Monday, December 31, 2007

dress ups

Lime and Violet is one of my favourite knitting podcasts - it's the one I can have playing when Blaise is upstairs with me, because she doesn't find it boring, Flash often thinks I have friends over - only to come up and find me completely alone, but laughing out loud.
Today the Fairytale dress is featured on their blog - all due to the power of Ravelry.
I posted the Fairytale dress pattern for free because it was so easy, and the pattern is only in one size, and probably not the clearest, so I don't feel I have done enough work to actually receive payment (let's not try headshrinking me here please!)and now it seems to have taken on a life of it's own.
Go forth and have fun little dress.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fairytale dress pattern

looks good with or without the over the top decorative elements
I still haven't managed to get a photo of Miss Belle in it though!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the day after

I think my family are starting to realise that knitting themed gifts will be gratefully accepted and appreciated, and although the husband doesn't quite get it yet, I am looking forward to a knitting marathon enjoying the 6 disc set of "Bones" though.

This book is the "piece de resistance" a hardcover bound book containing many many vintage knitting pamphlets and magazine spanning the 1920's to the 1970's, when my Mama told me that she had found me the perfect gift I must say I had some doubts, now I just have faith!

and this delightful print from Suzette M Morgan is going up on the wall of fame - just as soon as the crowds clear and I can get to the picture framer.

I hope everyone had the kind of Christmas they wanted, and no matter what anyone says - on Boxing Day cheesecake IS a breakfast food!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

teenage girls laughing while making French toast for a surprise Christmas breakfast,good naturedly arguing over who gave Mummy the best present, cathedral cookies and speculaas wrapped up for friends, looking forward to lunch with the extended family for the first time in 4 years.
Merry Christmas my bloggy friends, from me and mine - to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

yeah, so about those monet socks...

once upon a time I had a wonderful idea

the idea was that I would knit a length of fabric using 2 ends of yarn ensuring that the gauge is the same as my sock knitting gauge, paint a picture on it using woool dyes, unravel it into 2 centre pull balls, and then knit 2 identical socks with the image I had painted reproduced on the socks. I chose one of Monet's Nymphaea as they had the diaphanous quality I knew I would get using dye, and I loved the colours.

Matching those colours was a problem, but I adapted, the swatch once painted, was cooked in the microwave in a plastic steamer for 10 minutes.

Does anyone see the problem yet? no? I didn't.

unravelling the skein into 2 balls was a challenge, but Blaise and I each wrangled an end and with the help of two ballwinders we managed to subdue the yarn.

So, it seems - if you knit something in the flat, can't then go on and knit in the round... and expect it to look the same...duh!

I knitted 1/2 a sock while in Paris, just to feel I had - and the colours are very lovely, very Monet - just not very anything at all like a painting!

That sock is now unravelled, and the balls are waiting, waiting to be incorporated into a flat price of knitting in order to reveal their true nature. I am certain the right project will come along eventually.

No time to get bogged down with that now, there is still Christmas knitting to complete:

this watchcap for my uncle

a pattern for the Liam (wolf in sheeps clothing) sweater to finish


Horatio is finished, as is the pattern

Monday, December 17, 2007


Holly turned 21 yesterday, surrounded by the Auckland contingent of our family I felt very content and happy, we have got this girl to a point where she has a wonderful career ahead, where she is smart, funny and friendly, outgoing and optimistic about the future. It felt good to officially mark the day when my child became an adult - and as the other girls told me (often) "you don't look to bad for someone with a 21 year old daughter" thanks guys.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday round up

a round up of 'things to do" really, I am taking next week off work to get some Hollytime in, and have planned a number of projects - some previously listed, curtains, laundry hamper, tiered skirts for Miss M Belle, stained glass window cookies, speculaas, candy cane cupcakes, cheesecake...and a good amount of lying around on the pool lounger.

The tattoo sweater is coming along nicely - and has been renamed "Horatio" the sleeves will be blue/white stripes, currently I am working on the boring part of the back, and I can't wait to see it finished!

