Judith Hanson Lasater: Relax & Renew: earlybird countdown, 4 days to go!

If you have been thinking about attending Judith Hanson Lasater’s workshops in Sydney and Melbourne in August this year, now is definitely the time to book. Places are still available for both workshops and there are just a couple of days left of the earlybird rates that end on 31 January 2012.

Relax and Renew®: Learning to Teach Restorative Yoga (Level One)
Saturday – Tuesday 4-7 August 2012
Sydney CBD
Cost: $650 or ($600 early bird when paid by 31 January 2012)
Click here to register or contact: Alison Parker yogaknitdra@gmail.com or 0404851126

Rotator Cuff: Anatomy and asana for the Shoulder Joint
Saturday – Tuesday 11–14 August 2012
Melbourne, Brighton
Cost: $600 or ($550 early bird when paid by 31 January 2012)
To register contact: Caroline Stuart anatomyforyoga@gmail.com or 0401049291

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Sutra 1.10 – Sleep

Sutra 1.10    abhava pratyaya alambana vrttih nidra

Deep sleep is when the mind is overcome with heaviness and no other activities are present. TKV Desikachar

Sleep is the non-deliberate absence of thought-waves or knowledge. BKS Iyengar

Coincedental perhaps that this was the next sutra as this past fortnight has been most helpful in enabling me to catch up on some much needed sleep and deep relaxation with yoga nidra and other restful pursuits eg knitting and reading. Even to the point of reading a book and nodding off for ’40 winks’ as my grandfather would say (and now I know why he was so fond of the chaise longe!). Or being in Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) and dozing for 15mins. It’s helped me re-establish a better sleep pattern that I am committed to maintaining for at least the next month, when life gets ‘back to normal’.

Holidays are great for focusing on personal projects, and breaking unhelpful habit patterns, though the real test comes when you add your ‘usual routine’ back into the mix. If I can make it through to 31 January getting 7.5+ hours a night, that is a big step. As someone who functions quite well on 6.5 hours a night, its easy to cut myself short of the extra, even though I know how much better I function with an extra 1-1.5 hours.

My two favourite enablers of more and better quality sleep are a)  regular (daily or each other day) practice of restorative yoga, and b) finding an absorbing series of books, as I’m far more motivated to go to bed earlier if there is a good book waiting for me…more on both of these another time.

Posted in Meditation, Sutras, Yoga | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Weaving the Sutras in again…1.9

I’m enjoying the break afforded this time of year. I don’t need to be anywhere at a particular time, the housework is mostly done and I can do with the days as I please. This morning that meant the freedom to meditate for as long as my body would let me. This led to two points of focus for the new year (I can hear Dr Zoidberg’s voice in my head saying “someone say new year’s resolutions?”). The first is to reignite the Sutras thread I began some time ago. My way of exploring, working through, getting to know and applying each of the 196 Yoga Sutras commonly ascribed to Patanjali. The second is to ease the tension in my hips that will help me sit in meditation longer before the numbness sets in!
The last I wrote about was sutra 1.8. Rereading this I realise why I may have been distracted enough to have shelved this project for a while. The first chapter of sutras (there are four) is referred to as samadhipada and concentrates on the problems encountered and ways to overcome them in our attempts to reach a state of Yoga or union.

Sutra 1.9 Sabdajnana anupati vastusunyah vikalpah

Imagination is the comprehension of an object based only on words and expressions, even though the object is absent. TKV Desikachar

Verbal knowledge devoid of substance is fancy or imagination. BKS Iyengar

For me this is interpreted as finding out what is true by testing ideas, dreams, emotions in the real world and giving them substance. Revisiting this sutras project does all this when combined with the various forms of physical yoga practise (asana, pranayama, mediation).
As for regaining some flexibility in my hips that seems to have dropped off lately…This is a clear indication I need to address the stationary-mobility balance, incorporating more incidental movement and dedicated yoga practise to open and strengthen the hips, glutes, legs and stretch the waist, sides and back. More importantly I have a very real anchor for my yoga practise over the next couple of weeks!

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Summer Solstice of Socks

2011 has certainly been the year of the sock. It began with the Super Special Six Personal Sock Club, though by the forth pair I’d strayed into wildcard territory and was loosely following the pattern for the next couple of months, progressively straying from the plan. By October it was clear most of the family I give gifts to at this time of year were getting socks.

