Monday, November 19, 2012

One-Seam Clutch: March 9th to 13th.

On my app I can see words people in my area are looking up. Someone on Esplanade East is trying to work out the difference between 'wondering' and 'wandering' (I wonder which one they are doing?). I am taking a wide detour around Nott Street when I go out because someone there has looked up both 'influenza' and 'hives' (eek). Somebody close to HMAS Lonsdale searched 'sociopath'—are they with one? Want to be one? There is someone looking up 'shrug' near the Cricketer's Arms. Maybe they are looking at the one I have for sale on ebay. It'll look great on you sir or ma'am from near the Cricketer's Arms (Antonia Shrug). And kudos to the person in South Melbourne who looked up 'antidisestablishmentarianism'—you took me back to my geeky teenage years in a single word. But, on a darker note, someone just under, or maybe above, the mad, seven level freeway interchange in Docklands has looked up 'retrospective'—should I be concerned? How on earth have we become so familiar with strangers? Apps, especially in combination with Location Services, freak me out a little. Okay, a lot.

Apps can do-anything-we-can-do-better? I bought one into which I am loading photos of all the clothes I own. You can then, as one person commented, choose what you want to wear from bed rather than having to rifle through your actual closet. Two things. One: Is it odd if I do that with my uniform too—'Mmmm, navy skirt or navy pants? With navy polo or navy shirt? Horrible cardi, or no horrible cardi? Let me just see how the outfits work together again. Sounds like a great excuse—another great excuse—to delay getting out of bed. Two: Why is that nightmare trap of a device, the i-Pad, reachable from my bed anyway? If it is, it probably meant I haven't had any sleep because I was a: playing WordWelder, b: playing Angry Birds, c: looking at Pinterest, d: commenting on blogs, or e: all of the above.

And because my brain nearly exploded looking for examples in the AppShop, I just googled 'odd apps' and found the following:

* an app that counts the calories in the photo of the food you just sent it. (I'd make the meal in the photo look smaller by placing fake big things near it to try and trick the app. I know I would.)

* an app that tells you if you are too close to the car in front of you while you are driving. (Is this something to do with phones in cars killing people—surely it is just safer to look at the car in front of you and make some sort of an informed decision. That reasoning and deductive capability is theoretically part of the reason they awarded you a license in the first place.)

* an app that records all the details of where you went and the texts and phone calls you made while on your drunken spree. (Don't know if it is admissable in a court of law, and it certainly won't negate any of the things you said, wrote or did, but at least you'll be aware of them. And hopefully be better equipped to start sorting out the aftermath.)

(Via James Kendrick)

Then googling about them made my brain explode too ....

I think my brain is on a hair trigger. I'll leave app-exploration up to you. Let me know what you find.

Poignantly, what with emotions and brain triggers and the like, Osho is talking about moods. Ten weeks spent learning a new work skill, with the chance that you don't in the end get to be deemed 'competent', 'yet', followed by a couple of weeks of having being deemed so and now trying to actually do it without the training wheels, means moods have been a prominent feature of my immediate past. And there I was wasting all that time when I could have been using 'method to enlightenment' instead of just getting pissed off. And I like this upcoming idea because, for me, it negates the need to actually have anyone else involved in your moods or emotions ('coz that just makes things messy). This method says: When a mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered. That is, moods are all about you. Only you. Emotion wells up, or appears suddenly, and you project it out onto what you believe is its cause. You're angry with someone, or love someone. Or something. The other person or thing becomes the centre, the focus of that emotion. Osho says, instead, follow the emotion back to its source—your center. It is (I think), in this scheme of finding your center, an easy-to-follow roadmap. I feel an affinity with this method. Maybe I use it without realising—although not nearly enough because its always easier to put emotion onto a third person than to see it in your self. Emotion is your reaction to something. Never actually caused by someone else. People can, and do, do awful, and wonderful, things to other people, but no matter what they do, the way we feel is ultimately up to us. Simplistic, sure. Idealistic, I agree. Not always going to be achievable, no argument. But if you can take a moment, when emotion starts to leave you, to look at it, explore it, follow it to its source, then you can see it starts in you not in someone else and so it is yours to control. This isn't exactly what Osho is talking about here. But this has certainly stopped me saying things in anger or hate or disappointment or sadness over the years, things that would have caused more trouble than the relief you think they'll bring. Saying hurtful things doesn't change the way other people treat you, but knowing why you are reacting to the way they treat you makes you stronger.

Ah, if only philosophy and the way we actually ran our lives were highways travelling in the same direction!

The to-be-felted clutch that you can see in macro above is made from a beige pure wool and a brown re-utilised wool blend from a beautiful men's jumper that I bought from the op-shop (thrift store) and deconstructed. I've not felted anything before so we'll see how we go. The emotive words you see in the other photos are some i-cord and wire knitted emotions I made for a totally unsuccessful, but fun, pop-up shop we had in our front yard just before Christmas. Perfect for this blog. And now a perfect segue for me to wish you all (now that it is over) a fabby Silly Season and a crafty 2013! I'll be continuing to finish items off and post about my interpretations of Osho, but I also have a new project for 2013—completely mad and way more time consuming than I thought. See it here: Fur Earwig

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Staghorn Cable Wrist Warmers: March 7th to 8th.

