Archive for October, 2009

Blogtober 31st: It’s all about the garden


My post today could hardly be about anything other than our vege garden, because today has mostly been spent in it.  So, here’s our wee piece of productivity.

I am one lucky gardening girl. Three years ago my father spent a couple of days teaching my DH how to make vege garden boxes and helping to make this fabulous vegetable garden for us.  This wee fenced enclosure was the original vegetable garden and it is a fabulous spot – it has its own wee microclimate and is sheltered from the winds, so when other friends complain of decimated crops, I am spared.  It is, however, completely unproductive in winter, so it is largely bare, as you can see. 

I had a planting session about 4 weeks ago, but the nearly three weeks of rain we had immediately afterwards has ensured nothing is thriving yet.  Many seeds did not germinate, and seedlings are on a go-slow. We will be self-sufficient in lettuce from now on, and spinach – well, we could eat that every day for a month and still have plenty growing I think!

So, this morning we went on an expedition to get more seeds, seedlings and some plant food.  While the girls napped I finished off the weeding and digging over the ground, and then Miss 3 joined me to do the planting.


Here she is planting some Roma Tomatoes. We have companion planted basil with them, I hope it likes this spot as we love basil! We also planted capsicum plants, cucumber, yellow and green zuchinni, more lettuce, red cabbage, green cabbage, celery, corn, three kinds of chinese cabbage,  broccoflower and one grafted tomato plant. I have discovered if I have too many tomatoes they end up getting blight, but if I grow one and stake it out well, it’s okay. I’m taking a risk on the Roma Tomatoes because I really like them – I’ve sown some cherry tomato seeds, but won’t worry if I have no success with them.  Miss 3 and I also planted some seeds, butter beans, eggplant, more cucumber, and some cape gooseberries.

All these join the lettuce, two kinds of beans, cauliflower, leeks, silverbeet, spinach, yams,  peas, parsley,  rhubarb and strawberries that are already in.  The other big change is that I have planted some berries this year too – a raspberry, loganberry and thornless blackberry.  I am hoping that they will be productive (I know they need time…) and have lots of babies so I can set up a separate berry garden. Or rather, I can impose on DH to make a new set of boxes for a berry garden.  A girl can but hope.


So there you have it. Today garden.  Tomorrow? Knitting I hope!


Blogtober 30th: Finally a FO!


It seems like I’ve been doing more blogging than knitting this month, but I have another completed pair of socks to celebrate Socktoberfest.  These are the Ribbed Ribbon Socks from Wendy Johnson’s lovely book Socks From the Toe Up. They were knit in a lovely limited edition colourway called Citrus Sunset by Vintage Purls. The colourway is a massive departure from my usual fare of purples, greens, blues and pinks, but they certainly make me smile I and I think I will enjoy these socks.002 

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern – the second one I have knit from this book, and like the first it was well written, free of errata, logical, and pleasing to knit.  I commented early on that the 24 row repeat wasn’t totally easy, but I was able to work without the chart except for the occasional reference for all of the second sock, so it certainly grows easier as you go.  They are only patterned on the front of the foot, so that speeds up proceedings for the leg too!


Months ago I commented that I had a new pair of sock-wearing shoes and I never managed to capture them on film. So, here they are with their pretty new companions.


Blogtober 29th: Kiwiana Giveaway

As promised, today is your chance to enter a giveaway to win this fun Kiwiana package. 


Like the package I did for the swap, this has a Pukeko theme. 

It contains:

200g hand dyed 8ply Charity machine washable yarn

1 Pukeko WIP bag

1 Pukeko soft toy


It seems like it’s been giveaway city around here lately, so you’re probably used to the rules 🙂

However, this is how to enter:

* Just leave a comment below!

* If you want an extra entry, you can grab one by following my blog  on your blog reader or Networked Blogs (if you don’t already), and if you already do, pop a note in your comment to say so.

And it’s as simple as that. I’m happy to send overseas, and will close entries off at 10pm Sunday night.

Good luck!

Blogtober 28th: Kiwiana Yarn Swap

I’m not the only blogger rushing home from the knitting night tonight to post a Blogtoberfest post about our awesome yarn swap. And I’m glad I can post here about our awesome night, as when I came home with my parcel, DH was far more interested in whatever he was doing on his computer than the bag of goodies I bought home with me.  Reason to have a blog #1212??

