Saturday, April 30, 2005


Lucia tagged me:

here goes

1)Total number of books in your house: at a rough guess I would say 200...and there are another 600 or so in storage in our cottage. We read a LOT! and my uncle owns a new and used there are always more books... I love that my kids all read voraciously.

2)The last book you bought was: "The lost continent" by Bill Bryson, he notices the humour in the mundane, I really loved "A walk in the woods" about hiking the Appalachian trail, his descriptions of the other hikers are hilarious.

3)What was the last book you read before reading this? "The common thread" (about the human genome project), "Leaving Mother Lake" an incredible autobiography about a woman my age who spent her childhood in the remote mountains of China, and "Twisted sisters sock book" also "Parasite Rex" I like to have a few books on the go at the same time, and I love science books.

4)Write down 5 (or 6) books you often read or that mean a lot to you. "Backlash" Susan Faludi to remind me of how far we have come and how far we have left to go. Anything by Cynthia keep me laughing, same as anything by Bill Bryson, Clive James and PJ O'Rourke.
Fast Food nation, Atlas Shrugged, and Suze Orman's "The courage to be rich"

5)Who are you going to pass the stick to (three people) and why?

hmmm...I suppose, to Justy 'cos I like her views on life so I'd like to see what she reads,
to btchwstix 'cos we have a lot in common...ok well we have teenage girls in common...and I love her sense of humour, and Donna, 'cos she is so sweet, and is the knitting book queen!


hopefully this will be the last post of me obsessing on this subject!

anyway, we arrived home on wednesday night, back to work thursday morning, and flat out since then...finally I get a chane to stop, think, post.

NZ was great, spent most of my time as taxi driver to the kids! but they are the reason fro the trip, so i was glad to do anything to see smiles on their faces. Blaise revelled in her time with the old "tuesday night dinner club" and they loved having her, even the Mums and Dads had missed her, and couldn't do enough for her. We had sunday lunch for Charlotte's birthday, and I caught up with my sister, nephew and neice -to-be ( "the bump") my grandparents, my ex mother-out-law, and others. Blaise had a session with my parent's personal trainer Shirl...(another adopted family member) who outlined a plan to help with Blaise's right-side dominance, but was very impressed with the child's strength and fitness.
I visited my old work, and had lunch with some friends, walked around the office, and people said "Hi Justine" and then did a double take...and shreiked remembering that they hadn't seen me in 7 months! it was great.

Flash got ill on the saturday night, I thought he had too much to drink, but he hadn't...poor baby spent the rest of the weekend in bed at the hotel, and then came home on the monday.

I was up and down like a yoyo...emotionally, went past our house, and it is nice and tidy, no worries there, felt like the city was too small, too spread out, too boring, too cold, then...missed it like heck, the clothes fit me, the shoes fit me, the people speak like me, drove past the Avondale market, where we used to spend early sunday morning getting the best, freshest cheapest fruit, veges and exotic ingredients for thai and indian curries. I took the girls out and we bought kiwi music, kiwi lollies, kiwi bottled water ( H2Go fizzy with mandarin or blackcurrant) and as I listened to one of the new cds - Together in concert -live- Tim Finn Bic Runga Dave Dobbyn
I realised that I had just spent my own 6 months in a leaky boat...that I was the one making the holes, so i am just getting on with it, I am going to enjoy the next 18 months, and make a decision at the end of that.

Charlotte stayed in NZ, she is now living with her paternal grandmother, in a beautiful cottage in Titirangi, she was desperately unhappy in Australia, I took advice from everyone I respect, and it was all the same...she is almost a grown up, she can make some decisions for herself...and this is a safe way for everyone to get what they want...she will start back at school on monday, which is great, she needs to go back to school, I miss her, but I felt like I was torn...I know the decision to move to Aus was the best, Flash has worked so long for an opportunity like this, he deserves it, Blaise and Maria are fine here, I waver, but I know in my heart that it is good for us, Holly is becoming more she should be, and is happy and bubbly and excited about life, she is there for her sister now too.
So my house is a wee bit empty, and I am still sad, every time they handed a baby to me, my Mama said..."you have to start letting her go" and even though I left Holly when we moved here, it didn't hit me hard until I left Charlotte.When i text her, she texts back with comments like "its all sweet as Mummy" or "LOL Mummy, its all good".