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I have been training in a new role at work (eek) and it has been taking away all my knitting and writing time. The sooner someone can start paying me to do these things instead, the better. Sugar Daddies can apply in remarks section—only serious, non-perverted offers accepted.

Fore warned: Turns out I am going to rave and rant in this post too/two posts in a row. This isn't planned for your discomfort, it just turned out that way.

Arm-twisted by the desire to spread the good news that I was blogging and needed an audience, I joined up on Facebook. My password betrays my reluctance—it is something along the lines of 'icantbelieveihavegotsodesperate113'. I fully expected to see pictures of my friends' children, cats, drunken exploits and holiday antics. But I didn't expect to be scrolling through the everyday only to be confronted with a skeletal picture of a dog. Graphic, disturbing. I can't remember the exact circumstances except to say that the poor thing had ended up in a rubbish skip or similar for a very long time, unable, possibly through to injury, to get out, and that when found it was still alive but in this horrible condition. I was shocked and very saddened. And this is where the raving begins. Because thousands of people, in a show of solidarity against, and abhorrence toward, the perpetrator of this horrible act had 'Liked' the post. 'Like' in the Facebook world loses its normal meaning, but I still have trouble accepting the liking of bad or distressful news. It emphasises, to me, a removed and superficial emotional attatchment to what happens in the world around us, to what happens to our fellow man and beast. But what irks me most of all, is that it gives the 'liker' the impression that in making a 'like' protest, they are doing something meaningful. I'll say 'to me' again because maybe I am getting it all wrong, but to me it seems that 'liking' atrocities becomes a substitute for taking meaningful action, as a society, against the wrong that befalls it. It has, to me, the equivalent value of carbon offsetting—it justifies changing nothing in your behaviour while at the same time alleviating your guilt!

Slavoj Zizek [the Slovenian Marxist philosopher and cultural critic; you know the one—he starred in a great series, put all together for a Melbourne Film Festival movie one year, which was a marxo-psychoanalytical take on the Hitchcock oeuvre, yeah, him, the one with the lisp] puts it succinctly:
The threat today is not passivity, but psuedo-activity, the urge to 'be active', to 'participate', to mask the nothingness of what goes on.*
I am being harsh. There are lots and lots of people who go out of their way to make their convictions real. And, as I sat and looked at this awful picture that I didn't want to see, I couldn't even begin to say what it was I needed to actually do to have a meaningful reaction, and consequent action, to what had happened. It reminded me of how helpless we feel against what happens to us. Or others. The sad thing is that, properly directed, that people power, those thousands of 'likes', could change things. We forget that governments work for us, not the other way around. We have allowed our ability to personally act to be taken away from us: we don't have to be responsible for anything. We throw money at things. There is always someone we will pay to do what needs to be done—fixing our cars, looking after our children, building our Ikea furniture, stopping world hunger, fixing the hole in the ozone layer. And we have gotten so small in our communities—possibly even so that each community in the modern first-world numbers exactly one inhabitant—that we have forgotten what we can do as a group. What we can do meaningfully, not just as a token thumbs-up on a social network.

But here I falter again. What should we do? What stops that poor dog ending up dumped in a skip? How do we stop a person from regarding life, any life, as so worthless that an action like that is justifiable to them? Maybe it gets down to not accepting it, any of it. If all you want to do is click a button, then do it on something that will make a difference—like Start your very own petition even—My Petition. If you can be bothered getting off the couch, go down to your local elected members office and talk to them about what it is you need changed and how to go about it. Volunteer. Sometimes I feel like the only thing I could positively do is get into politics itself and change things that way. But then I look at politicians and wonder if they started by thinking like that and ended up how we see them now. Maybe all you can do is introduce yourself to your neighbour. And then the one on the other side. Take an interest in what matters to them and help and support them in those things. Already that's a community of three. But will the only people who'll do that be people who want to make a difference? Are we already too late because in the bigger scheme of things so many people just don't care enough to care. How very sad.

Before you get mad at me and my negative world view, please remember two things: I am naturally cynical and loathing of what I perceive to be the horribleness of human nature; and; I work in an industry where I witness that horribleness more often than most people usually do.

What would Osho have to say about my negative overview of humanity. The way I read it, he thinks humanity is lower than a rock. Okay, what he actually said was that man (and I presume by man he also means woman) is stonier than a rock.'If you can love a rock, then you can love a man.' Mmm, I'll start with rocks. This project Osho would like us to feel, really, truly, all-absorbingly, feel an object. Any object. But one that you like is preferable. The rock is a hard start; he recommends a rose. Touch it, smell it, become it. Lose yourself to it to the point where all else around you is absent. Once you are absorbed in it, and once all else is gone, then leave your object. In leaving it when all else is gone you enter the nothingness, the void, even the abyss, of pure light and consciousness—Nirvana.

His little piece of advise is don't try to do it all in one sitting: feel the item repeatedly over time until you can really loose yourself in it and loose all around it. Then do that for a bit longer. A little longer again. And then, then let go. It won't work if you try to manage it between two and three tomorrow afternoon.

About the wrist warmers. I think they are sort of cute. And it is not just because of their proximity to Lollii. They are made from cream pure wool and what I plan to do with them when I finally get around to it in about a decade will probably look outdated but seems hot right now! It'll come back in style one day.

