Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wellington art and self revelations

Hi all

A quick post today as I am nearly ready to head off for a 7 day week of jewelry making with Mary Hettmansperger , a USA tutor at the Aotearoa textile fibre forum which starts this afternoon with a Maori welcome, dinner and a slide lecture. Classes start tomorrow and end on Saturday. There are lectures and dinners most nights then on Sunday a craft market where the artist attending can display and sell their arts.

Anyway before I head off a catch up and a few random things, thanks Diantee!

We enjoyed the two exhibitions the first being the Rita Angus one at our national Museum and art gallery Te Papa. Of course photos weren't allowed so check out the link. This was very interesting and have now got her book to read.

We then went to the City Gallery which is near civic square and saw the Australian artist Fiona Hall's exhibition. This was great , plenty of ideas. Many friends had said you "must see" this as she also knits with video tape and coke cans, yes you heard right coke cans. [ Now on the hunt for some cans to try, don't drink it so hope to source some emptys!]

I really enjoyed this day out or tho my partner found all the walking and standing hard work!

These two pics show the hanging scupture outside the city gallery. On the right day you don't notice the guy wires and it just appears to hanging in mid air. At night it is lit, great!

Of course on the way to the car found some man hole covers, thanks to Loraine I now look down and up as I walk around and many is the time I wish I had my camera.

The next two pics are the "poles" along the side of the Wellington city council public library. They are metal representations of Nikau palms. These are lit at night with blue light, another must see if you make it down this way.

And last but not least saw this on the way to the car. See the blue covered construction... well that is a building being built on top of a bridge between two other buildings!!!

Not sure who approved this but I sure wouldn't want to be any where near this in an earthquake, and Wellington sits on top of several fault lines... and they say we are long overdue for a big one.

Now the fun bit , I was tagged thanks Diantee to reveal 6 random things about me and to pass on the favour. [ Tagging a strange title, hmm are we grafitting the web...!! Just a thought]

I guess that random facts are more intesting if [a] I haven't mentioned them here before and [b] have nothing to do with knitting.

So here goes....

1. I was born in Wellington hospital and lived most of my early years in Upper Hutt where I attended Trentham primary and Upper Hutt College.

2. I married young, at 18 and moved to Australia for 6 months where I lived and worked in Brisbane. For a while I lived in New Farm. I also travelled as far north as Carins and Green Island and as far south as Melbourne. It was meant to be the start of a work around the world trip but as I got pregnant with son #1 we came back to NZ where I have lived ever since. By the way I worked a couple of months at the Golden Circle canning factory.

3. Hence at nearly 55 I already have a 35 year son. Who lives in Washington DC and I haven't seen for 4 long years. So I am planning a trip to the States some time. Next year if I can get the money and leave together. I figure it would be best to go when something else is on eg Rhinebeck or Stitches East.

4. Hmm this is getting hard... let me see.... Ah I am hard of hearing as in I wear two hearing aides. You wouldn't know if you met me as I cope well with it. I have been deaf most of my life and they thought it was English measles but as son #2 and my DGS have the same hearing loss pattern they now think it is genetic. This leads to fact....

5. I have very long hair as in down to my waist at this point in time. It used to be down to my hips but has been shorter for a while now. Reason why you wouldn't see the aides. I do tend to wear it up at work and with Wellingtons winds .....!!! This is my Grandmothers fault as she had long hair when younger and when as a child I saw the pics of her wanted long hair as well. I wasn't allowed until I could look after it myself as I wasn't very good about brushing. As a result once I turned 13 grew it and it has been long ever since.

6. I am a second generation NZ on my mothers side as her parents arrived from Scotland in 1929 and on my fathers side they arrived from Scotland in 1852 on one of the first 3 settlers ships to arrive in Canterbury. My mothers great greats supported Bonnie Prince Charles and fled to France with him so have some french in the mix as well. As a result one of my must visit countries is Scotland and would love to go to the Shetland islands as I have been a passionate lace knitter in the past.

Anyway enough about me it is now your turn.

The rules are as follows.

