Monday, December 03, 2007

Twinkle, twinkle little star...

December already and tomorrow it will be only three weeks until Christmas! Am I in the festive mood? No, even though there has been a little Christmas activity going on here. Knitted Christmas decorations, no less.

At the top are three little twinkling stars knitted from this pattern. They are rather cute, only aobut 5 cm from point to point, and take so little time to knit. There are only five rows, knitted flat with a tiny seam to sew up. In my stash inherited from my late mother-in-law there was some white acrylic with a lurex thread plied with it - Sirdar's Super Prelude which has been long discontinued I would imagine. No way would I want to wear this, it being rather scratchy and just not me, but it was just what I needed for these stars. Knitting up as a 4 ply I have made these three dainty little stars so far. More may follow. I may adjust the pattern slightly and make one or two larger stars as well. Perhaps.

Why am I knitting stars? Not for our Christmas tree, although they may make an appearance on there as well, but for a tree our Spinners and Weavers group are entering in a local competition. Not because we think ours will be the best but to lift our profile a little. Every bit of publicity counts. A lot of decorations were made for our Open Day in May but I have since found out that some of these have been given away (!!!) even though members should have known about this competition. So, in case we are short of decorations, I have been busy.

The other two photos are of a simple kumihimo braid also destined for this tree. All members at the last meeting were given 7 lengths of yarn to make these braids to add a bit of cohesiveness (and traditional Christmas colour) to the tree. Kumihimo, I have decided, is not my favourite occupation but this braid was simple enough and made up fairly quickly. At least it is now done and not waiting for me to make it at the last possible minute as I usually do!

Last weekend was the local A & P (Agricultural and Pastoral) Show. Again to keep up our profile, the Spinners and Weavers had a very small display in one of the tents (a rather out-of-the-way tent, unfortunately). Three of our members, including myself, sat with the table throughout the day. Not a totally wasted day as this is what I accomplished while I was there. The best part, though, was meeting Stella and her two children! This is the second time I have had the pleasure of physically meeting someone I have got to know online - both lovely ladies.

Through the week I also finished knitting the pieces for the Cabled Baby Jacket. Back, sleeves and fronts are finished with the front bands now needing to be picked up and knitted on before sewing up.

You may notice that I have chosen to use a tubular cast on for the bottom bands. I am hoping this will look neater, and be a softer edging, than my usual longtail cast on. I used a provisional cast on for the fronts as the front band is picked up along the curve at the bottom. Of course, I didn't realise this at the beginning (does anyone else not read the entire pattern before launching into the knitting?) so maybe I now need to research into the best cast off to match the tubular cast on.

There were other events which occupied me over the last week - a family dinner to celebrate several birthdays, the Rose Festival and D's birthday as well as the end-of-year lunch with our Spinners and Weavers group. Tonight is another dinner out - with friends, this time. Another birthday celebration. There seem to be an extraordinary number of family-and-friend birthdays during November/December as it is our Grandgirl, L's, birthday on Thursday as well. She will be a whole two this time! We'll celebrate this one with a bbq in Ashb on Saturday. It looks as if the busy times will still be here for a while!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Are you a "thinking" knitter?

A very interesting, and thought-provoking, post on knit, knit,frog today about being a "thinking (or fussy!) knitter" and what has caused the author to become the way she is. I, personally, am not quite there yet.

I learned to knit when I was a child, taught by my mother. There were no knitting books available to me apart from instructions, although I'm not certain I had access to these at this stage. I was taught one way of casting on (long-tail using my thumb - although it didn't have a name, to my knowledge), one way of holding the yarn (right-handed) and one way of casting off. I did hold the needles differently to my mother and I also threw the yarn differently ( I still can't throw the yarn without taking my hand off the right needle no matter how hard I try! Am I slightly physically different?) but otherwise I knitted the same.

Until the internet! To repeat what millions of others must have already stated but it is amazing how a single piece of technology (I use the word "single" rather loosely here) has revolutionised the whole world! I now have access to a huge range of outside influences when it comes to knitting. Who knew there were so many other styles of knitting in practise throughout the world? I didn't. Who knew there was more than one way to increase, decrease, cast on, cast off etc? I didn't. But now, I do! I am learning, slowly, that maybe the way I have been used to knitting for the past ? years is perhaps not the best/most appropriate method for this particular article.

What I did know was that I had not always been totally happy with the work I had been producing but I had not known how to do it better. Now the answers are only as far away as my fingertips. My knitting library has grown in leaps and bounds since I discovered Knitter's Review and Amazon. Instead of simply a good range of patterns and pattern books I now own an interesting collection of how-to books and what-if books. I have now been introduced to knitters such as Elizabeth Zimmermann, Cat Bordhi, Nicky Epstein and Montse Stanley. I am beginning to not accept my knitting which is "ok", knowing there is a way to make it excellent.

For me, my knitting journey has barely begun!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Mmmhmm, me all over! Putting off what I should be doing, writing minutes, re-hashing a newsletter and finishing off a pamphlet - not to mention the ever-present housework and grocery shopping! But it is chilly today with numerous, short, sharp southerly showers coming through. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

I thought and thought and thought some more about the Cabled Baby Jacket, or, more correctly, the colours I originally chose, and finally invited the Frog in for a little party over the weekend. I will use the bright pink and the blue-violet for something else (or, more accurately, some things else) in the future.

Instead, I bought some pastel pink Cleckheaton Cocoon and have knitted up one sleeve and have started on the next. It is rather unusual for me to be using the yarn the pattern calls for, but that is what was available in the LYS I was in when I made the decision. It is quite a nice colour, maybe a little paler than the photo shows with a decidedly blue lean to it. The yarn is lovely and soft but not my first choice as it is 30% acrylic. Call me a yarn snob but I really do prefer natural fibres. Most of the time. But, whatever. It is what was there so what I bought.

I have finished a couple of small things since I last posted. First up was the pair of Pocketbook Slippers mentioned last time. (A totally horrid photo but what can one do when no-one else is around to help one take a photo?) I guess these are ok for what they are but I don't think I would make the adult size again unless I really wasn't sure of the size of the foot. These really only just fit me so will be just the same on K. Maybe they'll shrink a little with further washing?