*Violence, Slavoj Zizek, Profile Books, 2008, page: 183.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quick Feather and Fan Afghan: March 5th to 6th.

Whatever you do, do not join Pinterest. It will take more of your time than playing Angry Birds, Seven Little Words and doing your washing, and then ironing and hanging it—all combined—will. More time than having a job. Why do you think this blog is so far behind (beside the inordinate amount of time knitting takes, of course, silly me.) BUT. That said, I think I may have changed the world with Pinterest. One pin at a time. It may also have nothing at all to do with me. There was this pin. It has a man in the background, crouching down, gazing thoughtfully at the camera. Superimposed onto it is the following:
Smart girls are the overthinkers, the insecure ones, the different ones. they know what the real world is like. They analyze every little thing in life. Why? To avoid getting hurt. To find happiness. They stay up at night trying to think about every possible situation to get through all the problems. They think too much. They trust less people. Their insecurity proves their respect towards themselves. Of course they try to live away from a drama-filled life. Smart girls know their worth, now that's the ones worth keeping by your side.
Beside being insulting in its absolute condescension, this actually treats smart girls like fools! People. When are you going to understand the difference between less and fewer! If you can count it, even if it takes an awfully, awfully long time, like to seven billion, four hundred and twenty-eight million, nine hundred and three thousand, four hundred and twelve, it is fewer! Like people. You can count people, trustworthy or not. If you can't count it, technically, without a staff of millions and an infinity in which to do it, like stars, grains of sugar or happiness, then it is less. Not like people. You can count people.

And. If Mr Crouchy is trying to bed women by appealing to their brains, then he should try to come over a little smarter himself. He really has a problem with counting, although possibly not with the amount of space between himself and a smart girl. This and that are singular; these and those are plural. 'Smart girls' is the subject. The subject is plural. One and two is three. Those are the ones worth keeping by your side. If they actually were by his side though, then it would be these—those denotes distance. But he is right, I think he is talking about the girls as they wisely run miles away from him.

This is a much extended version of the comments I left on this particular pin when I found it. (Lucky you. If you were on Pinterest instead of here you could have missed the ramble, had a sneer or a giggle, and moved onto the next picture.) The other day, while trawling through pictures I noticed the same post. Except. This time. Oh, my Lord. The grammar was correct. They had also shifted out Mr Crouchy and replaced him with a dude from the 'hood' with a humongously peaked baseball cap and diamonds the size of Liz Taylor's in his ears. (Breaking stereotypically biased ideas of who can and can't speak grammatically?) I was convinced I had finally got someone to see reason with regard to the world of grammar. But searching Pinterest by the key words 'smart' and 'girl' has since brought up so many versions of the same saying, most correct, only the original still wrong, that I realise I had no effect but to spend so much time on Pinterest that I managed to see both versions. In the end, beside regarding 'less' and 'fewer', and 'this', 'that', 'these' and 'those', my only advise still is don't join Pinterest.

The impetus for this rant was not only Pinterest. This project coincided, all those months ago, with World Spelling Day. Another coincidence: I started writing this blog on the day I posted the last. September 24th. National Punctuation Day*. Freakey, eh? And I will endeavour to have this project finished a year after it was started (the current estimate is probably right on track for that date), March 4th. You guessed it. National Grammar Day. The project is an Afghan. Since my frugal purchasing of the materials for it, I have discovered an afghan is actually a blanket. This will be a blanket for small people or animals. Or a shawl, which is what I previously thought an afghan was. It is created in Moda Vera's Marvel, a one hundred percent acrylic yarn (soft and washable, hey acrylic has it's merits). It is a nifty little pattern that uses two yarns in an aa, ab, bb combination. My colours are a black and a changeable in dark brown, mid brown and a silvery blue.

When I was a child I was subject to bouts of tonscillitus. We were camping. With lots of people and a really big tent. I got sick again and I can vividly remember my Mum and Dad pulling up at the hospital and telling me to go inside. I didn't want to go in by myself. It was scary. Turns out that my childhood memory was a fever-induced dream. But for years I thought it was real. [Freud, jump on that little percieved snippet of parental-child relationship malfunction will you.] In a way, this memory, in its falsity, is a boon with regards to what Osho is (I think) trying to say this project. It is complicated, but basically the goal, or the goal of the path, or the path of the goal, is to be able to remove your reality from your body, mind and place in time. You are none of the latter three. It gets back to creating a gap (remember all those breathing gaps early on in the game?) Start with your day. As you lie in bed, go backwards through your day, rewinding it. This apparently has many benefits health wise, like loosening a tightly wound screw (especially if you are stress-bunny orientated). But it also has the effect of making you a viewer rather than a participator—bingo, gap! In time, start to do that with your whole life. By creating the gap between the essential you and the you that things happen to, you make the two visible as seperate. You enable the realisation that the fundamental you exists. My false memory creates a gap. If I can't tell the difference between a 'lived' memory and a 'dreamed' memory, are they then not essentially the same, and essentially irrelevant, in a way. Dreams are like movies. You are a viewer. If dreams and memory can be confused then life is like a movie and I can make the jump to viewer quicker. But Osho still likes the backwards approach so I'll have to start now and move back to that childhood car and the image of the gate and the path up to the hospital door. If what he says is right, I can also then go further back, into infanthood, past my first memory of being injected by a doctor (food poisoning that time I think), to the womb and even onto the point prior to entering said womb— to when I died the last time. Then I can find out for sure if that psychic was right and I really was a height-challenged Sicilian male in a former life. Mmmm!

