Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stone the Crows!


The beginnings of my Ahuriri inspired log cabin blanket.

With the days rapidly melting away before Christmas we have all being feeling the pressure to 'get things done'. Christmas is a double edged sword, it's the kick in the pants we need to get done all those little jobs we have been putting off all year, but in doing so we have a tendency to OD on stress as well as all the other festive imbibing.

Now that the cardigan is now finished, I needed a project that was low stress & required no brain power. An auto pilot project. One of my favourite magazines is The Knitter out of the UK. It is a lustrous indulgence of glossy pages & exquisite designs, a very aspiration magazine. In issue 8 I came across the regular Mason-Dixon column & they talked about log cabin knitting. Knitting blankets by starting with a central square the picking up stitches along one edge, knit length desired, cast off, turn & repeat. Perfect! I have an abundance of single & double ball samples, just the ticket for this project, so stash busting too! So far so good, I can knit, drink, watch TV, all at the same time with no stress at all - Excellent.

The weedy damp mess now replaced with smooth river stones.

With the festive knitting project sorted it is time to turn my attention to all those pre-Christmas jobs. Present shopping - Done. Christmas Day lunch menu - I need turkey. Garden tidy up - GailForce Gardening have weeded, tidied & stoned. Ahhh hopefully I can now relax a little & enjoy all the festivities of the season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Finally Finished!


It has taken 5 months, but my tie front cardigan with ruched sleeves is now finished!
The choice of using the new Waikiwi sock yarn instead of the 4ply cotton the base pattern was written for was a bit of a risk, but the swatch measured up & I plowed on.
It fits perfectly, the drape is stunning with just a hint of possum 'halo' to make it really special.

I am glad I have modified the sleeves, the original pattern (by Sian Brown) called for a plain bell sleeve, but I felt that the yarn deserved something funkier. The only devastating thing is since finishing the weather has been so warm I have no cause yet to wear it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peas in a Pod

Louis & Luke hit the lake....

I am now finally walking pain free for the first time in over 6 months! Amazing, truly amazing. As part of the rest & recovery period the MacBuscke clan headed up to Lake Taupo for the annual Macdonald family retreat. This year we did things a little differently & rented a small holiday bach (http://www.rainbowholiday.co.nz/). Holly Cottage was excellent, fully fenced for extra safety & plenty of room, so each of the boys' could have their own room, so parents actually had a good nights sleep!

As luck would have it my cousin (and also the bridesmaid at our wedding) Karen, her husband Steve, their twins, Luke & Greer, arrived in Taupo towards the end of our stay. We were able to get our acts together & spend a long overdue day catching up. Karen & Steve's twins are just 3 months older then Louis & easily as busy.

It was nice for Louis & Luke to have time together now that they are a little older. Both are very full throttle & Karen has many of the parenting challenges I have in raising boisterous boys. It was amazing, they both clapped eyes on each other & it was love. Peas in a pod. Kindred spirits looking for mischief together. After hunting dino's, racing Hot Wheels & hitting balls it was time for a walk. Lakeside at Kuratau (southern shores of Lake Taupo) is just stunning & the day was perfect. The shot above is the boy's braving the icy alpine lake to see whether they could make it across to the other side - CUTE! (And before the PC police get on my case at a naked Louis with no hat on - he was thoroughly doused in SPF 70+ sunscreen - besides when you're that good looking all you need are your shades)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

T-Rex Did It!

Max, my 100Kg canine shadow, supervises T-Rex reconstruction.
I love that saying "Out of the mouths of babes", Louis has been so adorable & helpful since I have had my op. He's been busy helping Nana, getting nappies, bottles, fetching the phone. He has taken his role very seriously. He calls the my ankle "Bo-Bo Ankle" & has been very intrigued at what has happened to it. I, of course, have told him the factual details around the ankle, but hey, "Mummy has had a special Doctor who has fixed my ankle because it was still sore & not getting better" doesn't exactly capture a three and half year old imagination.

