Tuesday, June 30, 2009

done and distracted, and new toys...

Clogs II are done, so I have what feels like the essential Yo-yo with new completed project photo. I've been fishing, in a knitterly sense, so there are now many more fish. And gifts, there have been some gifts arrive, and while it seems cruel to show when I can not share ... I've been enjoying touching and squeezing the yarn and looking forward to making .. so I just have to share with good heart. Lastly, a new book (or two), and if you are not already listerning ... then I highly recommend you listen to at least this one podcast.

So I now have new felted and fitted clogs. These started at over 13" long from toe to heel, and are now just under 10" long, and they fit. The felting started with a plunger and a bucket (on good advice from some one who was perhaps fitter with larger biceps?) and finished with 3 hot sudsy washes in the washing machine.

They replace my now 2 year and 1 month old clogs .. which started by being knitted from white yarn with a brown sole, but were dyed ruby before use. Obviously dying felted, or fulled :-), knitting is harder than dying loose fiber, or fluffy light yarn. You can see how the dye has worn away although I am at a loss to explain how it is so worn over the instep. I could claim that this was a result of excessive tidying up after my cubs .. but those who know me and my house would protest that can't ring true. These have grown with 2 years of near constant wear, and I do feel inclined to send them thru a tighten-up hot sudsy wash, to see what happens, and perhaps a soak in a dye bath?

So with Bayerische being disrupted by the clogs, and needing something that was an easy knit and yet not another new project .... I have returned to fishing, or fish knitting, or to be most accurate, knitting sardines from sock yarn for my slow food inspired fish blanket.

I now have 151 fish, 91 stitched into the blanket. and 50 ready and waiting. I am trying to keep more of a record of what colours of fish I have, needing to balance the balance of white and orange with all the other colours. The second fish image shows the folded fish blanket surrounded in the drawer with odds and ends of sock yarn, from various knitted sock projects. I have dreams or plans of knitting a fish a day, or 5 fish a week ... but then weeks go buy and no fish.

This yummy and interesting fiber is .....Navajo Churro, direct from a reservation via Jocelyn in California. We swap interesting spinning and knitting treats at odd intervals. The latest Spin Off has an item spun from Churro ... so that is inspiring although I'll admit this is the most interesting fiber I've come across so far. J sneaked a note in saying she wasn't entirely sure of the fiber herself, the Navajo use it for rugs and she wouldn't be offended if it became stuffing. The challenge is on .. to find a way to use it.

In the same package came this lovely pattern, and a week or so later the yarn for it. Tightly twisted merino painted in the skein, from Blue Moon Fiber - designed by the Yarn Harlot herself! Which reminded me that I have a bit of an anti about people who save things for best, stemming from the large clean out we had to undertake when Mrs B (Bears mum) died. She had cupboards, no - rooms full of things bought and needed but saved for best. The sad thing was much of it was in perfect condition but unusable, the unused thick cotton sheets were to small for modern thick mattresses, the towels were smaller than our luxurious bath sheets and were old fashioned colours and patterns, the kettle and pots saved for when the old ones wore out .... were dull and aluminum and lacked a modern non stick coating. I ranted about people who couldn't enjoy the good things life brought them, and nagged those around me to enjoy what they had ... not keep it for best.

And what have I done ... but keep another such kit designed by Cat Bordhi, for 'best', so now I have two, and they really should be the very next socks I knit, together with the un-knit 3 or more Vintage Purls Sock club kits .....all of these need to be knit, for in knitting the socks, I create left over sock yarn for my fish blanket, and the circle closes neatly.

In the last Spin off there was heavy advertising for Spin Control by Amy King. Bear noticed and asked if I 'needed' to get it, I demurred, I wasn't sure. Then a week ago Book Depository sent me an email notification that my pre-order was being filled and would ship soon. I had to admit to Bear that it appeared I had indeed wanted the book, and must have placed a pre-order some many months ago, and subsequently forgotten I had done so. It is here now, and looks good, a nice primer for lots and lots of different techniques, 9 ply anyone, core spun anyone? I've also been reading my way thru another recently acquired book, The Joy of Knitting by Lis R Myers. That one I've enjoyed (although the chapter on how to structure a knitting group left me wondering what she was like to be around .... with ideas of buying and dividing skeins of yarn and organizing the group to sample it in different ways and report back - I'm in charge of my knitting not my fellow knit night companions), I know its older (2001), but it is overall good and I am tempted to buy her other book, The Joy of Knitting Companion (2003), just to keep it company on my bookshelf. OK Amazon one click buying latter, and I have bought it.