* The New Yorker runs a competition each year for entrants to invent a new punctuation mark. Short-listers here. Two particularly suit anything I write about: the questionable period (.?) for things that I make sound like facts but which have no real proof behind them, and, even more accurately, the [unamed] (-:) which indicates the preceding statement, again presented like a fact, has actually failed to make any touch with the world of reality.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Surprise Item One: My Own Submission.

Surprise! I guess I spoiled the extra-cirricula-ness of alternative projects already with Hurstbridge, but these to-be-four little projects will be my own submissions to future knitting calenders. One day, when you grow up and want to step lightly in the footsteps of those who have led the way in arguably legendary knitting-blogging expeditions and decide to spend your own year starting a hundred and twelve knitting projects and tying them in with a philosopher's wise words, then maybe you will pick a calender in which one of these patterns appears. I'll be famous: you'll have an exceptionally untidy and disorganised spare room. I know you can't tell what the surprise item actually is from the picture. As usual it is a work-in-progress. Unusually, it is a surprise, and so I cannot reveal any more than I already have. A break away from the neutrals: the wool is Moda Vera 'Beetle', a fifty/fifty cotton acrylic mix—makes great, crisp stitches. The pattern is simple but hopefully versatile and interesting. Judgements will be sought later.

And because there were still a few minutes left in the day, I thought I would also go out and learn a new skill. I enrolled in an Intensive Shoe Making weekend at the CAE (Council of Adult Education). And I made these (left). I was relieved. I thought I would be making a hand-sewn pair of moccassins or elves boots that could only really see the light of day if you were a well-known eccentric from Melbourne's hippie hills. But there were lasts (wooden feet for making 'real shoes') and tools and sewing machines and, from all this technology, a bona fide pair of grown-up shoes in as close an estimation as I could get to my coveted Vivienne Westwood's (for the moment): Click here for a picture of said covetees. Intensive was the right adjective. On the Saturday I stood for about nine hours—making patterns, cutting leather, skiving, glueing, sewing. And because it is all about shoes, I had worn some of my mad shoes—not standing-up-all-day-with-a-dash-to-Clegs-at-lunchtime-for-extra-knitting-needles kinds of shoes. Ouch. Those of you who know me can wander off and have a cup of tea while I explain my shoe collection to those of you who don't. One year, when I had just finished a portion of my walking from Land's End to John O'Groats (LeJog), in sensible hiking boots, I stumbled upon a shop in Carnaby Street, London, called Irregular Choice. I had dabbled a couple of times in the world of exciting and unique shoes. I had a pair of hot pink 'cowboy' mary-janes with boot heels and the pointiest toes you ever saw, and a lovely pair of red Hispanitas with fish etched in the sole that made great impressions on tram floors after rain showers. But this was a world of shoes I wasn't aware existed. They were called Can Can. Red and white zigzag stripes placed horizontally on one side of an ankle length boot-shoe-heel, vertically on the other with a gold ribbon on the back. They are sometimes known as my road-furniture shoes: a double meaning which describes both their resemblance to the warning signs used during road-works, and their ability to stop traffic! They changed my life forever. I have now purchased (or received) twenty-seven pairs of Irregular Choice shoes. I have recently tried to cull that embarrasing number by a few ill-fitting pairs via the cleansing technique better known as eBay. But they will, I am confident, be shortly replaced—Autumn/Winter '12 range is dripping onto the website as we type. Resigned, I now have a pshoedo-methadone program that I try to stick to. I allow myself two or three pairs for each season. That quickly becomes four. And I gladly accept gifts. I am not well. But it is nothing that a walk-in wardrobe wouldn't fix.

I have been sitting here poking myself in the cheek with a pointed fingernail for quite a few minutes trying to find a way to tie Osho into this blog's wafflings. I would have kept going but I have a low pain threshold, and I cannot find the point on my cheek where Osho says we have no feeling. Apparently some Indian mystics are known to pierce their cheeks with arrows at this point and feel no pain and bleed no blood. I'll hold off until I find the spot for sure. Osho recommends a pin. [I am sure he doesn't really mean this literally, even if it sounds awfully like he does, and I would say he wouldn't want you doing something silly just to center yourself, so any actions you infer (or carry out) as a result of reading this, or that, is at your own risk. Neither of us can be responsible for your possible stupidity. This disclaimer is for the odd person who stumbles on this blog by accident when trying to look up 'skiving' or 'Carnaby Street', rather than you, my dear reader, who is much, much smarter than that!] By using a [metaphorical] pin, or by concentrating on a pain in your body that already happens to be there, you can pin[pun]point your pain into such a small and concentrated atom that you, firstly, turn the pain to bliss, and, secondly, create a gap between yourself and the pain, thus centering yourself. You are, you may be happy to know, not your body. [Excellent, because I am not a fan of that thing!] Narrowing pain down into it own singular tininess by meditating on it, you become a watcher of pain rather than a feeler. The pain seperates from the 'you'. Bit of semantics happening here maybe. The real you can't feel the pain as the pain exists only in the vessel that holds you—like my Italian herbs did not feel the pain the glass jar felt when it shattered on my tile floor this evening after its fall from the cupboard. I can see the logic. But the only way this is going to work without a sore and bloody cheek is if I managed to center myself before I stuck the pin in. Am I getting lost in the ouch-factor here—the goal is the center, the path is the pain. Maybe I'll concentrate on the bliss (although he doesn't go into that in any detail). And maybe I'll concentrate on the pre-existing pain too. Next time I have a headache, or smash my thumb hammering tacks into wooden lasts, I will concentrate the pain into an iota and turn it into bliss (somehow, magically??). Then I can use what I save on pharmaceuticals to buy an extra pair of shoes from AW12. Yay. Osho, you have the best ideas, ever!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Carillon—Rainbow Cloche: February 29th to March 4th.

