Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It won't happen over night

Inside out - which I thought was right side out for a while because I get confused by how circulars work and when I was knitting my first hat someone said I was knitting it inside out which wasn't normal, but either she was wrong or I've somehow done it again

Right side out

But it will happen. Especially because I'm about to have a wee vodka and cranberry to celebrate some good news (finally! I've had many a drama the last few weeks, I definitely need some good life changes. I will share my news once it's a done deal...) and knit the night away!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend in pictures

And some words. Because I can't help it.

My little brother Hunter's hockey (he's the one in the foreground)

My cousin Hamish's 5th birthday cake

There's still some orange in the Wairarapa

And a beautiful moon

Some belated birthday presents: Cath Kidston's Make!, Hadley Fierlinger's Vintage Knits for Modern Babies (which was on my birthday list from back in April, I'm so glad I got it, it's so pretty and the patterns are so cute!) and some lavender bags

Joined the girls from Outdoor Knit

It was out with the old

And in with the new...

More biscuits on another present, my very own cake stand in pale green glass (so now I can stop borrowing my Nana's one!)

Amazing cake with caramel sauce at my friend Ed's 'Baking, Board Games and Beer Birthday'

A strange game called 'Imaginiff' (why two 'f's?!)

Overall a pretty good weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spectacular textiles and small beginnings

Last weekend I called into Thistle Hall to see an exhibition. I love Thistle Hall. Not only did it provide us with a cheap rehearsal space for Tea for Toot, every week there is a new exhibition in the street-level hall part. Last week the exhibition was of hand printed fabrics by Massey University textile design students. There were lots of strong linear designs (which makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about and I don't) and fun patterns and colours. Unfortunately there wasn't a cushion made out of my favourite fabric so I left empty handed, probably a good thing for my savings though!

On Tuesday night I started my socks. I only had to rip the beginnings out once, one row in, before I got it right. It's going to be slow going though so I will try not to post photos of them every 5 minutes because no doubt that will be very boring!

I'm taking tomorrow off work and going to the Wairarapa to see my family and my friend Hayley and go to my cousin's 5th birthday party on Saturday. Then I'm coming back early Sunday for something very exciting - I finally get to meet Nikki in person! It's slightly weird feeling like you know someone via the blogging world without actually having met them in person. But I can show her the start of my socks and I'm sure it will be fine!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mad skills and Shakespeare thrills

Last night at Monday night Knitting Circle I successfully mastered a new and amazing technique: knitting in the round on two circular needles. The pattern I'm going to use for my first ever socks calls for this technique and while many people told me to just knit them on DPNs, I wanted to at least try learning this method first because I like to follow the instructions as much as possible in the hope that doing so will help eliminate possible errors. Incidentally, these socks are called 'The Happiness Socks' and to me may also become known as 'The Break Up Socks', because by the time I finish these babies I hope to feel much much better than I do at the moment!

So, because Anita used this method for her first hand warmer I emailed her all the way over in the land of Eng, asking if she learned how to do it on the internet. Of course she did! She sent me the link to this video tutorial. Because I was going to start these at Monday night Knitting Circle and wouldn't be able to sit in front of a computer at the time, I also found two written tutorials and printed them out, these can be found here and here. But, naturally, what did I do? Forgot to take my pattern and the written tutorials with me to Monday night Knitting Circle. So I had to rely on my memory and, in part, it didn't let me down!

Sorry, the photos are terrible, I was sitting in bad lighting

I managed to remember what I'd seen and read in the tutorials and only had to rip it out once before I got it right! It's actually very very simple. What wasn't so simple was remembering how many stitches to cast on. I thought it was 30. It soon became apparent that that would be the number of stitches you'd need to cast on if knitting socks for a tiny child. But I carried on anyway to keep practicing and then when I got home I checked the pattern and it's 60. I must have been thinking of the number of stitches you divide between each circular needle once you've cast the 60 on. Anyway, it was good practice and while knitting I continued to amuse myself with the thought that it could look to an outsider like I was knitting a condom. I don't know why I thought that but I did.