So last night the new explanations for Mummy's Bo-Bo Ankle started. He sat on his fathers lap before bed & explained to him & I that Bo-Bo's like mine are because "mummy slipped over, running too fast". Mummy run?! "floor wet Mummy, get slippy, fall over.... Oh No BIG Bo-Bo". Right, so glad I have Louis to clear these things up for me.

But not to quiet his busy mind, the mystery of my ankle obviously played on his mind overnight. This morning he saunters into the living room & after saying his good mornings he looks sincerely at me & says "T-Rex did it Mummy", did what?, "T-Rex got grumpy, went CHOMP, T-Rex make Bo-Bo ankle"

Hey who am I to argue!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stuck on my Arse.....


After almost two years of constant pain from chronic Achilles tendonosis I finally managed to get all the parental planets in alignment & underwent the chop. Weeks of planning & preparation for 45 minutes surgery & three long cuts, but I know it's all going to be worth it.

I am now day three post op, have made excellent progress on the two UFO's I have lined up to be completed in this time. I have spent far too much time enjoying the Ravelry forums, started the Christmas shopping (all done online). Yesterday I saw the ankle bandage getting a bit grubby, so a bandage sock was whipped up to keep it covered & clean - ah well why not!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Sign Me Up!

I stumbled across this blog http://twentycentmixture.blogspot.com/ via Ravelry the other day & author Louise is arranging the Christmas ornament swap for NZ crafters in 2009. This is a great way of getting some stunning home crafted ornaments for your home tree. Sign up is by November 7th, so if you are interested check out Louise's wonderful blog. Follow the link http://www.flickr.com/groups/holidayornamentswap08/pool/page5/ to images from the US 2008 swap, ooh I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Yarn Genesis

Just one of the sections at the Gisborne A&P Knitting Display

When you spend a lot on time online in places like Ravelry it's easy to think that the vast majority of knitters are progressive, adventurous, fearless crafters. I am always in awe at the simple brilliance of these souls that produce beautiful garments, using stunning yarns & advanced techniques - I am frankly jealous! I would so dearly love to have the time to hone my skills & be able to focus my attention to produce a minute fraction of what I see. It is then I have to pinch myself & get back down to earth. As a busy mum with two pre-school boys' and two part time jobs, I need to be realistic at when my time will start freeing up.

Also working in the yarn industry in one of my part time roles, has meant I also get to see the other side of the 'crafty customers', the ones who aren't net savvy, have been knitting for about 60+ years & have committed to memory a slew of patterns that have not altered in generations. To me these ladies (not to be sexist - have yet to see a man yet who falls into this category) are what I like to call the "Yarn Genesis". They are the women that I learnt from as a child. Many started knitting as children or teens themselves for servicemen in WWII. They call yarn "wool", it comes in two types: Baby Knit or Double Knit, and they very rarely buy patterns as their stash of Kaiapoi, Patons, Shepherd, or Paragon leaflets are so timeless they last forever. I love these women. They drive me crazy in the shop when I try to convince them NOT to knit white for newborns, but other than that these ladies are, for me, knitting treasures.

I was so pleased to see at the Gisborne A&P Show this past week a very healthy range of entries in the home crafts hall, and the hand knits on display were stunning. There were a few new names on the cards, but by in large the names were still the same ones from my childhood. It has spurred me to think that when my time does free up, I need to keep their legacy alive & make sure I knit for these events - Just maybe not a white baby cardy!

PS I am still trucking on with the shrug - determined to get it knocked off this long weekend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mastiff Daycare

Max (foreground) with his father Benson

When your friends get sick you all pool together. You help keep the fridge full, see if any housework needs doing, help with the kids. In our situation the later also applies to Canine children as well as human ones, so when our good friend John collapsed after bringing Benson (Max's sire) back from Massey University Vet Hospital last week, we all swung into action. Whilst John was in acute care at the local hospital, his family & friends divvied up all the jobs that needed to be done & we were only too glad to have Benson at our place for a little bit of a Mastiff sleepover.
Now I realise that having 180Kg's of slobbering, panting, shedding canines cluttering up your place isn't every ones idea of a great time, but for us it is heaven. Benson quite simply is the happiest dog in the world, and when we went through all our reproductive angst, being able to have time with him & in turn have one of his progeny was a great comfort & joy for us - it was the least we could do.