and I have just finished this wee sweetie, my first crochet project!!! I have crocheted edges before, but never whole "things" so excuse my excitement, I love this book (bought from the very, very missed Kinokuniya) so much, even though it is in Japanese even a complete newbie like me could work out how to do an amagarumi cast on etc. Now I just have to decide who to give her too...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I feel the need to admit a button compulsion, those in the photo above are from the grab bags Mum bought from Trelise Cooper's workshop sale...3 of them would have paid for the bags themselves, individually all of the 100's of buttons are beautiful, these are (almost) all made from either wood, metal, ceramic, stone or bone.
I usually only use mother of pearl or black mussel buttons on my baby clothes - so had better start getting creative with my own clothes - the best trick I know for "upmarketing" cheap black and grey cardis is to replace the buttons with beautiful ones, or a range of different buttons in the same size.
I have a week off work next week - Holly has the good grace to turn 21 (TWENTY ONE!!) on sunday and is coming home for 10 days, and Flash might actually take some time off as well, I am making a list of "things to do" - Blaise's curtains which I still haven't got to, a new (removable) bag for the laundry hamper (the current one is calico, not removable and hence has turned mouldy in Auckland's 99% humidity) and a couple of tiered skirts for Maisie's christmas present. I can't wait to have time with my girls - all making things in my workroom...bliss.
(and in reply to Miss Donyale's question yesterday...yes I did take the time to spray on perfume, it too is a compulsion - an unconcious act! and what I didn't tell you is that I took 10 seconds to wack on some lipgloss as well...)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The adventures of Flash part 6

dateline 6.10 am: this morning :Flash's car.

Flash drove through the early morning mists of the Waitakere ranges, bound for the domestic terminal and the 7.30 am flight to Wellington - nerves high as he thought through his day, meetings with members of Parliament, television interviews and PR opportunities filled the day to bursting, everything was scheduled to the minute, nothing could go wrong, today was the kind of day careers are built on and reputations made.
Flash thrust his broad shoulders back and breathed deeply, a broad smile languished on his lips, today was the day he was born for, today he would show them all how it was done.

cross to Jussi: 6.20 am: our bedroom

"why is Flash's phone here?, he never leaves his phone, won't he need his phone today of all days?"
Check's his itinerary
Throws on yesterday's work clothes, brushes hair and teeth at the same time, sprays perfume all over, grabs bag and runs for the car, goes a wee bit too fast sometimes knowing that if she doesn't hit Hillsborough rd soon the motorway will be a carpark.
Call's Flash's boss - her phone is turned off
Turns into the domestic terminal carpark (I'm not a complete idiot) parks across 3 parks and dashes into the terminal.
Tries the information desk - elderly gentleman volunteer absolutely no help, he is Mr Magoo...I need MacGyver.
Tries the Koru club desk, no one there, it's 10 minutes till the plane leaves, I can feel myself starting to get crazy eyes.
Tries the counter staff - directed back to Koru club counter, finally grabs a man walking past - he has a security pass - that's all I care about, luckily he takes one look at the crazy eyes, the handful of phone and charger and stops to help - looks Flash up on the system, "this seat, this row, I'll take it to him now"

at 9.30 am the phonecall comes -
"You're a legend"

Yes, yes I am.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday round up

I came out of the shower this morning to a still unmade bed...Flash is usually so fastidious about these things, but he is a bit of a sook* when it comes to this guy...

after removing the cat to his own bed, I went to clear our postbox - where I found the copy of Alice Starmore's Celtic collection that I purchased on ebay a few weeks ago, I can't wait to sit down with a coffee and dream over it. However, dreaming has to wait, as there is knitting and pattern writing to be done - Ravelry has changed my life in many good ways - one of these is the Testing Pool...a group of knitters who will test knit patterns!! I asked for help and they swamped me with kindness, I've had to start an excel spreadsheet to keep up with who is knitting what - it is fantastic, I'm not asking for the garments - just feedback and improvements (I have told them though that I am in NZ - so everything is metric and NZ English spelling!)

Some of them are knitting my Organic merino hoodie and pants set (not necessarily in organic or merino!) and next out will be the Liam pattern with cotton pants, and a cute intarsia tattoo sweater.

Unfortunately it hasn't all been raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens around here lately, remember babies grow into teenagers, and teenagers are basically hormone transportation devices, we've had our moments with Charlotte in the past but currently it is Maria who is testing the boundaries of parental sanity, she is 18, and now that school has finished and exams are over Flash and I have had the "if you want to act like an adult you have to behave like an adult" lecture - if you want to live with your boyfriend, live with your boyfriend...stop sneaking out every night, get a job and stop expecting pocket money, yes we will help you out if you study animal sciences at University - no we won't help you out if enrol for a 6 hr a week animal care course at Polytech, have some respect for your Dad and yes, we found that tequila you were hiding in your toybox.

But, for now the house is quiet, Blaise has been away for a week, staying with friends on an island and will be away for another week yet ( with her delightful friends, boy and girls - but worry not, just think Famous Five, they are writing plays, reading for hours and drinking lashings of kiwifruit flavoured fizzy water (sorry no ginger beer)) I must finish the tattoo sweater and start on Blaise's new curtains - the dark green Ikea fabric I bought prior to leaving Sydney, sew buttons onto Flash's shirt, and play with the fake eyelashes I bought for tomorrow...and tomorrow involves partying with some of these people and will be post of it's own.


Trelise Cooper workroom sale on in Lyon Street Newmarket today and tomorrow - Mum bought me buttons, I love her.

