Comfort Crafts

The Principles of KnittingNights are longer, mornings are colder and rugby’s back on the telly. Yes, it’s autumn – the season I reach for the knitting needles and attempt to achieve something constructive while watching Tom Taylor kick up a storm for the Crusaders.

Every year I pick some crazy project to brighten up the cold months. I’m not a skilled knitter. Sadly, I lack the concentration to create a Fair Isle masterpiece and my tension is variable to put it mildly. I once knitted my husband a jersey that had one short arm and one very long one.  He did try to wear it, bless him, but the comments he got were so derogatory it ended up as the dog’s favourite cuddly. However, given all this, I still love knitting. There’s something about the warmth of wool, the fallen leaf colours of the skein and the quiet repetition of the task that attracts me time and time again.  I pick simple projects and do a lot of them. In 2010 I made a dozen scarves, last year I filled the couches with cushion covers and this year I’ve discovered mittens.

I haven’t got the hang of circular needles yet, and I know the thumbs are going to be a bit of a challenge but I should be a master by the time spring rolls round again. What’s more I’ll have lots of funky presents to give my nieces and nephews as they hit the ski slopes. Knitting – it’s a great way to warm up winter.

Haere ra to the Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery

On Saturday while a goodly crowd watched the demolition of the Crowne Plaza, just a step down Durham Street another historically significant building was going down.

The Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery is a rather lovely red brick building that has long had an earthquake connection – that heavy duty strapping stood out against its striking brick facade.

Canterbury Society of Arts GalleryCanterbury Society of Arts GalleryCanterbury Society of Arts Gallery

Charlies Gates reported on the fate of these buildings in The Press on 17 March 2012: Repair cost dooms old building.

Asa a heritage listed building, Rarangi Taonga: the Register of Historic Places has detailed information on its history Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery (Former) – 282-286 Durham Street:

The Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery consists of two buildings – the first designed by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898) in 1890. The second, erected next to the first, was designed by Richard Dacre Harman and completed in 1894.

I hadn’t realised this was two buildings, but in the 1921 photo below, you can see the stark windowless facade of the Benjamin Mountfort at right, and the more ornate Venetian Gothicism of the Richard Dacre Harman building.


Other significant points about this building:

  • The CSA’s first purpose-built premise designed by Mountfort in 1890 was the first art gallery to be built in Canterbury.
  • The CSA played a very significant role in the Canterbury art scene, with ‘The Group’, a circle of artists exhibiting there during the 1930s. Rita Angus, Evelyn Page and Doris Lusk were amongst the New Zealand painters associated with ‘The Group’.

Find out more:

That’s not scary

CoverI’m a Children’s Librarian and I read a lot of Children’s books, but I’m also an adult. An adult who isn’t actually that surprised if it turns out at the end of the book that the creepy boy that no-one else ever sees is actually a ghost <gasp>! I don’t shriek in horror at the thought of a slightly sad ghost horse hanging around a pony club or recoil in dread if a ghost only has one arm (but no bloody stump). BUT there have been a couple of ghost stories for kids that have genuinely freaked me out –

 A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline’s mother only…Only her skin was as white as paper. Only she was taller and thinner. Only her fingers were too long, and they never stopped moving, and her dark-red fingernails were curved and sharp. “Coraline?” the woman said. “Is that you?” And then she turned round. Her eyes were big black buttons.

Buttons! I dare you not to feel a bit of a chill at the thought of your Mum being replaced by a stand-in with buttons for eyes.  That was from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. If you’ve only seen the movie or played the (awful) game, you should definitely check out the book, but this post isn’t about Coraline, it’s about a series of books by Chris Priestley called Tales of Terror… .

It started out with Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror, then Tales of Terror From The Black Ship and I’ve just finished  Tales of Terror From The Tunnel’s Mouth.

“Don’t worry,” gurgled Peter. “I’m here, brother. I’ll always be here.” His mouth widened into a dimpled grin and mud oozed horribly between his teeth and down over his chin. He opened his mouth further and the mud flooded out, pouring down his chest in an unending glutinous stream.”

What books got your hiding under the covers when you were a kid, and still might as an adult?