Sunday, December 17, 2006

'Tis the Silly Season!

It most certainly is the "silly season"! The time of year many (including me :( ) spend way too much money and run around like a chicken with its head chopped off trying to get everything done before Christmas comes! I will have 11 at my table this year. I am not really a good hostess so I do find all this rather stressful, especially on top of the stress of finding presents for everyone. And paying for them. Then there is the cleaning and getting the house ready! So what am I doing on here? Procrastinating, that's what!

We will also be having our son, T, his partner and the two Grandgirls staying for three weeks followed by our daughter, K, for her final week before going overseas. I am looking forward to having them all here. But... Stress and I don't make good bedfellows. Need I go on?

I am in the middle of the scarf mentioned earlier. Progress is very slow as I don't often feel like knitting these days. Too many late and broken nights' sleep have made me rather tired. No end in sight there so I will just have to get over it. It will be finished before K leaves even if it isn't finished in time to give to her for Christmas.

So much for more serious things, now for a little lightheartedness! I stole this from ?! I can't remember where but it is on several blogs. Go ahead and try it just for fun!

Your Elf Name Is...
Flakey Hot Chocolate

And this one came from ?? (I put them in my blog a few days ago and, especially at this time of year, my memory is often suspect!) Just enjoy!

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.

As I am unlikely to get back here for a while, I wish each and every one out there a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! May the joy and peace of Christmastime be with you all!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas is HOW close?

Isn't it amazing how quickly the week slips away from you and suddenly you are looking at the end of another week - again! Especially at this time of year. I was hoping to be really prepared for Christmas this year but with only just over two weeks to go I am not there yet. Is anyone?

I do have most of the presents bought or I know what I will be buying. The ham for Christmas dinner is ordered and will be ready to be picked up on the 20th. I have written out a "menu" for the dinner but have yet to ask others to bring particular dishes. Nothing fancy, just plain and simple - the way I like it!

I have bought a couple of CDs of Christmas-type music so we can have something playing softly in the background. The only Christmas music I had was on a tape and I no longer have a tape recorder. A pity as I did like that tape.

I started putting up some decorations yesterday. I bought some cheap fairy lights and have strung them around the room. They look quite pretty with the lights out at night but may have been better with some tinsel strung with them. Maybe an idea for next year. I am hoping to get the tree up later today. I'm not very good at these decorative things but I would like it to be pretty for the little ones.

Yesterday (6 Dec) was a Big Day for the littlest one (our youngest grandgirl) - it was L's first birthday! I wish we could have been there but will just have to be content with going up there on Sunday for her party. I did ring them but L isn't much for talking on the phone as you can imagine! I did hear her in the background grunting for whatever it was she was wanting. She is resisting learning to talk preferring to point and say "aaah, aaah, aaah!" until she gets what she wants. Maybe it's a second-child thing as I think I can remember her father doing that too.

Before you get too bored (if you haven't snored off already!) I do have a photo - I finished the hat that matches the fingerless mitts from a while ago and finally took a photo of them yesterday. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I used the basic hat pattern in Ann Budd's book (sort of) and included the same cable as the mitts. I fudged the decreases at the top a little so that the knit stitches between the cables remained as long as possible. As with the mitts I knit the hat on two circs. The scarf is still a work-in-progress having knitted about five complete cables. Photos when there is more to see!

There has been a fair bit of controversy lately on KR about the pink Denise circular needles. I have long wanted a set, particularly as I would like to try Cat Bordhi's mobius pattern and I can't buy a long-enough circ here. The pink set made a good excuse anyway, I thought, to buy the set knowing that I would also be donated a little to a good cause. So what if it is donated in the US rather than here. My sister had breast cancer four years ago so now I need to have yearly mammograms (yuck!). All is well with her, now, but may not have been if it hadn't been detected early.

Whatever, the set arrived this morning and is so pretty in all of it's pink glory! I love it and can't wait to use it. Once I have finished the scarf there may just be a mobius in my future!

Enough time on here, I think, time I was getting back to my Christmas preparations! I hope your's are going well, too.

Friday, December 01, 2006

An Ending...and a Beginning?