The other items I knit, started and finished, since the last post was a pair of Fetching fingerless mittens from Knitty. These were also for K's parcel but, and I hang my head in shame here, I totally forgot to take a photo of them! But they were black so probably would not have photographed well anyway. I made these from some black, probably wool, yarn from my stash. No label so I have no idea what it was. They knitted up well and, apart from a little gaping at the cast off around the top, turned out quite nicely. A pattern I would probably knit again one day.

Speaking of my stash, I wonder how many others have one like it? Much of my yarn stash is made up, not of useful amounts of any one yarn, but mainly of odd balls left over from long-finished projects. Most is not originally mine. Some comes from my late mother when she gave up knitting after her eyesight began to fail. Most of the stash, however, belonged to my late mother-in-law who used to make a lot of crocheted rugs for charity. She must have used a lot of mohair or brushed acrylic-type yarn as well as there seems to be a preponderence of this type of yarn. Not my favourite and mostly not colours I would choose. But most of it could be useful at some stage and my Scottish heritage won't allow me to throw much of it away. (I've tried giving some away but that hasn't been entirely successful, either!) Quite a problem as I have two 60 litre tubs of it! So, I was quite pleased to use up one small ball on these mittens.

Another reason for my procrastination today is that I am a little annoyed with how things have been turning out for me lately. I had recently made careful plans to rid myself of three responsibilties which weighed a little heavily on me at times - mostly because they often seemed to all come at once. But the old saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men came true once again. One of these responsibilities I have finally managed to offload - but only after three months of frustration. The second, I have had to shoulder for one more year. This isn't too bad in itself and there is light at the end of the tunnel for this one. The third, due to be offloaded last night, was also frustrated! The person I understood to take over from me had elected to take on someone else's position. Fortunately, another came in to help but, at the moment, is only taking on part of the responsibilities leaving me with, perhaps, the more fiddly part. Patience. I must practise patience. This, too, will pass as they say.
But we did have a celebration in our family last week - our youngest son turned 21! Happy birthday, M, for last Thursday! He doesn't normally look quite so much like a skinhead but had recently shaved his hair for "Movember" (a charity fund-raiser), or some such thing. He has done this a couple of times in the past for CanTeen week, too. Fortunately his hair doesn't take long to grow back!
So that is me caught up with for now. Time for me to get something productive done before the day gets any older!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Some progress

I cast on something new again this weekend - a pair of Pocketbook Slippers for K. Winter is coming on there and I want to know that she has something warm and cosy to put on when she finishes work. The Christmas surface mail is due this coming Saturday hence the quick knit. There is still something more I want to add to her parcel but time will tell if I can get that done. Sorry about the lousy photo - the lighting was dreadful and I'm not searching for a better position at the moment. The actual yarn is a little less electric looking, but still rather bright! Medium blue, turquoise, magenta and purple variegated. Fine for slippers but not something I would wear in any larger amounts! It is actually a mohair boucle - so wasn't the easiest to knit with. The seams still need to be sewn and the buttons attached. When that has been done I will try and get a better photo if I have time.

I started another sample for the Baby Cabled Jacket this time doing a corrugated rib. I'm still not certain I like it - I guess that is why it is still sitting next to me on the computer table untouched for several days. This photo shows the colours really badly, too. The violet-blue shows here as much more denimy than it really is. The pink is also not as red as in this photo. I may try a third time (isn't three times meant to be the charm?) and cast on with the pink then go straight into the blue. Maybe that is all that will be needed. We are going to Ashb on Thursday for our son's 21st (yes my baby will be 21!!!) so I will take my efforts up there for their approval - or not. After all, it is their baby the jacket is for.

The weather here has finally packed up after quite a good run of nice, warm weather. It is supposed to rain for the next 3 days so maybe I will be able to get a little more knitting done without feeling guilty for not getting work done in the garden. Spinning is calling too - I really do want to get that coloured roving finished and out of the way.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What have I been up to?

Hmmm...Ravelry has been eating has been eating a reasonable portion of my time lately! Yes, I'm in and slowly getting to grips with the place. My name there is KathyR (what else?!) if you are interested in finding me.

But I have been busy knitting, too. I finished the sleeves of a baby singlet which I had started, well, a couple of years ago! It is Margaret Stove's pattern in a Heritage Collection leaflet. I used 3 ply baby wool so it should fit a baby up to about a year old. I have used this pattern before to make a smaller vest (I must have used 2 ply wool then) and ws really pleased with it. The pattern is really easy (I knitted it in the round) but quite cute. Lots of side ways stretch, too.

I also finished the Baby Surprise Jacket along with a tiny pair of Saartje's Bootees. These were made out of Cleckheaton Merino Bambino 4 ply. This is a really soft, machine washable woollen yarn but I did find it split quite often so I needed to be careful while knitting with it. I was really pleased with the results. I just hope the little ruffle around the neck isn't too reminiscent of a clown's collar! I wanted something that was more girly than a plain collar. I really love the little bootees, too. Both should fit an average newborn.

I have also cast on for a cabled jacket to fit a 3 month old. I was at a LYS looking for yarn to make a little cardigan from the Dale of Norway pattern book I bought a while back but I didn't find any in the colours I wanted. Also, this pattern book seems to call for really fine yarn - 2 ply, maybe - as all the garments are knitted with 2mm and 2.5mm. If I wanted anything other than white I would have to dye it first. So I kept on looking (as you do!) and noticed a Cleckheaton pattern book (# 951) with really cute baby patterns in it and bought it. All of these patterns called for 4 ply wool of which I had a small supply - don't you love using stash yarn? Of course I did need to supplement with another 2 balls, but that's ok! I wanted to make something a little brighter than the normal pale baby colours but the bright pink on its own was rather loud! I chose, instead, to make the jacket in a blue-violet with the bright pink for the ribbing. I'm not certain how much I like it though. Maybe I should have done corrugated ribbing using both colours. I'll think about it. It would be even better if I could get M and R's opinion on it. After all, it is for their baby!

In the meantime my DH, D, is still slowly getting through the tests to see if he has a blockage in the veins/arteries in his legs. More tests next week and an appointment with the specialist the following week. It is a real nark getting older and the body breaking down little by little.

The spinning year is coming to an end next month with our final meeting and then our Christmas outing at the end of November. Hard to think that the year is fast coming to an end but we have been quite busy this year for a change. Things are slowly coming together for the Festival in 2009, as well. More hard work to do next year for it. I have been spinning a little every now and again but progress there is slow. One day I may even get around to taking photos of the skeins already spun and post them here!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dear Blog...