Benson has suffered with recurrent ear infections which over the years had led to much more serious secondary complications. He returned from Massey after having multiple tests, scans & surgery. His treatment regime was extensive, so we rolled up our sleeves & lavished on the poochie TLC. In ten days he's now a different dog, ears look fabulous, he's started to regain weight, I am over the moon. Max has had a great time having him here, they have been hanging together & loving their daily walks. It's been a positive experience all round & makes you feel great when you can help out such a great friend, both human & canine!

I have used the luscious Naturally Sensation Merino Angora blend

On the sticks: I am three quarters of my way through making myself a shrug to slip into on those nights we eat outside. I have sized up the shrug I have made for friends & Nina in the past, I only hope like hell it fits. Let's face it, I am more Dawn French in stature that Joanna Lumley, so am very weary of anything cropped as they do tend to accentuate my 'widest' parts. I love knitting this pattern so I thought I would take the punt & since it is primarily going to be worn at home I'm hoping the risk is going to be all worthwhile.... Fingers Crossed!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sometimes you just have to splurge.

Three Skeins of Lovliness

We have just returned from a family break in Queenstown. The action capital of New Zealand. Pinot Noir haven. Tourist mecca. With the exception of the Pinot, our break was vastly more sedate, walks with the boys', visiting some of Phils' family in Central Otago & doing a little retail therapy. For me, of course, that means hunting out yarn stores. I was restrained & only called upon the one, the Kiwi Gift in Beach Street (previously visited 6 years ago when they were in Queenstown Mall).
All the favourites were there as I remembered them, Central Otago is after all Touch Yarns country, but it was some earthy variegated Suri Alpaca that stole my heart. So soft, almost silky, the allure of this luxurious fibre caused me to lose all sensibility & before I knew it I had 3 skeins (at $40 each!!) scooped up & the Visa was whipped out. Made by Flagstff Alpaca's, I can't wait to cast this yarn on, at this stage, I think this is going to be the yarn I use for Kate Gilberts Clapotis. A special yarn for a special design.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pass it Forward


The Green Jacket was knitted for Hugo (Top) & is now on it's 3rd pass, whilst the pants were knitted for Naomi & are on their 2nd, still plenty of wear yet!

The MacBuscke clan went to a birthday party for Miss Naomi. A friends baby who turned one. A babe to whom I have knitted a number of garments & passed down many of Hugo & Louis baby knits to. I have a policy when I pass my hand knit on, love them, use them & then when you have finished with them, pass them forward to the next babe you know who would need, love & cherish them.

At Miss Naomi's party was a freshly minted wee man who pretty much snoozed through the entire proceedings. I commented to mum at how beautiful he was & she she then pulled down the coverings to reveal the delicious young chap. What I saw made me beam, as I fondled the sleeve of his jacket. "I just love hand knitted garments" said Mum "I've been lucky, Jill (Naomi's Mum) handed these down, she has a friend who knits"

The game was up, I was thrilled to meet Suzanne & let her know I was in fact the originator of these garments & found out she had a good number of pieces that had started on my needles. It was nice to let her know about the yarns I had used & for me to see how well they had worn. Especially the green Cashmere Merino jacket, still as soft and fresh as the day they came off the needles. The best part is, when her wee chap has out grown them, they will then find a new home to be loved all over again!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Knitting for Baby

Yarn with Traditional ideas but a Modern Twist.
Forever Green Organic Merino take traditional idea's on colour & plays with tone to produce something refreshing & modern.
September & October is traditionally a time 'Godzone' that the birth rate spikes. I guess it is a combination of having a festive season that also coincides with Summer which brings plenty of new lives to pass at this time of year. My family is no exception with two of my cousins giving birth over the last few weeks.

