Sunday, 27 January 2008


Compliments - I've had a few lately and just wanted to say thank you to the kind readers who have visited and left a comment. I am myself only an occasional commenter so don't feel that I am in a position to exhort you to comment but be assured that it is lovely to receive feedback.

In part this is because one of my reasons for starting the blog was to share the happiness in my world, along with some knitting, some ideas, some inspiration and the odd book review.
I find it very satisfying to think that there are people out there sharing in it. If you have recently arrived, perhaps you would like to go back and visit the first post in July last year. There's an explanation of how bollewangenhaptoet came to be named as it is. Feel free to peruse the rest of the archive while you are there.

Now, speaking of book reviews - Alexander McCall Smith is perhaps better known for his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, of which I have read only the first two. Ho hum, I'm afraid. I much prefer the Sunday Philosophy Club series and have recently read this, the fourth installment, The Careful Use of Compliments. I like the characters in this series better and find the narrative a bit meatier (but by no means heavy). The storyline of the first book irritated me greatly but they have improved since and I really enjoyed this most recent one. McCall Smith conjures up a careful Edinburgh world of philosophical and moral deliberation and detective stories which aren't quite such in the traditional sense. It's also interesting to read these beside Ian Rankin's Rebus series which conjures up quite a different Edinburgh to that of Isabel Dalhousie, her Georgian house and fondness for Peploe.

Speaking of which, I visited the 'Modern Britain: 1900-1960' exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria today (for the second time, no less!) I too have a liking for Peploe.

Monday, 21 January 2008

vol 3

Welcome to volume 3 of Golden hands: the complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide. There's 'Fashion Flair: capes tunics and skirts' circa 1974, an introduction to the feather stitch family including double feather stitch, quill stitch open cretan stitch and threaded herringbone stitch, and an introduction to tatting. I love the visuals of that top photo on the embroidery page with the matryoshka dolls and the strong primary colours. Sure, the 1970s could be garish but they could also be beautiful.

So while volume 3 is only just introducing tatting it is up to part 13 on embroidery. Understandably, a greater part of the volumes are given to knitting, embroidery and dressmaking (and to a lesser degree crochet) with less common crafts appearing infrequently.

Tatting has never really appealed to me although, having said that, I do own a fabulous book called The Art of Tatting by Lady Katharin Hoare. And there you go - feel free to download it yourself from the University of Pennsylvania library. Lady Hoare's work has incredible intricacy, depth and texture and comments from the Queen (the Roumanian one, I think). I find the visuals quite inspirational.

Sunday, 20 January 2008


In the beginning there was a load of washing. By the afternoon it was hung out to dry. In the evening it was brought in to be folded. The next day the whole process started all over again.

Early on baby bear was what is termed a 'happy chucker' - immediately after feeding, half an hour after feeding, a bit later on as well. Given how often she chucked up, you can imagine how thankful I am that she did so happily. I changed not only her outfit several times a day but also mine. This is how it comes about that my washing machine - a Simpson Genesis 505 - is one of my favourite things. Basically, I would be lost without it.

I got it when I was 19 from my grandmother's house, after she passed away. I don't know how long she had owned it for but it must be a good 15 years old and still going strong.

One of the liberations of motherhood for me, I must say, has been the discovery that there is no such thing as hand washing. In the past I would have had a separate pile of things to be hand washed - special detergent, gently agitated, thoroughly rinsed, carefully wrung out, laid out to dry - which, needless to say, rarely actually got done and as such also rarely worn. But not anymore. Silk cardigan? Woollen handknit? Vintage dress? All of it, in the wash (albeit in a laundry bag - also a favourite thing).

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


For a couple of years now (even a few?) we have had a pair of turtle doves bill and coo in our back garden and nest in one of the trees. Last year (or was it the year before?) I watched mummy turtle dove brooding on her precarious nest, heard the tiny cries of the hatchlings, watched as the little chicks grew and grew and teetered on the edge of the nest as they dared to fly. And then one day they were gone, flown away.

I thought that I had seen the turtle doves around again (is it the same pair? do they return to the same spot?) so imagine my utter delight when I noticed an egg in the nest. A small white ovum. I tried to take a photograph of it but was hampered by the washing line and the foliage that was in the way. My manoeuvering did give me a better view of the egg though, and it is actually only half an egg (which explains why I haven't seen mummy turtle dove brooding lately). So no chick this time but also no avoiding that section of the washing line.

Last weekend we went to the Strathbogie Summer Festival and Art Exhibition where I indulged in local berries, no massage, and a Devonshire tea. We stopped to look at the alpacas and baby bear was given a tuft of fleece to feel and take away with her. I bought a long-sleeved Aran knit tunic from the white elephant stall - it weighs nigh on 500 grams, cost $1.50 and is 100% silk. Half a kilo of eggshell white silk.