Oh dear! No, I am not lamenting the banal sounds of Big Brother playing behind me in the tea room as I write. Instead, I am looking at what this hat was before it went silly. I took it to the UK. The brown wool is upcycled from a lovely men's jumper I bought at the Red Cross Op-Shop in South Melbourne; the rainbow is tapestry wools in extremely muted versions of the spectrum. I wore it in the lovely cold British summer. Their summer, regardless of the number of Brits recently heard complaining about how hot their summer was, requires a lot of wool hat wearing. After a few days, I started to notice that the hat was slowly getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger. Needless to say, I have since googled 'getting the kinks out of upcycled wool', and so now have squared wire hangers wrapped in wool hanging and dripping from my shower head in an attempt to stop the kinks coming out of things as you wear them, ending up with items several sizes larger than desired. Eventually, after finding myself in a too-breezy hat on top of a mountain in a snow storm (yes, still in my British summer), I bought a new hat and op-shopped this one with the hope that an enormously large headed person would go in a seemingly futile search for a very big hat, and find one!

Money where my mouth is time. I promised you news of the extra project filling my spare time. I also complained about yarn bombers being unambitiously small. Fate threw me an antidote to my rambling mouth: First Train to Allwood. Knitters and crocheters from the vicinity of Hurstbridge are yarnbombing a train onto two blocks worth of fencing along the main street, and they are looking for volunteers. So with the derisive laughing of my closest and (supposedly) most loving friends ringing in my ears (they did not for one minute think that I would make an eight a.m. tram on my day off), I made the one hour fifty-four minute commute to Hurstbridge. It turned out to be a little longer as they were doing railworks and I had to change to replacement buses. Tram, train, bus. A public transport kaleidoscope! In my mind I thought I would spend a day sitting in a cafe, drinking coffees and knitting bits of train, but instead I ate breakfast, drank coffee, listened, talked, claimed two pattern pieces, rolled out copious amounts of venetian cord (the yarn of choice for this project which makes it durable and hose-down-able down by the local CFA), ate cake, drank more coffee and left with my patterns, a promise of speedy completion and a bigger commitment than I had bargained for. Not complaining. Don't get me wrong. But how much time do I think I have. I wish work would stop getting in the way of things I like to do. Having said that, I did finish most of my (relatively small) pieces at work! When you make it out there to have a look, mine are the left and right lower wooden panels on the sheep carriage.

As usual, Osho manages to weave himself, post-fact, into the happenings of my life. This week he is arguably talking about the zen of public transport. The technique is described thus: in a moving vehicle, by rhythmically swaying, experience. Or in a still vehicle, by letting yourself swing in slowing invisible circles. Yep, that's right. I got car sick. I don't normally get sick in vehicles, but I was concentrating so completely on the knitting project I was working on (and continuously mucking up) as the bus curved its way back through the hills from Hurstbridge, down to a working railway station that instead of becoming centred by my otherwise unconscious 'rhythmical swaying', I became nauseous and had to spend the rest of the trip really trying not to throw up my cake. But I have been sitting here now on a couch in a rental property in Robe, South Australia (white! what! how are we supposed to ever get our bond back with a white couch, but it does have a chaise which I am finding very hard not to make my second favourite relaxation point—after the hammock) trying to swing in imperceptible circles. I can see that this would work. Maybe, because I have trouble being still (even though sitting around seems like laziness, there is a lot happening (knitting)), a meditation technique that involves movement works better than one where I have to go against my nature and totally still the ceaseless ticking over of my mind. It actually feels good to try and make yourself make the smallest possible circles with your body that you can, all else does, for a minute, stop butting in like an inquisitive three year old. My fellow white-couch-rider says he can still see me moving, but there was a moment when I felt gone, and it was quite refreshing. Well that is enoough of meditating, now let's go see if we can find a shark while boogie boarding. Eek!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

February Bonus Pattern: Sweethearts Doll Sweater.

The year is nearly over (bit extreme I know, it is only August), but how good was February twenty-ninth! I am on dangerous ground talking dates because it highlights how far behind in projects this blog actually is. Oops. But maybe I am just reminiscing because the Olympics are were on, and the Olympics happen every leap year. This year, this leap year, I appreciated the twenty-ninth more than I ever have before. I can't understand how I let the other eleven pass by without realising how special they are—I do forgive myself the one I had when I was in the womb (right-way-up). Twenty-four, whole, bonus, hours! There was a part of me that wanted to stay up all day and night and get every single little minute out of it. The fact that I am eleven leap years old means that I don't do the all-nighter so well any more. I spent this day doing this project (contrary to what I said I would do with it at the beginning of the year—see "Why", the Blog asked itself, "am I here?"). Was that its best use? Maybe not. Maybe. Twenty-four hours of me-time ultimately. (Sixteen, if you don't count sleep. I count it a lot.) Cannot wait for two thousand and sixteen.

