Thursday, December 30, 2010

Extra Emergency Knitting

The Ultimate EEK Project - My first 'Posy Cosy'
As you may have read in my previous posting, I have had a busy time just prior to Christmas ferrying a sick friend to & fro from hospital. On the upside, I have learned the very valuable lesson about making sure you having some knitting about your person at all times, as you never know when you might need that additional project for 'Extra Emergency Knitting' or EEK for short.

EEK is best when it's a small project. Preferably one with very simple instructions. Lace should be avoided as your EEK will create eek! if your concentration gets diverted, especially if you are doing 'waiting room' knitting. For my EEK I had a bag of DK scraps leftover from all my Christmas gift knits, so I set out on creating an EEK project on the fly.

I only had one set of needles, 5mm straights, what I use for the felted house slippers. Doing another pair of house slippers did cross my mind, but as I was about to cast on I had an EEK Eureka moment. I thought I would take the elements of the tea cosy I had knitted for a Christmas gift & knit something to fit our 4 cup teapot at home.

So at the GP's I started a garter stitch square using two strands of DK & the 5mm needles. Starting with just two stitches I then added an extra stitch at the beginning of each row until I had 46 stitches. Reversing the process with a series of decreases at the beginning the each row & then making a second square in a contrasting colour to match.

Now time to move from the GP's to the hospital.
Once settled into an ED cubicle I then started thinking about how to embellish this tea cosy. Then I remembered the flowers I have made for a pair or Ever After gauntlets I have made for the A&P Show. They are really simple & fast to knit.

My perfect wee posy.

Using the long tail method, Cast on 112sts in a Contrast Colour. (correctected 26/04/11)
Change colour (if desired) & for the next row - Knit
Then K2 *k1, slip this back onto LH needle & pass over the next 8 sts & then knit this st again, k2* repeat the sequence 9 more times (32 sts)
Knit 24, wrap yarn (to turn for short row) knit 24
Knit 16, wrap, turn & knit 16
Knit 8, wrap, turn & knit 8
Then break the yarn & thread it up through all the remaining stitches & tug firmly to make a flower & secure.

I managed to make three of these at ED & then finished the 4th when I needed an EEK moment escaping the boys in their post Christmas revelry.

To finish the 'EEK Cosy', I just seamed the two squares across the top & then wrapped them around my teapot & joined the side seams in correspondence with the handle & spout on my pot. Affixed the flowers into a small posy on top & 'wha la', my very own EKK 'posy cosy'.
See knitting always brings the best out of a bad situation!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Louis Diaries Part 3

Louis having a great day at the beach on Boxing Day

Catching a Bug.

You know that old saying 'Doctors make the worst patients' well I can unequivocally tell you that Surgeons are even worse again! One of our dearest friends (DF) has been very unwell just prior to Christmas, & like Dr.Phil a fellow surgeon. He had been unwell for a few weeks & after an especially busy weekend a week out from Christmas, he became very, very unwell, very quickly. His significant other called me to check in on him (she lives 4 hours away as she completes her specialist medical training), so after talking to him, making arrangements for him to see a 'real doctor' (aka GP) & offering to take him, I thought all would be well. Wrong!

After not going to said doctor, I then dispatch Dr.Phil to his house to really make sure he's OK. After much knocking & hollering, DF informs Dr.Phil that he's just too sick to come to the door & too sick to see the GP - What!?

The next day I decided to take the decisions away from all these bloody doctors & by the point of a knitting needle I collected DF & took him to the GP myself. GP promptly exclaimed 'off to hospital for you', so off to hospital we go. Now DF works at said hospital, so you can imagine how big he felt being admitted into ED & actually having to fess up to 'baby' doctors that his own self administered doctoring skills had landed him in this mess.

So where does the Louis parable fit into this story you might ask? Well after spending all day with DF in hospital & I returned home.

Louis "Where you been all day mummy?"

Me "With DF at the hospital"

Louis "Why is DF at the hospital?"