The little baby jersey has been finished (the buttons bought and sewn on) parceled up and delivered to my sister's home ready to be given to the new baby boy. In the end I was really quite pleased with how it looked even though my seams are not really the best. I guess I am more happy to have it finished and given than have it sitting around not being used while I worried about perfect-looking seams. As if any little baby would worry! What do you think?

The shawl in the background is one my MIL knitted for one of our children 20+ years ago. Unfortunately there are a few holes in it presumably from moth-damage. Do moths eat acrylic yarn? I have tried to repair some of them but darning and repairing are not one of the things I do well (the older I get the more seriously I look at myself and realise that there aren't many things I do well! Is this normal, I wonder?). So the shawl sits in the cupboard as it is, a sweet reminder of times, and people, past.

With the NZ dollar still holding out strong, I recently decided to buy a few more knitting books from Amazon to add to my growing collection. I am not sorry I did! Yesterday morning the courier braved the cold, wet conditions to do his job once more and deliver my three new books to my doorstep. Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English, Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge and Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today now await my reading (and drooling) pleasure. I have been able to flick through VLT - very nice! The photography is lovely and the history is something I look forward to exploring further. Whether I eventually knit anything from this book remains to be seen, but there certainly is a lot of scope for dreaming. Knitting Beyond the Edge looks to be as good as her previous books but once I caught sight of VLT I was hooked. I will save KBtE for later.

On Sunday my friend K and I travelled to the "city" (it is officially a city but is rather small by world, and even NZ, standards) for the annual Market Day on the Bay. This was the culmination of the Rose Festival week celebrated here each year. We really enjoy going to this each year. There are many stalls selling all sorts of bib and bobs, some good quality and others not so. As it is a rose festival there are always several stalls devoted to all manner of plants including, of course, roses.

This year I bought two roses for the garden (I use this term loosely when talking of my particular garden. I have plans but this is as far as I have gone!) - one is a lovely white English rose Glamis Castle the other, another English rose, William Shakespeare. The latter is a beautiful deep red/burgundy with an amazingly lovely perfume. I used to have this at our previous home but it died when we tried to transplant it. I hope this specimen will have a longer, happier life! I was particularly drawn to this rose, not only because of its outstanding looks, but also because of its name. My grandmother's maiden name was Hathaway and family legend has it that we are, in fact, descendants (or more likely relatives of) Shakespeare's wife Anne. Nice thought, anyway.

Another smaller purchase which made its way home with me was this - a handmade shawl pin. To fasten those dream-shawls with? I rather like its slightly rustic look although the end of the pin may be a little sharp for comfort. Cute anyway.
It was a pity that our day at the Market was a little short-lived. Soon after lunch really dark clouds gathered and proclaimed in no uncertain terms that the already dubious weather was going to become worse. And soon! K and I went back to the gardening-stall area, collected my roses, and made a dash back to the car-park. And none too soon. Huge drops of rain began to fall as we were scurrying for shelter. Once we were in the car and on our way the rain began to fall in earnest sending the stall-holders rushing to cover their goods. We were very pleased that we had had the good sense to come away when we did remaining relatively dry and happy with our purchases. Maybe the weather will be better next year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Long-time Blessing

A short post today with no pictures, sorry. I hope to have one next time as I finally finished a UFO yesterday after a hiatus of four years! A friend of mine gave birth to a little boy four years ago and I started making a cute little jersey for him for when he was about three-six months old. The weather would have been cooling down by then.

The knitting went fine and it was looking really cute. Then came the sewing up. This is the part of knitting that I really don't enjoy - possibly because I am not that good at it. I have never managed to master the mattress stitch (I wish I knew someone skilled at it who could actually SHOW me how it is done - books just don't cut it for me in this area) and have usually used my own type of stitching. It has never come apart (which is good) but it is not always extremely neat.

Anyhoo, I sewed the sleeves in then pinned the sleeve and side seams. Something was wrong! The jersey is knitted in two colours (pictures next time) and the stripes were not matching up. They were only a few rows out but enough to really, really bug me. I don't like giving a friend something which is not "perfect"! So it sat and sat. I was not about to take out the sleeves - my sewing in is permanent and I was not about to try cutting out the stitches and have the thing fall apart!

In the end I didn't give my friend the jersey. So it sat in the cupboard - out of sight but not entirely out of mind. Meanwhile, my son's partner, Shad given birth to our two beautiful grandchildren - both girls. So the jersey sat some more. While it is not THAT masculine I wanted it to be for a boy. Also, S doesn't handwash. Her decision, but I don't like risking my handknitting in the washing machine so not much of my work has ended up there. Very sad.

