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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hoodie and Leggings: February 13th to 19th.

'We don't do Valentine's Day, do we.' A statement, not a question from my boy. I'm okay with that. It would be, otherwise, a case of buying and giving and also receiving things that neither of us would really want. It's a day that doesn't justify a useful present. It is usually something frivolous, fluffy and piano-worthy (my version of the pool room). So we went to dinner and had a huge banquet instead. Three entrees, three mains and coffee. I feel ill reminiscing. We did My Kitchen Rules meets Masterchef. No French accents or shovelling of food into our mouths from three millimeters above the plate, no cravats. Numbers were the only real link. The Wanton soup got seven for wantons and four for the soup itself (stock and lettuce); the cuffy puffs were sevens but the salt-and-calamari was nine-worthy (I think V—— may have rated it a ten!). Mains were lemongrass chicken, beef and cashew nuts and garlic prawns. Me: eight and a half; seven, eight. V——: seven, eight, nine. The best bit, for an inveterate sweet-tooth, is the Vietnamese coffee. I say Vietnamese because we most often get it at this restaurant but I first had it in Borneo. There the equipment far outsized the cup: a huge conical sieve filled with coffee was held over the cup; a large scoop of water from a bureau sized bain-marie was poured into the sieve. Then from high on a shelf came an industrial sized can of condensed milk which the server inverted for several minutes over my cup. It was decadently sweet and the best coffee ever. For the record, my best tea ever was from a greasy-spoon near Heathrow. Although I didn't see the creation of this gem, the result was the same: sweet, milky heavenness in a mug.

With coffee: a donut. I wish. Sugar-free diet and all. But, actually, I am a donut; we are all donuts according to Osho. We are outsides with no middles. What Osho would like us to know is that we are in fact more like a jam donut, or, because I don't like jam donuts, maybe a custard donut (take your pick). We have centers; we are just not aware of them. One great way, he says, to realise your centre is to block off all access to the outside world—by closing up all the holes in your head. Ears, mouth, nose, eyes. Aside: he doesn't ever get to tell you how long to do this for, so if you are to try this at home, please do stop before you turn blue. The author takes no responsibility for anything that may happen to you if you fail to use common sense in all things you do. If you close up all these holes then, bang, your consciousness smacks against the inside of your skull, you realise that the world is within you, you are a universe, you are the donut hole. Consciousness gathers at the point on the inside of your skull that is the third eye (remember we cross-eyedly talked about this before:Chevron Cowl). The point is that what is inside is what is important. The outside, the donut, is superficial and empty. To make the most of your life, of your potential (again, not in a superficial way, not with money and things, but with intense living and intense loving), you must know this centre. Everything is contained there.

Something about hoodies and leggings before I go—I always forget the little detail of why I am here. The garment is the middle size: for an eighteen month old. It does appear to be the eighteen month old of giants but I am not really all caught up with the size of children so I may be mistaken. The wool is Bella Baby's Bashful (alliterates like my other blog:Le Jog). I chose cheating colours of cream and baby blue—not hundred percent neutral. It's a fairly simple knit which had quite a few days dedicated to it because the pattern takes a lot of pages to write down. This is the only factor that affectes the timing given to each project—a pattern that takes one page to write but a year to make will still only be allocated two or three days. The yarn is intriguing (too much time spent looking at it). It is wrapped in a fine, shiny filament. How do they do all these weird things with wool? I will leave you to ponder that. And your donut hole of course.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Zigzag Lace Hand Coverings: February 10th to 12th.

