Sunday, 30 May 2010


The Tauranga Spinners and Weavers had their annual exhibition at the weekend.

These garments are all knitted from hand-spun and hand dyed wools. The red tunic looked wonderful when modelled - the reds glowed, and it hung beautifully.

I like the bit of embroidery on the lapel of the stripey cardigan in the last image.

Need to get going on my moasic shapes so I can start something else!
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Three Sunday cheers

Start at the Store at Okere Falls with tea to get going. Love the t-shirt with the caravan image - I want to make one for myself. Later Jenny made me this cup of Double Happiness Peony Tea. The tea ball expanded in the cup into this lovely flower which doesn't look at all like a peony but I'm sure is totally double happiness.


Of all the driveways I could choose to stay in around Rotorua, this is my favorite - Jenny, Loretta and Kelly's place at Okere Falls. From here you can walk through a gate and down another driveway to a little jetty on Lake Rotoiti. Jenny says sometimes they paddle across to the Okere Falls Store by canoe. Or should I say kayak?

There was almost a frost last night and I spread my jumpers out over the top of my sleeping bag. Despite the pile I woke up with icy cold feet, but it was only an arm's reach to get hold of a pair of tramping socks. That's a good thing about living in a small space. Everthing is close to hand.

Had to buy a cigarette lighter phone charger as it is quite hard to find cafes where there are accessible power points and the Blackberry is such a power-hungry phone.
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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Allie and Eva

Two little girls who love stories! Meet Allie (Alice in Pyjamas) and Eva. Eva's family is about to be multiplied so the Russian Dolls are very appropriate. The Fairy Baby will arrive any day now.
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Doing the Lines

Uncle Ces, into his 80s, used to go out every Wed and Sun with a small group of blokes, to Do the Lines. They were one of the first groups in NZ to be allowed 'adopt' an area of forest in order to maintain it. In particular, they are trying to protect the birdlife from predators. The Otanewainuku Track is behind Papamoa, near Tauraunga. Ces and his mates mapped out a series of compass lines a few hundred metres apart, and on advice from the local DOC office, set up traps at regular intervals. Doing the Lines on a typical Sunday involves checking each trap, rebaiting the rat traps with peanut butter, and - highlight of the day - removing any dead rats. Every second line has bigger traps that are designed to catch stoats. Those are baited with eggs or meat.

The virgin bush is lovely, with mostly rewarewa and tawa and some huge rimus.
Tom and Vern are pretty much working on their own up there these days. Jenny and I went in with Tom on Sunday. Testament to the steady work these boys have been doing, we saw lots of robins and kereru. There were three dead rats along Line 16. Vern says he usually gets about 8 or nine on his lines, which he says is because he adds aniseed to the peanut butter.

Even on a cold, wet Sunday, there were lots of people, including families, out walking the Otanewainuku Track. At the carpark in Mountain Road, a little band of 3 local folk take turns to be on duty between 10 and 3 to prevent break-ins. Sad that it has to be like this.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010


The Erupt Lake Taupo Festival is in full swing this week.

At the Museum, a group of ladies from Auckland called the Knitterati are making a map of the lake from recycled materials. Old t-shirts, plastic bags, string and buttons; and much more. Visitors are encouraged to take up needles or a crochet hook and add to the map. Hills, paddocks, roads and rivers are spreading out from around the lake. There is even a little knitted plane on a bit wire, taking off from the airport.

Interesting how readily women take up the tools. "I haven't done this for years", "I had forgotten how nice it is to knit", common comments.

I heard one lady saying "I don't know which way to go, have I gone wrong?"
"No, no," her friend says, just make it up." Then, "you need to do it THIS WAY".
Little voice back "You always tell me what to do".

A little eruption?

I bought some wonderful gluten free bread at an organic shop in Taupo. It's made by Rebecca Rolls, and what a treat it is. Probably the best GF bread I have ever had! It is called ThoroughBread, and she does a wide range of different varieties. Rosemary and olive; walnut; sesame and linseed; lots more.