1 Link to the person who tagged you. Diantee

2 Post the rules on your own blog.

3 Write 6 random things about yourself.

4 Tag 6 people at the end of your post.

5 Let each person know they have been tagged.

6 Let your tagger know via comment to their post you have passed it on.

So without futher ado these 6 have been tagged, hope you don't mind too much!!

Jean, Gillian, Jenla [ hm does this count as two?] , Ann and Kay [ another two! ]

Ok this will have to do for now most of my links are at work and I need to leave will have to link some more later.

Have fun and knit on.... >^..^<

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"From white to yellow"

"Much of what we see depends on what we're looking for"

Hi, still here and still knitting.

The weather has improved dramatically with sun and warmth and best of all no rain. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath it is nearly time for the equinoxticals. [sp?] That is the strong northerly winds that we get every year around Oct/Nov.

Got up on Thursday and this is the view from our kitchen window. It was cloudless until I had rooted around for the camera and made my way outside to take a shot... then clouds!! still you can see the lighter sky. Day light saving starts in a week and then summer will feel on the way with Xmas just around the corner.

It is now Saturday night and I have spent the day gardening, car cleaning and some knitting. I am still in the black hole of "the brown wrap" Down to the last 3 rows of cassette tape yarn then 2 or perhaps 4 of the dark brown wool crepe then the edging. I think I have decided to knit a sideways border rather than just knit one straight. As I have a small 5 stitch garter stitch edging running around the shawl want the bottom to be continuous from this. So I guess this means biting the bullet and counting all those stitches and doing the math to fit in the correct number of repeats. Ugh!!!

I also want to tweek some short rows at each end on the border to "turn the corners" so the edging "grows" from the border. Make sense? If not all will become clear. I hope anyway. I have decided that I prefer a zigzag as opposed to a sawtooth edging. I am just trying to make up my mind if I want to knit in the cassette tape or thread it through as fringing afterwards. [ This would be far easier so will probably do this. ]

It is quite a bit longer than this picure shows. Colours a little closer to "real" here.

I am still on the leg of the first pair of rainbow socks . Had a fitting as look tight but fit snugly which will be an improvement on the last two pair which are a little loose. A pic next time if you are lucky.

Until I moved into the present house I lived for 24+ years in Whitby. Whitby, Wellington that is not Whitby, Yorkshire. This is a "village" where everything is named after something to do with Captain James Cook. When living there at this time of the year the bush behind our house would develop a dusting of white. Real pretty snow like. This would be the Manuka flowering. I miss the bush as the birds would visit and would come when I whistled to be fed.

This is a close up........

But where I live now is also very beautiful at this time. I now live in a suburb called "Papakowhai". This is a Maori word... Papa = earth or ground and kowhai is the Maori word for yellow and is the name of a yellow flowering native tree. So literally "land covered by Kowhai trees. You may guess the bush around here, [and Most of New Zealand homes are near bush or parks] are now dusted with yellow as all the Papakowhai's are in flower. Again not easy to photograph. So here is a close up of a tree in the school grounds where the GC go. They have several trees around the edge of the quad.

The native birds love the nectar and Tui's [ or parson bird ] can be seen and heard with Fantails flitting about feeding on the insects drinking the nectar.

Well nature lesson over.. I will go and do a few more stitches on the black hole hmm mean wrap. Tomorrow off to our national museum Te Papa to visit a Rita Angus exhibition and then to the City gallery to see an art exhibition many have been telling me I "must see" as the art uses cassette and video tapes knitted. Fun... and inspirational.

Just finished reading

"Death by cashmere" by Sally Goldenbaum

A murder mystery with a knitting group who solve the case .A fairly light read but enjoyable. Good for night-time reading when tired and you don't want anything too heavy just before sleep. I must try and track down some more of her books.

