Bendigo!

Gentle reader,

It’s finally time to tell you all about my day at the Bendigo Sheep & Wool Show. I had a super great time, as if you couldn’t guess! And I went with super great peeps! I could write all day about it, but instead I’ll just show you pictures and tell you some of my fave things. I’m not going to talk too much about what I bought, because I’ll do a separate “Bendigo Haul” post.

I was totes excited about going this year, partly because I knew what to expect and partly because I actually had a budget this time. So, that always helps, right?

First, my lovely friends Kate (who’s blog is here) and Hal met at Flinders Street Station. That’s them in the lower left (Kate) and right (Hal) knitting on the train. In fact, we were so busy knitting that we missed our station to meet up with the also lovely Jane (top pic, right) and Jeanette (top pic, left). Now, I wash my hands of responsibility for any part in this mishap.

“I was following Kate,” I said.

“Why me!?” she asks.

“Because you’re a lawyer,” I said.

It made sense in my head, cuz, y’know. Lawyers know stuff. To be fair though, we all averred that we didn’t hear the announcement, and were all unfamiliar with that train line.

No harm done though, because Jane was a saint and picked us up at the next station and we all went to meet up with Karen (top pic, center) who is Irish and fantastic and we were on our way! We stopped at a lovely cafe in Kyneton for coffee and eggs, though I neglected to get its name. Kyneton was quite delightful and pretty and I’d like to do a day trip there some time.

Once we got to Bendigo, we stopped at the Bendigo Woollen Mills first, natch, because their discount back room is a must. I bought a few small balls with lovely twisted colors, and a bag of pure wool filling, because they were practically giving it away. While Kate, Hal, Jeanette and I waited out the front for Jane and Karen to finish their purchasing, we ran into the gorgeous Jules of Woollenflower briefly, just long enough to say hello and exchange big happy hugs.

It was a lovely day. Sure, I usually love wet, miserable, gloomy days being a sun-allergic ginger and all, but it was the perfect compromise. It was sunny enough that it was lovely to be out and about, but cloudy enough that I didn’t feel like I was getting skin cancer at every turn. Because we went on the Friday, it didn’t seem that the aminals (deliberate spelling, don’t judge me, I just like saying ‘aminals’) were really on display as much as they were on the Saturday we went last year. Some sheepdogs were practicing, and there were some colored sheep in a tent. See that little guy on the right? Oy, I fell in love him. His little face was so adorable it would break your heart and stick it back together with cuteness. Not even joking. I couldn’t really get the best picture because of the fence and my camera has personal dramas. Also, I didn’t want to blind the poor schnookums with a flash, so that’s the best I could do.
Also, I had bitterness with adulthood when I saw they had a bouncy castle. I don’t care for Shrek so much, but BOUNCY CASTLES make my heart sing. When I called the WAHmbulance, I was promptly informed by a number of individuals that it’s possible to hire adult bouncy castles, to which my response was “THIS DOESN’T HELP ME BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE HERE RIGHT NOW, KTHNXBAI.” I had to restrain myself from lecturing the children through the mesh windows: “Enjoy it while it lasts, kid! One day you’ll be too big! TOO BIG FOR BOUNCY CASTLES, you hear me!? And you’ll never be able to go back! Because people don’t EVER hire adult bouncy castles. You got it!?” Thankfully for everyone’s sake I managed to keep my inner old man to myself. (Meanwhile, do you guys need to enforce a “caps quota” on me? Eek.) But I digress…

Kylie of Ms.Gusset Yarns and Fibers was there, with crazy amounts of beautiful cormo yarn from the Ton of Wool project you may have seen on Pozible. I didn’t buy any because my budget was already spoken for at this point, but I’ll tell you what, I was super tempted! Kate and Hal bought some and were very happy. If you go to the ms.gusset Ravelry group, you can find all the relevant linkies and buy some o’ dat yarn!

Now, this was my FAVORITE thing EVER at Bendigo. I practically lost my mind at the Stranded In Oz stall. I really can’t even articulate it, it was just overwhelming. Just something about the colors, and the yarns, and the pattern samples just made me all spinny. The Wizard of Oz references also made me heart explode. Kate and Hal bought some of the sparkly yarn in the lower left and I bought some twisted green yarn called “Toe Toe” . Geesh. It’s like it was made for me and waiting for me the whole time. The lady who ran it was an absolute delight also, so you know my inner dialogue was “HERE, TAKE MY ALL OF MONEY!” So, please, please, please do go check out her website here and the Stranded In Oz Ravelry group too. Caps again. Oy. I’m so ashamed of myself.

We had a little debrief before we left and I snapped some of our purchases. There’s my Stranded In Oz ‘Toe Toe’ in the middle there. I’m kvelling just looking at it now. I think everyone was super happy with their efforts, though I’m sure we all would have liked bigger budgets. There’s always next year.

Jeanette, Hal, Kate and I were all dropped at the station to go our separate way, and unfortunately, we got there with a long wait to go. Never mind! We all started knitting of course! First we decided to add up how many kilometers we’d bought each. I bought 2.25 kilometers of yarn, and I had the least. To avoid the risk of incrimination, I won’t say how much the others bought ^_~ Look how proud and happy Hal looks! N’awww! I heart those peeps. Finally we all got home, and I pretty much crashed as soon as I walked through the door. I was plum tuckered out! But, aren’t those the best days when you have so much fun you’re completely demolished when you get home? I think so!

Did you go to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show? What yarny/crafty festivals do you go to in your area? Sharezies!

Great Ocean Road. Also, A Crocheted Shoulder Bag

Gentle reader,

So, it’s been a wee while since I posted something substantial, and the reason for that is because my parents were visiting from Queensland, which was so wonderful. But, they’ve since returned to the sunshine state, and life has returned to normal, and so, it was time to share!