...Please accept my sincerest apologies for neglecting you for so long. I did not mean to, but things (real life) sometimes get in the way as they have this month. I mean, have you looked at my calendar lately? There has hardly been a day where I haven't needed to be somewhere, doing something, or at home, doing something else! In the future I will try to be a better blogger - but I will not promise.

Yours sincerely

Yes, I have been a very bad blogger recently, but I have not been idle! Spinning, knitting and family life have figured greatly during the last few weeks. First up, knitting. No more progress has been made on Mermaid but I do have a FO! I have started, and finished (well, almost, maybe) an EZ Baby Surprise Jacket (as yet, unblocked) for our little grandgirl due in January. I made it out of 3 balls (75grams) of Cleckheaton Merino bambino 4 ply (yes, I know, Aussie wool. What can I say?). It is beautifully soft but only measures 35 cm (14") around the chest so will definitely be a newborn size. A pity, as January-February is not usually a cool time of year. I guess to make a larger size I would need to use DK weight yarn, not what I really like for a young baby.

Didn't I do well with the seam? Well, I'm pleased with it at any rate and, when it comes down to it, that is all that matters! I have never done mattress stitch before so that is what the fuss is all about. I still need to find some buttons as well as decide about the neckline. There is only a very little bit of yarn left from the 3 balls, probably not enough to make a little collar (picot edging, ruffle - I haven't decided yet). I don't mind buying another ball, though, as I could then make a little pair of booties or socks to match. I had considered making the neck edging in lavender or aqua to match but I don't think I will do that. Maybe if I had put in a stripe or two of it but I didn't as I had wanted to make one as the "pattern" reads. By the way, my thanks go to Dawn Adcock for her very helpful notes!

On the spinning front, I attended the first day of a very worthwhile silk spinning course tutored by Priscilla Lowry (no website to my knowledge). I have not had much experience at all at spinning silk and Priscilla very ably introduced us all to this fascinating fibre. We spun up small samples of both tussah and bombyx mori silk as well as degummed cocoons, yellow cocoon strippings, throwsters waste and mowata cap. No photos yet - I forgot! One interesting tip Priscilla told us was to NOT put on handcream just before spinning the silk! Apparently, once the silk yarn has been washed and knitted grey streaks will appear which will never come out.

We also were treated to having a close look at a number of garments which Priscilla has spun, designed and knitted. These garments were really beautiful. Again, I am sorry that I have no photos of these. I didn't think to take my camera to the course and I do regret that now.

For more of your viewing pleasure, I thought I would include a photo of a skein of yarn I spun quite a while ago. It comes from Hallblacks and is a blend of merino (or possibly halfbred, I'm not sure now) and silk which was gilled after carding. While not particularly well-spun it is nevertheless to-die-for soft! It will probably end up as a scarf but I may dye it as the colour is not one I can really wear near my face.

Familywise, we had the grandgirls to stay for a weekend again! Lots of fun, with a trip to the park to see the wallabies and play on the swings etc. D put up a small tent on the lawn for them to play in which they seemed to find exciting. All in all it was a delightful visit with them!

So that about fills in all I will talk about this time around. You can see that my lack of posting did not equate with a lack of progress craftwise!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mermaid Progress

Yes, I have been making a little progress on Mermaid since I last posted here - almost to the gusset at the centre back. I am enjoying this knitting but I don't knit on it every night - just when I feel in the mood for it. I hope the finished article is worth all the time and effort spent on it! Apart from the pattern being a little vague at times (I'm not having too many problems with it, fortunately) it is taking ages as a) I am not a fast knitter, and b) it uses a fairly fine yarn and needles - 3mm. I really like the way the gussets give it shape. Very clever.

I haven't been doing any other knitting apart from Mermaid. Very single-minded for a change! But that can't last for long as there will be a new little grand-girl to knit for shortly! I have so many ideas but haven't settled on anything yet. Perhaps I had better finish the sleeves of the singlet first.

Spinning has been coming along slowly with two skeins of the multi-coloured rovings plied up. No photos yet cos I forgot! I have also had several books arrive in the mail lately from Amazon. Presents to me, from me! More on those another time.

Next week is our big week in the pellet fire saga. I applied to the Disputes Tribunal for a hearing and it is set for Tuesday. Hopefully the situation will then be able to be resolved and the fire either replaced or taken away and refunded. I took temperature readings of ours (with the thermometer I use in dyeing as it can take quite high temperatures!) and compared them with readings I took of one which is working well. There is a difference of about 20C between the tow on high and 10C on low. Ours is the lowest reading in both cases. Doesn't this alone say something? More on this when the "verdict" is in.

It has been so nice lately to watch Spring start to come. The days are longer and warmer - we see a lot more sun than we had been. Blossom and flowers are starting to open and the birds are starting t build their nests. A few days ago I enjoyed watching a thrush collecting beakfuls of long grass (yes, our lawns need mowing too!) and fly away with them, presumably to her nest. I love Spring - can you tell? But what am I doing here when I could be outside enjoying the sunshine? See you...!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Finished, at last!

Oooo, doesn't time fly! It is now over a week since the Grandgirls visited and I finally got photos of L's finished jersey. Not a good photo as the days have been nice and sunny lately (yay! Spring's here at last!) but you can sort of see what it ended up like. I am not very happy with some of the weaving in of colours but not unhappy enough to do anything more about it. Off the body, the neckline looks a little stretched at the edge but it goes over L's head really easily, which is what I wanted. Nothing makes kids hate jerseys quicker than one that they have to force their head through! I used a needle 2 or 3 sizes larger than the one I was ribbing with to cast off and used a stretchy cast off as well.

As you can see there is a little room for growth in the finished jersey. I was planning for this as there shouldn't be a lot more jersey-wearing days left in the season so I was hoping L would be able to wear it next year as well. It isn't a terribly good photo of L, or the jersey, as I had to take it quickly. When H, L's older sister, sees a camera she wants to be in the photo! Not easy to take one of L without H! It is amazing how quickly these little ones grow - it doesn't seem that long ago when she was crawling around. She definitely has her own little personality - she doesn't say many words yet but certainly understands everything we say to her!