Knit Rangers last meetup for the year (last meetup for a whole month!) this sunday at the Packing Shed, 2pm. I'll come dressed up as a hangover.

* sook: (rhymes with "took")kindly description of someone who is being silly, or behaving like a softy or scaredy cat. As in:- "you're being a sook"... "just a big sook" and so on... More often than not the phrase is used as a term of endearment.

Monday, December 03, 2007

80's revival

a wee while ago Mel graced the KnitRangers with her presence, and admonished me to visit Patricia Roberts' store whilst in London, being the knitting maven that she is I realised that this was advice worthy of following and I duly added the address to my list, noting that the shop was only a 45 minute stroll from the hotel, unfortunately when we arrived in London we were pretty unwell and moseyed around like zombies most of the time. Flash was much more poorly than I and I wasn't up to dragging him to yet another yarn store/ clothing shop (Liberty was a happy accident...really!) I was disappointed, but since I had just had a luxurious trip to France I couldn't complain.

While browsing on Trademe recently (I'm a bit scared to tell the Aussies that they can join up) I found one of Patricia's books, the blurb went like this:

"These knitting patterns are certainly different. Bright and colourful, wonderful designs, all patterns included in this large book. 232 pages.Knits for children, women and men. The dust jacket has some staining, also some pages, at the top. Does not detract from this book though. A very experienced knitter would have fun with the patterns"

so it arrived today, and I am very impressed - I have a bit of a collection of 80's knitting books, and most of them are pretty scarey, this book does have some wild moments - but I expect Patricia was working with the trends in some cases for example:

but then there are many exquisite and very wearable items such as these:

Flash told me he wants a cardi (not a grandpa cardi...whatever that is) and I could see him in this vest and cardigan combo, however I love the blue one...and I could never wear matchy matchy with my husband.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday round up

well - there's only one momentous happening on my mind today
go and congratulate Lara and Mark on the arrival of their beautiful baby boy
Welcome Inigo - may your life be filled with wonder and joy!
and while I usually only knit my own designs these days I think Inigo's parents would appreciate this, so it is next on the list.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday round up

Roses in progess

another beautiful day? fingers crossed for the weekend to remain the same.
Problem: fledgling birds falling out of nests all over the back yard - parent birds screeching, cats fascinated - these things don't run away, and our bells don't scare them away...luckily there haven't been any casualties, yet - now the cats are locked inside with a litter tray, the laundry door is kept closed because Frasier (aka Houdini) has learnt to undo the catches on this side of the cat door, and then bash the door over and over until it flips up a little, he then hooks his paw under and lifts the cat door so that he can escape, he then undoes the catches on the outside so that Layla can get out too...scarey.
I'm out in the garden every time I hear a screeching parent bird, and using an old towel to pop the babies back into the branches. I'm also making a note in my calender to book the cats into the cattery for a visit this time next year!
Knit Rangers this weekend - yay! I am loving this group!! Come and join us - see the blog for details.
The denim pants are 1/2 finished (jeepers must go load them on ravelry) I'm using the machine knit pattern of my own design, but adapting it for handknitting. I can't wait to see them teamed up with the sweater, then I suppose I'll have to make bootees and a hat...and then there are 3 more babies to knit for (so far)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The one where he is in trouble - again...

I came home to find Frasier burrowing through Charlotte's clean laundry...I won't tell her if you won't.

I have just finished the "Liam" sweater and am so pleased with it, I love garter st on babies, and learnt a lot while making Inigo's jacket of many colours - mostly that I had to trust my swatch, and not freak out if the garment was looking a bit bigger than I had expected.

This sweater is for a friend's baby-to-be, I'm knitting some denim pants to go with it, and the patterns for both will be available when they are finished.

I was thinking of calling it the "one black sheep" sweater, but the black sheep is looking more and more wolf-like...maybe I should have called it "wolf in sheeps clothing"!

