It has been eighteen days since my last post.
During that time, I have spent some quality time feeling sick and sniffly and attempting to cough up at least one lung; I have stabbed myself with all manner of pins and needles, due to my innate grace and sense of co-ordination; I have acquired a fancy new desk chair. On top of this, I have finished a small knitting project and am in the final stages of a larger one. In the meantime, I am itching to get onto this project:
But I am determined to set a precedent for myself: I will not start new projects until previous ones are finished off. If you’ve never knitted up a neckband, you’ll have no idea how monumental this pledge is and I’m afraid you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that this is something akin to knitting sainthood. Fiddly, annoying, time-consuming, necessary neckbands… But if I put them off, I’ll end up with a stack of items that are almost ready to wear, which could be considered a waste of the time already spent on them.
So as we can see, I have become completely obsessed with knitting as well as crochet now. I blame Jen, myself. If she hadn’t dragged us into Spotlight that fateful day in June last year, I never would have picked up that wool and crochet hook on a whim and we wouldn’t be in this place right now. Of course, neither would I be having as much fun, but that’s probably beside the point.
One thing I can’t really blame on my friend is my collection of old knitting patterns. It’s growing at an alarming rate, but I just can’t resist them and their retro awesomeness. I am particularly incapable of leaving them behind when they contain instructions for what is essentially a knitted t-shirt.
Must. Make. One. Actually, I want to make one of everything in that pattern book but I might just have to pace myself. There are only so many hours in the day and I have Plans. Plans that sort of involve knitting, yes, but Plans that cannot be undertaken while knitting, pending the acquisition of extra hands. It seems like I often formulate Plans only to let them fizzle away into nothing (despite their impressive capital letters) but I won’t let that happen this time. These Plans are too much fun to let go. Plus, if I’m going to set a knitting precedent of finishing what I start, it might be a good idea to carry the same attitude into other aspects of my life, mightn’t it?
In the meantime, I have a vest I need to sew up and a sock pattern I need to approach warily. I feel this is the best approach for sock patterns, even ones that claim to be ideal for beginners. You just never know when a sock pattern will suddenly turn ugly and dissolve into a mess of frustration and wrong turns.
So that’s what has been stealing my attention for the past eighteen days. What has everyone else been up to?
One of the handy things about having parents who live in Beechworth is that you have incredibly affordable accommodation on offer pretty much whenever you like. Other people might pay a whole bunch of money to stay in this gorgeous old town; I just rock up and treat my parents to a nice lunch or dinner. It’s a pretty good deal for me, really. All the parents receive in return is the honour of my presence for a few days.
A little while ago, I had a plan of travelling up to Beechworth and back by train, then spending a few days at home with the Chef before we headed off on our planned three-day weekend in Queenscliff. However, when his list of work shifts revealed the fact that he had Sunday off, plans changed. I cashed in my train tickets and we drove up together on the Sunday instead. So the parents got two for the price of one and we ended up with two holidays (not quite for the price of one).
We were swathed in fog on our trip up and I totally should have stopped to take more photos, but I never seemed to find the right spot. Luckily, the Chef filmed a few minutes of our ascent through the fog, including our crossing of the bridge over Lake Eildon, during which time we were unable to spot any sight of water or the giant lake over which I knew we were driving.
Our roadtrips rarely involve the act of going directly from point A to point B, thus we stopped off at Glenrowan and toured around some Ned Kelly-related locations. This of course necessitated at least one silly photograph.
The leaves above were found on the ground at the Milawa Cheese Company where we feasted on delicious pizzas and ginger beer and bought cheese. Much cheese (and yet, still not as much as we would have liked). With these effective detours out of our way, it was straight on to Beechworth for us.
Luckily, the fog had cleared by the afternoon and, true to my previous word on this blog, I headed out with camera in hand to Take Photos of Stuff.
I’m pretty sure anyone who gets married in Beechworth would have a whole series of picturesque photos by that bridge.
The next day, just for something different, there was a whole bunch of fog, which put somewhat of a dent in our plans to See Things (unless we were interested in seeing a whole lot of fog). Our first stop for the day was Myrtleford, where we hoped to find op shops. And we did. However, one was closed on Mondays (a fact they’d neglected to mention on their website) and the other was a tiny shop with the dubious honour of being colder inside than out. In Summer, this would be a splendid feat; in the middle of Winter, it was less than welcome.
On the up side, there was the Myrtleford Butter Factory. I would like it if said Butter Factory were much closer to home, even if such a re-location would result in our almost immediate penury.
Next stop: Bright, where we found two op shops that were both open and warm inside. This was quite an improvement on our op shop adventures in Myrtleford. We also found a lolly shop. There’s always a lolly shop and this is never a good thing for our wallets or our health.
There was time for a drive through nearby historic Wandiligong and a small walk to the Chinese Bridge.
After such strenuous exercise, I was starving and my thoughts turned immediately to lunch. Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive at our place of lunching with quite as much immediacy but I kept my complaints of imminent starvation to a minimum as we drove back to Myrtleford and searched for somewhere to eat.
