Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In which I have been thinking!

I've been thinking - never a good sign, my DH would say! may, or may not, know that New Zealand has 3 official languages - English, Maori and sign language (I think there's a "proper" name for this but it escapes me at the moment). Of course, I am fluent in English but I only know a few words in Maori (and probably murder the pronunciation!) and even less in sign language. Here in the South Island there doesn't seem much need to know much more Maori than this.

What I was thinking about was last year our daughter was on a European tour and visited the New Zealand memorial at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. There were four New Zealanders on the tour, including her. As is normal in these tours, they stood at the memorial and sang the National Anthem (God Defend New Zealand). The three guys were from the North Island and only knew the Maori lyrics while our daughter only knew (more or less) the English version. I thought that this was a little sad on both sides.

(image courtesy of my daughter!)

I like to think of myself as being a fairly patriotic Kiwi. I was brought up with Anzac Day parades where our whole school would assemble in the school grounds and march down to the memorial about 200m down the road from the schoo. Each class would place a wreath on the memorial and listen to the trumpet playing the Last Post. We would also sing the National Anthem. Our National Anthem was also sung at assembly each week. I'm not certain this was normal, even in my generation, as I know that a lot of my peers would have no idea of the words to God Defend New Zealand.

However, my thinking brought me to the conclusion that I need to learn the Maori words to our Anthem so I have challenged myself to learn them. By when? Not sure, but learn them I will!

I have been making some progress lately on my knitting. Of course, not the knitting I should be doing ( my DH's jersey), or the knitting I had started a while ago (my Cul-de-Sac vest) but the lacy, frothy little Mystery (aka MS4) I began at the beginning of the month. Ta da...

In reality, the colour is not quite so green and a little lighter. I am really pleased with it even though I think I should have gone down in needle size. I have never before made anything quite so lacy or using such a fine yarn and am rather enjoying it. Progress has been made since these photos were taken and I have almost finshed clue 3 (am at row 120 of 132). The images here show me at about row 30-something. The spinning of the merino/soy silk is also progressing slowly but I won't bore you with a photo more brown yarn on a bobbin.

Spring is warming up and the equinoxal (is that a word?) winds are here, although not nearly as strong as were forecast. The weather this week has been absolutely beautiful - is it tempting fate to say this? Long may the good weather last, though. The weather has made me think of other things, as well, such as another raised bed in the vegetable garden. DH's has some half-rounds he doesn't know what to do with. Told me they were in the way of where he is planning on putting next year's firewood. To me, half rounds = raised bed. Maybe I can sweet-talk him into making it for me? Time will tell!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Sometimes when life isn't goign the way you really want it to (I've got a nasty cold at the moment), someone comes along and does something really nice.

First up, yesterday a friend gave me a little posy of flowers! So sweet, and unexpected. It started out as a joke (I managed to "save" her from an awkward encounter of the felting kind) but she then turned around and presented me with a lovely orchid. Don't you love having friends like that? I sure do and I really appreciate her, too.

Then, today I clicked on Knifty Red's blog and found that she had awarded me this lovely blue ribbon! After a night with not a lot of sleep and the start of a day where you don't want to do too much in case your head does actually explode instead of only threatening it, this was such a nice surprise. Thanks, Kris!

As usual, this award comes with a few simple rules:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Ad a link to the person who gave you the award.
  3. Nominate at least 4 others.
  4. Leave a comment on their blog so they can pass it on.

So, without further ado I would like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

  1. Bossy Little Dog - I may seem like a lurker on this blog but I really can relate to some of what she is going through
  2. Knit, knit, frog - a fellow New Zealander but one who really thinks about her knitting (and spinning) and keeps striving to improve her work - even though I think her work is pretty darn near perfect as it is!
  3. Kaylen's Blog - how cute can a little girl be! It is such a pleasure, and a privilege, to be able to watch this little one as she makes her way through life's journeys.
  4. Spinning Fishwife - this time a blog from Scotland! Spinning, knitting and general family life - always something interesting going on.

There you have it - so many others are deserving of this reward, too. I'm not sure how others feel when they read the blogs of people they have never met, nor are ever likely to. I know that I often feel a little as if I am eavesdropping on their lives but, I guess, that is blogdom for you.

Knitting and, occasionally, spinning is making some progress. Slow, but progress nevertheless. I will show you one day.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"...Show me a garden that's bursting into life."

No prizes for guessing where that quote comes from but maybe someone knows? Yes, Spring is officially here although I maintain it was here two or three weeks ago. I have seen daffodils, hebe, camellias, primulas and muscari flowering in my extremely unkempt garden (I would love to be a real gardener but can't seem to "get into it"!) as well as blossom on other people's trees. The weeds are growing, too, so the garden really is bursting into life now.

Instead of getting the garden tamed, my spinning wheel has been busy recently and I think that I have finally spun and 3-plied enough of the Gotland to knit a jersey for my DearlyBeloved for his birthday in late November. If you can see the figure on the scale in the photo you will see that the yarn weighs 1.240kg - enough, surely?

On the knitting front, the Cul-de-Sac vest is slowly making progress and I am ready to decrease at the armhole (armscye?). I've been lazy, recently (when am I not?), and haven't been working on it every day/night but just when I feel like it, hence my lack of real progress. I have lengthened the side from the pattern as I don't particularly like my garments to be too short but I still think I will be happier wearing it over a longer shirt. Time will tell.

Now that I have finished the spinning for the Gotland jersey I am carrying on with the merino/soy silk blend I was spinning ages ago. I am spinning it fairly fine so it, too, seems interminable. I have 100gm of this and have spun up about 47gm (I weighed it to make sure it was divided evenly into two - there is much more on the bobbin than the photo shows).

While spinning yesterday I had a thought about what I could do with it (are you like that, spin something with nothing particular in mind?). I'm not sure, yet, but I have been reading Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia (one of my "hurt book" purchases from Interweave recently) and have been inspired by some of her patterns. Maybe this will be a little fine, though. Only time, and finishing the yarn, will tell. I must say, though, that I really have enjoyed reading this book. Some of the cast ons are quite attractive and I really like the braiding. Such a pity that our weather doesn't really require the wearing of mittens very often.