Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rosa Mundi

provided inspiration for this

Yarn: Knitpicks "dye your own" (gift from Cece)

Dye: Ashford's acid exhaust dyes in varying concentrations and combinations.

Painted on, cooked in the microwave, cooled and wound into balls, to be knit into socks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

return from the pavlova paradise

8 days without internet access can feel like a long time, it went quickly. I will not bore you with details, but will offer some observations:

This is "Horse" when he was a kitten I named him "Fergus", the kids changed it to Horse (from Footrot flats) there were 3 of them, I was outnumbered.I have lost the long and protracted battle with my parents to retain custody of my furchild, he will be staying with them (sniff)

Oil painting of my daughters, by artist Heidi McCulloch, hangs in my parent's formal lounge (excuse the photo)

We all take photos of our children's "firsts" and display them with pride...Holly's first grapes, I would say her first vintage...but this is all there are!

Christchurch has many wool shops, there were 3 within walking distance of my motel in Riccarton, Hands Ashford was a 2 minute drive away (loved this shop - they along with Knitworld and Masco's in Auckland sell Opal for $13.95 a ball) and I bought some wool dyes...Ballantynes in the city was a lovely experience, a wool dept. in an old fashioned department store, wonderful, friendly service. Most of the stores stocked NZ naturally, Touch and Rare Yarns (good marketing job!) I didn't buy any yarn (with the exception of 6 balls of Opal and some hot pink banana silk) but I did buy some lovely fat 1/4s from Ballantynes, kiwiana prints and some Amy Butler fabric. I also ended up with a number of knitting books, vintage patterns, a couple of old Rowan magazines, and some old knitting needles (15c a pair) so if you are in Chch, go scour your Op shops, they seriously are treasure troves, while you are at it, pick up some old jumpers and make a felted bag, or the blanket from Alterknits, I saw so many machineknit fairisles in shetland wool, but couldn't fit anything more in my suitcase.

Holls and I took in the sights - Christchurch Cathedral and a cool sculpture

wandering in the Port Hills (lunch was a toasted sandwich at The sign of the Kiwi)

Home away from home for at least the next 3 years, lucky this is only half the room, she overlooks a tree studded lawn, formal rose gardens,and an avenue of oak trees, and will likely be snowed in at least once this winter.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

back to Godzone.

if you are in Sydney at 10am, wave to my plane. I am off to NZ for 8 days, to celebrate my birthday with family, to check the state of the houses, to take Holly to Christchurch, and to catch up with my much-missed friends.

Hopefully I will get to Ashburton...the home of Ashford!

Monday, February 06, 2006


A big day today, Charlotte's first day at a "grown up" job, it's Waitangi Day (hey you kiwis!) and I am another birthday older and closer to 40. Having your birthday on your National holiday always seems like a good idea, it's not, yes you always get the day off work or school, but then again, your friends usually take off on holiday, so it is nice having my birthday on a normal day now that we are in Oz.

38 things you probably don't know about me.
I have followed Alison's lead in borrowing Lisa's birthday list. And it is funny reading other people's lists-how similar we are in some aspects

1. I am right-handed most of the time, but left-handed when I eat.
2. The first time I was ever admitted to hospital was to give birth to Holly. The second time when I went into premature labour with Charlotte.
3. Blaise was born at home.
4. The third time I was admitted to hospital it was for a tubal ligation.
5. I don't like olives, I try, but I can't.
6. I drink coffee in the morning, and Earl Grey tea the rest of the day.
7. I have an officially tested (3x) I.Q. of 154...it is wasted on me.
8. Dogs are tolerable, cats are mandatory.
9. Prefer blankets to quilts (duvets, doonas) cotton in summer, wool in winter.
10. When I was at school I wished my name was Lisa or Angela like everyone else.
11. My children think I am psychic (It's really just my Mother instincts)
12. I have never been in trouble with the law.
13. My first memory is of me telling Una from next door that if she kept putting a plastic bag over her head she would suffocate, my sister wasn't born yet, so I would have been 2.
14. I only like 2 peices of furniture in my entire house, I only love 1.
15. When I was 15 I was anorexic.
16. My second toe is longer then my big toe.
17. I hate catching the bus.
18. I have twice as many tastebuds as the average person.
19. As a child I hallucinated often when I had a fever, I still remember a lot of these hallucinations.
20. When I was 10 I bred mice and sold them to the pet shop for 30c each.
21. I was so upset when I found out that I couldn't go to Mallory Towers that I threw up.
22. My eyes change colour, from navy, through light blue to grey.
23. I can't stand bad manners.
24. I am painfully shy.
25. I would rather climb the stairs than take the lift.
26. I have been trapped in a stairwell, but never in a lift.
27. I sleep on my back with my arms above my head.
28. I am not a team player.
29. When I was 15 my step-mother told me I couldn't be a vet, (because her daughter didn't get accepted for Vet. college) I didn't tell anyone, just stopped trying because I thought she was an adult so she must be right.
30.I have raised all of our kids not to take "no" for an answer.
31. I make time to worry, I think to myself "I can't worry about that right now, I'll worry about it after dinner"
32. I came top of my year in School Cert. Biology.
33. I am so afraid of the women at the cosmetic counters in department stores that I give my husband a list of what to buy from Dior and Clinique duty-free.
34. I can't borrow books I really like, I have to buy them.
35. I am truly afraid that in 20 years time, they won't sell basics like flour anymore, and I won't be able to teach my grandchildren how to bake cookies.
36. I fidget - a lot.
37. I was smacked on my first day of school, because I couldn't sit still
38. My dream vehicle is a long wheel base LandRover Defender in black with stainless steel step-plate, and spotlights.