It has also meant that in the shop we have been busy which clucky nana's getting busy on whipping up last minute gifts for the impending arrival(s). With today's' technology it has meant that more & more expectant parents are opting to find out the sex of their bundle of joy well in advance, great for those who like to be organized, and especially good for those clucky grannies. So as you would expect we have solid sales of Baby Yarn, in pink, blue & white for the 'undecideds'. Honestly it's enough to make me weep.

Why?

For starters, there are so many stunning infant garments available now, in a full range of fashion colours & yet, for some reason, the constraints of blue for boys', pink for girls & white for the unknowns is a hard & fast convention. Even all my powers of persuasion at the coal face can not change Nana's mind. Every now and then I might get one who will 'colour outside the lines' & try lilac, mint or lemon & if they are really going 'abstract', a pastel variegated yarn.

This morning was a classic case in point. I had the most delightful woman in who was visiting from out of town who had made a special trip to hunt us out. She knit for a local market to help supplement her pension & was always on the look out for reasonably priced yarn. "Is that the only 3ply you have?" she inquired pointing at the Baby Blue 3ply we had on sale. It turned out she only knitted 6 different patterns, all in 3ply, and only in blue, pink, lemon & white "I have tried one of those pastel mixes, but I'm not sure about them, ...too modern". Several questions later I ascertained that the patterns she were knitting could in fact be easily knitted up on 4ply (more popular, more readily available & greater likelihood of specials), she looked at me agog & exclaimed "But I have knitted that same jacket pattern in 3ply since my first son was born in 1954!"

A Colour scheme I am sure my customer this morning would never have tolerated!
A wee singlet for my cousind newborn, Fergus.

Not deterred I packed her off with a sample of our 4ply to knit up as a trial. It stunned me that for her, mothers still wanted the same colours & styles. To be fair I have a collection of vintage patterns & the styles of many are timeless classics's, but surely knitters, isn't it time that we updated the colour palette we knitted them in?

Nina's Shrug over the new capped sleeved top purchased to match.

On my completion front, I have finished my nieces Shrug. A sized down version of an adult pattern I had, knitted in the stunning Koigu 4ply Kpppm. I have bought a matching outfit that even a fussy 4 year old should love & made in a yarn that will survive machine washing from a well meaning solo Dad.

My tie front Cardy is also progressing very well, in fact I am really enjoying the knit, an excellent pattern so far, & I am hoping to get it finished when we head away at the end of next week.
Not knitted in any pastel shade, a good rich syrah red for me!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Green Machine

Speights Supervises the Growth Plan

I have to confess that I am not much of a gardener. When you are so time poor, gardening was something that seemed to cease. The current garden is one that has been designed by survival. If it lives after minimal watering, weeding & tending after a vicious Summer, it gets to stay, if it doesn't, well it's dead anyway. In my first house in Gisborne, my then partner was very green fingered, and the thought of a cottage garden was quite appealing to a first time home owner. It was also helped by the fact that it was designed & planted by a professional, so was pretty low maintenance.

My First Crop

My one area of 'greenie' tendencies flourishes with vegetable gardens. I love to cook, I love to eat & I really love to cook & eat things I have grown. My father is prodigious vegetable gardener. He has multiple plots & produces enough veg across the year to feed a small African nation, even though there is just him & Mum at home. He has instilled a strong sense of the importance & pleasure of deriving food from the land. So earlier this year I might have mentioned that I had a raised garden bed built & in May Ross (my Dad) helped me get it started. The one major challenge we have had comes in the form of a 105kg K-9 who seems to think my veg plot also doubles as a mastiff bone depositary. After many weeks, tears & canine adjustments we now have a good crop of celery, parsley, salad greens & even a few brassica's survived the oversized paws.

The 'grow the Cucumber in the bag of compost' technique.

With Spring starting tomorrow; tomato's, basil, a courgette & cucumber have joined the ranks. More importantly I am going to have my first attempt at spuds. These are grown in a purpose built 'potato bag' so should be safe from 'you know who'. Ahhh I can taste the results now - Move over River Cottage the Waghorne wonder patch is well on it's way!


