Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yarra Valley

Flying into Australia. The first sight of my homeland in 2 years. Its beautiful.

Headed straight to a wedding in the Yarra Valley, just outside Melbourne. Stunning place. The wedding was beautiful, the food was great and the dancing was enthusiastic and awkward as was promised on the wedding invite!

My trusty vintage Oroton handbag packs flat, is sturdy and can fit a camera, wallet, phone, lipstick and even a small snack if I need to! And it only cost me $4 at a Thrift store. Best handbag for special occasions - ever. My favourite dress too from Australian designer Alannah Hill.

It wouldn't be Australia without some wildlife hanging around somewhere. I think this is an Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Its definitely a male as he was so big and tall. Two smaller kangaroos were nearby - probably his wife and child.

After the wedding we went to visit the Chandon vineyard. It was so beautiful (and the wine is alright too).

 This little fellow was cleaning up all the little bugs and spiders in the wine-making shed at Chandon. You can see she has a mouthful of bugs. She was hopping around everywhere to collect them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spotted Dove (Spilopelia Chinensis)

I spotted this cutie wandering about in the grass near the carpark at my office. She was determined to evade me, though I carefully stalked her around a tree and past three parked cars. When I finally got the camera pointed at her she was not amused. If you look at her eyes you can see her alarm and general freaked-out-ness (oops!). You can also see by her posture that she is not a relaxed dove - she is on edge!

So she quickly high-tailed it out of there. First at a brisk walk, then a run and soon after flew off as quickly as her wings could take her. Poor thing, I only wanted to admire her!

Look what I made!

When I was in Canada, I took one lesson in hand-spinning with a drop spindle. I found my spindle and bags of 'Top' when I was unpacking my boxes last week. Happily reunited with my tools and with a sudden desperate desire to make something right now, I sat down to make some thread. 

My previous attempts at making yarn had been quite thick, in the realm of 'bulky' or 'chunky' weight. I had only made yarn usable with a 8-10mm hook/needle. So this time I tried to make my thread as thin as possible. I had trouble keeping the thread thin without breaking while I was spinning. In fact, the thread broke about 5 times while I was spinning, but I managed to spin it back together. 

Finally I made a long length of thread and plied it together to make a 2 ply yarn. I'm happy to report that this yarn is definitely in the 'sport' or 'light worsted' range. I can use it with a 3.5mm crochet hook quite easily. So I'm very pleased with myself. A list of standard yarn weights and all sorts of useful things can be found on the Craft Yarn Council's Website.