Thursday, April 29, 2010

Exciting times in Knitsville

Two very exciting things happened yesterday and both directly involved knitting.

I found a cafe willing to host a Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day event and they're actually really enthusiastic about it! 

So I'm very pleased to announce that a Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day 2010 event will be taking place at the Victoria St Cafe (corner Victoria and Bond Streets), from 1pm - 3pm on Sunday 20th June.

Now that I have a venue confirmed I can start doing all sorts of exciting things like approaching some knitting-related businesses in the city to ask if they'll donate any giveaways/prizes for the event, getting Guy to design a poster and flier under careful supervision/extreme fussiness, and trying to get some interest from the Capital Times and the like to help make sure some people actually know about it and turn up. Already one very kind and generous seller of hand-dyed 100% merino yarn has offered to donate a couple of skeins as giveaways for the event which just makes it all the more exciting (and I didn't even have to ask! What an awesome person!). 

The second thing was that I knitted a leaf!

And I love it! I'm ridiculously proud - I've already shown it to about 5 people at work this morning. It's for the 'It's a Tree!' collaborative community project organised by OutdoorKnit, TheNewDowse, Craft2.0 and Knitsch Yarns. The pattern for the leaf (and a flower) is on the OutdoorKnit website.

I'd love to say I whipped it up in an hour but it actually took me the whole of the MasterChef New Zealand grand finale and another hour after that (so, umm, 3 hours). I have been LOVING MasterChef New Zealand and the final had me on the edge of my seat which may explain why the leaf took me so long. I got distracted and mucked the leaf up towards the end so had to rip it back and try to figure out where I was up to in the pattern to keep going. Luckily Anita was on hand to help me work it out (having run out of yarn for her own leaf) and she stayed until the bitter end because she was determined to see me finish it.

At least we can safely say Anita was warm while she sat around waiting - she was wearing the amazing hoodie her Grandma knitted her. The only thing is that the hood is rather large!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

News from the knitting front

Well, if you needed any more proof that Monday night Knitting Circle is cool - apart from the fact that you get to sit around knitting and talking to people - then perhaps some complimentary bar food would close the case for you.

Last night a slightly smaller collection of knitters (and some crocheters) than usual were stitching and chatting away (there's not really much bitching that goes on as far as I know) when one of the Southern Cross staff came over with a bowl of fries, a bowl of wedges, and some garlic bread and told us these were complimentary to say thanks for being regulars. Score! What would have been an inexpensive gesture on their part made for some happy knitters last night.

In amongst burning my fingers on super hot garlic bread, learning about tree planting in Canada and how it's a bit of a rite of passage for many Canadian young people, and discussing how the houses of pioneers in the harsh winters of the Canadian wilderness were probably warmer than most New Zealand houses in winter today (Anita and I were sitting by a Canadian and a French Canadian), I finished edging the Baby Shrug.

It is cuuute, if I do say so myself, and I am so proud. Look at that edging go! Of course it isn't perfect but it's pretty damn good for a first timer! I still have to sew it up, which I'm told isn't the easiest of tasks, but I'm prepared to do it over a few times if I have to because after all this time and effort I don't want some shoddy stitching to ruin what's taken me so long to finish.

In other knitting news (I'm a bit hesitant to say this in case it all turns to custard tomorrow when I meet with the manager, but oh well) I think I might have finally found a cafe willing to host a Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day event in June! Hurrah. After first beginning to look into it in January and working away quietly on it ever since, it seems at least one cafe manager can bother responding to me (it took a visit, an email, and then another follow-up email) and meeting with me to discuss the finer details. Fingers and needles crossed!

Te Papa was really keen to host it but it is smack bang in the middle of their Matariki celebrations and an exhibition opening so they are too busy. But seeing as their events manager is keen on a 'stitch and wine' evening I have suggested maybe organising one for July and combining it with a visit to the exhibition, Paperskin.

Possibilities, possibilities. Hopefully they become realities, realities.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poppies and violas

If I had been more organised, I could have knit myself a poppy to wear today (Anzac Day) and just donated to the Annual RSA Poppy Day Appeal instead of also taking one of their little poppies that fell to bits only hours later.