Recently, my sister told me that her son's ex-girlfriend (who was now living with another guy) had given birth to a son on Saturday. She is going back down south next week but my sister is really worried about her. She is not quite 19 and will have no family support where she and her partner live. They also have very little money. This area is notorious for its very hot summers and freezing cold winters. So I thought of my little, ill-fated baby-boy jersey. I got to yesterday and sewed up the side-seams (thank goodness wool really is rather forgiving!) and wove in all the ends. It isn't quite perfect but still looks sweet! I will buy some buttons today and put those on and take it round to my sister. I hope the jersey will finally become a blessing to this new little one.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Little of This and That

Eeeek! I see that I last posted on Sunday and here it is Thursday again. Time certainly flies, especially at this time of year. With Christmas nearly upon us there are still several birthdays over the next month. First up is D's (my husband) burthday on Monday. I knew it was soon but had forgotten just how soon - until he reminded me. Nothing like a supposedly grown-up guy who still thinks of himself as a kid! Doncha just have to love 'em?

After that it is our youngest grandgirl's turn to have her very first birthday on 6 Dec. Party day is on 10 Dec. L is becoming such a sweet little cutiepie! Shopping for her present was a pleasure but not easy when you know that Christmas follows so closely.

The other family birthday is for my nephew, J, who will be 21 shortly before Christmas. As he lives in Melbourne, Australia, I didn't think I would be getting him anything but my sister tells me she is going over there for his birthday. I'll think about it. $ are tight all year round but especially at this time of year. And what do you get for a 21yo nephew who seems to have most things he needs?

I did buy another birthday present while I was in town this week. This time it was for our daughter, K. Her birthday isn't until June but she will still be overseas then so I got it now. After all, she will need it while she's away to take all the photos I expect to see! (Have you guessed that it is a camera? An entry-level digital that isn't excellent but none of us a camera-buffs. It'll be fine. For now.)

I have done some knitting this week - I finished the pink wristwarmers and am halfway up the hat. Sooo lovely and soft! I should have finished that hat by now but some days I really can't be bothered to knit and the last two or three days have been like that, even though the weather was quite cool until today. I decided to have a fold-up brim on the hat for extra warm around the ears, and because I think it looks better. I hope to get three repeats of the cable pattern before the decreasing comes in. It should look ok, I think.

I have been think more about a dyeing project than my knitting in the last few days. A little while back I learned of a dyeing method, called "Dartmoor dyeing", for 4 kg of raw fleece where you end up with 48 little piles in various shades and tints of the original 4 colours. But I needed a fairly large, preferably white, raw fleece. And I didn't have one! (oooh, time to get excited - fibre-buying time!)

I didn't want to spend the earth on a fleece, either, in case it didn't come out very well. Where could I find a nice, soft but not too fine, white fleece? With sheep farmers all around here you would think it would be a fairly easy task - but not necessarily so. Most breeders I know of that breed for spinning have coloured sheep. The white breeders tend to shear their sheep on an 8-month rotation and send the wool to the buyer. A fleece which has only grown for 8 months is not really long enough for nice, easy spinning.

At the same time all this thinking was going on, I had a spinning wheel on TradeMe (a NZ version of ebay). It sold to a local lady! (Yay, no packing and shipping!!) It turned out I knew this lady. She and her husband breed sheep and she is a spinner. I had been going to ring her about my quest but kept forgetting to. To cut a long story slightly shorter, she brought me four fleeces to choose from when she came to pick up the wheel. I now have two, large, lovely white fleeces in my dining room (I must move them, but where to? Not really enough room in my craft room! I don't want to run the risk of moth-damage in the garage.) one for me and the other for our spinning group. I thought it would be a good group project for our annual dyeing-day in March.

I have already thought of what I would like to do with this wool (once it is dyed and spun, of course). Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?! It is from a Japanese book I learned about on
Knitter's Review. I think that I like every project in this book. But it is all in Japanese!

We do have a member of our spinning group who is Japanese. She spends part of the year here and the rest in Japan. I thought she was due back here in October but so far I haven't seen her. I hope she is ok.