Me "He's a bit sick Louis, he's caught a nasty bug"

Louis, ponders this for a couple of seconds then says "Does DF have Praying Mantis?"

Me (trying to keep a straight face & not roll around the floor laughing) "It's not that kind of bug darling"

Louis "Oooooh, he must have Ladybug then!"

The moral of this Louis parable - don't let your Praying Mantis or Ladybug get too bad before you go to the GP!

Oh & DF is now on the mend, after bluffing his way out of ED one day, his significant other (who had arrived from out of town at by this stage) then had to call an ambulance to take him back to hospital the next day. He stayed until Christmas Eve & has been taking it very quietly every since, have being fully tongue lashed by all the women in his life about the importance of listening to all our nagging, because more than occasionally, we're right!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Wish

I even managed to get out a few Christmas cards this year - emphasis on 'A Few'

Wine in fridge: Check
Knitted gifts completed & distributed: Check
Enough food to feed 3rd world nation in fridge: Check

You've gotta love Christmas. This year I have enjoyed it especially. For the first time the boys' are both of an age that they are getting excited about the season, Louis has a list for Santa which is as long as your arm (You just have to email Santa Mummy, you have time to add that to Louis list) & Hugo is just been getting into the entire spirit of the season & if that spirit includes Star Wars, all the better.

My little Christmas Angels

This year we have Dr. Phil's Mum here, so with a hankering I have had to martyr myself in the kitchen yet again, we have now also ended up with my cousin & her family & five other friends (all gay) who were at the loose end as well. So 10 adults & 5 children in all - Excellent!
NZ's 'campest' Tea Cosy

After much conference & consumption of many bottles of wine, a menu has been constructed which has now billowed out to 7 small courses. Most require very little or no cooking & I have managed to prepare one ahead of time already, I will do another today with the vast majority of prep, so theoretically things should all be plain sailing tomorrow - theoretically....

A set of Christmas Slippers
This year I also managed to get some knitted gifts done & I have been tickled with the satisfaction I have had from making & giving these gifts. I made a couple of pairs of Slippers one for my grandmother, another for an elderly friend of my Mum's & I made NZ's 'campest' tea cosy for good friends (who were the ones that gave me the 'Really Wild Tea Cosy' book). I would like to have done some more, but time ran away from me & as always I find myself saying - "I'll have to start earlier next year" - Yeah Right!

Slippers #2
I just want to also take the time to acknowledge a milestone this month for this blog & thank you - all the poor suffering darlings who take five in their precious days to read it. The milestone: I clicked over 10,000 hits this month - 10,000!! Ten thousand times people have referred to my ranting & raving, incoherent ramblings & of course a spot of knitting. And if you were one of the ones who contributed to the 10K, especially if you kept coming back, THANK YOU!
My famous Sweet & Salty Christmas Nut Brittle

I hope I have shared my brand Buscke of crazy into your lives & from myself, Dr.Phil, Louis, Hugo, Max & felines, I hope you & your families have a very happy & safe festive season. I will be back with more of the same in the New Year, I might even make a few of those pesky NY resolution thingees - now where's my glass, I mean needles!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Louis Diaries Part 2

The Importance of Good Grooming

As you can see Louis isn't to phased about his very boyish coif.

Louis has never been one to worry about his 'looks'. Washing his hair is something he insists on doing, which consists of him submerging himself in soapy bath water without rinsing. Thank goodness the kid has a few curls, because the slightly greasy, ginger mess looks half presentable - well most of the time. Still it never ceases to amaze me how many people stop & tell me or him what 'pretty' hair he has, 'What lovely waves' or 'Such a pretty colour'.

So you can imagine my shock this morning then we were off to preschool & here he was in the back of the car craning over the seat to look in the rear vision mirror in order to preen himself. He diligently stroked & his fringe into a sort of an ordered chaos & vainly attempted to tame his errant curls into some sort of submission.

"Louis, what are you doing to your hair!?"