Monday, November 19, 2007

On a good day

We had a great weekend (though I would rather have been here) - go wish Ailsa a happy birthday - she's right, 40 IS the new 30 and what's even better is that 4 of our 6 kids are almost financially independent, and all 6 are personally independent, Flash and I are almost free to come and go on a whim - and we're still young enough to enjoy it!
The weekend passed thus: SUN, Auckland is magnificent in the sun, everything is green and bursting with life, kids were charging up and down the road on go-karts and peals of laughter came from the reserve over the road where they swung on rope swings and splashed each other in the creek, I played in my vegie garden (which is SO the new black, everybody who is anybody seems to be growing vegies this season!) and made plans for a new plot, I'm trying to get rid of as much lawn as possible, and there is nothing like having fresh herbs to hand when you need them (the catnip gets a fair bash too) we are currently eating rainbow chard (ok silverbeet!) baby beetroot, radishes, spinach, strawberries and a huge variety of herbs and they are all organic - makes me feel like such a good Mum! Frasier and Layla frolicked around me, and the neighbours chihuahuas made a break for freedom and joined us as well (too cute). Flash cleaned the pool and did other man-type stuff (barbeque-ing and cork popping mostly) there was a lot of lazing in the sun, lazing in the spa and relaxing, and for once he didn't even touch his emails or other work stuff, just enjoyed the peace and drove the car up and down the newly finished driveway - just because he could.
Saturday evening we went to the netball champs finals with my parents - who deserted us and went off to the VIP stand (if you see my photo in the Leader I was laughing at a joke and they took my photo - I must look like a maniac!) I'm so much better at being in a sports crowd due the experiences in Paris, and we had a great time - Australia won, and they deserved to, frankly because they wanted it more. I'm never going to be into sports, but at least I can go and not freak out inside when I'm surrounded by big,scary, yelling people - wearing tinsel and waving giant foam hands.
Yesterday entailed more relaxing, and some knitting - things are getting finished finally, but I'm not making any Christmas knitting promises that I can't keep - I am tempted to knit some wee dog sweaters for thos puppies from next door though!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday round up

back to normality

this is my driveway - actually, no this was my driveway this morning - since then it has rained a lot (you know Auckland's weather forecast "it's raining", "it's about to rain", "it has just stopped raining") so now the driveway is a puddle. Hopefully they will be able to concrete tomorrow.
why did we get the driveway diggen up?(that's a Blaise word invented 14 years ago and still used) so the man can get the beast up the driveway without first having to bury it in mud.
Knitting news: there is knitting, and unfortunately - due to ravelry, I keep forgetting to tell you about it. Currently I am knitting more preemie hats with Debbie Bliss cashmerino (one of the best baby yarns ever), a baby sweater using my favourite "fantarsia" technique (where you strand the yarn across the motif, but have seperate bobbins for each motif) using Dale baby ull (another wonderful baby yarn) which I will have photos of and a pattern for soooooon.
Found this via Lara, the highest I have managed so far is 46. This is a useful waste of time!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hanging with my homie

Mornings I am patted on the face until I wake up
Sleeptime is from 9.30 until 2.30...corresponding with my work hours
talking is constant
I cannot move without being followed
Knitting is now ignored so long as he can sit in my lap while I do it
if I am out of sight - screaming ensues
has trained Flash to give him treats every night when he returns from work, and knows the sound of his car
no, we haven't adopted a toddler - Frasier turns 1 today
and no, there were no presents, extra treats or catfood cakes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the design process...yeah

people often ask me about the design I have tried to come up with an answer that someone who doesn't knit will understand...but trying to condense it for small talk is difficult. How do I say "well, first I procrastinate A LOT, I leave piles of yarn on my cutting table and walk past it often, rearrange it, knit little swatches, leave them, play with them, tidy them up, pull out my notebook and actively try to pair up yarns and drawings, swatch again, then wing it" without sounding like a moron - you must have a defined process, but I haven't, I think of things I try them, they work or they don't work but they give me more ideas, and then some of those is an amorphous, inclusive, organic process if anything.
So I say "I start with an idea of a garment, then I look over my yarn swatches, then I write the pattern and test knit it, correcting the pattern and idea along the way"
And the pattern writing, I am terrible, don't get me started on how irresponsible I am in my pattern writing, I start with the measurements and gauge, and then scribble as I go, and then I have to decipher my scrawlings and sometimes re-knit to figure out how I did something - madness, why can't I just write methodically, and why the hell are my pattern notebooks full of phone numbers, addresses and memos?
(short vent post due to excess of social occasions with strangers)
YARN magazine - you already know, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a white knight will appear to save it. Most importantly I want Barb to know that she suceeded beyond our combined hopes and should be immensely proud of her accomplishment.
New wrap cardis are up in my Etsy shop, these are knit from cloud-soft merino and are too cute.
(picture: new design "Liam" sweater in process)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday round up

Finally a friday roundup because my brain has officially returned from France.
Don't forget Knit Rangers this sunday!

I love my knitting room/workroom/studio, I'm lucky that I have a lot of space for all of my knitting/machine knitting/business paraphenalia (and what a lot of "paraphenalia" there is) but I can never get it to a point where I am completely happy with the storage situation. The Ikea bookshelves are full (Ikea still haven't opened their promised Auckland store - and I don't like any of the alternatives) I have realised that although I like boxes - they are not for me, I can never find things when I want them, or I forgot I had them and later on find them and say " damn that would have looked amazing on that dress" and then forget about them again...I have yarn in a wooden chest, in a restored giant suitcase (with great wooden framing on the outside and brass hinges) in the cupboards below the shelves, in boxes under the sewing machine...fabric in piles on a shelving unit, and in 3 bags under my cutting table...oh and 2 plastic boxes of fabric and yarn under the stairs...