A Poppy for Remembrance by Laura Chau, free pattern and photo source here on Ravelry

Maybe next year.

Today I did some gardening, not of poppies but of violas. Lauren, my flatmate, got given a Pocket Garden for Christmas and in about February she took the plunge and planted it under my watchful eye - not that I know anything about gardening but she doesn't either so wanted some moral support.

To our surprise, a few weeks later the seeds sprouted and our little violas haven't looked back since. Here they are at the beginning of this month:

And here they are today:

I decided they needed to be put into a proper pot as they had truly outgrown their pocket. So I went to Bunnings Warehouse today (as the closest garden centre was closed) and got some potting mix. Bunnings only had plastic pots and I want a real pot so I decided that for the time being they could live in an empty ice cream container with some holes stabbed in the bottom and another ice cream container underneath to hold the excess water. So now I'm on the lookout for a nice ceramic pot. I really hope the violas survive their move - I've even staked them with a chopstick and some wool because the ice cream container isn't really deep enough for them so they need some help staying upright, but at least it will give their roots some more room.

Lauren was very pleased when I said I wanted to put the violas into a pot because apparently it confirms that I'm a suitable adoptive plant parent. Lauren's leaving Wellington to go to America next month to be a camp counsellor at Camp America. So sadly she's leaving me and the violas behind. I've said I'll send her regular plant updates though.

Yesterday I went to a clothes swap at my step-sister Claire's house. I haven't been to one before but they're such a good idea, especially when combined with pot-luck lunch. I came away with a skirt that's kind of similar to one I've lived in on the weekends during the summer (in that it's long-ish and very full):

And a necklace that I wasn't so keen on once I got it home. I think I was a bit enticed by its exotic origins - the girl who said she never wears it and has too much jewelry was given it by a friend who bought it in Greece.

All the chains just really aren't my thing. I like the beads though.

Finally, last night I saw a play at BATS Theatre that, along with the awful helicopter crash this morning that killed three members of the NZ Air Force, reminded me how lucky I am that the things I have to write about are violas and a clothes swap.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is a solo show based on the diaries and emails of American woman Rachel Corrie who was killed in the Gaza Strip while protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in 2003. Whatever you think about the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or about Rachel Corrie and her actions, the awful reality for the people that Rachel was living with before she died of constant gunfire, the threat that their home could be bulldozed at any moment, the difficulty of getting water, and curfews (to name but a few) is so removed from the comparative luxury of my life that it is very sobering indeed. A really moving play that, for all the heaviness of its content, has a lot of humour and the production I saw of it was very powerful.

With that in mind, I will not lament the fact that I haven't managed to do any knitting this weekend. But I haven't. And I really want to finish the Baby Shrug!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When I grow up...

I want a front door like this:

And a couple of fireplaces with carved surrounds and tiles like this:

That will be all for now. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tales from Monday night Knitting Circle

Last night I broke the knitting drought of over a week and my Monday night Knitting Circle drought of two weeks and it was good. Although, it's now dark when Anita and I walk to the Southern Cross at about 7pm. It used to still be light when we walked home at around 9pm. Winter is really on its way.

In my hour and half I did the ribbed edging on one of the Baby Shrug sleeves. The bit that takes me the longest is picking up the stitches, and even then it's when I have to turn, say, 40 stitches into 30 stitches. It isn't easy for my maths intolerant brain.

It's getting so close to the end now though. Only the edging on the other arm to go and then I'm ready to attempt my first ever sewing up of a garment!

Anita bravely continued with the very difficult arm warmer pattern she's started knitting. She's using awesome coloured yarn from Knitsch.

She rolled that ball from a skein all by herself! I have a skein of Knitsch yarn myself that I bought because the skein looked so much prettier and more grown up than the pre-rolled balls. I was worried about how I was going to make it into a ball when the time came but as long as Anita is around I need not fear because her ball looks so well done.

