Into the Mountains

One of my favourite places in the world is Tongariro National Park.

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It has every shade of blue, grey, purple and green you can imagine, and the landscape is cold, unpredictable and imposing. So when Heather from T&H Fiber Works put out a call for a designer to make something in these two yarns….

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I knew exactly what they needed to be!

Into the Mountains is my newest, and now my favourite, design. It is a lightweight shawl that has sections of lace in chevrons and snowflakes, simple stripes for texture and the asymmetric shape eliminates any of those excruciatingly long rows that large shawls are known for.

In spite of the finished product being large and airy, it is a portable knitting project and I quite literally took everywhere to work on (including my bed and Anchor Bay).

Into the mountains adds a layer of luxury to your between-seasons wardrobe and if you would like to make one you can join me for a knit-a-long on Ravelry here! And the pattern is available on Ravelry too, just use this link: Into the Mountains.

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Make Honey While the Sun Shines

Our bees have been busy (of course) and we have our first lot of honey! A lot of it, we are giving it away to friends and family because we have so much. Here are some photos of the process we went through to separate the honey from the comb:

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First we sat the comb in the sun to warm up and make straining it easier. It smelled amazing.

Once it was runny enough and the wax had floated to the top we put it through a sieve and then let it run through a cloth to strain it a second time (letting it drip into a jar as it went). The first cloth was WAY too thick and we quickly changed it to a much more open weave.

I left the cloth out by the hive for the bees to clean afterwards which they enjoyed!
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And finally, we shooed all the bumblebees out of the house and put out our beautiful jars of golden honey. Those bumblebees were obsessed with getting into the comb, the pots, the stove where we melted the wax. They were very determined! Two or three got so coated in honey by sneaking into the sieve that they couldn’t fly, and they had to sit on the bench cleaning themselves for half and hour.

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We have a lot of honey to eat….

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Hands On – The Little Bee

The Little Bee is a crochet design company created by Alia Bland. I was referred to her by a friend when I mentioned that I wanted more designers to photograph for Hands On. Alia has a yurt in Piha, on Auckland’s wild west coast, where she lives with her three young boys and her husband, and somehow manages to find time to crochet too. Her yurt is crammed with yarn (good insulation!) in bright and beautiful colours and when I met her, she was creating a beautiful collar for a cardigan.

Alia has a number of designs available online through Ravelry, her Sunday Shawl was an immediate hit and crocheters worldwide have created over 4000 versions of it. Pictured above is Alia’s clever design for a rope-basket made beautiful by crocheting around the utilitarian rope with yarn. It was Alia’s designs that created a big increase in my own Ravelry queue, so peruse her designs with that in mind!

 

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White Hats for White Helmets

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I have created a pattern as a fundraiser for the White Helmets in Aleppo. If you google ‘white helmets’ you will be confronted by screeds of images of ordinary people in deeply traumatising circumstances, doing incredible things.

It was these photos, and the words of the head of the White Helmets below that motivated me to do more. To give more, to help in some way, not to sit idly and read about them and then close my browser and move on.

“Barrel bombs – sometimes filled with chlorine – are the biggest killer of civilians in Syria today. Our unarmed and neutral rescue workers have saved more than 78,529 people from the attacks in Syria, but there are many we cannot reach. There are children trapped in rubble we cannot hear. For them, the UN Security Council must follow through on its demand to stop the barrel bombs, by introducing a ‘no-fly zone’ if necessary.” – Raed Saleh, head of the White Helmets, the Syrian Civil Defence.

So with the help of a lovely group of knitters who have been testing, checking, critiquing the pattern for me, I am happy to say that I have just published the White Hats for White Helmets pattern.

I hope that you will help me raise money for this cause by buying this pattern. All the money raised from the sales of this pattern will go straight to the White Helmets to help them to continue helping others.

If you want to know more about this cause you can visit this website. There is an interesting section at the bottom of the front page that shows the cost of the equipment these people need to keep saving lives.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to raise enough money for them to get a new ambulance? And isn’t is awful that they need them at all.

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Hands On – Cheese Before Bedtime

Amy Jones is a needle-woman with great talent and a great sense of humour. These qualities have combined to produce some wonderful hoop-art that she has exhibited in Auckland Museum and sells online successfully.

Her workspace is a simple, immaculate corner of her living room. When I photographed her we had to work quietly (not a problem – neither embroidery or photography are noisy pastimes) as her baby daughter was asleep in the room next door.

You can find Amy’s work online here and I challenge you not to be tempted to start a ‘gallery wall’ of her work in your own home!

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Hands On – Yarn Floozy

Who could resist purchasing yarn from such a delightfully branded company? Not me. Yarn Floozy is run by Catrien who dyes yarn in her basement at home. She has a wall lined with cubby holes, some filled with dyed yarn, some with un-dyed skeins, lots with dyes and mordants.

Catrien sells her yarn through markets and online and if you are in need of a little stash-enhancement I would thoroughly recommend her yarn. It knits up beautifully and the colours are amazing.

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Knitting in the Wild

Where is the oddest place you have taken your crafting?

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