The "Z" here refers to NEW ZEALAND!! Yes, here I am on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Ah, the magic of modern air travel. Here is how bad it was getting back home in PDX just before we left.
And after only 4 separate flights and 34 hours of
misery traveling, here is what I was looking at yesterday.
Yes, tessknits.com is turning into a travel blog for about 3 weeks. It’s OK though — NZ has a lot of sheep.
Something like 40 million sheep, apparently. And although I have not yet taken any pictures of said sheep, I did see several flocks of them from the air as our final plane approached Queenstown, and I saw several more as we drove around on a "Lord of the Rings" location tour yesterday.
Hey, the DH has got to have his fun, too.
I will be making him go to we will be hitting the Agrodome in Rotorua towards the end of the trip, and there will be sheep and wool stuff aplenty.
We’ve been in Queenstown since Friday night — this being Sunday afternoon — and so far I have seen many shops with knitwear for sale, but only one yarn shop. It is this tiny little room on Beach Street, which unfortunately is closed until after New Years’. But it looks to have some nice roving and handspun yarns.
If time permits, this afternoon I hope we can drive out to Alexandra (passing through Muttontown on the way!) which is the home of Touch yarns. More on that later, if it happens.
There are plenty of the merino wool / possum fur blend knitted fabrics in the shops — and they are in fact rather soft, and pretty luxurious to the touch. At least one manufacturer refers to this blend as "Merino Mink". From what I’ve been able to glean so far, the possum was introduced to New Zealand on purpose, to eliminate rodents — but unfortunately for the possums, it turns out they weren’t well-trained on exactly what they were and were not supposed to eat. So they eat some of the native stuff too, which is not what anyone here had in mind. Thus, they are now considered a pest and are hunted, one might say, with extreme prejudice. I guess this means you aren’t supposed to feel too bad about wearing the fur.
Oh yes — If anyone remembers, I did manage to get my black MOHAIR wrap thingy knitted in time for the trip, and it turned out kind of — interesting. I finally figured out what to do to get the laceweight MOHAIR yarn to knit properly on the machine, without dropping stitches — which was to run my hand back and forth along the fabric underneath the needles as I moved the carriage, to keep the fabric where it ought to be and allow the needles to move in and out of the stitches as they should.
The advertised 10 feet or so of fabric was duly created, and I grafted — yes, that means 100 sts worth of Kitchener — the two ends together, and this is what it looks like. And no, you’re not going to see a front view because it was very late when this picture was taken and I was extremely unenthusiastic.
I’m not sure it looks fabulous, but it is quite warm and cozy, and rather lightweight too. Two out of three ain’t bad.
I stayed up until almost 2:00 a.m. the night before we left, packing not just my clothes and toiletries but also equipment for the Great NZ Sock Knitting Excursion. The important part I brought with me is this:
I treated myself to a set of Knitpicks laminated wood dpns, so I would not only have all the sizes I would need to knit socks in one handy-dandy package, and not only would I have a spare needle of each size; I also would not have to try to explain to any TSA employees exactly why I felt I needed to travel with 2 dozen small, very pointy pieces of metal.
I honestly am not sure they would believe the truth if I told them, anyway.