Now started

"Things I learned from knitting whether I wanted to or not" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Finally got hold of a copy and none to soon as she has just released another! Very productive writer! Once again Stephanie gives a knitters slant to everyday expressions. I haven't read a lot yet but do enjoy her wit and insight. Having being brought up with " if at first you don't succeed, try try again" etc great to read and apply it to my consuming passion at the moment. [ I have treated myself to her calendar as well but will wait until the new year to open this]

Off to knit... knit on >^..^<>

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Monday, September 15, 2008

"Mind expanding"

"God never puts any man in a space too small to grow in"

Hi all
Hmm you might be thinking after the past few posts , where's the knitting. The truth be told it is all on the needles.
I am having a ball , loving my knitting or the production of it but nothing finished recently. Not unless you count the 86 samples I did for City and Guilds module 2. I am now steadily working on #3 and finding it slightly easier going. Have done nine samples so far but really they are not riverting blogging fodder. [ especially unblocked ]
My rainbow socks move on. My first pair of socks from the toe up and have to admit I am converted. Such a great feeling, knit to the end of the ball and know, with confidence that I can get a sock out of the ball left. None of the having to rip out the ribbing and reknit to get yarn from the first sock to finish the second then going back to do the same with the begining of the second to match the now shorter first sock. Believe me "I know" having had to do that with the last pair. [ I am designing these as I go, hope I can remember how to do the second LOL]
I think my biggest problem is that my brain moves faster than my fingers. I keep getting these great ideas for projects and design them from start to finish but lack the time to create them. I won't just be leaving a stash beyond life expectancy but visual diaries full of sketches. Why just today sitting in the waiting room at the physio's [tweeked my back long story, but on the mend] I was debating getting out my latest sock. Would I have time for a row or two? I thought no I didn't but I digress. A paitent was waiting for help from the receptionist and I was just looking into the distance when I examined the pattern of her quilted jacket and thought "what if...??". Just had time to whip out pen and paper and make a quick sketch when I was called in. I really must try this stitch pattern. You will be the first to hear if I can make it work.
Anyway where was I...? I think the mind expanding thing with knitting and design is that you realise that you are always learning, always looking for ideas. Well in my case I have almost got to the stage of putting blinkers on. Really the ideas just buzz in my head , many is the time when a hot flush strikes inconveniently mid night that I have laid in the dark drawing pictures in the air. Of some fanciful garment ... be it sock or jersey. Or perhaps I am just getting old..!
I am fortunate in having many chances to do art courses and in working next to an art gallery. [Just today I toured an embroidery exhibition in my lunch break and must go back with my sketch book.] Yet I am aware of comments made by some [ who shall remain nameless] that "I won't do....take that course." It won't teach me anything I don't know already".
I consider myself an experienced knitter but learn so much all the time. In two weeks I am really looking forward to attending the Aoteroa textile fibre forum. A really intense 6 days of workshop. This year I am doing jewellery with Mary Hettmansperger from the USA , woven jewellery that is. It will be a mind expanding week if last years is anything to go by. Who needs drugs... just pick up your pointy sticks.
I have been to many knitting classes, many have covered topics I am familar with, yet I always learn at least one thing that makes it worth while. I have taught many classes and I find I learn just as much as the students. [ Or am I just obsessed with knitting...hmm].
I suppose what I am saying is keep an open mind , learn and stretch the mind daily you may be surprised at what you have been missing.
All this to reach my point.... I have been revelling in words, poetry and writing. The last few posts I have enjoyed writing... if you enjoy reading?... only time will tell. I am enjoying the "knitting" of words together to tell a story, inspire a thought or convey a memory.
I hope your space is always large enough to grow in.
knit on >^ ..^ <
"I want to be all that I am capable of becoming...." Katherine Mansfield

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Lest we forget"

"Think globally - act locally" Biologist Renee Du Bois"