and thank you very much to the Flash husband for the Jordana Paige bag, I love you.

postscript (to my dear tribe - you are not late, it is my birthday right now, stop apologising!)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Dandelion clocks

is what these bootees remind me of,with their fuzzy halo. The pattern is from "Last minute knitted gifts" by Joelle Hoverson, and the yarn is Bouton D'or 100% angora, in "roseau" (sage colour) they are machine washable, however tumble drying is "forbidden". An intriguing and very quick knit, I am going to try this double knitting technique to start my next toe up socks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

(prelude to post - I went in to blogger this morning to post today's post and found that this hadn't published yesterday, so sorry, 2 posts 1 day)

Family history this has so many levels, Kath asked us to dig deep...yip yip yip

I scrubbed my ex out of this photo probably 10 years ago...so badly that he is still there! just shadows and trees. This photo was taken in my back garden in Rocky Bay Waiheke Island, 35 minutes from Auckland by ferry. This was the first house I bought, at 21, a house on a red dirt road at the top of a valley, overlooking the sea, we were surrounded by bush, it was idyllic.

This photo resonates for me, my partner was there, but not there, just like in the photo, and my Mum was, as ever, there for me and my girls. The photo was taken by a dear family friend, Father Jude from Zambia, he was in NZ as part of the Zambian Judo team management, and my Mum brought him, and the Zambian (Sports??) Minister Trywell (last name forgotten) to our island home, within a couple of years the Zambian judo team, and Trywell were dead from AIDS, so this picture brings so many more memories than those it captures.

Visiting the Dr

I have big feet, I like to think they ground me, I am a big person, to have had small feet would would have been an anachronism, tall women have big feet - fact.

When I first arrived in Sydney, I found myself leaving shoe shops shaking with anger and frustration, a typical encounter thus:

me: do you have this is a 10 or 10.5
teeny weeny bimbette sales girl: hee hee hee...no...do you want to try a 9?
me: no, thank you. (yes of course I want to squeeze my hoof into a size 9, pay you 200 bucks, hobble home and chuck them in my wardrobe never to see the light of day again, except to serve as a reminder that I have criminally huge feet and should have plastic surgery to reduce them to a size more acceptable to bimbette sales assistants...take a look at Naomi Campbell lovey...bet her feet aren't a six 6)

The worst was in Broadway where the sales assistant told me that they "actually" don't make shoes in my size ( was it my imagination or did she tack "freak" onto the end of that sentence?)

I have one pair of expensive italian leather shoes, they are ballet flats, they actually fit, they do not cause blisters or bunions, I can walk, hell, I can run in them if I have to. That I have them at all is due to the perserverance of a delightful saleswoman who made it her mission to make sure that this Cinderella had shoes for a ball, however, despite this one wonderful experience, I made a decision...for the sake of my self-esteem I no longer visit boutique shoe shops.

Of my 12 pairs of good/work/going out shoes, 6 pairs are made by Dr Marten, size 9 fits me snugly, size 10 is positive toe heaven if worn with socks or tights, they are big and clompy (there is no point pretending I have petite tootsies) and I feel safe and strong, knowing that I can kick an assailant in the arse, or run if I have to, have you ever seen a woman run for the bus in high heels, legs flailing, hands flapping like helicopter rotorblades? reminds me of when my kids played dress ups...except my kids were pre-schoolers, and these are grown women.
My Dr Marten's shoes make me happy, Dr Marten accepts my feet, he doesn't make me feel ugly, deformed or wrong. Colorado also make good casual shoes, and Camper even have high-ish heels for us "well earthed" gals.

Speaking of which, and getting to the point, I visited my favourite shoe dealer, and had to buy these:

yummy, chunky, higher than average Docs, and comfy.

And although I doubt that I will ever wear this combination together again...here we have the Opal Petticoat socks, finished, with my new shoes. (note re Opal Pettiocat socks, these are my vanilla sock recipe, but knitted at the same time on 2 sets of dpns, as mentioned previously, anyway, this is a new sock record for me, they took me 6 days! 6 days of not feeling like I was knitting socks any more than usual, I will try 2 socks on 2 circs next, but if it isn't me, I will continue knitting them this way)

roll on winter!