"I'm mooose-sing Mummy"

"Moose-sing? What do you need to 'Mousse' for?" (at this point I really should know better but just call me a sucker for punishment)

"Keep all the bugs off Mummy, bugs like Louis hair, it's pretty, but 'Mooose' makes it better"

Louis Moral #2 - Mooose keeps your hair bug free, especially when it's as pretty as his.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Craft Jammin'

The atrium venue at the Hastings Opera House was excellent. I'm such a messy tart, don't look too closley at the Skeinz table with my Christmas knitting all over the place!

The busy season ramped up a notch for me this past weekend. I had the great pleasure along with all our Skeinz Crew to attend the inaugural Fruit Bowl Craft Jam in Hastings. I worked day one & it was manic! Plenty of keen eyed craft lovers were out shopping for Christmas presents with that handmade flavour. The standard of the crafts was of the highest quality, I feel lucky just escaping with a pair of earrings from my favourite jewellery designer Shelley Von Sturm. It would have been very easy to have given the credit card a good flogging!
My new Victorian Dog earrings - LOVE

I talked myself hoarse showing keen DIYers the joys of making your own felted house slippers. I think several pairs will be sprouting up all over Hawkes Bay in the coming weeks. I even managed to work on the two pairs & am doing for Christmas - it's a useful skill being able to knit & blather on all at the same time!

Suzanne being kept busy - she'll kill me as I'm always sneakily snapping her for the blog!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Pause for Pike River

Pike River Mining Chief Executive Peter Whitall

It’s exactly a month until Christmas today. New Zealand is left numb after the news yesterday that 29 families are going to be left without husbands, fathers, brothers, son & partners in the wake of the Pike River mining disaster. It seems surreal sitting here in sunny Napier, I can’t imagine the level of grief & loss that must be felt by those families. I think all of us can be accused of being a little smug in the thought that after the success rescuing the Chilean miners & the horrific devastation of the Christchurch earthquake there was no loss of life. Sticks & stones can be mended, but I don’t know what any of us can do to mend the broken hearts which are breaking all over the West Coast right now.

In any disaster there are tragedies & often unlikely heroes. With the level of loss in Pike River it’s hard to imagine what heroes there are. Watching from afar I have been struck my two figures. First is Mine boss Peter Whittall. Here has been a man, who day after day, has remained a rock, a shining beacon for the families to look to during the duration of this disaster. His professionalism & composure is inspiring, his compassion endearing & each day etched on his face was a determination to 'do right by his mates'. After he broke the news yesterday to the nation that all hope had been lost for his men, he still managed to maintain his composure. I did not. When he was finished & he embraced his own family who had been by his side throughout & he walked out to well deserved applause, I shed tears for all those men lost.

Just as Peter Whittall has been the rock for the miners families, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn has been the same pillar of strength for his shattered community. Mayor Kokshoorns ability to succinctly convey the raw emotions of his constituents, whilst providing unfailing support & praise for the rescue effort, was a rare treasure. Not once did I see him slip into the spiral of blame. I truly felt he was speaking for the people of Grey District, if Tony Kokshoorn ever decided to trade local government for a central government role, he’d have my vote.

So back in sunny Napier the week that has unfolded has left me with a refreshed perspective to enter the festive season. Life is really too short. Enjoy, relax & pause.... Oh & knit through everything.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Further to my Super Chunky obsession, I worked in the shop on Friday & to fill time I started fiddling around with a cowl/hood idea. I wanted it to be: a) Simple. b) Take just 1 skein. c) Quick.

hoodwinked is what I have come up with. A big thank you to Mary from Skeinz for modelling it for me, just beautiful!

200gm Skeinz Super Chunky (Bud Burst)
15mm Needles, Wool needle to sew up.
Abbreviations: K = Knit, sts = Stitches, Kfb = Knit into the front & the back of the stitch, PM = place marker, SM = slip marker, K2tog = knit 2 stitches together, k2togtbl = Knit 2 stitches together through the back of the loop.

