Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Knitting my way back to happy.

Jess with her wee angel Hayden
 It's amazing what having a few extra hours means.  Since the medically enforced slow down I have been more nimble to be able to cope with the curve balls my life tends to throw.  It started with the sad passing of my brother's partner, Jess, losing her beloved son Hayden.  Hayden was born with an extremely rare form of dwarfism & was only expected to survive days, maybe weeks after he was born.  However wee Hayden had other ideas and 6 and a half years later, he smiled, laughed and murmured his way to his own set of pearly wings.  My new situation meant I was able to easily get away to help support Stuart, Jess, Nina and Seth with their loss whilst helping the boys experience what it means to celebrate the passing of a life, especially of someone that they knew.

Renly goes head with Reg the ram & his harem
As well as taking the boys, I also made sure I packed Renly & some restorative knitting.  Having some time on my parents small lifestyle block meant I had time to explore adding a slouch beanie to the Ever After collection.

The world worst selfie, but I'm stoked with the slouch!
I had a few balls of the Heritage Silver Lining in Red, a yarn I am totally addicted to, so cast on just before leaving.  Having knitted a few beanies lately I felt a little more confident in the crown shaping and I think I may have cracked it.  I would like to churn out another just to make sure, but I am thrilled with the prototype and have already worn it.

Just onto the border, a very enjoyable knit
The KAN project is almost complete, the lovely Wrapped in Leaves by Alana Dakos.  Just knitting the leafy border and hope to have it complete very, very soon.  It's such a simple, yet effective pattern, my favorite kind, which is looking very Autumnal in the warm Pumpkin Alpaca that was liberated from the depths of my stash.

The four Art Deco inspired Vintage Random Prints
Confession time.  I did sneak a peak at my Skeinz email.  This revealed that the Vintage Deco inspired random prints I have been waiting for have finally hit the shop.  I just couldn't help myself, I had to pop into work to have a look and also got to squish the two new Heritage Alpaca colours.  It seems so unfair not to be able to share these yarns with everyone on skeinz.com, so I did take the 6 balls home to photograph & upload yesterday.


Its hard looking at these and not casting on.  So I did just that, keeping in the leaf theme and using the Heritage Alpaca in Porcelain with the Vintage Clarice Cliff for the leaves, I cast on an up sized Leftie from Martina Behm.  The colours of the Clarice Cliff have left the leaves looking more like Iris flowers, an effect I am really enjoying.  This will be the perfect project for me to take away on Rainbow R&R in a couple of days.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dealing to the 'Black Dog'

I'm so lucky I have this on my doorstep to escape to.
It was Winston Churchill who described it as his 'Black Dog' and John Kirwan has been knighted over it, for me Depression has been a constant companion since my teens.  I love the work JK does, working on the stigma within not only a sufferers psyche, but in the wider public also.

This is what my 'Black Dog' usually looks like when my life is in balance.
I'm lucky.  My 'Black Dog' ninety nine percent of the time is a happy smiling, tummy scratching, tail twerking black bulldog.  Something I don't mind at all hanging around.  I was lucky enough early on to learn coping strategies to keep the this pooch under control.  Herbal supplementation (and yes, I know I'm from Gisborne, but not THAT type of supplementation) in the form of St John Wort, plenty of sleep, a healthy diet are all important to keeping you on track.  So too is a great support network of family & friends, those who care and love you without judging you & when tell you to take care of yourself when they see the dog starting to get agitated and snarl.

There's nothing better having friend who turn up with 'emergency supplies' when you have had such a  bad day.
So when this past few weeks I realised I hadn't been attending my mental needs as diligently as I should, being told by a medical professional that even Wonder Woman would struggle to get her dog under control after it had morphed into a massive, snapping, lathering mutation reminiscent of the Hunger Games, it was time to put the brakes on.

Flowers that just brightened up my week.
The worse thing about your own dog going feral, is the effect on those around you. In my case it's the reaction from The Ginger.  He's a lean mean racing machine.  Like any child with ASD, when everything in the team is working well, he's runs like a dream, when the alpha starts going off line, all sorts of problems start cropping up.

Like JK, cooking is a great stress reliever.
So the next month is about getting myself back on track & getting The Ginger fine tuned and running back to his best.  The form it takes is a months enforced leave from work, a weeks 'Rainbow R&R' with the gay hubby, a family break during the school holidays and of course a lot of knitting.  SO if you think a 'stray dog' might have followed you home and is hanging about, do not be afraid to get help, because taming this beast isn't has scary as you might think.

