New Zealand Wool Haul!

I have finally managed to sort out all the wool I bought in New Zealand! Wow, did I buy that much??

Knit World in Dunedin is a must visit. The prices are very reasonable (and cheaper than some other shops in Dunedin) and the array is vast!

122-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 123-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 124-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 125-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 126-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 127-dunedin-knit-world-20161104 128-dunedin-knit-world-20161104I was quite tempted by these Touch Yarns Lace scarf kits using this 2ply blend of 80% alpaca / 20% merino.

touch-lace-2ply-kit-01 touch-lace-2ply-kit-02Four 50g balls of Happy Feet sock yarn never goes astray! I bought some of this yarn last year and it made a lovely pair of socks.

happy-feet-4ply-pink-blue happy-feet-4plyAnd another 100g ball of sock yarn; this time Nako Boho.nako-sock-yarnA visit to the Stuart Street Potters Co-operative in Dunedin is well worth it. As well as a huge array of pottery goods, they also sell some hand dyed yarn which I couldn’t resist. This is 200g of a 4ply Corriedale dyed in lovely shades of blue, green and plum.

4-ply-dyed-aThis 4ply blend of 15% alpaca / 55% merino / 20% nylon / 10% possum is called Roast Chestnuts 🙂
alpaca-merino-nylon-possum-4ply-02The pottery was also quite stunning and I had to have this mug which had a sheep on one side and a sheep dog on the other 🙂

130a-dunedin-20161104On arrival at The Octagon in Dunedin there were some markets setting up (I believe they set up whenever there’s a cruise ship in town). A quick look around and I found a stall run by Flagstaff Alpacas. I just couldn’t resist these 4 x 200g skeins of gorgeous hand dyed alpaca.
flagstaff-alpaca-4ply-01There were so many to pick from!

115-dunedin-20161104 117-dunedin-20161104In Wellington I, and one of my travelling companions, were very fortunate indeed as we spent the day with Mary Knox, who’s so knowledgeable when it comes to New Zealand spinning wheels and spinning in general. Mary took us to the Holland Road Yarn Company. What bliss it was to be in this shop!

99-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102 100-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102 101-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102 102-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102 103-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102 104-holland-rd-yarn-co-wellington-20161102It was so hard to select yarns from the huge array but this is what I ended up buying. Six balls of Outlaw Yarn Bohemia Sport 5ply which is a 45% alpaca / 45% wool / 10% other very soft yarn indeed.

outlaw-yarnTwo 50g skeins of Malabrigo Lace baby merino.

malabrigo-lace-02I also visited a few other shops where I managed to pick up a few different balls of yarn. This is the very popular Opal Sweet & Spicy sock yarn.

opal-sock-greenAnother kit; this time a Touch Yarns 4ply pure merino.
touch-yarns-4ply-kitA visit to the Agrodome is a must if you’re into yarn! As well as the sheep show, there’s a large Woollen Mill shop which is filled to the brim of lovely yarn and yarn garments.

26-agrodome-2016103128c-agrodome-20161031All the beautiful wool!!
58-agrodome-20161031 59-agrodome-20161031 60-agrodome-20161031 62-agrodome-20161031I’ve never heard of this particular brand of yarn called Tree Children and I was told it would no longer be available so I bought these three balls of 4ply alpaca / merino.
tree-children-4plyI’m quite exhausted after looking at everything I’ve bought. Now I just need to find the right pattern to go with the yarn, in particular the Outlaw Bohemia and the Tree Children yarn. Any pattern suggestions??

Until next time…


New Zealand Sheep Haul!

Let me first say how saddened I was to hear of the earthquakes in New Zealand this month. They occurred days after I returned home from a wonderful 14 day cruise around that beautiful country. I do wish everyone in those affected areas all the best Aussie luck I can send Please be safe!

Although my holiday was mainly a cruise, we did stop at six lovely cities and towns so of course, I managed to add to my collection of all things sheep!