With 15mm needles
Cast on 12 sts
K2 rows

K5 Kfb, PM, Kfb, K5
Repeat the last two rows until you have 20sts

K to marker, SM, Kfb, K to end
Repeat last two rows until you have 30 sts

K to marker, sm, k2tog, k to end
Repeat last two rows until you have 20sts

K until 2 sts before marker k2togtbl, sm, k2tog, k to end
Repeat last two rows until you have 12 sts

Cast Off leaving a long tail for sewing in.
Sew seams together picking up one loop from one side then the other (like threading a shoe lace) & pull firmly to gather the ends. Weave in loose ends.

Tip: make sure you slip the first stitch of every row, this will then give you a nice neat edge to your hood.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Working it Out

Last month saw the second of our Hawkes Bay Ravelers learn to knit workshops. It was great to keep the momentum going for our enthusiastic group of beginners. This time I hosted them at home & we covered two areas - the Felted Norwegian Slippers & learning to knit in the round. As you can see, yarn, needles & tea was flowing - it's amazing how quickly 3 hours can evaporate when you are having so much fun.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where do Babies come from - The Louis Diaries

The inner workings of a four year old boys mind is a complete mystery to me. It doesn't matter how much Jo Frost I watch, fathoming the logic, reasoning & day to day processing of the Louis mind is mostly guess work. Every now & then though he comes out with little nuggets of Louis wisdom which are absolute gold. I have decided I need to start documenting these, so I am creating the 'Louis Diaries' - zen & wisdom from the 4 year old male mind.

Diary Entry #1 - Where Babies Come from.

Whilst away recently I had a chance to catch up on some magazine reading - a real treat. The NZ edition of the Aussie Woman's Weekly had the lovely article about the arrival Georgina Earl's (nee Evers-Swindell) new baby girl. The cover sported the stunning picture of the twins with the bonny new baby girl.
Louis not missing a trick sees the cover & says "Mummy, Louis wants a baby for Christmas"

Slightly shocked & a little unbalanced I replied "Sorry Lou, Mummy won't be having any more babies, especially before Christmas"

Louis, not one to be deterred, changes tack "But Mummy, I love babies, please why can't you go & get Louis a baby for Christmas?"

"Well darling you don't just go out & get a baby" & then I ask the question, lord only knows what possessed me to ask it, but it just fell out. "Louis, where do you think babies come from?"

Louis pauses for a couple of seconds, then looks me squarely in the eyes with a slightly pained look, like 'how I could ask him such a completely simple question, something that surely I must already know'

His answer "China!"

Louis Moral #1 - Everythings' made in China, including babies!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spring Fling

The last three mornings I have been working on this as my fingers froze, but true to form Hugo (in background) & Louis seemed to be annoying immune to the cold.

Every year we take a Spring week out in Taupo, NZ's largest lake & the North Islands most famous alpine area. More importantly for us, it's just an hour forty from home, so ultra accessible when you have a couple of easily bored pre-schoolers. For the last couple of years we have rented a bach. A great alternative to a timeshare holiday as it has all the charming comforts of home along with being kiddie & pooch friendly.
This year we are in Taupo a few weeks earlier than usual. At home we have roses blooming & all the early Spring flowering is a distant memory. That is not the case in the cooler, alpine Taupo. The garden here still has flowering cherry blossoms, & a stunning display of Rhodo's, the reason for this should be obvious, a cooler alpine climate, but I have to say I have gotten soft & foolishly assumed that temperatures would be, well, more Spring-ish - Wrong, oh so very wrong. Not to be too crass, it's cold, nipple raising, witches tit, freezing faaaaaarking cold.

Max just loves the fact he's able to come away too.

Is this a sign of my impending middle age? Why is it I have become soft? Why is it just the thought of a Spring frost has me clinging to the Kent fire like a limpet? It's tragic, utterly tragic. Just as well I have a couple of sweet baby projects to keep my fingers busy - well that's when they aren't freezing off!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mini Me

One of the best things about living in Hawkes Bay is that unlike every other region in the country who has their anniversary day holiday randomly tacked onto a weekend with no special significance, here in Hawkes Bay, we have ours added to the national Labour Day weekend, so 4 glorious days to kick start Spring & soak up some sunshine.

