Thursday, April 25, 2013


Back in the spring, on our visit to Akaroa, I took along a scarf I'd just finished so we could photograph it. It's been quietly waiting since then for Andie at Renaissance Dyeing to get in some new stock of the Blue Faced Leicester wool that I used to knit it. I believe she has a new supply now and only needs a new dyehouse to dye it in.
The scarf design is based on descriptions of American girls in the 19th century sleigh riding with their heads warmly wrapped in what are described as clouds. These were scarves with tassels that wrapped a couple of times around the head or neck. The tassels are important because the weight of them helps to stop the scarf from unwrapping itself in the breeze. I tested that on the hills above Akaroa where there seems to be a stiffish kind of a breeze blowing rather often.

In Okains Bay on the other side of the hill from Akaroa is an amazing museum. This is a tiny community trying hard to keep a large enough population so they can continue to have their own school, but the museum is of a size and quality that any city would be proud of. We spent an entire afternoon there admiring the artistry and craftsmanship that the Maori people brought to even the most utilitarian objects like fish hooks and axes carved with figures.
I particularly loved the beautiful bags made from lacebark, flax and feathers. These people only lived for thirty or so years and yet the mastery they showed of their crafts was extraordinary.

Okains Bay is seeking families with school age children to move there. They'll be welcomed with enthusiasm by Murray Thacker, the founder of the museum, and made immediately at home in this beautiful place.

(If you would like to buy the pattern for the scarf, it's available on Ravelry.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

At Doe's Dyehouse

A week or two ago I visited Doe Arnot's dyehouse where she was hard at work dyeing the beautiful alpaca from Flagstaff Alpacas. Andy from Flagstaff was there as well, skeining the dyed yarns as they dried.
Here you can see an array of the colours they create for sale. Doe is an artist and the subtle shades of variegated yarns she creates are beautiful and inspiring to knit with. The yarns are so soft to the touch that I can barely feel them. 
Doe in the dyehouse and hanging the hot wool out to dry.

 An excellent use for a trampoline.

Andy skeining the wool.
As well as the plain yarns, Doe was dyeing a variety of marled yarn.

I took an armload of these home as well as some green and some turquoise yarn which Doe dyed especially.
These yarns are now becoming a selection of tams of which you will hear more later.

 And here is the mohair wool that I bought in Australia.
It is now a very warm and comfortable 1950s jacket.