New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers

In April this year I was very fortunate to cruise around New Zealand, stopping at many wonderful towns and cities. In Wellington I was privileged to be greeted by Mary and Fred Knox. Mary is the creator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website and author of the book New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers.

coverMary and Fred drove me to the beautiful Wairarapa region where they live and I spent most of the day with Mary and the Wairarapa Spinners & Weavers at their spectacular meeting place, The Wool Shed in Masterston. Mary also gave me a CD copy of her book.

I have just discovered that due to the closure of the printing company and the exorbitant postage costs involved these days, Mary has decided to provide her book free of charge on a new website called New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers .

This is incredibly generous of Mary. Once you delve into each of the PDFs you will see how much research has been carried out to produce this incredibly detailed history of New Zealand’s spinning wheel makers.

Mary does state that the book was never intended to cover makers who only made a few wheels: generally the cut off was at a dozen.

Mary is now writing articles and adding to the website so the world now has this valuable resource at its fingertips.

As Mary states “I give it to you freely, and you are welcome to make and share copies, but please do not use anything in it for any commercial purpose. You may quote from it but please mention where the quotation comes from.” Please respect Mary’s words. You could even drop her an email to thank her for this wonderful gift if you feel so inclined via the contact page.

So, if you have one or more spinning wheels that were made in New Zealand, you can now read all about them.

This and that

Remember a few weeks ago I showed you how I completely revamped the top of a second hand stool?

Chair 02-tileWell, I have now completed the table too. This was the top of the original table which looked okay but it was flaking terribly underneath and leaving a mess whenever I moved it.

Table 01So, on a recent trip to one of the cheap shops I found this carving board.

Table 02I could not have picked a better item for this table top. I have actually used the top of the carving board as the underside of the table. Have a look at the groove all around the board which is where the fat is supposed to pool as you’re carving your meat.

Table 04Now have a look at how precisely the frame of the table actually sits in the groove at each end. Perfect isn’t it?

Table 06And here it is.

Table 07Another little project completed 🙂

Table 09I’ve also been churning out lots of hats on my Addi Kingsize knitting machine and have recently learned a new technique for a brim which entails lifting and hooking stitches over the needles. A crochet hook is not the right implement to use and I noticed on the video that the person was actually using a dental implement so I hopped onto Ebay (what else?) and found this kit for less than $7.

Dental kit 04I was particularly interested in this instrument.

Dental kit 05So now I can pick up the stitches with relative ease. I’m still not 100% satisfied as the other end of the instrument is pretty sharp so I am thinking about getting a woodturner to make me something similar. This is what I use it for.

Dental kit AddiOpp shops I love them!! You never know what you’re going to find. These are the goodies I found last week. Another sheep and sheep mug 🙂

Blue sheep and mugHow many toy sheep and sheep mugs can a girl have? Obviously, in my case, as many as she can get 🙂

Sheep mug sunglasses 01Blue sheep 02This next find is something I’ve been after for a while. As I don’t have a live model for my baby hats the next best thing is a doll so I found ‘Annabelle’ and she’s now my resident model for some of my baby garments.

AnnabelleHere’s a selection of pictures of Annabelle modelling some of my knitted baby hats.

Medallion Hat Red 08-tileThese delightful sheep earrings caught my attention as I was searching through Etsy recently. They’re made in Gympie in Queensland by a very talented artisan.

Sheep earringsLast week I picked up this bargain on Gumtree for only $40. It’s a Schacht Inkle Loom. Not that I know how to use it at the moment but weaving is something I want to learn in the not too distant future.

Schacht Inkle Loom 02Schacht Inkle Loom 03And then to top it off I received a message from local crafty person who had a bundle of old Weaving magazines and rather than just throwing them away would I like them? Luckily the pick up address was very close to where I was meeting some other crafty women of the QldBaysideYarnClub at Tingalpa. These will make some interesting reading. Thank you so much Rosalie!

Weaving magsI think I have exhausted my list of recent finds and ideas so I will leave it there. Now off for a cuppa, read the Sunday paper and then to spin some more of this drum-carded alpaca.

Alpaca Rebel 7Drum Carder 08

Until next time…




Two more C2Cs!

Crocheting a C2C blanket is time consuming but so worth it once you admire the finished item. I made my first C2C back in July when I was in Noosaville and I’m now on my 4th one!

I am rather enamoured with this C2C baby blanket which took me less than three weeks to complete.

C2C Baby 05I used predominantly Cleckheaton Country Baby 4ply, and Patons Australia Feathersoft 4ply. I was lucky enough to have an array of colours available and I even have enough to make another one!

C2C Baby 04I added a crocheted edging and used a different colour for each side.