So tonight, I'm going to rip my tiny child socks/condom out (bad word combo right there) and start my REAL socks. Even though double what I was knitting last night still doesn't seem like it would be big enough to fit me, the pattern says the socks are 'ladies medium' so I will have faith that 'medium' in the country this pattern was written doesn't actually mean 'midget'. And I need to knit the first one and a half inches in rib so that will surely make them bigger as well?

Also, as I left my house to go to knitting I checked the mailbox and found this:

A postcard from Anita that she got at Shakespeare's Globe. Apparently she went to 'the most bloody production of Macbeth ever!' on my birthday in which 'Macbeth was a babe'. Alex, Anita, and I all went to Shakespeare's Globe together back in the good old days of 2005 as part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand's Young Shakespeare Company. It was pretty cool to say the least, I can't wait to go back there one day - and not just because the actors in the Shakespeare's Globe productions tend to be of the good looking as well as talented variety.

And now, I have a date with some socks!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wellington WWKiPD wrap-up

So about 30 people braved the rain and took part in the Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day event at Victoria St Cafe today. It was hard to get a decent photo as everyone was spread out, but here are some of the knitters:

Petra won the quiz prize draw

I made a new best friend (I think because she very quickly clicked to the fact that I was the one in charge of the giveaways...)

A doll she knitted herself. She's only 8 and she can knit faster than me. She told me it's because I need to practice more; I'll give her that. She's currently knitting scarves for everyone in her family and then she's going to start knitting them to sell for $5 each. Excellent plan.

Thanks to all our sponsors, there were lots of giveaways so over half the knitters left with some new yarn, needles, a pattern, or something equally as exciting.

Then at 3pm the treasure hunt organised by The 8th Canoe began. Teams had to walk from the Victoria St Cafe to the Southern Cross, spotting as many knitted 'pieces of 8' in the shop windows as they could. Here are a couple:

My team mate and I didn't win anything from our treasure hunt efforts, but Ellen did give me this as a consolation prize:

This can be my dream date until I find a better one!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

One more sleep to go!

I got a phone call this morning from Newstalk ZB who interviewed me about the Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day event tomorrow and there's a little paragraph about it on the Capital Day page in this weekend's edition of The Dominion Post. All signs point to it being a great afternoon!

Full details about the event in this post (and a picture of some of the yarn and other giveaways to be won).

See you there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's nearly time!

There are only two more sleeps to go until the Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day event at Victoria St Cafe and this is some of the great stuff I have to give away. There's silk yarn, merino yarn, cotton yarn, mohair yarn, laceweight yarn, DK yarn, and sock yarn. There are patterns, knitting needles, DPNs, and crochet hooks. There's all natural yarn and some purely synthetic yarn. There are solid colours and multi-coloureds. The list goes on. Phew!

I really hope some people come along, have a drink, do some knitting and take some of these goodies off me... Yesterday the event was linked from 'Moata's blog idle' post on Stuff.co.nz which was fun, I don't normally read her blog but someone at work said, 'Hey Moata's blog on Stuff today talks about knitting, you might like it' and through the magic of the internet it was connected to Wellington WWKiP Day. Maybe that will encourage a couple more knitters along who might not normally know about it. The event is listed on Wotzon (I hate it when people spell things like that!), Eventfinder, Ravelry, and Facebook, but the basic details are:

When: Sunday 20th June, 1pm - 3pm
Where: Victoria St Cafe, corner Victoria and Bond Streets, Wellington
What: Bring your knitting and join us for a drink and the chance to win some fantastic yarn!

Also, a knitting treasure hunt being run by guerilla knitting collective, The 8th Canoe, will begin at 3pm from the Victoria St Cafe. It's raising money for the Wellington Women's Refuge (there's an info page here).

Ellen of the The 8th Canoe says, "The idea is you enter in teams of up to 3 (knitters, crocheters, or none of the above), with a gold coin donation per team member. This gives you the chance to compete for fabulous prizes from Minerva, Tiger Eye Beads and others to be confirmed, plus fun spot prizes."