So ,like I said, we came home ( yeah made it thru immigration...Maria what did you pack in your bag...Oh my God what do you mean APPLES????...oh ok applesauce in a I bought 2 bottles of the amazing 42 Below vodka, in manuka honey and passionfruit flavours, to make the "butterfly effects" cocktail we had in Singapore.I wanted to get Feijoa, because I love those perfumed beauties, memories of childhood under the feijoa tree, biting them open...mmmm yum! but I know Flash isn't that into feijoa...thats cos he is from Mosgiel, say no you honey!

Blaise came 8th in her cross country race yesterday, this means she goes to the school zone meet...we are SO proud...bursting! the last cross country she did was just over 3 years ago, before her operation, and she came last, and was BLUE (the we were bursting with pride because of her sheer determination to finish...and she had all the other kids going back and running with her, cos they loved her)

as you can see , no knitting has been done, just a few rows or the noro scarf, which I will hopefully complete at SSK this afternoon, and will then felt...VERY slightly. I have plans to make a needle roll this evening, from beautiful taffetta my Mama gave me, and bits of left over fabric from Trelise Cooper's sale, I am adapting this pattern from Caitlin's blog...but Flash wants to see "Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy"...I do too..but can't sit thru a whole movie, I fidget too much...It took me 5 go's to watch Titanic, I kept stopping and starting it! I prefer to buy the DVD, then I can watch movies at my own pace.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


we are here! arrived at 1am yesterday morning, Charlotte was the main attraction...what is it with teenagers, they look perfectly normal unitl you get to immigration, then they all assume facial expressions and demeanours of the drug-addled! (stand up, stop making faces!) please don't make bomb comments, please don't say "do you think I'll get thru the scanner?" just before you go thru the scanner...don't go "phew" when you get thru ok...(this was Blaise who had titanium rods in her back....and they never set off the scanner) please don't leave your bag in the lounge, and not realise until you are nearly on the plane! and when you get to NZ customs...please remember what you packed in your bags! (snow-globes!)

Flash arrived at 3 this morning, his flight was twice delayed, Air NZ had booked a rental car for 12 noon, but Flash had ordered it for 12 midnight! he was lucky that the woman looked back at her counter, and saw him standing there bewildered!

This morning we are spending time with my parents and Holly, it is not too cold, a bit overcast.I have been wearing Clapotis, which is perfect in this weather. Went to my old LYS yesterday, and bought a couple of sets of Ashford bamboo dpns, and some Opal sock yarn for $10 less than I paid in Oz!!! ( might go back and get some more!)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

the chronicles of Flash

sometimes I wonder if I should devote this blog to my husband...since my knitting seems more experimental than necessary.

Flash booked our hotel using amex points, we have 3 vouchers, to pay for 3 nights, as I will arrive first at the hotel, on friday afternoon, I have to check in, Flash and I do not share the same surname, there are good reasons for put it nicely, Flash has the kind of surname you would not want to burden your enemy with, let alone your new beloved bride,and quite frankly if he had insisted I "share the love" I would have been considering my options . Anyhow, so he phones the hotel to advise them that his "wife" has a different last name, and will be checking in in the afternoon as she is arriving in town earlier than him...the smirk from the receptionist was clearly I am a scarlett woman!!

Tomorrow I have a conference all day, then a dash to the airport, and home, to see my 18 yr old daughter who has just returned from a 4 day sojourn in Blenheim wine country, the plan was to send her there to help her decide if she is winemaker material or not...turns out that she is...and apparently the fact that she hardly drinks the stuff at a good thing! her palate has not been polluted, she is a water girl, always has been, no tea, coffee or tobacco. We are all making plans to live with her when she is older, I may have to fend my parents off with a stick. So if anyone out there knows someone in the Hunter, who wants a labourer during the vintage, drop me a line! I will also be reaquainted with my beloved Horse...the cat...who is living with Holly and the oldies, look out for some kitty porn coming this way soon.

