Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free Angel Pattern

This is the pattern I made for christmas some years back.  It is not commercial so some of the stitching is averaged out.

You will need-
Two colours of yarn (dress and arms)
A pair of appropriate sized needles for your yarn.
A foot of fancy thread for hanging and a small bell or bead.
A small wooden bead (preferably not varnished) for the head
Fluff for hair (I use unspun washed wool)


Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1- k1,yarn over, k2 tog, yarn over, k1
Row 2-knit
Row 3- sl1, k1, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 4-knit
Row 5- sl1, k2, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 6-knit

Row 7- sl1, k3, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 8- cast off 4 st, k to end.

Repeat pattern 3 or 5 times (for a frillier look)

On last pattern row cast off all but one stitch, turn work sideways and cast on along the top edge for top of skirt. There will probably be random left over stitches at the end of these next rows - don't worry just knit and purl them :)

Row 1- (k3, k2 tog) till end
Row 2- purl
Row 3- (k2, k2 tog) to end
Row 4- purl
Row 5- (k1, k2 tog) to end

From here decrease every row by k2 tog until casting off the last stitch.

Sew up back seam.


Cast on 16 stitches in the other colour and cast off again leaving a longish end.
Join arms together using the long thread and threading the bell or bead in the middle.  Take the long thread through the arm to the halfway point and sew on the top of the skirt.  Finish off ends.

Attach the head by threading the needle with the fancy thread and then go down through the head, through the top of the arms and skirt and then back up through the head.  Equalize the two ends and lay the hair across between them before tying the thread (so the hair acts to hold the head in place.). I always finish by drawing a very simple face with a fine nib pen.

Hope you like this and I'm not even going to attempt to move the photos to anywhere appropriate - they are in order :)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Thanks for your comments on the last post.  Christmas will be very different this year indeed.

However, to get back to life etc. I have to report that youngest son Will has won several awards this year including a distinction for his all round work, a special award in stage craft and the junior Shakespeare award along with his group.  They did an awesome job of their piece and totally deserved it.  Will took top actor and the girl playing opposite him got second top as well.  I'll be interested to find out what they do next year as first year seniors. Grandma did know about the acting but not about the rest.  I think that is what is hardest - not being able to run next door and tell her stuff

I'm still trying to get things back to normal but just can't seem to concentrate at all on the quilt.  Might have to keep making socks for a bit.. Useful at least.


Saturday, November 30, 2013


18 May 1933 - 27 November 2013 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Falls Dam

James is doing his creative writing around one of my previous very funny but real events and that reminded me of the time we visited this nice little dam.

It was around 1975 when Dad decided to sell his first boat as it was a bit big for the dams and lakes in our area and was also a bit hard to handle for just one person and us elder kids were on the brink of going off to boarding school etc.

In place of this boat he decided to build a Sunburst dingy but in the meantime he acquired a kitset Optimist which he put together over the winter. He never put seats in or anything fancy but it was a nice (if tiny) one child boat into which some adults could squeeze themselves. It sailed like a landlubbers dream.

We had a lot of fun with this boat with some notable adventures but the best was the day he decided that we would go for a picnic with the boat club members to the Falls dam.  This was an irrigation dam built by the gold miners originally and used all summer by local farmers so it payed to get in early before the water level dropped too much.

We were up bright and early on the day and my brother (about 13 at the time) went off first with another member and a sunburst to get in an early sail before lunch.  We packed the car with picnic stuff and headed out to hopefully arrive for morning tea.

It was getting warm by the time we reached the turnoff and the dust was bad on the way in but there was a pleasantly overcast sky that kept the heat down and it never looked like rain.

The edge of the dam was stony so those going for a swim wore gymshoes into the water and some never took them off.  There was a place for the boats to launch and soon there were four small boats sailing about.

One of the first was the optimist because it was easy to handle and Dad took off in that for a quick sail before lunch.  It only took about 20 minutes to get from one end to the other so he did a couple of laps in a nice warm breeze and then headed back to the shore.  And looked at the rocks....