There are days in our lives we never forget. We can remember where we were, what we were doing, the smells, food and clothes are as sharp in our minds as if it was yesterday.
The birth of a child, our wedding day. A special birthday or our first day at school/college.
Some days we wish we could forget and they haunt us still, the death of a spouse or loved one, an accident or getting lost.
Seven years ago this coming morning I arose early as I was still not sleeping well. So was planning on going to the gym. I had just passed my drivers licence a few days before hand so was able to drive myself there instead of lugging my gear up to the top of the road and getting the bus. To while away the time as it was so early I switched on my computer with the intention of checking my email.
In those days I was on the Knit U list and the Lacy knitters guild list and would read and post messages most days. I started at the top with the most recent......" when the first plane..."" " it war......." etc etc. I thought...."What...???!!! what has happened?
So went into the bedroom and put on the TV.... what a shock... the world trade centre...!! I couldn't watch. At this stage I was still suffering symptoms of post trauma after my dear husbands death. So rang a friend said.."Turn on your TV, I am coming up" So I hurriedly dressed, got in the car and drove around to his place. He was fixated to the unfolding horror but I couldn't bear to see the screen. So he related events as they played out before him. We eventually managed to get ready and went to work to find the whole place was in shock. They put a large TV on in the passage way between the gallery and library and all day there was a crowd around it.
Even today I can't look at the pictures of that tragic day, so many lost. I couldn't turn on the TV or read a newspaper for days.
In New Zealand and Australia we remember the fallen on ANZAC day once a year in April by wearing a poppy to represent those loved ones lost. So here is my poppy for you. I will be remembering the time and day. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost a loved one in such a tragic way. May our small efforts in our lives help toward global peace if not in our time then in our childrens.
Perhaps we can truely "knit the world together"
In memory...


Sunday, September 07, 2008

"A letter to my father"

Dear Dad

It is now over six years since I needed to buy you a fathers day card and six years plus since I carefully selected a gift. Much water has passed under the bridge but never has a day gone by when I haven't thought of you and missed your loving guiding hand in my life.

I thought I knew you well but since that March day we said our goodbyes I have learnt so much more. Your loving kindness and gifts used, expressed in loving memory by your friends made me realise there was so much more to you than being just "my dad".

Your selfish love and kindness since teenage years used to guide and mature boys into strong men with your years of voluntary work for the Boys Brigade. Work recognised justly with being made a "Companion of the Queens service order". All your life you truely knew how to serve.

But you were even more than that. A talented photographer , gifted picture framer, art gallery owner, award winning weaver as well as in your later years a writer. Your mediation skills well used on the meetings you chaired and led. You have been sorely missed by many.

Our first house you helped us buy, my first car you lent me money for and in those worrying hours of labour that may have gone so horribly wrong a comfort and strength to David and your smile of joy as you greeted your new born grandson long remembered.

I never knew or guessed how hard it is to be "head of the family". [ I sometimes so wish to give this position up, did you so wish? ] You never let us see the stress and strain you must have felt. Never a cross word let alone a "swear" word was heard. No strong drinker or absent father were you. Always present and ever loving with strength and silent nuturing love.

You guided me in my first weaving project, taught me to fish, showed me the wonder of the developing print in the darkroom, let me start my working life in your gallery and when I strayed from the straight and narrow path you were there to pick me up and lead the way home. Not once, not twice but many times! Always loving never judging.

When I wanted to garden you built the compost bins and the raised beds. Every year a load of mushroom compost appeared and many a seedling "left over from planting" came my way. Many was the time you arose from your bed to "rescue" us when one of our many cars needed a tow. When times were hard furniture "appeared" as you had fun at the auctions on our behalf sometime being more generous than we had room for!

You gave me away twice , paid for two weddings and twice it was you I rung when I was left behind by loved ones passing. Your strength and love always only a phone call away.

Dear dad I miss you still! I sometimes think I would give anything for one smile, one hug, one phone call. When times are hard I miss your wisdom and strength, those phone calls for guidance. But I think that was your greatest gift.... somehow , somewhere you gifted me some of your strength. Each day I get up and get on.... because of lessons learnt well at your knee. If I can be half the wo[man] you were I will be well pleased.

One day , somewhere over the sunset I hope to see you and thank you as I never did. I love you dad.

Happy fathers day.

"Mana island sunset from Plimmerton beach, a view you knew well."

Dear reader

My dad was a very special man and one of the things Mum gifted me with recently when I helped her move house was a bag of quotes he had saved from news letters and the like. I thought this treasure richer than gold. Quotes my dad found good enough to save so I have been using them to head my messages. Here is another and well did my dad live by this:

" I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing that I can do or any kind word that I can speak, let me do it now, let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."

