Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dreaming of Island Time

I really miss this view!
Shit it's cold! Like really, really cold.  So cold that Renly refuses to go walkies and Louis is pretty much glued to the front of the fire.  I heard the Metservice calling the big chill this morning a one in 25 year event, all I know I would much rather be back in Rarotonga, which is where I was this time last month.
What more can you want - Good friends, good food, good wine!

This trip was the first time that we travelled with friends. It was great to be able to share our favourite spot, hang out, eat & chill.  Rarotonga is a foodies paradise & ironically I cook more when I am on holiday than I do when I am at home.  This is because time pressure is non existent, the fresh ingredients are incredible and there is something about creating a meal that speaks to the place you are in.
The awesome Te Manava - worth every penny
We stay at Te Manava villas in Muri beach.  These are perfect for those who are happy to be independent whilst on holiday.  The villas are all privately owned, so a bit like a posh book a bach of sorts.  The owners take great pride in making sure the villas are well equipped and Te Manava's managers Todd & Jane are just so unbelievably helpful should you require anything.

Just a few canapes with drinks
We also have some friends that live on the island, so it wasn't long that after a little foraging, a little shopping and a little gifting the larder was fully stocked.  Dinner was the centre piece meal of each day, which still left plenty of time to sneak out for a stunning coffee and cake at LBV in Muri.

In between all this cooking, eating, foraging and coffee drinking I also managed to get heaps of knitting done - this year was a collection of baby jackets, so quick, colouful and fun to knit up.
So as I sit here and shiver now, I can only daydream of trying to get back to island time... maybe next year eh?
Just a sample of the island themed knitting
The mouthwatering cabinet at Cafe LBV Muri
Just don't count calories! LBV Muri



Monday, May 11, 2015

Knitting broke the Internet!

Renly out at Pakowhai Country Park - Just stunning this time of year.

The Knit August Nights registrations opened this month.  Friday May 1st saw a frenzy of knitters all hit my registration page, at exactly the same time, for the same class and the servers just tossed their ones and zeros up in the air and packed a sad in protest.  I had worked very hard to improve some of the kinks from last year and reduce the stress I place myself under with KAN and here I was at 10.10am on Friday the 1st with heart palpitations, sweaty palms and a desire to dive under the duvet to escape the constantly chiming telephone, email alerts and calls.

I was so excited - then KANnannites broke the internet!

But that's why you hire professionals.  Those incredible people who leap into the pool with those ones and zeros and start making sense, rebuilding and regathering some order to the chaos.  It was the most incredible thing, the minute the problem rectified the mobile fell silent and and the email started chiming with the sound of successful registrations and I could breathe a sigh of relief.

It takes a LOT of good beer to make great knitting
The new registration system (which really is brilliant - I am such a convert to Lil Regie) has meant that instead of being strapped to my laptop wading through the classes and numbers and trying to sort all of them out, I have had time to spend with the family and get into the Autumnal groove.
The MacBuscke Slow Roasted Lamb
Getting into that groove for me means plenty of knitting, spinning, slow cooking and walks with the family.  Hawkes Bay at this time of year really is stunning.  Warm sunny days, cool evenings, rich colours and fabulous harvest food everywhere.  I have been knitting with the three new yarns we now have at Skeinz and I have just started a series of baby knits.  It's weird knitting something so small after knitting for myself and even the boys, it's just so.... quick.

The improvised baby cardigan - that's just one afternoons knitting!
In typical MacBuscke fashion I browse the hundreds of baby patterns I own and the end up casting on and free forming a germ of an idea.  Will it end up being written down and published?  Probably not.  Do I care? Definitely not!  So where's my wine and my knitting.....

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just Cruisin'

Lifou - our last shore day.

I have never been on a cruise before, but recently the opportunity presented itself to try a cruising as a family holiday.  The logic was trying to find a family holiday where "Mum" actually got a break - let's face it, all those mothers out there know, when you head away as a family, it is very rarely a break away for us.
Hugo managed to break his elbow a week out from sailing!

What could go wrong?  My chronic motion sickness?  The Ginger's autistic sensitivities?  Hugo breaking his elbow badly a week from the trip?