C2C Baby 06 C2C Baby 07I finished this C2C blanket last night. It was started in August so that’s not bad going considering it got quite large and heavy and consequently I had to finish it at home rather than as a portable project 🙂

C2C Autumn Acrylic 07I selected all my autumn shades of acrylic stash to try and get rid of them and I certainly used a lot. Had to use my recliner chair as a prop to try and give you an idea of the size. The blanket is folded in half in the picture below.

C2C Autumn Acrylic 08I managed to pick up six balls of this lovely variegated acrylic which I interspersed with solid colours.

Lincraft Double KnittingC2C Autumn Acrylic 10 C2C Autumn Acrylic 11I tried placing the blanket on my bed to give you a better idea of its size.

C2C Autumn Acrylic 13I’ve just started my 4th C2C using all my sock yarn scraps and believe me I have lots of them!

To finish off, one of my dear friends from the Redlands Spinners & Weavers gave me this beautiful pashmina.

Pashmina from Gillian 01It has come in very handy at work as the air conditioning in my office is like a freezer!

Pashmina from Gillian 02I recently bought these two gorgeous pin cushions from Vino Catz Handmade in Australia. They are beautifully made and very secure as fishing line is used to secure them. Very clever indeed!

Pin Cushion 01and this lovely little shoulder bag which can be used to hold your phone. I love searching the net for handmade Aussie wares.

Sheep phone bag 02Since joining the Australian Handspinners and Knitters Facebook group, I have been exposed to such wonderful fibre that is available for sale and have succumbed to some of it. Every Friday night Charly McCafferty (AKA Ixchel Bunny) showcases some of the most amazing blends of fibre. You have to be very quick to buy any as it’s first in, first served. Last Friday I managed to pick up these two Happy Tiger Bunny Tops – 100 gram tops $24 – A blend of Hemp, Suri, Silk, Eco Merino, Angora Bunny, Llama. The colourways are March Hare and Tweedledee.

Ixchel Bunny buy 01And the night before last I picked up two of these Cashmere Fling Tops – 100 gram tops $23 – A blend of Cashmere, Tencel, Bamboo and Glitzy Nylon. The colourways are Absinthe Fairy and Minions. Aren’t they simply stunning!

Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Absinthe Fairy 01 Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Minion 01I’m going to have to turn my phone off on Friday nights from now on as I am just too tempted!!

That’s all my news for now.

Before I finish I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all those affected by the terrible Paris terrorist attacks that have sent shock waves around the world. Unfortunately terrorism is changing the world we now live in.

Paris tearsUntil next time…


Newborn Hats

Don’t ask me why but I’ve made some newborn hats lately. It’s not like I know anyone who’s having a baby soon. Maybe it was just the need for a quick knit because they sure are fast to complete. One of them was a pattern test knit for a gorgeous little Pumpkin Hat.

Pumpkin Hat 07There are so many of these pumpkin designs on Ravelry so there’s lots of patterns to select if you wish to make one. I love the top of this hat.

Pumpkin Hat 04I used Cascade 220 Superwash wool to make my hat. It’s such a lovely wool to knit with.

My second hat is really a premmie size (because of the yarn I used) and it’s called Little Knight Newborn Purple Hat although I made mine in pink.

Little Knight Pink 01Little Knight Pink 02The yarn I used is Bella Baby Angora Blend (that is actually my yarn in the Ravelry page picture) and it is so soft. I used a round polystyrene ball to give some shape to the hat. I really need to invest in a baby doll to be my model!

Little Knight Pink 03And the third hat is this cute little Sheep Hat which I instantly fell in love with.

Sheep Hat 03Even the back of the hat is cute 🙂

Sheep Hat 04I used a combination of Cascade 220 Superwash and Lana Gatto Super Soft. Both incredibly beautiful wools to knit with.

Sheep Hat 01Sheep Hat 02My friend Helen recently visited New Zealand and she brought me back some lovely little sheepy presents. Here’s some of them in this picture indicated by the arrows.

Helen Gift 01aAnd this lovely little cutie.

Helen Gift 02Yesterday it was so hot and humid in Brisbane and today’s it’s about seven degrees cooler so I am going to try and attach a new tabletop that I bought yesterday to the table that I am using for my wool combing which is so old the bottom part is flaking off and leaving a mess. I’ve charged the drill and now just need to hope that the carving board I bought can be adapted to a table top. Will keep you informed!

That’s my news for this week. Until next time…


Being Creative

I don’t consider myself to be a creative person but some of my friends disagree because they point out all my knitting projects. Yes, I can knit, crochet and spin but knitting a garment entails reading a pattern and I have a logical and ordered mind (most of the time 🙂 ); this is reflected in the work I do: administration and budgets. But I don’t write patterns or knit freeform. I still stick rigidly to following a pattern. I admire people who can create such wonderful patterns for me (and others) to knit. Now they are really creative. One thing that I have discovered is that I do have a knack for using the spaces in my home quite ‘creatively’. Warning: this is a long post so you’d best settle in with a cuppa!

