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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little less progress and a new yarn base.

So much for making progress on the mitts. I ended up going back about 30 rows because I noticed I had made a mistake on the palm side.

My new yarn base arrived today and I am thrilled with it. It's a 80% superwash merino & 20% nylon base but it has a nice cabled twist which is like the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select base that I stock. The new base is wonderfully soft. I dyed 2 skeins of my Two-Lips colourway on it today just to try it out and I think I'm smitten:

I will have more new colours to put in the shop over the next few days :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little bit of progress........

I made a little progress on my mitts and thought I would show you. My stitches are a little uneven in a few areas, I'm finding it difficult to keep my tension spot on working with 2 colours of yarn but I'm hoping a good soak and light blocking will sort that out when they are finished:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colourwork Komi Mittens.

I received a fabulous book for my birthday last month that I had been wanting for a long time. It's Mostly Mittens by Charlene Schurch. I was not disappointed by it. There are so many patterns inside for the most lovely mittens I have seen. I have chosen pattern number 27 to start with. This is the first pair of colourwork mittens I have ever knit.

The book tells the fascinating history of the Komi People from Russia. The Komi were in Russia by 1000 to 1200 AD. They were migratory deer herding people and established a life dependent on farming, fishing and hunting reindeer around 1700. As late as the mid 1950's the Komi were still living in village type communities. Today there are only around 285,000 Komi speakers. Russia considers the Komi as one of the 26 recognised ethnic minorities and they form an independent republic.

The chapter I found most intriguing was on Komi dress. The women would spin flax, hemp and wool from plants and animals they had raised. The men would carve spindles from wood for the women to spin. Before they could marry Komi girls were expected to weave at least 2 dozen towels and 100 yards of cloth as well as make 3 dozen pairs of stockings, the same amount of mittens and 1 or 2 dozen shirts! In order to fill this order the girls began these preparations at the age of 10. All these goods were presented to the family of the bridegroom at the wedding. 

I cast on last night and completed my first 2 colour rib, I used 2 half skeins of my hand dyed sock yarn that I had left over from recent projects in Jet and Pacific Blue, I love this effect:

I put it on my Ravelry project page and I don't know why but the mittens I am knitting are not the No 27 mittens on Ravelry, the ones shown are different, they are No 26 in the book I have.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm sorry about the delay in announcing the winner of the sock yarn, life has been far from quiet here over the past 2 weeks to say the least.  I have spent most of the time trying to get the house put back into some sort of order after the quake and on top of that feeling a little under the weather.

The true colour of the socks (although they do look a little darker in the pic than in real life):

The colour is Marmalade Semi Solid, one person got the color exactly right and the winner is...Sara!
I was surprised that you guessed so accurately Sara, well done.

I will be having a regular giveaway - the next one will run in October, I will post details here at the end of September.

We seem to have escaped the clutches of the severe storm that was forecast for the weekend although I believe parts of the North Island had it bad and the snow down in Southland looks quite heavy, very winter wonderland. I think we in Canterbury have had our fair share of the bad stuff. We are still getting aftershocks although they have decreased in number thank goodness.


Monday, September 13, 2010


We were hit by a 7.1 earthquake on Saturday 4th September, it was 4.35 a.m. and was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. We were so very lucky that no one was killed, our home is just a few kilometers from the epicenter and we have damage to the structure of our home plus just about everything inside it is smashed to bits. There are a lot of people worse off than us through this, at least we still have a roof over our heads albeit a damaged one.

The worst part of it all for me was that it happened in darkness, and where I live there are no street lights or such, you cannot see anything at night. The noise was so deafening, I honestly thought a 747 had crashed into the house. Then we had to get down the stairs because we knew we just had to get out and I really thought that there would be no stairs left. We got downstairs and grabbed my Nephew and Niece (who happened to be staying with us for the weekend) from a downstairs bedroom and we all got outside. It was freezing, icy and frosty and totally black but we stayed out there for hours until first light in just our pyjamas.

When daybreak came it was awful to see the destruction, we have brick walls missing, large cracks going through the house from bottom to top but surprisingly no windows were broken! Every room looked like a tornado had ripped through it, lots of china and broken glass everywhere. Furniture reduced to piles of sticks, my younger Sons room was the worse affected, his large strong wooden bed is now in pieces, all his furniture was completely up-ended. The force must have been immense to move some of that furniture, it's all well made heavy stuff. The trees in the garden are no longer straight, they now lean in different directions.

I have spent all week sorting through the rooms, trying to salvage what I could. We are living and sleeping in the lounge which we feel is the safest place. We have had hundreds of after shocks which are awful, very un-nerving and it makes you wonder if the rest of the house is going to come crashing down.

Through the first few days we had no power, phones or water but we had a radio that worked, and all we heard on the stations was that we were to ring this number or go to this web site. I think people had forgotten that many folk didn't have internet or phones and that was very frustrating. I think in situations like that they have to presume that no one has access to these facilities.

So we are slowly trying to get our lives back to normal, hoping that this never happens again, but the fault line is a new one that no one was aware of and apparently hasn't moved for 16000 years.

I am still standing by my win a skein of yarn post, my partner messaged me to say she had received her color swap package and I will announce the colour and winner in a day or two.

Amidst all that has happened this week Mother Nature is still doing her thing, beautiful blooms are appearing in the garden:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Signs of Spring

Dare I hope that Spring is finally here? I'm not so sure because the weather here has a nasty habit of changing very suddenly. My garden is full of blossom, buds, and baby birds and the Fantails have returned, noisily flitting here, there and everywhere gathering materials for their nest (I put little bits of roving in the trees for them to take). The surrounding fields are home to new lambs and in the distance I can still see snow on the Alps. I love the sunny yet cold, sometimes frosty mornings and the bluest skies they bring.

On the knitting front I finished my baby cardigans, the recipient was born nearly 2 weeks ago, shame on me. I also knitted a cute baby bonnet. I joined a KAL with the MOHS group on Ravelry and my project is a Jane Thornley capelet/wrap so I have been sorting and choosing yarns for this upcoming project.

I baked Sponge Drops: very simple soft, light discs of golden fatless sponge sandwiched with homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream, if it was berry season I would have put plenty of juicy raspberries in the middle too, but that's something I can only dream about for the time being. Good thing I took this pic straight away because they had gone within 15 minutes.

Sponge Drops:
2 large eggs
75g caster sugar
50g self raising flour
25g cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 baking sheets, greased or lined with non stick paper.
for the filling:
150 ml cream, whipped
6 tablespoons jam

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C/gas 6.
Lightly whisk the eggs then add the sugar and whisk again until the mixture becomes pale and creamy and leaves the trail of the whisk.
Sieve in the flours and baking powder and fold in gently but thoroughly with a large metal spoon.

Drop dessertspoon sized drops onto the prepared trays leaving room between them because they spread quite a lot. You should get about 16-18 drops in total.
Bake for 5 mins then remove them straight away to a wire rack to cool

Sandwich them together with your choice of filling, dredge with icing sugar and serve.