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!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Many Sleeps Until Santa?

Hugo & Renly lapping up the Sunday morning sunshine
Hugo has asked me this almost every day.  If it isn't "How many sleeps until Santa" it is "How many sleeps until holidays?" or even  "How many sleeps until the weekend?" - for Hugo it's all about "The Sleeps".  He is starting to get so excited, he loves the festive season.  Getting the tree up, helping with my preparations, watching the slew of holiday movies & asking all those difficult questions like "What doesn't it snow here for Christmas?".

The boys getting their holiday movie fix.
Louis of course has a much more pragmatic view of the festive season.  We have already had to have the 'Santa Talk' to him.  You see, Hugo is still very much a believer, where as Louis refers to it as 'the Santa myth' made up by parents to bribe their children into being well behaved before Christmas.  He has held this belief since he was 4, he's now 8.  So when I said to him that I didn't have to worry about gifts from Santa for him this year, his reply "Stop being so ridiculous, I still want presents, you just don't have to lie about where they come from!" - Don't get me started on the tooth fairy.

Louis posing in his new vest, the yellow actually really suits him.
As well all the festive prep I have also found time to get a good whack of knitting done & have managed to dust the wheel off & do my first spinning since the 'broken claw' incident six months ago.  Louis Wasp vest from the previous post is completed and already worn with the cooler weather and I have cast on a chunky kimono top for me (well that's the plan at this stage).  I have also idly started crocheting another 'granny scrap' blanket, the perfect chill out project, and am eyeing up doing another Summer Cardigan for me - possibly in the new Stirling Alpaca from work.

The first skein of homespun since the 'Broken Claw'
The spinning has been great, so good to get the wheel back out.  I know spinning for me is a little like coal to Newcastle, but you can beat spinning for relaxation.  There is something almost trance like in the process, I really do enjoy it.  So with now 14 sleeps until Santa, I'd better get my skates on and keep moving!

A fun festive 'Rainbow' skein.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


One of the beautiful decorated cakes by the PAS students - Garden was the theme
It's been great to get out into the Spring sunshine.  When the wind hasn't been tickling us up, it has been wonderful to look out at the garden, see the roses blooming, sun shining and the boys racing about outside.  It has also dawned on me that it is one month until Christmas.

Louis, Hugo and Renly just loving Pakowhai Park
I have been somewhat organised so far.  The first gifts have been ordered, I have the Christmas cards, the meat for the big day is ordered, Champagne is in the fridge, Christmas tree is up & my nuts are all at home getting ready to be roasted (Christmas nuts - not Dr. Phil's!).  Not bad going with a month still to run.

Out backyard Guy Fawkes display - complete with fire precautions!
I have also been wearing my "School Mum" hat and was the official photographer for the Port Ahuriri Wine and Food Festival a couple of weeks ago.  A great event and so much fun.  It's been a joy getting involved at the school, especially when the Ginger is really in the groove at school and Hugo is rocketing away.

Mum with her niece's new baby boy 
For them Spring has been action packed.  As well as the PAS festival, there was Guy Fawkes, so little boy heaven, and we started the month by travelling up to Gisborne to celebrate Nana Buscke's 65th birthday.  I have just thoroughly enjoyed watching Mum's great pleasure in celebrating her birthday.  She is seriously Gisborne's most excited new superannuatant, such a joy.

The vest I have nicknamed 'Wasp' - as our Ginger can have a sting in his tail from time to time.
I have also been busy on the needles, completing a project for me and almost finished the long promised yellow vest for Louis.  I have even done a wee bit of gift knitting and am now being sorely tempted by some of the new yarns we have at work.  I love the holiday knitting and so much done over the Christmas break, these are the sorts of problems one likes to have!
The Summer Cardigan by Georgie Hallam.  Already well worn!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Dawn, New Day.

It has been a month since I have returned from Rainbow R&R.  A time to get emotionally put back together, centred and calm.  I has a wonderful time away.  The most important decision that I had to make each day was help Nick decide what it was we were going to cook each day for dinner.  I spent time, wasting time, with a variety of animals on their property.  From foals to a crazy kitten, it was wonderful.  This is a collection of some of the images taken last month during this recuperative period, and whilst early November has thrown me a massive curve ball emotionally, I at least, have had the strength to be able to bounce back and keep moving forward.

Me with my new BFF - Seb the Siamese
This is what I like to call "Ironic Beer Drinking"
One of the many slow food inspired meals - this after the Hobsonville Farmers Market
Westbrook Winery - part of  the West Auckland nostalgia wine tour 
All little laying humour at the Hobsonville Farmers Market
I did try to knit - made difficult as Seb liked to help.
I did get knitting done though, my entries for the HB A&P Show