Ah, the beauty of working friday and saturday nights. These little beauties were time doomed from the start. I realise that a working day shouldn't be scrutinised and negatively critisised for its inability to provide time for me to knit, but ... you know, that's human nature isn't it? I decided that a dual advantage would be gained if I only slept for two hours after my second night shift and went down to the coast with the boy. Tri actually: I could knit on the way; I could be tired in the evening, sleep, wake up early and knit some more; and; I could see the boy's folks. Only the third item was successful. In the rush to get home for two hours sleep, I left my knitting bible at work. I had only just been thinking about the fact that it is becoming too much of a crutch—everything is in it, and hard copy can't be backed up! So I couldn't knit in the car. I had other items I could have completed or continued but because I had only had, in the end, one-and-three-quarter hours sleep, I was an emotional wreck and so, instead, I cried, stared out of the window, sulked, and tried to stop stabbing myself in the eye with a double-pointed needle for the whole trip—useful, useful utilisation of my time! It is good to see that all this philosophy I am espousing is making a difference to my state of mind. (Did I ever say I was practising my preaching?). I ended up trying to catch up on the knitting in the evening—bible retrieved—and so went to bed late and didn't get up at a timely time. Theory busted!

The gloves are made with a painfully thin wool on double-pointed needles. You should see them completed sometime in the next millenium. The wool is a four ply Patons one called 'Big Baby', sixty per cent acrylic and forty nylon, lovely and soft and a dark grey verging on navy. The pattern suggestes a modification for symmetry sticklers. Am I one? Various haircuts I have had suggest not. A couple of readings of the suggestion suggests to me that I will probably talk myself into not being one. We'll see if we ever get through the first glove eh?

I believe Osho has just justified Gold Class to me. This is what I love about interpreting text. He intersperses his techniques with explanations and answers to questions about the proceeding methods and tantra in general. In an interspersal I have just been reading he is speaking about accepting your nature to get rid of your ego. The ego is a result of nonacceptance of your 'suchness', which I am taking to mean your essential you-ness. For example, if you are an angry person but you try to make it look like you are a nice person that gets angry sometimes and then is sorry about it, you are denying something that is essentially you and it gives you an ego. An ego is made of the person you want to be, not the person you are. The Gold Class comes in for the persons who are essentially greedy and who displace this greed on eternal pleasures when they realise, like we all do on at least some level, that 'you can't take it with you'. These are usually the pleasures associated with giving your money to a church and getting lots of things in Heaven instaed. Osho asks, why not go for the momentary pleasures? This is again about living in the now. I ask, why keep the extra twelve or so dollars in your pocket for when you're lying in the grave, why delay pleasure for a future that may never happen, why put up with people who don't realise that the cinema isn't the ideal place for a telephone conversation, to check your facebook status 'likes' or to infinitely prolong the opening of a choc-top in cellophane. Just get the Gold Class Tickets!

The actual technique this week—now that I have the interspersal over with—is to feel your spine in your body, and in your spine to feel the tiny sliver of light and energy that is your spinal cord. And not just feel it, see it. The yogis of old were aware of the inner workings of the body before man thought to start cutting them up for anatomical research. This is because they could see inside the body. Or more accurately perhaps, see from inside the body. I like it. It's like Crossing Jordan—do you remember? It had the best soundtrack from a Crime Series (as voted in my own personal Crime Show Awards—C.S.A. Port Melbourne) and the gorriest, but most nonchalantly treated, autopsy victims, ever! That, I imagine would be what it would look like to look outward from your inwards. Seriously though, for the person who feels bodily, who is body-orientated (is he sexist to say this is good for women), this is a technique that centres (the ultimate aim). And best of all, if you are able to get this one right, you get an aura. Cool. I wonder what colour mine would be.

For the sensitive, or relatives, please look away now. You're done reading. See you soon, Bye.

Okay, for the rest of you, a good time to do this is in the throws of loving and caring intimate relations with another human being. This is tantra, in case I forgot to tell you. One night stands don't count. In the 'deep sex act' (loving, slow, silent, unmoving insideness with the other person) energy is in the vicinity of the spine anyway. Concentrate here and you can fill the room with your combined auras. You can possibly, with your energy, even make things move. Close your eyes and feel for the shining light of your spinal cord, and you will be transformed!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Heart Vines Hat: February 8th to 9th.

A cotton based yarn combined with a circular needle means this project keeps slippery-sliding straight out of my hands.

