Saturday, November 08, 2008


Thanks for all the supportive comments about my Nana. I really appreciated it, it seems like a rough year - with Odette only a few months ago and now Nana, so the comments were much appreciated.

I'm back, and the knitting goes on, in fact there was mention of knitting at the funeral by two different relatives in their memory-speeches. First my uncle mentioned how she was always knitting, and always had a bag of lap blankets or knitted bedsocks on hand, and insisted visitors select something to ward of the cold. My cousin, Donna who had the luxury of living close to Nana in Auckland recalled the huge bag of dolls clothes and knitted toys she still had, and would keep for her children. Both mentioned that while my Nana was prolific and generous in her knitting - she had abysmal colour sense, a shocking colour sense - something she may have passed on*. Funerals are never easy, it was a quiet funeral - calm, she was 96, and I got to say goodbye to my great aunt Mary and my Grandad - as their ashes were in the same coffin as Nana.

To keep me sane I took my knitting, but decided against any of the projects already on the needles, instead taking something new. I took Honey, from Vintage Purls 2nd sock-club kit, and made good progress. When I returned on friday - I picked up my Poppy's top down raglan as the 2nd top-down-class was to be on the Saturday, and ripped it back to the middle of the yoke so I could make the yoke more generous. Ripped seems the wrong word - snipped and pulled maybe a better definition. Bear - bless him - txted me thursday to announce Amazon had come a calling, and I also found some knitting magazines to distract me in Auckland, so that was my week of knitting.

So the sock - this is how far you can knit, while away from home and without much to do ... toe to well past the heel in 1.5 days. I only changed one thing - using Emily Ockers center out shawl cast on rather than the specified cast on 6 stitches cast on. I've used EO's cast on before on center out baby blankets, and it pulls up to a nice tight circle.
Here my Honey-sock rests in a little patch of sunlight, 36 floors up above the Auckland harbour .... yes thats 36 floors up. And yes, I'm terrified of heights and yes the cubs wanted to frolick on the balcony, and no I didn't let them. And yes, it rained, off and on the whole trip, which is pretty much my experience of Auckland - with its sub tropical climate - lots of rain, but that suited my mood this trip.

And the raglan that was ripped? Ripping isn't quite the term, I had tried this on Poppy and the shoulders were tight, so I knew I needed more stitches, but I had also completed the yoke and one sleeve. I'd cast off the sleeve with a sewn tubular bind off, and I'd grafted the underarm closed, so ripping that wasn't going to be easy. The yarn was inexpensive so I just picked a row mid way thru the colour work and threaded a 2.5mm needle along that row picking up one side of each stitch, I'm amazed I managed to stick to one row and not wander up and down. Then I snipped a thread of pink and one of white the row below, and pulled out each loop - stitch by stitch. Surprisingly easy.

Then I started knitting, but this time I increased 2 stitches near the point of each zig by knitting with both pink and white into the next two stitches. On the next round I was able to knit up the pink and white in the checkerboard pattern making for 26 almost invisable increases. Clever no?

We had 2 full days in Auckland, arriving at our appartment at 11:30pm. I'm am a naive Dunedin girl, I know this because as we got out of the taxi, I wondered why 3 girls in bikinis were having a smoke outside wide doorway at that time of night, in town, the kind of doorway topped by a metal garage roller door. It took me a good half minute to realise they were in their work clothes, and the roller door was a club entrance ... Still we were collected by my Uncle Neil Wednesday morning, and taken care of for the duration of our stay - transport, meals, company, introductions to realtives I had not meet. I've lived in the south since the early 1970's and while I was close to Nana and she and I wrote, and phoned and visited - that didn't always extend to the wider circle of relatives, especially her in-laws, who all turned up and are at odds with any in-law myths. On the Thursday, Neil, and Ian, my late mothers brothers, my uncles, Toby and Poppy's great uncles decided quite openly to distract them selves with taking us to the Zoo. The rain held off mostly and we spent a good 3 hours there spotting various animals. If you ever get to watch seals from the under water viewing window do it. Those huge animals are just magically powerfully graceful under water, they had us adults mesmerised with their power and elegance.

Life goes on, and nowhere more clearly that in the animal world, I was quite taken by a family of Pukeko making a home in small lake at the Zoo, I didn't know the chicks were black, odd really given how ducklings and chickens are pale not dark.

Then we went for lunch - here is Neil to the left, Poppy and Toby in the middle, and Ian on the right. It was good to spend time together.

Lastly - books, I took the latest Piecework with me, and found copies of the latest Vogue Knitting and previous Knitters while I was away (at Mag Nation). Knitter's Summer 2008 K91 has the Spring thaw sock that tempts me by Cat Bordhi, and then I came home to 3 new books. Well some new like Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush, and Knitting America by Susan M Stawn, and one old - Creative Knitting a new art form by Mary Walker Phillips. All in all I have enough to distract me for a while ...

thats pretty much it so I'm off to knit some, take care - may your week run smooth
na Stella
* as a bribe to make travelling with two kids easier on myself, I bought Poppy an i-pod shuffle, Toby already has one. I chose a Pink one, but turns out Poppy liked her Green i-pod, she is colour blind. Oh yes, pink and green are the same thing, and there seems to be a thing about orange and red - she won't commit to those shades at all. This explains a lot of her dress sense, and she clearly has some strategies developed to avoid naming colours at all. We now notice her clothes are described by Poppy as 'the light one' or 'the dark one', or the one with flowers, not by colour at all.


Kate/Massachusetts said...

I found your blog through the Youtube twined knitting videos! I am very appreciative of them. I am just beginning a hat using twined knitting. I was very sorry to hear of your Nana's passing. Your comment at the end of the post about your daughter's color blindness made me wonder if perhaps your Nana was also color blind too since her color sense was legendary in your family! It is hereditary I believe! I wish I had known my grandparents! You were very lucky to have her as long as you did! I hope you have wonderful memories of her!

Shirley Goodwin said...

Actually I was about to make the same comment about your nana - perhaps she just saw the colours differently from other people.

twinsetellen said...

What memories you have of your nana. They will be with you always. So nice her knitting legacy is being carried on by you.

Knitting Linguist said...

It sounds like as good a trip as possible, under the circumstances; I'm glad you had such a nice visit with family. The knitting looks amazing (I can't believe the things you're able to confidently cut into!), and the books are going to be such fun to read (you'll have to let me know what you think of the Bush book; I'm thinking of getting it). Had you known that Poppy was colorblind? How is she feeling about it? It sounds like she's well on her way to finding some coping strategies, but it still must be strange to realize that it's a thing, rather than just some odd naming practices.