Friday, February 25, 2011

Thinking of you Christchurch

Another big earthquake struck the Christchurch area on Tuesday lunchtime. Five and a half hours drive from where I live. A place our family knows well, reduced to ruins and so many people missing or already confirmed dead. It feels surreal. We were there on holiday last month and felt many aftershocks, desperately hoping none of them would be severe. Thankfully, they were all minor. But on Tuesday the earthquake was a magnitude 6.3, very shallow and only 10 kms away from the central city. Friday lunchtime now and the number of bodies in the temporary mortuary has risen to 113, with many many more still hidden in the rubble as the search for survivors continues to be the focus. Much of Christchurch has been reduced to rubble, and Lyttelton and Sumner have sustained massive damage. Search and Rescue teams and other help has been pouring in from around the world. Thank you to one and all.

The latest Canterbury earthquake has been declared a National State of Emergency. Pretty accurate, as with New Zealand being such a small country it seems everyone knows someone who is affected directly. It's a national tragedy and we are all going through it, whether or not we have loved ones down there. So much worse for those that do, obviously. It's heart breaking, gut-wrenching stuff to watch the news footage. We are all affected in one way or another, bursting into tears just thinking about it. My 10 year old son started crying whilst watching the news footage on Wednesday. Children everywhere distressed, those who were in the earthquake are terrified. It makes me more appreciative of what I have, yet so much more aware of the fragility with which we all cling onto life and brings home the knowledge that especially living where we do, all this could be taken away at any moment. Driving home on Wednesday afternoon, as a break from the non-stop earthquake news on National Radio, they played "Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (Symphony no. 3, op. 36). Two of the movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child and one from the perspective of a child who has become separated from a parent. Very poignant. So many people in that exact situation in Canterbury. Tears welled up. . . not for the first time that day.

It's been a very hard few days and will continue to be so for a long time yet. Up here out of the quake zone, it feels like we're only going through the motions, but we are trying to keep up usual daily routines. Last night I went to Knit Night, even though I didn't really feel like it. A ravelry friend from Christchurch joined us and told us how the earthquake hit her home and family. Terrifying stuff.  As soon as they could, she and her family escaped to the north, to close family and rather more safety. Refugees from Christchurch. "We're going on a Quake Break" they told the children. No warning of the quake this time, she said. The September earthquake was preceded by a deep, low rumble, then it hit. Not this time. Usual daily life and then BAM! Lives turned upside down in moments. Unbelievable tragedy unfolding instantly from nowhere. 

It was good to talk at Knit Night. And then talk some more. Soothing to knit too, even if I can only concentrate on i-cord at the moment! Knit graffiti seems somewhat frothy and inconsequential right now. But yet, when I looked at the Stitch London website, at the bottom of the page I saw the strapline "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn" based on the World War II slogan "Keep calm and carry on" found on posters all over the UK in wartime. It resonated. "Yes!" I thought! If the survivors of the Blitz in London could "Keep Calm and Carry On" then I could certainly "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn!" So with renewed vigour I continued knitting i-cord, aiming to turn it into another piece of yarnification one day soon.

In the meantime, kia kaha (be strong) and arohanui (lots of love) to the people of Christchurch and surrounding area, to those who have loved ones in that area and everyone else affected by this disaster. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011


LOVE, LIVE, LAUGH! at the hospital.
Location: Nelson Hospital
Date: Sunday 20th February
I decided to move the "LOVE" caption up the handrail a bit, so it had room for a couple of  colleagues - LIVE and LAUGH! Hoping it will brighten up a few people's days. Planning another set for the handrail opposite - KNIT, NATTER, NURTURE. Some day I'll get round to it. . .

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

St Valentine's Day yarnification

The Knit Graffiti bug struck again at Nelson Hospital - this time to celebrate St Valentine's day. . .
LOVE on a handrail!

Valentine Hearts sitting on the car park fence

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How a Knit Graffiti "artist" was born. . .

Once upon a time there was a lonely tree root which jutted across a footpath leading to the Nelson Hospital grounds. Before long, a knitter stumbled upon this tree root and the "Health and Safety Officer" lurking deep within her decided "Something must be done!"

First that knitter thought to spray the tree root with fluorescent paint. Next she contemplated tying luminous warning tape to the root. Finally, she decided to get out her knitting needles and crochet hook to accompany some of the ghastliest yarn she possessed in deepest, darkest stash, in order to knit and crochet the root some recognition!!

Using two strands of yarn held together, that knitter knit a big floppy caterpillar body to wrap around the tree root. Then summoning all her long-neglected crochet skills she crocheted all around a tennis ball and lastly embroidered on some eyes and and a nose plus a big happy smile to make a goofy caterpillar head, complete with knitted antennae! The next weekend, in blazing Nelson sunshine and temps in the late 20s she deftly sewed the emerging caterpillar into place around the offending tree root and thus a Knit Graffiti artist was born.

That knitter was me, and this is the caterpillar that started it all on 5th February 2011, when the caterpillar was stitched into place and the newly formed Knit Graffiti "artist" emerged from her cocoon, still wet behind the ears and unaccustomed to flexing her wings. . .

Seems kind of fitting that my first piece of knit graffiti was a caterpillar and there's a whole "emergence/life cycle/re-birth/new-from-old" vibe going on. But it wasn't planned that way, it was simply that the root seemed to be begging to become a caterpillar and what else could I do but oblige?!

Watch this space. . . I think I'm hooked!!

PS Comments most welcome :)