Thursday, June 29, 2006

Campbell Town, Tas

Still recovering the shock of returning to the daily grind, I'm surviving by reminiscing.

On our way to Launceston Airport (on Tues) we stopped at Campbell Town for lunch. Once in a while you come across a country town that's not completely given up on itself and this is one of those.

Highlights were a swish homeware store (Coco Blue), a lolly store (A Little Piece of Heaven), a nice cafe (Zep), several antique stores and streets lined with tiles like this one...

Each tile describes one of the early settlers. Look closely and this one stole 2 pet rabbits and got 7 years and a ticket to Australia. Why you'd need to steal pet rabbits I don't know...

Another Tassie Gem

Read the last line...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Occasional Sports Fanatic

I don't like sport. Don't play, don't watch.

But once in a while, my inner sports fanatic awakens. In times when national pride is at stake.

As Dave Hughes said on the Glasshouse a few weeks ago, and I paraphrase, 'The World Cup unites us. It unites to hate other countries... together." Classic.

I cannot describe how pissed off I am about Australia being robbed of their chance at the final 8 in the World Cup. Robbed!

The pic on this entry of the ABC World Cup blog sums it up.

Thinking of Walking Tassie?

I found these links useful when planning our trip to Tassie... for a general overview of Tassie as well as pdf brochures about the Great Walks and other activities. for specific info about the national parks (1/5 of Tassie are national parks) including entry fees and bookings. for forest walks e.g. the Teepookana Huon Pine Experience, Tahune Forest AirWalk and Dismal Swamp. for accommodation ideas. Beware that this is actually a site run by The Federal Group which, despite the name, is a private company which owns the 5 resorts suggested here.

If you're looking to visit Cradle Mountain, you can't go past the Cradle Mountain Lodge for accommodation (way better than the Chateau mentioned in the Pure Tasmania website with comparable pricing). Service was exceptional - pub was opened at 4am so we could watch the soccer, with complimentary hot chocolate. It's run by Voyages which has some AMAZING resorts around Australia.

For a more budget option check out the Waldheim Cabins run by Parks & Wildlife Service. They have the advantage of being the closest accommodation to the start of the Overland Track, right on top of the Ronny Creek carpark.

Sleepy Bay

Yesterday was our last day in Tassie (sob). We took a short walk around Sleepy Bay on the east side of the Freycinet Peninsula before heading off to the airport.

Interestingly each of the beaches on the Peninsula has a different type of sand. Sleepy Bay has very coarse red marble-like grains while Wineglass Bay has very fine white sand. Hazards has a greyer sand that's much finer than Sleepy but coarser than Wineglass. Creation is amazing.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cape Tourville

Quick drive up to Cape Tourville & lighthouse just now and did the 20 min easy circuit walk. Gorgeous sunset views.

Cannot believe we're going home tomorrow. Wanna cry.

Moss of the day

Wineglass Bay

We did the Wineglass Bay/Isthmus Circuit today, a 4-hour moderate walk (some climbing). Compared to the Mt Amos climb yesterday though it was a walk in the park.

The walk goes through Wineglass Bay, touted as one of the world's 10 most beautiful beaches (that's what the brochure says). You can make up your own mind.

See where the name comes from?

Then to Hazards Beach (what's with ugly names for beautiful places in Tassie? e.g. Dismal Gorge)...
An island off the beach Jerms wants to claim as his own (as long as it has broadband)...

Unfortunately already named Refuge Island.

Then back via a fantastic view of Oyster Bay...

Seafood Paella

Dinner last night. Bigger than Ben Hur.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Yesterday on the way to Freycinet/Swansea we stopped at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe for lunch.

Nearly everything here has raspberries in it. Aside from the usual sweet options, they also have raspberry dipping oil, salad dressing and 'Lust Dust' (basically a raspberry sprinkle). You can even get a raspberry latte (ugh) or raspberry syrup with hot water (double ugh!)

I managed a whole meal without raspberries, but couldn't go past the (complimentary) dark chocolate coated raspberries - I only had 3 (check out recipe on website) and the raspberry icecream. Delicious!

Female Factory

In Ross, Tasmania. Where they make females. Check it out here.

Sideways Spencer Finished

Complete with buttons.

Taken on verandah of our Cradle Mountain Lodge cabin.

Tassie Moss & Lichen

Tassie has about a gazillion types of moss & lichen. Here's a couple of interesting ones...


Pronounced free-cin-ay. On East Coast of Tassie.

