Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday round up

  • It is COLD here...I know it is cold in Sydney too...I don't like the cold. I wore my scarf all day at work yesterday.
  • The day before I wore my Clapotis all day - and told a few people at work where to get the pattern.
  • I have taught one person to knit and shown one person how to do intarsia this week (well I showed her on sunday - but I wasn't a good teacher - so I showed her properly at lunchtime) I am happy to wear the "enabler" label!
  • Holly is here and it is lovely to see her, and she passed her "Q-mit" ??? (is that correct Holls?) the hardest exam at Lincoln - once again I am very proud. She did tell me that she has moved out of home though...which I didn't know...I mean, I know that she is living in Christchurch - but I thought that was just because she was at Uni - but no, apparently from now on she is only home to visit - wow, that was easy!
  • I have no photos - we have a battery monster in our house, all of our batteries have to find the person with the DS lite in our house...(quick, put them back!)
  • Frasier has a problem with the cold too - his coat is very sleek and quite short - so he seems to feel the cold - I'm tempted to knit him this out of Opal Tiger! As if the back door neighbour's dog doesn't laugh at him enough - but then again it may trick the next door neighbours chihuahuas into thinking he is one of them!
  • I am battling with the "red thing" I am very happy with the way it has turned out so far - but now I am on the home stretch - the treatment of the fronts and neck - and I can't ask you guys for help - because you haven't seen it...but does anyone else get infuriated when they get so far and then just can't decide what would look best, this part is so important for the final look of the garment - I don't want to get it wrong, but I have to get it finished and at the moment am just paralysed for fear of not getting it right, looks like I am going to have to play trial and error with this one.
  • The blue blob (otherwise known as the Hourglass sweater) is still a blob, but it was heartening to hear from Sarah and Helen at knitting on sunday, that they have both knitted circular garments up to the armholes recently and then placed them to one side in order to pursue other wips, I am not alone.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Finally I have a chance to sit and write about my experiences this weekend, saturday was once again spent furiously sewing up as I had "invented" the possum beanie on tuesday and made a heap of them for the Luxury market and the current special over at the website (and yes I am making them for adults) I have made a promise to myself that I have a cut off point - 2 weeks prior to market day, anything I design after that day can go into production for the NEXT market, so that I can have a nice relaxing family day on that saturday. I am following my own rules now and have 2 weeks to complete 4 designs for the handpainted yarn kits - I must say I am very excited about these - the yarn is beautiful, I have finally found my "voice" with my handpainting technique.
I have been playing with the "Sensational knitted socks" books over the past few weeks too, since I saw Sarah's beautiful red boot socks - knitted from Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, these books are great for showing you how to use any yarn to make any sock for anyone - I've ripped out my first attempts, but should have something to show you soon.

Talking about Sarah's socks segues us nicely into the second day of the weekend - let's give the markets a miss for now, they were fun, successful and a great marketing and networking tool - enough said.
When I moved to Sydney I knew very few people, my neighbours changed almost weekly and I wasn't working, the girls were big enough that I didn't need to stand around in the playground chatting to other Mum's while we waited for them after school - so I had none of my old reliable ways of meeting people available to me - I knitted a lot, shopped a lot, and started a blog to communicate with friends back home - then I found the Monica's blog - the legendary Knitting Revolutionary, and discovered that there was a local knitting group, SSK met just up the road from me in a cute wee cafe, I gathered my my knitting, my notions and accessories, put my big girl pants on and had Flash drop me off - before I got out the car he grabbed me and said "I'm so proud of you" he's a top manager and here he is telling me that I'm braver than him because I am going to meet strangers.
Knitters aren't strangers though are they? I loved it from the first day, even if I didn't feel that I could add to the conversation (I'm shy) I still had something to do with my hands and I could listen and learn - I didn't get put off because I didn't find my niche immediately, I understand group dynamics, you can't just charge in and take over - but if you sit back and observe you will soon find out where you fit, some people didn't stay long because they didn't understand this, others moved between various groups which was great, a mass cross-pollination of ideas, I loved the train trip out to the group at Gordon and my forays into the Courthouse group, lot's of different people, but all with one thing in common.The most important quality for the groups to be able to work and grow though, is integrity - which I saw so much of at SSK, everyone is true to themselves - Lara knits acid bright colours and novelty yarns, Alison has an awesome clarity of style and design, Kerry is quietly passionate, Mary-Helen felt like a Mum to me (she isn't old enough to be my Mum!) she keeps the group centred, Kris is joyously loud, Veronica patient and quiet. It just works - whether there are 6 or 26 people there, it is always a riot. When I started my business I received so much support - a photographer, babies, feedback, legal advice, i.t. support, honest criticism - it blew me away.