Anyway...I've won a battle (but not the war...)

All of my "good" buttons have been placed in plastic bags and pinned to a noticeboard, as have all of my braids, ribbons and tapes, and the bits and peices I use to make buttons and fastenings, now they are on display, readily available and inspiring. It seems to be working, and is handy - I buy buttons and pin them up straight away, instead of finding them in my handbag 2 weeks later!

The rest of my buttons are in jars based on colour, and I still have a box of lace and zippers, but at least the critical things are there where I can see them. I had considered Martha Stewart's ribbon box (there is a similar one available at Spotlight - I know, wash my mouth out with soap) but not her storage rack - a wee bit OTT I'm afaid, and I just know the Bunnings man would be laughing at me, so I'll stick with my bag system for the present.

Does anyone else have a storage strategy for dealing with the "little bit's"?

Speaking of Spotlight (and I try not to) I did spot some Lion Brand magic stripes sock yarn while I was in there with Blaise (she was trying to decide between transparent glittery knitting needles and needles with bunnies on the ends... we bought the glittery ones because the bunny ones were too short) it didn't cost much, so I bought some for the novelty value, we don't usually get Lion brand in NZ and it is iconic!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Designer shopping

There's nothing this girl likes more than having a spend up at Trelise Cooper or Liz Mitchell, their shapes fit me and make me feel good, their fabrics are always exciting and the styles intriguing and the cut always fabulous.
However - with multiple children in the "expensive" years, multiple houses, a part time job, and a business which pays for itself (apparently this is a positive) I am more likely to be haunting Hartley's sales than shopping in Ponsonby Rd.

Today though I managed to buy a colourful delight from Trelise and a little black number from Liz daaaaarling.

That's right - the designers are doing their bit for cat charities in New Zealand - that's $10.00 per bowl to help felines in distress, and they chuck in some free fancy feast too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We were away almost 3 weeks.
The herb garden has undergone a re-birth, dormant plants are out of hiding and flowering, blueberries are fruiting, the sycamore is no longer skeletal but covered in green finery hiding the neighbours.
3 weeks of non-stop action, movement, busi-ness. Up at 7 for breakfast, into the coach by 9, a couple of hours free time in the afternoon,dinners in amazing places, bed hopefully by 1 am (except for the occasional self induced 4 am -er)
Singapore for 2 days together before the event, nothing to report, just together time enjoying the warmth, walking and talking.
Paris - everything I expected and more -
- on the taxi ride in from the airport we did a circle of the Arc de Triomphe, at rush hour - adrenalin!
- Sephora - right next door to our hotel on the Champs Elysees, girly heaven
- walking, upwards of 10k a day with Flash, just experiencing the city
- La Droguerie - I went, I figured out the system, I bought!
(Alison, you inspired me, I HAD to buy there just to say that I had done it...for both of us!)
- Bon Marche droguerie - I went, I figured out the system, I bought!
not much, 3 balls of silk garden lite in a hitherto unseen colourway, 4 balls of Bouton D'or "Songe", some regia in a kaffe Fassett colourway, loads of buttons and braids.
- Celebrity spotting in our hotel
- Macaroons at LaDuree
- lunch in a bistro in St Germain, next to a little old woman who from time to time squeezed my arm and smiled at me.
- making friends with the most unlikely people in our group.
- 28 thousand kiwis in Paris, and they LOVED us!
- the mexican wave that did 5 circuits of the stadium during the Pumas game - awesome.
The Loire Valley:
- staying in a 16th century chateau, situated on 100 acres
- wandering the oak forests by myself, going off the path to take photos - which I ceased doing after an adder was found in a third floor room...
- the bike ride to Luyns
- wine and cheese matching at Vouvray, buying special presents which I can't discuss yet.
- Petanque lessons with a team, lots of laughter, lots of wine, and I found out that I am a champion "smasher"
- Dinners at beautiful medeival places that i thought would end horribly - and discovering that our hosts thought that we were wonderful, spirited and gave the places "ambience"
London, didn't go as well as we had hoped due to the fact that we were ill, but we walked and caught buses and tubes, and saw everything you need to see - thanks for the list Alison, Paperchase was amazing, Marylebone rd took us an afternoon! and I bought a weekender bag from Cath Kidston as my birthday present from my parents.No yarn shops except Liberty.
Singapore, we needed the break - went on the Night Safari, a bit cheesy, but still entertaining, shopping for the kids (loved the DC comics store) I finally had my eyebrows done professionally (that is a definite improvement)

Home - where the girls had filled our bedroom with 300 balloons!