May I remember this in the years to come and if you still have your dads make the most of them, love them, spend time with them as one day they too will be over the sunset.

Knit on >^..^<

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Comments please"

" If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything!"

Sorry another photoless post, I really must get motivated to get out the camera. Especially as I have a brand new one to learn to use. Hm perhaps that's the problem. [ edited to add pic. Sun came out briefly so went out to hang some washing perhaps the wind will try them as the sun disappeared the minute I did this..!! Still got some pics to share.. enjoy]

Another bleak, wet, cold, windy day. So much for it being spring! The daffs, tulips and iris' are taking a hammering today. As good excuse as any to stay near the fire with my knitting and laptop. That and the annoying fact that I have tweeked my back again. [ Too much house moving [ 4 in the past 18 months], not to mention lugging wood for the fire]
Some spring flowers... I see a bit of dead heading is needed..

Should really be out in the garden weeding! The weeds are taunting me through the window and I dread to think how the vegie garden is. Mercifully out of sight from the lounge room window. I did manage to get it half weeded, enough to see how little everything has grown this winter. Too much rain and not enough sun. We won't be feasting on many broad beans this year. Hardly any have dared to spring up through the mud. I can see over to my neighbours gardens and they have the same results.
Hmm some slug damage.... still not bad... we have baby broccoli!! [ By the way this is the half I weeded two weeks ago before I tweeked my back, I resisted the urge to turn around and show you a pic of the beds behind me... some work is needed! ]

All this may explain the horrendous price of vegetables in the supermarkets!! I never thought I would see the day when cabbages, caulis and broccoli would be $5 each!!! How those with large families and just as small incomes are managing....!! I know my DS2 with his two eating him out of house and home is finding shopping for food a real challenge these days.

Anyway having got right off of the topic...

With enforced inactivity and the fact that it has been quieter at work I have been able to do a bit more net surfing and reading and catching up with some favourite sites/blogs. [Also finding old friends, hi Gillian!!]

I am forever amazed at the problems some well known bloggers, site owners and pod casters have with comments fired at them. [ I suppose I am leaving myself right open here to some myself but my blog doesn't generate enough traffic so think I am fairly safe.]

I don't have any problems with:

1. Supportive comments in a positive way.

2. Well thought out constructive criticism of preceived faults or problems.

3. Greetings and positive feed back on content.

But I can't understand these:

1. I hate...... whatever. This equals "I don't like your blue eyes" type of comments.

2. You are really "bad/wicked for ....."

3. "You are doing...... wrong and you should stop......"

Is there something about the internet that makes us think we are safe to say and do things that we wouldn't say and do in our own homes!!!!

Heh, aren't we all controllors of our own "mouses". [ I suppose strictly thinking that should read mice, but "mouses" seems to better decribe what I mean]

We have choices here, if we don't like a site do we have to take it as a personal insult and take it upon ourselves to "make them change" for " their own good". If we don't like something in "real time" we just don't go there, do that or whatever. So you don't like a site, the topic, the owner the content, or style of speaking.....remove it from you favourites....easy peasy!!!

Anyway down off my soap box, I just can't believe the rudeness of some.

As an aside my poor DP has a nasty virus on his PC. He was running spyware as well but it still got past. [ Made me rather nervous to go on line I kid you not! ] He has spent the last two days trying to back up files and rescue as much as possible so he can run recovery. Brought a backup hard drive and is busy downloading as I write] Hope it works. This is another senseless thing.

You get these, I suppose teenagers who have nothing better to do with their time than make someone elses life a misery by hacking and creating viruses. I mean it is not like they even get the amusement of watching and seeing the results...what do they get out of it beats me!! My DP's comment " They just wanted to give me a bad day..!"

What am I working on? you may well ask. Some City & Guilds, I have just started module 3 having received 2 back with some positive comments and a pass. I must not knit so many samples this time, I think 86 was a bit carried away. It cost far two much for us both to post. I have read through and taken notes and started knitting, fire here I come this pm.

I am also still working on my exhibition pieces. 1st one nearly finished. It has got to the black hole stage with it taking an hour to do a row. It is all very well to start at the neck edge on a few stitches but........ have a zillion stitches now to plough.. through... each... row. Roll on the edging.