Of course, I managed to find at least one abandoned house.
We rounded up our adventures with the purchase of delightful cider and further op shopping adventures. This is the fantastic thing about being able to head into the country on weekdays: the op shops are always open! Well, usually. And when you consider how highly op shops feature in our adventures, this is a very good thing indeed.
All in all, it was a rather fantastic impromptu getaway. Has anyone else had one of those lately?
There comes a time in life when you have to make the hard decisions. Should I have a smoked salmon or bacon with my breakfast eggs? Should I go back to learning the violin or pick up the clarinet instead? Should I actually use my TARDIS teapot or just keep it in pristine condition? Difficult, soul-searching, life-changing decisions.
However, there was one decision I never thought I’d have to face. If I’m honest, I never even considered it; never realised it actually existed. And so, thus un-prepared, I ran face-first into a harrowing question that look me completely by surprise: Should I keep all of those shoes I no longer wear or should I use that space for woolly storage?
Because I have to tell you: woolly storage is an issue right now, especially when places like Spotlight go around having “25% off wool” sales, the dastards. Somehow, I’ve managed to fill up two large tubs with wool and patterns and bits and pieces and, as of last Friday, there was a significant amount of overflow. A little set of drawers solved the pattern problem, but that still left me with a whole bunch of wool with no proper home and an assortment of hooks and needles lurking helpfully around the bottom of the biggest tub.
And there was my wardrobe, packed full of shoes that were simultaneously adorable and useless. Shoes I hadn’t worn for over a year. Shoes that were also filling up a large set of drawers on wheels. Shoes that were taking up space and offering nothing in return. Surely the best idea would be to donate them all to op shops and move my wool in, post haste.
This, of course, is the perfect excuse for a photo shoot. That’s how normal people spend their Saturday mornings, isn’t it? Crawling around on the floor with their camera pointed at a pair of shoes and some wool. It’s pretty standard behaviour, really.
Right now, I have two giant piles of shoes ready to go to local op shops and a wardrobe full of wool. And don’t get me started on the set of drawers with its logical arrangement of patterns and needles, wool for projects I’m currently working on, wool that I know is wool (and not acrylic) despite the fact that the labels are missing and the ever-important bottom drawer, whose contents I forget. They’d be wool, I expect. But as I say, don’t get me started on that or I won’t stop, even when people start backing away slowly and vowing never to wear any knitted garments ever again.
You know things are serious when I’m ditching shoes in favour of wool and needles. And yes, those gorgeous red shoes are on their way to a new home somewhere, despite their gorgeous redness and attendant gorgeous red bows.
Has anyone else made any unexpected and slightly-momentous decisions lately?
So here’s the thing: since last Saturday, my camera has been stuck on manual. This is a very good thing indeed, because a troublesome thought kept running through my mind as I eagerly took in the knowledge being imparted during the workshop I attended on the 13th. And that thought went a little something like this:
I hope I won’t let be tempted to put my camera back on P out of laziness.
“P” being a setting that’s so close to automatic that they might as well just move in together and be done with it. What if I walked out of this workshop, threw away all of this new learning and went back to my old ways? What if I failed to take this opportunity to improve? When you consider how much I’ve been affected by my own laziness of late, this was a legitimate concern.
Right up until I tried taking some photos on one of the semi-automatic modes as a compromise and found myself running back to manual. When it’s so easy to choose the settings for myself, why would I allow my camera to take charge? Especially when it so frequently gets it all wrong (as anyone with any sort of camera will know).
But let’s go back a step or two and investigate the workshop itself, which was all kinds of awesomeness rolled into six hours. It started at 10am, so I didn’t even have to get up that early. Instead, the Halfway Quilter and I headed off for Collingwood at a very civilised hour indeed, looking forward to learning many a thing and taking great steps on our photographic journeys.
Said photographic journey began with a glove. This glove.
I know it’s difficult to grasp how important and gorgeous this glove is from a mere photograph. Believe me, though, the stunning dark background and the rich detail of the pink glove are things of utter beauty. Things, more importantly, that you can’t achieve if you don’t make some manual adjustments on your camera. Give it a shot, if you’re so inclined (and happen to have a pink glove lying about the place).
Fortunately, we were allowed to move on to photographing slightly more interesting subjects. The whole day was well-planned: we’d spend some time understanding the theory, then we’d head outside to the streets to put it all into practice. It was fantastic! Even when it rained slightly!
By early afternoon, we were hitting the streets with our cameras on full manual and it was awesome. I wish I’d learnt all of this earlier! It’s one thing to understand all the aspects of photography; it’s quite another to put it all together and let it impact your photos.
Finally, it was time to take some moody portraits of our eager volunteer model. And by “eager volunteer” I mean “forced conscript”. Despite this lack of free will on his part, he was a very good model and now has his face immortalised on a whole bunch of strangers’ cameras.
Full manual there. It’s really quite straightforward, once you know how to go about it. Of course, now I need to corner a whole bunch of people and force them to let me take photos of them so I can practise these new-found skills. Is it time for another Failboats get-together, maybe? In some sort of photogenic location? I think so.