(when somebody tells me they have a surprise for me, the first picture in my head is a room full of balloons...always has been since I can remember...I told Blaise ages ago, and obviously she remembered)

Frasier is still having fun stalking and "killing" the balloons.
All in all...when you live in NZ or Australia the world feels like a big place, there is lots of space...but everywhere else was full of people, lots of people buying lots of stuff, lots of rubbish, lots of cars and pollution. I loved visiting, and look forward to doing it again, but there is no place like home. I still have to download the photos from Flash's laptop, but until there here is me at La Droguerie.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

oops we did it again

I have to be quick, am late for breakfast, we're in London - alone at last, spent yesterday looking around - we both have a ghastly headcold (we were the last of the group to succumb) so we can't walk too much or concentrate, but we had to get out and see the sights. I had to show Flash Piccadilly circus and Trafalgar square, and of course I visited Liberty - wow! and Mary gets to go to knitting group there!!! I bought some Regia bamboo sock yarn - restrained aren't I?

I thouroughly enjoyed our time in the Loire Valley, and our last days in Paris were exciting, I don't have time to write more now, but we'll be home in a few more days

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Light the bar!

Sunday night's rugby game was vastly different to saturday's, the atmosphere was amazing, and the game was faster (not quite so much kicking) and of course many of us backed the Pumas for the night - and became quasi Argentinians...
(my children can stop reading about now)
Around the corner from the Marriott is a bar, and working on that bar was a blonde german waitress who happened to be mad as a snake, combine that with kiwis on holiday, lighter fluid and tequila slammers and you have the makings of a memorable evening, somehow I found myself (yes...ME!!) salsa dancing with a yummy Latin American man, while another woman in our party was taking dancing lessons from a Mexican woman, and our husbands were all agog at the spectacle (which included a couple getting very intimate in the booth next to us) the mad waitress lit the bar on fire regularly, and when we asked for the whole bar to be lit - the bar staff quickly agreed - that woman was a pyromaniac! It was a great evening, or should I say around 3.30 am I led the conga line out of the pub and into the night. It was wonderful to be able to let our hair down, these events can be quite stressful - and this was a great stress relief.

Now we are in the Loire valley, we travelled here yesterday via the Fast Train (I could get used to this first class travel and accommodation) we had a quiet day that the chateau recovering, and we spent this morning on a bicycle tour of the local area - the gardens, farms ruins and houses are so different from home, it is spectacular countryside, and lot's of little things I remember from the short few years of my childhood in England - tiny snails, open forestland...stunning. Holly you must come and work here for a vintage!

there are more photos on Flickr (search Just Jussi) my apologies I am working on Flash's laptop - no photo editing.

Also to my girls - my emails do not seem to be going through, talk soon, love you.

Monday, October 15, 2007


although I have the ability to blog - I do not seem to have the time to blog, we have been so busy trying to see as much as we can of this amazing town.

I did manage to negotiate la Droguerie and have come away with an array of beautiful buttons, braids and some lovely Bouton D'Or Songe yarn, enough for a ruffley scarf or similar. I also bought some Silk garden light in a colourway I had not seen before and am looking forward to knitting something...I know not what.
Soon we are off to the second semi...Sth Africa vs Argentina...go the Pumas! I'm not a rugby fan at the best of times, so the absence of NZ is keenly felt, the number of people in black at the stadium is outstanding - there are 28,000 kiwis in Paris apparently!
We are overwhelmed with culture and history, fashion, food and wine and are enjoying it immensely, Kenzo has received a lot of my attention, and some investment shopping may have to occur...anyway I leave you with a photo, and to my darling children - I will be home all too soon nagging you to finish your homework - Blaise, the caramels with sea salt have been purchased - fret not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

gah! I can blog.

In Singapore, and discovered that I can blog using Flash's laptop
hope the pic works - next stop Paris!

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's bon nuit from me, and it's bon what? from him...

Mother duck and ducklets in my garden - for Lara...who knows that while I am often late, I never ever forget.Our big boy who went to the cattery for the first time today

and the Monet yarn...that will be a story to tell on my return...

So, we're off in the morning...I'll be back with tales of castles and Cath Kidston, palaces and Patricia Roberts, yarn, art, museums and history, until then sayonara, see you and good night!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday round up

Blaise is home, safe,well and happy, and aware at the tender age of 16...that you can never "go back" you can visit, you can move back to the old neighbourhood...but things will never be the same, so you keep going, you make new friendships with old friends, you keep in touch, you lose your way, nostalgia is nice, but in the moment is the only place to live. Hard lessons, but better learnt early.

My good shopper brought me all I asked for and more, having explained her Mother's pining for that ephemeral "scent of Pentimento" the Pentimento man went to the back of the shop and returned with a small glass my studio is redolent with the scent of sweet cinnamon, and I am happy, smell being that most primal of the senses.