It was wonderful to take time to have a great cup of coffee with a school mum today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's in the KAN.

Winner of the first KAN photo competition - Alice Best. 
It's been three weeks now since KAN 2014 wrapped up.  This year was epic.  Bigger numbers, more classes, more trading, simply a much bigger event.  I am not a professional event organiser.  I do KAN because I am passionate about yarn craft and I wish to see it not only survive, but thrive, so when you are thrown a massive snafu a week out from the event (the local council not allowing our venue to occupy their brand new function room - the one we had book), it was, too say the least, panic stations.
KAN sponsor & all round stunning woman - Tash from Holland Road
This is were people make all the difference.  People like the team at East Pier (our venue) who worked tirelessly with me to nut out solutions.  The Crown Hotel, where I had already booked teaching space, banding together to pull in all the resources we could muster in Ahuriri to make sure this event went ahead.

Sue Schrueder one of the KAN tutors and Margaret Stove MBE
Also the people that attend KAN.  It was the Kanannites, especially those who have been coming for years, who share in my passion for yarn craft and have the vision to know how incredible KAN will be next year, you all made this event so very, very special - Thank you!

Vanitas was launched at KAN this year - Divine!
This mutual pulling together created an atmosphere that had such a buzz, one which filtered out to the locals that braved the rain to come out in droves to check out the event on the public market day on Sunday morning - quite overwhelming.

The Port View Room was one of the gems discovered after the snafu.
Now I have some perspective I am so excited about KAN 2015.  East Pier will have been completed and the venue, with vast trading and social spaces, all with uninterrupted sea views, will just be awesome.  The Crown Hotel are back on board this year with their beautifully appointed conference rooms and the technically pimped out Port View Room has also been booked again.  I'm in discussion with the tutors to create a class schedule that will have you all salivating & a new improved registration system will be in place to help getting yourself booked in a breeze.

Just a hint of socialising went on
If you want to get a feel for the KAN experience, pictures were uploaded to Twitter & Instagram using #knitaugustnights & make sure you join the Knit August Nights Facebook page.  East Pier will also have accommodation available next year, along with the excellent Crown Hotel, Navigate Seaside accommodation & Harbour View Motor Lodge - each of them seconds away from the venue.  I hope to see you next year!
Persian Poppies was one of the sold out classes this year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Counting Down to KAN

Napier's getting ready for all those 'Bright Sparks' coming to KAN
Knit August Nights is now just  a few weeks away and I am at that nice place where oodles of swag is starting to arrive and my living room is starting to resemble my office at Skeinz - and even greater dumping ground of knit paraphernalia!  Mother Buscke is arriving next week as my ultimate bag stuffer, sorter & keeper of the peace between the Macdonald boys.

The mysterious Crochet Hairpin
 The best part is opening all these boxes and seeing what interesting and weird and wonderful things there are out there.  One such item from Mike at Arthur Rowe Ltd was a 'Hairpin Crochet Staple'.  Now I admit my crochet skills are rudimentary, but even all my years selling knit & crochet accessories I have not come across such a device.  Looking slightly gynecological in nature (you can tell I'm married to a doctor!), my friend Sapphire & I were quite intrigued by this mysterious 'Hairpin'.  The packaging suggested it was something from the 'retro' collection at Arthur Rowe (I have some FAB-O items from the Retro collection - Thanks again Mike), so I was well and truly stuffed to think what on earth it was for.

Sapphire following "Uncle Google"
Since dear darling Sapphire is a fully blown member of "Gen-I", she took one look at the mysterious 'hairpin' and announces, lets Google it.  And what do you know, it appears that our 'Hairpin' or Crochet Loom as they are now know, are very much alive, well and making a come back on You Tube.  Used to make those long elongated stitches & fringes in crochet, we both then set out with our You Tube to figure out how exactly it worked.  It was great fun, so if you are one of the lucky ones who gets one of these gems in your KAN goody bag, just remember "Uncle Google" has the answer to this mysterious device.