Well none of the above.  The combination of Scopoderm patches, Sealegs and Chardonnay worked a treat on any queasiness I may have had, the Ginger coped incredibly well - relishing his independence and once Hugo accepted that swimming was a no go because he did indeed break his elbow a week before the holiday, all was good - scratch that - great!

Both boys LOVED Sydney - so much for them to do & see
We cruised with Royal Caribbean from Sydney.  So it was also a chance to visit Sydney again, a city that has smartened herself up considerably since my last visit and was most enjoyable.  We stayed centrally in town, so an easy walk to Pitt/George/Market street shopping areas.
The knitting started on the plane and continued throughout the cruise
My goals weren't necessarily the shopping, for me it was seeing if I could get a break before the crazy KAN season started.  Registrations open at the end of this week & after burning out last year, I am very keen to ensure this doesn't happen again.  I packed a full adult sized project for me, ambitious, as usually I only get the most mindless or small knitting project completed when on family holidays as I am running around after the kids constantly.

Isle of  Pines - our favourite shore stop
This was not the case - it took a could of days for all of us to just work out our own ship board rhythm.  Like working around the failure of the kids club (far too noisy and chaotic for Louis & deemed a 'prison' by Hugo), and realising that the kids were not going to go overboard and that the incredibly nice and obliging staff of RC were indeed there to make sure you have a great cruise.  We gave the boys their key cards and independence to roam the ship, make new friends (which they did) and return to the cabin if they needed to recharge (essential for the Ginger).

Selfie with the Ging!
So when Phil and I found our little niche on the ship that was easy for the boys for find us and a great spot for us to chill, knit, relax and join any on board activities as we saw fit.  The then mix of shore days (3 days in total in New Caledonia) and sea days, amazing food, drink and a boat load of very nice Australians (pacified because they one the cricket world cup on day one) made it a thoroughly enjoyable holiday for all.

We even got to see the Sydney Easter Parade.
Would we cruise again?  For family MacBuscke - yes.  Armed with the do's and don'ts that work for us I am confident that cruising is a great, relaxing for all, family holiday.

Dreadful picture (taken by Hugo) but proof that I completed my project!
As for me, since my return - I have been beavering away on getting Knit August Nights ready for the opening of registrations.  I am so energized about this year.  I have the most diverse line up of classes, tutors and traders all wrapped up in the awesome setting of Ahuriri.  Haven't been to KAN?  Check out the KAN website and book your own Winter Napier knit escape.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Making a full retreat.

Some of the yarns Skeinz had available at Unwind
As I compose this Tropical Cyclone Pam is bearing down on the east coast of NZ and here in Napier we are on the fringe of Pam's wrath.  Weather like this makes you want to retreat into your shell and wait the storm out, in my case with either knitting for spinning.  But no, I am at work watching the weather rapidly deteriorate desperate to get home where poor Hugo is 'Duvet surfing' with a nasty cold.

I was desperate to scan the QR code on this shawl at Unwind!
 It isn't all doom and gloom, I have been very lucky over the past two weeks to visit two fibre craft retreats.  Firstly Unwind in Dunedin and latterly this last week, the Creative Fibre Eastern region retreat.  As the creator of the Knit August Nights retreat I really value the importance of these events for those that a attend and the wider fibre craft community.

The stunning Sue Schreuder - She taught at Unwind and is also taking a class at KAN 2015
There is something very special about being able to gather together with like minded people, get inspired and energised.  Speak the same language - conversations that would be lost on a lay person are exciting and educational at the retreat.  That goes without mentioning all the other topics that get covered off... Like the knitwear in the Outlander TV series or what books we have been reading.

The efforts from my woven Crochet class - so much fun.
I love the fibre craft community as they are such a passionate bunch, they keep me coming to work week after week.  At Unwind I attended a class, the first I managed in years as I am always working within retreats to enjoy some class time.  It was brilliant.  I leaned a new technique marrying crochet and weaving together from Deb Moore at Stitch Seekers (Famous for the Men in Knitwear calendar and Outlaw yarn), something I am now itching to try out again on a project I had pegged using a more traditional for of crochet, this alone was worth attending the retreat for!

