Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yarn Pr0n

I have put a bit of handpainted yarn up for sale on my "Specials" page, we'll see how it goes, I may make it a regular event.
The yarn is a superwash NZ merino wool, it has been dyed with standard acid dye, and can be machine washed on a wool setting (preferably alone - just in case some dye residue escapes) It is a light DK/sport weight knitting up at 24 sts x 32 rows over 10cm on 3.5mm needles. The skeins are 50g each, let me know if you want a skein or centre pull ball.

$10.00 NZ each plus postage

Monday, May 28, 2007


I've been busy lately - I'm not complaining, busy means working and working means money and money means that we can get our Waihi house back to being a holiday home by Christmas, it means spending (ok - yarn) money for France. Every day for the past 3 weeks I have either had an order to fill (which comes first) or have been knitting for the market,I had designated saturday as "finishing day" - sewing in ends, checking everything is perfect, sewing on buttons, sewing up remaining garments etc - I knew it was going to take all day, but Flash was happily taking the car for a warrant, cleaning the pool, all that arh arh stuff, Blaise was enjoying events at the Writers festival , and Charlotte and Maria were off doing what they do, so I was looking forward to pottering around in my studio for the day.

Enter distraction #1
Holly (my eldest - studying wine in Christchurch)
popped up on friday night for a quick "hello" - I haven't seen her since March, and miss her terribly, we had dinner at Mum's on friday night to catch up, and she stayed with us on saturday.
Where she was joined by distraction #2
Our dearest friend Jason, Holly's Godfather, mine of information and all around good guy - flying visit to Auckland to film a commercial -
for that little pill that starts with "V" and ends with "agra" - I fell to weeping with hysterical laughter, after realising that one of my contemporaries was advertising a drug for middle-aged men, are we middle-aged Jase? is this what it has come to?we had such big dreams - and now here I am 2 cars, a mortgage and some cats!

So my dilemma, 2 delightful people to talk to...and ALL THIS WORK! Holls went out with a friend, and I dragged Jase upstairs, so that I could work and he could trawl the internet looking for a date for the night - seriously this man needs a wife! anyone know any nice single girls in Sydney?
That just sounded worse than it was...anyway Flash dragged him off to stand around the BBQ and drink beer, it was so great to catch up, we have missed him terribly, he is a part of the family and the kids adore him.

Blaise heard of his arrival and raced home between engagements.

I worked until 2am, then woke at 6 and finished the last bits, arriving at the market at 9 am, Holls helped for the first hour before going home (sniff, but she will be home again soon) and Mum and Flash took over from 1pm so that I could go to knitting - we sold a lot of yarn and gave away heaps of patterns and business cards, I came home to an order immediately and 3 queries, so as a marketing tool it is looking good.

here is the garment I alluded to before - this is the jacket in a size 2
the yarn is a DK weight merino, organically grown, but not organically spun, the handle and lustre are a dream, it holds the pattern so well, crisp and chunky, the buttons are from Mission Falls and work so well with the undyed yarn, the hearts are dyed wood and the round carved buttons are henna dyed bone.these will be available on the website from this afternoon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

knit rangers

are go from 2pm this afternoon at The Packing Shed 99 Parrs Cross Road Oratia, I have the luxury markets this morning ( wish me luck) but will be relieved in plenty of time to get to the cafe.
see you there!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday round up

lots of wool in waiting for sunday

I keep forgetting to tell you all about my wee garden, I want to show you a "before and after" shot, but can't find a "before" so you'll have to be happy with the "after". We have mini caulis, broccoli, spinach, rainbow chard, baby beetroot, leeks and baby radishes, all organic and spray free due to the wandering neighbourhood ducks who give the garden a going over every morning...slug and snails beware! In another corner of this handkerchief sized garden we have a herb garden groaning under coriander and italian parsely, theres lemon grass, chilis, every kind of thyme, chive and basil, marjoram, mints and thai basil - then theres catnip, catmint and cat grass and another wee bed with the dyeing plants...and then there are the fruit trees...but I'll leave them for another day!

