Bring it on!

This year for the first time in many – I didn’t have a gig.

My beloved and the kids are in Sydney, out on the harbour enjoying the massiveness of Sydney’s NYE celebrations. I stayed at home…alone…with my music and knitting for company and this morning when I woke, with no hangover (from either alcohol, or exhaustion), I feel ready to welcome in the new decade with all its promises of great things.

It’s no secret that 2009 was a less than fabulous year for me, my family and loads of my friends, but there is so much on the agenda for 2010 already that I can’t help but be excited.

I bit the bullet at the end of 2009 and started work on my album.  A huge step, and you can read about it over here…

My work is busy and challenging, but for all those challenges I am still learning and enjoying it!

Craftwise – I’ve not stitched much at all but I’ve been knitting up a storm!

Shawl for Louise for Christmas

Shawl for the MIL for Christmas. Another free pattern from Ravelry (Multnomah)

Having said that I’ve written a ton of new songs,

One of the many pairs of socks I knitted this year.

Not that I’ve been slacking off at all, I’ve written a ton of new songs, started guitar lessons to help me with the process, revising all the ‘useless music theory’ that I gave away in high school and trying to keep on top of the mothering, housework, etc.

While I wouldn’t say 2009 has been one of my most stellar years, the happenings of 2009 have catapulted me into action for the new decade!

Much love and best wishes to everyone from me.

I had a lovely visit with Marg (who still doesn’t have a blog)  and Barb yesterday, nice bit of lunch, some drooling over stitching and lovely conversation!  There just aren’t two nicer people in the whole world! I’m so glad they visited.

All three of us have fallen in love with this little fella from The Workbasket!

I started him yesterday, Cobblestone 28 count jobelan ( I think as I bought this piece of fabric some years ago and there is no colour on the pack) and Kaalund natural silk that I picked up in an odds and ends basket one day and was wondering what I’d do with it.

 I think he looks a little like Hedwig 🙂 although I am making a great assumption that ‘he’ is actually a ‘he’.

The Workbasket - QUaker Owl on 28cnt Cobblestone Jobelan - Kaalund natural silk.

The Workbasket - QUaker Owl on 28cnt Cobblestone Jobelan - Kaalund natural silk.

I think Barb was ‘scrounging for fabric” last night so she could start him too!

I’ve stumbled a bit with my stitching lately – just haven’t had the inclination but I was really enjoying this project last night – so much so I am going to go sit with him for abit longer today;)


Thank you so much for all your lovely thoughts and wishes after the passing of my father.  I have chosen to keep them private for now – I hope you understand.  They have all touched me greatly and I appreciate the time and thought you took to write.  Thank you.

It has been an interesting week.  I’m very tired and emotional and for a change there’s not a hormone excuse in sight.

I attended the funeral accompanied by a very good friend who decided in all her wisdom that I really shouldn’t attend on my own (she’s good!).   It was strange to be confronted by pictures of  the man I didn’t know, and even stranger to hear the stories of how wonderful a father and grandfather he was.  To hear that he remained with the woman he left my mother for all these years was comforting I guess, in the same way that my mother remarried and is still with that man too, it just wasn’t ‘right’ for either of them at that time.

I didn’t go to the viewing, and I am not sure I could have done that.  To see his coffin there was heart-wrenching and I wasn’t prepared for that at all.  I wasn’t prepared at all for the level of pain I felt.  It hurt way more than I really expected and I can’t make out if the pain is from knowing that he is now gone, or from the guilt I feel.

To hear his grandson deliver the eulogy and see how overcome the grandchildren were to have lost their Poppa gives me some indication of how he might have been in life, loving and devoted to his family, seven children, 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren too.  But I was also sad because I know there are 9 children, and 24 grandchildren.

Everyone knew who I was.  This in itself was unsettling, to be amongst a group of people I’d never met, but who all knew all the important stuff about me.  It’s not that I didn’t feel ‘welcome’, but I felt like I really didn’t have a right to be there, grieving for someone I didn’t know.   I felt like I didn’t have the right to cry, I had finished grieving for him  years ago,   I cried every night for years, wondering why he didn’t want to know me, why he didn’t come to see me, wondering why I wasn’t good enough, and then when I had my son, I went to see his mother (am so glad I did) and took him to see her.  She asked me to come back the next day.  I learnt that my father went there and waited all day just in case I came back.  But I didn’t go – I was too scared, I didn’t know what to say to him, so I stayed away.  This will now be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life and I will regret it forever.