If you're in Wellington you should definitely come along to one or both parts of the afternoon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Balls, birthday

I wasn't organised enough prior to this week's Monday night Knitting Circle to have everything ready for the socks I have decided to knit as my next project; so instead, I turned the skeins of 'Good Evening, Aviator' I got two weeks ago, into wound balls, in preparation for taking the sock plunge. A lovely woman who came to Monday night Knitting Circle for the first time helped me and we followed the instructions in The Bible for winding a ball of yarn; I think they look pretty good.

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday and I ended up having a pretty good day, in spite of the not-so-nice early birthday present I received on Sunday night in the form of a break-up. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to mention it on here as this isn't a blog about everything that goes on in my life, it's a blog about everything that goes in my 'creative' life (that sounds a bit flash!), but seeing as I have mentioned Guy quite often on here and it's a big change in my life after four years, I figured I might as well.

My morning wasn't so fun but it cheered up a lot after I received these things from my Mum, my step-sister, and some lovely colleagues at work:

These smell AMAZING and came in a square-ish pale green ceramic vase, which I can keep once the flowers have wilted! They were from Juliette Florist in Kelburn.

This is a Tempt cupcake. I hadn't had one before and the icing was delicious! I always feel a bit strange eating glitter though...

A taonga pounamu, aka a greenstone necklace. The card that came with it said the shape was 'Punga: Anchor - Stone. Reflects strength and confidence, a steadying influence during rough times, the security of holding steadfast and sure, affording stability throughout life.' Entirely appropriate at the moment and it's my first greenstone so it's really lovely.

I also got lots of other lovely little gifts and had a delicious dinner with friends at Caffe Italiano (it was two-for-one pasta Tuesday- good deal, good pasta, gooood dessert). And I believe I have a knitting related gift waiting for me in the Wairarapa at my Nana's, so I'm looking forward to that!

I hope to cast on the socks sometime soon, the pattern calls for using two sets of circular needles like Anita used on her handwarmer. I wish I'd taken more notice of how she did it because I don't quite understand how to 'divide the stitches evenly between the two needles'. Which is exactly the problem she had and overcame but unhelpfully, she's in England right now. A couple of people have said just to use dpns but I've already got the circulars so I am going to use them dammit! I have an idea of how to do it so I'll see if that works out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Knitted trees and other interesting things

Over the weekend I went to the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand's annual symposium. I also popped into Craft 2.0 at lunchtime on Saturday to drop off some Wellington World Wide Knit in Public Day fliers to Tash and to buy some birthday presents (not for me, even though it is my birthday tomorrow). And of course, I got to see the 'It's a Tree!' trees outside the TheNewDowse which were very cool and Tash said she has heaps more leaves and flowers to attach so the trees will only get cooler over the next week or so.

I'm so glad I went to the symposium. While I'm not a specialist in costume or textiles, I still found all of the talks really interesting and I think anyone who has an interest in history would have as well. Here are links related to some of the talks I enjoyed the most (that had relevant websites associated with them).

Cambodian woman at the loom (image sourced from Mekong Blue website)

Weaving New Destinies: Cambodian Women Change Lives at the Loom by Katalin Medvedev was about the background and work of Mekong Blue, an NGO that not only makes beautiful silk scarves and accessories, but is teaching Cambodian women the skills to become self-sufficient and educated.

(image sourced from Australian Dress Register website)

The Australian Dress Register by Lindie Ward explained the idea behind the Australian Dress Register website and showed us what an amazing resource it is going to become when the collection goes live in September. There are a huge amount of resources on the website already and it is a fabulous project. Apparently a similar New Zealand site is being created, called the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Dorothy Broad's woollen soldier doll (image sourced from Te Papa collection online)

The WWI Textiles of Dorothy Broad and Wyville Rutherford by Kirstie Ross of Te Papa told the heart breaking story of Dorothy Broad and her fiancee Wyville Rutherford - who went to serve in WWI. Dorothy made a little woollen doll of her soldier fiancee as a keepsake to remember him by while he was away and then made and sold these wishbone soldier dolls (made from actual chicken wishbones) to raise funds for the war effort. Tragically, Wyville was killed while overseas and the woollen doll was one of the only things Dorothy had to remember Wyville by; along with some of his uniform buttons and badges which she turned into hat pins and pieces of fabric with his military stripes on them. Dorothy remained unmarried for the rest of her life.