When I moved to Australia, and after I got over the odd nasal memories of vomited Prima orange juice and incinerators that reminded me of burning chocolate (hard to explain), my memories became associated with hills. Our first house was in hilly Templestowe. We navigated our sloping driveway on roller skates. There would be the slow start through the sidewalk area, the rapid escalation, and then either the sudden wrist-wrenching stop if you chose the turn into the garage followed by the 'applying the brakes' technique more commonly known as hitting the back wall at high speed, or, the shin-bending brake application inherent with skates leaving a smooth surface and running onto the traction of grass.

Our other hill experience involved the cotton-like slipperiness (see, hills do relate to slippery knitting) of the Slip-'n'-Slide. Do children of the Stage Three Water Restriction era know this muddy joy? Or are you only permitted to do it on even numbered days and using a bucket of bore water? Even my dad would send himself careening towards the end of the plastic corridor and into the rapidly developing bog at the end. It' a shame we get so precious (sorry to talk for all of us, you may not be precious at all) that we start to not like being in the mud at the end. I'd feel the need for some type of water shoe. I'd feel that it was making a mess of the grass, disrupting some sort of a cosmic order. I'd feel it would be better to do this sort of thing at a theme park on the Gold Coast. Or maybe I wouldn't—it's hard to compare with a backyard that is flat, made of concrete and not actually long enough to accommodate a slip-and-slide. Perhaps it's just envy talking because I can't slip and slide anymore. I was, after all, fully prepared (except in a physically fit way) to throw myself into numerous gluggy pools of muck at Tough Mudder.

Turns out the only slimy mud I'm getting now is the slippery mud coloured knitting experience that is this project. The wool is Bella Baby 'Layette', eighty percent bamboo and twenty wool, in a beautiful mud colour that you would find, similarily textured, in only the finest of day spas on islands between Tropics Cancer and Capricorn. This won't, however, and hopefully, be all cracked and peeling like a facial treatment by the time it is eventually completed. It is, as so many are, a work-in-progress.

I dislike that Osho makes sense. Grrr! I want to be independent. It took me twenty-seven years* to get onto Social Media. (I lie, I joined the other one, MySpace, when it first came out because that way I didn't have to talk to anyone—yes, it does make an illogical kind of sense, and, no, I love talking to you now, I just have a residual fear of social interaction). Osho's prattling on about the centre again. The true centre is the naval. You are born with it (a centre, not a naval, although we mostly have one of those too). Babies and children breathe and their tummies go up and down: they're breathing through their centre. As we grow up we displace to this centre to one or two 'false' centres: the heart and the head. This last is the one that is often deemed the most important. It can be the only fully developed one—we don't really love in its truest and purest form. The head specialises in knowing, the heart in feeling and the naval in being. Okay, well and good, I can see the attraction of 'being', of the experiential life lived instead of the theoretical, thinking life, but the issue is that 'being', for Osho, means being one with something, part of the Universe. The Universe is a way lot bigger than my Facebook page. I am not sure I am ready for being at one with everything and everyone in the whole Universe. That said, this project's technique is focused on focusing on your centre.

Is this a fallacy? Osho says that only one in one hundred people dream in colour. Do you dream in colour? I dream in colour. I don't think that I am one in a hundred. Although, it is funny how often that clause is bandied about. Whenever I get a job they tell us that we are one in a 'blah' to be lucky enough to be chosen to do this special work. Me thinks—CON! You're just going to work better if you think you are unique. Am I cycnical? But to the point in play: the meditation this project works only for those one-in-a-hundred who can imagine colour. Except, of course, there is a way to do it if you aren't unique. See what you think.