Any ideas for the silk would be greatly appreciated, it is currently in hanks, but it is so slippery I don't want to touch it until I have an idea of what I am doing, can I wind it into a ball? do I ply it with a laceweight wool, to stop the slipping? helpppp!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


My boss went away for the weekend, and brought me back an embarrassment of riches, the photo can't capture the depth of colour of the boucle, which ranges from crimson to watermelon, it is plenty for a wrap, and I can't wait to get started.
Monday she gave me the boucle, tuesday the pastels and silk, I was overwhelmed, she said she spent 3 hours at Glenora weaving as they were having an exhibition of student's work etc, and she kept thinking "Jus will love this, that, the other" which was so sweet.
I am knitting a wee cardi in sweetpea coloured baby cashmere, for her 2 day old neice, to go towards saying thank you, hopefully will get it finished tonight.







Monday, April 18, 2005


I swirl the word around in my head, and roll it off my tongue...home...what does it mean?

I always wanted to live overseas, show the girls a different life...not too different, they are teenage girls after all...and now we are here I am torn...I miss my family and friends, it nags me like a blister.

I love my life, here, in NZ , wherever...we are fortunate to have these experiences, and to have a family who can afford to visit often, and a company who provide 2 trips home a year.

I have packed my suitcase, including gifts of aussie lollies, exclusive hosiery and jo malone candles, I will fly home, cry, talk, talk, talk, cry and fly...HOME...because home is where my husband is, where my stuff is, where my work is.

I can't wait for thursday!

socks for Holly

socks for Holly

The other WIP.Colori socks for Holls

finished clapotis

finished clapotis

Isn't she beautiful!

WIPS (1)

WIPS  (1)

Magknit's "Short row rib" by Ceris Morgan scarf in Noro Silk Garden
colourway 88

The BIG issue!

I should have posted sooner, but getting my husband to pose in front of the camera proved...difficult! I had an email concerning said husband, and the fact that I have not posted since his spider experience...the sender was concerned that there had been an accident...nope...just me being slack...Flash closed the sunroof, and carried on to work, when he arrived he rounded up a posse of big men, and they took after the spider with a coffee mug and a peice of cardboard, took 5 of them to get the poor thing cornered,caught, and released into the nearest tree...after seeing a picture of the creature, I understand now why some people do indeed crash when they notice one of these in their car!

I have finally included pics of the Manly vest, Clapotis AND current WIPs...!!so you can see, my time has not been spent idly wandering that online yarns stores...I did order the "Twisted Sisters" sock book though...hope it arrive before we leave for NZ (yes that's right we are going home...home,home,home!)I can't wait to catch up with everyone, hear that familiar kiwi twang, walk through bush that is home to the odd weta ( not the weta of the "Lord of the rings" fame)and very little else (NZ has no snakes, and only one wee rare poisonous spider...except for the occasional import)

I am extremely happy with the Clapotis, it is a lovely design, in that you can make it out of any thickness of yarn and it seems you always end up with a good result, I feel the same about the Short row rib scarf, I am knitting it in a finer yarn on smaller needeles than the pattern, but it is still lovely, it is very easy once you get the hang of it, and once this yarn is blocked, it will be gorgeous, I like it this thin, because I can loop it, without too much bulk...Sydney doesn't get too cold!

The socks are for Holls,I asked what she needed and she replied socks!, so bought a pile from Target, and these can be worn when she is wandering around in her jammies and dressing gown.
The yarn is Sock it to me Colori from Elann in the Tiffanny roses colourway.

Bought a large ringbinder and clear sleeves start documenting my work, when I knitted previously I didn't have a digital camera, so saving pictures of my work just didn't happen, I had photos of my last range on disc...but can't find it :-( so have decided to be vigilant this time, and document everything, picture, pattern, yarn band, sample, and keep it all in one place.

The "Manly" vest part two

The "Manly" vest part two

Does this man's talents have no bounds?

