Flotillas of penguins welcomed us as we zodiac-ed in to “shore” – a huge snow/ice bank with steps cut into it by the Expedition Reconnaissance Team. The seals were quite literally laid back and fearless and we gave them the benefit of the 5m Rule.*
Trudging up the hill, loaded down with all the gear, Marion made her way up to the famous Mawson’s Hut. She parked her chair, set up her wheel outside in the front yard and took a deep breath of the cold, fresh air. As the denim blue wooltop began to take form on the bobbin, she realized that here, in the very place of such great polar, scientific and historical strides, Marion was adding her contribution to Australian Polar History!
The overcast sky was actually better than blue because the contrasts of colour were so much more defined. Sunglasses were not as necessary. And, in “the Home of the Blizzard”, the windiest place on the planet, God had blessed us with not one, but TWO days of NO WIND! The Temperature was a balmy 0ºC and not the -5C from Mt Hotham or the -18C in the freezer, or the -10C of the Chill On Ice lounge. This additional blessing of spinning bare head and bare hands took away a lot of the challenges Marion faced in practice, and made the spin so much more enjoyable for the whole 6hours she was on the ice.
Since Antarctic weather can be so unpredictable, Marion decided to spin ALL the fibre brought for the purpose. Having been already prepared by carding and blending, she could concentrate on the production of the yarn, filling bobbins that would be then plied and formed into skeins for washing, and, ultimately, knitting into the replica of the famous balaclava worn by Sir Douglas.