Saturday, May 29, 2010


I could stay sitting in front of the heater with my slippers on and a cup of tea.

Instead I have to go out into the the freezing cold wind and rain to BATS for our last show of the week. Once I get there it will be fun but I've already been outside once today and gotten soaked through so fingers crossed it doesn't happen again!

I love these slipper/socks. Guy got them for me last year when one of his classmates at Toi Whakaari was selling them to fundraise for her secondment (the acting students at Toi each have to go on secondment for a month or so in their final year). Her grandmother was making them for her. I pretty sure they're acrylic (although I'm not the most knowledgeable about these things), they're warm though and just right for pulling on as you get out of bed in the mornings. My flatmate has a similar pair from somewhere else and Anita tells me she and her brother used to get a pair every Christmas from their grandmother.

I'm sure there are lots of variations, some known off-by-heart by loving grandmothers; here's a pattern from Ravelry for cuffed slippers that I might try if I ever need some more. I really want to try making some proper socks at some point, I've heard that once you've made and worn hand knit socks you'll never want to go back to shop bought ones again...I think it might depend on the craft rage/love of finished product ratio though.

Anyway, for now, off to the show.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Open home

The other day Alex pointed me in the direction of The Knitting Room exhibition at the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia).

(image sourced from link)

Sadly I'm not going to Hobart any time soon, but if I was I would so go visit the exhibition! It looks awesome and the story behind it is so cool. Started by the residents of an aged care home it has brought a whole lot of people together. I loved this quote:

"Dot is one of the original members of the Strathaven knitting group. When interviewed for ABC radio she said, 'I don't think they thought we could do this kind of work. I think it's wonderful - it makes you feel good. You don't feel as though you're just sitting here doing nothing. That's the worst thing out.'"

Amen to that sister!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Seems easy, seams hard

On Sunday evening I sat down to start another leaf and was gripped by the sudden urge to start sewing the seams up on the Baby Shrug. As I have been avoiding it for so long now I thought I'd better make the most of the urge and get to it. I followed the instructions for seaming using the mattress stitch in The Bible and it was like magic!

It took ages because I am slow and am a perfectionist so I only got one side seam done but I was really happy with it! I decided to carry on at Monday night Knitting Circle, which is when it turned to custard. The seams for the arms have to be done a different way because the seams aren't vertical, they are horizontal. According to The Bible that means I need to seam them as illustrated here (on the piece of green knitting). But I kept getting a big fat lumpy mess.

I pulled it apart and tried again a million times (well, it felt like a million) and after much craft rage, I pulled it back to where it looked okay and left it there. I can't remember how I was doing it to begin with but I'm sure I suffered mini-amnesia and changed what I was doing and that's why it started getting lumpy and ugly. Whyyyyyyyyyyy? It has totally put me off. But at the same time I want to finish the damn thing. Ahhh craft rage, so frustrating.

Last night was Anita's last Monday night Knitting Circle for six whole weeks. She's off to England and I have challenged her to visit one of these yarn shops and send me photos:

I Knit London


All the Fun of the Fair

I just searched 'yarn shops London' and chose the ones that looked the coolest. I hope she rises to the challenge but if she doesn't, I expect a really good birthday present to make up for it.

Anita has finished her first arm warmer - kind of. I think she should knit the thumb as per the pattern to finish them properly. But it involves using 5 dpns and she is not keen.

It looks awesome anyway and I know she is going to find the will to knit the second. Aren't you Anita? Yes you are. She started it last night so hopefully with continued pressure the one completed arm warmer will become part of a pair.

The show starts again tonight after the usual Sunday/Monday break and we got a great review in The Dominion Post yesterday which is nice and will hopefully boost bookings. But with such crappy weather today it's a wonder anyone would want to leave their house. Here's hoping though!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On stage and on the streets

Opening night went really well, despite the fact that when our stage manager said, 'Okay I'm going to open the doors now' both Alex and I said, 'Do you have to? We don't want to do the show anymore...'. I don't think a good dose of nerves ever hurt anyone though and we were fine. Our first review was very positive and we have ten more shows to keep working on things we know can make the show even better.