I visited briefly with the family after the service and was made very welcome.  I heard from family members how he remembered me and my brother on every birthday and Christmas, had pictures of me from the newspapers, etc (his mother collected them).  He told everyone how beautiful and clever I was.  I can understand how it might have hurt the other children for me to be there, but I am so glad I went.

My step father found out he had a sister in his fifties…I remember how weirded out about that he was…she wasa hairdressing client of mine for years before we knew….funny I always felt an affintiy with her – we were more friends than client’ hairdresser. But he doesn’t see her now – not since the first time they met.

I’m not sure whether I want to, or even can forge a relationship with these people who are my family, or what the niceties of figuring that out are?

What if they do and I don’t – or vice versa – what is the etiquette?

It’s like walking up to a complete stranger on the street and saying “Hi – you don’t know me but I want to be your family”.

Most people would say (or think) “F*&^ off idiot!”

BTW I started getting a cold last Wednesday (the same day I learnt of his death) and I slowly slipped further and further into it’s clutches as I missed more and more sleep.

I’ll return to normal soon.

Today, I learned that my biological father passed away suddenly at the age of 67 years.

I’d only met him a few times, but I was aware that I had half sisters and brothers somewhere.

I didn’t expect to feel so devastated.

I didn’t expect to learn of his passing from my mother who had read the death notices in the paper today.  I’d hoped that someone would try and find me.

On Friday I will attend his funeral in Hobart and there I will at least see 7 new family members – brothers and sisters – who knows how it will go?

I’d spoken about trying to get in contact many times over the past few months, that option no longer exists.

It really does hurt more than I thought it would.

He was my father after all.

Care Packages

I have a contact for care packages containing under garments and clothing for women.

If you know a woman who lost clothing etc in the fires, please contact me and I can pass on the details for you.

Marysville WAS a gorgeous little town, with so much to offer.

We went there often, to visit the mechanical toys shop (which also housed a collection of historical Meccano models), picnic and walk to the falls.

Bruno’s Gardens….gone too…a man’s lifetime of work that he so generously shared with all who went there.

Strathewen and Kinglake – nothing left.

And to think – these towns are less than 100 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne.

I am feeling incredibly sad/guilty/ *insert undescribable feeling of something* here.

Australians are well known for digging deep, but I think for this one, we will need to call in favours.

Handmade Help

Rachel Power has posted about “Handmade Help” where crafters can donate proceeds from the sale of their handmade goods.

Our Darkest Day…

There is not much to say really.

Victoria is in the middle of a fire disaster – the worst we have ever seen.

To talk about knitting or stitching, or whinge about train travel seems so trite when so many people have lost their lives or at very best, all their worldly possessions. Whole townships were razed to the ground in what has been described as a firestorm like no other.

Saturday was the hottest day ever recorded in Victoria – 46.3 degrees Celsius (115.34 F) in the city, with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius (118.4F) in out lying suburbs.  .

Speaking to my partner Saturday evening, I said I felt guilty going to bed when right at that point in time there were so many people who no longer had a bed to go to. I likened it to September 11 when we sat up all night watching news reports and were just flabbergasted by the situation, sitting there speechless, unable to comment.  I was much the same over the weekend.  I didn’t want to go to bed, but the news reports continue to reduce me to tears. 

108 people are confirmed dead, many others are still missing and fears held for their safety.     I urge everyone to donate either  to the Red Cross or at their local National Australia Bank, or give donations of clothes, blankets, whatever you can to the local Salvation Army.


Other useful links

Bushfire Hotline – 1800 240 667
Victorian Bushfire Fund – 1800 811 700
Condolence Book – Share your sorrow over the tragedy
Urgent threats – latest information
Transport updates from VicRoads and V/Line
Latest updates from the Country Fire Authority


Somebody took my mojo…and I want it back.

Today I am just going to bite the bullet and stitch…something…anything…I am not sure what.

I’ve not stitched in weeks and I”m really starting to beat myself up about it – why is that?  Stitching is an activity I do to relax, to feel creative, to enjoy, so why then would I be so hard on myself for not stitching?  Perhaps it is caused by the copious amounts of  languishig half-finished (or less) projects, or the mountainous piles of stash idly stuffed into drawers and cupboards?

I don’t know why, but today I am going to try and jump the monumental hurdle that is stagnation.  Perhaps a little freebie, something I can start and finish today.

On a webby-research note….here is a sensational site contining all the historic needlework resources one may ever need.  Everything is covered from the 10th Century, and all corners of the globe…I spent many hours reading and oogling the stitching beauty contined therein.