Meanwhile.... My niece's shrug is almost done, steady progress has been made on my tie front cardi & in return for helping out my veg patch I am going to do a work vest for Ross.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off & Racing now....

video

The big news in our house this week has been that Hugo took & first steps. It has been amazing to watch, he's a tall boy & has not shown much inclination to walk until this last month. I haven't been encouraging him to walk, having one racing around was enough for me, but I have to admit & I had to patch one more pair of pants with worn knees I would scream.


So there it was, in Gisborne for the weekend, his first few stumbling steps. By Monday he was walking a dozen steps or more & just a couple of days later he was walking like an office slapper after half a bottle of wine at Friday night drinks!


He's so pleased with himself. But like any great steps forward, come great risks. In a week we have knocked up an impressive list of bumps & bruises, but he still keeps smiling. The one flip side of all is walking for me is how exhausting it is for him. He has been falling asleep longer & deeper than usual, absolutely pooped by his new biped status. This week has been a great week, a week that makes all those difficult ones as a parent worthwhile.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Fresh Start

Max Enjoying the First Rays of Spring Sunshine
What a month! I have to say the first signs of spring have been very welcome in this house. The cloud of Swine Flu have meant great paranoia when the boys' got sick with nasty chesty coughs, Dr. Phil too had been under the weather & to top it all off our computer hard drive completely crapped itself, just as I sat down to do all the monthly accounts & GST!


This week however has seen glorious weather, happier boys' (and Dr. Phil), and a computer which is now on the mend, plus a brand new rig, just for me, is now at home.


The first few rows started on a new tie front cardy for me...

I have also finished a couple of projects, plus cast on a few more with yarn I have been itching to knit up for ages. Yep things are definitely on the improve.


Changes are also afoot at work. We have changed our name at the shop from 'The Knitter Factory Shop' to 'Skeinz', the shop has had a make over, freshened up with new paint, yarn display cabinets, flooring and some extra space & a new website is under construction so people outside of Hawkes Bay can get the advantage of the value that buying from a manufacturer can provide.
It's been exciting watching the transformation take place & also getting my teeth into formalising our range to stock in both the online & retail store. We have new designs to be launched for our organic Forever Green yarn, Justine from Just Jussi (http://www.justjussi.com/) has created some stunning garments, which are about to be photographed with a real live baby, a first for us - I can't wait! I will keep you posted when the new site goes live...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Completion Satisfaction PartII


Lastly are these two beauties, both knitted from the same Shepherd Baby 4ply yarn. They have finished up beautifully. The jacket is from a Debbie Bliss pattern, recently published in tthe Australian Womans Weekly & the tunic dress is of my own design. I hope these knits will help our girls (both of whom are child #3) stand out in the crowd.

Completion Satisfaction

The best thing about shitty cold weather is plenty of knitting gets finished!


Like the cashmere cowl I had been carrying in my purse, it has been a God send when it comes to walking the dog, I will definately do more for next Winter. It has been so unseasonably cold here. Yesterday I bundled the boys up to go and do some errands, pulled out of our place up to the parrallel street to ours & this was the stunning view I was greeted with. Usually the snow doesn't come down this low, but it were the hardy souls out surfing I couldn't get over - you can't keep a good surfer down! I have also been good & got Edies socks done, for my Mum's friend. She's almost 80, never married, worked hard all her life & is fold of a drink, so I couldn't resist posing the socks on a few spent corks (saved from my hazy days in the wine trade). I have now started a possum merino pair for myself, which I am proud to say I am almost done...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It takes a lot of good wine to make good knitting...



One of my "Multi Glass Projects"


There's an old saying in the New Zealand wine industry "It takes a lot of good beer to make good wine", well having been a product of the New Zealand wine industry & self confessed knitting lush I can also confidently say it takes a lot of good wine to make good knitting!