The past few days have been crazy, we have had to purchase a new car, as our babysitter only has a restricted drivers licence, so the rental companies won't let her drive their cars - the girls are happy, they know that they will soon have a car to call their own! (there goes half the spending money...) extra hours at work to prepare for 3 weeks away, timeout with Blaise last night as we saw a performance of "The money conversation" for thought...(I gave it back -there wasn't any alternative)

I have been experimenting with a new dyeing method, the results are not what I wanted, but are interesting nonetheless...more will be revealed when I return.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday round up

This has gone

These have gone

3 of these are finished and going

I have a weekend of baby pants, singlets and preemie hats ahead

then a week of work

then a weekend of frantic packing and procuring

then Paris

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Blaise managed to have all her stuff together - and left early Saturday morning, neither of us cried - but I did take a photo for her baby book...I think it will be poignant as the last one, waving her passport at me from the immigration gate because she is pretty much grown up now. I'll still keep taking photos of her(of course!)

Saturday night we went to a rugby match - not my choice for an evening out, but it was great - we had the corporate box to ourselves and invited my parents, my sister, her husband and kids. Anyone who knows me knows that my sister and I have not talked much in the past 5 years, so it was nice to be able to spend an evening all together.

My new best friend and I had a great time outside watching the game, she is two, and didn't understand what was going on...just that there was a ball, lot's of man's and lot's of mans needing a plaster (bandaid) and a kiss...which pretty much sums up everything I know about the game too.There was lot's of dancing standing on Aunty Jus's lap, high fives whenever the crowd roared, waving and saying"hi" to the camera man (it was a small crowd - she ended up on TV numerous times) and trying to remove all of my jewellery (pretty...) my nephew is seven and had a brilliant time eating chippies and watching the game, I'm really happy that Flash organised it and made me go - even if it was rugby.
Sunday morning dawned warm and sunny - for me anyway...Flash was hungover!
I caught the ferry to Devonport and met Libby, Sarah and Edwina (sadly blogless) at Wild and Woolly which is the best allround yarn store in Auckland, we then retired for coffee (I didn't buy anything except buttons - which I need for an order - I feel very virtuous!)it was wonderful to meet Libby - whom Sarah and I have been talking to on Ravelry, I love the knitternet!
(and yes I ordered my Ravelry shirt...and some pins)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday round up

Before she goes here...I have a list...the orange plastic spoons from T2 ( they're handy ok?) Green and Blacks with caramel and seasalt, the scent of Pentimento...(she offered to go in with a jar and capture some air!) did you guess?...Blaise is off to Sydney for a week.

As a gift to the friend she is staying with, Blaise is knitting a scarf...but in true Turner tradition it's just not that simple.
First buy your yarn....cream Naturally felted lambswool
skein it and soak it
then paint it with a variety of purples (your best friend's favourite colour)
cook it, wash it, dry it, re-ball it...then knit it!

Some Knit Rangers are meeting up with KiwiChick this sunday morning at 10.30 outside Wild and Woolly, we'll have tea and cake and talk knitting, join us if you can!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday round up

Apparently Kate McCann's diary has been leaked to Portuguese "journalists", they have reported that she made entries like " looking after Madeline and the twins is exhausting" and "Jerry doesn't pull his weight with the chores" - damning stuff, obviously she did it, lock her up and throw away the key.
And while you are it you might as well lock up every other wife and mother.

Last night we had an enjoyable and entertaining dinner at my parent's house, my step-father is originally from Bray in Ireland, and in his position has forged firm sister city ties between our city and Galway, which led to Ursula Rani Sarma coming over for our annual literature festival "Going West", my parents rightly thought that our writer-in-residence Blaise would enjoy meeting Ursula, she definitely has a new mentor and friend, and we all had a wonderful evening - nice to stretch the brain and engage in thought-provoking conversation.

I discovered yesterday that I do indeed still have a job at least until early next year, my manager came to me to work out a time to do my annual review - I told her that my contract ends at the end of September and she laughed, and told me my review will be early October, that's a relief - I'm actually enjoying it.

Culture comes out West!! just kidding, there is plenty of culture out here, I discovered a tiny gelato and italian soda shop on the main street of Henderson yesterday, and when I decide I am allowed to eat sugar again I will be straight in there!

I had a cathartic experience at the hairdressers yesterday - not a common comment huh!
I have not had my hair cut since we came home, to cut a long story short the hairdresser asked why not - and I realised that it was a reaction to coming home to Auckland, that I was unhappy on the inside and it was showing on the outside, now I have grownup hair, and I've lost 5 kilos in the past couple of weeks - I'm feeling happier about everything and it is starting to show.

