Monday, April 30, 2012

Reading at Gather

Well there's more than just reading at Gather, these mags, periodicals and books will inspire, delight and inform. Brand new Anthology mag in just this week. Each publication has a clever theme that connects you with the culture of design, art, craft, creative travel and lifestyles across the globe, through non-pretentious and quirky editorial and photography. The new theme is 'Wit & Whimsy', and I still have previous edition of 'Handmade at Home'.
Kinfolk is a brand new mag from the US, which is printed on beautiful stock, and has such a refreshingly unique styling about it, you don't want to ever get to the end. Its lovely to read and to turn the pages, a design and art culture mag with stories of 'gathering'; around food, friends & strangers.
Selvedge is a UK magazine which every fibre enthusiast should have. Its the only magazine of its kind, full of beautiful and fascinating stories & photography of the culture of contemporary and historical textile design, industry, folklore, from small studio production to large industry across fashion, fine art, interiors, travel, shopping, craft.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Natural Dye Lab

This is a very old dye used since the beginning of time: Lac Resin. The resin is produced from an insect native to South Asia, and produces colours of violets & reds, depending on the amount of dye used, and which natural fixing agent is applied in the dye process. In its raw powder form it is a rich dark reddy violet colour, and it has a pungent earthy aroma. It's a joy to dye with this stuff.
The insect Kerria Laccca, is cultivated on Kasumbah and Tessu trees in South Asia and India. In India, the SeedLac is put into oblong bags of cotton cloth which is held over a charcoal fire by a man at each end, and, as soon as it begins to melt, the bag is twisted so as to strain the liquefied resin through its substance, and to make it drop upon smooth stems of the banyan tree. In this way, the resin spreads into thin plates, and constitutes the substance know as Shell-lac or Lac Resin.
I have both Lac Resin and Ground Lac Powder, as well as mordants of Soda Ash and Iron for dyeing at Gather; the dyes and mordants are sold by the 50g, or organic wool already hand-dyed is also available. From the top, is a pure dye of Lac which creates a light wash of violet, the next colour has been pre-soaked with Soda Ash then dyed with Lac which creates a brighter violet, and the darkest colour has been mordanted with Iron before dyeing with Lac, which creates a deeper violet.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Vineyards

A vineyard outing in Hawkes Bay is an must - and a long, languid lunch at Craggy Range is a pretty awesome experience. The vineyard and restaurant sits in front of the Craggy range, where the light is so unreal it feels like a movie set. And this is serious food, we really wanted to take our time here.
This is what we had; Pan fried quail, apple,bitter leaf salad and hazelnut vinaigrette. Steamed clams, verjus, saffron mustard cream, shallot. Ok here's the best bit, this dish takes 50 minutes from order, so we sipped on some more Pinot Gris, went for a walk through the vines and herb gardens, to come back to Roasted carvery pork rack for two, crackling, apple jelly & Waldorf salad from the gardens. Its cooked on the open fire rotisserie inside, and carved on our table. We take our time here again, because there's dessert: Classic crème brûlée, pistachio & almond wafer, lemon. And then theres the wine: 2007 Craggy Range, ‘Les Beaux Cailloux’. Normally after consuming this much food and wine I'd be inclined to seek out a big tree close by to have an insatiately drunken nap, but, the meal was so delicate and light that I felt more elated than anything else; after the espresso shot I could have climbed the crag.
Wearing my filagree dress from the last Summer collection. 15 pieces of handknitted lace in linen joined together; There were only 8 of these made, and I can't believe there is still one at The House of Aroha, and its half price - serious!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Gathering

A Sunday Workshop with Construction Knitting at Gather. First a very early morning trip out to the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market to get morning-tea treats for the workshop, plus BREAKFAST. Imagine freshly baked quiche in flaky pastry still warm out of the oven, coffee, wood fired pizza and blueberries all under the shelter of big oak and fir trees. In addition some groceries for the week, mixed herbs, a selection of cheeses, fresh eggs, organic turnips. This experience of the Bay is so sublimely beautiful somedays. Oh and of course, the small cakes for the workshop; lemon and chocolate with oozy centres, ginger and pear, raspberry & coconut, spicy carrot - &*(*@## YUM!. To accompany a big pot of rooibos tea, we're set up for knitting for the day.

Then to the table...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Our friend Anneliese took these beautiful photographs when we were setting up the shop.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Natural Dye Lab at Gather

Here I have collated a collection of stories; of ancient secret recipes coveted by spies, of cargo that traversed continents and created countries, colours which robed Vestal Virgins, clothed Robin Hood and his Gang, and uniformed Armies of Kingdoms. Once forbidden and still sacred Colours, Colours that are still grown, harvested, gathered, smoked by fire and blessed by ancient deities. Can it be any more enticing than this, even if its to just absorb the heady fragrances of this old old world.
Dyes are sold by 50g.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Construction Knitting Workshops: - There are 2 workshop days ahead, Sunday 22 April and 6 May, held in my lovely new studio. See images below. Choose which Construction pattern you would like to make on the day; from No 1,No 2 or No 3. There is only room for 8 people per workshop, so please book ahead. The workshops are $80 and include a Kit of Knitting Pattern, 2 x balls of Wooli yarn, knitting needles and tote bag.
Call the Shop in Napier on 06 835 1384 to register.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shop Opening

Oh the frenzy of preparing for a shop opening, was up until midnight last night finishing the last minute touches of pricing and tagging. Then the morning started like it does in a country town; generous and dreamy, which suited my fatigued pace perfectly.
While the morning light streamed in through the front window, gifts of home made cupcakes, champagne and locally grown wine arrived, a further testament to the generosity of country living. Thank you Pia & Gordon, Martin, Mandy & Tony, & Diane.

Products will be available online soon; and keep a look out for workshops coming up.
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