Since finishing this jersey I have been working on Mermaid. The first front is finished and I am now partway across the back. Photos to come when I can find the right lighting for it (and time, of course). As it is a fairly fine knit (3mm circular needle) it is slow going but not too bad. I don't mind working in garter stitch as I mainly knit while watching tv at night. Not a good thing for me to try working a complicated pattern when I am tired. The knitting is straightforward but Hanne's pattern is a little challenging to decipher at times. Very clever, though.

Spinning has been progressing slowly with another skein plied and many more to go. I will probably take my wheel to our "weaving" day this week (originally the fifth Thursday in the month was set aside for the weavers but, now that there are not many willing to cart around their portable, but heavy, looms, the day has been opened to anyone) so may get some more accomplished then.

Stell, thanks for the suggestions for the boucle jersey. It is still sitting in a corner of the cupboard in disgrace - I will think some more about it another day, probably at Tara!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A month later!

Has it really been a whole month since my last post?!! What has happened since then, I wonder?

In knitting, I finished L's little slip-stitch jersey (yes, I haven't yet converted to americanisms, Stell!) and gave it to her last weekend. I haven't seen it on, yet, so no photos. Yes, bad blogger that I am I forgot to take one of it before we took it up to her. But, all going well, the two little girls will be with us for the weekend so just maybe I can get the camera out! The jersey is nowhere near perfect, but it will just have to do. I must learn to weave yarns in better as one or two show on the right side. Darn. But lesson learned, I will NOT use two or more colours at once in the round unless they go all the way around!

I tried going back to the circular, raglan-sleeved, v-necked, variegated boucle jersey I put away from me in disgust many moons ago but as I looked at it I didn't have the heart. I messed up the decreases in the raglans and need to rip it back. Not a problem but I also was fast running out of yarn and, no matter how fast I knit, there wouldn't be enough to finish it and I will not be able to get any more. Also, looking at it, I felt totally out-of-love with the whole thing! I put it away again until I can think of another approach. Probably will end up frogging the whole thing. Double damn!

So, being the good little knitter that I am (who do I think I am kidding here??) I pulled out yet another UFO - this time it was the Mermaid I started goodnessknowswhen. I had already done a little ripping on it and I was able to find my way back to where I was in the directions. I was only halfway through the first gusset so not very far through at all. I am now past the second gusset and halfway into the following striped section so a little bit of progress has been made. I am quite enjoying working on this at the moment as long as I have good lighting.

I even worked on a little spinning again this week - I plied up a bobbin of some coloured rovings (yes, there are two different ones I am plying together) which I don't seem to have a photo of. You will have to wait patiently for that too! More plying to go (I have four bobbins needing to be plied together).

On the work front, things are coming together. A replacement has been found and time will tell if he is reliable. Soon, I hope, I will be able to hand everything over to him. That will be very nice!

Our pellet fire is continuing to under-function despite a "technical expert" from the supplier coming to have a look at it and announce it was working perfectly! Why do we need to have the heat setting so high when others are perfectly warm with the fire set on low? I have tried to get the company to take the fire back and refund the cost as per the Consumer Guarantees Act but the amount they offered was laughable. I have therefore put in a claim to the Disputes Tribunal so we will see what happens in about a month's time.

That brings us more or less up-to-date with what is going on in my life at the moment. Maybe next time there will be pictures!

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm Still Around!

I am still here, in case anyone as wondering. I haven't really been hiding, just not posting for a multitude of reasons most of which I won't go into here.

I have been busy, sort of. I have been writing letters and making lots of phonecalls trying to sort out the problems with our pellet fire. According to the supplier's experts, our fire is problem-free! Why isn't it heating our home the way other people's pellet fires do? I don't know, but the upshot is it at this stage, it looks as if the fire will be going back and we will be refunded some money. How much, I don't know. Probably not enough to cover the full cost of buying a new log burner and putting it in. Funny thing is, today the fire is the hottest it has been yet! At the same setting we've been using. And on the nicest day we've had for a while. Ah well, such is life!

Another thing happening in my life is that I resigned from my "little" job. Technically, this job is supposed to only take about 15-20 hours per month. In reality it is a fair bit more some months, especially when you take into account the time spent in meetings. I have been doing this job (as a favour as no-one else would take it on) for over three years now and have been involved with where I'm employed for about 10 years. Time to take a break as my stress levels, at times, have been too high. Just me, really. I won't cut all ties with them, just the employment side. No-one has applied for the job, yet, despite it being advertised. I will not carry on past August, I will not carry on past August is my mantra!

Spinners and Weavers group has been fun lately with felting being the focus this month. No photos of my work here as it isn't quite finished. We all made little needle books as well as a piece of felt which gets cut to make into a little folded box big enough to take a small piece of jewellery or small cake of soap. It would make a sweet package for a tiny gift.

I have been doing a little knitting recently. I finished H's handspun top-down jersey and it even fits, as you can see! The neck is a little sloppier than I wpuld like but not enough to bother undoing it, especially as a little girl was watching me finish it for her!

I am still working on the jersey for L. This has proved to be more of a challenge than I first thought! Note to self: no more working in the round with alternating block of colours. I found instructions in IK Fall 2003 for intarsia in the round so the jersey is now back on track after stalling for some time. This method is not particularly neat, but it is easier than the breaking off, and weaving in, of the colours as I had been doing. Below you can see the progress I had made until I stalled.

The body pattern is made up of four rows of one colour. On the first two rows every fourth stitch is slipped so that the previous colour is introduced into those rows. Looks, and sounds, more complicated than it really is. I felt that the jersey woudl look too busy if the same pattern was used for the sleeves as well, so I decided to make them plain. That is where the problems came in. Fine if it was knitted flat, but I was knitting in the round, so each round has one sleeve a different colour than the rest of the row. Next time I'll think further ahead. Hopefully!

Tomorrow we are due to go and see the little darlings. Will the jersey be finished? I don't know. I will have an hour and a half to knit on the journey, though. That should help.

My Five Factor Personality Factor

Thanks to Smariek:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile
You have low extroversion. You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.
You have medium conscientiousness.You're generally good at balancing work and play.When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.
You have high agreeableness.You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.
You have low neuroticism.You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.
Openness to experience:
Your openness to new experiences is low.You're a pretty conservative person, and you favor what's socially acceptable.You think that change for novelty's sake is a very bad idea.While some may see this as boring, many see you as dependable and wise.
The Five Factor Personality Test

Scarily on target for the most part!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A meme for you to enjoy

A meme from Joyce Makes Art:

#1 Is it about the finished item or about the process of knitting? Some of both? Has your focus changed one direction or the other over time?