Some time last week I rode the usual bus home with the at the time latest episode of Cast-Off by Brenda Dayne. Episode 81: to be of use, seems so 'right now', to zeitgeist, so contemporary, so where I am now, only just a little ahead of me ... that I highly recommend taking time to listen. Brenda is always good, but this time her investigation and analysis of current thinking about craft, and making and things we surround ourselves with seems to be even better than her usual polished podcast. I think Otto might be my new muse .... I'm off to tell her ... right now.

take care
na Stella

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fulling or Felting or Boiling even?

Purists say fulling, and those who care correct those who say felted when speaking about knit (or woven) fabric that are subsequently subjected to processes that cause fibers to permanently tangle and so shrink and stiffen the fabric. At work, where a merino product sold as 'boiled wool' is commonly used by students, the textile lecturer calls this process 'boiling' even though no boiling occurs. Which brings me to say I'm knitting myself another pair of Felted Clogs, my current clogs were made in June of 2007, and are showing wear. My first clogs don't need replacing just yet ... but soon will. The local Knitters Study Group project for June is felted slippers ... so it seems a good time to make a replacement pair to have ready. I'm also trying to use the last 34g of the 3ply of the yarn I used for my recent Leaf Beret by Melissa LaBarre. Trying - because as you will see, I'm having to try again, but I am making good progress on Toby's Gansey.

So felted clogs, last time they were not the fasted to felt, they were a very fast knit ... but a slow laborious felt. This time I was determined to use yarn that felted easily, I looked up the pattern online from work and saw that a local yarn is recommended. Naturally New Zealand Tussock 10ply (locals seem to know it as 'the one with the pukeko on it). I bought 3 balls and 2 balls of a Cleckheaton Nurture to trim the top edge with. Last time I made the 2nd smallest woman's size .. as my feet are not tiny. But as the first pair of clogs took many many trips thru the washing machine (and a boiling dye pot) to shrink enough to fit and even now are loose .. this time I'm knitting the smallest size.

I cast on Friday night and worked the sole, Saturday at knitters study group I worked the instep, Saturday night I worked the cuff and second sole and the sole and instep of the second clog. Today I finished the cuff and instep of the 2nd clog. These really are a fast knit, although after sock knitting the 9mm needles seem clumsy and unwieldy.

My new unfelted (unfulled?) clogs measure 13", huge and floppy by comparison to my old worn clogs. Currently the new ones are in a large tub of hot extremely sudsy water, and are being massaged vigorously with a toilet plunger by Bear. This is the felting/fulling system recommended to me after my trials with felting the first pair. Bear seems happy to make waves - in fact he is enjoying it so much I've left him to it.

My other 'new project' is a pair of wristers out of the 34 g of hand spun I had left over from my beret. I have divided the remaining yarn into two balls of equal weight and my plan is to knit until its all used up. I cast on my standard 40 stitches for a wrister ... but in a moment of temporary insanity or mindlessness I forgot that the yarn was more like fingering than sport or DK weight which would mean I'd need more stitches. I worked these in 2.2 rib, and they fit, but were snug. I've ripped these back and will start again with more stitches. I have Meg Swanson's A gathering of lace from the library, and am now wondering if I could incorperate a little of Norah Gaughan's Ribbed Lace Pullover patterning (Thanks to Wendy 98 for posting her swatch on flickr) into the 2.2 rib. I love the openwork between the twisted cables and the twisted cables. Might not be a quick knit after all .....

