Saturday, December 27, 2014


Summer finally arrived, and dare I say eclipsed Christmas with it's warmth and lush growth. It's not that I don't like Christmas, but to me there's nothing nicer than wondering around the garden and countryside with it's green abundance and summer bounty. Autumn is wonderful too, and so is winter. I really like spring as well - it's a great pity I can't make a living planting and tending trees.

I finished my Leaves of Grass shawl unexpectedly early. I originally cast this on so that I would always have back-up knitting for when other projects and designs were finished. I anticipated that it would take at least a year to finish and I wouldn't have to cast on another sock as back-up-back-up knitting for many months. Alas, knitting Leaves of Grass was so soothing and a great knit and natter project that I finished it in three months. It was pretty straightforward to knit, and I enjoyed being able to memorise a chart row and simply knit it endlessly until the end of each long round without having to think of shaping, gauge or whether it would fit. It was so nice knitting someone else's pattern! Unfortunately now I have no back up knitting and no desire to cast on another stupid sock!

I dyed this wool on the kitchen table. It is 100% 4 ply/fingering merino with quite a tight twist on it. Hopefully it will be rugged enough to weather being dragged across floors and lawns


Yes, a greyer skein snuck in there at the beginning of the second to last chart. And I don't seem to care a bit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Sometimes it takes weeks (and weeks) to get decent photos of a shawl.

But with temperatures reaching 30 degrees C this past Saturday we found our way to a favourite and little known bay on Banks Peninsula, just down from the Summit road.

Where the grass is long, the rocks are volcanic, and the water is virtually wave-less. There were even cicadas singing in the gorse.

What I love most about Banks Peninsula is that it's just a short trip through the Lyttleton tunnel, or a few minutes from town over the summit road and you instantly feel like you're out of the city and on holiday.
It just feels different.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Poppy Seed

Ashfords Merino/silk sliver

The idea was to create a simple stocking stitch shawl that highlighted the beauty of handspun fibre, with just a bit of a lace edge.

It may be a little more lace than I initially wanted, so will try another version in this. At least that is the plan, but it may be too stripy

above yarn was from this:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Equinoctial Gales

Blocking a shawl in a howling Nor' Wester.

It's not just the power of the wind, but the dryness of it - sucking the moisture out of it before I've even finished pinning! I'm guessing it's dryness that equates to a well stretched-blocked shawl, and not length of time it stays pinned out.

Not quite enough rocks, pot plants, mops, or cast iron frying pans

Oh November.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Idea of Green

The idea of green is not quite the same as actual green, as it is grown outside.

 But I'm not sure I can do any better.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Thinking this time of a variegated handspun shawl, slightly smaller (or two sizes) ,with more stocking stitch and a simple lace edging. Hopefully would suit commercial yarn as well. Just need to decide which one.

Clockwise from left: natural corriedale, dyed corriedale, dyed NZ halfbred (colour more muted than pic, halfbred has a slight crispness when finely spun, but that could be good)

left same dyed halfbred, dyed corriedale (which is actually more maroon)

 Treetops merino, and merino (not enough for shawl)
Might save the blue for a graduated something.

Merino and Silk

Which has the advantage of already being spun, but is more tweedy than variegated. 
Was planning on this one, but am lured to the half-bred. Sigh.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Finished, but un-named.
The yarn is Woolen Rabbit: Chantilly Lace (in Figgy Pudding)
Quite possibly my favourite lace weight yarn so far. It has a good twist to it, is a little bit woolly, only very slightly variegated, a stunning colour which goes surprisingly well with lots of things, and a good weight. Ticks all the boxes.
The name will not be Steve (that was my husband's suggestion). He was thinking of Steve the Wraith (from Stargate Atlantis), but I suggested that Todd The Wraith would be a better kind of Wraith to name something after. Not that it will be called Todd either. Sigh.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shameless Self Promotion

Check out the front cover of the latest Creative Fibre magazine!

I love the way Jo formatted the article itself. Such a pretty photo.

(Photo Credit: Matthew Carr)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Emperor and the Scarab

It's often hard to photograph a shawl in the way I like it, especially when I'm trying to avoid my head!
Luckily I found this old door, which is better looking (and much older) than my head.

The motifs in this shawl are inspired by my discovery as a child of an unusual caterpillar in the gum trees growing on most farms in our region. Emperor gum moth caterpillars look like fat green pin cushions - covered in multi-coloured dots standing proud on wee spikes protruding from their fat little bodies. The mature moth itself couldn't be more different. It is large, brown with vivid eyespots on its wings. Move over flashy monarch butterfly, this creature was so unusual, and it had been hiding in our gum trees undiscovered (by me) for years.