#2 How do you view mistakes? Do you think they give your project character? Is it important to have one, as my Aunt says, because only God is perfect? Or would you rip all the way back to row 5 of your husband's finished sweater knit on size 3 needles to eradicate a mistake no one else would notice?

#3 Would you rather knit a project that is comfortable for your skill level, or do you prefer a challenge that requires you to figure out new things?

#4 What is something you really want to make but haven't yet? What holds you back? Is it money, skill level, time, fear of the unknown or something else?

After you answer, please link to your blog in the comments so I can go and read and see what your thoughts are!

I don't usually take part in these but this one was quite interesting so here goes:

#1 Is it about the finished item or about the process of knitting? Some of both? Has your focus changed one direction or the other over time?

I first knitted because I enjoyed doing it (process, I guess). When I started a family, having a very limited income, knitting (and sewing) was a way of providing clothes for my family at a reduced cost, clothes being expensive then and wool not so much. Nowadays, still on a budget (!!) clothes are cheaper than they used to be but yarn not so much. I still enjoy having the finished product (when I do finish something and it fits!) for myself or, more and more often for a gift, but I still also enjoy the process. A long way of saying - a bit of both!

#2 How do you view mistakes? Do you think they give your project character? Is it important to have one, as my Aunt says, because only God is perfect? Or would you rip all the way back to row 5 of your husband's finished sweater knit on size 3 needles to eradicate a mistake no one else would notice?

Mistakes - I loathe them! But sometimes I can, and do, ignore them. I have always managed to fudge a mistake if it was one too many or too few stitches in a row. Something more noticeable, such as a cable going the wrong way or a purl stitch where a knit one should be I would be more likely to frog back (or down the line of stitches) and fix. To prove that, look back and see the number of times I frogged and redid the Oslo-Cairo hat! I am not of the belief it is important to include a mistake to prove only God is perfect. I have never held the mistken belief that I am perfect and am too fond of showing others my faults (in my life as well as my knitting) if they haven't already noticed them!

#3 Would you rather knit a project that is comfortable for your skill level, or do you prefer a challenge that requires you to figure out new things?

I am a believer in moderation in all things! I like to eat vegetables as well as chocolate. Beside my bed I keep non-fiction, reference-type reading (usually knitting or spinning) as well as entertainment-type lighter reading material (a novel). I have more challenging knitting projects on hand for times when this is desired as well as simpler, easy-to-knit-while-watching-tv type knitting.

#4 What is something you really want to make but haven't yet? What holds you back? Is it money, skill level, time, fear of the unknown or something else?

Where to start! In my cupboard I have a Hanne Falkenburg Mermaid which I have started but put down months ago because I made a mistake and need to frog back. Maybe the actual knitting of this isn't challenging, but interpreting and following the instructions is, a little. I guess time does hold me back to a certain extent, or rather, time I want to devote entirely to sitting down and concentrate solely on my knitting. That, and not knowing exactly what size the finished product will be and not wanting to blow it by making the wrong size.

So, there are my answers. What are yours? Please put a link to your blog in my comments so I can learn more about you!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I knew I could be expensive to run!

A little lighthearted quiz I found on C's blog:
You Are a Ring Finger

You are romantic, expressive, and hopeful. You see the best in everything.
You are very artistic, and you see the world as your canvas. You are also drawn to the written word.
Inventive and unique, you are often away in your own inner world.

You get along well with: The Pinky

Stay away from: The Index Finger

This week has been a fairly busy week in many aspects of my life including the fibre part. On Monday, two ladies from our spinning group travelled with me to the Ashburton Open Day. This day is especially fun as they usually have a number of interesting traders. This year was no exception!
Last year I took a "shopping list" with me and came home with nearly everything on the list. This year I went with an open mind - not really wanting to shop and definitely not needing to! I failed. What you see here is 500gm of Chilko Fibres (sorry, no website) carded sliver in the Manapouri colourway. This sliver is actually darker than the photo shows and is a mix of light, medium and dark blues and greeny-blues. Rather nice and destined to be spun up sometimeinthefuture and plied with something, which will probably be a dark blue, and knitted into a jersey for my husband. He deserves something warm and, well, pretty. In a masculine kind of way, of course!

Yesterday was our monthly spinning group meeting. To do something different, this month we invited two ladies to the group to teach us to weave a kete (kit or bag) from NZ flax. I had made one kete* a couple of years ago but, as there were no written instructions, I could not remember exactly how. I soon remembered and was surprised at just how quickly I managed to finish this one, the first taking the whole afternoon! It is only small, about 12cm x 16cm (4 1/2in x 6in) but still a little bigger than my first effort.

According to Maori custom (kete of all shapes and sizes were used for many things including food baskets) the first kete you make should be given away. I didn't want to give my first one away until I had made another so yesterday I gave my first to one of the ladies teaching us.

The other strange object in the photo is a flax flower I made at the end of the class. I'm not too fond of these flowers, at least the ones I have made, but they are quite fun and quick to make. Both the flower and the kete will dry to a golden beige colour and will shrink somewhat as flax curls as it dries.

Knitting has been progressing but not what you have seen on here previously! I started making a top-down raglan for our youngest Grandgirl from some wool I had spun up, originally for our daughter, years ago. I wasn't too thrilled with the yarn when it was done as I thought it looked a little loud and colourful and young for her. So it has sat in a bag for a number of years. Some I have already made into a child's jersey. But there was more left. Even though I checked my tension as I knitted, the jersey I started last week was looking as if it would be a little big for the youngest. Never mind, if it doesn't fit her it should fit her older sister! Only about 10 rows of the sleeve and the sleeve ribbing as well as the neckband to go and it will be finished. Who said I couldn't knit something up fast! Photos another day.

With that, I think it is time to feed the guinea pigs and start looking in the cupboards to see what I can make for tea.

* Edited to add: kete is pronounced with two syllables, both e's sounding like the e in let.

