Spinning Yarn: Tauranga Spinners #109

January 21st, 2012 by Marion

 My flight to Tauranga came in the middle of myChristchurchvisit. I wanted to see the North and to visit the Majacraft Spinning Wheel company, present to them a report of my trip and to meet the local spinners who would be interested to hear about my Spinning inAntarctica. Majacraft supplied the Little Gem (whom I have named “Mawson”; all my 38 spinning wheels have names) for me to take toCapeDenisonand report on the effects of extreme temperatures on the workings of the mechanisms – polymer driveband, bearings and oiling, the cold on all the moving parts, its portability and its hypnotic quality.

 Hypnotic quality? Why, yes – just ask the Adelie penguin who chatted with me for about 15 minutes!

 The Spinners loved the presentation, and made a donation to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation as a thank you, and for their part in its restoration. The Tauranga group are numerous, about 25 ladies there on the day I visited, and very active and supportive of the local Spinning Wheel company. I was made to feel very welcome. Thank you, Ladies.



Posted in Cold Temperatures, landscape, scientific experiments, Spinning Wheel, Spinning Yarn, Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: Street Theatre # 107

January 14th, 2012 by Marion

 Christchurchis a lovely city, all older buildings and culture. Very Green with lots of parks and not so spread out – a change from  myMelbournehome. It is also a very untidy city, having on-going scaffolding on a lot of the buildings to stabilize them while they are being assessed for earthquake damage. Watch where you step.

 Recovering slowly, the people are looking for reassurance. They are determined to be cheerful in the face of all the damage, a constant reminder of tragedy and loss.

 The Buskers Festival was the week following my visit, and I had a small taste of what was on offer when I stopped to watch “Hefty Jeff ” in his street theatre presentation. Sometimes quietly amusing, but more often laugh out loud funny, he kept the fire juggling and sword swallowing and broken glass walking up to the audience who were avidly listening to him speak – lest they miss out on one of his jokes. There were many.


Posted in Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: #106 Ancient Pattern Unearthed – then Discarded!

December 15th, 2011 by Marion

 Well, I have decided that, as nice as this one is, it is just too big. I am not happy with it and I would not put this one up for auction.

So let’s have another look at that photo….the one showing the blue balaclava…..ok – this is going to be a replica – not a duplicate – and that makes the difference. 

In 2 days of knitting and I had just enough Antarctic Spun yarn to finish the smaller size! Praise God!

 (I suppose I could have gone back this year to do more…..)


Posted in Antarctic clothing, Cold Temperatures, Mawson, Mawson's Huts, Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: Not Baggy Green at all! #105

November 26th, 2011 by Marion

The practice Balaclava is indicative of the original garment, yet with plenty of room for a helmet underneath! and Earmuffs, and a scarf, and goggles…. Not doubt VERY warm and deserving of being warn, yet who has a head big enough for this particular one?  Time to re-visit the pattern! …and Sir Douglas would approve of that too!

Posted in Antarctic clothing, Antarctica, Cold Temperatures, Mawson, Mawson's Huts, scientific experiments, Spinning Yarn, Uncategorized

Mawson looks out in approval….#104

November 26th, 2011 by Marion

Before attempting the balacava with the actual Antarctic  Yarn,  I have better try a practice pattern, eh? I’ve nutted out the pattern using similar yarn, that we spunl Melbourne Show.  Using the correct needles and the bulky white yarn, I began the 7×7 rib, to see how it would turn out. As you can see, Sir Douglas is pleased….

Now on to the real thing…..

Posted in Antarctica, Cold Temperatures, Mawson, Mawson's Huts, scientific experiments, Spinning Wheel, Spinning Yarn, Uncategorized

…And the Winner is…..#103

November 2nd, 2011 by Marion

The Overall winner of the Photo competition  is JOANNE BAILEY of Rowville, Victoria, Australia. I knitted and crocheted a hat and matching scarf,  using the “Antarctic Sunrise” Yarn (see post #    ). Not only did it fit perfectly, but she was thrilled with  the colours and standard of the work! Joanne will be wearing this with pride, physical proof of her ability to use a camera, something that she has been very interested in for a long time. ”

Travelling around gives you a good perspective  and lots of subject matter”, she says!