This little alpaca caught my eye and he’s the first alpaca in my collection 🙂

alpaca-toyAnd my first brown sheep!
brown-sheepWho could resist that cute face 🙂
sheep-01Another apron to add to my collection.
sheep-apronI haven’t done any cross stitch for eons so I’m going to have to start so I can complete these cute little bookmarks.
sheep-book-marksThese cute plastic cups couldn’t be left behind!
sheep-kids-cupsAnd of course, I had to add to my sheep mug collection 🙂
sheep-mug-02This one is quite unusual.
sheep-mug-04This little quartet of sheep is quite unusual and quite small so it was easy to pack (and buy!)
sheep-ornamentA rather unusual vinyl holdall with a zip top.
sheep-plastic-zip-caseI found these microwave/oven mitts at a market in The Octagon in Dunedin.
sheep-pot-holdersSalt and pepper shakers!
sheep-salt-and-pepper-shakers-02A little All Blacks supporter 🙂
all-blacks-sheepI picked up these salt and pepper shakers in a one day sale on board the Sea Princess. They were the only ones there so I literally grabbed them!
sheep-salt-and-pepper-shakers-03Sheep paper serviettes…..who’d have thought!!
sheep-serviettesAs if I need more socks!
sheep-socksMore goodies from the market in The Octagon in Dunedin.
sheep-towels-01I use these hanging hand towels in the kitchen every day!
sheep-towels-02Lots of souvenirs, some of which I kept and some were given to friends.
souvenirs-03I now have a huge collection of sheep tea towels.
tea-towel-01I’d love to make some project bags but I’m not the best at sewing.
tea-towel-02There was such a huge variety to select from.
tea-towel-04This one matches my new apron.
tea-towel-07Didn’t I get a great selection?
tea-towel-09And this is how I felt after each day’s shopping 🙂
two-sleepy-sheepThe scary thing is this isn’t all I bought. There are more mugs and bits and pieces which I haven’t gotten around to photographing but the good news is that I’ve just about found a home for everything 🙂

I think I need to ease up on sheep stuff for a while by keeping away from the second hand shops I normally visit.

I wonder how long those good intentions will last 🙂

Until next time…


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.

Gorgeous New Zealand Wool

I have enough stash to probably last me two lifetimes however you didn’t really expect me to visit New Zealand and not acquire a little bit of wool did you? If only I had more than two arms and could carry off lots of baggage…I surely would have purchased even more!!

While visiting The Agrodome in Rotorua, I came upon this gorgeous variegated Ashford Tekapo 8ply wool. You get a generous 200g per ball so I picked up five balls at $12.50 each. Not sure what I’m going to make but that’s beside the point. Ashford Tekapo Green Mix 02This is the scene that greeted me when I entered The Woollen Mill at The Agrodome. Gorgeous isn’t it? A knitter’s paradise I say. I really didn’t want to leave. In fact, I was the last person to board the bus.

Agrodome 30The Agrodome also sold lots and lots of knitted goodies which were very invitingly displayed. Agrodome 32Agrodome 33Agrodome 34When we arrived in Dunedin and were transported to The Octagon in the city centre it was still too early for the shops to open so I wandered around and found a couple of wool shops. I was on the doorstep of Knit World when it opened and picked up two balls of this Happy Feet sock yarn made in Auckland. I’ve already started a pair of socks in the orange mix and they’re coming along a treat.

Knit World

Happy Feet Sock Yarn GreenHappy Feet Sock Yarn OrangeAs I was savouring all the yarn in the shop, I came across this lone skein of gorgeous Touch Yarns 8ply Merino so I quickly snaffled it.

Touch Yarns 8plyAround the corner and into Seriously Twisted where they had a small selection of yarns and a larger selection of knitted goods. I bought six balls of Rare Earth alpaca yarn for $10 each.

Seriously Twisted 02Rare Earth Humus Alpaca 8ply 02And then my eyes were caught on a bundle of Touch Yarns possum/merino in the colours I just love!!! It was very expensive indeed but I figured it’s not every day I’m shopping in Dunedin so I talked myself into buying two skeins. I might add it didn’t take me long to convince myself that I really needed this yarn 🙂

Touch Yarns Merino Possum 4ply 01While I was in Carterton with Mary who had picked me up from the ship in Wellington, we visited a little shop that was chock-a-block full of sewing needs and yarn. There was so much to pick from however I spotted this Opal sock yarn in colours that I was quite taken with. Opan Sock YarnAs well as yarn, I also acquired quite a few pairs of gloves, ponchos, a scarf and hat…all made from lovely New Zealand wool.

I love all these gloves made with a mixture of possum and merino wool. And yes I know you’re probably thinking ‘how many hands does this woman have?’ but seriously I couldn’t make up my mind which ones I liked best so I bought them all. You never know, it could one day snow in Brisbane. Wishful thinking I know.Gloves 01-tileAnd these two ponchos, also made with a possum/merino mixture. Ponchos are perfect as they keep your back, chest and shoulders warm and at the same time your arms are not restricted. Great for walking to work in the crisp mornings.