So, when I came home, I desperately wanted to start a group where those values come through, everyone is welcome, young, old, newbie, master knitter, loud, quiet, male, female - just a place where they could come and knit and talk and feel part of a community - and you know what? I think we have cracked it! the Knit Rangers have taken off, the group is still small, we had 8 this week, some people travel a fair distance to spend 2 hours together talking about sticks and string (and life) and we all agree that despite the distance - the cafe is the right place, Anna the quilter has started knitting, I see new friendships forming, we all can teach one another - we are growing a new community. I miss SSK deeply, and am so glad I have been able to take the model and see it work in a new place. Thank you SSKer's and Knit Ranger's. (and anyone who wants to come along in 2 weeks time is very, very welcome!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday round up

  • there are many possum hats, they are threatening to take over the studio! So I took the only course of action open to me - I have paired them with the possum pants and released them into the wild. They sat there for a while trying to disappear into the greenery, wasn't going to happen so I took pity on them and brought them back into the warm, hopefully thay will find new homes this weekend.

  • This the red thing I have knitting in my "spare time" finally finished and if I get a chance to finish the pattern this weekend it will be off to it's new home next week.This turned out almost exactly as I had hoped - love it when things fall into place.
  • If you get the Titirangi Tatler - look out for an article on Just Jussi and the Knit Rangers, nothing like a bit of free publicity to swell the numbers.
  • Speaking of which, I will be at the market until around 1.30 pm on Sunday, so Sarah, if you or anyone else wants a lift, drop in and see me at the Stamford Plaza, I'll then be racing out to the Knit Rangers gathering - remember it is 2pm, this Sunday at the Packing Shed cafe (directions on the Knit Rangers site) My Mama and Flash will take over and stay until the markets close.
  • We'll have lots of yarn available - handpainted light DK and 4ply superwash merino.
  • Holly arrives this sunday - yay a week of Mummy/daughter bonding time!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

all the better to hear you with...

this morning Flash left before dawn, with the good camera (yes I know I said he could never touch it again since he broke it...) to add insult to injury he cannibalised the batteries from the little camera...and the spares.
So I had to take this photo in the dark, when the spare, spare batteries had finished charging, but I just had to take it because they are sooooo cute. Now I am not usually one for dressing babies up like the darling little animals they are, but in this case the possum hat was just screaming for wee possum ears. I promise that for every hat with ears, there will be at least one without.
These are for the markets this weekend, I'm selling them as a set with the possum pants - doing my bit for conservation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday round up

Not much minutiae this week, but I'll try:
  • NZ really is this small - go welcome Rachel - kiwi knitbloggers are a rare breed, we knew one another (cough, cough) years ago, I found her blog through another NZ blog - look out Donna, we NZ-ers could almost form our own breakaway Ring!
  • My contract was renewed for another 3 months yesterday - great news, more money for France! Apparently this could go on for years, I don't mind, I love working part-time, just when I think I can't take another minute - it's 2pm and I'm done for the day.
  • Why is it that for every sale I make, I get 10 phonecalls or emails from people trying to get me to buy advertising, obviously the advertising I am buying is working really attracting advertising salesmen!
  • I need Supernanny for cats, Maria says that I am Frasier's drug, because he can be sleeping happily, but then when he hears my voice he leaps up and starts screaming until he finds me - I told her "no, I'm his Mummy, and he is a toddler" a toddler who sits outside the bathroom door screaming while I pee, or outside the shower screaming while I wash - I have given in and let him in the shower now...(he's a Bengal people - he likes water)
  • Please go and drool over Jae's Palawan Peacock shawl, which my favourite Ailsa is test knitting. It is extremely beautiful - I think of all my poor lace wip's stuffed down the bottom of my knitting bag, and think "could I just drop them for this shawl, am I that fickle?" and the answer is a resounding, deafening YES! yes I am.
  • I'm doing all of my sewing up this weekend, so I don't end up being caught out like last time with my market knitting, I've made lots of cuteiful little possum pants, and I'm thinking maybe a couple of possum scarves for the not so little people.
  • I'm also thinking of making up some kits for a jacket a bit like the Spirited jacket, but with my hand dye, does a kit need needles? what do you guys think? I was going to put in the pattern/yarn/buttons/label/needles (only one size is needed) because I thought that the hotel guests may be more likely to buy them if the needles are included.
  • Finally, here is an okay photo of that "80's eye makeup" hand painted yarn

liquid eyeliner anyone? electric blue mascara?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

yet more yarn

Darned NZ light means I can't find anywhere in the house to take photos without glare! I dyed another 30 skeins yesterday, mostly in the colours I'm selling on the website, but I did try out a few ideas: above - this photo can't quite capture the blue greens of the yarn, I'm calling this one "West Coast breakers" because that is exactly what it looks like, I love it so much I'm keeping it to make socks. The greens below are the colours of my vegie garden and almost as yummy.