Toe up Argyle socks in XXL Trekking grey tweeds for dear husband. 2mm on foot and 2.5mm needles on leg. These are my first attempt at argyle fair isle stranding technique and a big lesson in loosening my knitting style (knitting inside out helped). Even though neither of them fit him first go, he was gracious enough to love them anyway and I have high hopes for blocking the tweed out of them!

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Next up the pair of Nancy Bush patterns that I knit for my parents, dad’s Spey Valley on the left in XXL Trekking blue tweed, same needle combo as above. Mum’s are on the right in a new favorite sock yarn, Louet Merino gems in Terra Cotta and the Fox Faces pattern, knit in 2.5mm needles through out. All components made for each other. I’m not sure what was more fun, completing these or the ‘photo shoot’ involving mum and dad playing up like a pair of kids having their school photo taken, complete with “she’s touching my knees” and “his feet aren’t even”.
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I visited my sister and her family earlier this month and given the weather in the tropics I decided a knitted stocking for my nephew Jakob was the most appropriate. By this time I’d caught the colour work bug and started to teach myself knitting continental style so I could knit a little faster and more evenly with a colour in each hand. Another Nancy Bush pattern – Christmas in Talin and I used 3.25mm needles and a mix of 8 ply yarns including a lovely soft Woolganics chili red and spring green.

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For my youngest nephew Milan I made these very cute Wiggle Toe socks, using a Cat Bordhi pattern and a couple of different sock yarns I had left over from other larger pairs.

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What next? There is a substantial queue for 2012 beginning with Anniversary Socks, yes another Nancy Bush pattern. More about them next year.
However you’re celebrating this time of year I hope it was pleasant, relaxing and full of joy!

Posted in family, FO 2011, hand made, Knitting, Socks | Tagged | 5 Comments

A Hazy Purple Summer

I haven’t written in a little while. Lots happening on all fronts and as I see the light at the end of 2011 I’m focusing on the important questions in life.

Like, can you really have too many purple cardigans on the needles at any one time?

Effortless Cardigan in MadTosh Clematis

This is the theory I thought I’d test over summer. I am close to completing Effortless Cardigan in MadTosh Clematis, which is more of a blue-black purple, 8ply/DK weight and definitely more for cooler weather. I was racing ahead with it in September / October, hoping to finish it in time to take on the Sewjourn weekend at the start of November. Here are some of the great write ups and photos care of DrKnits, Web-Goddess, JP, MissFee LynS Randomknits and Knitabulous. Suffice to say it was great fun and I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

When the mercury rose in October I rethought that strategy and refocused on knitting the numerous pairs of socks on the go. A good strategy I might add, given I now have gifts to give most family members this festivus. I only have the collar and a bit of the second sleeve to go on Effortless, so I really should revert to ‘knitting monogamy’ and just finish it before I start another. Shouldn’t I??

Linen, Wollmeise 4ply and wheel of lace in Petite Poison No.5

Especially when I have already started knitting Celery in Wollmeise Petite Poison No.5, 4ply, a mid season 3/4 sleeve cardi for those days when you’re hedging your wardrobe bets, as is so often the case in Sydney. I also have Santorini, a beautiful Linen Kimono jacket in the queue to be made up in Louet Euroflax wet spun linen, sport / 5ply. After I completed the Bardini cloche hat in a Champagne colour of the same yarn (mostly knit at Sewjourn) I’m keen to knit with this yarn again. Not to mention the wearability on those more humid days and summer evenings. Something to be said for linen which can be coarse on the hands, this is much smoother and a delight. Which isn’t always the case when knitting row after row of miniature herringbone as I did for the hat.

Then I had a birthday mid November and received a truly gorgeous 300g skein of Wollmeise Lacegarn in a ‘We’re Different’ WD version of Petite Poison No.5 from dkKnits. Very spoilt. While sometimes the WD versions aren’t as sought after by the knitting community, I’m really glad it is so as not to duplicate the Celery cardigan. After spending about 3 hours of trial and error winding it at Inner-City Guild yesterday to get it to a cake (with much appreciated assistance from Yarna, from whence this skein originated as I discovered!) I would really like to break into knitting it up in the adorable Barton Cottage Shrug from Jane Austen Knits. Today!

Hence the dilemma. Is having 4 purple cardigans on the go at once sheer madness, or is there some sense to have all seasons covered in a similar theme? I almost forgot about the Wollmeise 4ply in Fuschia set aside for a Vitamin D cardi, which may get hoisted up the list to break up the monochromatic fog..