Imbibing whilst I knit helps me to relax, lubricate & think outside of the square, especially since most of my projects are undertaken without a pattern in very much a free form style. The kicker of course is - not too much!

(Pour nice red)

I will be the first to admit if I am attempting an aran or lace pattern & have had more that two glasses - buggered every time, so these patterns are best knitted during the day (or whilst pregnant - but in my case those reproductive days I am pleased to say are over!) at night I choose those nice easy stocking or garter stitch repetitive numbers that I can knit, drink, & watch prime time tellie.

My other "Multi Glass Project" a Cashmere cowl.

To that end this winter for the first time I have multiple projects on the go, to help match the level of inebriation, I mean relaxation, I have at the time. Currently I have 4 WIP, FOUR! I have never had this much work on the go, but I have so many ideas whirring around in my head that I am struggling to keep up with what I want to get translated out on the needles (pour another glass of wine). Add to that a mini baby boom by friends & family and I am very busy indeed (glug, glug).

In an attempt to get my shit together I have started (more accurately, restarted) a project book. Keeping more detailed notes of each project just in case it is one I want to get published or have some one who would like a copy. I would like to say it is neatly typed up, in edited, print ready format, but alas it's hand written scrawlings (what the bottles empty already?) with wadges of yarn stapled randomly in next to them. Oh well is it time for a port? What on tellie now? Where's the cowl?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Knitting without limits.

Max, Jim & Poppy - all will soon have their own knitted projects

Today Sophie & Poppy came to visit for lunch. Sophie anxiously picked up the needles for the first time since she Jim was small about 5 months ago wanting to knit something for Poppy. The project choice was a wrap around stocking stitch cardigan, quite ambitious for a beginner, but Sophie was not deterred. After completing the back, a few mistakes, trouble mastering when to knit, when to purl & issues with following the pattern, Poppy's project got shelved. I had also left her with a basic garter stitch tank top pattern which I had selected for her first attempt. One evening when she felt like trying again she cast on.



When I caught up with her last weekend she presented me with the tank top. She was having trouble getting Poppy to wear it as the fit was off in the front. She had run out of the aubergine yarn I had given her 3/4 of the way up the front & substituted with a novelty yarn. She felt defeated. Bugger this I thought, and armed with a pair of scissors, I freed the top from the novelty yarn & enquired about the cardigan (also started in the aubergine yarn). With back located, several cups of tea & chatting I was able to pick up the stitches & knit across the yarn from the defunct cardigan to the tank. Sophie was thrilled, reinvigorated she got going again, knowing that a successful end was in site. And what an end it was, Poppy arrived today with her tank on proudly which was finished beautifully. Sophie had embellished it with a contrasting blanket stitch around the neck, lazy daisies on the front & even a knitted ruffle!! I was blown away, but Sophie summed it all up when she said "well all I did was give it a go, what harm could it come too if I got it wrong"

BINGO! No one dies when you knit, there are really no rules, patterns are purely guidelines. To see someone like Sophie who has grasped this immediately & feel liberated when not constrained by a pattern, is inspiring. When she came wanted to add an element to her vest she borrowed a library book & nutted it out herself, learning by trial an error along the way. She even started a second tank using stocking stitch, a variegated yarn & taught herself bobbles to make it a bit more fun - Fearless!!

Now she has one completed project on the go, a second well on it's way to completion. She was utterly delighted when her 6 year old son asked her to knit him a 'spy' jumper, so she came round today to borrow a pattern book & for me to help source her some yarn, a job which is top priority tomorrow!


Basic Black Tank with Ruffled Neck
On my completion front I finished my black tank 2 days ago & have worn it for the last 2 days. Designed from scratch with all the measurements, tension swatches, and knit & measured as I went - the result is better that I anticipated, I know I will be getting plenty of wear out of this for the years to come.

Sophia's Freeform Organic Wrap
My other original design which has been developing organically for the last month was also completed, very fitting since it was using an organic yarn. It was inspired by adult designs I have seen & couldn't see why it wouldn't translate into a child's project. I just now hope it fits her, I will get her dad to take a pic & post it as soon as I get it.