Monday, June 04, 2007

4 June - Mum

In Memory


Rosina Gladys Taylor

(30 January 1924 - 4 June 2004)

Three years ago this morning I was woken up by the telephone ringing. It was a phone call I had been expecting - but dreading. The Hospice was ringing to tell me my Mum had passed away at 5.30 that morning.

Six months previously, Mum had been diagnosed with lung cancer even though she had given up smoking more than 20 years previously. By the time she finally relented and had gone to see a doctor (she was very proud to have not seen a doctor for probably ten years or more, despite our pleadings!) the cancer had spread to her liver. She was given a short round of radiation therapy which slowed the insidious growth but didn't stop it.

Mum may have lost her physical battle but her memory stills lives on.

Three months before she died, Mum was so proud to have been able to hold her very first grandchild. That day brought much pleasure to her as she had been so proud of all four of her grandchildren as well as her two daughters.

As our children were growing up, Mum had been such a help to us. We lived just around the corner from my parents so our two eldest were able to see Mum often. On their way home from school these two would call in to see her nearly every day. I would get a phone call to say "Mum, we're at Grandma's. Can we stay a while, please?". Mum would toast the sandwiches from their lunches (which were never eaten at lunchtime) before giving them a "white thing" (an icecream - my son didn't like coming right out to ask for something. He would sidle up to Grandma and ask "Grandma, could we have a white thing?" When our youngest boy was a little older his brother would always get him to do the asking!) The ice cream would come out of the freezer and the cones from the cupboard. Cake decorating lollies would always be sprinkled on the top for them.

Before our youngest went to school we moved 30 minutes out of town. Mum and Dad would come down for a day most weekends to spend time with us all. She often did my ironing (one of my least favourite chores) while she was there. Mum also enjoyed walking around the few acres we had, looking at anything new we had done and just soaking up the peace and quiet of the place.

Not long before she died, we moved once again - same town but off the land we had. Mum was never well enough to see this house but I think she would have approved.

Mum had always supported me in the various crafts I tried out over the years. It was her who first taught me to knit when I was about seven and I made a pair of slippers for a Brownie badge (I may have been younger when I first learned but this was the first item I made). When I wanted to attempt knitting a jersey Mum helped me choose the wool and pattern from the shop. She knitted the front and sleeves while I knitted the back. It actually turned out well and I wore that jersey quite a lot.

Mum wouldn't teach me to crochet, however! She didn't like it, I think, so I had to learn from a book. Many years later, she bought me a loom when I wanted to weave. I still have this loom now, even though I seldom use it.

She was proud of my spinning, also, especially when I knitted her a shawl from my handspun yarn. That shawl kept her warm and cosy while she sat up in bed when she finally became bedridden. I have that shawl now and I love to hug it to me and feel that Mum is a little closer once again.

Over the years, Mum had done so much to help us out. In my heart, I have named our house partly after her (one day a name-plaque will be put up to make it official!). And, in case anyone has wondered in the past where the name of my blog has come from, now you know!

Mum, this post is dedicated to your memory. I love you and miss you so much.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Boring, but a little news!

Heck, it has been nearly two weeks since my last post! Where has the time gone? I have been busy but with nothing really interesting. I even checked my camera and there aren't really any interesting photos on - not for on here, anyway!

We now have the new pellet fire installed. Hmm...not as warm as I would have liked for this house. Because of how we got it (a trade-off with a new business in the area) we had no say in the model. The business, understandably, had a budget and were offering the lowest-cost option not the best-for-your-house we were lead to believe it would be. The living areas are still warm (or are when we manage to set the thing right) but it isn't warm enough to open the door to take the chill off the rest of the house like our old wood burner was.

Perhaps if we were to run it a lot higher it would be warmer but at $8.50 a 20kg bag of pellets we are wary of it costing too much. We used to be able to get the wood for free, just paying for fuel and upkeep on the chainsaw and transportation of the wood to home. But D's back is a lot worse this year than it ever has (and it hasn't been good for 20+ years!) and I'm not sure how much longer he would have been able to carry on cutting the firewood. So this seemed like it would be a good idea. Next time I have a good idea, someone shoot me. Please. (Well, not really, but you know what I mean!)

I also feel very let down in that I thought the trade-off was to reduce pollution in the area. I thought that we would be doing our little bit for the environment. Now I find that the business will actually be burning coal! The pollution they are trying to offset is from this, not from the production of their product. I feel cheated. Very cheated.

Apart from that there has been a little fibery goodness going on in chez Rose-Lea! I have almost finished a WIP I started, and abandoned, almost 2 years ago. Just a little thing. There may be pictures when it is properly completed. The socks have made a little progress, too. Almost to the toes. I'm not sure why I am not enjoying this pair. I much more enjoyed working on the plain-vanilla ones! Perhaps because I could knit on them while I was on the computer. Patterns are just that much more difficult to work on in tiny increments.

I have also done a little spinning this week - one and a half bobbins (why can I never type bobbins successfully on the first go?) of some multi-coloured sliver I bought a couple of years ago. Quite pretty in blues, greens and mauves. They are two space-dyed slivers (500gm each), one darker than the other, which I will ply together. (Aha, I remembered I had photographed the lighter one a while back with my new spindle, so you can see one of them!) Two bobbins down and ?? to go.

Ok, yes I know it was a pitiful post but some things are better left unsaid and others will have to wait for the right time to say them!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I did it! I did it!

Yes! I finished the Oslo-Cairo hat in time for the Open Day! I am quite pleased with it even though it is a little smaller than an adult-size. I wasn't surprised, though, as I had spun the yarn fairly fine. Not intentionally, but it just seems to be the way I spin these days. Somethink I must work on as I need to be able to spin to task not have to alter the task to suit the spinning!

But isn't it pretty? Not a very good photo of it but I don't have a head I can put it on. The two colours (not quite the red my monitor shows but more of a dark, dull orange) look quite good together, I think. I don't recall ever having knitted with two colours on a set of five dpns before, so that was a first. Hopefully a last too! I much prefer two circs but I didn't have any the right size and I was too stingy to go out and buy some!

At left you can see the crown of the hat with the four decrease points. Looks rather effective, I think. I have never made a hat like this before. I have only decreased evenly around the whole crown on other hats I have made, so this was another first. One that I will definitely repeat sometime in the future.

On the right you should be able to see the two stylised animals (alpaca? deer?) facing away from each other with a tree between them.