After sailing up and down a couple of times, he decided that the best way in without damaging his new paintwork was to throw his bow line to us on the bank.  That was all very well but the rope was a bit short, his throwing skills were being interfered with by the sail and mast and stays etc  and he was having difficulty keeping the boat in one place.  The next happening was very fast!  He stood up sideways in the boat and, whilst holding on to the mast, threw the rope again, lost his balance and went over backwards, boat and all.

He came up spluttering, managed to catch the boat before it sailed off without him and dragged it to the bank.  Problem solved!

Having shed his wet clothes and been revived by a hot cup of tea, he was reduced to spending the rest of the day in his bathing suit while Mum made a sort of clothes line out of a spare rope to dry things off.

It was just after this that my brother came in with the friend and his boat needing a little attention from the medicine chest and the washing line.

They had been practising gibes down the far end of the dam and had got a little too enthusiastic.  (For those who don't sail - a gibe is where the sail and boom are forced suddenly to the other side by turning the rudder hard over.  You have to be quick in smaller boats to avoid capsizing.)  The gibe had been initiated and it was my brother's job to leap across the boat, avoid the boom en route, and then grab the rope holding the front sail and lean out as far as possible using said rope to stop falling out.

This time he missed!  And flew right out of the boat which promptly performed a sort of violent curved dance and was just saved from capsize by the friend letting go the sheet (the line that you hold the sail and boom with).  This dumped all the wind out of the sail but he neglected to duck fast enough and was caught by the boom as it came back across. It left a massive bruise on his face and a long scratch.

We patched them up and fed them lunch and more hot tea.

Lunchtime came for all and the various boats were moored for an hour.  

After lunch Dad went out in the optimist again and, still wary of those rocks, he got my brother to push him off and away.  What we didn't know was that about three yards off the bank there was an underwater cliff, so he took three big steps in just over ankle deep water and then disappeared.  He had already been reduced to a bathing suit so no damage was done but it certainly made for heaps of laughter.

After this, the rest of the afternoon went smoothly until it was my turn in the boat.  By this time, being in the boat meant sitting in about 6 inches of warm water because the wind had come up a little and wavelets were splashing water in and there was no seat (Dad did rectify this at home later and gave us a seat at least).  I had a good time trying out this and that but had great difficulty getting back to the bank. (I was a very new sailor at this time) Every time I turned to go in, the front of the boat tried to play submarine and another foot of water would come in for me to bale out.  I thought I might have to land on the far side at one point and then walk the boat home. 

I did finally figure it out and, somewhat gratefully made my way back to the landing place.  The bank inhabitants said I looked really funny going up and down because all they could see was the sail and my head, the rest being lost in the waves.

It was getting late by now and the chill was coming in so we packed up the boat, the bank inhabitants and the sailors (now dressed in slightly damp clothes) and headed home.  All in all, a very good day.

My dad circa 1975
Dad, cousin Andrew and brother Phil after an accident at Macandrew Bay in the new Sunburst

The boat club at the West Eweburn

The three photos don't directly link to the story but they do show some of us as we were at the time. The photo of the three drowned rats doesn't do justice to the amount of wet and mud they collected. Dad should have known better - my brother never could steer properly! The main difference between the Falls dam and this one is the trees.  There are none at the Falls so we mostly went here instead. The yacht with the cabin was our original boat built by Dad and a friend in an old shop.  The other two are Sunbursts, the one in front being the one from the Falls story.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Horse Trough

A local group of us might have added something this winter to a local landmark - we thought it looked a little cold :)

Unfortunately someone pinched this about three days later.  Shame after all that hard work.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Taiaroa Head

