Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rachael Hunter Discovered in Op Shop (pic heavy and you're gonna have to read the whole post to get to Rach)

Op Shop, short for Opportunity Shop, also known as Charity, Second Hand or Junk Shop or Store, usually run by the Sallies, St Vinnies, the Red Cross, etc.  I love 'em.


Today I got a gorgeous felted wool skirt that fits perfectly (yeah, you can see my bra, who knew black merino turns see-through under the power of my x-ray camera flash?), and a heap of summery things which is totally mental because it's the middle winter.

I had great hopes for this  - genuine late 70s wool dress (Kirsti Casuals, fabric by Levena), but I really should have figured a shapeless nightie of a frock designed for a 92cm bust is not going to be particularly flattering on someone 10cms smaller.

I tried "styling" it: waistcoaty thing in the spirit of the era, better - but nothing can hide the fact it's too big, the neckline is hideously unflattering, and I'm sure my mum used to wear something like this.

 Nothing for it but the Kukka....

You may roll about laughing now, and bring me my milk pail.  I'm ready for the Apocalypse (and will have lemons for gin, so come on over!).

Not much luck on the pattern front, but these two munchkins caught my eye:

What a doll ;-)  I looked just like that when I was 3.

Remember More magazine?  My mum used to buy it, back when sophisticated mags for the modern career woman had knitting supplements.

Well, look at that, it's our Rachael.  Before she was Mrs Rod Stewart, Rachael Hunter was apparently the only model in New Zealand.  And the Trumpet girl.

The Sad Little Lemon

The Sad Little Lemon used to live between a fence and my front path.  I've babied it for a couple of years - daily hand watering, regular mulching, the odd talking too...  but the Sad Little Lemon has remained sad, dropping its fruit buds and looking distinctly jaundiced. 

So last night I moved him to the corner of my vege patch, next to the Very Happy Lemonade (see below, not actually a lemon, but a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit or something). 

I wasn't 100% sure about giving up a decent part of my already small vege patch, but I've done it now.  We'll always need lemons for our gin afterall.

Now I fully expect the Sad Little Lemon to drop all its leaves or blow over in the next southerly buster. 
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 21, 2010


The shortest day of the year today, and it doesn't feel like winter at all - the sun is shining and it's 15 degrees Celsius.  Perfect weather for carting compost and planting garlic, which is just what I've been doing this morning - feeling wonderfully wholesome and dirty.

The last autumn leaves are clinging in the lee of a fence, while the first spring bulbs are bursting through, oblivious to the cold days to come.

It's easy to forget on a warm, suuny morning that "as the days grow longer the cold grows stronger".

And because all things are in balance today:

Italy 1 - New Zealand 1

Tootling car horns woke me some time around 3am, and I wondered, but rolled over and went back to sleep because NZ beating Italy at calcio is impossible.  Obviously!  But a draw we'll take and honk our horns and  dream of more impossible things - like maybe winning the Rugby World Cup!

On the knitting front, Matariki mark 1 is done. It's not supposed to have a contrasting collar, I just ran out of yarn ;-)

And that first pic?  Yesterday Ryan got a haircut, lost a tooth, and developed an instant lisp.  Not sure what balances that (apart from loosing the other tooth so that he can sing "All I want for Chrithmath is my two front teef").

Look at this!  Just because it's all about balance today - while I was writing this big black clouds blew in, and now it's cold, windy and about to rain - hello winter!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit

"Why don't you get up and play with us? one of them asked.
"I don't feel like it," said the rabbit, for he didn't want to explain that he had no clockwork.

"Ho!" said the furry rabbit.  "It's as easy as anything."  And he gave a big hop sideways and stood on his hind legs.
"I don't believe you can!" he said.
"I can!" said the little Rabbit.  "I can jump higher than anything!"  He meant when the Boy threw him, but of course he didn't want to say so.
"Can you hop on your hind legs?" asked the furry rabbit.
That was a dreadful question, for the Velveteen Rabbit had no hind legs at all!  The back of him was made all in one piece, like a pincushion.  He sat still in the bracken, and hoped the other rabbits wouldn't notice. .....

"I don't want to!" he said again.

But the wild rabbits have very sharp eyes.  and this one stretched out his neck and looked.
"He hasn't got any hind legs!" he called out.  Fancy a rabbit without any hind legs!"  And he began to laugh.
"I have!" cried the little Rabbit.  "I have got hind legs!  I am sitting on them!"
"Then stretch them out and show me, Like this!" said the wild rabbit.  And he began to whirl round and dance, till the little Rabbit got quite dizzy.
"I don't like dancing," he said.  "I'd rather sit still!"
But all the while he was longing to dance, for a funny new tickly feeling ran through him, and he felt he would give anything in the world to be able to jump about like these rabbits did.

The Strange rabbit stopped dancing and came quite close.  He came so close this time that his long whiskers brushed the Velveteen Rabbit's ear, and then he wrinkled his nose suddenly and flattened his ears and jumped backwards.
"He doesn't smell right! he exclaimed.  "He isn't a real rabbit at all! He isn't real!"
"I am real!" said the little Rabbit.  "I am real!  The Boy said so!"