Penny was knitting some baby booties from the same pattern Anita used in a great green. What with her golden scarf and now this, Penny is proving she is brave and bold when it comes to colours and I like it!

She is also so organised that she colour coordinated her top with her knitting

Penny is knitting these booties for a very special new arrival - her niece Phoebe was born on Saturday. Phoebe's Mum came to Monday night Knitting Circle a couple of times with Penny - before sitting in the same position for long periods of time got too uncomfortable. She was furiously knitting all sorts of cute baby outfits so with her Mum's and her aunty Penny's knitting efforts combined, little Phoebe is going to be the best dressed baby in town!

In unrelated news, I went to a flat warming on Saturday night where everyone sat outside (so really it should have been a garden warming) and kept warm around this:

An old washing machine inner turned into a brazier. I hadn't seen one of these before, it's such a good idea and a very effective outdoor heater!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Yesterday we had a stall selling tea and lamingtons at the City Market to help raise some money for our theatre show, Tea for Toot, which will be on at BATS Theatre in May.

It was a long day that started at 7.30am with setting up for the market and ended at 7pm after our usual Sunday evening rehearsal at which we were a little more hysterical than usual due to extreme tiredness. But that's theatre kids, they battle on for the love of it. And the hilarity.

Our stall was SO CUTE. We didn't make as much money as we had hoped (we didn't realise how many people came solely for the various free samples on offer until a couple of people specifically said, 'Oh, are you not doing free samples? That's the only thing we come here for.') but our flyers for the show flew out the door as they each had a tea bag attached and, as we now know, people love free stuff. Even if it is just a tea bag...

To go with the tea, we made rasberry and blueberry lamingtons. A lot of them. My little brother Hunter came to stay for the night on Friday and LOVED helping to make them on Saturday morning. We made them the cheat's way with bought sponge cut into squares, dipped into jelly crystals mixed with water for the colour, and then covered in coconut. They tasted great!

They were also very popular and lots of people stopped to take photos, including Next magazine's food editor Julie Le Clerc - we actually should have charged 50 cents per photo, we would have made a killing!

Our super cute stall complete with embroidered tablecloth, pretty half-aprons and an artfully draped tea towel

I got this idea for keeping the tea hot once it was brewed from a man selling tea at the French Market in Auckland the other weekend. It worked like a charm! The others weren't such fans of the tea pot on the right, but I love the shape and the colours. It's a little house in a forest of trees that look strangely like balloons.

Your friendly hostess in the house coat/dress with clashing spotted apron

Tonight it's Monday night Knitting Circle and I'm looking forward to getting back to knitting - I haven't touched the needles in over a week and I'm missing it!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Your birthday

A good old 'wrapping paper reused' card for my aunty's birthday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


On Sunday morning we are having a fundraising stall for Tea for Toot at the City Market. We will be selling tea donated by t leaf T, biscuits donated by Arobake, and lamingtons made by us. We're going to have fabric bunting, a cute embroidered tablecloth, a cake stand or two, crazy tea pots...and I get to wear this!

An amazing house coat/dress! I love it so much. Funnily enough, Gertie was talking about house coats/dresses last week. Some of them are pretty awesome. Bring back the house coat/dress!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So. The Baby Shrug.

I made great progress on the ribbed edging on the back of the Baby Shrug on Easter Sunday when I was in Christchurch. Then I ripped it all out when I returned to Wellington and started again. Ripping it out wasn't such a big deal, it was only the row of picked up stitches and then about two or three rows of ribbing. It was still a bit heartbreaking though because picking up those stitches took me a good while. But I hadn't picked up the stitches right to the very edges (I started about a stitch or two in on either end because it was hard to get the stitches from the very the edges) and while I thought it wouldn't be a problem, I realised after I had done it that when I came to sew it together it wouldn't match up nicely and I just wasn't happy with it.

Because rehearsals for Tea for Toot are in full swing

An awesome flyer designed by the amazing Ed

I haven't had much time for knitting, but I did get the edging on the back of the Baby Shrug done on Friday night while hanging in the hotel room with Mum in Auckland. After dinner we went to the cinema on Queen Street to see if there was anything on we wanted to watch but there wasn't so we had some gelato and went back to the hotel to read and knit.

