Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Return of Spring

We've been having some very unpleasant weather. There was a gale blowing straight from Antarctica and bringing sleet and flurries of snow right down here to the edge of the ocean. Fortunately the sheep and goats did not produce any more babies while the weather was so nasty, but we do have quite a few lambs already in the paddocks. Their mothers kept them out of the wind as much as they could and everybody came through.
Yesterday with the sun returning the lovely Melanie from Moeraki Boulders Holiday Park agreed to model the Queen of the Night for me. Her verdict was that it was very warm and comfortable and she thought the shape was just right, which was nice because I really agonised over the shape and did more maths than I've done since I left school.

Then a trip to Oamaru where I found this lovely merino/alpaca blend from Flagstaff Alpacas hand dyed by Doe Arnott. It's called Gimmerburn and I bought the lot, so if you like it you'll need to ask Doe to dye some more.
It looks almost edible - thank heavens it's not. My mind is full of plans about what to make from it.

A bit more farm news. Mrs Goose is nesting right by the front door and Mr Goose keeps guard night and day, passing the boring moments by shouting at his reflection in a mirror.

He's very messy, too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


The first time I ever heard of Regard rings was in an Angela Thirkell novel, Miss Bunting, I think it was, when the very frail old rector gives his son's young girlfriend a ring that had belonged to his grandmother and explains to her that the six stones in it spell out the word regard. Ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby and diamond. At the time I thought it was a charming idea. Since then I have discovered that there is also a Dearest ring - diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire and topaz. This does not have quite the same interest for me as the Regard ring because regard has other meanings apart from expressing affection. It also means to consider, to give careful attention to something. It's important for us in our everyday lives. I now have a Regard ring and when I look at it I remember my mother and think of how she lived her life and of how I'm living mine. it helps me pay attention to my behaviour and to the fleeting nature of life.
Old Regard rings are rather rare and expensive, but there are here and there some modern and slightly cheaper reproductions.
Here is an original from the 1890s:
You can see how pretty it is with the scrolled gold and the unpretentious size of the stones.
And so to the knitting. It came to me in an incredible brainwave that I could convey the same message in a pair of socks - or a hat (coming soon) or scarf or gloves. And I came up with this design:
Of course you can change the colours of the rest of the sock around to suit yourself. The important part is the colours of the gemstones and the scrolled gold around the toe. There is also a lacy pattern around the cuff for a more delicate Victorian look.