|The Joy of Knit World|
Two sweaters would likely have sufficed, too, had I not attended a Fibre Arts meeting on the uses of alpaca. What harm could a couple of balls of alpaca wool do? Wool is squishy—I was sure I could find space for the soft blue-black skeins (named “Tui” after the indigenous bird). It didn’t really matter that I didn’t know what I was going to make with this wool (that’s what the pattern search on Ravelry is for, after all). I looked forward to several months of thinking of possibilities while I periodically felt the lovely skeins. Wool, after all, is an extremely tactile medium.
In March, my parents arrived for a visit, which meant lots of driving across lots of open spaces, punctuated by many small towns...with wool shops. I found a nice natural tweedy brown New Zealand wool. The price kept my acquisition to three skeins, but I thought I might be able to stretch them into a vest. The nice thing was they fit into the same bag as the alpaca, which was still lurking quietly under my desk in Christchurch. . The tweed’s a little scratchy, but I like the natural dark wools and brown goes with everything I own. Practically.
|Southland on a sunny day|
|Highway acquires |
I should note, as an aside, that Possum-and-Merino is a neat example of Kiwi ingenuity. The Australian possum was unwisely imported to New Zealand over a century ago to establish a fur trade. The only mammal indigenous to New Zealand is a small bat; birds and reptiles evolved in pretty mammal-free environments. So the arrival of a possum (and, for that matter, all other alien mammals including humans) had a devastating effect on local ecology. Possum can strip foliage faster than plant communities can recover, and they also eat eggs of the ground-laying bird species. The Department of Conservation is waging a long-standing (and sometimes controversial) battle against the possum, primarily by use of poisoned baits. Possum fur is valuable because the hair shaft is both hollow, making it an excellent insulator, and soft, which is nice for garments. Rather than letting them all rot in the bush, hunters and trappers discovered there was a market for possum fur when blended with merino wool. In the space of a couple decades, possum populations dropped by about half (although at a current estimated population of 30 million they are hardly disappearing) AND souvenir shops have a great stock of ready wares.
|Pavement cave-ins as a result of |
|Clearing the silt|
The two aftershocks on June 13 (M5.6 and M6.3) set everyone on edge again; there’s been more flooding, loss of power and water, and disruption of regular services. The funny thing is, although these quakes probably appear as discrete events (like the news articles that describe them) to the outside world, they’re so much more of a continuum when you’re stuck in the middle. We spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not what we just felt was a shake or a big truck going by, so it seems like an externally driven city-wide outbreak of ADD. When the big ones go by, I wonder if it’s worth getting up to stand in the doorway...again. There have been 6 aftershocks in the last 24 hours, almost 2 weeks out from those main quakes. I can't imagine what it's like in Japan.