Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Look What the Postman Brought Me!

Yay! I like the postman - sometimes. Saturday was a good day for me as the postman brought me a present - to me, from me! I do like that kind as you know that you will like what you get. And I DID like what I got!

This is what I found when I opened the box. Not just the book I had ordered from Marsha White at the Needle Arts Book Shop (all wrapped carefully in brown paper and tied with pretty ribbons!), but also a "from the library of..." sticker as well as a little surprise packet! What was in it? See here...

A little sample skein of Grand Merino - 100% merino wool mde by Puppy Yarns in a lovely dark, chocolatey brown. Soft, too.

And the book? Guernsey and Aran Sweaters. All in Japanese but the graphs have all the info I need. I think. It is a beautiful book with simply gorgeous photographs of the garments. Unusual to see writeups of the history of guernsey and aran sweaters in Japanese!

If you are looking for needle art-type books, I would recommend that you try Marsha's site. I'm not affiliated - just a very happy customer passing on a recommendation!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What have I been up to?

Five weeks since my last posting! Oh, my, sure has been a long time. But I'm back again. I have been so busy recently with one thing and another - a new granddaughter, D having an angioplasty, K leaving to go back to Britain for another nine months plus a myriad of other relatively normal happenings. My poor head has been spinning (unlike my hands, unfortunately - nil to show in that respect!)!

Little T is doing very well as are her Mum and Dad. She sleeps well (usually) and is putting on weight as any good little baby ought to. We have seen her several times but not really as much as I would like. Unfortunately, too much was happening in my life which I could not put off for me to go up there and help out. T's Dad doesn't go to work until mid-afternoon so he is able to help out a fair bit.

My husband, D, had an appointment at Christchurch hospital for an angioplasty (not his heart but the artery to his left leg). After waiting about 8 hours (he was REALLY hungry by then as he hadn't had anything to eat since the previous night) we were finally told that he would have to come back again the following week. (They fed him before we left, thank goodness!) Timaru hospital hadn't sent up his CT films and they weren't coming through by email (technology is not always what it is cracked up to be!). As he was able to go in first thing the following week, we stayed the night in a motel. Christchurch is about 2 1/2 hours away from where we live - to far to get there, and find a park, by 8 am! For whatever reason, he didn't get the procedure done until nearly lunchtime and then spent the next four hours lying completely still on his bed. An hour of sitting up followed this and then we were allowed to leave - but not to go home. No, we had to spend yet another night in Christchurch in case something happened. Nice motel this time, though!

Can you guess what I was doing all this time? Yep, knitting, of course! During the first visit I was knitting a little Tomten jacket to fit Taylor for her first winter. I was using some leftover yarn from a project a couple of years ago BUT did I have enough? I knitted the body and started the hood. Suspicious, I left the hood stitches on some waste yarn and took stock of what was left. No, definitely not enough to even complete the sleeves. I have looked in various yarn shops since then but I believe that Naturally are not making this yarn (Lollipop - a 10ply boucle - 95%merino 5 %nylon) any more. Sad, as it is really cuddly. But I may be able to turn this into a little sleeveless jacket so my time and effort won't be wasted.

During the second time in the hospital I knitted a good portion of a second Tomten jacket.

This time I am using a mauve-coloured yarn from Naturally - Buttons. Quite cute as it has a tweed look about it. I had a lot of trouble finding a solid yarn to use for the trim but I finally found a purple acrylic (yes, I don't like acrylic much, either, but needs must!) which looks quite good with it. I think I made a booboo in the hood, though, as it appears fairly short. I may unfo the grafted seam and reknit this before sewing the sleeve seams and picking up for the band. This will be a four-ridge garter band with buttonholes as I don't like sewing zips in knits.

Meanwhile, I have started a pair of fingerless mitts using a free pattern from Jody Pirrello - Natalya.

For these, I am using some lovely soft angora/merino yarn I bought from Quality Yarns in Milton, Otago. I think they will be gorgeously warm and soft for winter!

And speaking of Milton...we took a trip down to Dunedin a few weeks ago (don't ask me when, it was during the last month - who know's dates anymore!) where I met up with Stella of Knit,knit,frog fame. We had a lovely time over afternoon tea getting to know each other a little better (she even had a present for little T - a bright green bib, so cute!) and showing her some of my loot from Milton. Yes, I'm getting to Milton! As Dunedin is only about 50 minutes from Milton, D and I drove down there to visit the mill shop. Lots of lovely bally of yarn here for really low prices! Well worth the drive. I blush when I think of how much I spent there that day. My, how even low prices add up! But I did bring home quite a haul - 2 kg of perendale sliver, a couple of hanks of undyed 8 ply perendale yarn (for dyeing), some 8 ply 40% possum/60% wool yarn destined to be a jersey for D (one day!), some undyed 4 ply 20%angora/80%merino which I may dye and use for the grandgirls someday and also some silver 8 ply 100% wool which I may overdye for moi. But, I also bought 2 hanks of this...

...a lovely, soft 8 ply yarn which is a blend of 80% lambswool/20% hemp in a tweedy charcoal. I'm thinking of a sleeveless vest for me. Hopefully with a few cables or some textured stitches. Not sure yet. I told you there was quite a haul! On the way back to Dunedin we stopped off at Lake Waihola for some lunch. A lovely spot for a picnic.

The lake is fairly shallow all over I believe and quite a popular spot in the summer holidays. While we were there we watched a small microlite-type plane land on the water then take off and fly around for a bit before landing on the water again. Rather fun!

Since all this has been happening, we have been up to Christchurch yet again (told you I've been busy) - this time to take K to the airport for her trip back to Britain. She'll be overseas for about 9 months before coming home again - hopefully for good this time! Unfortunately her journey back to Britain was not terribly smooth this time around. She slipped in the tunnel leading to the plane to take her to Auckland and scraped her elbow badly. It turns out that Air New Zealand planes (even large 777's as this was) don't have a proper first aid kit! They could only find two little bandaids, one being a finger one!

She then had trouble with the flight to LA and was told it didn't exist. It seems that although it was techniquely an American Airlines flight, the plane was a Qantas one (great food, K says!) which normally flies through Brisbane but was going through Auckland this time. Confusing. Once in LAX, K freshened up and had a sleep on the floor before boarding her British Airways flight to London Heathrow. With her bag safely checked in she got on the plane and had quite a pleasant journey in a plane which had several empty seats. On arrival at Heathrow she waited for her bag. And waited, and waited and...no bag! About 20 other passengers were in the same plight some with connecting flights to worry about. BA have been very unhelpful and very unapologetic over the whole business. They gave K a few little toiletries (not fullsize) to help tide her over. Ha! Six days (and one canned interview because of not having suitable clothing) later and her bag still hasn't arrived! British Airways suck - but, from what I can gather from other people's experiences, so do most other airlines. Not good at all.

Anyway, that is some of what I have been up to recently. Told you I had been busy!