Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What am I?



Begonia Swirl in Noro Garden Lite



...and what do you do, Fiona?

When I am asked this I have the "patter" all ready, though it's not a very honest patter.
I reply that I spin wool, alpaca and silk yarns from small land-holders. This IS true.
I usually sense that that phrase is not registering, so I add something technical and important-sounding like, -and I do test-knitting.
Now this is NOT strictly true in the sense that I am employed as a test-knitter, but I do more than the average share of pattern interpreting and gauge-setting.

When I say the latter, men visibly relax as it reassures them that knitting has a reference to their world...especially if they are technical themselves.

But, no, I am still getting used to becoming what I am now...a "Spinster and Dyester" as the term was in older times . The textile world understands...and allows for very small-scale operators like me. 
Others, accountants and engineers, feel the need to mechanise my world....control it!



I am a cottage industry and behold my cottage. It is humble and useful.

The Tin Shed where I spin is beside the house. It has everything except plumbing, so the dyeing gets done in buckets and the dye-stuff goes on the grass.
Today is too windy and rainy for photos...more on the operations there later.

The product line is straight-forward...hand-spuns from the fleeces I have in stock. This always changes.
I sell at markets, mostly in spring and autumn. Right now it is summer and this week we are in cyclone mode so the shed is hot and noisy with gusts of tropical wind. The spinning is not easy in this heat.

Inside the house becomes a refuge, so I knit.


"Corinne" by Crystal Erb adapted for 8ply/sportweight merino
I cannot easily get all the yarns I hear about, so adjusting is normal here. This lovely pattern is worked in garter stitch side-ways so you are knitting from neck to hem around the torso. My adaptation leaves the arm-holes for later. 
The 35cm 30mm Addi Turbo needles I am using are only just the right length.

Don't get me started on local stockists of knitting hardware (needles)...it's the same as the yarns!
Anyway, I am half-way through and determined to be finished by the weekend.

I am strict about hours and meeting deadlines.



I make lists....

...and Isla keeps an eye on me....




And so...

I will work on.

Think about that shed...

Get the time...

Fiona MacBride













Sunday, 12 January 2014

Because of the dog......



This town where I live has sweeping views and open skies. I see these views in early mornings because of the dog.

I walk past bungalows and villas with gardens...with the dog.



Some are historical homes like this one.


Others are cute and useful like this studio/shed.

It has been the Summer of DIY here. It started in spring actually, after I moved here from Waiheke. I wrote about the tortuous tale of selling the Waiheke house in a previous blog under the name of Artisanz

The Spring job involved men and concrete and fence-posts. That was because I had just got the dog.


The Summer jobs of late have been....an en-heightened fence...


...and...an all-metal gate installed by an all-woman team one Monday morning two weeks ago.

These jobs were needed because of the dog.

She jumps fences, gates, anything, in order to get to the postman...whom she adores.

He arrives at HER front fence on a MOTORBIKE and leaves without HER. Being the farm dog that she is, nothing lights up that back room of her Collie brain faster than the revs of Travis the Postman's bike!

So, along with all her instincts that go into Protecting Her New Mum, we also have triggers such as farm-bikes, ducks, and water (she will go through ANY kind of mud).

Lately, we have had the two-hourly night-time escapades where she shouts at the stray cats next door. This has become a new problem and won't go away without intervention.
I have followed the help from Zac George on Barking
http://www.youtube.com/user/zakgeorge21..and Isla (that's the dog) is actually fine. It's the dratted cats left behind when the tenants from the flats next door all had to leave.

...so I have just ordered one of these....a Humane Stray Cat Trap

It's because of the dog.


Some knitting has been done though. Yes...it's garter stitch. Yes, I like the basket too. I got it at a local craft market and I lined it.

Still no word on this....




Details are here:

Ah well....the dog looked good next to it.



I have big BIG plans for knitting, wool and sewing this year....hope you all will do that one bold project...at least!

Knit fearlessly...sew confidently...and spin deftly.

Find the time and get the time, then get the shed!

From my shed to yours,

Fiona MacBride