The knitting is going well, I have something so cute to show you, but not yet...I want it to be perfect first.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


What a wicked look! Our boy is certainly getting big.

Holly - thank you darling for reminding me! Fanny is from France and is studying wine at Lincoln for a semester, she writes the most delicious blog, beautiful photos, gorgeous recipes, and delightful prose. Holly tells me that Fanny's course of study involves patisserie for a year, then cheese for a year etc, I must ask more questions, so it is a tribute to Lincoln that she has chosen to attend their wine science programme.
Speaking of food blogs - I was looking for a baked ricotta recipe recently (we are deprived I tell you!) and yowser! found my new favourite food blog! We are having the beetroot pesto spaghetti for dinner tonight, I slow roasted the beetroot to deepen the flavour, and best of all, it's vegetarian, so Blaise will be smiley!
Kaffe was wonderful, he looked no older than the last time I saw him, the hour was inspiring, and reassuring, the evocative photos of his work and inspiration, this time I took away the feeling that I am still heading in the right direction as far as my creativity goes, it wasn't the "ka-pow!" I felt last time I listened to him, more a comforting knowledge that what he does is right for him, and what i do is right for me. Brandon Mably was there, which I hadn't expected, gah! if I had known I would have taken my book to be signed, but as it was they were swamped with quilters at the book signing! To answer that question...I love his fabric designs, but I doubt I will ever take up quilting! I also did not get any photos, being the diffident kiwi girl I am I thought cameras would not be welcome - slap my hand!

Monday, May 21, 2007

monday make up

for missed Friday round up!

I am afraid that there is not much to report, truth be told I have been head down knitting like a bandit for the market which is this sunday from 10 - 3, and trying to work out the logistics as Blaise has a number of lectures to attend and I have Knit Rangers at 2pm.

I have finally managed to knit up a few of the garments I had written patterns for, and modifications have been made, which in turn have led to new scribbles and sketches which are patiently waiting for me to have 2 minutes free time in which to do something more concrete with them.

As an aside, I am skiving off for a couple of hours tomorrow night to see the Great One, Kaffe Fassett is giving a talk on his quilts and fabric range at my old grammar school, and my Mama scored a ticket for me - wheee! The last time I saw him he was the Master of Knitting, and I was awestruck, I was inspired to knit this wee waistcoat for Charlotte who was 0ne at the time I used the "magic ball" method of tying lengths of different colours together, for this one I had a bright colours ball, and a light colours ball, the brights are the background and the lights are brought through every few stiches to knit 1 st, and then carried at the back, the squares are made using the intarsia method - that was 17 years ago, Kaffe and I have probably both changed somewhat.

Monday, May 14, 2007


skeins of yarn, dried and reskeined - Blaise's new day, and "sing the blues" Blaisie does think it's a waste of time balling the yarn up and reskeining it, but I think it shows the colours better when they are offset.
Apologies for yesterday, I ended up having a lovely day, and Charlotte did apologise to me for not being nice earlier in the day. Flash, Blaise and I went to The packing shed for afternoon tea and met my Mum and grandparents, who have just returned from a trip to Sydney (sob). Helen turned up despite the throngs and we had a nice wee knitting group after the rellies left,(sorry Knitting and Writing group - Blaise brings her laptop and pounds away on her book) I was worried that the cafe staff would be a bit grumpy at us for taking up table space on the busiest day of the year, but they weren't at all, and when they started closing doors, we made movements to pack up and were told "No, stay, we're just trying to keep people out!" I do love the ambience of the place.
Last night we finally had the lamb - I could sing about that lamb! and a nice bottle of wine (no Champagne cocktails - with it being a work night!) and cuddled up on the couch in front of a roaring fire to watch Top Gear, a very nice end to a mostly lovely day.
And thanks for the words of support guys, I wouldn't usually air my dirty laundry on the blog but I was SO CROSS! and now you can see that it isn't all wine and roses at our house. I know they will come through the other side, but I had actually thought we were through the worst of it - they are trying out their independence just like any young animal.
For Lara: la la la everything is lovely, my children are sweet angels who float around on clouds looking for ways to make me happy, they do not yell, or makes messes, they do not leave fingermarks all over the walls, doors and refrigerator - leading me to believe that the Vegemite glands in their hands did not dry up when they started school, they think about others, clean the shower after they have used it and their bedrooms look like an IKEA catalogue. (they also go and pick up my Valium refills weekly) la la la! but seriously - you've met them, they are sassy and pretty cool, there are going to be off weeks, that's why babies are so cute - to sustain you through the tough times. I have a photo of mine when they were little pinned to my wall above the computer, when they were little I promised them that I would try to be understanding when they grew up - that time is now, and I have to work at it everyday.I wouldn't swap them for the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