No prizes for guessing who the garment made from this yarn is going to be for, and in case Mummy feels left out, I dyed up some laceweight for her too. I'm calling this one "Pinata!"

I haven't been able to get a good enough photo of the last experiment, basically it is underpainted with jewel bright pinks/blues/purples and overpainted with black, the colours peek through the black and charcoal - I'm calling it "80's eye makeup" because it reminds me of those Revlon eyeshadows from the 80's, you chose the case, then mix and matched the shadows, the first 2 I bought were electric blue and hot pink...stylish.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knit Rangers

a very successful meetup yesterday! see here

thanks for the comments about Frasier - he has bells on his collar, so hopefully won't be dragging any dead creatures back home, if he does we will have to re-think his liberty.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

those toilets

are in a small town in Northland - the north of the North Island, I have visited them once and would recommend them - they literally are a work of art - by the artist Frederick Hundertwasser - for more info and more photos go here .

Saturday, June 09, 2007

There's no-one else quite like us...

the whole family are loving this ad created to promote domestic travel in NZ...this one's for you Mary-Helen and Kate (make sure the sound is turned on!)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday round up

so - all week i have had the kind of headcold they have on the TV ads, the kind where you just keep taking the pills and you can "soldier on" so to speak - I felt a bit spacey, and my ears were blocked, so I felt like I was underwater...but I went to work etc. However, now I remember there were things I meant to tell the "rugby thing" how did that go ? hmmm

NZ won against the French - the game was very bad, even people who love rugby agreed that the game was very bad...we were served dinner at 12.45am...I was kinda no longer hungry, and hadn't had any alcohol, so was quite bored, unlike the rest of them who were partying up large and loud...oh and Flash dropped our good camera...onto concrete...luckily he only broke the sunfilter lens,but he will not be allowed that camera again! I was very well behaved in the face of adversity. (the muesli bars helped) I also enjoyed the fact that I was seated next to a large contingent of French fans - they gave the place a bit of culture!

Cute secret knitting continues a-pace, so cute and so easy to knit...except for last night, when I actually did manage to curl up in bed with John Safran (vs God - the tv series on DVD) my knitting, and Layla (previously known as the good cat) I'm knitting away happily, watching John work his way through various religions (and try on Mormon undergarments) when suddenly I came to the end of my yarn..."weird" thought I, I could swear I've only used 1/4 of the ball...and then I realised, Layla (the good cat) was not really asleep, she was pretending to be asleep, while secretly chewing on my yarn....I don't know which is worse, Layla quietly undermining me, or Frasier's new trick - he launches himself at my backside from the top of the stairs when I am halfway down the stairs, and invariably pulls my pyjama pants down, it is very undignified.

Frasier has also taken to stealing...first it was a wire coathanger which I found he had dragged onto the front lawn (through the cat door no less!), next Flash saw a green streak as Frasier ran past him in the hallway...he was making off with a decent sized bag of cat treats! We are worried that he may extend his nefarious ways to the neighbourhood as I have heard many exotic cats do...I'm very concerned that he may drag back one of the nextdoor neighbour's chihuahuas...he is bigger than them already!

thank you for the nice emails back from people who have purchased yarn - as I said, now send the photos of what you make!

I hope everyone has a good weekend, the girls and I are baching it until sunday, with Flash away, so we'll keep the fire stoked, the DVD player humming, and Blaise baking cookies, who knows I may not wear day clothes at all this weekend ( except to The Knit Rangers - meeting on Sunday - I promise I will not wear my jammas)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

moving right along...

from yesterday (oh and THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN!)

don't get me wrong, I love New Zealand - it truly is the most beautiful country on Earth, that's why we call it Godzone. I am happy to be home, and settled into our new old life (I keep writing "2004" on documents at work because thats when I brain seems to have stuck!) I travel the same route, just from a different house, however, life is harder here - the cost of living is higher, even though our tax is lower, the higher rates kick in earlier, electricity and food are definitely more expensive. We are fine and happy, and home is where Flash and the kids are of course (except when he is away!) I just want to be honest about what I feel.

It's pouring with rain here, I have a stinking head cold, and just want to crawl into bed with my test knitting, but have to go and buy firewood and pick the girls up from school, Blaise is an ace firestarter, so I'll be able to go to bed once we are back home - I've already made beetroot pesto again to mix into fettucine tonight - it went down reasonably well last time, half of this family just aren't as enthusiastic about vegies as they should be!