Knitting - work on my secret projects has been suspended while I make up orders for 2 shops (yay!) but I am really happy with how one of them has turned out - and just have the sewing up and weaving of ends to do, which I will probably do at Knit Rangers on sunday,all will be revealed soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

it's over

The Hourglass sweater....she is done.
excuse the 80's ensuite - but Frasier was in the shot and I couldn't resist
cos I loves him
stats: 12 skeins of Noro Cash iroha (beautiful yarn even if it is a single)
perfect when I tried it on prior to blocking, after blocking the sleeves are perfect for a gorilla, and the neck is most definitely flashdance, I was reminded of the Yarn Harlot's story of the sweaters that grew. I will shorten the sleeves with surgery, the neck is not so bad that I can't wear it, and my collarbones are one of my favourite features - so the neckline can remain. The cosiness of this yarn is beyond belief - no itch on my itchy-scratchy skin, heaven!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday round up -really!

ok so it's saturday - but I wrote this last night - so it's fair!

- the movie "Pan's Labyrinth" - watch it, set during the Spanish civil war, (and in spanish - but with great subtitles) it is the story of Ofelia a young girl placed in a horrific situation whose imagination takes over to protect her from reality. It is not a happy story, and there are some gruesomely violent scenes, but it is beautiful to watch the magic lift this child above the horror.

- I have finally - wait for it....finally finished the blue blob, it is now officially an Hourglass sweater, however it is still damp after blocking for 2 days now, and I am scared to pick it up...but there will be photos as soon as I can put it on.

- flushed with the success of the Hourglass sweater I immediately cast on for a Droplet hat from Nora Gaughn's "Knitting nature" with the remainder of the Noro cash iroha I used for the sweater, the next day Blaise had a cute new hat(above). I enjoyed this knit, it went quickly and the pattern was interesting enough to keep me amused, and easy enough to be TV knitting.

- apart from that slight deviation, Ravelry has been great for keeping me honest and on track with my projects, last night I worked away at the secret knitting which is now at the top of my projects list, this is a first for me, I am so easily distracted that it is nice to have such a tool to keep me focused.
I'm off to pick Flash up from the airport - another week away from home...hmm maybe that's how come I got to finish so much knitting!

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I have chosen a sock yarn for the journey - Colinette jitterbug in the "Monet" colourway - I shall definitely be taking it to visit Monet's Nymphea at the Musee D'orangerie - probably no photos though...unless I can get Flash to kinnear one with his phone.

We have found a lovely young woman who is willing to live with our teenage daughters for almost 3 weeks, she has a degree in Psychology, but we haven't told them that yet!

I know that I have readers in Paris - I will be staying at the Marriott Champs Elysees,arriving on thursday 11 October, we have friday until 5pm, saturday afternoon and sunday until about 5 free of commitments, we then have the following friday and sunday afternoons free-ish. I would love to attend a knitting group for an hour or so, so if there are any on in the City during these times please let me know, or if anyone lives nearby and wants to meet up for a coffee- email is

As you can see, I have finally received my itinerary:
we leave NZ 10/10 for Singapore, 24 hour stopover (just long enough to grab some Chili crab!) and arrive in Paris 11/10 - where we have a day and a half alone (yay - this is when I will be BonMarche and La Droguerie shopping) before we meet up with the rest of the group on friday at 5pm.
Saturday morning we have a 2cv tour of various sights, and can be dropped wherever we like, we get to spend this afternoon doing whatever we want to before we meet back at the hotel to go to the rugby semi-final.

Sunday is at our leisure until the rugby again

Monday we depart for the Loire valley - via TGV - we will be staying at the Domaine De Beauvois and will spend this day wandering Tours.

Tuesday bicycle ride to "discover a variety of landscapes" and picnic lunch, and dinner at Le Moulin Fleuri.

Wednesday visit to Amboise, which I am looking forward to immensely.

Thursday visit to Chenonceau (picture above)which I am looking forward to even more than the Amboise, a bit of wine and cheese tasting, then a medieval dinner at Le Clos Luce - Da Vinci's last home before his death.

Friday back to Paris - free for the day, and then "a romantic dinner cruise" apparently it will be "tables for two" unfortunately knowing this lot they will push them all together and dance on them...

Saturday - the Louvre, and then more freedom before the Rugby final.

Sunday - it's over - utter freedom to go wherever we like! at 6pm we take the Eurostar to London

Monday - wander London (yes we have plans for all of our wanderings)

Tueday - blat down to Gloucestershire to visit the house I was born in, and the cemetary where my Grandfather lies - the rest of the family have been and planted NZ native flaxes and hebes, now it is my turn.

Wednesday more sightseeing and shopping in London, then back to Singapore for a break- this time we have time for shopping, the Night safari and more chilli crab (and the bucket curries that Flash was too frightened to eat on the way there in case he spent the holiday in the bathroom! - he'll take his chances on the way home)

Friday - home, and sleep.