Beautiful weather today. Walked almost up to the top of Mt Amos but had to turn back as was scaling v. steep rocks most of the way up (took approx 1.5 hours). Felt like rock climbing without the harness.

Me climbing down. It's a lot steeper than the pic shows!

Staying at Freycinet Lodge next 2 nights. After the scary B&B in Swansea we're not willing to risk it again.

Superb negotiation skills at work again - we got a free upgrade to a spa cabin.

Holiday Reading/Knitting Update

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Winner of Booker Prize. Excellent read.

Hence not much progress on Rebecca 28 sweater. Cursed.

Tassie Animal Tour

Car flipping kangaroos roam Tasmania...

Angry wallaby from Cradle Mountain...

Another angry wallaby...

Angry wombat from Cradle Mountain...

Frightened echidnas on the road to Freycinet...

Scary Swansea

On our way to Coles Bay in the Freycinet Peninsula today. Last night at Swansea.

Looks lovely? Stayed at most frightening B&B run by an old couple. Described as having the 'elegance of the Grand Georgian era'. Check out the gold painted cherubs with pink ribbons...

Pots of lavender flank lace curtains in the stairwell. Um... tasteful.

The bedroom (and you can't lock the door)...

Needless to say we checked out as early as possible.

Off to the town highlight - the Bark Mill! Hoorah!

Wet Cradle

3 lovely nights at Cradle Mountain Lodge (Wed-Sat). Rained the entire time but enjoyable nonetheless. View of lodge on our cabin verandah...

Did some amazing walks - Dove Lake crcut, Marion's lookout via Lillia Lake and Wombat Pool, Crater Lake & Crater Falls, and Cradle Valley boardwalk.

Lake Lillia on Thurs.

Dove Lake on Friday.

Boat shed on Dove Lake...

Spectacularly boggy boardwalk (superb for sinking)...

Me on sinking boardwalk...

Must come back for the Overland Track one day.

Scored free Night Spotlight tour from the Lodge (thanks to my expert negotiation skills). Saw lots of Paddymelons (like small wallabies that are rather rotund), FAT wombats, possums and wallabies. No Tassie Devils or Tigers unfortunately.

Fantastic time at Waldheim Alpine Spa on the last day. $25 for use of steam room, sauna, outdoor hot tub and cool plunge pool (overlooks the Pencil Pine river). Superb after the long walk.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Travel Knitting

We're off to Tassie tomorrow for a week. Woohoo!

Tough decision as to which knitting project I should bring. It's a toss up between Rebecca 28 sweater or something new altogether. (See how I'm avoiding the Jo Sharp wrap cardi?)

One of my pet hates (of which there are many) is the issue of knitting needles on planes. Apparently Sydney Airport is the only airport in the world that won't allow knitting needles 'whether metal or other material' on flights.

This is TOTALLY STUPID because as all knitters know, needles in bamboo/plastic/wood are no more harmful than say - a ballpoint pen or a pair of chopsticks. Are they going to ban pens and chopsticks on planes now???

In defiance I have brought many knitting projects on planes before and the scans have never detected them. It's their fault if they miss them. So ha!

Rip It

Rebecca 28 sweater is cursed.

I have now ripped and re-casted on 5 times. Here's where I was up to before the 1st ripping...

Hoorah for ballwinder...

My final decision was to do a tubular cast on, except it took me 4 gos to remember how to do it (yeah yeah I need better lighting for pics)...

I then decided to replace the 5cm of stocking stitch with K1 P1 ribbing to give it a more fitted look but now I'm not so sure.

I think it's off to more ripping....

Red Thread Project

Recently I heard the Craftsanity podcast with the fibre artist Lindsay Obermeyer on the Red Thread Project.

I'm highly amused by the thought of a whole bunch of people wearing connected hats and participating in collective 'body movements'.

Keep an eye out for photos of the actual performance on 30 June.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Started the lace pattern sweater in Rebecca 28. This is the best picture I got - apologies for the gross cuddling which completely does not show off the sweater.

Am using Nundle Woollen Mill's 12ply in a light grey. My gauge is a bit off at the moment but I'm hoping with a bit of heavy blocking it'll stretch out to the right size. (Haven't we heard that one before?)

It's meant to be a one size fits all pattern (boob size 32" to 36") which makes it v. difficult to alter the pattern to accommodate my gauge. More skepticism.

