there are a few sure signs in this part of the world that winter is on the way. all knitting type magazines originating in the northern hermisphere forget they have readers in the Opposite world and start with the cottons and pastel colours. a blanket at night doesnt cut it anymore and you switch to the doona (last night). and your feet are cold in the morning, mostly because the slippers youve had for the last 4 years have a hole in them. i always associate slippers with easter, as a kid, i got a new pair every year with a big chocolate egg inside them.
but as an adult, easter has mostly meant the sydney royal easter show, and the 3 or 4 days of flyball competition with the 5am starts and long treks from carpark to showground. that’s not part of my world anymore (except in a peripheral sense) but i have a different attachment to the easter show this year, which was the entering of a knitted item into the arts and craft competition (for the first time ever, in any show). i entered the girasole shawl. it was fun to enter and im glad ive done it, but i wont be doing it again, and not because i didnt win anything. i categorically did not expect to get a ribbon of any colour. it was non-traditional lace, in a non-traditional colour and design, and any good judge would have picked up the one mistake i couldnt hide. but i am sad beyond words to hear that that lovely big circle with the flower in the middle was displayed folded in half with points strung up by fishing wire. it will sound weird, but i am sad for my shawl. people passing those glass cabinets will just see this mess of dark red string, and wont know how really pretty it is. and im not the only one. even the absoutely gorgeous winning shawl by nikki was all bunched up and probably inside out. such a shame, and so unnecessary. im very glad to see some of my very clever friends like fee and zena get ribbons for their beautiful things, but the judging in some of the other categories just really makes you wonder.
actually, the whole show makes me wonder. on tv the other day there was a ‘news’ item advertising the start of the show and there was a guy in an akubra telling everyone how this was the ‘real australia’, the smell of the grass, fresh produce, animals etc. i wanted to add racist, bigotted, bogan, uneducated, homophobic, sexist, nationalistic, conservative, backward and less than 30% of the population, but hey what would i know? i got out of the ‘real australia’ and headed for the city as fast as i could, where i am obviously not a ‘real australian’ but some kind of phoney (let alone An Immigrant). on the weekend at herding, i sat through conversations that made my stomach turn. people (the same ones who make fun of me for having a phd) talking about homosexuality and immigration as though a) their opinions on this actually mattered and b) they knew what they were talking about. i wanted to remind the rednecks at the table that their idea for getting rid of all immigrants meant that they too should get on the first boat out, considering none of them are aboriginal and thus they are ergo, all immigrants.
the unfortunate thing is in australia we have dog whistle politicians, who play to this lowest common denominator and portray this way of thinking as ‘normal’ instead of setting a standard based on ethics, humanity and compassion. we are so busy here knocking the heads off our tall poppies and wringing our hands over the pernicious evil that is the do-gooder chardonnay and latte sipping watermelon elite that the creaking wheels of the archaic ‘outback’ get portrayed as mainstream and normal. and sadly, it appears as though this is also the case with aspects of the arts and crafts competition at the easter show! i know its terribly post modern of me to eschew all normative definitions of ‘real’ (my real being no more real than anyone elses) but i will at least maintain that the Real (sorry Lacan) as presented by rural australia needs a good swift kick up the arse.
of course, none of that has any bearing on my knitting activity, which has never been driven by any need to display or win ribbons. i knit because i love knitting, and because i like to wear the stuff that i make. the chill in the air this last couple of days has made me more conscious of wanting to be wearing my own knitted things soon, and has upped the ante on the ‘red accessories’ project. i have socks and a shawl, time for a hat. i am also trying to knit as much as i can with the amazing things i got in america, and so i have gone straight to the top of the pile, and last night pulled out this:
what can i say about string cashmere that wont sound like i need to be locked in an institution? such a great little shop, like a parisian boutique! and the yarn, oh swoon. i wish i could convey to you how soft this is. would it help if i said this cost me $40US a ball (with assistance from the gift voucher from jody!). i have not really thought of myself as a hat person, but last year when i went to bendigo i borrowed rosered’s ‘rosered’ and everyone said a hat really suited me, so i thought i would make myself one this year. i decided to keep it fairly simple and this is going to be hannah fettigs ‘early morning beret’.
its knitting up so beautifully, i cant wait to wear it.
as you can see the magnolia tree out the front of the house is losing its leaves quickly now, so i guess i will be whinging about the cold soon enough. perhaps that will make me a real australian?