Except that gifts 4,5,6 are inside gift 3, which is wrapped, and I can't remember the order.....  And gift 3 is actually quite nicely wrapped, so I dont want to pull it apart just to check my numbers.  So 4,5,6 will be on the day 6 all together.

To whet Hannah's appetite, here is the total package ready to be sent out.  Wrapped of course!

Fun fun fun!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wow - wierd.....

So I checked this blog today to see if there were any comments (and thanks for your lovely comments from the other day, they mean alot to me) and I see there are a stack of hits from somewhere called

So I went to the site to see what it was, and its a forum you can't access.....  So what were they looking at on my little old blog?

The last couple of days have been scary in little old NZ.  The miners in the South Island dominate the news, and its really terrible.  I have never worked in mining, but I have been in industrial environments for much of my professional career as an engineer, and an operator in petrochemical.

I don't think people realise how hard it is to mount a rescue campaign.  Having trained in rescue, hot fire training, first aid, ammonia suits and BA gear, I know what its like to wear the gear and have to carry people out...  I know what its like to be blinded by smoke and have to crawl through a hot-house with all the gear on.

It sucks, and the thought of the poor rescuers having to tramp through a dark mine, in an explosive, toxic environment and not know if they will have enough O2 to make it out again - belies belief. 

I really feel for all the community down there. Greymouth is such a small community, everyone will be affected by it.

Puts a brain tumour in perspective really.

Friday, November 19, 2010


At the moment lots of people are telling me how strong I am.

I guess for many people, what I am dealing with right now is a total nightmare.  I mean who really imagines their life partner is going to have brain surgery when you are due to have a baby in 3months.

I didn't expect it.  Nothing like this has happened in my family.  Bad things have happened in Shane's family, and they have a bit more practise with it all, but for me this is all new.

So I guess I am just muddling through it.  I put on the brave front when dealing with the doctor's and the kids, and when noone is listening I let out a big sob and kick something.  Driving by myself is when I really get the tears flowing, but the problem with that is I get a bright red rudolph nose when I cry that takes about 30mins to settle down.

Life isn't fair.  And good people put up with fucking horrible shit.  This is hard, and its the uncertainty that is the hardest.  Just when we think we have got over another hurdle, we got 2 steps back.

Today Shane started having seizures.  They were like skipping CD's, but they lasted about 2-5mins each.  His head sort of flicks, and he can't get the words out - like a tic or a bad stutter.  I sent him by ambulance to hospital, and he was discharged 3 hrs later with a new script.
Now I can't look at him in case he has another.

I really want to just curl up in a little ball most days and close my eyes, and rock quietly, but unfortunately there is just noone else around to do all the jobs.  So I keep doing it all, hoping that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that bad things happened, and while our situation is bad, it could be a lot worse.  So while it looks like I'm strong, I'm not sure I am.  Maybe I'm a bit of a Prince William and Kate - ducks calm on the surface while their little legs are scrambling under the surface.

Some respite would be good.  Just a few days of how life used to be, and then I can do another month of this.  But I guess thats what strength is.  Knowing that unfortunately when you get up in the morning, its going to be the same as it was today.  And still getting up anyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pterodactyl Poo

This was on my car when I came out of Jenna's ballet exam this morning.
Hamish and I examined it closely.

Given we were not parked under a tree, I decided it must have been a very large bird to fly and launch it because there is a large amount of matter in this baby.  (pictured with a AA battery for size comparison....)

The only thing we could come up with is, it had to have been a Pterodactyl.  Granted they haven't been sighted in a few million years, but what other flying creature could have done this.  It wasn't a sparrow, we don't live anywhere near the coast, ducks aren't flying around at the mo, and it wasn't in the country.

Hamish likes the idea of it being a pterodactyl too.....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've always been a massive reader.  It started in childhood with books about Ramona, magical trees, fairies and witches, princesses, detectives called Nancy and many, many more.
There have been classics I haven't read - like Tolkien, just cause I never really got into them.  I didn't love CS Lewis either, but I made up for it through my early teens reading Fiona Kidman, Tessa Duder, Janet Frame, Maurice Gee, Alex Haley and even attempting Tolstoy when I was about 14.....

So give me a book and I will read it.  I'm not fussy about genre.  I do romance to horror, mystery to fantasy, tear jerkers to war stories, but generally prefer fiction (or escapism as I like to call it....)

Recently a family friend had a pile of books to give away from her neighbour who was moving. Beauty I thought, and I went through the pile able to take what I wanted!  There were loads of books in my reading list, and I took a chance on a couple.

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall was a pleasant surprise, and I plan to hunt out more of her books next time I am at the library.  There is a sequel, called the Concubine's Secret, and I think that will be top of the holiday reading.

I also adore Jeffrey Archer, but I find the books follow a similar recipe, so the three I got will have to be spaced out over the next few months otherwise they are just too predictable.  The latest I read was Son's of Fortune, a good bit of escapism, but very, very predictable.

There was Four fires by Bryce Courtenay, who I have struggled with since April Fools Day depressed me terribly.  Although he does have a few brownie points from The Power of One, so I'll give him another crack.

Several years ago a friend put me onto the Jean M Auel books, and I read the first 3.  I was told mistakenly that the author had died, so I put the end to reading the series cos thats just frustrating... (Think Stephen King and the Dark Tower series - give me a break, over 20 years before the first and last books????)

But surprisingly this stash had the first 5 books of the series!  I snapped them up, and I am looking forward to the days when I can sit down and read them all, one after the other (And I have just read there is another one being released in 2011).

I do like a good series.  I loved the twilight books, trashy as they were.  I can re-read books a number of times, and the second time I read the whole series, it was within 48hrs.  I'm not sure how many pages that is, but its alot.......  I didn't sleep much that weekend!

So here is my stash of books.

Many are packed away, and some are in other homes.  My childhood books (until I went to uni) are all still with my parents, and one day all the grandkids will hopefully get as much pleasure from them as I did.  The books are double in each of the shelves, and even then they don't fit in, and many of these travelled around NZ, over to Oz, from Brisbane to Melbourne to Geelong, and back over to NZ again.  I have trouble getting rid of them...... There are probably only one or two I haven't read (not for lack of trying) and most I have read more than once.

I just love books.  Reading is good for the soul, and I hope I pass on my love of books to my kids.  So far it seems to be working as both are often found asleep in their beds with books around them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No new crafty stuff....

Nope.  Nothing.  Shane went back into hospital again this week, and so the week went a bit topsy turvy.  I suspect life is going to be like that alot over the next year or so.
He has found out that he is profoundly deaf in his RH side at higher frequencies, and moderately deaf at the lower frequencies.  This is OK.  Its not ideal, but its OK.
The interesting thing is the ear works fine, but the nerves seem to be damaged from the surgery removing the tumour.  It might work again one day, but likely not.

I have a birthday party this morning with Miss 5.  Fun times.  Such lovely kids and parents, but I just don't love parties.  And everyone will ask how he is.  And I'll have to explain things 10 times over.

Sigh - at least this baby inside seems to be doing all the right things - especially growing.  Hard to believe I still have 9 or so weeks to go!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A bit of a redesign.

Lets see how long it lasts.
I like red, but I'm not sure its calming.

Lots of sewing this afternoon, I was getting somewhere quickly until the bobbin ran out in a particularly tricky seam, and I flagged it all.
Hoping to get my giveaway photographed tomorrow so that I can start collecting names.

Pretty easy to give something away when only a couple of people read the blog - hahahaha!

I'm also working on a fabulous swap that I am really enjoyingto be sent to the lovely Hannah (Rainbowchild) in about 3 weeks time.  Only 6 items to finish!