I'm boring myself - go see Jessica over at Indexed her venn diagrams and graphs are hilarious and thought provoking - go, go now before I start posting Frasier photos!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

7 random things

I have taken a pledge not to do any more memes...but I have a soft spot for Lara

1. to this day I remember the faces of the pixies I saw in the outhouse of the cottage we stayed at in Wales when I was very small. There were 3 of them - they are not the same ones who lived behind the headboard in my bedroom in Gloucester.

2. I can't eat olives - I try, but I can't.

3. I like it that my husband goes away quite a lot - I feel guilty, but I love being alone for short lengths of time. I think this comes from having 9 years alone just the girls and I, it also means that he doesn't feel so bad for me while he is away.

4. I can only sleep in 2 positions, on my back or on my left side. I have to have the sheet over my exposed ear so that "the ghosts" don't whisper in my ears when I am asleep...yes I know it is stupid, but when I was 7 years old Stephen Jennings from over the road told me that's what they do...and it became a habit.

5. I have no tolerance for people who don't like garlic - I don't know why, but it just makes me want to feed them garlic to make them realise how good it is, my Granny says "it doesn't have garlic in does it?" and I say "noooooo" (fingers crossed) and she eats it and loves it, I'm kind of a benign garlic dictator.

6. I love to drive - I drive safely, but love to get out on the road and plant my foot, I can't wait to take the LandRover off-road and see what it can do, and despite my comments about Flash's car, driving it is an amazing experience. I may be gawky and clumsy on land,but when I am driving my brain and body seem to finally sync, my reflexes are razor-sharp and my reaction times are legendary - even Charlotte says "skills Mum!"

7. If Flash came home tomorrow with a job offer in Oz, I would jump at it - weird given the amount of sulking and whingeing I indulged in over the 2.5 years we were there - I love NZ, the country is spectacular, and I missed my family so much - but Australia has an attitude of success, whereas NZ has an attitude of entitlement - I am generalising greatly here, but unfortunately the welfare system in NZ is so seductive, we have inter-generational poverty and unemployment because people are so afraid to step out of the safety net. I worry about my children's future if they stay in NZ, unless there are some radical changes - as the number of people being supported by every worker is growing all the time.

I'm not picking anyone - feel free to do this meme yourself.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday round up

this week has been one of playing catch up and dealing with "The List" the peice of memo cube paper I carry in my handbag everywhere - not on the PDA, not in the laptop, not even in the diary...just a tiny peice of paper with writing on both sides, and finally there are more lines through errands than not.

I got the Knit Rangers blog up and running - yay!, please feel free to add it to any Stitch and Bitch lists you may have - you never know when someone is going to visit NZ and need some knitting time.

I sent Donna's present off a whole DAY before her birthday...not much solace when she lives at least 4 days post away (really have to get my act together with mail...note to self) Please go say Happy Birthday for yesterday to help make up for my tardiness.

I finally put in a claim with our health insurance only to discover that our agent gave us a good policy - but it didn't include the extras I wanted included...and the company won't backdate, as it was the agent's fault not theirs...gah!
Next job - reorganising my studio - believe it or not I still do not have enough room! I need more storage.

I re-finished this wonderful old suitcase - see the wooden strapping and brass fittings, $10 from the Sallies - ok it needed a clean, and re-lining, but now it has pride of place under the cutting table filled to overflowing with fabric and sock yarn.

the "Great Dividing bookcase" between Flash's side of the room and mine...full.

I can't show you anymore...the story is the same...full, full, full...I am taking all of the equipment boxes and putting them in the room under the stairs, maybe that will help, or maybe I should start taking over Flash's study...

It is a long weekend here - Queen's birthday (not her real birthday mind you, just her "official" birthday...what's up with that?) Flash and I are off to the rugby tomorrow night - I am practising being enthusiastic - I will be channelling my basketball watching self...GO THE BLACKS! I am also practising being a good CEO's wife, because goodness knows I don't know the first thing about actually being a good CEO's wife. I have a first aid kit containing muesli bars, water bottle, rescue remedy, panadol, my i-pod and a teeny bottle of absolut vodka - to stave off my two main "grumpy Jussi" causes - boredom and hunger...(yes the husband has banned my knitting for the evening...he will pay...actually I do have to laugh reading that sentence because the husband would never, ever say "I ban your knitting" he actually just suggested that it would not be appropriate...on the phone...from another country.

I have also started releasing Frasier into the wild for a couple of hours each day - so scarey for us, so wonderful for him... we had planned for him to be an indoor cat, but he has different ideas, we were worried about him being run over, even though the road is pretty quiet, and catching native birds ( he has 2 bells to stop this happening) and getting lost (collar with name and phone number) he is so happy chasing Layla all over the garden, climbing trees, chasing grass, and then he pops back inside and is so affectionate - as though he is saying "Thank you for letting me go outside". Here is a cheesy pic of the boy - I think it is how he would look in a school photo!