Something that's already pretty perfect, however, is our set:

Every time I see the giant portrait created by merging Alex's face with my face it makes me ridiculously happy. It just looks so awesome! The portrait is of Mary Waters, our Enid Blyton-type character and the mother of the two sisters Alex and I play. If you're in Wellington and reading this, you should come check it out in real life - 6.30pm at BATS Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday nights until June 5th.

As you can tell, not a lot of knitting has been going on at the moment, except for the knitting I do on stage which is a total mess. I've dropped so many stitches and put the needles down halfway through a row so many times that I've knit back the way I've come at least once. It's very difficult to act and knit at the same time - I wouldn't advise it! I'm going to start another leaf tonight though - I think I'd better try to get at least a few more entries into Tash's draw for 'It's a Tree!' now that she's announced how awesome it is!

And, while walking through the Mt. Victoria tunnel this morning on the way to visit some friends who've opened a boutique pilates studio in Hataitai (and who have the CUTEST little boy in the world...I should try to knit something for him but he's growing by the second it seems!), I saw this stencil:

Surely it's a ball of yarn? There's only the one just inside the Basin Reserve end of the tunnel and I haven't seen any others in my travels around Wellington. Who is responsible for this mysterious lone yarn? Is it someone who chose to interpret the term 'graffiti knitting' very literally?

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's opening night...

I have the first few lines from that song from The Producers in my head, except that's all I know which is getting quite irritating.

Oh hi, why am I blogging at 8am? Probably because I woke up all nervous and had to get up and do various things like unload the dishwasher and have a good strong cup of Earl Grey.

Our pack-in yesterday went well and the set looks amazing thanks to our awesome set designer, Ed, and our stage manager. Here are two sneaky wee photos from Georgia and Emily's world, because I don't want to give too much away before anyone's seen it in real life.

A freaky little owl that I believe is from The Warehouse

A big old radio/record player that Ed bought off Trade Me thinking it was 'sit on a table size' instead of over a metre tall, but now it's such a cool feature we wouldn't have it any other way

We're back at the theatre from 9am this morning to finish cue to cue and to do a tech run. Alex and I start the show knitting so hopefully come 6.30pm when the audience is filing in, I'll be able to sit and focus on my knitting and try to ignore the herd of butterflies hanging out in my tummy. Or at least try to pretend I've got better things to do than listen to them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I was going to wait because today Ellen (from Monday night Knitting Circle and the knitting graffiti group The 8th Canoe) suggested a WWKiP Day treasure hunt starting on the 12th of June, so I have been talking to her about the possibility of the two events supporting each other (which may mean putting a little plug for the treasure hunt on the posters and fliers).

But as you can tell, I'm too impatient. The poster and flier Guy made under my watchful eye are just too cute not to show off. The flier isn't quite finished yet but I have to show you the image:

It makes me want to create a series about these little friends and their casual tea drinking lives. But with pack-in for our show tomorrow (called Tea for Toot - can you tell I'm a big fan of tea?) then tech rehearsal stuff and opening night on Friday, I think I have enough to keep me busy for now.

So far my total leaf count for 'It's A Tree!' is 4...lucky there are knitters who are a lot faster than me out there who are knitting up a storm. Someone on the Ravelry discussion board for the project said they were up to 30. 30!!! I am in awe. There's an article in The Hutt News this week with a photo of Tash from OutdoorKnit putting some leaves and flowers up and they look so cool, I can't wait to see the trees in real life! I haven't sent my leaves in yet because I keep thinking, 'Surely I'll find time to make just one more...'.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have my designer (Guy) working hard on the posters and fliers for Wellington WWKiP Day and while the above image didn't make the cut (I thought it was a bit too misleading in that the event isn't outdoors, it's in a cafe), I thought it was super cute!