But to get to what you most want to hear—the (lack of) progress report that is a monthly feature of the Bonus Pattern blog (this one being the second such makes it a pattern). Best word to describe it: slow. But that's the point of being a craftitian isn't it—the slow lane, the idling promenade through wool and other crafty bits. A number of items are now complete (my mother will not believe me). Here they are in their complete glory:

The Antonia shrug is finished. Here's a close up of the sleeve.
It's reversable—so expandable in its repertoire.
And just kinda cute. To my model—Thank you.
The slippers are all done. They have also been sold! My first sale. Very exciting. I popped them into the mess of items I am (foolishly, insanely, madly, irrationally) trying to sell on eBay in an effort to clear my floor, cupboard, drawers and spare room of excess items. In approximately a month, I have managed to sell seven things. I have also managed to go shopping at Savers and buy about thirteen things, and order a pair of shoes online for B——, and two for me, and so the net amount of stuff I have in said spaces has actually increased by eight. Spring cleaning via eBay is not working out to be the most effective method!
And lastly, but most leastly, these baby slippers are also complete. I put them on eBay too but as yet no bites for these.
Oh, forgot, this little jumper (above) is also finished. Does that make four whole, complete items from a hundred and twelve patterns, four surprises and a project that I thought I could just slip in in my spare time (explanations to follow in the next blog)? I think it does. And at a percentage completion rate of three, that is just about enough to take all the joy off my Februray the twenty-ninth. Sad face.

This little jumper (above) is made for a doll apparently, but in the same way that my baby slippers could possibly fit an eight year old child (exaggeration occurred just then), this could possibly fit a small baby. It is, if I can be so bold as to take credit, quite cute. Made from mostly pure wool with acrylic-wool blends for the blues; embroidered with a pink cotton heart.

Rapid change of subject and excessive use of thesaurus approaching: You have insensitive buttocks. They are cold hearted and aloof, hard-boiled; they are tactless, unkind and myopic—callous and lazy even. Like your feet though, as Osho points out, they have to be—otherwise sitting in a frustrating, sedentary job where you talk to less-than-pleasant people all day long, even in the company of great work colleagues, would be unbearable. Or your job. But, if you can make your buttock sensitive (keen, wired, acute, umbrageous, emotional, ticklish, hung-up, turned-on), then you can find your centre. It's very easy. All buddhists do it, but they have the advantage of turned-on buttocks. So, how, you ask, do I get ticklish buttocks myself. It is a little six-week project. Start with your hand—left or right, whatever you prefer. Your hand is far more umbrageous so it helps to know you can make it even more so before you turn to trying this on your hard-boiled buttocks. Feel your hand. With your mind, not with your other hand. Imagine your hand is all you are. First your hand will feel heavy. Then you can start to feel everything it does, every move or jerk or spasm. Do this whenever you can, for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, for three weeks. Then you can move onto doing this with your myopic buttocks.

Once you have that all under control, sit on those newly emotional buttocks of yours and close your eyes. You can use any of the buddha like sitting poses—just make sure your keen buttocks are what is mostly in contact with your surface. Your acute buttocks will feel that your body leans more on one cheek than the other. Adjust. In small moves, you will switch weight from one hung-up buttock to the other until—whoo hoo—you centre yourself. Physically, metaphorically. Easy. I don't, however, know how to advise you about the fact that your sedentary job is now going to be a lot more taxing on your bottom. Maybe advise your employer that you have need for an adjustable stand-up desk because, through your spiritual quest, you now have a wired backside. I am sure they will understand. Employers are like that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Piece of Cherry Pie: February 24th to 28th.

Knitting is de rigeur. Too cool for craft school! I am a maiden-aunty knitter in Saver's upcycled lamb's wear in comparison. The reason I am so un-nifty is that you see me knitting. To be en-trend, the knitting needs to be invisible and the results anonymously bombed. But I would almost start to argue that yarn bombing is reaching passé status. Am I cynical (probably), but is random knitting attached to stationary objects becoming too predictable? I noticed the other day that there are photos on Facebook of my hop-on, hop-off blue bike (Melbourne Bike Share) with yarn bombed handles, executed during a recent Melbourne Yarn Bombing Festival (at which you could even do a yarn bombing workshop!) There are books about it, web sites. Something subversive has gotten way off track here. Maybe there is hope for my boring home-style knitting to become cool again—like when trendy people starting knitting on their way to work on public transport a few years ago, or in pubs, or in knitter-natter, stitch-'n'-bitch groups. The more I think about it, the more I realise how popular knitting is again. It is nearly as big as tablets or One Direction. Nearly.

Maybe my real issue (beside an obvious desire to be 'cool' matched with a lack of a cool bone in my body) is that what I see of yarnbombing in my home 'burbs is actually just the minimum amount of knitting someone can do, place, and show-off, rather than big, bold exciting and awe-striking pieces. I want Melbournians to yarnbomb the Art's Centre Spire, not a bicycle rack on Sydney Road. Yarnbomb the Owl on Wurundjeri Way rather than putting a knitting sampler on a tree in Flagstaff Gardens. I want us to think bigger. I will of course be thinking all about this while I knit small cherry pies like this one on my couch. I want to be surprised again by what the cool knitters are doing, rather than just thinking: 'Oh, they yarnbombed the blue bikes. I didn't even notice.'

