Friday, October 30, 2009

Sign Me Up!

I stumbled across this blog 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 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.