Saturday, April 09, 2011

And now I really need to say Thank-you

because I have many things to thank people for, many, many things. And this is where it gets tricky as I really can't put my thank you's in order, each is as significant as any other, and so I'm just going to introduce things in the order of their arrival. And then after I have a little bit of progress on my knitting to report and the final installment in the Vintage Purls sock-yarn club joined my stash, and lastly a pencil joke - one that has Bear and I giggling but one that the cubs puzzeled by the things that amuse adults. But first thank yous ...

A little over a week ago this wonderful book arrived at my doorstep, Fashioning Fashion - European dress in detail 1700 to 1915. This book goes-with an exhibition that was on at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, finishing only a few weeks ago. A friend had alerted me to the exhibition .. but of course LA is just a tad far to travel at short notice, so I suggested I treat both of us the book if there was one. Turns out there was .. but instead I was the one who was treated the book. I am really lucky .. this is an amazing book, and is a heavy hardback book so it was quite a gift. Sitting on the title page is a wee tiny 90mm long mechanical pencil that Bear found this week and gifted to me. It was amongst his family things, and so could have been his mothers or her mothers. The pencil takes a 1.1mm lead, which is still available, and has the most gorgeous tassel. I have no idea what this was for, I suspected it was a Bridge pencil but it seems they came in sets of four (clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades), and it seems unlikely to be a golf pencil with a tassel like that although some sources say that small mechanical pencils were for golf. I wonder if it was a dance card pencil? Does any one have any clues? It is beautiful and will probably become my knit kit pencil.

Then my prize from Dave's Mechanical Pencils and Cult pens arrived, or rather I had to collect it from the local Post shop. This is nearly all of it, as my darling youngest cub has adopted her gift as her preferred pen and it now resides at school so was unavailable for the photo. In the spirit of the giver, I really tried to focus on pencils, so this is what I ordered :
  1. Worther Slight Mechanical Pencil in Black with spare leads.
  2. Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Gift Set with a box of 12 replacement pencils.
  3. Two Caran d-Arche Fixpencils, a 22 and a 77, leads, and a spare button, these are gifts one for Bear and one for S who gifted me the above book. gifts because I already have one and love it so much I want to share.
  4. Tombo Mono 100 in B pencil x 3, these are rumored to be one of the best Japanese pencils on the market and I have not found any stocked locally so took the opportunity to try some, Bear gets one, I get one and we will see which of us gets the 3rd one.
  5. Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencil in B, x 2. Again not stocked locally but one Bear asked for one as he remembered Advts from his junior drafting days for these and always considered them the best but had never seen them for sale so had lusted after one as only a pencil trained draftsman can. He does have Mars Lumograph leads for his two vintage 2mm clutch pencils, and so has some expectation of the quality of the lead..
  6. Schneider Base Fountain Pen in Boysenberry (as explained missing from photo) for the youngest cub, plus a converter so she can explore bottled ink, and a box of Diamine assorted ink cartridges colour way 'floral'.
  7. Lamy Z25 converter so the other cub can take advantage of bottled ink in his Bright Yellow Lamy Safari fountain pen, and not be limited to the ink colours of Lamy cartridges.
  8. One bottle of Edelstein Fountain pen ink, in Sapphire Blue, and two Parker Delux converters so I could upgrade the filling unit in one of my and one of Bears Parker fountain pens and play with a colour that is not readily available in New Zealand.
So... I'm happy, ecstatic really to be able to order without worrying about the cost and the shipping, such a lovely assortment of writing things. I treated myself to the Worther Slight, as I love my vintage mechanical pencils and they all take a 1.1mm lead, this seemed the perfect opportunity to invest in a modern production pencil in the same category of lead size. I won't go into to much detail here as I thought Dave might like a full review. Ditto the Faber-Castell Perfect pencil, I have used a junior version of this for ages now, the pencils are amazing, providing a very sharp black line but keeping a good point for ages. The extender doubles as a point protector and houses one of the most efficient pencil sharpeners I have ever used - one or two turns is all it takes to shave a pencil to a fine point. I took this opportunity to buy the 'gift-box' version for myself. I have given away so many of the junior perfect pencils at work to those who borrow and admire mine that I thought it might be prudent to have the grown up one to differentiate mine from theirs. Then the other items were all pretty much pure indulgences, gifts for people, family and friends, and things that I had heard good things about but not found locally, and things that made what we already had more useful.

Now having thanked S, Bear, Dave and Cult Pens .. I can move onto the knitting. The double knit mittens grow, honestly I love this technique but find the chart a learning curve of some steepness. I have frogged at least half a row once or twice. The above book has seriously distracted me most nights, and this week there was the additional iD fashion events that overtook my knitting time. Oh and on that side of things, the shows were amazing, I got to supervise students help Liz Mitchell fit her models and so saw her designs up close and in detail (just like the book!). The iD show was amazing, as always, but I'll leave it to you to browse and decide what ones inspire you, let me know what you think.

When I have not been able to manage the double knitting chart, and have not been distracted by the FF book ... I have managed to start the elder cubs second sock. Progress as shown, I am up to the gusset increases and onto the second colour of contrast yarn, soon the heel with start and then it will really look like a sock.

Then just to make my week even more exciting - the last installment in the Vintage Purls Sock yarn club arrived. The feature of this club is that it includes sock yarn but not necessarily sock patterns, as always this is is a colour and pattern I love. There is a yarn that has depth and warmth, and a pattern for gloves with a clever and decorative and interesting cuff with a real vintage feel, and then there is more. Tucked inside is a chocolate fish (a very New Zealand treat - most often used as small prizes in schools and learning situations), and more, a little pack of the most adorable vintage knitwear themed post cards I have ever seen. I know I have enough yarn .. but when her kits provide surprises like this ... it just have to have one.

Then lastly there is a pencil that youngest cub gave Bear. In truth it was a gift to her from a student teacher who was finishing her post with the class, a shiny new pencil for each student. Youngest Cub knowing how geeky her parents are about pencils and knowing it was Bears Birthday (56!) thoughtfully passed the pencil on to him. But what Bear noticed and what I love it that it is a fake pencil, oh it is a pencil all right, it sharpens and writes just fine so it is not really a fake pencil but a fake version of a famous high quality pencil, the Staedtler Norris Club HB Pencil, Made in Germany. What really makes Bear and I giggle is the name - Stapler, and the cubs just shake their heads sadly at what their parents find funny.

Thank you, for putting up with me and my non-knitting content, again.
Take care, knit some, perhaps even use an old fashioned wooden pencil, real or fake .. and enjoy the week.
na Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

What a wonderful set of pencils you have in this post! (I agree - Stapler is funny.) And I love that book - I actually saw that exhibit, but completely missed the book in the gift store, alas. (It didn't help that the kids didn't quite understand how charmed I was by the whole exhibit and wanted to move on; nor that Rick didn't quite understand why I was cranky that there was only one knitted item in the whole thing!)

Vanda Symon said...

I am sooooo inviting myself to your place for a cuppa and a look through the fashioning fashion book!!!