I always look at the knitted garments in the op shop or at markets, usually with the intention of unravelling them in order to knit something else. But not this time as I love the lines and textures of Aran-style knitting and think that with some careful (machine) stitching and cutting I may be able to use the fabric as is. To make something for baby bear, of course. I can't wear a pale shade like this very well and she has no choice in the matter at present time. There was a lovely Aran-style t-shirt designed by Michael Kors in Vogue Knitting (Holiday 2005) which I had actually considered making a version of for her. This might be another option and would be a great play on scale.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

strathbogie summer festival

Local berries and cherries, massages, Devonshire teas - what more could you ask for? The Strathbogie Summer Festival and Art Exhibition is on tomorrow from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Strathbogie is straight up the Hume Highway, take the exit for Euroa. bollewangenhaptoet and family will be there.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


This wonderful dish, bowl and cup set was originally Tim's and is now used by baby bear. It is made of melamine, is by Noritake and dates from around 1974. I find it very interesting that Japanese tableware should have featured a kangaroo that many years ago.

I know that you can't keep everything but every now and then you do and it is so wonderful. Thank you to Tim's mum for having looked after this for nigh on 34 years.

New year knitting is proceeding well - I have a finished project! Alas, it is a gift project so it won't really be complete until it has been wrapped and given and that won't be until later next month. Now only one more finished object required before I can cast on for something new - yippee! I think that it will be the tomten, if only because that is my next closest-to-finished work. And what shall I cast on for then? Had I mentioned the three skeins of Noro Kochoran (shade #17) just waiting to become the next tomten? Then there's the Grignasco Bambi that's ready to become Lynda, not to mention two more pieces of gift knitting. Truly, I am so excited.

Monday, 7 January 2008

the incredible mr tulk

Mr Tulk - such a strange name for a cafe (or licensed cafe espresso bar as the case may be).

"Who is Mr Tulk?

The cafe is named for Mr Augustus Henry Tulk, the Library's first Chief Librarian. He was appointed in 1856, and worked with Redmond Barry to build the foundations of the Library’s collections. He led the Library for 17 distinguished years."

I do love libraries but, surprisingly, have not spent a lot of time at the State Library of Victoria. There was an ill-fated tutoring excursion when I was at uni (didn't have change for the lockers, didn't know my way around, didn't know what I was doing basically) and I have made a couple of visits for myself, once to look at a rare book which was quite an exciting experience. It was brought to me on a pillow and I had to wear white cotton gloves to leaf very gently through it. Unfortunately, it wasn't at all what I was looking/hoping for, so I leafed through it in a matter of minutes which didn't seem to befit the circumstances at all.

Anyway, Mr Tulk is the l
icensed cafe espresso bar at the SLV and as it is but a brisk ten minute walk down Little Lonsdale Street from work, I expect that I will be going there more often. An odd floor plan but good dimensions, dark wood and white walls, midsummer light streaming through the windows. I have just ordered yet another copy of a library book that I coveted to the point of purchase. Imagine what would happen if I got stuck into the SLV collection ... I think that I'll have to keep my lunch breaks short.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

vol 2

In volume 2, Golden hands: the complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide introduces the gentle crafts of daisy work, hooked rugs and macramé - "versatile, unusual and fun to do". I'm surprised that it hasn't caught on further. I haven't made anything from this volume but the Knitting Know-how lessons in increasing and decreasing have certainly come in handy. And from the Basic Wardrobe I do like this bloomer suit for a little girl. Perhaps while baby bear still has no say in the matter?

I must admit that I am more than a little dismayed at the lack of finished items that I have to display (or not, as the case may be, or rather, is). I seem to have a severe case of finishitis or hyper-cast-onitis whereby nothing ever gets finished and I am constantly casting on for new projects. I'm almost embarrassed to mention the baby ballerina top (just how long has that been going on for now?) but now that I have, I'll update you. I started on a sleeve, knitting from the top down in order to not run out of yarn and got about 20 rows in when I decided that it was too wide and frogged it, to start again with a few less stitches. That's where that is at.

Jeremy, on the other hand, is completely knitted and just requires blocking and seaming. And some embroidery on the collar - I've bought the tapestry wool for that. Oh, I have no problem with gathering supplies, sometimes I feel as though I am drowning in them.
I have also recently purchased the yarn for Lynda (Grignasco Bambi in #416 - so soft and a great range of colours) and assorted balls for another project which I will have to keep quiet about because it is to be a gift for someone.

And the tomten, the poor dear tomten which is probably the most interesting thing that I have knit lately is languishing, in want only of having the i-cord fastenings sewn on. Ah well, it'll wait another week. Indeed, i suspect that is part of the problem. Much of what I am knitting for baby bear is for her to grow into in the future so there is no great rush to finish, except for the displeasure of having all these unfinished projects laying around. So, even though it is not a new year's resolution, I have a knit resolution. Two finished items for every item cast on anew until I have a manageable number of projects on the go - say three.

And just to prove that I haven't been doing nothing recently, this was last night's dessert. You'll have to take my word for it that my version looked just as good for the evidence is long gone.