You may remember that little yellow ball of yarn - he's from my Auckland trip in the weekend. I believe his little friend just had a dye job on Photoshop but the colour is pretty cool. Maybe Guy has a future as a yarn dyer as well as a designer of knitting event posters?

Hopefully I'll be able to share the finished Wellington WWKiP Day poster and flier soon, they are really cute and still feature the two little friends above.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things that make you go YUM!

My weekend went by in a flash (with some thunder thrown in for good measure) but I got all the things done I wanted to.

I visited the French-style Farmers' Market in Parnell and ate some yummy food, including one of these lemon tarts. I love lemon.

I went to the Crafternoon Tea Market in Kingsland during the torrential downpour that occurred at about midday.

When I got there I had no cash but luckily I had an obliging Guy who went for the 5 minute run in the rain to get me some. He came back drenched but I think it did it him good.

I bought these super cute (and cheap! Only $3 each!) cards by a little vintage. The dolls are even cuter in real life.

I couldn't leave without buying one of these tiny balls of yarn, a little golden nugget of cotton goodness (bigger balls of the hand-dyed cotton are available from HappyGoKnitty):

And Guy (whose purchasing of jewelery for me to date is a pair of Tinkerbell stud earrings from Disneyland - not that I'm complaining) bought me this awesome ring by Little Bird Designs (also ridiculously cheap, $10!):

And I wished I had a garden for these tea cup bird feeders (I didn't catch who the maker was):

You can see from the water in the cup that it was a decent amount of rain in an hour.

Then we just so happened to have time to go to Devonport so I could be reunited with my crush and take it home with me. I mean look at it. The colour is enough but you should feel how SOFT it is...

On Saturday night we went to Avenue Q. It was so cool to finally see the show live after about 3 years of listening to it and to see the amazing puppets. I love puppets (I went through a stage a few years ago where I really wanted to buy a hand-rod puppet [like the muppet puppets] from America...I know, I know, everyone wishes they were as cool as me). I was little disappointed by some of the Avenue Q actors - their singing wasn't as strong as I would have liked/expected, but there were some stand-outs. The women who played Kate Monster and Christmas Eve were fantastic. I just felt some of the guys let the show down a bit - especially the American accent of the guy who played Princeton. But overall, I'm really glad I went. I kept forgetting just how many great songs there are in the show and then another would start and I'd be like, 'Oh yeah, I LOVE this song!'

That's me and my imaginary puppet outside The Civic. I was also unintentionally channeling Kermit the Frog in my choice of accessories...

Then last but not least, we went to Euro for dessert to do some MasterChef New Zealand stalking. Which failed because, irony of ironies, Kelly (the runner-up who now works there) was at The Food Show in Wellington for the weekend (not that we asked for her, we saw an ad in The Dominion Post saying 'Come to The Food Show this weekend to meet Kelly from MasterChef NZ' while on the plane to Auckland on Friday night). But Kelly or no Kelly, it was so worth it.

This is the warm chocolate pudding with white chocolate and raspberry ice cream. The presentation was beautiful - the pudding had a brushstroke of gold across the top! And when you cut into the pudding it oozed warm chocolate. It was so amazing. Guy almost died of taste happiness - he wouldn't stop going on about it.

This is 'Spoons of 2012' - mascarpone ice cream with feijoa jelly, organic yoghurt and gorgonzola honey egg, berry fizz, and honey sphere with lychee air. The lychee air was basically flavoured bubbles and apparently the gorgonzola was disgusting - it was like a tiny poached egg so couldn't really be shared, I just took Guy's word for it. But it was our adventure in gastronomy for the day.

We felt a bit like peasants in the big city as when we sat down the waiter pointedly asked whether we'd like tap water, then paused and added 'Or you can have sparking or still water.' Of course we went with the tap water. The service was great though, I actually felt a bit claustrophobic with all these people running over every five minutes to ask whether we'd like another drink, how our dessert was etc. But it was nice. I had a Honey Bear Sour cocktail which was yum and went straight to my head. If only I was rich enough for cocktails to be my drink of choice all the time!