Also using a pair of 7mm bamboo circulars I bought on eBay not long ago but it's driving me NUTS. Instead of sturdy plastic rope joining the two needles it has a piece of sticky plastic tubing. Needless to say all the stitches are sticking to the tubing instead of moving along the needle smoothly.

Am going to buy a new pair at Tapestry Craft today and start from scratch.

But I think maybe this project is cursed cos I still haven't motivated myself to finish the Jo Sharp wrap cardigan.

Who'd have thought plain stocking stitch in a black mohair would be so boring?

If I remember correctly I started this in winter 2004. I'm down to the last half a sleeve but the thought of having to sew all the pieces together AND pick up the super long neckband AND make the i-cord ties just thrill me to bits. Why?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sideways Spencer *Almost* Finished!

Really bad at progress reports. This thing called 'day job' keeps getting in the way...

Anyway, sew the neckband on last night (am completely incapable of picking up stitches so I always sew the bands on). Blocked the thing (by steam iron) and wahla!

(Will get a full shot when I can be bothered taking some decent daytime photos.)

Now I just need to find buttons!

Changes to pattern are numerous but the main ones here...
1. Lengthened sleeves A LOT.
2. Lengthened body by 1 pattern repeat - is this top designed for people with short arms and no boobs? (interestingly the model in the pic actually has her sleeves folded over... how short are her arms?)
3. Knitted front bands straight onto body. Cannot be arsed to pick up stitches.
4. Ditched i-cord edges - sounds fun to do but too daggy!
5. Changed collar to straight rather than shirt collar (again due to dag factor)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mill Review #1

I'll be visiting 2 woollen mills in the space of 2 weeks - purely as a test of Jerms' patience.

1st one is Nundle of course.

Mill shop was smaller than I thought but has a good selection of hand and machine knits. Several observations...

1. They stock machine knits in a material called Sheer Bliss. The fibers are stretched in the processing to create a finer fabric (higher micron). It feels softer than cashmere (price tag to match) - I had to pull myself away from touching it.

2. Handknits by Minx and Nundle Woollen Mills sold there. Some funky hats like the Bindy Bonnet (left) and this ear flap thing (below right).

3. Nundle's main line of yarns is a 100% wool that comes in 8ply, 12ply and 20ply. Main plus is the massive colour range and the availability of 20ply. I must say compared to Bendigo Woollen Mills, Nundle's yarns are inferior both in terms of quality (quite stiff) and price ($4.50/50g balls plus p&h compared to Bendigo's $10.80/200g balls and free p&h for orders >$30).

4. Other brands of yarns also sold. They have mainly novelty yarns from Filatura Di Crosa, Kid Seta (equivalent of Rowan Kid Silk Haze) and other bulky yarns.

5. Tours were not available over the long weekend, which was a minor disappointment but the shop is built on an observation deck anyway so there's a pretty good view of the mill floor and machinery.

I had a lovely time and even Jerms managed to engross himself in a book about the history of yarn manufacturing in Australia.

I got 10 balls of pink 8ply in the 2nds bin for $30, 10 balls of 12ply in a grey to make a jumper in Rebecca 28 and 4 skeins of the 20ply in a chocolate brown to make the cardigan on the cover of the 1st issue of Knitscene.

Here's me holding the bag of 8ply in the backroom of the shop...

Review #2 will be Waverley in Launceston, Tassie. Wait for it...

The Dirt on Nundle

Most enjoyable time was had by all on our long weekend trip to Nundle.

On our way up the New England Hwy we discovered the Pages River Cafe in Murrurundi. Beautiful quaint cottage with massive brightly coloured flags out the front. Dining in 3 rooms - we ate in the one with the fireplace. Delicious homecooked meals such as Greek lamb meatballs on rice (Jerm's choice) and burgandy beef pie with salad (mine).

Dessert was a Belgian chocolate souffle. To die for.

Of course we had to go there again on our way back - homemade trout pate (me) and chicken and leek pie (Jerms). Sat in the enormous back garden in the lovely sun. Bliss.

Here's a pic of the interior...

The Jenkins St Guesthouse, Nundle, was country comfort at its best. Friendly host and excellent service.

Our room had its own fireplace - much to Jerm's delight (many hours were happily whiled away trying to light the fire).

Food at the Cha Cha Cha restaurant also highly recommended (in fact the only place in town to eat aside from the ubiquitous pub). The place is run by the same people who own the Guesthouse and service again magnificent.

Prawn with chilli pasta (entree) was the highlight for me.

A warning though... servings are ENORMOUS.

Here's the complimentary breakfast...