We escaped to my family home in Gisborne (more about that in a later blog), and one of things I did do whilst I was away was to play around with my Midori pattern even more.
Drum roll please... have added a 'Mini Me' to the Midori collection, called Mini Midori.

Honestly it took me 3 hours to knit & I can see me getting oodles of wear out of it. The colour I've chosen is called Death in a Chocolate Box, available from Skeinz, I am also going to knit another one using Peacock in the Paint box. It is light & easy to wear, perfect for Spring & Autumn. Enjoy!

PS If you are wondering about bust measurements etc, I have worked off the principle of how many stitches I would need using 10mm needles to fit over my substantial arse & the rest happened organically from there!

Mini Midori Tunic
Skeinz Super Chunky 500gm apx (largest Size)
Sizes: Sm, Med, Lg, XXL
Notions: 10mm & 15mm Needles
Fronts & back both alike.

On 10mm needles
Cast on 46 (48, 50,52) sts
Knit 6 rows
Change to 15mm Needles
Work 16 rows stocking stitch.
NR: K10 k2tog tbl, knit to last 12 sts k2tog, knit to end
Repeat last two rows16 (16, 20, 24) times

Change to 10mm needles – cast on with backwards loop 7 (8,9,10) sts, knit across these sts & Knit to end then cast on 7 (8,9,10) sts (turn work, cast on sts using backwards loop)

Knit 7 rows
(RS) k2 k2tog (k4 k2tog) repeat sequence to last few sts, k to end
Knit 3 rows
Cast off
Make Up
Join two neckbands to form shoulder. Sew side seams until to have reach length desired for underarm.

Peacock in the Paintbox from Skeinz

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Midori Anyone?

Hugo helps me out, as you can see, supermodel I am NOT!

For those who know me well, once I start down a path, I tend to keep going back until I have done that path to death. This months 'path' has been super chunky yarns. We have a stunning collection of these yarns in at, but customers have been a little daunted at what to do with them. So a couple of weeks ago I drafted the Raukumara Scarf & this week I whipped this tunic up, just to see how long it would actually take to knit an adult (and a large adult at that) project in this super chunky loveliness. I can report that the tunic took just two nights, one of those sitting at the dinner table blathering with friends & consuming a good amount of Hawkes Bay Syrah!

It really is a doddle - please forgive my shabby pattern writing, as I have warned you before, I'm not a pattern writers asshole, so if you get stuck email me

Midori Tunic
Sizes: Sm, Med, Lg, XXL
Notions: 10mm & 20mm Needles
Fronts & back both alike.

On 10mm needles
Cast on 46 (48, 50,52) sts
Knit 6 rows
Change to 20mm Needles
Work 12 rows stocking stitch.
NR: K10 k2tog tbl, knit to last 12 sts k2tog, knit to end
Repeat last two rows16 (18, 20, 22) times

Change to 10mm needles – cast on with backwards loop 7 (8,9,10) sts, knit across these sts & Knit to end then cast on 7 (8,9,10) sts (turn work, cast on sts using backwards loop)
Knit 6 rows
(RS) k2 k2tog (k4 k2tog) repeat sequence to last few sts, k to end
Knit 3 rows
Cast off

Make Up
Join two neckbands to form shoulder. Sew side seams until to have reach length desired for underarm. If you find the tunic too ‘heavy’ & pulling at neck, sew a run of yarn along the middle ridge of the wrong side of the neck band, this will help hold it in place.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick Fix

Raukumara Scarf
In the thread waste bin at work 150gms of this really random yarn turned up. It was a Super Chunky yarn that just 'spoke' to me. As soon as I saw it, this scarf pattern just sort of organically happened. Named after the high country mountain range which is where I lived as a child. Now if some other cleaver clogs has thought of this first (& I am sure someone has) great minds...