My weekend finished in a bit of a panic - somehow 'flying out at 12pm' turned into 'need to check in by 12pm' in my head, so I got to the airport 15 minutes before my flight. Luckily I only had a cabin-sized bag but it had knitting needles in it with my half-done leaf from last Monday on them! Guy had gone to park the car as was going to hang with me until my plane left (he's staying in Auckland with his family for the rest of the week) so had no idea an Air New Zealand lady was running with me through the airport to make sure I got onto the plane in time. The conversation went like this:

Nice Air NZ lady: Are you okay?
Me: I thought my flight was at 12.30pm! It's actually at 12pm...But it's okay, my bag is only cabin-sized. Can I still board?
Nice Air NZ lady: How much does the bag weigh? 7.5kgs? That's okay, it'll pass, quick follow me.
Me: But I have knitting needles in my bag! Can I leave them at the service desk for someone to pick up?
Air NZ lady: What? No, you don't need to do that, you can take them on the plane. Now run!

So there you have it. APPARENTLY, you can take knitting needles in your carry-on. Despite what it says here (in the first bullet point). Can you get them out and use them? I didn't try, the nerves I get flying were heightened by being late and then the man sitting in front of me fainting which caused a drama as the plane was taxiing to the runway so I just clutched the arms of my seat and tried to read the Air NZ magazine.

But I don't think I'll use this experience to try to take knitting on the plane next time I fly; as much as I think knitting on the plane would help to distract me from worrying about dying in some horrific plunge to the earth, I don't think it's worth the risk of the security person saying, 'Ahhh, sorry, I'm going to have to confiscate these' (like the time I had an illegal butterfly knife in my bag, but that's a story for another day) and me losing whatever it is I have been labouring over.

So, apart from my little airport drama, it was a good (short) holiday. When I got back to Wellington I had rehearsal from 3pm - 8pm, so today, I had to come back to work for a rest...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Till our dreams come true...

We live on Avenue Q
I have lots of things to look forward to this weekend (except for the flights, I am not one of those people who love flying), the major one being Avenue Q at The Civic in Auckland. I have wanted to see this musical ever since Guy put the original cast recording on my iPod a few years ago. The songs and characters are very funny (it's basically a satire of modern life with songs like 'What do you do with a BA in English?', 'Everyone's a little bit racist', and a love song called 'Mix Tape') so I can't wait to see it live with all the awesome puppets. Yay!

Then after the show we are going to do some MasterChef New Zealand stalking by going to Euro, the restaurant owned by Simon Gault (one of the MasterChef NZ judges) where Kelly (the runner-up on MasterChef NZ) now works. Because we aren't quite rich enough to have dinner there, we are going for dessert which still looks pretty amazing (and still isn't cheap either). Are we MasterChef NZ obsessed freaks? No. But we're close.

Before all this though, I want to go back to the French-style Farmers' Market in Parnell tomorrow morning, and then perhaps to the Crafternoon Tea Market - mainly because I love the name! I also may not be able to resist going back to my favourite ever yarn shop (thus far), Wild and Wolly Yarns because it means I get to go to Devonport as well which is my favourite part of Auckland (excluding Waiheke Island - ooo maybe we should go there, although I think we won't have time).

I don't NEED to go to Wild and Wolly Yarns of course, but I can't forget that beautiful Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK (the colour I liked best must have been 'Piglet' from the looks of Wild and Woolly's online shop but it was a much more vibrant peachy orange in reality). I think I need some even if all I do with it is tuck it up in bed beside me and gaze at it lovingly all night long. It is so soft. I have a yarn crush and I've only ever touched the stuff once. It's ridiculous.

So that's my weekend. It's going to be very short and sweet as I have to be back early Sunday afternoon for rehearsal. But, even with the flying, I feel it's going to be worth it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Knitterazzi - they're out there

If you're ever sitting knitting and you spy
Out the corner of your eye
A telephoto lens pointed in your direction
On reflection...don't worry, it's probably just me.
The newest member of the knitterazzi.