I messed with the moth motif a bit, and another unlikely insect appeared - a little scarab beetle with outstretched wings. Done. It took a while to get these motifs working - I tried enmeshing them with other lace motifs, but nothing worked. Eventually I realised these little beauties just wanted to be on their own, so they are.

Yesterday on Ravelry someone commented that close up the moth motif looks like an elaborate Mardi Gras mask, and she's absolutely right. That is another thing I love about working with lace motifs - a bit like kids looking at clouds.

Picot points are optional. Available on Ravelry 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

4th of September, and a story about marmalade

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence which started about 4.35 am four years ago, a day when the earth would not stand still.

So ... it was all shaky and crazy ... and shaky, and things fell over everywhere, including the contents of my pantry. Miraculously only two jars of marmalade broke when they spilled out onto the floor, and the whole sticky mess was covered in soy sauce. (To this day the soy sauce bottle is stored at the back of the bench and not in the pantry). Pretty lucky I thought - just two jars of marmalade lost. Not even one piece of broken crockery, which considering the violence of the shaking was pretty amazing. On the news Canterbury residents were told to take photos of broken items before they cleaned away the broken mess, so they could itemise each item in their insurance claim - even food products from kitchens. I didn't bother - two broken jars of home-made marmalade was hardly a tragedy.

Later that afternoon - a brilliant sunny spring day - I decided to calm my nerves by stacking two fallen chimneys worth of bricks on the path at the front of our house, while my kids frolicked inside and out (I'm so glad the ridiculous shaking didn't bother them, like it did lots of kids). As I was stacking bricks a little old lady (I mean that quite literally) pulled up in her bright yellow car and asked if she could buy some of my bricks. I told her she could have them, she was after all doing me a favour - what was I going to do with a ton of bricks. As I helped her stack them in her wee car she told me she was going to use them to build a platform for her wheelie bins. She also told me that her name was Daphne and that she already knew me because I was a friend of her older sister Margaret. Margaret is a delightful lady and a walking encyclopaedia of knitting techniques who I met through my weaving and spinning guild. What's more their parents used to live two doors down from me. We chatted some more and eventually she drove off to make her brick wheelie bin platform.

It continued to be shaky and crazy ... and a few days later Daphne walked in through my gate carrying two jars of freshly made marmalade that she wanted to give me as a thank you for letting her have my fallen chimney bricks. I looked at her in amazement and told her about my pantry and the soy-sauce-marmalade mess. She was better than an insurance company! She had replaced my marmalade within days, and it was so fresh it was still warm!

Later on I realised what that amazing stalwart woman had done. She simply carried on with life, despite the ongoing terror, set a large pot of boiling sugary liquid onto her stove and turned grapefruit into marmalade, even though the entire lot likely shook at least once or twice during its making, and risked the very real possibility of ending up all over her kitchen floor.

So, that's how I met Daphne.
And today on the 4th of September, quite by accident, I find myself making marmalade (and it hasn't been shaken ... yet).

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Picot Won

I like it, but I do consider picot edges, most nupps, beads optional - heck, when have I ever stuck to a pattern!
This pinned out really easily - just pinned the three picots around the main point and any picots that wanted to curl, and the neck edge. I don't block aggressively.

They are supposed to look like butterflies ... or moths

and the smaller one reminded me of the outstretched wings of a scarab.

Zealana Kiwi Laceweight in purple (Majesty?). A heavy lace weight yarn. (632 mts total)
Better photos when I have more time and the better camera.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


The cast off ...
To picot ... or not to picot ... that is the question.

I'm thinking ... to picot, maybe.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


New things!
New season, new growth and best of all, a new design!

I just love muscari (Grape Hyacinth). One of the first bulbs up at the end of winter (or very early spring, whichever you choose to call this season). I often accidentally dig these up in summer whenever I am weeding, and so I poke them in anywhere, as I walk around the garden, spreading their simple blue beauty.
Plants are early this year (but aren't they always?)

I only just got this rose pruned in time.
I love these Winter Rose beauties too, pity they flop their heads over when picked.

It's a howling Southerly today, but the Nor'Wester will be here soon enough to trick us all into summer.
And emerging from winter's tangle ...

and ... new knitting! How I love new knitting!