The plain knitting on Toby's Gansey went fast, already I am up to the separation rounds. The decorative all around rounds that provide a break between the highly textured yoke and the plain lower section of the gansey. That meant I had to made some decisions ... like the proportions and the length of the gussets. So I made a plan, using the suggestions in BBR's Knitting Gansey's book.
The separation band is a round of purl, a round of knit, a round of purl a round of knit. then two rounds of K2.P2, a round of knit and then an offset round of P2.K2. I have frogged a little, finding that that plain knit round was important in providing a little more definition to the stitches. Once I've repeated this once or twice more I can move onto the patterned yoke. I've charted the left side of the gansey yoke in excel .. and have to reverse it and print the chart for the right and left. I'm also toying with adding a very non traditional zip and collar ..... no decisions and no promises yet. I just wonder if Toby might wear that style more than a traditional gansey round neck.

ok - i'm off to see if Bear is tired yet, and if my clogs fit me yet :-)
take care
na Stella

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The post with no images.

No images, I left the camera at work, and had 'one of those days'. Work began at 8:30, drive with headlights on as still dark, drop cubs to school, 9am meeting, teaching knitting elective 10-12, rush to fare-well lunch for colleague, rush back to teach 1-4pm, rush to 4pm marking moderation meeting at the main campus, print marking sheets, compare results, discuss ... bus home at 5:45pm, in the total dark. Its winter here, the daylight hours are short.
U'Oh, camera and gansey knitting still on the desk awaiting for mid day daylight photo.
so no photos.
Gansey grows, I'm only a centimeter or so from the start of the gansey texture knitting. I've knit the rib on the second Bayerische sock .. tonight I'll work the increases and get started on the travelling stitch patterning. I've bought new yarn, some thick 10ply Aran to knit a pair of felted clogs .. this months knitters study group project.
The knitting elective finishes tomorrow .. and I've learnt so much teaching them, and hope they have learnt lots. Looks like it. I plan to bake a cake or something to take in to celebrate after the presentation and hand in.

Thats me,
take care na Stella

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ecstatic (sort of) and indignant

Yes ... two emotions today, first ecstatic because my Bayerische is half done exactly half done ... yes really I have one finished sock. And second indignant at how easily it can be for some one who should know better and who is paid to know better to dismiss a perfectly good spinning wheel as not worth repairing.

So Bayerische ... look! All done from one skein and a lushious 92 grams of sock (108 grams left - I had two skeins), leg is 17" from top of rib cuff to base of heel flap.
If the conditions outside had been more suitable for making photos you might have been able to see it worn. But two things prevented me. First I spent today stitched up the Annual Merino Thermal supply, where I buy several meters of merino knit fabric and make many long sleeved and singlet style tops for Toby and Poppy. Because I was busy and focused I left making the photo to late in the day for good light inside. Which brings me to my second reason, there was a small army of police around our house for much of the afternoon ... when we asked why we were told there was a 'person' with a 'weapon' acting in a 'dangerous manner' in the adjacent street. Well! With a dozen police parked in our little private street .. I wasn't going to provide light relief for the force by sitting on the front porch with one green knee high sock (ok spectacular sock - but still a green knee high sock), my trouser leg rolled up and contorted into weird positions making photos of the sock. I love you all as readers and commenter ... but sorry ... the love only goes so far. And no ... we do not live in a hotbed of crime and violence .. just the opposite. Lastly on that note ...at 4ish things started happening, half the police cars sped away with siren at full blast, and shortly after an ambulance shot around the corner. I don't know the situation or the outcome ... but I'm hoping that nothing but pride was injured.

And Indignant, well more like truly shocked and a little disappointed. There was a guild spin in this weekend, so I went with my Wing .. and spotted this older Pipy across the room ... and being me and curious, I headed over to check her out. The story is a lady had brought her down to Dunedin to see if any one here knew how to repair the wheel. It was her sisters, and the sister had taken it to a well known Spinning Wheel dealer in Chch .. asking if they could repair it. I saw the repair form, a little cream card ... with the owners name and phone number ... and writ large in block capital ball point NOT WORTH REPAIRING. Sheeesh, by my estimate, this needs less than 1 meter of nylon cord, at around $1 or less, and a 2m drive band at about $2. Ok I'll admit it perhaps could be considered to need a little tlc, such as a good clean with linseed oil and soaking the moving parts in turps to degrease them. I am sometimes surprised at how little most spinners understand about their wheels and how they work ... but more shocked a firm selling wheels could be so dismissive.