Library Addition

I was in the neighbourhood of a LNS today so I popped in to see what could possibly tempt me.  This particular shop has a lovely selection of books and I picked up this one – I Miel Sfilati – My Drawn Thread Works by Antonietta Monzo Menossi.  Absolutely stunning!!!  Worth every penny 🙂  Beautiful diagrams, in both Italian and a very ‘cute’ English translation which is perfectly helpful but a little bit ‘literal’ in places 🙂



There is a companion book to this one….I think it needs to be together with its mate 🙂


My book is here.

Once again, this is a beautiful publication – well worth the cost ($95) –  I am so glad I bought it.  For lovers of samplers, this is a fantastic reference.  Big clear pictures and wonderful narrative on the composition and construction of the samplers.  Very differnt to the Ackworth book, in that the text focusses on the sampler and not the stitcher.

I wont post piccies because the ones on the needleprint website are far better than any I can take!

You may not see me for a while….I’m off to devour it.


Happy New Year!

I am so excited…I just heard that my Goodhart Samplers book is on it’s way!!!  I should have it in my hot little  hands on Tuesday!  At $95 plus $10.90  I hope it’s all I expect it to be, although so far, I am yet to be disappointed by anything that has been published by Needleprint.  They are such quality publications!  The Judith Hayle book is lovely – and the Ackworth Schoolgirl samplers is a book I pick up often and just look at the pictures and sigh.

Congrats to Jacqueline Holdsworth on another beautiful book!  One I am sure will be a wonderful addition to my library!

PS: If you go to the website linked to the book title, you can take a sneak preview….well worth it…but I take no responsibility for the state of your bank account afterwards 🙂

A Bit Late for Halloween!

Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone, but I think MOTH’s Grandma’s chair  is haunted.

The kitties wont sit in it.  Not at all.  Even when I’ve put their favourite throw rug on it.  Sometimes they just sit and stare at it or they walk up to it and put their front paws on it, but don’t jump up!

*insert twilight zone music here*

A Stitcher’s Heritage

I had a wonderful addition to my living room yesterday.

MOTH’s parents had a chair and that they asked if we had room in our shed to store it.

The chair belonged to MOTH’s grandmother and it is the chair in which she used to sit stitching.  When I heard this I immediately said no – we didn’t have room in our shed, but that I would make room for it in the living room.

MOTH’s mum informed me that it wasn’t very pretty and had a bit of a split in the leather at the front and asked did I really want to put it in the house?

The split in the leather gives it character, and just knowing that it was used as a stitching chair (I’ve yet to see some of her handiwork) means a lot to me.  It’s a big comfortable chair and I’ve placed it in my stitching corner, and will use it as a stitching chair too!

Perhaps some of her mojo will rub off on me 🙂

Grandma's Chair

Grandma's Chair

 I love tradition and I love knowing that MOTH’s Grandma sat in this chair to create.  I’ll be sure to post pictures of her work when I finally see it!

And just to prove it – here is a picture of my progress on Paradigm Lost, such as it is!  This motif is HUGE and is taking sooooooo long, but I really love this design and I am hoping to make a bit more progress this week (as I am off work with a bulging disc in my back!)

Paradigm Lost-Long Dog Designs - 12-nov-08

Paradigm Lost-Long Dog Designs - 12-nov-08

I’ve also started a few little Christmas gifts which I can’t share here at the moment…just little things for friends.  Funny – I seem to get annoyed with small things and they take forever for me to stitch.  I am really NOT a smalls person at all!  Finishing just isn’t my thing!  I see so many beautiful things and think “I COULD do that….if I felt so inclined”  Unfortunately it’s the inclination that just isn’t forthcoming!

THis is what Cara thinks of the heat!

This is what Cara thinks of the heat!

It has been HOT here in Melbourne this week and we are all feeling the effects!  Cara is not amused!

I’ve added some knitting progress to my knitting blog too 🙂 (Just in case you’re interested).


Saturday January 24 Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley VIC
Monday January 26 Leconfield Wines, Fleurieu Peninsula SA
Wednesday January 28 Sydney Entertainment Centre, NSW
Saturday January 31 Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley NSW
Sunday February 1 Centennial Vineyards, Bowral NSW
Tuesday February 1 Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Qld
Thursday February 5 Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne VIC
Saturday February 7 Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley WA

With Paul Kelly

I am so excited about this.  I have been listening to a lot of his recordings lately and I’m really learning a great deal as a songwriter.

I’m also hoping Santa brings me a book or two of his for Christmas!

*HINT* <—-this is for the MOTH’s benefit!

Knitty Woman on a Train

Because most of my knitting is completed during my train journey, I’ve decided to start a new blog for knitting and train related stories.