Imagine the world is made up of five colours and the five colours are your senses. They meet at a point (imagine it as your naval for the sake of close access to your centre). If you keep imagining and concentrating on this spot it will disappear because your concentration dissolves the imaginary. Imagining the world as colour means when the imagination goes, the world goes. You will then be at your centre because everything between it and you has disappeared. If you are not a colour-sensitive then you can concentrate instead on a point outside the body, a point on the wall or something similar. You do have to concentrate on it without ever blinking** as blinking kicks the mind into action and the aim of this is to stop the mind. Stopping the mind provides the same break between the world and the centre. The centre is in you, in every single one of you, without exception, allegedly. You need to just find your way back to it. And when you get there it will be bliss eternal. You will be so blissful you won't even know you're blissful—you will be bliss. I'll give Osho some credit for playing with language. I like it when verbs become nouns and nouns become adjectives, and on it plays. Hey, I'm having trouble being non-cynical, let me get a compliment in once in a while!

*Librans are known to exaggerate. Quoted figures may be smaller than they appear.

** Images that follow may disturb some readers; rated fifeteen plus and not for the queasy. Osho inserts a wacky story here regarding Bodhi's eyelids—the Bodhi of mythology, not the Bodhi of 4 P—— St. Bodhi ripped his eyelids off to stop himself blinking. He threw them to the ground and they grew into a plant: tea. Tea now is a drink that (if you don't build an immunity to it by drinking too much) keeps your eyelids open. I'm going to make myself a cup of Bodhi's eyelids.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Give You My Heart: February 6th to 7th.

Whhhhhyyy!! This is the third most bizarre item to make in this whole calender. A stuffed heart. I am not sure the creator realised I would be calling it that rather than a 'plush heart'. It feels like a dark project. Mainly because I decided to make it a black stuffed heart. Before you go off trying to organise intervention and a counsellor, or just go off, I was thinking of making it more festive with some lovely large black sequins. Nice? Yeah, nice.

The wool is Moda Vera Bamboo Cotton (viscose derived from bamboo mixed with a thirdish cotton). Quite odd this wool from bamboo concept. Hopefully it has stopped growing. Would hate to fall asleep on my heart and end up with it growing through my body. (Have you heard what bamboo can grow through—it leaves weeds through concrete in shame). I love knitting with cotton—and viscose derived from bamboo. It makes a crisp, well defined stitch. It is so crisp it appears to be on the other side of itself. I can't explain that but look at a knitted cotton piece and you'll see what I mean. It's an Escher tiled floor kind of a thing.

My knit-ability was severly hampered this project by having to concentrate at work. Travesty. I don't know how I will ever go out into the real world again. (And not just because I now feel I know too much about the real world). Working in a job where the majority of the day requires you to put your knitting down seems like a waste of a day. Did I ever tell you I once applied to be a pattern writer for a wool company. There is a small, stitchy part of me that wishes I had not been so caught up in the travel industry when they called me back a year or so later to see if I was still interested. I wonder what my life would be like now if I had taken the job—I probably wouldn't choose to make a knitted item every few days for a year as my project of the year! I'd probably want to talk to people on the phone instead.

Despite work getting in the way of what is really important, the heart was finished (in a knitting sense at least). My BFF wore it on her sleeve to a Valentine's Day event. (Time doesn't work sensibly in this blog as you may have noticed—I do this to remind you of its arbitrariness, not because I am way behind). I ditched the sequin idea though, and so have a macarbe little bit of embroidery to do to completely finish it—but it's not far off.

Speaking of hearts, you know how, in all the cops-and-forensic-scientist shows (the robbers don't seem to matter so much anymore—they're just the end product of the scientific process), they weigh all the organs in the hanging scales? Well, apparently, studies have been done about the weight of the human body before and after death to scientifically determine the weight, and hence the existence, of the 'soul'. The soul is essentially what Osho seems to be talking about when he speaks about the 'centre', the self, the essential 'you'-ness. Isn't it twenty-one grams? Maybe the movie just wouldn't have made sense if it was called Indiscernable Weight. Osho seems more inclined to believe it is weightless. His technique this week is to become weightless. You got it. I heard the one adding to the other one in your mind: two. If you can feel weightless then, effectively, you feel your soul, your centre—you dispense of the unnecessary body and mind and are left with only 'you'. The body and its mind are the little things, the you is the big powerful thing—that's why we are so eager to find it.