But, back to the book, I think I can understand enough from the charts to be able to work the colour pattern out. My spinning will no doubt be at a different guage to that of the pattern so some tweeking would be inevitable even if it was in English. I think I will start with the hat. That should give me an idea if it will all work out.

Here is a photo of the book in question. I bought it through YesAsia (sorry, I will have to look up the link sometime). It took a while to arrive but was well worth the wait. There are some really nice cable patterns in the book as well as a nice entrelac one. Can you tell I really love the book?

Sooo...that is much of what has been occupying my life and thoughts over the last few days. I wonder what the weekend will bring?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What Flower Are You?

I am an

What Flower
Are You?

For want of a "proper" post this may have to do today! I would have liked to to have been a rose (sigh!) - an echinacea seems so...boring. Not sure that I am all that health conscious either!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A little bit busy...

Isn't it wonderful how life gets in the way and nearly a week passes before you can get back to your blog? Well, that is how it goes with me, anyway.

Last time here I promised photos of some fibre which happened to come home with me. Sorry it isn't a very good photo but it is enough, perhaps, for you to get an idea of them.

The white fibre on the top-right is 100gm of carded polwarth. I have wanted to try out some Polwarth for quite a while but all the previous rovings I have seen had a bit too much vm in it for my liking plus they seemed a little too coarse and scratchy. This roving isn't too bad on both counts so it was allowed to join my stash!

The pale fibre at the bottom of the photo is 100gm of very fine "honey" merino. I think the "honey" they refer to on the bag is the colour - a moorit colour. I don't know what the count is for the merino but it seems to be fairly fine. I just liked the colour!

On the top-left is a darker lot of fibre. This is 100gm of a merino/soy silk blend that is named "fudge". Again, the colour? I could have bought a pure soy-silk roving but felt I would try out the blend first. I have started spinning this into a fairly fine yarn which I think I may navaho ply. I have noticed that it needs a fair bit of twist (I'm not a technical person so I won't even try to say what ratio I'm using or how many twists per inch etc. I'll leave that up to those who know about such things!) which, I suppose, is the merino content.

All of these fibres came from a Blenheim carding firm,
Rotocard. The link is for their email address as I don't think they have a website. They do sell some beautiful coloured fibre. I especially like their wool/mohair blend. The present owners have only had the firm for about a year and have carried on with the past owner's colourways. I am hoping they will maybe bring out some new ones in the future.

Well, that is the very little bit of spinning news. I have done a little knitting in the last week as well. I wanted to try out something simple while we travelled north to celebrate our youngest son's 20th birthday. The journey takes about 1 1/2 hours so there is a little time to knit. I thought I would start a pair of Pocketbook Slippers. This link is for the adult sized slippers but when I first found the pattern there was also a pattern for Wee Ones, which are the ones I knitted.

The slippers are so tiny that I managed to knit the first one and part of the second. Not bad for someone slow like me! The colour is rather off on my monitor - it is a really rich, deep red which I really love. I used some leftovers of Naturally Tussock, aran weight. I really like this wool and have used it for slippers before. I guess they don't look a lot like slippers but the foot goes in the space one of the "handles" makes and the ribbing on the bottom stretches to accomodate quite an amazing range of sizes. I intend making a pair in the adult size one of these days.

You may have noticed that I haven't said anything about the lovely wool/angora blend yarn I balled up and sampled recently. That is because I haven't even finished casting on for that yet! I am still afraid that I won't have enough yarn for my size. So I am procrastinating yet again! Yes, there is a story behind my procrastination habit - Many long years ago, when I started high school, I took Latin for the first two years (don't laugh! My mother made me do it - she wouldn't let me take french and typing like I wanted. I had to take french and latin instead). In the week we were expected to cover our exercise books so they would stay tidy. Of course, I didn't get around to doing it in time and had to write out lines - procrastination is the thief of time. Only, I had never heard of the word procrastination and didn't know what it meant. I thought that the teacher had said proscrastination is the theme of time! It has been ever since! Ha ha!