What really surprised me is this is a Saxony Pipy, circa 1968, signed and dated by P Poore. One of the prettiest wheels of the mid 20th C. These wheels are in demand, and in this condition trade on Ebay for $USD300-$USD400 and often more. They sell on Trademe (new Zealands answer to Ebay) for over $NZD200. This has been well looked after, its been in a basement, but is clean and dry, the leather tab is in good nick, with little brass grommit rimmed holes ... and the weights are all there, and is all fairly tight. There is one main axel pin missing ... but a little rimu dowel can be sanded and shaped to fit. The owner has several bobbins .. so it IMO it is truly worth repair - isn't it, even if it wasn't a Pipy?

Its all there and the wheel and flier and bobbin rotate freely ... and I can only imagine how easily it will spin once cleaned and freshly lubricated. The only other little repair needed is to tighten the bolt holding the maiden upright supports onto the adjustable thingie (technical term - thingie). Either it just needs a tighten ... or it needs a new nut and bolt - I can do that. So the '68 Pipy is at home with me, and I have plans to fix-her-up a little into working condition and return her to her owner.

Toby's gansey grows .. my hand knit class finishes this week, hand in and present on Thursday .... its all good here (police outside the house for most of the day not withstanding).

take care
na Stella

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


We got Snow, and not your typical Dunedin snow .. but real, snowed in, can't go to work, schools canceled for the whole day, no buses at all snow. Usually we get a little snow, just a light dusting once or twice a year, and all gone and melted by 10 am. Yesterday it snowed, and snowed and snowed, and then it snowed some more. It was still snowing late afternoon. So - today's post, well there are functioning mittens, a finished hat, Bayerishce turns a corner, there is a new project .. and the snow. But first the functioning mittens, these are Poppy's Maine Striped Mittens, which got absolutely coated in snow (how did that happen I wonder ... snow ball throwing .. no, never ... not my kids) and yet kept her little paws toasty warm. Knitting colour work in DK weight on 3.5mm needles works well for warm thick snow proof mittens. A quick dry on the oil radiator heater .. and they were all warm and fluffy dry again.

I finished my new hat, started for WWKIP day 2009, last Saturday, and finished Sunday night.This is it, Leaf Beret by Melissa LaBarre, published in Knit.1, Spring/Summer 2009. Its a pretty plain beret, with a tubular cast on single rib band, and then two staggered lace leaves positioned at the 'front'. I guess the wearer decides if they are at the front, as the beret has no real front or back, it could be just as jaunty at the side. Did I mentioned its hand spun, two ply, alpaca, silk, merino, my handspun -- in the prettiest grey green you ever did see?

It is a little looser than I had envisaged (even though I deliberately added stitches to compensate for a firmer gauge - maybe I shouldn't have - swatches lie sometimes) .. but its lovely. Loose enough I won't get hat hair. I blocked it over a cake stand .. as it was larger than our dinner plates.

Bayerische has turned the corner, the heel, during the week. And very very nicely, I've worked away the gusset and am mid way down the foot. Not long to go now. I do admit momentum has slowed on this knit ... there is not the mad exited knitted there was when I started ..I started on May the 12th. If I keep this as my sock knit, my solo sock knit, well it won't take long, will it? The VP sock club kits might tempt my self imposed sock monogamy a little, especially as M came to work today to speak about designing knitwear to my elective students .. and brought as props all the socks from previous sock clubs. I was reminded greatly of the unknit ones I have waiting in stash for me .. still Bayerische for now (must stay strong, must focus knit energy on one sock project at a time) and then have the fun of choosing a new sock from all those waiting.

I had to start a new public knitting project, I knew the rib on the Leaf Hat would be done to quick at WWKIP and there isn't any point starting a chart and chatting at the same time. So I cast on for Toby's gansey. This has been 'in swatch' stage for 6 months or more .. and perfect for out and about knitting. WWKIP meant some fast design decisons were made, and now I've worked the lower edge on smaller needles and doubled yarn. This was an edge style I tested on the swatch and I like it, I liked the added stiffness and thickness at the hem. I've knit his initials into the front, just above the hem. and now its plain round and round (with a seed stitch seam) until I need to add the underarm gusset, and divide for the front and back. 2.5mm needles, loosely based on Beth Brown-Reinsel's book, 4 ply from the local mill in a colour way called Marine. Gauge is 30 stitches to 10 cm ... so gansey gauge .. but not gansey yarn.