For your wordification delight, you can read this article over and over by replacing the word yarnbomb (and its conjugations) with one of the following: knithack, urban knitting, graffiti knitting, yarnstorming and guerilla knitting (also known as gorilla knitting if you knit a gorilla and put it on the street).

All these words in turn can also be adapted to include crocheting, although cro(t)ch-hack means something completely different.

There is no way I can create from my rant up there a sedgeway to Osho. So. Stop. Deep breath. New thought. Look lovingly at an object. As usual, this is a way to centre yourself. It has been a while since I wrote these blogs, trip and all, and so you may have forgotten the predominant theme of Osho seems to be centering. But there is something sweet in this technique too. Here comes the sentimentalist in me. He talks about the difference between love and lust, and the difference between object and person. For the former the difference lies where the desire for happiness does. To love someone is to want to make happiness for them, to lust someone is to want to make happiness for yourself. And when you love something you make that thing a person, even if technically it is an object; when you lust something, you make it an object, even if technically it is a person. What an amazing thing then, to be truly and unselfishly loved! Never happens does it? Ooh, I can hear the arguments from here (that's good, I am glad). But, really, pure, crystal clean, unselfish love? It goes in the 'nothing anyone ever does is truly altruistic' basket with all my other hesitations over the goodness of humanity. And in that little basket of doubt lies my never becoming enlightened. Oops.

What are you meant to do with this little Osho nugget in order to reach enlightenment if you don't carry around a basket of doubt, you ask? The rest of the sutra says: 'Do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object—the blessing'. By looking at one object—only one for the moment—and pouring all your love, not lust, into it, you surrender everything into it, emptying yourself, forgetting yourself, removing your self from yourself and in your self's place comes the centre and the blessing. Theoretically. Then you just have to try to not want that feeling again from looking at the object because that will be lust and the love will have been lost. Fine line. Maybe just practise not having a head for a while so that you operate through your heart and can access that muscle in pure loving for the sake of loving. I never said any of this was going to be easy as pie.

Speaking of pie, this one is made of bits of a pie crust coloured wool I found on sale somewhere, and red acrylic I had lying around from days of knitting St Kilda and Doggies football scarves. It is mostly sewn up so needs only completion, stuffing and accroutements (a.k.a. garnish). It is promised to a friend—who I am sure will try it out in several places at home before finally giving in and sneaking it off to the op-shop where they will take one look, try it out in several places in the shop, and then scoop it, uneaten, into the bin.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Honey Cowl/Headband: February 22nd to 23rd.

On the train between Fort William and Malliag, in Scotland, a man boarded with the largest Alsatian I have seen in a long time. Before anything else is said, how wonderful is it that dogs ride trains in the UK—and go to pubs and take ferries and go shopping and walk on long-distance footpaths in stunning scenery. The two of them took a pair of un-reserved, backward facing seats at the end of the carriage; the man had the window, the dog the aisle. The dog sat on the seat awasn't view was of the man and the dog's heads rising above the seats in front of them, both admiring the same view. Ultimately, they were like any other pair of passengers except one had a hairy face with a pronounced muzzle. On my return the pair again boarded my carriage. The man, at least, appeared to have imbibed a few bevies and was in need of company so he sat at one of the tabled seats opposite a woman and adjacent to a French couple. The French woman looked fascinated, her face full of awe. She seemed unable to speak. Her partner then asked the man to move: her awe, it turned out, was fear. Man and dog moved, but derived of his sort-after company he was soon asleep. And the dog, as dogs do, migrated to where he could cause most mischief. He sat himself in the seats directly behind the frightened women, whose surplus of emotion had sent her to sleep. Her partner tried, silently, to fend the not-doing-anything-anyway dog off with an umbrella. Eventually he called over the guard who suggested they move—'I can't stop dogs travelling' he said, as if the dog had bought it's own ticket.

What struck me as odd with the whole encounter was the French woman's face. It seemed so much more a countenance of admiration than terror. It seems noble to admire what we fear. It is somehow more empowering to look at what we fear as an adversary. Then there is hope of beating it. But how do you get to the point where you can look at what you fear this way. If I was afraid of dogs, I thought, would I have been squealing and gathering myself in a corner? Osho talks this week about unminding the mind, keeping in the middle. Emotions are scales with two (or more) extremities: love is the extreme of hate, envy of blitheness or contentedness, fear of bravado. He likens being in any one state to being on one swing of a pendulum—not a state in itself but a preparing for its opposite. What he wants us to do is to try to get the mind in the middle, where the pendulum no longer swings. If we are able to do this then mind dies, and Osho is a fan of the mind being non-existent. In the middle there is a calmness. It does not, I think, mean that emotion dies too. It changes to emotion with no opposite—a centred emotion. Pure energy. The French woman's fear appeared centred and pure. I am not sure if it actually helps her in her everyday relations with pooches.

