Saturday, September 27, 2014


I've been playing around with some really lovely yarns lately, super-soft and luxurious! I thought I'd tell you about them all at once. ;)

Two of the yarns have been knit into swatches for a secret project - a design submission to the knit magazine Twist Collective. It's my first submission to a publication, so it's been pretty exciting (and nerve-wracking)! I can't show you the swatches, but I can show you the fancy yarn: "ethical superfine merino" from Tasmania's White Gum Wool, and the merino/silk blend "Scrumptious" from Fyberspates, both in 4ply/fingering weight. The silk content in the aptly-named Scrumptious gives it a nice sheen, which helps highlight textured stitch patterns like moss stitch and garter stitch.

White Gum Wool 4ply, and Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply

Next is a brand-new luxury yarn from New Zealand, which I just had to get my hands on: "Vanitas" from Outlaw Yarn. It's a DK-weight blend of alpaca and a little bit of merino. I love the design of the ball-band!

The colours are inspired by European 'vanitas' paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries. A couple of examples (click to enlarge):

Philippe de Champaigne, Still-Life with a Skull, c.1671

Adriaen van Utrecht, Vanitas - Still Life with Bouquet and Skull, c.1642
Johann de Cordua, Vanité au buste, 1665

So you can see why this yarn appealed to me! I chose the colours 'Vanity' and 'Mahogany'. I'll probably turn them into a cowl and a hat. :)

Lastly, I managed to get my hands on some very special yarn through a bit of luck. I entered a contest on Instagram by posting a photo of a past-or-present knitting project using Zealana's yarn. I entered this photo of my 'Bushwalk Beanie' knit in their Kauri 4ply:

And I won! My very generous prize arrived last week - four balls of the cashmere/possum/silk blend Air laceweight, along with a book of patterns.

It's very, very soft and has Zealana's usual subtly-heathered look and slight halo from the possum fur. I think a striped scarf or shawl will really make the most of this yarn. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A 48-hour adventure

This past weekend was completely insane. Hours of intense concentration alternating with hours of waiting, not enough sleep, fast meals, quick costume changes, and a very ill-timed migraine... yes, I was involved in a 48 Hour Film Project! It's a kind of film-making endurance event, where your team finds out on the Friday evening what genre you'll be doing (drawn at random), and you're given a set line of dialogue, prop, and character to include in your 4-7 minute film. You then have until the Sunday evening to write the script, film it, add music and sound effects, edit it, and get two digital copies to headquarters before the deadline.

Celena had put together a fantastic team of film students, musicians and assorted skilful folk. The music team (the three Lewises and me) had expected to be needed only on the Saturday to put together some background music and whatever else was needed. However, the genre we drew was 'Musical'.
So once we all got over our shock and dismay, the writers started writing and the composers started composing...

The music team set up a 'lair' in a bedroom at our team's base. Laptops and keyboards and instruments were everywhere! I recorded some vocals for one of the musical numbers, plus a drawn-out high-C for a sound effect. Chloe's amazing new microphone was a huge help:

A most excellent microphone
Chloe and Willie composing amidst the chaos

I hadn't expected to actually appear on camera, but I did! We were filmed playing our instruments for the film's intro, and we appear in another couple of scenes as well. I was a bit freaked out at first, but got over it pretty quick. :)

Being filmed for the intro (photo by Celena)

I've now seen the finished film, and it's both fun and funny - yay! There are definitely a few things we would have tweaked if we'd had more time, but on the whole it's a damn good effort.

I can't wait to go and see all the films on the big screen in two weeks time. We're pretty confident we have a shot at some of the prizes. Fingers crossed! ;)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sanctuary II

It's parrot time! The 'Land of Parrots' enclosure was definitely the highlight of our trip to Healesville. We were a little nervous feeding the birds (with birdseed and 'nectar') at first, because they're pretty rowdy and are as likely to land on your arm/hand as on the feeding dish. But we soon got used to them, and had a great time admiring their colourful feathers close up - and taking zillions of photos! Make sure you click to enlarge the ones below. :)

These green-and-red Scaly-Breasted Lorikeets were the busiest and noisiest birds there:

Feasting on flowering wattle

Nectar party!

Posing with parrots
My favourite birds were the Regent Parrots, who were a little more reserved than the lorikeets. I love their colours, and cute faces...

Such a cool colour combo!

There were also budgies and finches flitting about, and popping in and out of holes in the tree trunks. They mostly stayed out of the way of the lorikeets, and we didn't manage to lure any down for a feed.

Budgie meeting

In an adjoining enclosure, we found the bigger birds. The keeper was trying to lure some of the parrots and cockatoos down for the 'Spirits of the Sky' show, but they had other ideas! This Red-Tailed Cockatoo eventually cooperated, and got a treat for his trouble:

A well-camouflaged bird with a bright blue eye

An Eclectus Parrot eating out of Willie's hand

I definitely want to visit again! Birds are so cool. :)