ticking off the list

Yarn skeined, dyed and re-ordered - done and drying in the shade

Particularly loving Blaise's input, with a colourway called "Brand new day" - light blues, pale pinks, cream and gold with a touch of indigo to represent the edge of dawn.

Custom order, which has entailed much more work than anticipated, scaling patterns up in size is not easy for littlies, their shape and ratios change so much.I am very happy with the final result in a silk/merino blend.

wonderful surprise gift of vintage buttons from Shan I particularly love the green ones, thank you so much, Auckland isn't a complete button free zone, but it's pretty much a beautiful button free zone!

Flash is home (a day late, and more than a dollar short - I got Moet for Mothers Day, there's Cointreau and sugar cubes in the pantry - think we'll have a champagne cocktail before the lamb which has now been marinating for 2 days.)

He enjoyed Shanghai - think I should start learning Chinese? Do they have yarn there?

Some 18 year old girls - gggrrrrr, I suddenly realised that Maria and Charlotte are actually our first 18 year olds to live with us full time, Holly was living with my parents while studying at Uni, and Melanie had left to work fulltime and was living with her Mum. They are horrid - society, tv, magazines all tell them that they are "adults" so they think they have all sorts of "rights" and we have 2 of them - backing each other up constantly and treating the house like a hotel, I found Blaise folding 8 loads of washing last night, while the other 2 watched t.v. - she said it was easier just to get on and do it than to listen to their whingeing if she asked them to help, they disappear when there are jobs to do, but are first in line for dinner or pocket money, they argue about curfews and we are "SO MEAN".

Draconian measures are called for.

I hate to end on such a ickky note - especially on Mother's Day, and I know that I am just having a reaction to a week of trying to parent these two in particular alone, they have gone out with their boyfriends, I did manage to get a Happy Mother's Day out of Charlotte, and will spend a happy afternoon with Flash, Blaise, my Mum, my Gran, and then knitting group, the day is warm, the sun is shining.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday round up