In the meanwhile, I have bought some pale pink mohair to make my daughter some fingerless
wristwarmers from Wendi Dunlap, a hat and a scarf (patterns still to be decided). A bit strange considering we are heading towards summer do I hear? A little, maybe, but my daughter is going on her OE to England in January - going from the middle of our NZ summer to the middle of an English winter! I don't think she really has any idea what it could be like. Being a good mother, I have been a little concerned about her ability to stay warm - hence the wristwarmers etc! I have finished the first wristwarmer and am about 1/4 of the way up the second. Photos later. I must say the first one is lovely and cosy!

On Saturday we will be going back up north for a double birthday celebration dinner for our son and his fiancee. Maybe more knitting will be done in the car on the way up. Time will tell!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In which I whinge just a bit!

Sorry, folks, if I have been "missing in action" for a few days. Sometimes life just gets in the way, for good or not so good.

Good news is that my youngest darling is now 20! We went up to see him, and the rest of the clan, on his birthday on Wednesday. Nice to catch up with them again. I really don't like not seeing the kids on their birthdays, hence the mid-week journey. There will be a "proper" celebration next Saturday as his fiancee turns 19 on the Friday so both families will have a get-together meal at a venue yet to be decided. Hopefully somewhere a little quieter than last year.

Not so good for me was the following day. It was one of those days where just about everything was (how can I put this politely?) absolute yuck! the last spinning meeting for the year was messy.

After that I had to go do my bit for a local non-profit organisation I have been connected with for the past 12 years or so. I have been the very-reluctant secretary there for the past three (?) years but I have never been happy with this position and have always felt, and constantly warned them, that someone else should be found for this position. I only took it on in the first place as a temporary fill-in.

But, I have decided - no more! I will not put up with public criticisms month after month. Like a stone beneath a dripping tap I have been worn away until I feel that I must put an end to this before my health suffers. Yes, it is a bad time of year to find a replacement (the work and meetings (and stress) carry on right through the holidays) but that will not be my problem.

All this has made for a decided lack in my spinning and knitting so I am sorry there are no photos as there has been no progress. (Oooh, I lie! I have made a tiny pair of slippers but I am not sure where the link is for the baby-size pair. They are really cute but you will have to wait for a photo.) Progress on the wool/angora jersey is halted at present. I am really amazed (and ashamed) at the number of stitches I need to get for my size and the gauge it has worked to for me. I really don't know if I will have enough yarn and I know I will not be able to get any more. So this has stalled before it really got anywhere. Maybe I should wait until I lose some weight? Yeah, right!

Maybe tomorrow I will be more in the mood for taking some photos of the latest fibres to come home with me. They aren't very exciting to look at but at least it would be something. Mind you, I guess I should be attending a working-bee at the above-mentioned organisation tomorrow. I'll see how I feel about them tomorrow.

So, until next time (when I will try very, very hard to be in a better mood!), cheerio folks!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A finished object at last!

Firstly, a huge thank you to all those who have left your kind comments here! I really get such a thrill that you have taken the time and trouble to wade through my ramblings. Being new to the blogging game, I am uncertain on the etiquette for comments - whether to answer each personally, off-screen or on. I have chosen not to answer individually (it is my blog after all, and I can set, or change, the rules!) but please know that I do read them all and appreciate each and every one! If this contravenes any unwritten blog-law, please let me know. I am, or try to be, a law-abiding citizen after all!

I haven't been totally non-fibrecrafty lately. No,
I have actually finished my long drawn-out Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt
They have taken me a fair while, not because they were difficult, but because I didn't feel like knitting much of the time. Not sure why, just couldn't be bothered. I'm sure you get like that sometimes, too. Anyway, here they are. I knitted them out of Opal sock yarn - Petticoat 1290. I'm not sure if I really like the colours myself (I tend to prefer blues, reds, pinks and purples) but I think my daughter, K, likes them so she may be the recipient. We have the same sized feet which makes it really easy to knit socks for her!

I am now playing around with a gorgeous, hand painted wool/angora blend yarn by Marnie Kelly of Touch Yarns here in NZ. It is soooo soft and really nice to knit with. I bought it at an Open Day held by another spinning group about 18 months ago. Marnie had a jersey (sweater/jumper/pullover/whatever!) on display with the pattern and yarn as a kit. But the pattern doesn't include a picture of the jersey! I can't really remember what it looked like apart from liking it. So this could be a rather wonderful journey for me!