Last night at Monday night Knitting Circle, Anita threatened to disown me. All because I was again trying to secretly take photos of people's knitted items in a not so secret manner. Clearly not a good reason for such drastic threats. I was only pretending to look at photos on my camera while at the same time blatantly pointing it in the direction of my secret subject and pushing the button, muttering, 'Grrr, my zoom isn't good enough. She keeps moving! The lighting is too bad in here, they're all fuzzy.'

Anita and I decided that in the future I need a better camera with a telephoto lens and some wallpaper-like clothing as camouflage. Anita also decided I was too entertaining to disown. Thankfully, because I need her to help me turn my Knitsch skein into a ball at some point, plus she's handy for when I am having pattern reading issues.

Anyway, I was trying to take a secret photo of these:

A pair of Ysolda Lace-up Opera Gloves, knitted for Ellen by Erin as a birthday present. Purple with red ribbons. Awesome.

In less stealthy (and less blurry) Monday night Knitting Circle news, Anita is very close to finishing the first of her arm warmers.

Look at that complicated cable/lace pattern on the front go! Anita is a pro! (I am the rhyming queen today, hey hey)

The back - showing off the hot colours of Knitsch's Punky

I am so looking forward to seeing the finished product. Although I am more looking forward to seeing a finished pair. Anita has been saying she doesn't know when she'll get time to knit the second arm warmer as she is going to England for a month in less than three weeks and will be busy visiting people and generally having a good time. I am not impressed by this. I might lock her in her house and not let her out to board the plane until there's a finished pair. Never mind her end of term assignment for uni that she has to do.

As for me, I seemed to have lost my knitting mojo last night. I cast on my fourth leaf and somehow mucked it up (HOW? Surely having made something three times previously this should not happen; I think my counting let me down) so had to frog it and start again. I got halfway through, however, so leaf number four should be done soon. Not in time for the first installation of 'It's a Tree!' tomorrow, but I'll definitely be sending of my little package of leaves sometime soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Keep it up

A while ago Phantom Billstickers had poetry posters up around Wellington; I kept seeing this one around and I liked it. I couldn't fit the poet's name in the picture (or get a non-fuzzy one because whenever I walked past it was always early in the morning or later in the evening and using the flash made the poster too shiny and the words even more illegible) but I believe it's by Brian Turner. It's a classic example of how different types of work are valued. Here's the text in case the photo is too blurry.

A farmer asked me
if I was working
and added
he didn't mean

I said
I was sawing
and stacking wood,
tidying the shed,
pruning the hedge.
'Is that work?'

'Yes,' he said,
'Keep it up.'

And with that thought, I'm off to learn lines for the show.

Friday, May 7, 2010

In the post

The post is a bit erratic in Mum's part of North Canterbury. Sometimes something she sends me will take two weeks, sometimes two days. I posted this on Wednesday so hopefully it makes it in time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's getting closer...

Rehearsal again tonight. Luckily I get to knit and rehearse because part of our characters' daily routines is knitting time. However, as my character (Georgia) is quite energetic she doesn't sit still for very long so it's very interrupted knitting for me, whereas Alex's character (Emily) hardly moves from her chair so Alex gets lots of knitting time. So unfair.

Georgia is knitting a ribbed scarf in the same lovely green acrylic my first leaf was made of. I figured as acrylic is a lot cheaper than wool I wouldn't care as much if it got into any rough and tumble while onstage.

The posters are by our lovely Ed and should be up around the city soon. Only 15 sleeps to go until opening night...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cuteness overload

At Monday night Knitting Circle I knitted half of my third leaf, Anita started her arm warmers again (having made one mistake too many and frogged them), and Penny unveiled the ultimate in cute:

Pink with black bows: tres chic for the stylish feminine baby

Green with pale yellow rosettes: a mix of funky and traditional for the bold modern baby

Penny was captured in action knitting these green booties a couple of weeks ago. She has been having serious trouble getting a left and a right bootie for both the pink and green pairs. She has knit a million right booties while trying to knit a left and ended up just deciding two rights did not make a wrong and the baby wouldn't know the difference.