The Spinners and Weavers Open Day went quite well, too. We had two speakers - Stuart Albrey on his journey into fibre and Pauline Jones on making pergamano cards. They were both well received. Stuart brought along several examples of of fibre including a beautiful roll of carded and gilled moorit 16 micron merino. This was worth $600 per kilo! Lovely stuff he called the "Rolls Royce" of spinning fibre. And no, I didn't buy any!

The table with the articles our members have made from the Dartmoor dyed fleece attracted a lot of interest. The photo shows just a few of the items on display. We have some very creative and talented ladies in the group!

Shirley Goodwin was also at the Open Day demonstrating handpainting yarns with the Tillia Dyes (Prochem) which she sells. This was a very popular table which was always surrounded by interested ladies. The colours of these dyes were really rather nice and when I need some new dyes I do believe I will buy some from Shirley.

This week looks like it will be no less busy for me as the builder will be here at 8am tomorrow to finish preparing for the new pellet fire, which is due to go in on Wednesday morning. Having taken out the old log burner this morning, the next couple of nights may be rather cooler than we have been used to recently. I am hoping that our recent reasonably warm (for this time of year) temperatures carry on a little longer!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Did you miss me?

Ok, so it has been awhile - but I have been busy! A little with knitting but also with work and family. Our grandgirls stayed last weekend and that is always a busy time. Children of the tender ages of three and one are very active little people! Just keeping an eye on them so they don't get into mischief is enough to tire anyone out. Lovely spending time with them, though, but nice to take them back too.

Work, I won't get into but suffice it to say that I don't take well to stress and it has been stressful on this front recently. Bah!

Knitting - not much in recent days (we've had our son and his fiancee staying over the weekend) but I must get cracking on the hat. It needs to be finished before Thursday! It has been swimming in the frogpond several times in recent weeks! Maybe you can see where I went wrong -
In the centre the green part which looks like an H is the trunk of a tree. On each side are the feet and legs of alpacas (??). They are both supposed to be pointing towards the tree. One side is, but the other side? No. I rip it out and rework it? Sigh! Yes, I did and not for the first time, either.

But out it came and my needles started clicking again. As you may see below I got it right this time. Yay! This time I have used more stitch markers. Why on earth did I not think of that in the first place? Duh!

I didn't have smaller needles to work the hem at the beginning so it was knitted in the same size needles I have been using for the body. I am hoping this doesn't make too much of a difference. Too bad if it does because I am not going to redo it all! I have got a little further than the photo below shows; about two-thirds of the way to the crown decreasing. Surely it will be plain-sailing now?

Plans are all in place for the Open Day - the speakers have accepted and a dyeing demonstrator has been arranged. All I need to do now is bake something for a couple of "plates" and make a pot of soup for lunch. Easy, peasy (yeah, right!). I will need to be up extra early on Thursday as we will be meeting at the venue at 8.30am to begin setting up for the visitors to arrive at 10am. I anticipate it being a rather long and busy day with me having to MC it as I am our local President. Yay - not something I am particularly comfortable with. I much prefer staying in the background. Maybe I will be able to do that at our next Open Day in another two years.

Before I forget, my thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to comment (not that easy on Blogger, I know!). I really appreciate hearing from you all. I am not an expert spinner by any means and definitely not an expert knitter - but I try!

There is a little time left this afternoon before I prepare tea so maybe I can get another couple of rows done after I have looked for a recipe. We were given two ducks yesterday (it is duck-hunting season here) and my son cut out the breasts for me to use. (He also sharpened my knives for me! They were long overdue and he is quite good at it, given that it is part of his job.) I wonder what we will end up with tonight?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What's soft and colourful and in the "zoo"?

I haven't yet shown you what I bought from TradeMe recently so here goes:
On the left you can see 50gm of glitz in the Winter colourway. Very pretty colours and so shiny - but...I think it will be a pain to spin as it is full of static and is flyaway just like angora. Soft, though.

And to the right is another 50gm of glitz this time in the Autumn colourway. So many colours in this.

And, finally, another 50 gm of glitz. This last one is in the Summer colourway and is very similar to the Autumn one. If I had known how similar the colours were I perhaps wouldn't have bought both of these. But no worries.

Now is the fun part! What to do with them??? I have seen glittery fibres before which you sort of lay in as you spin the base fibre. But would you do that with these? As you can see they are in a roving form. Taking bunches of fibres out and laying them with a base fibre would probably destroy all semblance of colour progression and may lose the colouring altogether. Wouldn't it?

Splitting the roving lengthwise would be problematic in itself with the flyaway nature of the fibre but, I guess, would be doable. Would there be enough here to do anything with this way?

Hmmm...lots of questions. Any answers? In the meantime this fibre will sit in my "petting zoo" - well, not really as it is in ziplock bags. Too flyaway to pet too often!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Progress is happening...slowly!

Remember this these little piles of colour from the Dartmoor dyeing? I was working on getting these spun up so I could knit them into something for our spinning group's Open Day next month. Good news! The spinning has been completed - ta da....

I give you... two skeins wound up into balls as well as two skeins which have since been swished around in some nice, warm, soapy water to clean any left-over gunk from them. Let the knitting begin! No photos of that, yet, but I can tell you there have been a few gribbit, gribbit noises coming from the two balls of yarn. Yes, they have been to the frog pond a couple of times. Maybe they have settled down now. Time will tell. But, hopefully, they may look like this one day soon. Do you think I can do it? The pattern is in Spanish, of which I know next to zilch, but after a run through Babelfish it is a little more understandable (the emphasis is on little!).

The hat, if it doesn't run into another frog, may be on the small side but I don't care at this stage. Even though the fleece was from a Border Leceister sheep, for some reason it seemed to spin up very fine. More like a 3-ply than a 4-ply (this is the weight of yarn, like DK, not the number of plies). No-one else seemed to have this problem so I think it must be me. But it is nice and soft and has a lovely sheen. The softness seemed to be unique to me also. Is it the way I spin? What is so different about it?

I wish I could show you the other items being made from this same fleece but you will just have to wait until after 17 May for photos! There are a couple of hats and a glove and cravat set. More items are still to come. But my favourite, so far, are two needle-felted dolls made by a new member of the group. This woman is a doll-maker as well as making bobbin lace and beautiful embroidery. But she says knitting is too difficult for her!! As Rove McManus would say, "What the...??" She has taken another couple of little coloured piles and is going to transform them into some little needle-felted boxes. I can't wait to see them!

