Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hello again!

Well, it has been a while to say the least! Lots of things have been happening here the first being the rather successful South Canterbury Creative Fibre Festival way back in April. (Has it really been that long?)

Heather and I were responsible for the education, a fairly big part of any Festival. Early on, when word "got out" that there would be no formal classes this time, there was an initial outpouring of ill-feeling among a small number of CF members around the country. This caused us to pull our heads in for a while but it soon blew over as people thought a little more about things.

Now the Festival is over and folk have experienced how the education was set up this year with 45 minute lectures/demonstrations and plenty of time in between each one, we have had so many positive comments that all the negative ones way back at the beginning have been well and truly left in the past. Not that either of us would jump at the chance of doing it all again any time soon! I know I was so totally exhausted by the end of it all that it took me a good 5 or 6 days to start feeling normal again. It didn't help matters when I needed to go to the A & E department at the local hospital to get 6 stitches in my arm after cutting it on a metal door which caught on my sleeve. Ever the clutz!

The next important thing to happen was our son's marriage last month. Yes, they chose a winter wedding. On the plus side, the sun was shining by the afternoon so it was lovely for the photos outside even though it was really cold. It could have been worse. Much worse. Sorry, I don't have any photos to show you at this stage. I must have had the worst seat in the room for photos (up the front but to the side - all you got was side-on backs) and I don't have any other copies yet. Maybe one day. But it was quite a nice wedding at a local-to-us camp-site (the bride's family live down south and the bride and groom live further north) on the edge of native bush. (If it had been earlier in the year when the kowhai was blooming, the area would have been filled with the sound of the bellbirds) The hall is pretty average but a local lady drapes it with frost cloth making it really pretty inside. Instead of a bridesmaids/groomsmen they chose to have their two daughters (aged 5 and 3) and niece and nephew (aged 6 and around 2) as their wedding party. An interesting choice but the kids did look cute dressed in lavendar purple. Anyway, a good time was had by all. Other son tells us they are getting married in Feb 2010 - only 20 months away!

Knitting? Yes, there has been a little knitting going on, with the emphasis on a little. Finally, at last, the Wildflower Socks are finished, as you can see above, and off the needles. Just in time, too. Not too many days ago I started to pull on the socks I was going to wear that day and riiiipp! Aaaaahhh! A hole appeared in the very thin heel of the first pair of socks I knitted for myself 6 or 7 or even 8 years ago. Yes, I have worn them constantly all this time, throwing them in the washing machine and pegging them on the line to dry. A very sad day but I am really glad I have another pair to replace them as the weather has been rather cold and wet recently. I guess we can't expect much else in winter so I'm trying not to complain too much. I haven't noticed the cold as much this year, anyway, as the logfire has made the house so cosy warm.

My uncle and my father both turn/ed 84 this week (my uncle yesterday and my father on Wednesday). With a family dinner last night, I needed to think of a small present to give my uncle. As he rides a pushbike everywhere (has never driven a car) I thought a warm pair of fingerless mittens might be welcome so out came my needles and wool. I used Clara Parkes' Maine Morning Mitts pattern as it is simple to knit and quite smart for either men or women. I had some dark blue alpaca/merino yarn from the Milton millshop in my stash so was all set to go. I increased the stitch count by 6 stitches as the yarn was DK and I was knitting for a man (allbeit my uncle is a small man). I added 2 stitches in the thumb. My uncle tried the mitts on when he opened his parcel and didn't take them off all night. I think he liked them! I must say I rather liked them, too, as I needed to keep trying them on while they were in progress - nice and cosy!

My Braided Pullover is still making progress, slowly. The body has been completed up to the armhole and one sleeve is approximately 3/4 done. The other sleeve will be ripped out as I feel it will be too tight. The more I work on this jersey the less I think I like it. Maybe it will be different when I get it all together?
There has also been a little spinning going on. Earlier this year I gave a quick demonstration of plying a beaded yarn at our spinning group. I am intending on using this yarn, along with the rest of the unbeaded yarn, to make a slouchy beret-style hat. I will need to hurry with this as I would like it to be ready for display at our group's Open Day on September 17.
I also recently bought a kilo of Arapawa wool from a woman on Trade Me. It is always a tricky business to buy wool sight unseen and this was no exception. The wool has been carded and, I guess, is a good example of the breed. That being said, it is not really what I would call good wool. It has a short staple with a very high number of nepps, noils, call them what you will. Also a lot of VM. But then, all this is really to be expected from this breed. It is a largely feral breed and the wool reflects this. It does make for interesting spinning! It is very stretchy and fairly soft. The finished skein bloomed quite a bit in the washed but also shrunk in length a fair bit too. Not a good picture but the yarn is very tweedy, which is what I wanted. I'm not sure if I will make the rug/afghan I was going to use it for originally or whether it will become a comfy jersey yet. Time will tell.