Exactly Right! 

Well done, Joanne!

Posted in Antarctic clothing, Antarctica, Cold Temperatures, Mawson's Huts, reader Photos, Spinning Wheel, Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: Majacraft MajaSponsor! #101

August 15th, 2011 by Marion

The plan to take my spinning wheel to Antarctica, (fuelled by a dare from my brother), required a bit of research into the most convenient wheel to take. I had been looking at taking a wheel that was compact and very portable, but also one with endurance which was friendly to use, and my research led me to Majacraft, a New Zealand based company in the North Island – at Tauranga. When Glenis and Owen Poad of Majacraft heard about my trip to Antarctica, they wanted to be part of it, and so offered me the Little Gem.

 Made of New Zealand “Rimu” wood, each piece matched for colour and growth ring pattern, it is also modern is size and shape. It is an elegant wheel, by any standards. The polymer drivebands are guaranteed to a temperature of minus 30 for 20 minutes, which was ideal for me at my destination. Add to that the functional and compact carry bag, and it is a wheel for the most discerning Antarctic traveller!

Posted in Antarctic clothing, Antarctica, Cold Temperatures, landscape, Penguins, Spinning Wheel, Spinning Yarn, Uncategorized, wildlife

Spinning Yarn: More Heart of the Great Alone #100

August 10th, 2011 by Marion

 Herbert Ponting was Scott’s photographer, equally skilled with an artistic eye and plenty of film! The shots he took are stunning and evoked the same surprising emotional response– Amazement! Incredulity! Recognition!  I was stunned at how much the ice had changed, yet not changed.

 So many penguin photos – gosh, I took a few of those, myself!! – and so many seal shots, but also the artistic angles. There were the obligatory “happy snaps” and the documentary shots too. Would anyone know or believe that men even went down to Antarctica, had these pictures not been taken? And would anyone have understood the immensity, or the scale, or the proportions of the ice, or seen the beauty of Nature at her most extreme?

 We owe these men, Hurley and Ponting, the utmost respect and admiration, and we owe the expeditioners more of the same.

Posted in Antarctica, Archaeology, Cold Temperatures, History, landscape, Mawson, Mawson's Huts, reader Photos, Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: The Heart of the Great Alone. #99

August 6th, 2011 by Marion

It amazed me how much this exhibition meant to me. As I devoured each of the displays of fabulous black and white photographs of Antarctica taken 100 years ago by the famous Frank Hurley, I was transported not only back in time, but also back to the Frozen Continent, to see it through the eyes and heart of this skillful and daring man.

 Frank Hurley shared the huts with Mawson and his team, not only in his specialty as  photographer but also as a sledger. He man-hauled his fair share sleds and did his share of depot-laying, same as the rest of them. His company was valued on several scientific missions.

 His famous prints are the product of his labours in the tiniest of darkrooms in the most trying conditions of cold and cramped workspace. Some of his chemicals are still in his darkroom at the Huts, the labels still readable and corks still in the bottles.

Posted in Antarctica, Archaeology, geology, History, ice, landscape, Mawson, Mawson's Huts, Penguins, scientific experiments, Uncategorized

Spinning Yarn: Ring Them Bells! #98

July 30th, 2011 by Marion

 Not something that is heard on Sunday mornings where I live now, I really miss the Church bells calling us to worship, so the sound of the bells pealing from the tower of the Christchurch Cathedral caught my attention, calling me to God’s house in New Zealand’s South Island capital. A gorgeous stone building, it was a bit marred by the scaffolding surrounding the front, and holding it upright and safely – a precaution as a result of the earthquake of the previous October.

 Inside was tidy and clear of debris, but the scars were still showing. Originally from Canada where everything is in two languages (French and English) it was a very special treat to hear the Gospel in the melodious Maori language, (with English translations). God’s message reaches all.

Posted in scientific experiments, Spinning Yarn, Uncategorized