So, as promised, here are the pictures from our fantastic yarn swap evening. It was such a success we have decided to do it all again in December. We waited until everyone was there and had eaten cheesecake /chocolate /chocolate cake /marble cake (yum!!) and then the fun began.  First to open their parcel was Hannah, whose swapper was Clare.  She had chosen a theme of surfing and made an awesome woven basket from paper taken from surfing magazines.  I’m not sure how she managed to include a swift in her $10 budget (!) but that was also in the parcel.  The lovely yarn she dyed is apparently in a horrible tangle, so this wee bit is just a down payment! Beautiful depth of colours, on a 4ply Vintage Purls base.


The next to open was Angie whose swapper Kate spun and dyed her delicious yarn. The theme was ‘waves’ and she included a kit to make a wave themed nappy, as well as some stunning wee accesories – a brooch, hairclip, and gorgeous hand painted breast pads!!



Then it was Kate’s turn. Her swapper was Kristy, and she had chosen a Pukeko theme – a Pukeko is a native NZ bird.  She dyed up 4ply Merino sock yarn in the colours of the bird and the red of the beak and feet were supplied by the red wrapped chocolate.


Trudi’s yarn was dyed by Angela, who chose a Buzzy Bee theme. I was particularly impressed that she decided to pick up only some of the colours, making a stunning yarn, whereas I had been stumped as to how this could be dyed up. Delicious. And the cute ball shows some of the lovely old fashioned toys that have become part of Kiwiana kitsch.


And then it was my turn! My swap was dyed by Sam, who dyed up 100g of Vintage Purls yarn with food colouring. She chose a Paua theme and made this gorgeous yarn which her darling 2 year old daughter “knitted”, tangling up her skein. Sam’s grandparents spent two hours untangling it. What a labour of love! I also got an assortment of wee gifts – a gorgeous wee brag book that she hand made, and a big glass container filled with everything we need to make a paua themed Rocky Road treat.  Mmmm. I think that I need to take a better picture in the natural light tomorrow to show the subtle nuances of colour in this though – the picture does it no justice.


And speaking of Rocky Road, Trudi chose it as  theme for her swap with Sam.  The colours are stunning.  Love the wee stitch markers too – Trudi said her partner made them 🙂


Then it was time for Lizzie to open the parcel I’d prepared.  I had chosen the Pukeko as my theme too – and it is interesting how different the yarn I dyed was from Kristy’s interpretation.  I wanted to show the colours that the typical portrayal of the bird has – it actual fact the feathers are far darker, almost black, as you can see in the card I included.  I made  a WIP bag, and found some Pukeko themed goodies at a tourist shop to round out the parcel.



I kettle dyed 100g of Patonyle sock yarn with acid dyes – just two colours, National Blue and Crimson. 

Kristy’s parcel was intriguingly wrapped in brown paper with a pie bag on it. It turns out Hannah had chosen a ‘mince pie and tomato sauce’ theme.  The yarn is a delightful mix of reds, browns and light brown for pastry, on 100g of Vintage Purls sock yarn.  There are some clever wee goodies to round of the package too – cute wee hairclips, a cute handmade felt ‘pie’ and some Tomato Sauce flavoured chips. Oh, and note the ‘tomato’ sauce container too 🙂


Last parcel of the night was for Clare, from Lizzie. Good old kiwi classic “jandals”, and Lizzie had bought a pair, and presented them in a shoe box, nestled between them were two lovely yarns, both 4 ply.  We all had a good giggle over the patterns for socks and footsies to go with them.


Each parcel had accompanying patterns and some had lovely written explanations to go with them. There were recipes in some, and a few goodies that escaped my camera too – apologies.

What a fantastic night we all had! It was every bit as much fun to swap in person as I thought it would be. Can’t wait until next time.


And, for the readers who are disappointed they couldn’t be there, left drooling hopelessly over parcels, watch this space for a giveaway where one lucky reader will get their own slice of Kiwiana goodness.

Blogtober 27th: Kiwiana Swap

Usually on a Tuesday night, I go to knitting night.  Instead of having our knitting on Tuesday, we are postponing it until Wednesday this week because we are having a super exciting swap night and want to have as all the swap participants there.  The swap that we are doing is a hand-dyed yarn swap, with a theme of Kiwiana.  Tomorrow I will take my camera to record the lovely parcels that get swapped, but I thought I would give you a heads-up tonight so that you know what to expect.

This swap is particularly exciting because it will be exchanged in person. All of the other swaps I have done have been sent off  in the post, and there is always a delay between sending off and receiving.  It can sometimes be hard to tell if the recipient really likes their gift from a written reaction, and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the colours and themes of the packages that are described.  So I am looking forward to being right in the action tomorrow night!