Creative Fibre HB Retreat - I so wanted to abscond with this wheel!
So if you have ever considered going to a retreat, but have never been brave enough - do it!  We have two amazing independent retreats in Unwind in Dunedin (March 5th - 7th 2016) and Knit August Nights right here in Napier (August 28th - 30th 2015), plus Creative Fibre frequently have retreats in their regions - contact your local delegate for more information.

Its compulsory to celebrate a birthday with Champagne!
This past weekend also saw me click over another birthday.  It was great to have such a mellow day, just before the storm hit.  Breakfast in bed and a few quiet drinks with friends that popped by.  It's nice to cherish the little things & appreciate all the wonderful well wishes received on the day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Making a Splash!

Louis first time in a yacht - he was transfixed! 
Today marks the first day of Autumn & it leaves you pondering where on earth did Summer go.  This Summer has been stunning and it has been great to be able to get out with the boys and soak up all that the good weather has to offer, but also our wonderful Ahuriri play ground

Hugo takes the plunge

Both boys were fortunate enough to go to a birthday party last week of a school friend.  So what do you do when you have a party with over a dozen boisterous boys?  You get our in the sunshine & get wet!  This family are incredible, with eight sons of their own  (yes I did say 8), they put on the perfect boys adventure with all sorts of water activities, laughter, games and all finished off with homemade pizza and ice cream birthday cake.

Louis even had time to make a splash!
For me, the end of Summer signifies it is time to head south to Unwind in Dunedin.  KAN's sister event, Unwind is so much fun.  Similar, yet quite different - I love it.  I will be there with Skeinz yarns & I have also taken some time to take a class, something I never get to do at KAN, so I can't wait.  Dunedin has a fabulous energy, perfect for setting the vibe for my yarn based endeavours over the Winter months & also a mini break away from all thing motherly!

Renly attacks Summer like he does each day, each week & each month!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Swift Stitching

Display your stash because you love it!
I hadn't realised how much stitching, whether it be knitting or crochet, I managed to get through this Summer.  I purposefully select projects that require the minimum of grey matter involvement.  they need to be quick, easy, something that can cope with continuous picking up and putting down and also survive the imbibing factor!
The Spinning started in November.
 The greatest achievement was completing my first adult garment sized home spun project. I started spinning in November as part of my ongoing "Black Dog" therapy.  It was so satisfying with the vibrant trial Chasing Rainbow sliver we had just made at Skeinz.  I also had some Silver Lining fine Merino, so bot were just joys to spin.  Before I knew it I had a quorum of skeins, so I took the plunge and cast on.
I started my first large scale homespun Project
After completing Summer Carnival by Georgie Hallam last year & just thrashing it ever since, it made perfect sense to make another for this years wardrobe.  That pattern is designed for a sport weight yarn and my home spun was more DK in weight.  After swatching I decided that knitting it on 4.5mm needles like a 10ply was the go.  This meant some swift maths - essential as Georgie's Designs with plenty of size options to ensure a perfect fit.  My calculations meant downsizing by four sizes from my last project - a little daunting, but I rechecked the number, and the numbers don't lie!

It grew so quickly - Summer Carnival By Georgie Hallam
Since it was downsized so greatly it knitted up at record pace & seeing how the random nature of the home spun colours would eventuate kept me stitching frantically.  Because of the striping I omitted the two lace panels in the pattern, as they would have gotten lost.

The pattern make the most of the striping.
The project got a real kick in the arm last week when I succumbed to the cold that was invading the household.  My quickly migrated to my chest, so several days were spent wallowing in the couch knitting.  The advantage was being able to get the project completed and blocked.  I can report it fits perfectly, I am just waiting for a day cool enough to be able to wear it!

Ever After Cowl in Noro Kureyon
So of course you you finish a big project like the cardigan & you feel lost.  I had no other projects on the go, so I went to the stash and looked for inspiration.  It came in the form of Noro Kureyon in dark brooding colours.  Picked up from Deborah at Knitnstitch when I was up having my 'Rainbow RnR', the colours were ideal for that 'Go with Everything' cowl.  The cowl that will live in the car for those days when herding feral cats would be easier than trying to get your sons' out the door for school.  An essential.