The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine (image sourced from the Victoria Mansion website)

A Historic Design Archive Saved and a Carpet Design Re-Created by Jacqueline Field documented Jacqueline's involvement in the search for the original carpet patterns for carpets in the Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine. Jacqueline ended up going to Glasgow in Scotland and searching through the huge archives of James Templeton & Co, carpet makers, to try to find the original carpet design from the 1860s for the carpet in one of the Victoria Mansion's rooms. She didn't find it, but the archive was a mass of designs, paintings, and drawings for the company's carpets, just kept in metal drawers and boxes on shelves. Jacqueline was then involved in trying to create a design that replicated the original carpet in the entrance hallway of the Mansion that there remained only a faded black and white photo of, as the original carpet had been replaced many years before the Mansion became a museum. The story of the creation of the carpet design (as informed by the old photo and her research) and a photo of the finished work, is here, down the bottom of the page. Oh carpet, you are surprisingly interesting.

Christina Brown c. 1860 (image sourced from The Elms website)

The Elms Textile Collection by Jo-Anne Knowles demonstrated Jo-Anne's passion for the collection of clothing left by the inhabitants of The Elms mission house in Tauranga from the early 1800s through to the early 1900s, which is currently stored by The Elms Trust and not exhibited at all. Her presentation showed the wealth of clothing held by the Trust and how much could be learned if research on the clothing was invested in and an exhibition space created for the items.

Costume for 'The Blue God' by Leon Bakst c. 1912 (image sourced from The National Gallery of Australia website)

From Dance to Display by Jane Wild, Hannah Barret and a woman whose name isn't in the programme, showed the process of conservation undertaken by the textile conservators at The National Gallery of Australia in preparation for the exhibition later this year 'Ballet Russes: The Art of Costume'. It is absolutely crazy what the conservators can do to worn, torn, decayed fabric to bring the costumes back to life and to resemble what they would have looked like when worn on stage by the Ballet Russes dancers. The costumes suffered from a lot of wear and tear and bad storage facilities so some of them were more like powdery rags than dresses before the conservators got to work on them. The conservators often choose to retain some of the crude darning and mending done on the costumes (as long as it isn't further damaging the fabric) during the time of their use as that too is fascinating and tells a great story of the costumes as worn.

Woman working on a tapestry (image sourced from the Victorian Tapestry Workshop)

Finally, Antonia Syme spoke about the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, which turns paintings and other designs into amazingly detailed tapestries full of depth and often on a massive scale.

Such an interesting weekend! It made me want to go and do a Masters in Museum and Heritage Studies and become a museum curator. It would be so cool researching items and then writing about them and deciding how to display them. But apparently finding employment as a curator isn't the easiest of tasks. Such is life it seems.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This weekend I'm off to

The 2010 New Zealand Costume and Textile Association Symposium. I feel like a bit of a fraud going along because it all sounds very serious and important, but after I heard about the event and read the programme for the weekend all the talks/presentations sounded really interesting so I thought, 'why not?'. Plus, Craft 2.0 is on on Saturday so I was already going to go out to TheNewDowse to see 'It's a Tree!' and to peruse some of the lovely things for sale (and maybe buy a few presents for people seeing as it's birthday season).

Also, remember this little viola that could?

It finally got a proper new (and very stylish, I might add) ceramic pot this week. I am very proud of my little plant effort, although it's getting a bit out-of-control and floppy. I trimmed some leaves and flowers but even still, the chopstick isn't helping it stand up much these days. Clearly it can't be that I have green fingers, more that this plant has a mind of its own!