Of course there were other things on other people's needles, but as I said to Anita, I feel a bit weird whipping out my camera every five minutes to take photos of people's knitting - especially because I don't actively tell people that I have a blog so most of them wouldn't know why I was taking the photos and I'd have to explain. Though one thing I wish I had taken a photo of was Ellen's amazing white hooded jersey she had with her that she finished after many weeks and has been wearing. It is so soft and pretty! There's cabling around the hood and all sorts of clever goodness. Hopefully she will put it up on her Ravelry projects at some point.

Knitting a jersey like Ellen's is a distant dream that I don't even know I'd have the patience for. For now, I'll stick to my leaves and summoning the will to sew together the Baby Shrug. I looked at the instructions for sewing garments together in The Bible and apparently I need to use the 'mattress stitch'. It looks a bit more complicated than just normal sewing. Of course. When has anything knitting related looked easy?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

View from my window

Yesterday as I was packing up to leave work at around 5.30pm the sky was a great orange. Sadly there was glass between me and the sky (kind of necessary 14 floors up), but you get the idea.

UPDATED 5th May 2010: Well, lucky I took this photo as my view will soon be changing. I'm moving desks. Goodbye my lovely window...

Monday, May 3, 2010

War time knitting

Home By Christmas was great. The story was told a bit differently than I had expected, less enacting of scenes and more narration by the actor playing 'old' Ed, but he told the story in such an understated way and had such humour that I never got bored. There was also the fun of 'spot the Wellington actor' as lots of people Guy and I know had small roles or were extras in it.

The WWII New Zealand era costumes and sets were really well done AND there was a lot of knitting! I had wondered if it would be mentioned/shown as I had come across an article about Her Excellency's Knitting Book a while ago (although that particular book is from WWI I knew women in New Zealand had knitted for the men serving overseas in both world wars).

In Home By Christmas the character of Tui Preston writes to her husband Ed and tells him everyone at home is furiously knitting, some are knitting socks and she is attempting a balaclava.

There are quite a few scenes in which Tui is knitting and in this one she is sitting on a bed covered with yarn and knitted items (all in the same cheerful colour...):

The little boy in the movie also wore lots of knitted goodness. In one scene he wore these amazing knitted dungarees, but sadly you'll have to watch the movie to see them, I couldn't find an image of him wearing them. Instead I found an image of him wearing his good old knitted cardigan:

(all Home By Christmas images sourced here)

The cool thing was, we stayed to watch the credits and there was a credit for a number of women under 'Hand knitters'. They definitely did a great job!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Green leaf, red leaf

And now there are two!

I started another leaf, this time in red, while watching Project Runway on Thursday night. I must be getting quicker because I got at least halfway through the leaf by the end of the programme. I finished it last night in about an hour, so all up this one took two hours.

I'm going to try to knit some more over the next few weeks because they're so easy and satisfying, but I'll try not to document every single one...just get ready for an amazing pile. A pretty Christmas-y looking pile I admit but a pile none-the-less. I have so much green and red acrylic yarn now it's a bit disgusting. But those Panda Magnum balls are so big and cheap! And I liked the red! I'm thinking it will come in handy for some Christmas decorations if I don't use it all up on leaves - which I'm pretty sure I won't. Again, those Panda Magnum balls, they're big. Ahhh knitting, once again you make the use of strange sounding sentences perfectly legitimate.

Back to Project Runway for a moment, turns out that even though we didn't see her doing any in the show (they hardly have time to actually finish any sewing for some challenges so it's not surprising), Gordana knits! This article on the Vogue Knitting site has an interview with her about her passion for knitting and shows some of the sexy little knitted dresses she's designed.

This evening I'm off to see the film Home By Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it. I've seen the documentary War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us in which director Gaylene Preston's mother was one of the New Zealand women interviewed about their wartime experiences, so I'm interested to see her father's side of the story, as well as the dramatisation of both. I'm definitely taking some tissues - the trailer alone made me teary.