Poncho 01-tileI couldn’t resist this cute little hat. As I’d bought gloves and ponchos it seemed silly not to have a nice little hat! HatSomeone on Ravelry had directed me to this shop in Dunedin. It’s called the Stuart Street Potters Co-operative and although it sells mainly pottery, it also sells some handspun yarn and handmade woollen garments. I picked up this scarf in this lovely shade of lime green.

Lime Green Scarf 01Lime Green Scarf 05Lime Green Scarf 08-tile

(If you click on the above image you’ll be able to read the label wording)

Even though the weather is gradually cooling down in Brisbane, I am still hoping we have a few colder days in winter so I can wear all my lovely New Zealand woollies!!

That’s my news for the moment. I’ve been beavering away at two new scarves….both the same pattern….but I was so keen to see the look of each scarf with different yarn that I couldn’t wait to finish one. No wonder I have so many UFOs!!!

Until next time…


A Day in the Wairarapa Region

One of the wonderful things about the internet for me is connecting with like-minded people. It’s opened up a whole new world when it comes to my yarn and fibre hobbies of knitting and spinning. I discovered Ravelry and then discovered so many knowledgeable people who know so much about spinning wheels. One in particular is Mary Knox who is the creator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website. I contacted Mary a couple of years ago when I bought my Little Peggy spinning wheel. Being a complete novice, I had no idea about it and whether it was complete. Mary gave me so much information and really helped me identify bits and pieces on my wheel. Since then I have kept in contact with Mary and she’s provided me with bits of paperwork that relate to other wheels I’ve acquired.

When Mary knew I was cruising around New Zealand and would be spending a day in Wellington we hatched a plan whereby we could meet up. As there was no suitable train available for me to travel to her hometown, Mary and and her husband Fred very kindly picked me up from Wellington where the ship docked. It was so exciting to finally meet Mary and her husband. Fred very kindly sat in the back of their car while Mary and I spent the next 1½ hours chatting on the drive to the beautiful Wairarapa region.

Welling-Sth-Wairarapa-mapWe arrived at The Wool Shed in Masterton where the Wairarapa Spinners & Weavers Guild were having their Wednesday meeting.

Wool Shed 18How opportune that I should be in the area on the same day! I loved being amongst all those lovely spinners and knitters.

Wool Shed 14Wool Shed 15The surrounds they meet in are just stunning. It really was like stepping back in time. The Wool Shed is two authentic wool sheds trucked in from real farms, full of new and historic shearing equipment and sheep farm gear. There are also displays describing the history of sheep farming and its importance to New Zealand, samples of wool types and wool end-products, spinning and weaving demonstrations, the story of shearing – its beginnings and how it became an international sport, shearing demonstrations in the historic wool shed and a shop with its wide range of wool garments and souvenirs.

Wool Shed 19Wool Shed 01Don’t these sheep look like the real deal?

Wool Shed 03Different types of wool.

Wool Shed 35It’s fantastic see the history of The Wool Shed retained and used by the community at the same time.

I loved looking at the spinning wheels on display and particularly the mystery wheel.

Wool Shed 09Wool Shed 07Wool Shed 06I even managed to snap a couple of photos of the Guild’s storage cupboard with all those lovely wheels 🙂

Wool Shed 25And I couldn’t resist looking in the shop at the goods sold by the Wairarapa Spinners Guild. I bought this cute little crocheted wool sheep as a memento of my visit.

Crocheted Sheep 04Wool Shed 10Lunch was spent at a nearby cafe within walking distance and then it was back to The Wool Shed for a bit more knitting before we set off for Paua World near Mary’s home. I managed to buy some more souvenirs. I love the paua shell; no two pieces are the same and the colours are magnificent. We also dropped into a local yarn shop and I bought a ball of Opal sock yarn (couldn’t help myself!)

Opan Sock YarnAt Mary and Fred’s home we had a cuppa and muffins and Mary showed me her spinning wheels. I wanted to pack them in my suitcase and bring them home! Particularly the miniature Rappard Wee Peggy wheel. It is just so unique.

DSC07381DSC07383Wool Shed 27Wool Shed 28And then it was back in the car and the 1½ hours drive back to the docks to board my ship for its journey onto Akaroa and Christchurch.

What a simply magical day with such kind New Zealand hospitality. I love this country so much. It’s my second visit there in the last nine years and I’ve just re-booked myself on the same cruise departing Brisbane in October 2016; that’s how much I’m keen to get back plus I enjoy the cruising experience. It’s also good to have something to look forward to don’t you think?