The "Manly" vest

The "Manly" vest

Flash doing his best knitting pattern impersonation

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

the amazing adventures of Flash...

I know how much some of you enjoy hearing about the misadventures of my gorgeous, smart, but spatially challenged I bring you and adventure in the this very moment Flash is barrelling down the m4...with an unexpected passenger...he called me on (handsfree) cell...."honey, I thought it was kind of dark in the car, so I opened the slidy thing on the car ceiling, to let the light in the sun-roof...and, well, do you know anything about spiders?"...ah ah ah...(freak out)
(me)" yes, they want to sink their poison fangs into my yielding flesh, why?"
"cos there is one on my sunroof, on the inside of the car, above my head...and it is HUGE, red, shiny, not furry...the big ones aren't poisonous are they?"
(me) " STOP the car, go to a service station, buy poison"
"I have closed the slidy thing, it's not going anywhere"
( me) "it will escape, and live in the car, and have babies, and you will bring them into the house with your stuff...thats it mister, you are not allowed back into the house"
"I'll ask the guys at work, bye honey"

ick ick ick

luckily 5 minutes later, a delivery man came, with my last parcel...yummy yummy garden in beiges and browns, and kureyon in pinks/sages and greys...will post pics this evening...yes with the Clapotis pics, just haven't got anyone to take them yet!

Monday, April 11, 2005

it has been a very good day

I opened the mailbox and inside was a postbag from Ozeyarn,a slip for a package to pick up from the super, from Elann! And Blaise opened the door and presented me with another parcel, this time from the Wool Shack…, (with free jellybeans!)

I see a lot of sock knitting in my future…

We have lots of sockyarn, pink baby cashmere and blue baby wool…for that neice in my near future, lustrous hand dyed silk mmmmm, and a scarf worth of Hawthorne Viola, which has Blaise asking if they have undyed yarn, as she wants to knit sleeves for a jacket made out of this fabric ( bought from a Trelise Cooper sale) and she wants to kool-aid dye it herself.

I was called into my boss’s office this afternoon…and given a payrise, with the expectation of another one in a months time, when I have my 3 month review, I almost burst into tears as she told me how valuable an addition to the office I have been,it made me feel great!

ozeyarn yummies

ozeyarn yummies

woolshack woolies

woolshack woolies

Elann excitement

Elann excitement

Clapotis is finished...well...99%!

Clapotis is all finished but for weaving in of the ends, now a question... block, or not to block - that is my quandary...I feel that I should go part way, and steam the cast on and cast off corners, as they are bugging me, as for the rest of it I love the way it twists and bounces.
Looks like I have made my mind up!

Pictures tonight.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

false pretences...

False pretences…

I really do not have much to say, I have reached the decrease rows of clapotis, so am on the final stretch, have to seam the sides of the manly vest, and that will be over…and done with.

So, am I the only person in the knitting blogosphere who has picked Clapotis up after an absence of a day or two, and exclaimed “ oh my gosh (heart palpitations) I dropped a stitch” yells at the nearest child to grab me my latchet hook, and exacts a swift and expert repair job…only to remember half-way through the row…that dropping stitches in Clapotis is kinda the point! Someone get me a merlot.

I arrived home from work yesterday to a card in my mailbox “sorry I missed you, you have a package waiting at the local post office, please bring i.d. when you pick it up” The local post office is open 9-4.30 mon-fri…while I am at work…elsewhere. I am itching to know which package of yarn it is, anxious to get my clammy little hands on it, and now I have to wait until Monday…waahh! Luckily I can write on the card, so that Blaise can pick it up, but she has to take my drivers licence and her passport!

As I am (hopefully) rapidly approaching finished status on the current projects ( which never stops me anyway) I have been designing a machine knit for myself, the process goes something like this:

- I ask myself what I would like (hmm, I dunno… a cardi?)

- Ok, so what style cardi ( hmm, I dunno…look in some magazines?)