And I'll leave you with the snow ... which is all gone now, but was there and magnificent all of yesterday.

na Stella

Friday, June 12, 2009

That was fun!

So in case your are wondering if you woke up and missed something, New Zealand is the country that is nearest the date line, so its Saturday the 13th here before its Saturday anywhere else.
Which means we have already hosted our 2009 WWKIP event.

As one of the organizers, secretly I was hoping for a turn out of more than 10. We got 30+! That is a whole lot of knitting going on. K & M brought spare needles and yarn to give away and we enticed a few passers by into knitting, and a few fof's (friend of a friend's) as well. They spotted friends knitting, wandered over, we proffered yarn and stick .. and there they were, suddenly knitting in public.

The Mall Manager was really good, he kept organizing more seats .. but some people wanted to be in the middle of things .. not seated around the edges. It appears that you can knit any where, the floor under the table is good for some.

And the latest Vintage Purls sock club started shipping, yum!
M bought a button machine - so the cute little round things are knitting buttons ....
cute as ... yes a button, Ok so I am not good at jokes.

take care, now


Today is the day ... knitters, get your knitting kit out
Ready, Steady ............. Go!

Where - at a public* location near you
the one nearest me is
Dunedin, New Zealand,
At the Wall Street Mall (George St)
2pm - Saturday June 13th

* Look up your city, town and country to see if there is a Kip near you
if not ... make one.

have fun

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Today's post is brief, life is pretty full right now. Oh nothing new, just busy ... teaching 45 contact hours in 3 weeks makes for little time for much else right now. Taking photos in daylight - well that is more than I can manage. Its winter here so dark at 8am, and dark again at 4:40 pm. And yet its ok, I'm teaching a knitting elective, and the students are keen ... real keen. I started with a class of 20, of whom 2 said they could knit. That was 1pm Monday, by 4, all had cast on (long tail of course!), knit some, purled some, and most had cast off. Tuesday at 10 am I walked into class a few minutes early to find most were already there and had cast on all ready for that days learning. So Tuesday we did i-cord, and i-cord cast on, and continued to knit some and purl some, Some ribbed, some knit vertical stripes, some cabled. Today we covered increases and decreases(M1l, M1R, Yo, K2tog, and ssk), and they mostly knit a variation of a fish, we had all sorts of shapes and sizes, and some had 3d fins knit on .. tomorrow its pickup from an edge and knit out in another direction. Next week .. who knows?

There was one that left - I'm trying not to think about that*.

So I've been knitting, Peggy is finished, both of them, and they have been to class for show and tell. Poppy has worn them to school .. but I've not got a photo. I will, I promise, next time she is all kitted up for ballet, I plan a photo shoot in full 7 year old ballet regalia, shoes, tights, legwarmers, leotard, and little floaty skirt. I've also been knitting Bayerische, and have finished the leg and on to the heel. Look!

Eunny Jang is one clever detail knitter, the decreases to collapse the traveling stitch pattern into a standard slip stich heel are perfection. I'm just in the first rows of shaping the heel cup ... then its pick up the gusset stitches down the side of the flap, and off down the foot towards the toe. I think I miss EJ's patterns, seems now she is editor there are fewer EJ designs being introduced .... and with Vouge Knitting being rebranded outside the US as 'Designer Knitting', none of the local shops able to get copies, the international subscription rate being ... well just plain outragous as its shipped from england, I dispair that I'll manage to obtain issues regularly again. Still I have the internet and Bayerische to entertain me.

MarjanNZ asked what magazine the hat/beret pattern was in, its in Knit.1, Spring Summer 2009. Currently its in the newsagent/magazine shops in New Zealand. Knit.1 is a little younger than some of the other knitting magazine offerings .. I'd not knit much out of it but usuallly there is something pretty, .. and they do 'dumb-down's some designs - this was a sock issue, so yes I bought it. Dumb-down? Yes they do, this issue has a lace scarf, knit with 3 different lace panels, and ... get this ... you knit each panel separately and then stitch them together. Yes, the idea of following 3 lace charts across a scarf must have seemed to advanced for their imagined readers. Me I think most knitters with a magnetic board and photocopier access could manage that one, hey - I think most would prefer that to seaming a lace scarf together.