This week Osho adds a helpful tip. Meditate on being weightless in the siddhasana position (the slightly easier version of the lotus where the first foot is brought to the groin and the second placed on top with the toes tucked into the fold between thigh and calf). This way, if you do it properly, you have less contact with the weight-based earth and with gravity, and so you can more easily become weightless. Next time I am on a diet-fixation this is how I will weigh-in. I wonder if it will work. I think Osho would think I am perpetuating illusions that stop me from becoming awakened.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chris Woven-Yoke Vest: February 1st to 5th.

My knitting on this project is extremely loose. The item is turning out like one of those open weave tank tops we used to wear in the eighties with a pink studded belt that went around your waist twice, over pink pin-striped stretch faberges. Can tension really change that much? Or am I just having a particularly relaxing project? I am writing this just off night shift and every time I come back from the edges of consciousness (manifested through staring at the screen with hands pressing down the keys continuously for minutes at a time), I realise I have no idea what to say. So, I did what every respectable blogger does in this type of an emergency: I googled 'knitting tension'. I'm loving the tips that came up courtesy of the Knitting Guru. (Especially poignant that there is a buddha on her site—everything really is connected.) Changeabilty in your tension is, the Guru says, a'mateurish and unflattering'. I am hoping that tension differences between projects, rather than within, won't give that appearance. Although the 'picking it up and putting it down' issue inherent in this time-driven project means that it may very well happen within as well.

Within, when I type, always, always, always comes up as withing. I find it hard to fight.

Guru also gives a solution for tension issues. The solution has made me tense. See if you can unravel this: to make your tension even she suggests threading the yarn over your pinkie, under your palm, up between your index finger and middle finger and then over your index finger. I think that also makes a very complicated knot that has something to do with bunnies in bunny holes and the way you make a cat's cradle, or even a secret mason's handshake with tickle. Like google helped me find inspiration about what to talk to you about, my lovely listener, so You Tube, I am confident, will sort out that little conundrum. Ah, technology!

When you have watched the You Tube video and have the wool over your pinkie, under your palm, between index and middle finger and over the former, then, shut down your senses. Believe you cannot feel the wool glide over your skin or see it's neutral colour, that you can't hear it moving with the needles or smell its lanolin sheepiness or taste its teeth-curling furriness. If you can do this for any sensation—pain, ticklishness, pleasure—then, Osho says, you can pull away from your body and realise your centre. Remember, the centre is this desirable non-desiring place to be where you can find your 'I'. The body is a part of the world, not a part of you. This technique, by shutting you off from your body, as if your body was stone, forces you into the centre—it makes a gap. In the centre, when you know yourself, you are awake. Apparently you can then see that most people are asleep—you can see it in their eyes. I would like to be awake. But my tiredness stems from night shift and the perpetual attempt to get back onto day shift. Will realising my inner me-ness overcome this kind of tiredness. Give me a guarantee and I'll give it a go. Meanwhile I couldn't even take ten deep breaths in a row yesterday without panicing about how much precious time this whole 'relaxing' malarky takes!

And just a little something about the actual vest, shall I? It's made with Basics Merino, a hundred percent merino wool in creamy white. It is currently about half finished—hence the close-up photo: from a distance it looks like nothing at all. Stay tuned for further developments as they come to hand.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Bonus Pattern: Modern Millie Vintage-Style Cloche.

I forgot about the 'Bonus pattern'. There is one for every month! That's what brings the total to one hundred and twelve, but there is no time allotment for them. Suddenly, in the last day or two, I am feeling overwhelmed (dramatic?) by the project. I had a January catch-up day. I spent half an hour on each incomplete project. Half an hour is only a few lines or a few stiches long, but here is a snapshot on how all January's projects are progressing:

Antonia Shrug: Body finished and started on the sleeves; lining fabric chosen, still the main article being worked on above and beyond the project of the day.

Slippers: Knitting finished; lining cut out and started sewing up, will be cute-as in my opinion.