The Epic bedspread
Speaking of crochet, I have finished my epic "Broken Claw" crochet project.  A king sized crocheted bed spread.  It was perfect to keep from going insane and not being able to knit.  The needles are now back out & yesterday was the first day that I was able to knit for any length of time without feeling like my finger was going to drop off.  What I need to do now is figure out how to keep the bulldog off my cream master piece!
Five minutes after it was placed on the bed. Really Renly?!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Surviving School Holidays


Renly giving Mummy the hardcore "wasn't me" face
 With the new clinic & theatre really starting to ramp up the opportunity to get away for the school holidays was not going to happen.  Just as well as the boys were both laid low with nasty colds & the absent Winter finally decided to show up, just in case we forgot what it was all about.

Hugo relishing his 'kid flu' - ipad in bed with mummy at beck and call!
So to get the most out of school holidays, which a not holidays at all for the parents, we worked on separation tactics for the boys - a holiday from each other, of sorts.  It never ceases to amaze me how much better behaved each one of our children are when the other is not present.

Louis Favorite cafe - The Boardwalk here is Ahuriri - he's secretly in love with Olive
With Nana running back up the first week, Hugo went visiting with a number of his friends & Louis having some "big boy" chill time, it was lovely to have some really good QT with each boy.  It has proven to us that it's not the going places that can reap the rewards, but the time put in wherever you are.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Snap!

Makes for a pretty dramatic X-Ray

Sometimes thing happen that tell you you just have to slow down. Like when you get so frustrated & angry at the Call Centre person (Expedia in this case) after having the most frustrating phone call imaginable & in your attempt to clear your anger & frustration you manage to dislocate & break your finger - yes know one of my finer moments I have to admit!
Very, very slow going

The problem with all of this of course for me being a knitter is that my technique is altered & well quite frankly I'm not getting a lot done - poo's!  So here I am, half way down the second sleeve of my current test knit & I am barely managing a dozen or so rounds a day - grrrrr.

Nana getting busy will treats for the KAN Goody bags
So I have had to turn my attentions to other pursuits.  Mum has been with us for the last week or so & she's been helping out with KAN preparations & keeping the house ticking over smoothly as Dr.Phil & I get the new practice up & running.  We have now done our cataract list (complete with me as the one handed hand holder) & Dr. Phil is so excited about getting more schedule very soon.

Nothing lightens the mood like a spot of 'Bench Dancing'
So the moral of this story is, I am taking this time to slow down, with KAN just around the corner I can afford to break anymore limbs & also using the time to enjoy all those crazy fun moments - like those incredible little men that give us so much joy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

On the Move...

Louis was thrilled we built him an operating theatre to pop jumbo bubble wrap in!
This week has signaled a milestone in the MacBuscke household.  Dr. Phil & I have been working away for several years on setting up larger premises for our ophthalmic practice.  It has meant finding just the right location and making alterations to house Napier Eye & from next month BEST - Bay Elective Surgical Theatre.
Now open for business at 2 Lamason Street, Greenmeadows
It's a small bespoke day stay theatre so we are able to take care of all our surgical needs in house: Cataracts, Plastic Surgery & therapeutic laser procedures will now all be done under one roof in Napier.

The Trademen's shout.
My last 6 months has been a blur of site meetings, tradesmen & suppliers, and today we finally received that all of important Code of Compliance - so come Monday, we're operational.  I'm delighted as now I get my focus back on Knit August Nights with less than 3 months until the event I have much to do.

Louis decorating his Minecraft birthday cake.
It's also been birthday time for Louis.  Of course he's been quite excited by "finally being a big boy" and had a series of play dates to mark the big occasion. In typical Louis fashion I received very specific instructions on how the weekend was to pan out, right down to him insisting on decorating his own birthday cake. He had a blast!
The Poplar Cowl complete in Silver Lining
In my last post I mentioned my flurry of pattern testing I have been doing for some independent designers.  That is still continuing with an embargoed test I am currently working on, but I have also found time to drift across to 'other side' and do a little crochet to mix things up a little.

The very retro & colourful crocheted blanket
Using up the collection of one, two and part balls I had accumulated with my recent knitting, I crocheted a very retro, giant granny square blanket.  I really enjoy doing a crochet project to break things up & a simple, classical design like this never ages.  It has me looking for other scraps & doing something with them or even resurrecting the 'scrumble' bag & using crochet to complete what was started in there over 8 years ago!

Patsy get's the last word.  "The Blankets Mine"