It started a few years ago with this little area under my internal stairs which I call the Book Nook. This is usually a difficult space to utilise because of the slope of the stairs but I have made it into a functional space.

DSC00556aAnd then it progressed to this area that is directly under the overlapping kitchen shelf and quite hidden away.

11CD DVD shelvesThe shelves now home all my CDs and DVDs. They’re out of the way but more importantly, I can see all of them!

13CD DVD shelvesMy biggest challenge recently has been to try and bring some sort of order to my growing fibre and yarn stash as I was slowly (or should I say quickly) running out of room. So after a lot of ‘creative’ thinking I realised I actually had one room in my home that I didn’t even use!! So I moved a few items into this room and it’s the new place where I can comb wool during summer (as my outside back courtyard is simply too humid). I have even moved some of my fibre into this room. It has a tiled floor so it’ll be easy to sweep up the dirt from any fleece. Okay, enough teasing; here’s the room I’m talking about.

Bathroom 01Yes, it’s my bathroom of all rooms!! I only use the ensuite so this room is really wasted. Here’s where I’ve stored some of my stash.

Bath 01How cool is that idea? The polystyrene box (which holds some alpaca) just rests nicely on the inside ledges of the bath. Perfect!

Bath 02I bought this old telephone table (which also came with a chair) for $20 and it’s perfect for clamping on my two sets of wool combs. These ones are Alvin Ramer combs made in Canada which I bought recently from a member of the Australian Handspinners and Knitters group on Facebook. And of course, there’s also my Valkyrie wool combs that I bought from Karen Severn. Karen is the Australian distributor. (The combs are in the bag on the bathroom vanity and the block is clamped to the table.) You know me, I can’t just have one of anything 🙂

Bathroom 02The chair that came with the table was quite yukky – dirty vinyl on the top and the chip board base was very flaky.

Chair 02-tileSo I thought ‘creatively’ and bought myself this bread board for $8..

Chair 01And screwed it to the chair frame and voila I now have a new chair which can also be used as a small table!!!

Chair 05Chair 06It will be easy enough to get a small cushion, sew on some ties and tie each one to a leg to make the seat a bit more comfortable. I won’t be doing much sitting in this room as wool combing lends itself to standing.

Chair 07The seat still sits right under the table despite the bread board being slightly larger than the original base. I have considered buying two more of these bread boards and making a new table top as this one is also chip board underneath and it keeps flaking and dropping onto the floor.

Chair 08I even have a small vacuum cleaner which will be ideal to quickly vacuum up those bits of dirt once I start combing.

VacuumNow to my new craft room. I actually have two spare bedrooms and they were both being used as storage rooms for my stash. I really needed a working craft room rather than using the dining room downstairs which was fast becoming overrun and unsightly. So I got my thinking cap on. The main thing that I needed to change in one of the rooms was to get rid of the single bed which was being used as a large shelf and it took up a lot of space in the room.

Single BedAnd to replace it with some type of table. So one day while I was looking on Ebay for a table (as you do), I came across this one.

Trestle tableHow perfect is that? A table that I can fold up if ever I need to and it’s easy to store. Here’s my new table which I absolutely love!!

Craft Room 02That’s my sewing machine on the left hand side. I can actually use it now!! Every bit of space has been utilised even under the table. And you know the single bed I was talking about? Well I put the mattress up against the wall as well as the bed frame. As I looked at the bed frame I had another ‘creative’ thought and came up with this idea.

Craft Room 03Lots of hanging baskets to pop little bits and pieces into 🙂

Craft Room 04I was on a roll! My next idea which I copied from someone on the Addi King Loomers and Knits Facebook group was to purchase this workbench from Bunnings for $25 to put my two Addi knitting machines on. It’s fantastic as I just turn it around depending on which machine I want to use. And the space directly under the workbench is not wasted as this is where I store the yarn I’m using to make my hats.

Addis 01Addis 04The rest of this craft room is stacked with stash.

Craft Room 07 Craft Room 08 Craft Room 09What I love about this room is that in summer it’s on the shaded part of my home, there’s a large window and the breeze pours through it. I spent most of yesterday in my craft room and even settled in with a pot of tea! Utter bliss I must say.

Pot of tea 02This picture gives you an idea of the size of the window.

Craft Room 01My other stash room is looking neater now that I’ve tidied it up a bit.

Blue Room 01 Blue Room 02 Blue Room 04I’ve even managed to clear this little table so I have a small workspace here too if I need it.

Blue Room 03

I don’t live in a house but rather a townhouse but I am blessed to have three bedrooms all to myself 🙂

You could say I am quite pleased with the ‘creative’ ways I’ve found to use my limited space. Now the trick is to stop buying any more yarn and fibre!!!

Until next time…