  • Friday morning has dawned bright and sunny in the Waitakere Ranges, it is slightly crisp out, and the car was covered in deep crimson Liquidamber leaves.
  • I am happy this morning, for many reasons, the first of which being obvious - it's Friday!
  • - I washed the Pinwheel Beanie to see how the wool and dye held up, and am pleased (and relieved ) to report that on the "wool" cycle of the washing machine (warm gentle wash, cool rinse, medium spin) the beanie came it looking the same as when it went in. I was , as always, very scientific in my technique, which consisted of drawing around the pre-wash beanie, and taking numerous photos in controlled lighting, when it was washed I placed it back on the template to measure shrinkage (none) and took more photos to compare dye loss ( slight to none) I have changed my dye routine slightly, to prepare the yarn more thoroughly, I now soak it for an hour, and then place it in a plastic bag in the dark for a day or two, apparently this opens the yarn up even more - very important as this superwash yarn, which is notorious for not taking the dye, we've all seen superwash (often sock) yarn which looks patchy, or the core is still white (I don't mean yarn like Opal which is printed) I always think this kind of dye job looks temporary.after
  • David Bain's convictions have been overturned by the Privy Council - yes folks a group of Lords in London get the last say in the New Zealand judicial system - and for once I am glad that they do (not for much longer). I don't know if David is guilty or innocent - I would like to think the latter, but what I do know is that there is more than reasonable doubt, and much evidence tampering. Everytime I have heard of him over the years I have though about this gangly kid who returned home from an early morning paper round to find his family dead, and then being charged and imprisoned for their murders...all this, 12 long years in prison, fighting constantly to clear his name, and if he does get released early next week - he is still just a young man whose whole family are dead.
  • Knit Rangers this Sunday, 2pm at The Packing Shed, 99 Parrs Cross Road. As it is Mothers Day I know that a number of people won't be there, but come along if you want to join in a small group ( that said my Mother and GrandMother will be there!)
  • Said Mother visted Melbourne last week for the Climate Change conference...(read great chance for a bunch of greenies to jet into Melbourne for some shopping - not much reduction in global warming there!) ~cynic~ aaaaaanyhow, I noted a spike in orders from Melbourne - hmmmm thought I - must be word of mouth - yeah my Mama's mouth! she left my business cards in the baby change room of the Koru Club, tucked into parenting magazines in cafes, and handed them out to shop keepers in return for buying up large at their stores, with family like this who needs an agent?
  • I have taken a boneless leg of lamb out of the freezer (bought from Clark's Organic butchery on West Coast rd - scroll down) tonight I will marinate it in oil, garlic and fresh lemon peel, then tomorrow I will cut little pockets under the skin and stuff them with garli, oil and rosemary, force a whole lot into the whole where the bone was, run a knitfe under the skin and shove in as much fresh oregano and lemon peel as I can, and Flash will rotisserie it on the BBQ until it is crisp on the outside, pink on the inside and melting. Add capsicum, eggplant and zucchini bbq roasted wih balsamic vinegar, homemade bread and a nice bottle of duty free red, catch up time with Flash, chatting under the patio heaters...Bliss.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Flash is in China this week - it suddenly dawned on me (I am not a MOTO - master of the obvious) every year he is overseas at a big conference at the same time as our anniversary - oh, maybe theres a link there (I'm usually pretty cluey) maybe they have the conference at the same time every year - yeah ? you think? I'm the Mum who doesn't know when report night is, oh jeepers is it the holidays again? and you would think that Christmas moves around like Easter the way it surprises me every year.
I have already blocked out the calender for this time next year, and put a reminder in in 6 months time - to find out where it is going to be and book to go too, wherever it is I'll have fun sightseeing while Flash works and we'll finally be together on the day.

Here's a photo from the man himself - seriously, when it comes to photography he has a gift.

not for lighting, composition or design - but for comedy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Pinwheel beanie

Yarn: Just Jussi light DK 1 skein (light worsted) (100 m/y = 50 grams (2 oz)
Needles: 3.5 mm dpns
gauge approx: 22 sts = 10cm
Tapestry needle for sewing up.
Fits up to 6 (12) months size baby
Cast on 66 (72) sts
Work 10 (12) rows 2x1 (2x2) rib
Work 30 (40) rows stst
Start pinwheel decreases;
Next row: Knit 4, k2tog repeat to end
Knit 1 row
Next row: Knit 3, k2tog repeat to end
Knit 1 row
Next row: Knit 2, k2tog repeat to end
Knit 1 row
Next row: Knit 1, k2tog repeat to end
Knit 1 row
Next row: K2tog repeat to end
thread yarn through sts and fasten off.

This is one of the patterns which will be free on the label of my "Bushbaby" handpainted yarn which I will be selling at the Luxury market, at the moment I am just looking at 50g (2 oz) of the light DK weight, which is enough to make a beanie, bootees or a body warmer. I am working on an adult sock pattern to go with a 100g skein.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Friday round up

Dyeing is not the simple process that it was in Camperdown, with it's huge granite benchtop, and endless bright (retina destroying) light, here it is a small kitchen and formica (?) benchtops, still as long as there is a sink and a microwave we're in business.


