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!