- Go look in some magazines…mmm nope, look in some shops…no way jose, Sarah Dallas can do vintage knits, but the womenswear designers are just ripping off the old Lux and Patons knitting books, there is NO WAY I am wearing a knitted bed jacket in public, big satin bow or not! Occasionally I see something I like, but not often. If I do see something vaguely witty or interesting, you can bet that when I get closer I find it is made from 8ply acrylic, will pill like a demon, and fits wrong. ( the exception is anything by Caroline Sills, or Nom'D I am sure there are loads of other shops with beautiful knitwear…but not where I can afford to shop!)

- Sit down with my sketchbook, and pencil, draw a rough outline…ok so I want to wear it to work, so it has to be ½ way between hips and waist, as I am over 5ft 9 in, and am long-waisted, so get that annoying gap between the top of my pants and the bottom of my top…annoying that is, for anyone who is looking, I have had three babies, that has an effect on a tummy. I then think about the sleeves, what length? Tight or loose? Wrists? I have decided long, set in, moderate fit, with a lacy bell cuff, with a very light layer underneath the lace in a contrast colour. Ok, now we are getting somewhere…neckline? Hmmm, “V” looks best with a shirt and pants, ok, and no collar, just a continuation of the button band ( which will be a plain hem), waistband??? 2x1 rib? Hem? Lace hem?what about a lace hem, with the same back treatment as the cuffs? Too hippyish? Ok, 2x1 rib (also known as commercial rib) sits nice and flat, and doesn’t pull in too much…or maybe a cabled hem…or is that mixing things up too much, I don’t want the features to compete…ok ok, 2 x 1 rib…oh darn it, make a sample of all three….leave the waistband till later, hhmmm what about full needle rib?…right, now for the actual fabric…how about plain stst, but run two vertical lines of picot holes, and thread ribbon through them, criss crossing at intervals ? or picot holes outlining the neck shaping, and running down each side of the button bands, once again with ribbon. Or vertical lace stripes? Or a horizontal line a few inches down from the shoulder??? Arrrgghhh!!

- Think to myself…I have no yarn, all I have is black, and some really bright lilac…

- Go to the machine-knit yarn shop…it is closed.

- Check online, can’t find online machine knit yarn sales in Australia, have to write out an order, regret regret regret that I had to give away 2 rubbish bags of yarn when I left NZ.

- Visit the LYS, they have some old cones from out the back, lots of icky colours, but in amongst them, a blue/grey and a light grey, perfect, grabbed a skein of soft pink merino lace-weight for the cuff-backs, and soothed the stash beast…for now.

- Decide the buttons I have are wrong wrong wrong, resolve to behave like a grown-up, and go to the button shop when I have actually finished the garment…I am sure I can do it, I stuck to a 10 day detox just before Christmas for crying out loud!

- Decide that tomorrow when I got to the button shop, I will have to go to the ribbon shop too!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I.T. help

okay I take back everything I have ever said about I.T. guys...if anyone out there can help me, so that I can make my webrings look normal, I would be eternally grateful.
Just look at them, I am pathetic.


Something so good…last night I washed my hair at 10pm just so I wouldn’t have to rush in the morning, and then I realized that Flash is away, I have the car (otherwise known as “the beast”) I can leave home ½ an hour later than normal…where is Clapotis? I can knit this morning!
I ask “where is Clapotis” because she doesn’t bug me, she doesn’t torture me the way the manly vest does…the manly vest is evil…oh yes it is, it makes me do ridiculous things, I will have to start listing them soon, or I will forget, and if I forget..I will make them again, for such is the way of life, what we forget, we are doomed to repeat.
It is not the machine’s fault that I forgot to re-thread the carriage after changing colour, and then pushed the carriage along the bed and watched all of my hard work fall into a heap on the ground ( 3 x) It is not the machine’s fault that I picked up the wrong line of stitches at the neck, and undid 2 rows of the pattern…you get the picture…I don’t want to give the whole sorry saga away just yet.