Finally - I got a parcel this week, spinning and knitting goodies from J, amazing fiber, but you will just have to wait for daylight so I can take a worthwhile photo.

na Stella

Oh and the one that left, a boy, came into class 20 minutes late, after 30 minutes asked where the loo was, and never came back. The administrator in charge of enrollements reports that he turned up at the main admin block, some 5km away, puffing before lunch and asked to transfer to 'rapid prototyping'! I guess knitting wasn't quick enough? The other boy, yes I had two boys enrol - he is cool, can already knit, monday made a wrist cuff in the round, and tuesday a hat, and on day one was teaching the other final year students how to cast on with the long tail cast on. Its all good here, busy but good.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

There is a hole in my sock...

and I didn't want to darn it. Well I thought I did, the hole was noticed some weeks ago .. and the pair of socks sort of kicked around our bedroom for while. On the chair, folded on the foot of the bed .. never quite going away in the sock drawer .. but never moving closer to the waste bin either. These were older socks, perhaps amongst the first half dozen I knit. My knitting work book records I knit these early 2007, January 2007 in fact. Way back before nice sock yarn was available here, when Opal was one of the few choices in the LYS ... and I was naive enough to accept that. The final straw came Saturday, Bear and I were in tidy up mode, modeling a bit of 'saturday morning tidy up before we go out shopping' for the cubs. Bear asked, I explained that I didn't want to throw them, and yet couldn't face mending them .. and so he said he would throw them out for me.

No! That quick, a fast No!, but what to do?
I decided that they needed re-purposing, and so hacked off the leg section.And it was a bit of a hack, I didn't snip carefully along a line of knitting, or follow a thread, I cut ... with big scissors.

then I turned them into wristers for Poppy. I have weak plans to do something more 'proper' with the cut edge, perhaps overcast it with blanket stitch, or pick up the loops and knit on a cast off. But I don't know if I will, they are felted and will probaby do duty as wristers as is. A nice neat solution, and even better in that it makes her jacket seem less like the sleeves are to short (they grow so quick .. kids, any of you noticed that?).

Meanwhile, back on the needles, there is progress on the Peggy's, I'm nearly there. I have started the thumb hole, because the plan is that these leg warmers will do double duty as arm warmers with a thumb hole. I'm working the thumb section back and froth slipping the first two stitches to make a thickened i-cord border. I found 20 rows (10 chains up the edge) enough, and then worked 2 more cm of rib back in the round, before casting off in rib. Not far to go now. Which means I can ignore all my current wip's and plan something new and exiting ....

I've also been knitting, well struggling to knit with string. This week my Hand Knit Design Elective class starts at work, 20 degree students, a mix of year one, year two, and year three, all with me for 45 hours over the next 3 weeks learning to knit (if they can't already) and designing something. I've gathered up all my swatches and samples and such as examples ... but felt the need to provide an unused wash cloth. I chose a deep green/black/blue hemp string to make one in. That was not a good choice, the string is pretty but is a single and fairly highly twisted. The result is its hard to knit with and the fabric has a spring of its own ... the loops are twisty, the yarn bleeds colour .. my fingers and bamboo needles are now tainted blue. I've finished and cast off, and soaked it in water... whence it bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed. Its slightly softer, but not much, honestly it would make a great door mat, two layers of this and you would have a perfect door mat, outdoors. You get the picture. I'll still take it for show and tell with the students ... and perhaps it has a use as a home made loofa .... Lets just say its not my most successful knit.