I’ll get the crafting out of the way first. My Ma’s birthday was at the end of January, and even though I’d sent her gifts already, one of them – a crocheted beret – I was really unhappy with. So, to rectify this I worked super hard to get this crocheted bag done before she got here. I didn’t get it done before she got here, but I finished it before she left.

Crochet Should Bag

This isn’t the greatest picture as I snapped it hastily before Ma left. It’s crocheted using rows of single crochets followed by rows of double crochet with front post stitches to make the V pattern. I think it turned out really beautifully, and I’m even pondering making another as a store sample for the shop.

I used the 210-43 Shoulder Bag pattern from Pierrot Yarns. I’m kind of obsessed with Pierrot’s patterns, and I’m also making two of their other patterns – one for me and one for a gift. They’re a Japanese company, and only some of their patterns have English translations, but the crochet ones are so well charted that you really don’t need to speak a word of Japanese to understand it. The only change I made to the pattern was to repeat the pattern rows once, because I felt it was a little shallow.

For the yarn, I used Cleckheaton Natural Cotton. I picked it up from the sale bin at work for $2 a ball. I’ll be honest with you; it felt almost like stealing. This yarn is so beautiful to work with. The colors are subtle, but beautiful – the picture can’t do it justice – and it feel so soft and clean and it’s very co-operative to work with. It didn’t split very much and didn’t un-ply too much either. I definitely give this yarn five stars, and I can’t understand why people don’t seem to buy it. If you see it around anywhere, snap it up!

Mama love it too, and was pestering me to hurry up and finish it and photograph it so she could use it already. The only problem was that the strap stretched out a bit over a day or two, but that’s easily fixed. I probably ought to have done a crab stitch edging but it slipped my mind.

Now, onto the adventuring!

While Ma & Pa were here, we did an overnight trip along the Great Ocean Road which was incredible. Leading up to the trip, I was so inspired by Jules‘ amazing photography on her blog, and I had been reading a few articles with tips on how to improve your photography, so I tried to take some decent shots that aren’t too garbage-y. So, here’s some of my favorites as a sort of photo journal of the trip.

On the first day we stopped for lunch in Lorne.

Beach at Lorne

Then, after lunch, we made out way to the Cape Otway Lightstation, which I have to say was the biggest stand out of the weekend for me.

The Telegraph Station at Cape Otway

After purchasing your tickets in the gift store, you then walk along a path towards the lighthouse, which at first you can’t see for all the greenery. First up, you come to the Telegraph House, which you can wander through. The museum-type exhibits are a little sparse, but super interesting and well presented, which I kind of preferred because it wasn’t information overload.

The Lighthouse!

Next, you go past the Lighthouse keeper’s house and some other buildings, and then there’s the pathway to the Lighthouse itself, which is at the end of stony bluff. Best of all, you can right up to the top and out onto the little gantry. I don’t have any pics that really demonstrate very well how high up you are, but it’s really amazing. And the wind up there is insane! I literally had a few moments where I thought my heart would fall out of my face because I thought I was about to be blown right over the railing. The sound of the wind howling and the waves crashing is out of this world; it’s not hard to understand why the Victorian coast has the most shipwrecks of any coast in Australia. This was my favorite experience of the whole trip!

A Few Apostles

We stayed the night in Port Campbell which was really nice; our hotel was on the edge of a natural cliff-walled little inlet, which was kind of amazing. The next day we went and a look at the Loch Ard Gorge. It was really excellent, and there are little placards here and there that tell the story of the Loch Ard wreck. I really enjoyed this; it was super interesting and the Gorge itself is quite a marvel. Then we went to the little cemetery at the top of the Gorge to pay respect to those who were lost in the wreck.

Then we went to see the Twelve Apostles, which are arguably the most famous sights on the Great Ocean Road. They’ve built a little visitors’ center and a walkway to go out and see them. It’s all respectfully done, and it is a really amazing sight, but it didn’t appeal to me as much as the Otway Lighthouse or the Loch Ard Gorge. I couldn’t say exactly why, and it wasn’t necessarily because the Apostles are more touristy – they are, but they’ve done a great job of being quite respectful to the landscape as well. They’re still incredible and well worth seeing.

One of the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk platforms

Next up we went to the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk which was also really awesome; third place to the Lighthouse and the Loch Ard Gorge. If you’ve ever been to the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, it’s a very similar experience. They also had a dinosaur garden, which was kind of cheesy, but I loved it all the same. You can also see the forest from a flying fox, but it was quite expensive (though, probably worth it) so we gave that a miss. The gift store wasn’t too nasty either; and they had lots of beautiful photo books and history books about the area.

Meadow

Strangely, one of my favorite parts of the Otway Fly was the meadow you had to walk through to get from the parking lot to the visitors’ center. It was a beautiful green slope covered in little yellow daisies and dandelions (the photo from my last post); I half-expected Maria Von Trapp to skip out from the trees and burst into song. There was also this pretty grass. I took the opportunity to snap a few close up shots like this one which I thought came out quite well.

Then, we made our way back home. It was really lovely trip, and I’d gladly do it again. Next time around I think I’d like to go further along to Warrnambool and visit the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, since the shipwrecks and that sort of thing I find incredibly interesting. And now, here is me looking grumpy.

Grumpy McGillicutty

I wasn’t actually grumpy, but the wind was so blustery, that even with glasses over my eyes, it was getting all up in my face. So awesome. If I remember correctly, this was at Loch Ard Gorge.

So, that was my little coastal interlude, and it will be back to crafts pretty soon, I’m sure. There are some exciting things happening that I hope to share soon!

– R