Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Dunedin Institution - the 24hr book sale

If you live in Dunedin, you should have at some time in your life attended the annual Regent Theater 24hr book sale. This is where locals and local libraries cull their book collections and donate what they consider surplus to the Regent theater, and the Regent theater then holds a mammoth annual book sale. Doors open at 12noon on a Friday, and close at 12noon the following day. The book sale was last Friday - I went twice - once Friday night and again on Saturday morning. Bear went once. There is a reason to the madness of going back - they keep bringing out boxes of books and magazines as the books on the tables sell and more space become available. Local musicians (good and not so) vie for microphone time. Its all good very good fun. Today the post starts with the books, then onto the spinning and knitting, and finally wood turning. I've finished plying my first real live sock yarn, I've been knitting pink booties, which look much better blocked, and I've got more baby knitting (not all mine). Finally what my dads been doing in the way that dads do sometimes, helping daughters with their hobbies - so a bit of a show and tell and boast about his new found abilities.

So - what did I buy at the book sale, well before I tell, I first need to explain all books are $1 unless marked otherwise, and in the last 2 hours all books are half price. All my books were unmarked so $1 (or less). My real knitting find was The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches Volume Two. I also bought You Knit Unique by Lee Anderson, a gorgeous vintage 1980's book on how to design and knit garments. While its not my style - I opened it at a page showing work by Margaret Stove - any book that references well known knitters goes home with me. Pawing through the craft section - specifically for 'ethnic' knitting books, I also found Make Your Own Bilum by Silvia Baker, detailing a spinning and knotting technique for Bilum bags of Papua New Ginea. It was the front page that sold me, "Make Your Own Bilum. The Craft of Knotless netting of stone age origins and including thigh spinning in the primitive manner". How could a spinner resist this 1985 book in good condition? I mean - what if I'm caught without a wheel or a spindle and yet have fiber? Bear found me the New Anchor Book of Counted Thread Embroidery Stitches - which will join the other embroidery books on my shelf. I also found a second copy, very worn, of Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns. This 1948 edition of a classic book was so worn the salesperson said it should never have gone out for sale, and that given its condition she wouldn't charge. I plan to pass this on to a new friend at knit night, who asked if there were books of knitting stitches available. Finally I also scored a copy The Ashford Book of Weaving by Anne Field. The weaving book has a sticker on the back with the original NZ price of $39.95 - and honestly looks like it was never used. I've already done a deal with another knit-nighter I met at the sale to swop this for the copies of Piece work she scored, K is much more into weaving than I.

I finally got to the end of my plying, I've been spinning this fiber since I blended it on my refurbished carder on the 23rd of March this year. Its now May, and all spun and plied. In total I've got 486m of a 4 ply cabled yarn, 16 wpi. This is my personal challenge this year, to spin sock yarn and knit socks, I feel half way there.




A new baby girl arrived to a RofF (relative of a friend), early by over a month, which is pretty scary for any new parents and their kin. Given this friend is in the knitting group, I had to cast on some teeny tiny baby booties.

This is a heavily modified pattern derived originally from a bootie in a Debbie Bliss baby book. I have knitted these so often know the pattern and knit them on autopilot, and I long ago converted the pattern to be knit in the round. These are a nice plain bootie, contrasting with the fancier ones many knitters opt for, and have a ribbed cuff hidden inside - helping them to stay on. Of course they look like a scrumpled mess when you graft the toe to the sole and stand back to admire your work. But a little blocking, and they smarten up nicely.





And more baby stuff, for a different baby this time, a boy, a baby blanket is being communally knit, and I volunteered to stitch the squares together. These are some of the squares I've been given so far. I'm always amazed at the variety when individuals all undertake the same task.


And lastly, Dads, very useful things Dads are - even if they have their own lives. Mine loves Case tractors and rotary hoes of the vintage variety. Beyond his 1963 Matches 250 scrambler motorbike, he busies himself in his retirement with collecting and restoring Bedford trucks, Case tractors, and rotary hoes, all pre-1945. Why? We don't know, we have stopped asking. But I did buy him A Pictorial History of Trucks, published in 1978 at the sale, on the off chance he would like it, he did. Tractor and truck restoration seems to involves traipsing the rural environs and farm sales searching for old vehicles to transport home and take apart and add to those already in his backyard. Into all of this comes me, his firstborn requesting he turn extra bobbins for Wing spinning wheels for a friend and I on his metal working lathe. He is a mechanic not a wood turner, but he gave it a go, and now he has turned a prototype, or perhaps this is a swatch. It works - a little smaller than the original as the wood he had to hand was not quite big enough, and a little thick around the middle, and not as smooth as he wanted - some story about the lathe motor needing replacement. Thats been done now. More importantly the bobbin works, here is the old varnished bobbin on left, new unfinished bobbin on right. My friend and I now need to find suitable wood and wait for Dad the busy retired mechanic to make us more.....

6 comments:

Shirley Goodwin said...

I also have "You Knit Unique" (which I bought very many moons ago)and the Ashford book. I must confess that these days I mainly buy from Amazon.

Vintage Purls said...

Oh those booties are gorgeous! Little miss is doing very well and her mum got to come home today.

Well done with the sock yarn spinning - you will bring to Knit Night so I can admire?

KathyR said...

Your sock yarn looks really good! Looking forward to hearing how it knits up. The booties are really cute and look extra warm.

My DD has great memories of the Regent Book Sale from her student days - she even remembered her Mum when she went (several times each year). I'm sure that she is hoping to be able to go next year when she is back in the country.

Your Dad has done a great job on the bobbin. Very clever.

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh! Go, dad! Isn't it nice to have a woodworker in the family, and one who's willing to support your habits? I keep trying to convince Rick that making spindles and bobbins would be fun (and would give him an excuse to buy a lathe). Soon...

It sounds like you scored royally at the book sale -- what a fun event. I wish we had something like that around here! And your sock yarn looks amazing -- I am so very impressed. Someday, I, too, will be able to spin sock yarn, but not yet :)

Elizabeth said...

Boy, did you score! I've been looking for that bilum book, which is currently going for $70 to $80 US!

heatherlea said...

Hello. I too am intersted in textiles, moreso in weaving and printing than knitting. However, a friend of mine is really keen to learn the technique for making a BILUM. She has been encouraged through a world day of prayer activity and cannot find much info so far. Can you help? pls pls? thanks from the highlands f scotland. ain't the internet amazing? M