Today was the sixth anniversary of the 22 February earthquake.  The big event for the day was the unveiling of the new memorial wall, much discussed and debated over the last few years.  We needed a blog post for CEISMIC, so I offered to go to the ceremony and write up my impressions.  I won’t repeat what I wrote there, but, just because it’s pretty, here’s another photo from the ceremony that didn’t make it into the official blog:

And a sign I was amused by when I stopped to get lunch on my way back to work (do you think maybe someone was feeling a bit frustrated by the endless roadworks?):

I was quite glad to have the excuse to sit under a tree and just listen to speeches and music for a large chunk of today, because last night was my Toastmasters club’s speech competition, and somehow (for “somehow”, read “because I’m useless at saying no to people”) I got roped into being the contest chair.  Which was kind of stressful, because apparently our last competition (which I’d missed) was a complete shambles, so there was a lot of pressure to get everything right this time (especially as we had guests from other clubs present!).  Luckily, there’s a script to follow for a lot of the chairing (because things like how you introduce the contestants and explain the rules are all tightly regulated), but there was still a shaky moment when I almost forgot to allow the judges time between contestants to fill out their score cards (ok, I actually did forget, but luckily someone sitting in the front row realised what I was about to do, and managed to signal me in time).

Anyway, it all went pretty well in the end, but it was a long night, and I was feeling exhausted when I got home.  So it was nice to have a relatively quiet day today!

I’ve made a bit of progress on the flower garden quilt. It’s slow going though, having to stop so often to shift the heavy quilt around. It’s made me realise I need a more ergonomic setup for my sewing machine, because after a few hours of working on it at the weekend I was hurting in all sorts of places. I might have to look at getting a proper sewing table that’s at the right height, instead of just using the desk.

I haven’t taken a proper photo of progress so far, because that would involve moving furniture again so I could spread it out properly, but here’s a sneak peak of the folded-up version. I’ve pretty much just got the border area to quilt (you normally start in the centre and work gradually outwards when you’re quilting), which doesn’t seem much, but is actually a lot of surface area.

I’m getting impatient to get it finished, because I there’s so many other projects I want to start.  Not that having one project on the go has ever prevented me from starting another, but I’ve got the sewing machine set up to do free-motion quilting at the moment, so I don’t want to have to keep switching it back and forth between that and normal sewing (hmm, the solution here is obviously to have multiple sewing machines, each set up for a different function ;-))

In the meantime, as an outlet for my “I want to start something new!” frustration, I made another dishcloth, so that I’ll have a spare for when the first one needs washing.  I didn’t have enough of the multi-coloured wool to make a whole cloth, and I haven’t figured out yet how to change wools when crocheting, so I decided to knit it rather than crochet this time.

Knitting is definitely one of those skills that falls under the category of “technically I know how to do it, but I’m pretty rubbish at it in reality”, so it’s a bit all over the place in terms of tension (and definitely in terms of casting on, which I kind of forgot how to do so just made it up as I went along), but again, it’s a dishcloth. It’s going in the sink, so perfection is definitely not required.  So despite its many flaws, I’m counting it as a success 🙂

Busy doing nothing

Time is rapidly running out on my holidays, but I’m kind of looking forward to going back to work – this year is going to be full of all sorts of interesting challenges which I want to get stuck into.  I could very easily get used to this leisurely lifestyle though 🙂

Not that the last few days have been that leisurely – we decided it was finally time to face down the monster that is cleaning the garage.  As you may know, we don’t own a car.  Our garage then, not needing a vehicular space to be kept clear, has become the all purpose storage space for things that might come in handy one day, broken stuff that might be repairable so it seems silly to throw it out, useful boxes, leftover building material from various projects, furniture I’ve been meaning to Freecycle, stuff the previous owners left behind… you get the idea.  Plus it doubles as a wood shed, and houses the usual tools and stuff of any garage.  Yeah, basically a room-sized junk drawer.