So many incredible things happen on my daily commute, I want to share them with you!

You will be able to find the new blog here.

A new favourite place…

There are no stitching shops within cooee of my workplace – yes there is Lincraft or Cleggs, (which doesnt’ really count for stitching but does have some lovely yarns) and yes, there is the beading place in Little Collins Street (Maria something or other), but no real stitching shops like my favourite.  I’ve had to find other places in which to satisfy my need for inspiration. 

I have a new such place.  The Hill of Content Bookshop on Bourke Street – just  stone’s throw from my office which just so happens to be the place where I finally found Damon Young’s book “Distraction – A Philosopher’s Guide to Being Free” (sold out now though – I got the last copy!!!). 

While I was there I also picked up “A Fraction of the Whole”  the Man Booker Prize shortlisted first novel of Sydney novelist Steve Tolz.  A start to this lengthy work should make great for a weekend of reading! 

Speaking of the Man Booker Prize, I used to make a point of trying to read the entire shortlist each year.  Some years were really hard going and some  were a pure joy!  I loved Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones and the same year (2004) I think was Suri Hustevdt’s “What I Loved” and the winner, Alan Hollingsworth’s “The Line of Beauty”.  That year also shortlisted “Maps for Lost Lovers” by Nadeem Aslam, which I found both hard to read (intensity) and incredibly difficult to put down.

The book that affected me most in 2003 was “Astonishing Splashes of Colour” by Clare Morral, funny, and not funny all at once.  This was another one of those books that I wouldn’t lend, but raved about.  And of course EVERYONE was reading “Vernon God Little”.

I think I stopped reading “the list” because I could never find anyone in my circle of friends who read quite as much as I do to discuss what I’d discovered.  It also seemed to me that ‘the shortlist’ just  kept getting longer! 

This year however looks like a good year to pick up this habit again.

PS: Stitchy pictures tomorrow…..promise!

I picked this up from the table in Mary Martin Bookshop while I was out trying to find the aforementioned “Distraction”. I simply cannot enter a bookshop and not buy something….I am utterly and unapologetically hopeless!

There were three things that made me add it to my shopping!

1.  “McKellar”. Firstly I wondered if this Author is in some way related to Dorothea McKellar?  (Apologies to the author – she probably gets this alot!)

2.  The front cover review….

“MacKellar makes terrifically vivid the often unsung strength of women brave in their new worlds.”…Anna Funder


3.  This book is a representation of true stories of women and their lives.

I love books like this.  Will start this one on the train tonight in the absence of “Distraction”…funny distracted from reading “Distraction”.


Then Damon Young has a few ways of overcoming Distraction….here…be sure to go back to the front page of his blog too!

I’ve been out at lunchtime trying to buy “Distraction” and was unsuccessful in the two bookshops I visited, I might have to go further afield….

Finally!  Readable philosophy!

“He is a punchy writer, with a gift for turning complex ideas into readable, entertaining stories.” – Christopher Scanlon, Canberra Times

“Distraction…is the best kind of popular philosophy – popular…in the real sense of the word, owing to its overriding, passionate concern with the business of living well, right now…in this world in front of our eyes.”- Maria Tumarkin, author of Traumascapes and Courage

From the publisher’s website…..


A Philosopher’s Guide to Being Free

Damon Young

Distraction is a book of popular philosophy, exploring the nature of distraction and its role in modern life.


‘This warm and witty book does something wonderful: it brings the great ideas of philosophy into our lives. Young is a bright new voice.’ — John Armstrong, author of The Secret Power of Beauty.

‘This author makes “dancing” with the philosophic and artistic masters. . .enjoyable even though one may be tone-deaf to the music and not know the steps.’ — Barbara Cullen, Bookseller + Publisher magazine.

About this Title

We all know what it is to be distracted-a feeling that our attention is not quite where it should be. Though it is not a new complaint, at work and at home, in our social lives and in the bedroom, our attention is often torn between one thing and another. What does it mean to be distracted, and why?

In this insightful journey through the lives of philosophers, artists and great political thinkers, Damon Young shows how rewarding patient, sensitive and thoughtful attention to the world can be. He suggests that the opposite of a life of distraction is one of genuine freedom.

Table of Contents

1 Manholes and Tears
2 What a Piece of Work Is a Man
3 The Reins of Necessity
4 A Farewell to Arms
5 Matisse’s Hernia
6 The Private Life
7 Footnotes to Plato
Balancing the Books

About the Author

Damon Young is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, and the author of essays, fiction and poetry. He has lectured in European philosophy, literature and globalisation.

Hmmmm…I cannot wait to get my hands/eyes on this one!