It's okay but I'm not entirely happy with it. I'm still not sure why when beginning the Baby Shrug you cast on only 8 stitches, pearl a row, then cast on 10 stitches at the beginning of the next 4 rows after that. It doesn't seem to have served any purpose other than making the bottom edge of the back look crooked or lopsided or something.

Oh well. It's staying as it is.

I haven't been to Monday night Knitting Circle for two Mondays in a row now so I'm feeling a bit knitting-deprived. The Easter Monday I got back from Christchurch Guy was really keen to go to the movie Boy so Anita, my flatmate Lauren, Guy and I all went. It took a bit of convincing for me to ditch knitting for the movies but I really wanted to see Boy so it won out in the end. I enjoyed Boy but it was a lot sadder than I expected (having seen the trailer).
Then last night we had a Tea for Toot rehearsal to make up for Sunday's rehearsal that couldn't happen because I was gadding about in Auckland. So I'll have to wait until NEXT Monday for my Knitting Circle fix.

Tomorrow night Guy and I are babysitting for some friends of his so I might get a chance to do the edging on one of the Baby Shrug sleeves. I hope so because now I reeeally want to get it over and done with so I can start something else!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In which we resume normal transmission

This evening I got back from a weekend in Auckland with my Mum. We went up to see Carole King and James Taylor in concert. Yes I'm 22 not 52, but I love Carole King. Mum used to listen to Carole King's Tapestry album all the time when I was younger and then I got her live Carnegie Hall Concert album which became a favourite of mine. It was an awesome concert, they sang all the old favourites and their final encore song was The Loco-Motion which, unless you were a Carole King fan, you probably wouldn't know she wrote. Old Carole was pretty freaking energetic for 68, she shook those hips and jumped up and down like nobody's business!

The weather in Auckland was beautiful. On Saturday morning we went to the French-style Farmers' Market in Parnell. So much delicious food.

For humans...

...and for dogs.

As well as flowers and all sorts of lovely things.

Today we went to the Winter Garden at the Auckland Domain - a favourite Auckland spot of mine. I think it would be a great place for a wedding or a big outdoor afternoon tea party (actually the latter sounds the most appealing of the two).

Then we went to Devonport on the ferry and wandered along the main street for an hour or two, ending up at two of my favourite places in the whole of Auckland.

Why don't we have a yarn shop like Wild and Wolly Yarns in Wellington??? (Although, having said that I haven't been to every yarn shop in Wellington so we might have one that I just don't know about; I haven't been to The Yarn Studio at Nancy's which sounds promising). All the yarn is so beautifully displayed and there are so many examples of garments and baby blankets and all the bamboo needles you could ever want. Sigh. This was actually where I got the yarn for my very first scarf.

This yarn is described on the tag as the 'Ferrari' of 8plys and it was so soft and delicious. I actually stroked it against my cheek. Shame.

I was very restrained though and didn't buy anything. I really wanted to buy a ball of that Sublime just to take home and stroke, but I didn't.

And Cushla's Village Fabrics makes me want to quit my job and be a quilter/roll around in pretty fabric all day...

On our way back to the ferry I saw some knitting graffiti I had read about. It's looking a little weather beaten but still very cool. When I saw it I cried, 'Hey look! It's that thing!'. My Mum was pretty bemused by the whole knitting graffiti concept when I explained it to her.

I didn't make many purchases on my trip, what I did buy is summarised here:

A new velvety bag (the very back fabric in the photo) that for some reason makes me think of Mary Poppins. A top with Tuis on it. Some really pretty blue and cream buttons from Wild and Wolly Yarns (okay I did cave and buy something, but it wasn't yarn). And a super cool magazine, Extra Curricular, I had heard/read about somewhere but hadn't seen in the flesh. I had to buy it because as well as lots of other cool stuff, it had an article on Devon Smith. Maybe a subscription successor to World Sweet World? I shall look into it.

For now, bed time!