These are the guidelines we were given for the swap.

The swap will consist of :

* 100-200 grams of hand dyded yarn ( 100 grams 4 ply is plenty for a project but 8-10ply would need 150-200grams)
* A pattern matching your yarn and theme
* Paperwork of some discription ( poem, recipe, book etc)
* A small gift under $10 (eg, stitch markers, a dishcloth, some soap, chocolate etc )

The theme of ‘Kiwiana” might be a little mystifying to some overseas readers, so I thought I should explain what the concept is. According to Wikipedia, Kiwiana is items” which are either unique to or particularly common to New Zealand, particularly from the early and mid twentieth century. Although the term is sometimes used to describe any and all New Zealand icons, it is more commonly used to describe pop culture items such as toys or branded foods. A few more serious national icons have become kiwiana through heavy use in advertising and the souvenir industry. These include the kiwi and the tiki. Kiwiana is generally seen as a form of kitsch.”

These 1994 stamps celebrate Kiwiana.

A small town on the way to Hamilton and Auckland from our city has a huge Kiwiana mural and has branded itself as a type of Kiwiana town, with displays in the shopping centre, and even the public toilets featuring gorgeous hand painted Kiwiana themed tiles. 


The biggest problem that I had translating the Kiwiana theme into a yarn swap was the fact that I wanted the yarn to be usable at the end. Sure, I could colour yarn “Buzzy Bee” theme colours. But would anyone want to wear it?


And, while I love my pavalova with kiwifruit on top as much as the next girl, green and white yarn isn’t *that* inspiring, is it?

File:Kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) 1 Luc Viatour.jpg


Other Kiwiana includes: a Chocolate fish,  Edmonds ‘Sure to Rise’ Baking Powder, Gumboots,  a tiki, Hokey pokey ice-cream, Jandals, Kiwi, Kiwifruit, Marmite, Number 8 wire, Paua, Pineapple lumps,  the Silver fern, Swanndri (a black and red checked jacket), Top ice cream,Watties tomato sauce (especially when served in a plastic container shaped like a tomato).

A sauce bottle shaped like a tomato and filled with Watties tomato sauce ...

Gotta love the tomato. We always had one growing up.  And that’s kinda the point about Kiwiana. Despite the kitsch aspect, it is still seen everywhere.  The ‘Kiwi” bird is such a familar shape even Miss 3 recognised it when borrowed by Lynley Dodd for one of her nonsense birds in The Nickle Nackle Tree. While some uses are tacky, there is generally a great deal of affection for these well known Kiwi icons. 

I had great fun trying to think a little outside the box in terms of expectations, and I know that my knitting friends have had heaps of fun working on their swaps too.  I can hardly wait.



Blogtober 26th: Still Knitting, Still Blogging


Yes, still knitting these scrumptious socks.  Can’t wait until they are a FO I can share. 🙂

Blogtober 25th: Blogspirational

So far, Blogtober has been heaps of fun. I have enjoyed the daily blogging challenge, although I suspect you lot are probably getting a bit over reading my ramblings.  One of the things that has been fun has been reading more from some favourite bloggers, and discovering some new fun and inspirational blogs. So, for today’s post, I thought I would share some of these with you.

A new blog by my friend Kate, check out her Monday giveaways every week. Kate is the talent behind the beautiful Bib and Tucker nappies – keep watching this space for cute nappies I got from her the other week. My old friend Lisa blogs over here about life as a mum of beautiful twin girls. Some good ol’ Kiwi bloggers I’ve recently found are Kreacher, Paisley Jade  and Jolie.

I’ve been enjoying Bellsknits for a while now, check out her utterly gorgeous Myrtle Leaf  Shawl, a real labour of love!  Some more Aussies I enjoy reading, Lou, RoseRed,

Despite the name, Caffeine Girl isn’t all about the coffee. Sure she likes caffiene but she’s a knitter and spinner too. Also in the US is Stitchywitch’s fab blog, I love her stuff on Ravelry, and you can see more of it here. Another Kate here, another knitter and spinner, with a fairly new blog but well worth a visit.  Another fairly new blog is by Virginia, from New York. My good blogging friend Heather is here, knitting up a storm with the skein of Vintage Purls she won in my contest :).  Another blogging buddy is Amanda, and she’s been doing some recycling like my sister posted about yesterday.

In the UK I like to keep up with Gemma,  but am not following many more from over there – so I had better keep my eyes open for great British blogs!

So these are some of my blogspiriations, What do you enjoy reading?

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