And that, of course, is from the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  Read it and weep - as they say - sorry.  I LOVE that book, still makes me cry when the Boy sees the wild rabbit and thinks "Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever".  Lost.  Breaks my heart every time.

Oh, and this little guy is a bunny cuddly of Patons Velveteen for the adored Mrs K's soon to arrive baby.  Mrs K is my 6 year old's teacher, and was my 9 year old's year 2 teacher as well.  I knitted her a Noro scarf, that's how much we adore her!  Hope she likes this funny little bunny, for some reason he makes me think of Sooty and Sweep (my mum, who lived in the north of England until she was 9, always pronounced it "sue-ty" although she had no accent otherwise). 

A You-Tube search to show you what I'm talking about brought up this really odd clip.  Soo has a surprise for the boys - is it a skateboard, or a racing car or a computer game?  No it's new jumpers. Which somehow leads to a long investigation of how to shrink your woollens, with lots of beating it seems, and if all else fails - the tumble drier!  Matthew's having trouble with tension.  Maybe he needs to do some beating.  Ahem. 

"Sweep - you could agitate a saint!"  Poor Soo, so uptight for a hand puppet panda.  I feel a feminist rant coming on, the only girl on the show and she gets to be an uptight mother figure - but I totally relate to her (as a mother), so I'll have to have that rant at myself.

This is 9 minutes long, so only for if you're really keen, plus there's part 2!

The Sooty Show, Knitting

The Man Hat

Feel the fear and do it anyway!  Download a PDF for this pattern here:

Knitting on 2.25mm needles with fuzzy black wool is interesting.  It's almost impossible to see the stitches, they blur into a black fuzzy..... fuzziness.  Which is all very lovely when you're done, but hard as hell to count or keep track of rounds without using a row counter.  Do use a row counter, I generally don't and often suffer for my foolishness.

Anyhoo this is a hat for your man to wear under his bike helmet on chilly mornings.  Black so he can be cool, soft so he won't be itchy, possum/wool blend so he'll be super warm, light and thin so he can roll it up and put it in his pocket when the sun comes out.  Cool for girls too of course.

Here's the recipe for an average man sized hat (should fit snugly):

1 ball Supreme Possum Merino with Silk 4 ply, preferably black.
2.25mm needles or size to get gauge.  Normal people will probably get gauge with 3mm needles, but I knit loose.
Gauge = 30sts/4"

CO 144 sts
K2 P2 ribbing for 1/2 an inch.
Continue in stocking stitch until hat measures 4" from CO edge.

Knit 1 round placing markers as follows: k12, pm, then pm every 24 sts.

Dec round:  k to 2sts before marker, k2tog, sm, ssk repeat to end of round.
K 5 rnds
work dec round
k 5 rnds
work dec round.

k 3 rounds
work dec round.
repeat these 4 rnds 'til you have 48sts.

Then work decs every other round 'til you have 24sts.

Cut yarn thread tail through remaining sts and pull tight, fasten to inside of hat sewing up any hole in the top.

Give it to a man or cyclist you love and bask in the warmth of their gratitude.  Or put it on your art deco lamp, whatever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grandma's Jersey

Found in an op-shop:

Found in the sea:

Tee hee :-)  Sadly mine has stains on - red wine was involved I fear.  Knitted by my Grandmother many years ago, and worn almost to death by me in the past few years.  This wool does not pill or fluff one bit, either they spun miracle wool in them olden days, or it's moved past it's pilling stage.

I was stoked to find this pattern on one of my op-shop trawls, that strange woman chortling in the corner of the Sallies shop is probably me - either me or a proper crazy lady from the half way house round the corner.... 

I love stumbling upon coincidence, reminds me that everything is connected - we are all moving in the same dance and sometimes we meet the most unexpected things.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Why do children love that song so much?  I think it must be built into the human psyche - both my children could sing it before they could talk.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Matariki is the Maori name for the constellation the Pleiades - the Seven Sisters.  Matariki is also the name given to the Maori New Year, which begins in June when Matariki appears in the southern skies.
Matariki was traditionally a time of being indoors, the harvest is in and the storehouses are full.  It was a time for stories, being with friends and family, and for making and mending.  In that spirit I've spent the day snuggled on the couch in front of the fire and while my kids are home "sick" playing Club Penguin, I'm working on a new design for Matariki.  It's my take on a traditional shawl collared fair isle sweater, reinterpreted as a top down raglan for the seam adverse modern knitter (i.e., me!).

Like trying to count the stars in Matariki/Pleiades the stars on this jersey vary from 5 to 8 stars, but depending on the size rather than how much you squint.

I really enjoy this bit of working out a pattern, even though pretty much anyone with half a brain, a tape measure and a calculator could do it, it makes me feel smart.  I'm feeling particularly brainy today having charted out my stars to fit my stitch counts all by myself - and it's all worked out beautifully logical and simple.  I've got this one sorted I think, just have to knit it to be sure.

My notebook also contains thoughts on one of my still-in-the-head designs - the Goth Sweater.  Thinking about names:
April Skies
Happy When it Rains
Just Like Honey
Taste of Cindy

Oh yes, I was a teenager in the '80s.  The goth sweater involves black mohair and a big lace cowl, it's either going to be very, very cool or really, really bad.

Kia pai tenei tau hau.