I stayed overnight at Tokaanu and enjoyed a soak in the thermal pools. Little changed from when I was a kid. We used to have annual holidays at Turangi. Us two kids would play most of the day somewhere beside the river, making fairy gardens in the black sand with river stones and pumice and whatever else we could find. The smell of the autumn foliage brings it all back. "One last cast," Lou would say, and we knew that meant another hour or so before we would be leaving.

The Kekerengu Store

First night in the new home I stayed in a Top Ten park in Christchurch - a sort-of updated antipodean Butlers Holiday Camp somehow.

Once on the open road I found driving to be more enjoyable than I expected. Sitting so high is very cool. I confess that I am unable to completely renounce cafe culture. How could you drive through Kaikoura and not take a break at Hislops? GF Banana cake to die for!

The Store at Kekerengu is one of my favourite places. This time instead of just stopping for refreshments, I got to stay over.

Dixie was the only vehicle in the car park by the beach. No excuse to go out for a cup of tea when you have a view like this from your own kitchen.

Early dawn over the Kaikoura coast bloomed with a delicate pink, but by the time I grabbed the camera and my shoes, it had faded. Still beautiful though. The drive up to Picton was a treat. The colours of the vineyards against that brown landscape - so unexpected and so stunning.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Christchurch discoveries

I had a couple of days to fill in in Christchurch

These are photos of just some of the stuff I found while waiting for my new home to be ready to drive off in.

Tile designer, Sally Griggs, works from a little studio with a window to Peterborough St. She told me she trained as a rug designer, but has now moved from textiles to ceramics. She screen prints an outline to each tile, and then applies colours by hand. The glaze is fired for 4 days. She usually works to commission, often custom-designing to suit someone's home. I bought three of the over-run tiles at $1 each. I could have taken so many more had I anywhere to put them.

Ages ago I spotted a magazine piece about a shop called Bolt of Cloth, so in the afternoon I set off for Madras Street.

Bolt of Cloth stock a range of commercially produced fabrics I recognized - Florence Broadhurst, Amy Butler, Marimekko. There were also hand printed fabrics by Ingrid Anderson, Ink&Spindle, and others. I really want to pull up in the new motorhome tomorrow morning and get them to sew me new curtains, squabs and cushion covers in bright turquoise, pink, lime green and purples. I love this shop.

In Victoria Street, there is a place that sells something I’d just love to have for my studio when I get settled again. They are dresses like we used to make for cut-out-dolls, but life-size, and they are exquisitely cut and folded from maps.

The yarns are from the window display in the Hands Craft Shop in Norman Rd, Elmwood. Just as well there are a couple of coffee shops in the block. I spent so much time browsing the books and picking some threads that I needed more than one refreshment interlude.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

My Kea Camper

I have just bought a camper van. It is an ex-rental from Kea. Looks like this. Can't wait to unpack the Polo and drive off in my new home. What an extravagance. I'll be looking for options to exchange it for either similar in the UK or perhaps plum house-sitting opportunities. It is fully certified for freedom camping and I'll have my bike on the back.

Ashford Cafe, Ashburton

Having a sore back was a good lesson in just enjoying being where I am. It is not easy to let go of all the 'going to's and 'must do's and 'have to's, but I have got better at it.

One week on the road and I have not even reached Christchurch yet. I stopped at the Ashford Mill House cafe and sat in the sun with a cup of tea. And this Noro yarn -- I couldn't resist.

The weaving area is being renovated, so the shop was in a bit of a state. I missed the sofa that was piled with knitted cushions and throws.
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Mosaic jacket

I'm knitting the Rowan squares with an idea of making a simple patchwork jacket. One one hand I'm worried that it will be too busy with the 5 colours, on the other hand I want to include a red, or a tweed, just to keep the knitting more interesting.

I'm using child-size needles, which are easier to hold, and take up less space when knitting in cafes! Well, that's what it feels like.

What a lovely little public library in Wanaka. To get to it you go over a little stream. It has been beautifully landscaped. I found a sunny sheltered spot to sit and knit, amongst the falling autum leaves and filled with the sound of the water.
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Colours of Wanaka

Forced to walk because my back hurt whatever way I sat, I wandered around the lake. It rained almost the whole week I was in Wanaka. But even in the rain, there was colour everywhere.
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