NZ Cruise mapAnd I might add as I boarded the ship everyone was talking about how wet and windy it was in Wellington. Not in Masterton it wasn’t 🙂 The rain held off and it certainly wasn’t cold. I was truly blessed.

Thank you so much Mary and Fred. And thank you so much Mary for your CD book ‘New Zealand Spinning Wheels and their Makers’.

Here’s a photo of Mary (right) and me (left).

Melanie Mary 01This was a trip and a day I’ll treasure and remember forever.

Until next time…



The Agrodome Rotorua

I can’t believe how the last two weeks have flown by. I am now back from my wonderful cruise around the beautiful New Zealand and am in the process of unpacking, washing, sorting out souvenir gifts and of course, catching up with my blog.

I met some wonderful people on the cruise and quite a few knitters too! It’s amazing how many people stopped to chat with me and to ask what I was knitting. I managed to finish one scarf, start another and complete a pair of socks. There’s lots of knitting time when you’re sailing for three and four days in a row!

Cruising is very bad for your waistline I must say as you’re tempted with so much wonderful food. And every meal is three courses too. After a couple of days I cut out the large lunches as I couldn’t justify eating when I wasn’t actually hungry. One of the cafes had small rolls with salmon and salad and that sufficed until dinner time.

Here’s an example of an entree: Marinated Seafood Salad with Avocado… Entree And a main meal: Marinated Barramundi Fillet with Munthari Butter Sauce… Main Meal I forgot to photograph the dessert I had that night which was Baked Alaska ‘Grand Finale’.

Anyway I digress…..I am going to simply concentrate on one area for each post rather than trying to tell you everything in one story. And my stories won’t be in any particular order either.

One of the shore excursions offered by Princess Cruises on this cruise was a visit to The Agrodrome at Rotorua. It immediately piqued my interest as I am sure it would yours too!

I managed to snap this photo as the bus rounded the entrance. I’m quite pleased how it turned out as I was struggling to get my camera positioned for the photo. Agrodome 01 The Agrodome has won the coveted New Zealand Tourism Award for the New Zealand’s Best Visitor Attraction a number of times, and has been awarded more than once for their outstanding service and contribution to the New Zealand Tourism Industry. The Agrodome is not just a fun visitor attraction; it is also a real 350-acre (160-hectare) working sheep and cattle farm with 1200 sheep and 120 beef cattle.

The highlight of my visit was the 19 different sheep breeds that were featured and they were the real thing too! Agrodome 09Each sheep ran up the tiered structure and stood on their particular named tier. It was simply amazing to see so many different breeds of sheep in the same place. The # 1 sheep was the merino. Agrodome 07 Some of the sheep did little tricks like deliberately stopping on the wrong tier and only moving on when instructed to do so. The very last sheep ran onto his tier and very delicately head-butted the sheep beside him. I didn’t realise sheep could be trained like dogs. Agrodome 12After the show we were invited onto the stage to take photos and pat the sheep. I was one of the first onto the stage and managed to get some great photos. Agrodome 11 Agrodome 13 Agrodome 14 Agrodome 15 Agrodome 16 Agrodome 17 Agrodome 18 Agrodome 19 Agrodome 20 Agrodome 21 Agrodome 22 Agrodome 23 Agrodome 24 And after the show I had to visit the Woollen Mill to see what goodies I could buy. Agrodome 25 There were heaps of little sheep that tempted me but of course I had to think of what I could carry off the ship. I did end up buying about three little sheep (and one kiwi too) and I’ll feature them in another story. Agrodome 02 Agrodome 03 Agrodome 04 There was plenty of wool for sale too. And yes, I bought some wool and will feature it in another story. I mean, you don’t expect me to travel to New Zealand and not buy wool 🙂 Agrodome 26 There was also this massive old carding machine on display… Agrodome 28 Agrodome 29 All in all this was a very long day as we had visited the Rotorua Thermal Springs prior to The Agrodome. I would certainly recommend you visit The Agrodome if you’re ever in Rotorua; even if you’re not a fibre freak. The sheep show is really entertaining plus there’s also a display of two dogs rounding up some geese on the stage too. I forgot to mention that a sheep was sheared on the stage and then the shearer threw bits of the shorn fleece into the audience so we could all get to feel the greasy lanolin on the fleece. Agrodome 10 I hope you enjoyed this little taste of my New Zealand adventure.

Until next time…