The observant among you will notice it is a little bigger, pictured next to the "yarn" I am using.

My next piece will be the shetland cobweb lace in copper wire for my old window. By the way we were sorting out the garage, trying to anyway and caught my DP just about to wire brush the old window I had brought complete with peeling paint and dirty cobwebs. What!!! I said. Just cleaning it for you....NO!!!! I want it dirty...thanks all the same that was close.

Part of the old window, cobwebs not so noticable here. Forgive the rubbish pic drew the line at opening the garage door to get a better shot, too cold brrrr.

Then there is the spinning wheel I look at longingly each time I walk past. So close to finishing the first ply of Little Wool co pumpkin and silk sliver. Beautiful!! Then to spin the silk to ply with it. Must do some today... if the back will let me sigh!!

Anyway off to do some knitting...perhaps some spinning, the joys of wet saturdays.

By my bed reading...

The latest copy of "knitting" magazine. an English publication. Very handy to keep up on the latest yarns and what is hot in the knitting world. Esstential with the C & G course. Visit their website you maybe tempted to....

Wish I could be in England this weekend as there is a large knitting event and the Yarn harlot is attending... would love to be there...sigh

Knit on all >^..^< as you can see I have been beaten to the fire!

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Where I am wrong make me willing to change, and
where I am right make me easy to live with!"

Am I the only one who is rather behind the play having only discovered Cast-on and the joys of podcasting?! I admit I have only had my I-pod a few months but really I did "find" the podcasts early on and DID download some. [The ones whose titles appealed] But the past couple of weeks I have been hooked on listening to Brenda's smooth tones while extrollling the virtures of knitting and more.

Never been much of a conformist I have listened to some out of order but have now begun back at the begining. So have just listened to episode #2 "A knitter's manifesto" .

This has got me thinking, after looking up exactly what "manifesto" meant what was "my policy"? My rules or lack of ... how did I approach my knitting..
So better or worse... here goes..

1. Knitting being something I started before I can remember , it sometimes feels as if I was born knitting. I mean I can't even remember those first stumbling attempts of knit and purl I guess I will knit until my hands no longer can hold needles or the brain fogs over. This hopefully leaves me many years ... I mean you just have to see the stash!

2.I will always be open to new techiqnues and fibres. Always learning and being willing to learn. Never have a "know it all attitude". After all there is more than one way to do anything!

3. Never miss a chance to pass on the addiction. Spread the fibrey goodness around after all it is the best form of stress release going. Have a willingess to share and teach.

4. Also never miss a chance to enhance the stash. I have to be able to have plenty to share if I am to do the above two , now come on!

5. Always be true to my instincts....... if I "know" it will be too short/long/wide give in early and rip before I waste a "lifetime" knitting what will be ripped anyway.

6. At the moment , put my "soul" , meaning into my work. Try and convey the message strongly.

7. Always try and "never" follow a pattern.... make it my own! Even in a small way.
Edited to add: [6.9.08]
8. When asked to comment on a fellow knitters work, blog etc always try to be honest in a kind and positive way.

Hmm that will do for now... what do you think?? What and how would you write your own manifesto? If you haven't heard Brenda do go and listen. I must admit to a slight feeling of guilt. I mean this enjoyment is free!! One day, when I have my life back and am not supporting [ helping ] two grandchildren I will be able to pay something for the efforts of such as Brenda. At the moment tho charity definately has to begin at home.

Enjoy >^.^<
Reading at the moment

"Knitting by the fireside and on the hillside: a history of the Shetland hand knitting industry c.1600-1950"

by Linda G. Fryer

A fasinating read. It is based on a thesis that Linda did so the book is very comprehensive indeed! But if like me you have an interest in Shetland lace and in anything to do with the history and background of knitting in general you will enjoy this book. I am only up to chapter two , reading in bed being the only time I normally get and only as long as I can stay awake this will take a while. But worth a look at.

Details for those who want to know

Printed and published by The Shetland Times Ltd in 1995
ISBN 1 8988852 01 4

Knit on