I don't think the pattern sizes are quite large enough for me (no, I'm not HUGE - just a tad overweight :) ) so I was a very good girl and tried out a gauge swatch yesterday. Yes, I know, the cable on the left is wrong at the bottom - I wasn't reading the pattern correctly - but it is good enough to give me an idea if I can use this pattern. It calls for 300 gm of this yarn (see - it is sooo light and soft!) and I have 400 gm. Enough for some size leeway, do you think? I will give the sample a little bath and check the stitches per inch after that.

This pattern also calls for knitting the jersey in pieces. It shouldn't be too difficult to translate into the round. I really dislike seaming if I can get away with it. I may change the sleeve pattern, too, not too sure at this point. Will there be anything left of the original pattern? Probably enough that I won't claim it as my own, never fear!

I still have a pile of white mohair fleece I washed last week, along with another pile of black huacaya alpaca I washed as well, sitting in my "craft" room waiting for me to do something with them. Still heaps more to wash too. The mohair was a little disappointing - rather short and smelly, as only goat can be! I thought that maybe I could rainbow dye some and card it with something else. Wool of some kind, probably. I wonder if this would work? Kind of make little blobs of colour in the spun yarn.

I thought I would card up the alpaca with a little angora (I've had this sitting around for ages and after knitting with the Touch yarn I really want to try it out) and some sort of wool. I will try out a test batt, anyway, and see what I think about it. I have plenty of alpaca hanging around here to that I can "waste" some sampling. Boy, was it dirty, though! Must have really been having some good dust baths. If I didn't know better I could have sworn the dye was coming out - but it is a natural black colour!

One last thing, perhaps someone can tell me (a person with very little blog/computer knowledge!) how one goes about writing with a line through the letters (strikethrough). There doesn't seem to be a button or shortcut here. Just curious, and you never know when the knowledge may come in useful!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My adventures with Dad

The trip north with Dad went well if a little harrowing at the beginning. Dad wanted to go in his car, which was fine with me, but he also wanted to drive! Not good! With age and infirmity (among other things both hips have been replaced more than once and are very stiff due to lack of exercise) Dad is no longer a good driver. My sister, L, refuses to be a passenger in his car and always insists on driving!

I am not my sister and am not as "bossy" as she is! So Dad drove - sometimes in the centre and sometimes near the side of the road. Sometimes at 80 or 90 km and sometimes at 110 km! (By the way, the speed limit on the open road is 100 km) He wanted to put on his sunglasses so got me to hold the wheel while he did so. At one stage he got right up behind a vehicle and indicated to overtake. This was on a long corner and I could see cars coming towards us not far away! I nearly yelled at him!! I'm sure my blood pressure was nearly double normal - I KNOW my stress levels were mighty high!

But another thing about Dad - he doesn't like to negotiate a town he is unfamiliar with. About 10 minutes out of our destination he pulled to the side of the road and let me carry on. Big relief! So I carried on from there, not terribly happy driving a fairly unfamiliar and larger car than mine but the stress levels did begin to drop. We arrived safely.

Visited T, my eldest son. Sadly, his partner, S, and two daughters (my grandgirls!) weren't there as they are visiting S's mother for a few weeks awaiting the birth of a new nephew. But it was nice to catch up with T and make plans for his visit next weekend. It was then on to my other son, M, his fiancee R (yes! they got engaged last weekend!) and my daughter, K, who lives with them. Again great to catch up. They are all coming down next weekend (it is Guy Fawkes and we will be having a bbq, bonfire and fireworks as usual) but I think M and R will be staying at R's parents' place. But we will fit them in if we need to. Thank goodness for a large house!

After all the visiting it was time to head home. As it was about teatime Dad got me to stop off for a meal at an old favourite place of his. A reasonable meal for a good price - just a little noisy, though. Hard to hear Dad talking and I'm sure he couldn't hear me as he is rather deaf.

Back in the car after the meal (yay, I'm still driving!) do you think we could go straight home? Nah uh, not Dad! He is a long-time wanderer when it comes to outings in the car and this was no exception! "How would you like to go back through...?" So off the beaten track we went. Now keep in mind, people, that by this time the sun is very low in the sky and we were heading straight for it on a totally unfamiliar road. It was also extremely windy. Both my hands had to stay firmly on the wheel.