 This was a trip we did down to the albatross colony.  A friend runs a tourist boat and took us for a run round the rocks. He was able to get very close in because the water goes straight down here.  It was a bit unnerving to be within a few feet of the rocks but we got good views as a result despite the fog.
 This was heading out to the rocks.
 This is part of the shag colony.  There were also spoonbills and seals. one of which had fun porpoising on our bow for a bit but there isn't a good enough photo of that.
 Cliffs with birds.
More cliffs with bull kelp

 Lots of bull kelp!
 Weird rock forms (basalt mostly) worn by the sea.
 This is the upper part of their driveway - 4 wheel drive only and this is the good bit!  You can see Wellers Rock down below (and our car - safer to walk!) The jetty is just out of view.
This is the beginning of the driveway and yes, it really is that steep and you could lose a child in some of those potholes.

We had a wonderful time :)


Friday, May 3, 2013


Some of you have shown an interest in what we did to make and use spindles.  I don't appear to have photos of the apple spindle session which I taught but I do have a photo of one of my friends teaching this using potatoes and twigs. 

This was out on St Martins Island in the harbour on a beautiful day.  I was teaching felt made mini pictures at this event. I got a little sunburned so appear even redder in the face than usual!

It is a fun thing to do when you have few resources and just want to have a go :)


Monday, April 22, 2013


We had an interesting weekend here as a group of people got into our backyard and gave some of it a makeover. I provided morning tea and lunch for 12 and watched from the sidelines.  Matt was fully in there and William was very helpful in setting up the lunch, clearing away and generally being useful inside and out.

This is the link to the time lapse photos that were taken.  Note the hens coming in for a sneeky look whilst we were having morning tea :)

Timelapse Video

Permablitz Otago website Where you can see photos and more timelapse videos of past blitzes.

Apart from that I've been doing lots of quilting and a few pairs of socks as it's coming up winter.

Wet and wild at present but warm in here...


viv in nz

Thursday, March 21, 2013

puff ball

Matt found this in the paper road next door. It is a massive puff ball :)

Neat huh!

This went up and down the street with photography happening so I took one of it with our house. (really should paint that veranda roof to match the new roof we put up several years back now).


Monday, March 4, 2013

Elderberries and Walter Peak

We picked elderberries this morning as the wind was gusting hard and I figured there would be none left if we didn't get out there pronto.  These are for friends who were to come later in the week as we already have ours half way to made into cordial. It's definitely getting into blustery autumn weather now.

Matt sorted all the hedge/tree branches into a better pile and has decided to try a hugel permaculture thing with them on the rough bank that has been a trial for forever. Hopefully this will give us a few veges next year.

And back to the holiday things.....

We decided to do a trip to Walter Peak on the Earnslaw for the day.  James didn't want to come (the boys had been last holiday with grandma) but William did so we packed a lunch (being too poor to buy one after paying for the tickets) and set off on the boat. It was a lovely day and not too hot for once.  There was a wind on the lake and Matt is now minus one hat.  An errant gust sent it flying over the side.

There was a guided tour of the farm stuff with sheep and all but we mostly ignored that (we come from this area so it was nothing new) and took photos of this and that instead.  There was a morning tea included in the ticket price and we made good use of that - very nice too with creamed fresh pikelets, cake and scones with tea or coffee.

Then we decided to explore a bit.  We visited the shop but didn't buy anything and then walked around the shore line until we got to a gate.  We then retraced ourselves a bit and ate our lunch on the beach.  I got out my sketch book and made several sketches, one of which I think is rather good.  Then we walked back and investigated the gardens and bought iceblocks as it was rather hot.

The Earnslaw

Setting off

You could go visit the engine

as you can see - stuffy and hot!

Looking towards Walter peak

The wharf at Walter Peak

Looking up the valley

the mountain ridge behind

rather impressive!

the farmhouse (massive as these always are)

stone skipping, lunch bay

more stone skipping
view from the wharf

coming to get us!

towards Queenstown

almost back
We watched the boat come in again for the last trip and caught it back to Queenstown in time for tea (we stayed through the second sailing in order to explore).  It was a very nice trip and well worth the cost.