Setting priorities, my first goal is to centre my eating-dieting emotion pendulum. What do you mean eating isn't an emotion? You cannot tell me the stuff that goes through your brain in the big decision-making, execution and regret of any cake-eating session is not emotion in it's most swinging extremes. 'I need cake.' 'I like cake.' 'I am fat; why can't I stop eating cake?' This is not healthy. I need to unmind my mind and keep in the middle—which in this case, luckily, just happens to be 'I like cake'. Oddly, this makes sense. If I just like cake without needing it or regretting it, the liking of cake is enough, the idea of cake is enough. I have the centred savouring emotion of cake without the calories of cake. Mmm, cake. The theory here is sound(ish). Theory, smeory—who am I kidding. Give me the goddam cake. Now!

Knitting, you ask? This toasty cowl is made from Moda Vera's Husky, a hundred per cent pure baby alpaca. It is delightfully soft and slightly fluffy. If you wear it as a headband it may stick a little up from the top of your head as it is quite wide, but if warmth to your neck is your desire, this is your baby. The knitting is all done and the final touches are almost finalised so this may even make it out into the world before the end of winter. Stay tuned, it will be cute and you will want to make an offer.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am away ...

I am currently travelling. I have been walking sections of a walk from Land's End to John O'Groats in the UK for the last couple of years and I am back there again trying to finish it off. I guess that will be eight hundred or so k's. I I tried, but I couldn't get any knitting into my bag. It has been like rehab, I'm all fidgety. I will try to catch up with blogs while I am away so there will be the occassional post, but to see what I am really up to at the moment, have a look at: LeJog Speak soon, and take care all!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Comfort Vest: February 20th to 21st.

I spoke to someone from Savers during work (can't say any more; matter of State security, or confidentiality at least). Apparently Savers isn't an op-shop. Devastating: I have been doing all my op-shopping there. It's one-stop, colour co-ordinated, size-sorted—effectively it is all-the-hard-work-already-done with a splash of don't-need-to-go-anywhere-else thrown in for good measure. They buy boxes of donations from 'non-profit alliance partners' and donate money to the same when you and I drop our stuff into their stores. Then, I suppose, they add a profit onto the whatever is in the boxes and we buy it. Allegedly, and I am not really sure where I heard this, they also offer employment opportunities to people who may not be given such opportunities by other employers. So it's not opping maybe but it's still really good, and feel-good, shopping and we decided to go to one we hadn't been to before. It's in a place that ends with the word 'Park'. (I am not wanting to give it away to my audience of seven because I am really scared that an increase in demand may lead to increases in prices—see the listing of stores on the link above and I am sure you will be able, with some fine detective work, to work out which one it was.)

When you mention you are going somewhere like Eden Park, Chirnside Park, Roxborourgh Park, Albert Park, Calder Park, Mill, Bell, Gladstone, Oak, Brandon, Deer—you get my drift—Lollii just hears the park bit and so all trips to said Park suffixed places are either delayed by having to go to Gasworks Park, or dampened by the memory of a disappointed doggie face. We went for the former.

There are big differences between op-shopping with your boy and your BFF. A boy's mission is not your mission: and therein lies a complete blog all to itself, it will have been done, just google. With a boy there is a certain amount of pace-pressure. Also, the habit of finding a mirror in the furniture department—to change in front of rather than trying to negotiate the five-items-at-a-time queue at the changing rooms—becomes strange when you are on your own. (He's gone off to look at 'something', don't worry, he says, take your time; hurry up, please god, hurry up is what you hear). Alone the mirror is suspicious behaviour, with your BFF it is just subversive. These obstacles notwithstanding, I did manage to get great buys, including items to decorate knitted projects and woolen jumpers to de-knit for wool—far cheaper than at Wick or Scray suffixed locations. Whoo hoo!

This weeks project is a de-knit. B—— bought the wool for this project in the form of a jumper, she undid it (the hard part), and now it is being re-knitted into this project for her mum. It feels like wool through and through and came in a mottled grey blue for the body and navy for the trim. De-knitted wool brings it's former life to the piece. It retains, at least for now, the kink of its last knit. A new wool would not give the same effect. It's kind of nice—like seeing someone else's life or feeling someone else's heart in your new organ transplant. What, you don't think that is a nice thought? Have you properly considered organ donation then?

Question mark Park also has a potential top-ten vanilla slicery. The boy and I had a piece on this day, B—— and I had one when we made a follow up visit recently (and tried on clothes in the furniture section). Everyone wore a little; everyone ate a lot. Highly recommended.

Are you a heart person or a head person? It is probable that we mostly think we are heart. It feels nicer. But, as Osho says, if all of us who thought we were heart really were, the world would be a better place. I don't really heart the world. Maybe it is because I see my part of it from the wrong perspective; maybe it is just not heartable. We cannot be too hard on ourselves though. We are not taught to be heartie. We are taught to be reasonable and analytical and sensible. If you are more absurd than that, then maybe you are heartish. Osho asks you to reach out from your heart, with your senses, and absorb. Listen, see, feel, smell and taste with your heart, one hundred percent. Feel your lover or child, feel the earth or something growing, smell the ocean or the farm, listen to music—but don't allow your head in. He suggests getting a picture of yourself and taking away the head. Meditate on this and then feel with your heart whatever it is you would like to sense. Ultimately, don't think. If you think, this won't work for you. If you can imagine yourself without a head, or maybe even with someone elses heart or corneas, it just may. Be absurd—I think absurdity is greatly under-valued.