Tiny Teddy Jumper: all done!

Cell phone or iPod pouch: lining being sewn, carabiner purchased (even if it is about as large as the actual item), close to done.

Chevron Cowl: Few more lines done, still a ways to go, but this is one worth waiting for.

Isabella Teacosy: knitting all done but I have made the fatal mistake of desiring (what would Osho say) a particular fabric to line it and now having difficulty finding said item; owner waiting for this item to be completed.

Mitered Blanket: I had four days to do this blanket of squares. I have made four squares. May take a little bit to finish this. It's an enjoyable knit though so I am looking forward to spending more time on it. I'm making it my 'just a few lines while the coffee pot boils' project.

Elegant Baby shoes: Knitted, sewn up and laces in, so just have lace knobbles (?) to make and the 'final details' to add.

Simple first sweater: It's a boatneck tabard type item at the moment; awaiting some sleeves, some sewing and some decoration.

So ultimately, of all the nine items of January, one is bartered, one is available for you to buy, and 7 are still works in progress!!! Eek. And on rolls February. (And now, March!)

The actual January Bonus Pattern is for a cloche. There are lots of cloches and cowls in this calender. Otherwise known as hats-that-warm-your-ears and scarves-with-no-ends. It is made with the bountiful supply of wool from my blue-grey swingey jacket (teacosy, boat-necked sweater). I have lined it with a mint green lining to make it snugger and it has a mint green pom-pom with quilted pink highlights. And, seeing as it has no time (allocated), it is finished. Available, if you like it and have a smallish kind of head.

Interestingly Osho is also talking about time this project. Time is quite a fascinating thing, is it not? Like how it is arbitrary. I've made up a new type of time all by my little self: the unit of time called a 'project'. It's as valid a length of percieved time as a minute or a second or an hour. It's just more uneven. And when the Large Hadron Collider, the other project (hee hee, how long ago is that—day, week?), allegedly made an atom go faster than the speed of light, opening up the possible possibility of being able to go backwards in time, did you do like me and think 'which way is back?' Osho believes time is the realm of the past and the future. Those two operate on a horizontal line (not sure which direction), but the present does not belong to time. It is outside of time and operates on a vertical plane—it is eternity. If you can move from the past and the future and exist only in the now, the now has no time limit at all. Three things help most to be in that column of now-ness more than anything else: meditation, death and love. This project's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to, when loving, be the loving. It's like being the sucking we talked about last time. Being in love can for a moment stop your mind. Here you are with your desired one, and everything is perfect—you no longer desire anything. Disaster, of course, strikes when you then say to yourself 'I want this to last forever'. That moment of perfection is a moment when desire stops, the mind stops and you are in the vertical eternity of the now. To want that to last forever is to start desire again—with it's implied future. To stay in the now, you need to, as I understand it, be love, give everything over to love, meditate love: 'forget yourself completely and the lover and the beloved disappear, and there is only love flowing—then ... everlasting life is yours.'

My thoughts: I am not sure if we Westerners can understand this kind of love very well. We have mucked love up quite a bit with movies and popular culture and expectations and marriage and Valentine's Day. It is reminiscent of how Osho described our 'selves' a few projects ago. An act, a charade, a facade. To do this technique I think you need to first let go of the expectations of love. That is not so easy to do.

Don't forget: this hat-that-warms-your-ears is available if you fancy it.

Simple First Sweater: January 30th to 31st.

It would be handy, in all this knitting, if I had children. Not handy in the sense that they would, of course, get seriously in the way of the whole project and project-doing would possibly be impossible, or, even, handy in the sense that you could teach them to knit and then get them to work, but rather handy in the sense that there would be recipients for all the child type items. If it wasn't for the prohibitive cost, I would adapt the childrens clothing to adult sizes—kids get to have the best clothing. I have never been able to understand why you loose this benefit as an adult and suddenly there is all the mutton and lamb stuff being bantered about. Why do we outgrow tutus, big flouncy pockets, garish colours and dressing up like adults (in a parodic way rather than the serious sense—I'm talking ball gowns with baseball shoes, outrageously seventies organza dresses with denim jackets, that sort of thing)? Maybe that explains why my favourite SITC character is Carrie—she epitomises adult-as-child dressing, and the adult version of that, which is haute couture. Now if only we could afford to dress like that (especially the last season's dresses and the ones from the lamentably bad second movie).