I have never seen a superwash wool take the colour like this merino from Tai Tapu, I'll be phoning for more in the morning. It is a light worsted/dk weight and still has that beautiful sheen through the colours.


This yarn is destined for my stall at The Luxury Markets at Auckland's Stamford Plaza hotel on May 27th, I will be selling the yarn and giving away some basic patterns - a baby beanie, a vest, maybe baby socks, so that the customers don't just walk off with 50grams of wool they will look at but never use (or they can just look at it - I don't mind!)


Having a stall at the luxury markets was all my Mama's idea, and after we had had a wander around, spent some money and had a coffee, she dragged me off to meet the organiser - good thing too, I am terrible at doing things like that.

"I saw a red tractor in a field of lavender"

there were many beautiful items for sale, jewellery, art, candles...the tables are all set up ready and waiting, and everyone dresses up in their nice frocks.


Flash and Mum are eager to man the stall, they are both enamoured of marketing and talking to the public, I'll stay in the background and stick to my knitting.

"smoked paprika"

these colours were a lot of fun, the colours aren't quite right on screen, but almost.

I'd like to dye more solid colours, but people rave about the "Rosamundi" colourway especially - I am tempted to call it "Favourite child" instead

"if I squashed blueberries onto white yarn..."

- If you haven't alreayd done so - go see Lara, and rejoice in her and Mark's fecundity!

- then go and congratulate Donni on the event of her 21st'st birthday

- Frasier has managed to break more precious items this week than my children have in their entire lives, I am toddler proofing the house.

- Flash is off to China on monday (our aniversary - as is traditional in our relationship, he is always overseas on our anniversary, and had a lovely time alone in Paris for our honeymoon)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a numbers game

we have a winner:

Frasier was born on the 15th of November 2006. MohairPink - email me with your postal address and the book will be in the post.

I am reading a beautiful book "The nine emotional lives of cats" Jeffrey Masson lives in Auckland, and goes for walks on the beach with his cats (he is a "dog person" too)the book is very good for counteracting those "it's just cupboard love" comments. I thought I knew a lot about cats, but have learnt so much from his gentle observations.Frasier loves me so fiercely, won't leave me alone, squawks when I leave the house, know that I am leaving by the jangling of my keys...but when I feel like a cuddle...he'll just glance at me and keep on doing whatever it is he wants to do...and now I understand why.

the latest addition to my wardrobe - the Georgia Hoodie from Threadless, how could I not? I need some knitting themed doubleknit to wear to a knitting festival - not this one I'm afraid - the only attraction is James, and lovely and talented as he is, it's too far and too much money for what it is. However I am thinking about attending this one - the machine knitting festival, there are some interesting and talented speakers attending, and some great field trips, however I really should be head down saving money for our trip in October, it's another of Flash's work trips, and regretably involves a lot of rugby - which I am trying hard to tolerate, but apparently I won't be allowed to take my knitting to the games...(we'll see about that)to make the rugby side more palatable to me (I don't really have a choice of wether or not I go...we like our the boss's wife there are sacrifices I have to make) we are having 3 days in Singapore alone together (our next favourite goodtime town after Sydney)then the 10 days in Paris and the Loire Valley with 40 of Flash's customers for the Rugby world cup (the trip is called "Rugby and Romance" - we are in Paris for the rugby and the Loire Valley for the romance - from the look of the schedule the events co-ordinator obviously has romance confused with wine) then 3 days alone in England - 2 in London, and 1 in and around my home town of Gloucester for a spot of nostalgia and 2 more days in Singapore on the way home. I have had expert help putting together an itinerary, now we are just working on Flash's french (he had to call me from the Metro last time he was there, he couldn't get out! he was on his cellphone - I'm saying "sortie, sortie" poor baby!)

The blue blob update - I have reached the yoke, and have taken your advice Mary, I no longer have the chiselled collarbones required for the wide neck look, I'll be increasing the decreases to end up with something slightly more discreet, loving the calmness of the stst, something that I can't stuff up...(there have been monumental stuff ups)