Making the most of scrap Boucle in this Cowl
When knitting 'Ever After' cowls, I find one is never enough.  Whilst restocking the sale at Skeinz on Monday I found the most miserable looking "gash hank" in the bottom of a carton.  It was about 50 or so grams of Alpaca boucle run through the tail end of a mauve/grape/green/citrus dying.  The mauve was very similar to our Vintage Oilskin (one of our most underrated colours IMHO).  So the inspiration struck to knit the two yarns together alternating the rounds.  I think the results speak for themselves - so if you have a scrappy skein left in your stash - try this out.

The perfect camping project now complete
I also completed the epic Crochet blanket make with the White Gum thread waste from work - I don't know what took longer, crocheting the blanket or winding the thread waste - either way, I am delighted with the results

I even had time to finish a UFO
After the blanked was completed I decided to clear all my thread waste projects.  This vest was started more than 6 months ago using chunky cabled thread waste.  Made using no pattern and a lick and a prayer, I have managed to pull off a warm vest that actually fits!  Perfect for those really cold Napier Winter days!

Now.... Whats Next?  My needles are getting twitchy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Summer Lovin'.

My special Christmas nuts with the most stunning washed rind cheese enjoyed on Christmas day.
Last week I started back at work, in what seemed like an eon ago.  You know you have had a good break when you are feeling amped and ready to return.  Christmas was the usual MacBuscke affair of 'Gays and Strays', no simple non fuss Christmas for us, it's all about gathering, feasting, enjoying and spending time with those around us we care about.

A rose from Mother Buscke's Garden on a New Year's visit
Family for us is more of a global notion - it goes beyond those who you are linked to by blood (which if truth be told for me is quite a damn few!!) but those who matter and make a difference, not only in your life, but the lives of your entire whanau nucleus.  We are so lucky to have a core of these people who really matter & Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate.

Hugo gaining skills for life - Pizza making at the Scotts.
This extended whanau are also important because they are the net of people that catch you when you fall and are the ones that support you when hounded by dark dog days.  A lesson for me in 2015 is making sure I'm not afraid to lean on these loved ones when time seem a little grim.
Louis loves camping!  Making new friends and the beach were highlight for him.
Family time with boys over the Summer has been a real joy.  Both boys have had a great school holidays, beaching, chilling, spending time with both us and their grand parents, mind you I think Poppa Buscke was please to see the boys depart - his prize passion fruit got decimated after the boys decided that these unripe green fruit made the perfect grenades in a game of war - Doh!  The Boys are such chalk and cheese as always, the Ginger would love to live in endless Summer and struggles to understand why he needs to return to school, where Master H is missing his friends and is really looking forward to getting back to the hum of the playground.

I actually got some time to preserve some Lemons procured by my Aunty Ivena...
Dr Phil was also very keen to return to his new 'playground' at Napier Eye & BEST (Bay Elective Surgical Theatre), he's still pinching himself that this dream he's held for so long is now finally at fruition.
The Crochet on the Camp bed - as you can see, we Glamp, not camp!

For me the crafting has been cruising and I have loved being back at work and getting stuck into all the new products that are slated for 2015.  I am already working away on Knit August Nights and am super excited about heading back down to Unwind in Dunedin in March - I have even cleared some time to take class, something I am really looking forward too!

Renly stopping off for a quick spot of shopping in the Village
I have been doing a lot of spinning, as I have decided I would like to do a garment sized project for me this year.  It's nice to have the confidence that my spinning is consistent enough to embark on a project like this - I think I am about 1 or 2 skeins off what I need to get started on another Summer Cardigan by Georgie Hallam.  I am also in the final throws of the latest Granny Square blanket - just started the last coloured border over the weekend and am quite determined to have it done this week.  We have thrashed and thrashed the other blankets, they make great rugs, wraps and the kids love snuggling into them.

A gift from a family member that knows me oh, so well!
As for resolutions - I'm not fond of making commitments I can't keep - but on the craft front I have decided to continue effort to start projects using yarns that we have at Skeinz or at very least been spun by us.  My strike rate for 2014 was pretty good with only 4 projects out of 26 being "outsiders", a ratio I'd like to continue - something that I must say is SO hard with so much stunning yarns in my stash!!