This item would be an enjoyable child's jumper for adults. I love a boat neck—frenchness, boats, tour de France, croissants, any French food or wine. Snails, maybe. The wool is again from my pulled apart navy-grey swingy jumper (angora meets acrylic) and gives the piece a wavy, loose softness. I was able to try a three way cast-off—ace, it's sewing up without the needle. And now I'll be picking up and knitting sleeves from the body of the piece so less sewing again! Stupendous. Loving it. I just realised as I wrote this that sewing up is not my favourite part—like casting off from a purl stitch (ugh). I learned a great technique the other day which involved sewing up like tieing a shoelace. That made sewing up temporarily exciting (although I did have to You Tube it so that I could understand the instructions).

Don't forget that if you have a child that you like to dress in child-like clothing and if that child happens to fit this jumper, it will be available for bartering, buying or begging. It's creative slant will probably involve appliqué.

Osho's gone all Freudian on me this project. Is Freud a guru or a prophet too do you think? This weeks technique for enlightenment is forked. Freudian slip? No, it just has four tines you can try: pretend you are dead; stay in the emotion you are in; stare without moving an eyelash; or; suck something and become the sucking. Ultimately they all aim to draw you out of the body and into pure consciousness—which seems to be the whole point, yes? If I could name what I would like the point to be, I think I would want to not be adversely affected by what happens around me, which I suppose gets down to being removed from it. Not removed from what happens so much as removed from the emotion. But, again, I worry that you take away the good with the bad, the babies with the bathwater. My forehead is crinkly with imagined and seemingly real anxieties (subtle difference) but maybe it's the price you pay for moments of joy. What do you say to that Osho?

The achievement of any of these four techniques, Osho believes, heralds a new man (where are the women Osho??). If you can truly feel dead, unable to move, to cry, to talk, to swat away a mozzie, then you can realise that you exist outside the shell that is your body. That makes a kind of sense. If you can truly stay in anger, sadness, anxiety, in any emotion, without moving a single thing, without the 'motion' of emotion, then it will go. If you look at the emotion and are not moved by it, you master it. This technique may get me what I think I want. It makes a certain kind of sense too. If you can truly stare without binking for ages and ages and ages (longer than the thirty seconds I think I could do it for), you attain the same effect as focusing between the eyebrows: the third eye. It's cross-eyed time again. Or, done properly, transcending-the-mind time. Osho tells of a man who stared at his ceiling for three years, and who then visited a mind reader—a reputable and always-right one. The mind reader was, basically, unable to find the other man's mind. Cynical-me steps in. Given it may take a few years to become enlightened in any life time, does that mean you walk around for the rest of your years with an empty body while your mind floats somewhere away from you. This is all meant to be about the 'now', but that doesn't make the now seem attractive to me. I am probably missing something but it doesn't make any sort of sense to me to want to do this. And lastly, and here comes Freud, big time, if you can truly become the process of sucking, you can eliminate desire. As soon as you are born, you start to want to return to the womb (Freud). There prana is delivered to you without trying. Here, in the real world, you have to get it for yourself. For a while you get it from the mother's breast. Now the way back to the womb is through the breast (Freudish). There will always be desire (very Freud). The only way to overcome that is to become the process and pass through desire to non-desire. Unfortunately, seeing as I love the whole Freudian thing, this sort of does make sense, reluctantly. Perhaps what this does is put the self back inside the shell. You can use it for any -ings: sucking, running, working, loving. If you are the process of the action, then you are no longer the separate desirer of an action inside the body of the actioner. You're whole. I am getting so confused. One of these days I will have to actually start doing these techniques instead of just reading about them.