With 10mm Needles Cast on 12 sts
*Knit 5 rows
**Kfb of all 12 sts (24sts)
Repeat previous two rows
K2tog until end (12sts) ***
Repeat from * to *** 7 more times
K3 Cast off 6 sts K3
K3 cast on 6 sts K3 (backwards loop or Cable CO works well here)
Knit three rows
Repeat ** to *** twice
Cast off.

This yarn isn't commercially available, but using two stands of DK together or better yet some of the funky super chunky's available from Skeinz, Have a look at the new range of Texas super chunky - two balls will complete the scarf. This would make a great Christmas gift.. - Enjoy!
Texas by Skeinz

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teddy Knows Best.

For 5 days last week we had the pleasure of looking after our friends dog Ted. He's a 9 year old Bouvier de Flanders. Ted is a real gentleman, a lovely boy. He's great mates with Max, so a complete joy to have. The best part is, Ted's Dad's know me oh so well, so as a thank-you for having Teddy they bought me a book I have been coveting for such a long time - Really Wild Teas Cosies by Loani Prior. There were greats scenes of jubilation - thanks guys!

Ted (in foreground) & Max

the obsession with the slippers continues - these are the latest installment "Lellow Slippers" for Louis.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slipper-y Slope

I am prone to knit related obsessions. recently there has been the Sunday Market Shawl obsession, the Fingerless Mitts obsession & the forever ongoing Milo obsession. I now have a new obsession - Norwegian Felted House Slippers.

Like all projects I covet, it has the three elements to secure obsessive status: Simplicity, Cleaver design & the ability to be knitted quickly whilst consuming an evening glass or two (or three or four) of fine wine.

I have now completed a pair for myself, a pair for Louis are drying as I type & I have done a couple of sample slippers to show off at Skeinz. I can see these knatty slippers becoming a ideal quick Christmas gift.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Postcards from Paradise

Following the whirlwind that was KAN, Dr. Phil & I coerced Nana to stay on another week & we escaped to our favourite perfect paradise, Rarotonga. We stay at Te Manava Villas in Muri Beach. Situated on this stunning lagoon, they are full self contained, perfect for us as we enjoying cooking easy relaxed meals making the most of the abundant (and cheap) local produce. A huge thank you to the Te Manava team (managed by Pacific Resort) especially the lovely Elaine, who always welcomes us back with a huge smile & infectious enthusiasm. So enjoy this selection of pictures & share a little bit of our tropical wonderland with us.

Images from Te Punanga-nui Market

We had a great room with a view...

And when you needed a change of scene you went into town.
Whale photographed whilst having a beer at Trader Jacks.

And yes, I did find time to do a little knitting!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I have survived! All the hard work by James, myself & our wonderful workshop tutors all came together to make the inaugreal Knit August Nights a huge success.
I have now escaped to a tropical island for some R&R (also my back up plan if the entire event turned to shit!), so my post will be brief, but I thought I would post a few photo's of the event to whet your apetities for next year. If you think you would like to attend KAN:2, email me at & I will add you to the mailing list. In the meantime - Kia Orana!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Through Fresh Eyes

The Gangs all here.

The Hawkes Bay Knitters group, which is the local SnB group I belong to held it's first Beginners Learn to Knit Class. Pulled together by Jennie (organiser extraordinaire) we had nine will participants cast on. I designed a simple hat pattern & was delighted at how quickly the entire group were knitting & purling their way to knitted bliss.

I love in the intense concentration.

Jennie made the most amazing project bags filled with a couple of notions, Kim & Robyn made the most delicious spread & Ruby, Heather helped mentor the new knitters along. All in all a great success!

Suzanne from Skeinz proves to be a natural.

Enjoy these few snaps from the morning. If you wish to enrol for the next class email me on or visit our Ravelry group & look for the knit workshop thread.

Plenty of talking to go with the knitting!