Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ladies a plate ..

A fairly common saying in New Zealand, although since the 1980's it more often changed to bring a plate. Now the request is not for a plate per se, or a plate, cup, spoon and cutlery as my US-migrant to New Zealand knit-sib Kelly once thought. K tells a hilarious story of thinking the hosts must have been so short of utensils and plates that she generously loaded up a basket with plates, knives, spoons, forks, tea towels, cups, glasses, salt, pepper ... enough for her brood and extras to share. Now this is where local blog readers will be quietly giggling .. and those not familiar with the odd customs of 'my country' New Zealand will be waiting for the punchline. *

For when they said a plate, they actually meant food, or a plate with food on it, and not for for oneself as I have seen some British migrants bring, a small plate with food for one, but the kind of food one can share. Quiche, sausage rolls, asparagus rolls, scones, biscuits, savory flan, some sort of baked slice ... and in a pinch shop bought crackers, cheese and dips. Saturday was the last KSG - knitters study group meeting of the year, and our year project was a tea cosy. We also had a bring-a-plate lunch, and so this being a tea cosy kind of old fashion I went I dressed for tea, I had a tea-dress, pale pantyhose, high heeled shoes, a ladylike hand bag, a hat and I even had my nails done. My plate? I work and knit and spin .. so regrettably it was something from the local bakery, a strawberry flan, I took my finished tea cosy - fitted on my tea pot. Before I went I recorded it with a photo for Ravelry .. and guess who turned up to the photo-shoot? Yes Yo-yo, the cat with the camera attraction.

There were nine tea cosys in all, plus a photo of one that had been posted away, but the ones that were there were all very creative*. The tiger-cosy was made for especially for warming Tiger tea, a major tea brand who painted large tigers over most of the local shops for much of the 20th Century. Once all kids in New Zealand could spot a diary miles away simply by recognizing the large painted tiger holding a steaming cuppa-tea - cup and saucer not a mug, now those shops are more likely to be coke or pepsi branded.

And here is the second video showing picking up and knitting an afterthought heel. I hope it shows the process well enough.

And the last video in the set, showing stitch grafting the heel closed, I didn't pull the grafting firm enough so had to tighten up the stitches one by one - with practice usually the stitches are a good match for the knitting they join, but if you finish grafting and see the grafted stitches are too loose or too tight, then it is a simple mater to tug each one into the right size. Make sure you work tightening from the opposite end to the grafting tail yarn, and loosening from the tail yarn end.

And lastly some images showing the weaving in, I know the video isn't quite clear enough to see the detail. One of the biggest unsolved problems with camera lens focus physics is the closer you are the less focus depth there is so things go blurry. With video its too hard to keep the focus in the right spot when knitting .. so still images can show more than movies.

I follow the path of a strand of yarn thru the knitting. First I draw the yarn thru two slightly offset purl bumps, then ...

turn the needle around and pass the thread back thru the next purl bump and thru the offset pump that was first threaded thru .... I know that sounds complicated but its like making a figure 8. I've left litle loops so you can see the path the yarn takes, I think the second to last images shows it best.

take care .. Socks are all done, and I' quite chuffed with how I flowed the slipped stitch diamonds into a 2x2 rib, I may have knit another pair in semi-solid yarn. And for the fact file, these socks were knit for an 8 year old girl from one 50g ball of sock yarn.

na Stella

* Ladies a plate is also the name of a cook book on sale, by Alexa Johnston, specializing in the kind of baking that the proud domestic goddesses of New Zealands history would fill their take-a-plate with.

* Edited 21st December 2009 - two photos, and a sentence or two have been removed from this post - so it may differ from when you first saw it.


KathyR said...

Your teacosy is lovely and so smart! Here was I thinking it was going to fit your white pot and it fits your red one beautifully. Maree's road cone complete with mini teabags is really special, though. Only she would have thought of that!

The finished socks look great on Poppy. Good, clear videos - I'm competent enough at grafting but nowhere near as quick and efficient as you! Obviously I need more practice. :) I must remember this afterthought neel idea for when I finally make a pair of handspun socks as they are bound to wear faster than commercial yarn.

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog! I love it! The teacosy is so cute!
Thank you for posting the videos!

Knitting Linguist said...

I love all of the tea cozies! Just wonderful, and the lunch sounds yummy, too. Your socks turned out beautifully -- I can see why you like the flow from rib to motif, it's lovely :)

Annieofbluegables said...

Sweet Stella,
Do you sell patterns? What would a beginner start on? I love these videos. Love you and thanks SO much for these.