Finally Dr. Phil got his new Winter overcoat today, and made mutterings that he should have bought a scarf to match - BOUGHT A SCARF!!! When I stopped spluttering in shock, he realised the error in his ways & a scarf for the dear doctor will be cast on this evening before he gets a chance to get the plastic out again - Buy a scarf indeed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bum Belches & Nose Poo's



The biggest land mark in this house in recent days has been Louis third birthday. THREE! I am sure sometimes in my sleep deprived haze it was only yesterday he was the tiny newborn that a terrified first time mother bought home. What a three years it has been. As I have blogged before Louis lives life on full volume, life with Louis is a real roller coaster, especially in the last nine months.

However for those of you out there with hard core sub-woofing toddlers the onset of three has bought with it a mellowing, maturing and considerate Louis. A couple of months ago at my wits end I contacted the Kindy that Louis was enrolled in & in sobs down the phone asked for help. All other early childhood health avenues & had spoken to all said the same "once he gets to kindy you'll see a change", but unfortunately I couldn't wait for that magical third birthday, I need help there & then. Enter Virginia. My savior, Louis angel. An experienced kindy teacher who has owned her own centre, she now does a 'mini' kindy from home - perfect for Louis. After two months under her tutelage Louis has learned social & communication skills that has made it life vastly more peaceful. I now have a son who regularly uses pleases & thank yous, listens, follows tasks, loves & plays with his brother & is delightful in mixed company - what joy!

Keeping in theme on the needles I have three projects on the go. I am about 75% of my way through my Merino/angora black tank, I have one sock completed for a friend of my mothers (the second is about to be cast on), and today I will be finishing a wrap for my friends babes first birthday in the delicious organic Forever Green Elan Merino. So no more talking & more knitting!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ghosts of Freindships Found.

Christmas 1991 - My Cousin Karen in the white & I'm in red - I was 19
What a funny old couple of weeks it has been. I have re-established contact with three very old friends from high school (here & in the US) in the last few weeks that I haven't heard from in anywhere from eight to nineteen years... Crazy! I am usually not to bad at keeping in touch, let's face it we all get busy, but facing it has exactly what has happened, or Facebook to be more exact. In my former corporate life, when I spent hours each day in front of a computer screen, I would have been fabulous at Facebook. I would have been one of those wall writing, poking, group joining users that was always online. These days I am lucky if I can even get to check my email every day, but the miracle of Facebook & managed to get me reunited with people who have a great deal time invested in my life. It's is establishing a new chapter in my 'Facebook' & I will be very interested in seeing where it takes me.


On the knitty front I am about a third of my way through a basic black tank for me & am concocting a wrap for the daughter of one of the aforementioned old friends, I just I had more minutes in the day to get everything done.... Hmmm I need to get off Facebook & get knitting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Knitting in Nelson

It's funny what inspires you to pick up the needles & start knitting. I am currently in Nelson with Dr. Phil as he attends a conference. I haven't really been to Nelson before (a flying trip for one hour seven years ago hardly counts), so I have loved being able to explore this very beautiful city.

First priorities were to locate yarn stores. I was in luck, Creations Crafts in Hardy Street was practically spitting distance from our hotel, a small store just overflowing with equipment for most yarn & fibre crafts. Yarn wise they had all the usual suspects, but also a few nice surprises, like the Angora/Merino blend from Aslan Trends. But it was colour that trapped me, I found a boucle in rich paprika & persimmon which screamed "Scarf NOW" & a very bright 4ply blend in limes, reds, oranges & indigo's which I just couldn't resist for my kiddy knitting.

Fortunately I had all my knitting paraphernalia with me, I am whipping off to Christchurch tomorrow for the day to the Knit World knitters weekend, so I was able to scurry back to the hotel with freshly purchased yarn & promptly started casting on a quick scarf to wear at the knitters weekend tomorrow.