It was getting to the stage where we couldn’t actually find any of the tools, and getting to the woodpile in winter was work for a skilled mountaineer (ok, so maybe not that bad, but it was a bit tricky squeezing past the lawnmower).  So all year I’ve been saying that when we had a few free days we should clean it out.

So having quite a few free days, with no excuses left, we finally tackled the job.  We hired a skip and filled it with everything of the “might come in handy some day”, “don’t even know what this is” and “outright rubbish” categories, restacked the wood pile to limit its gradual spread across the floor, sorted out the Freecyclables ready to post offers, cleaned and organised everything that was left, and we now have a perfectly usable garage.

Yeah, I give it about a month before it’s back to chaos again, but in the meantime I can feel proud of our efforts 🙂

Progress hasn’t been as steady on craft projects, but that’s because it’s been so hot – it’s hovered around 30o most days this month, accompanied by Christchurch’s famous hot and dusty nor’wester.  And hot and sweaty really doesn’t go well with keeping crafty things clean.

But yesterday the weather finally broke and it rained and was nice and cool.  Which coincided nicely with Jenny having a free day, so she came round and we had a sewing circle – or sewing line, really – it’s hard to have a circle of two… and actually it was more of a knitting and embroidery line – she was finishing off a jersey she’s knitting, and I was working on my cross-stitch. But we called it a sewing circle anyway 😉 and it accomplished the same goal: company and conversation while working on crafty things.

So I did make a small amount of progress:


And I have added a bit more to my knitting experiment.  I’ve just been playing with different patterns and using up some of the random odds and ends of wool Jenny gave me, and just picking up stitches off the sides of existing squares to start each new one, so it’s developing very organically*.


*Translation: messily

In bookcrossing news, I got a catch which was definitely a record for me, and may even (according to Gorydetails) be a site-wide record, for longest time between release and catch.  I released Ossian’s Ride in April 2003, and it’s finally been caught almost 10 years later.  Just goes to show you should never give up on a book!

Other, less notable, recent catches:

Currently reading:

  • Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
  • Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel B Smith (audiobook)

This could be dangerous

Jenny is a serious knitter.  She knits vastly complicated patterns that actually turn into wearable clothing, using the sorts of fancy expensive wool that you have to be pretty confident about your ability to spend that much money on.  And she’s been trying to tempt me for ages to pick up some needles – a temptation I’ve been personfully resisting, because I really really don’t need another hobby, especially one that has potential for buying All The Things (witness my very expensive return to photography…).  Also, there’s the not insignificant factor that it’s been about 20 years since I last knitted, and I wasn’t all that good at it back then either.

Yeah, you can see where this is going, can’t you?  She finally broke through my defences by offering me a huge bag of left-over wool she was clearing out.  And I’m not very good at turning down craft supplies….


So after a quick refresher lesson in casting on, and how purl works (amazingly, my fingers could still remember knit, even if my brain couldn’t, but they were a bit wobbly on the other stuff), I have made a thing:


Not sure what the thing is going to be yet. I have visions of a patchworky sort of lap blanket thingy, but if I get bored or frustrated, it may be a patchworky sort of small cushion cover thingy instead 😉

In other news, there isn’t much other news.  Not even any more pretty pictures to show you, because the last few days have been drizzly and dreary and not at all conducive to wandering around with a camera.  So they’ve been spent mostly in a curled up lazily indoors sort of way, with either book, movies or computer games.  Very nice to be properly lazy for a change, really.

I did venture into Riccarton briefly on Boxing Day, in case the sales held anything interesting.  But the crowds and noise were so horrible that apart from grabbing a few clothes for work I just gave up and went home again.

Yesterday was a bit more social – as well as the knitting lesson, I went out for lunch with Jenny and MrJenny, and then Harvestbird and Harvestbaby came round in the afternoon (I think we’d all reached hermit saturation point at the same time :-)) – a very pleasant day all round.