So, on to the latest list:
Why (oh why) did I give my children “those names”

Holly (if she was a boy, she was going to be Jed)
This is easy…it was Christmas, and boy have I paid for that one, especially the renditions of “deck the halls with bowels of Holly, fa la la la la la” every year since she started high school. nick name is Poppy (not for the flower, cos she “popped” a lot as a wee baby)

Charlotte (Lawrence…oh yuk)
2 granddads named Charles, and the fact that Holly would have been named Charlotte, but for the local go-er by the name of Charlotte-the-harlot. When she was little she was Charlie, and we still call her Coco.

Blaise (gave up on the boy’s names)
She was born at sunrise, Blaise Pascal, St Blaise – the patron saint of woolworkers, it was too big whe she was so little, but a clever friend whispered “call her baby Blaise” and it worked. Also known as Daisy, Buggy, Buzzy, Baby, Blaisibeth, Blaisasaurus, Blaisy Daisy.

Did I ever mention that when Charlotte and Blaise were born, we were living in Rocky Bay on the idyllic hippie-filled ( now you can’t move for the wannabe with it crowd) isle of Waiheke…my kids went to school with children named Atreyu, Beezle and Pudding, so you know, they flew right under the weird name radar.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I have been very, very naughty...

I have tried to ignore online yarn purchasing...because I am nothing if not aware of my weaknesses...unfortunately, seeing the beautiful yarns on show at SSK this week has weakend my resolve...ok, ok,...DISSOLVED my resolve!

So I visited the woolshack (there was this Hawthorne chunky in Viola...perfect for a scarf) and elann ( cute sock yarn for the kids, and so much cheaper than home), and then noticed the variety of Noro yarns available at yarnmarket, and thought, well, while I'm at it, theres some lace weight handpainted silk I have been drooling over at ozeyarn (I bought the black range blues)

I am very ashamed of myself ( yeah right!) and should be punished ( lock me up in my knitting room)

I only meant to buy some basic machine knit yarn...oops! maybe maybe I should go back better not!However I can use the silk in the machine...nah nah nah.

I am off to redeem myself by finishing the manly vest, unfortunately the man in question has already left for Melbourne..I will post a picture and a pattern, and let you know the idiot mistakes I made, that will be good for a laugh, because, wow there were heaps!

Oh and machine knit people...go look at these sites, I love the machine knit bloggers, they are all so clever, and generous with their knowledge and talent. I would join them except I don't do enough blimmin' knitting at the moment...and I worry that "no adult content" means that I can't write words like "arse" and as a kiwi, I must have that freedom..."you stupid arse" is almost a term of endearment in my house.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Clapotis update

Clapotis update

Managed to get 20 rows done at SSK yesterday!

Friday, April 01, 2005

It's a mad world

There are moments when you wonder…is there anything else I can do to help my kids become independent well-rounded humans? How can I help them to stretch themselves, test their inner strengths, show them the boundless potential at their disposal? On the other hand, how can I protect them, keep them safe from the horrors this world is unleashing, I want my children to feel secure, I want them to enjoy the innocence of childhood, I want them to climb trees, catch buses, visit libraries by themselves…I keep reading about “cotton wool kids” that we are creating a society where children have to stay indoors for their "safety" where limits are not tested out of fear, where children are becoming obese from sitting on the couch playing nintendo...because playing stickball and chasey in the street are too dangerous...but I didn’t quite believe it…

until the marketing people respond with this…kids don’t even have to make their own blinking fairy bread anymore !!! wake up people! Will butter hurt them, do hundreds and thousands create a potential slipping hazard? Could somebody have an eye out? Better call OSH...they are sure to have a policy on the dangers inherent in childhood snacks...ditch that mousetrap ( toast with cheese and marmite), lose that toastie pie (jaffle, toasted cheese sandwich).

Are we that busy that we can’t slap some butter on bread and chuck a bit of candy at it by ourselves for crying out loud, is this what we are reduced to? instant gratification over time spent creating food with out children?? where is the slow food movement in this? there should be an uproar! fairy bread is real nostalgia stuff…and now “they” have taken all the fun …and danger out of it.

( you know I bought some, don’t you…this is a guilt rant)

what the ????

what the ????

fairy bread

fairy bread

Yeah I know it's out of focus.sue me

gratuitous koala shot

gratuitous koala shot