Get the Drop Scarf
I used Naturally Yarns Landscape Boucle (10ply, 83m, 50gm, Shade 809)

Using 6mm needles cast on 25 sts loosely

Knit 4 rows

Next: Knit twisting the yarn around the needle 3 times (like a yarn over on steroids)

Next: Knit the first 'stitch' letting the remaining 'sts' (twists) fall off the needle to produce a elongated st.

Next: Repeat the sequence to product the scarf, to the length desired. I am adding tassels, so ensure you have enough yarn remaining to do so. I have knitted two balls into the scarf & used half a ball for tassels.

Also on my yarn finding travels Dr Phil & I headed over to Richmond to do a spot of wine tasting (we're in Nelson, it'd be rude not to) & I sort out the Grape Escape centre on McShanes Road. There is the infamous Cruella's Fibre Boutique (http://www.cruellas.co.nz/). This is my kind of yarn store, zany passionate owners (with the hair styles to match the name), producing their own yarn & sumptuous colours that you just wanted to eat! Still feeling flush under the glow of Nelson's autumnal splendor & couldn't resist a DK blend of alpaca, silk, mohair & merino in a colour aptly named 'Cocoon Persimmon' - a project has yet to be assigned to this lovely yarn, but I can assure you it won't be in the stash for long. So a big thank you to Nelson for providing such wonderful inspiration

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Warm as Toast

Max contimplates the cooler weather...
Boy has the weather turned! After a little bit of an Indian Summer the week before last, the first few days in May have bought cold southerlies, huge swells (I live by the sea) & much needed, but very chilly rain. The bright side? Guilt free knitting weather!

We packed up Boys', Daddy & Mastiff & made an impromptu visit to Gisborne last weekend to visit my family & some friends. It was lovely to catch up, you don't need good weather to spend time with those you love. It was also nice to have extra sets of eyes on the boys' & to be able to have a good knit up.
I was stoked to get Poppy's sleeping bag finished. It was quite daunting in the end, as I was flying by the seat of my pants, no pattern & mixing two genres (weaving & knitting), what was I thinking! But the final result is one I am very pleased with, best news is it fits her & she now can be toasty warm in the cooler weather.

I also managed to knock out a pair of socks from some Merino/Alpaca/Possum thread waste that came through work. They have made a very warm luscious pair of socks, a Mothers Day present for the wonderful 'Nanny Kitty'. I also started another pair of sock for my own Mum for Mothers Day. I have one completed & the second is cast on.
Hugo Enjoying the new 'Possum' socks
It's a simple two needle pattern that I have cobbled together from various other patterns. It's quick, can easily be sized up or down & if finished well, almost indiscernible from it's 4 needle counterparts. Now I know there will be sock fanatics out there who will be scoffing at me for not knitting socks in their pure form, but honestly I just can't be arsed faffing about with all those needles. I have tried with two circulars & I have to say this method has great merit, a technique I have actually used on my tea cosies, but you can beat two needles for speed. Well that's my excuse & I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretty as a Poppy

I had the lovely wee Miss Poppy here a couple of days ago & I was able to give her the wee shrug. Mum was organised & made sure she was wearing the dress that inspired the garment & I have to say I am thrilled, she looks gorgeous!

I have had a great week getting projects finished & new ones started, I am finishing off Poppy's sleeping bag, an amalgam of knitting & weaving & have just cast on a pair of socks in a Merino/Alpaca/Merino blend that we have just had come through the factory - delicious!
I love this time of year, because the days in general are lovely & the evenings cool, so you really feel like curling up & ripping out the sticks. The best part is when it rains, ahhh, put on a movie & knit, knit, knit. I love the Harry Potter series for this especially, as there are plenty of hand knits & I never get sick of seeing the films.
Last night we watched 'The Water Horse'. A story about the origins of the Loch Ness monster set in the early 1940's. A lovely family story, filmed in the most part in New Zealand, so filled with familiar faces. I have 'Second Hand Wedding' ready to be watched, another Kiwi film, perfect for sock knitting I feel!!