We will have two speakers at the Open Day - Stuart Albrey, a local black and coloured sheep breeder and Pauline Jones who makes pergamano cards (google it for various sites showing this unusual card-making method). should be an interesting day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All sorts of yummy goodness! has been a rather long time since my last post. Sorry about that. It is amazing how life can get in the way sometimes. Not only that, though. Sometimes I just don't feel like "talking". Anyone else get like that?

Anyway, down to business! I have been busy spinning on the Dartmoor dyed fleece from a previous (March?) post. Most of the ladies in our spinning group have taken two, or more, little piles of fleece to spin and make something from for our Open Day in May. I started out with four piles (mainly because I couldn't decide which one would go with the rather lovely orange/pink/yellow/green pile which was my first choice) and have only got half a pile left to spin. The rather mottley-looking one on the left of the photo spun up to be a rather attractive green/yellow skein. It still never ceases to amaze me how a so-so lump of rather matted-looking fleece can become something which is quite pretty and soft! I'm not sure what these skeins will become yet, but I am thinking of a multi-coloured hat. Socks would be nice but I don't think I have that sort of staying power right now. (The socks I have been working on for some time now are still glaring at me in an unfinished state.)

The postman has been a little busy in my neck-of-the-woods recently. A while ago I borrowed a felting book, Felt to Stitch by Sheila Smith, from from the nearly-local-but-larger library. I liked it so much that I ordered it from Amazon.

This book does not go into great lengthy details about each different type of felting, but does give enough information to whet the imagination as well as produce an article. A very nice an well-worthwhile book, in my opinion.

I also bought the
Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman. I do like this book, too, but I feel that it doesn't really have any new information in it that I don't have in other books I own. A little disappointing.

One day recently, while having my daily fix on Knitter's Review I noticed an advertisement for stone spindles from One Planet Yarn and Fiber. They looked so pretty (has anyone noticed what a sucker I am for pretty things?) that I gave into temptation and ordered both a single whorl and a double whorl spindle.

I have tried both of the spindles out since they arrived and, while they both work, they do not spin for long at a time. I find that a little frustrating as I don't enjoy having my spinning pleasure interrupted by constantly having to turn the spindle. So, once again, I am a little disappointed with my purchase - but they are pretty, aren't they? The whorls are quite small in diameter (about 4.5 cm or 1 3/4 inches) and taper towards the edge. Maybe that is the problem - the weight is more in the centre than towards the edge. But they do look nice on display!

The postman also brought some goodies all the way from England for us, too! An Easter present from our daughter who is living, and working, in the Cotswolds at the moment (not for long as she goes on a European Contiki tour next week for 45 days - lucky thing!). Dark chocolate, Mars mini eggs, licorice and aniseed lollies as well as a novel and some English guide books. Mmm, so hard to make them last!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Harvest Home Festival

This has been an interesting, if not trying, week. We had a really good weekend when we went to the Harvest Home festival at the Totara Estate a little south of Oamaru. This is where the first shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand was exported from. As the festival was advertised as having a bullock team from Motueka as well as horse-drawn ploughing demonstrations we decided that it would be interesting to go along. We weren't disappointed!

First up, we visited the handcraft tents. There were several ladies making bobbin lace as well as a local spinning group who were making a spinning and weaving a shawl from a fleece which was blade-shorn that day. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of these ladies (and one man) but I did get one of the lacemaker. I love the finished product (who wouldn't) but I'm sure that I would get not only confused with all the bobbins but also tired of the time it took to make even a small amount of the lace. These women certainly have lots of patience!

You can see a couple of the sheep waiting in the shed for the shearer to come back. They didn't seem to be worried about people standing there staring at them - in fact they seemed just as interested in us as we were in them!

Another sheep we saw was being lead around by (or rather, leading) some little children. This was "Shrek", who became famous when he was found after avoiding the musterers for a number of years. I have long wondered about the truth behind the story as, to me, he seems rather tame for having had no human contact for years. But, whatever, it makes a good story and there has been quite a lot of money raised for charity because of him.

Old-style woodcraft was also showcased at the festival. A woodworker was making a coracle out of willow branches and another was showing a little boy how to shave the wood. The little boy was not phased by the crowd watching and was talking to the woodworker ninety-to-the-dozen!

Another interesting procedure I had never seen before was the shoeing of a draught horse. Apparently the horse had been brought in every hour for a new shoe to be put on. We caught up with the proceedings for the last shoe. By then, the horse was getting rather annoyed and was not on its best behaviour. But, with some perseverance on the part of the blacksmith, the horse was finally lead away with its four brand new, specially made him, shoes.

There was also a team of four bullocks all the way from Motueka. I think these bullocks are part of the only working bullock team in the South Island. It was amazing to see these quiet animals (so quiet a couple of brave young boys were sitting on their backs at one stage) and realise that 150 or so years ago animals just like these brought settlers and all their meagre belongings across hundreds of kilometres of rough, untraveled terrain to begin their new lives on the land. Throughout the day many people, both adults and children, were able to have rides on the cart pulled by the bullocks. Towards the end of the day these bullocks must have been getting annoyed as we saw that the drovers, whips cracking and voices shouting, were having trouble keeping these animals going in the right direction. Not an easy task to steer four 1200 kg animals in a direction they don't want to go in!

We also took some time to watch the three teams of horses ploughing up the ground. Our favourite was the five-horse team of Morgans. I have read a little about these strong, versatile little horses and was quite impressed by them. Hard work ploughing this way, though.

At the end there was a small parade of sorts complete with pipe band. A man was zipping around on a penny farthing - how on earth people used to ride these things I don't know! More my style was the modern-style wagon pulled by two draught horses with spotted dalmation along for the ride. This outfit, along with several others, have recently completed a trip from Invercargill to Picton raising funds for the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust along the way.

If you look hard at some of the photos you may also notice that a lot of the festival-goers were dressed in clothing reminiscent of 100 or more years ago. Some of these seemed quite authentic and it really did add something to the atmosphere of the festival.

This week also marked the arrival of two packages - one was the latest issue of Spin Off maagazine. The other package held two very pretty little stone spindles from One Planet. But more about these purchases next time!