And so what to knit next? Well I picked up a few knit magazines at the store, .. and this lovely hat appeals. Sort of a beret, but not lacy all over. Its knit on 4mm needles, and I was thinking either the silver green grey alpaca, silk merino (really a heavy fingering) or the pinky purple merino silk. Both hand-spun by me. You might have noticed the ball wound sitting next to the Peggy's above ... is the green grey ... so I think that might be it as the other is still in skein form. So I'm off to finish my daughters Peggy's and think about swatching for a hat. I guess I should delve into the wips in my basket, just to do a stock take ... shouldn't I?

ok ... off to work thumb holes, and drink tea and help a small anglo saxon boy with his viking homework speech. He wants to use Power-point .. oh my how sophisticated they become.

na stella

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Back ... finally with goodies,

yes I am back, I spent the weekend here - where I had fun, real fun, and I knit some. Today there is the conference report and the knitting report. Which means conference goodies, some discretionary spending, and two things knit or rather progress on two knitted things. And lastly while there I presented a paper on drum roll please .... hand knitting & even better, people knit. That is right, five or more were knitting as I talked! Even better several came up after and said how they enjoyed it, I've already had a few emails saying the same thing .. and a few others have provided leads so I might be able to track down the knitting pattern for one of the vintage cardigans I featured.

Then there was the conference goodie bag .. you know 'cause its all about the goodie bag. Well the team at Napier has style, I have to say that. The first hint of the incredibly stylish nature of how they do things is the conference badge ... which gains one free entry to all conference things. Cool isn't it? I'm keeping mine and wearing it proudly. Oh I know it looks like a political badge ... but in the middle it has a symbol of the British Empire .. cause the conference theme as the Empire. The opening line of the conference theme paragraph was
"When in 1979 Farah Diba, Empress of Iran, fled the fall of Tehran she did so in a dress designed by Valentino. It was neither the first, nor the last, time that luxurious textiles and high fashion were intimately linked with the image of an Empire."

All the papers were fantastic ... not a dud amongst them. And the conference goodie bag ... well usually one gets booklets about the host town/city, discount vouchers for things one does not usually buy .. and that universal pad and pen. We got Op-Shop* finds ... each bag was like a lucky dip, filled with collectible buttons, haberdashery items like vintage cards of sock mending thread, or packets of vintage needles, or vintage embroidery iron on transfers, old sewing patterns or knitting magazines, old hooks and eyes or sets of zippers or lace (you can tell it was a textile and costume conference can't you and you get the old-vintage theme?). I got the best thing .. actually I did, there was a bit of swapping going on -- but I was holding tight to my ...

embroidered calico apron! It has a few 'age spots', but anyone and anything older than 30 years with no signs of age is ...well its not right, age is a virtue, and its ok to be old, even if you are an apron. I love that it was made by someone without sophisticated skills, and look - they cut and made the pockets but forgot to add seam allowance so the pockets ended up to small ... cute isn't it? But the embroidery is wonderful ... stunning. I was even tempted to wear it to the dinner ... but I didn't want to get it dirty.

I did do a little shopping. I saw something I liked on on Friday, fell in love there and then. I tried not to, I told myself that I couldn't afford it .... but you know the more I thought how I couldn't afford it .... well the more I figured out how I could. Finally Monday, when it was still there and unsold, and I was about to fly home, I texted Bear "You don't want to buy me a necklace do you?", but - alas - he was no help. Bear texted back "Actually, I think I do"(I think I may have forgot to provide a price - that could have affected his answer). I've borrowed the image from an online site, the piece is by Zita Wespel-Rose, mine has a three black outline petals, and the recessed detail is black, with the center in gold, and a silver (not red) 'chain'. And its got nothing to do with knitting, but its pretty.

and the knitting?
Well one leg warmer done, a single Peggy, just a tad longer than her little seven year old arms, with a thumb hole so they can do double duty as a arm warmer or as ballet leg warmers. The next one started and I'm maybe 1/6th of the way into that one.

and Bayerische is still there, its pretty, I've worked 5 repeats for the knee to calf, and have worked 3 of the 5 lower leg repeats. Once they are done I can work the heel and then it will look more like sock. You can see a hint of the leg shaping, where 16 stitches are removed to narrow the leg under the calf.

so that is me ... up to date and off to knit.
na Stella

* OpShop = a New Zealand term to describe the Opportunity Shop, usually a church run shop stocked with items donated for sale. A good place to rummage for second hand clothes, toys, diner wear, or vintage things.