So we are driving down the road going goodness knows where! Even Dad couldn't remember when he had last been along that particular road. We ended up where we were headed, though. Going out through the other side of the town I had an inkling of where Dad's mind would be heading to. I was right! So we ended up visiting an old (well, she isn't really that old!) friend we had last seen probably three or four years ago. Lovely, friendly lady. Great to catch up with her.

Late leaving, though. Still half an hour to get back to where Dad lives and another half hour's drive for me after that. After 11 pm when I got in, tired and pleased to get home.

And am I getting on with my fibery goodness today? Not yet, but I did put a link to KRs webring on my sidebar! See it? I actually did it! Just hope it works, now.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No fibre for me today!

Sorry, no pics today. I was to have had a lovely, long weekend to myself doing all sorts of fibery things while my DH went to the car racing. But no, it looks as if that is not to be - my Dad, thinking that I would be lonely, has invited me for lunch today and then wants to go north to see the kids.

Sigh! I love my Dad - but I had the whole weekend planned! I could get out of it, but I don't think I will. At a fairly frail 81 you never know where life will take him, so I don't really want to miss the opportunity to spend time with him or deny him of time spent with his grandkids.

So, a-travelling I will go. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to spend time with the alpaca I washed a couple of days ago. More on that next time!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Strong Fleece Challenge

As promised here are the photos of the project our whole spinners and weavers group got behind early this year.

The NZ Creative Fibre Festival this year included a strong wool fleece challenge where groups entered articles made from a strong fleece - the one chosen by our Area was Border Leicester. As you can see from the above photo we had a great time together combing, spinning and plying the fleece which had previously been washed by moi. Once the wool had been plied I took it all home and looked at it for a while. After about a week of cold, rainy weather (this was meant to be late summer!) all I could think of was Spring - so spring colours this yarn became. Daffodil colours, in fact!

The clubs in our Area had decided that each club would make a cushion (easier for the delegate to squash into her luggage to take to the Festival). To save on construction time I conscripted one of our ladies to weave the back for the cushion, leaving the decision on the type of weave up to her. She chose to use a twill weave and stripe the colours across it with the pale yellow as the base.

To be on the safe side she asked me to dye another skein of this colour, as she wasn’t sure there would be enough. Out came the dyepot again – thank goodness I took notes the first time! The skein came out exactly the same shade as the original – even I was shocked!

It was then time for the other ladies to start working on the front of the cushion. To include as many as possible I had thought to construct this piece in a scrumble/freeform fashion. Having never knitted anything like this before, there was a little scepticism at first but once it was started the ladies actually enjoying working on it and the cushion quickly took shape.

Once it was roughly the dimensions I had asked for, I joined the cushion pieces together. Not the simple job I had first thought, though! I had been going to join it all together with an attached I-cord but, for some unknown reason, the edges showed through the I-cord stitches. Not nice at all. Instead, I knitted a stst border on the front and sewed it on the back. Time was getting very short, so I am not that pleased with the quality of this part. Too bad, at least it did get finished just in time.

Enjoyable though it all was, I don’t think our group will be in a hurry to take part in another Challenge too soon!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My first post! Wow, I can hardly believe that I will actually have a blog. I wonder if I will ever have anything to say that anyone will actually want to read. Never mind - here goes...

To introduce myself - I am married with 3 grownup children and two beautiful little granddaughters. I am privileged to live in a small rural town nestled into the South Island (the mainland!) of New Zealand.

My fibre-loves (since that is what I have created this blog for) are mainly spinning and knitting. I have dabbled a little in weaving in the past but it isn't really for me at this stage. In fact in the dim, distant past I have dabbled in many different crafts but that, my blogland friends, is another story for another day.

I belong to (am actually president of) the local spinners and weavers group. This is a fairly small group of mainly older ladies - I can safely say that I am the youngest member at present. Most are reasonably active in the group but as they age (average age, apart from me, would probably be about 68 or more) they are becoming more content with doing the same old thing. Very difficult to come up with new and varied ideas. They really are sweeties, though! And when there is a project to do they do get behind it. If I can work it out I will post photos one day soon of what the group did this year as a challenge.

But I think that is enough from me for now. Time for me to go and finish Mona Schmidt's Embossed Leaves Socks from the Winter 2005 Spin Off. Just the toes to go. I may even treat you to a photo of these, too, soon! Cheerio for now!