Archive for the ‘shoes’ Category

V & A

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I love the Victoria and Albert Museum so much, I could spend days there. This is never possible, but even a hurried visit inspires. Dare I say you could almost limit it to the gift shop and walk away happy?

I almost didn’t make it past the fashion exhibit in the entrance:

It doesn’t get any better than this, a fine, fully-fashioned wool swimsuit

and a pair of platforms from the 1930s, perhaps worn with the swimsuit? The uppers are striped denim fabric, the wooden soles hinged for ease of walking.

Who can resist red shoes, especially wing tips?

18th century fabric slippers,

no doubt worn by a contemporary of this lady, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

This may seem ridiculous after the sublime beauty of hand made shoes, but I do admire this radical Commes des Garcons knitted ensemble for its 1980s daring.

also, this sketching fashion student in fabulous purple tights

No visit to London is complete without a walk across the Millennium Bridge in anticipation of a visit to the Tate Modern.


Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Hi Everyone,

A departure from knitting this week for another love, my garden.

A couple of months ago when clearing out my veggie garden for fall planting, I  was in a ripping mood. I wanted to clear the beds completely and start anew. One plant that made itself a candidate for the big pull was this swan plant, aka milk weed. I’d planted it during the summer to help keep insects away, and it grew much larger than expected (you’re right, I didn’t do my homework). You can see it here, in the centre of the photo, sticking out of the edge of  the veggie patch.


Towards the end of summer I noticed a couple of monarch butterflies doing a daily dance around my garden. Quite beautiful they were, as much in their movements as in their colouring. I was happy to see them whenever I walked to my front door but thought nothing more of them, until I came to pull out the swan plant. On it was a very large, brightly-striped caterpillar.

After making some enquiries I realized that this was the offspring of the monarchs and I couldn’t bear to destroy its home. I was told that if I waited a few weeks it would go through its life cycle and leave the plant.

I’m still waiting, because now, the plant is populated by many caterpillars and many cocoons. It seems that I have a thriving monarch breeding ground and the plant will have to stay.

[It should be noted that monarchs are not native to New Zealand. They found their plucky little way here some time in the 19th century].

Can you see a cocoon in the centre right of this photo?

As yet I haven’t seen a butterfly emerge from one of the cocoons, but I’m watching and hoping.

Looking like a butterfly herself (or at the very least a plant a monarch might like to nest on) is the beautiful Iranian actress Laila Hatami in this gorgeous green gown, worn at Cannes this year.

David and I recently watched her in the wonderful A Separation, a domestic drama set in Iran. Its themes will touch anyone who is human: elder care, Alzheimers, kids, financial worries, marital strife and the challenge of juggling all these balls at once. It’s beautifully acted, photographed, and masterfully directed. I was fascinated by this window into daily life in Iran, with characters that could be me or my friends. I’ve not provided a link to this movie because most sites tell too much about the plot. We saw it without knowing anything about it (the best way, don’t you think?), just that it was the best-reviewed movie of 2011.

Laila is now on my fashion watch list, along with Tilda and Cate. I love women who take fashion risks and don’t feel the need to sell sex. Less is more. Check out her shoes! I love platforms.





fun with Pete and Polly

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

hand woven hats from Niue Island

Good news this week – my new book is going to be published in Finland, translated! To me, Finland means marimekko. I love the Finnish aesthetic, so I hope the feeling will be mutual.

The other good news was this review in NY. If you’ve read it and find yourself back here, yes, I made those tangerine tights. I bought the yarn at Wildfiber, worked on them  for a week in a Santa Monica garden (what else does one do in LA but knit wool tights, you might ask?) knitted all the way home and then some. To quote Jean Paul Gaultier from last year’s New Yorker article: “why not?” and yes, they are a long knitting project, but the good news is that they’re made from the toe up, so you can, if you so desire, stop anywhere on the leg that find yourself wavering, and you have ribbed socks. I made some thigh-highs as a gift this past Christmas, using the same pattern.

As has become obvious to all, one of my ongoing struggles while living here in NZ is that I miss my children (yes they are grown but they will forever be my children. You can’t look at your grown son or daughter without remembering their sweet babyness and wondering where the time went).

Lucky for me, both of mine have visited recently. Pete and his girlfriend Polly were here for a whole wonderful month, long enough for me to become accustomed to their company every day and I now can’t go anywhere without thinking of them. What’s a mother to do. Break camp and move around the world again? More on this subject in months to come. For now, I’m enjoying (through the tears) looking back on our adventures.

They insist that NZ has the very best cafes, far better than London and even the good ones in London are run by Kiwis anyway. On their first morning, after they’d wandered out of customs looking surprisingly fresh after a 28 hour journey, I took them to Queenies.

From outside

to the cute interior

and the paint by numbers mural

every inch of Queenies is my idea of exquisite – water in a recycled milk bottle, real leaf tea in modern retro cups and saucers, and a real teapot.

We’ve had a chilly summer, swimming plans went out the window and we had to be content with hovering near the water instead.

Polly hovers in bright green Saltwater sandals worn with the airplane ankle socks from my book.

Cool weather is good for beach combing, at least. Muriwai on the west coast is a family favourite.


and here’s the famous cave where the graffiti dates back to the early 1800s. Not to be ventured into that day, the treacherous West Cast tide rushing in… you feel a little foolish calling to your grown son “don’t go too far in!” but a mother’s instinct is ever present, yes?

Popping over to the east coast (yes, it’s skinny country here in Auckland, only a half hour from one coast to the other at the narrowest point) This day was a beauty at Goat Island, named because some early settlers put their goats there for safe keeping and returned to find that all of them had swum to the mainland in search of fresh water. It’s not far, as you can see, but still.



a colony of tiny snails

this guy was waiting by the road as if to say goodbye to us before we ventured home.

Back to town and the Pacifika Festival, a glorious day of food and crafts from the many islands of the South Pacific. Each one is unique in its own special way.

Niue Island was our favourite. Perhaps a family holiday next visit? All the ingredients for a good time are there: embroidery, tivaevae, hand weaving. Who needs to swim?