And I haven’t even mentioned anything about what is planned for my sock and shawl knitting adventures this year. Let’s just say I have 5 lots of purple sock yarn and another 5 lots of yarn for shawls ready and waiting in the stash.

2012, the year of knitting purple hazily.

Posted in colour, hand made, Knitting | Tagged | 7 Comments

The yoga of Dickens: A Tale of Two St’ities

I may not have studied much yogic philosophy lately, thought I’ve certainly made up for it with my Inquiry of some classic authors. First there was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, then an assortment of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte classics. This lead to a swift purchase of the Interweave Jane Austen Knits special released last week. What will come of that deserves it’s own post I think.

This was followed by Moby Dick, a true whale of a tome, pun intended. Then the audio book selection went a little more down the Victorian England garden path to Charles_Dickens‘ neck of the woods. I never read any of his works at school, not even A Christmas Carol properly, and the closest I’ve come to knowing them is via Black Adder’s versions and references. I thought I had a handle on what all those references to ‘Dickensian London’ meant and didn’t feel a need to delve deeper. In addition to sparking memories of working near Chancery Lane, the Old Bailey and Holborn many years ago, it made me realise there was a great deal more to it.

Continuing with the audio book theme – I find them great accompaniments to knitting, I searched on ‘most popular’ on the librivox.org selection. It can be a bit hit and miss with the narrators and once you find a couple you like, the experience is far more satisfying. Great Expectations was high on the list (and dickensmuseum.com reopens in November in London if you’re interested or nearby). This also fit nicely with my plan to continue trawling through the list of ‘100 books’ that was doing the rounds on Facebook about a year ago. I enjoyed the story, plot, wit and characters so much that after listening to over 40 hours of it, I went in search of more.

I found plenty to choose from and for all my preconceptions of A Tale of Two Cities, which I have no idea where they came from, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Apart from an education of the French Revolution, I was completely absorbed by the language, wit, characters – the whole package. There were plenty of times when I missed the point of a chapter entirely, due to some of the subtleties being drowned out by noisy train station atmosphere. It’s because I’ve reread/ listened to a few chapters that I’ve developed such an appreciation for their richness. One of the less than agreeable features of the Librivox app on the phone is that it sends you back to the beginning of a chapter at times, when you hit play again. It has surprised me greatly that I didn’t even realise I was rereading / listening to a chapter until half way through (20mins in on average). More often than not I’ve let it play through, discovering I’d missed quite a bit of the detail the first time around.

I ended up purchasing a reading of Bleak House since the free one was really not suited to my ears and now I’m onto Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty, that’s 1780 in case you were wondering.

So what? Well, I have a new appreciation for everything from the day to day hardships of the times to the dependency of women on whom they could marry for their livelihood (even those who could sell their knitted wares). I’m very appreciative of the fact that I’ve been able to choose my husband and my careers. I learned that Dickens was behind the establishment of Urania Cottage, a place where ‘fallen women’ could learn to read and write and become proficient in domestic household chores so as to re-integrate them into society. The alternative being an institution that would make ‘Prisononer’ look like a yoga retreat in Byron Bay. At times I wondered how anyone survived at all apart from the aristocracy, when they weren’t getting their heads seen to by ‘la guillotine’.

Furthermore I can’t believe more film and movie adaptations haven’t been made given the complexity of so many of the stories. For instance in Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities there are that many sub plots and minor characters that in today’s world of franchise films and tv we’d be up to a fifth spin off series of Dickens: .

Though I did see somewhere recently that Stephen Fry and the Peep Show crew are filming a 4 part comedy take of Dickensian England due to air in December. Perhaps the self depricating style of English humour that we know and love today is indeed how everyone survived!

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Fox Faces – Super Special Six Sock Club #5

Fox Faces, toe up

Not quite have the same elegance as “chanel no. 5”, though these Fox Faces socks do have an elegance all their own.  I decided to combine the Fox Faces pattern by Nancy Bush from Super Special Six Sock Club #4 with #5’s toe up Wendy Johnson (Nanner) for this edition. I just find the toe up socks fit a bit better than my cuff down versions – all in the heel for me.

Yarn: Louet Gems 4ply – a fast favourite, lovely twist, in colourway Terra Cotta
Needles: 2.25mm and given the stretch in the pattern I could probably have knit the foot in 2.00mm
Who are they for: not me, they are a xmas gift for someone dear to me with slightly larger feet and that’s all I’m saying!

Posted in colour, FO 2011, hand made, Knitting, Socks | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments