Friday, May 28, 2010

Any young kiwi ....

More joy to share from Fontana. Knits for the little ones this time, 1940s style:

Those pocket posies are so beautifully embroidered.  Too cute?  Try these:

I am going to have to knit those aeroplanes - it's called Nosedive!  I shall not be knitting the intarsia deer, Frisky as they may be.

I love this from the Delightful Designs for Toddlers book:

And finally:

"Any young Kiwi will be comfy and warm in this Fontana knitted".  My youngest kiwi turns 6 next week, and still loves to wear his mama's hand knits.  But apparently kids at school pull on his jerseys and stretch them.  He told me, sadly, that some kids weren't treating his jersey very nicely, even though he told them they should because his mum made it.  Well, I'm not a Homemade-Nazi, and I don't want the boy to feel picked on, so I bought him a couple of nasty cheap slave labour fleece hoodies that aren't so satisfying to stretch.  He says he feels too cold in them.  Hah!  Say it loud and say it proud:


Just take a wander down Cuba Street and marvel at all the hip young things wearing '80s picture knits I wouldn't be caught dead in.  I'm starting to understand why my Mum laughed when I used to wear full skirted frocks and penny loafers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It's raining.  A lot.

Three months worth of rain in one day, and my children finally agree to wear their raincoats.  Should we ever get 6 feet of snow I might even get them to put on a sweater.  Or socks!

The knitting bit: Miss Z is wearing the result of my third testing wench experience.  Olearia by the very clever Georgie Hallam/Tikki.  This is a lovely design in sizes from baby up to 8 years (Z is wearing the 8), with a range of options - shrug or long; runching at the top or all the ways down; capped, short or long sleeves; plain sleeves or fancy edged.....  And like most Tikki designs Olearia is knit top down in the round with simple raglan shaping - perfect knitting for mums!  I've made 2 so far.  Are ya sold yet? ;-)

Disclaimer:  Wellington has not had 3 months worth of rain today, I made that up.  But parts of the country are supposed to be having up to 300mm of rain and that sounds like 3 months worth of rain to me.  I would Google average monthly rainfall, but that's too dull and geeky, even for a weather obsessed fact freak me.  All I know is it's pouring with rain.  And somehow one of my cats is covered in concrete.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Searching, searching...I found it!

I'm putting my money on the Hermitage as the location for my Fontana books.

Right mountains anyway.  The current hotel buildings were built in 1958, so the era is spot on - it would have made a daringly new and stylish location for a fashion shoot in the early 1960s.

Like the Chateau, the Hermitage was at various times a government owned hotel.  Imagine that - the government funding luxury holiday lodges.  It sounds faintly ludicrous today, like Stalinist era Black Sea health resorts - I'm thinking Butlands meets Borat.  The THC (Tourist Hotel Corporation, although I much prefer its earlier title, Department of Tourist and Health Resorts) owned the Hermitage and several other hotels until as recently as 1990, I can remember THC travel posters from my childhood (and I don't mean smoke dope and fly home ha ha).  Ah yes, I grew up in a socialist wonderland where everyone had the same TV (Phillips K9?) and it took a month to get the phone on.

I've never been to Twizel, and I've only seen Aoraki from the West Coast side.  Maybe I should take advantage of the Volcano Hiccup sale....

I love the internet!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fabulous Fontana

Stitchcraft is so last week.  My new opshop gold is Fontana booklets - homegrown 60s style. 

I am a bit worried about the gun obsession...

Especially the 2nd pic - a little dark and brooding for a knitting booklet surely?  Very Kiwi Gothic, don't tell me little Susie's out with that Hohepa boy again....

I orignally thought the pics in some of these were taken at the Chateau Tongariro on Mt Ruapehu.  But looking more closely I think I'm wrong.  The windows look the right, but the mountains don't.

I'm going to talk about the Chateau anyway because it's one of my favourite places, it's well worth popping in for a coffee or a cocktail just to soak up a little bit of shabby glamour.  Have a drink on the deck at sunset and pretend you're a mid century jet-setter, very James Bond - if you squint enough.  The views are stunning though.  Doesn't this sound good? (from the Chateau Tongariro website):
After a long day on the slopes, guests would return to fine wine and cuisine served under grand chandeliers, and to staff ready to attend to their every need, as they relaxed in front of the grand arched Ngauruhoe Window, taking in magnificent views of Mount Tongariro. The ‘chink’ of crystals glasses, the sounds of live music and laughter, tales of the days’ adventure and the crackle of a roaring log fire filled the air in the Chateau’s opulent Ruapehu Lounge.
Doesn't it make you feel like knitting a fair isle ski jumper?

While I'm glad I wasn't around in the 60s (for a start I'd be really old now), I'd really like to dress like this.

Please send me all your nana's old Fontana booklets, thank you ;-) 

And what was that in my pocket?


The Honeycomb hat from The Knitters Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes.

This is more wool dyed by my friend Angie.  She's so clever, this colourway is called Lavender Garden.  Hence the lavender bush background. 

Spot the cat.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Autumn Knitting

Right, so it's getting colder and I need to keep warm.  Check out that autumnal light.  

Just finished this today.  It almost finished me.  It's been a while since I knitted something in so many bits.  Sooo much seaming and sewing and fiddly and fussing.  But I swear on my orange ukelele it was totally worth every headache inducing, eye-squinting, finger pricking minute of it.

I gotta tell ya, this is royal baby alpaca, no ordinary llama wool for me!  Unbelievably soft and drapey and pretty.  Somehow shiny and matt at the same time, wooly and silky, smooth and snuggly.  Thank you Webs closeouts!

Obviously the best thing about this sweater is the pockets to hold my wool when I walk around the house knitting. Actually I could walk to the shops knitting in this.  Will the kiddos be ashamed of their crazy mama when she turns up at school knitting out of her kangaroo pockets?

But the rest of it looks pretty good too:

Slouchy and comfy, but stylish and a little tailored too.  Just like me, he he ;-)  Thank you Norah Gaughan for the wonderful pattern.  One very clever lady.

This is my other new sweater for Autumn.  A test knit of  Calvados by Thea Colman.  The wool is Jo Sharp Silkroan Aran Tweed in a colour called Jewel.  It's impossilbe to photograph for some reason.  It does something weird to my camera and makes everything look hazy and pink and makes me vanish.  See:


Spooky Mulder.  I love it, especially as it's not really anything like that colour - think Shiraz and you're closer.  Perfect over a merino on an almost cold day.


Actually today is gorgeous.  Sunny, a light breeze and 17C, I'm too hot in my alpaca!

I had some Silkroad left over so I whipped up this tweedy beret.  This is a test knit of a new pattern by the lovely Sheryl of Shorty Stitches (who always looks gorgeous in a beret) and will be available soon.  In the meantime you might like to knit her other new beret pattern, the Dolce Beret.  Life is sweet.

So I've become a testing whore. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Look who we saw on the way to school this morning....

Ok, actually: look who we saw after being tipped off that dolphins were in the bay, racing down to the beach, and seeing not dolphins, but a pod of orcas swimming around the coast.  Cool.

There were quite a few, at least half a dozen, big ones and little ones.  All swimming around the rocks, coming in amazingly close - as if they were checking out the crowd of curious humans gathering along the shore.  These babies are fast!

Orcas are fairly regular visitors around Wellington, sometimes they swim right in to Wellington Harbour and cruise along beside the whalves and motorways.  They always seem to swim around the coast from east to west, passing us ans heading off towards Red Rocks where there is a seal colony.

Hopefully the newly established Tapu te Ranga marine reserve means we'll get more and more visits from orca, and dolphins, and who know who else as the natural marine environment recovers and grows. 

Quite a few local kids were a wee bit late for school this morning.

Thanks to Kelly Thomas and for the pic - more here: