Last weekend, our car finally died (thankfully in the driveway but stressful nonetheless), so I had to take public transport to work (trains are cool, but I don’t really deal with unexpected changes to my morning routine very well) – and I also forgot my coffee thermos which was a disaster. Just as we solved our car dilemma, we found out that my new visa has been postponed during processing, and I don’t even begin to know what that means, other than the unsettling idea that someone else is currently in charge of deciding a solid chunk of my future here with Jon. I’m choosing to believe that it’ll all work out, but it’s hard to not let my mind wander in the wrong direction.
In an attempt to avoid that particular dark cloud, and because tickets were 25% off, we took the ferry out to Tiritiri Matangi (a nearby island and entirely pest free native bird sanctuary) and spent the day getting yelled at by some local New Zealand bird life.
I’m not kidding when I say yelled at. The Tui are super aggressive to each other, incredibly loud, and pretty much everywhere. The nice thing about them is that they have a lot of different calls, so you get to hear a lot of what they have to say. There were also lots of other very cool very weird birds to look at, and the terrain is awesome because it’s entirely native New Zealand trees and plants – nothing from anywhere else in the world.
We walked a perimeter track around the island, and ate lunch on this very cool pebble beach – there were shags sunning themselves on the rocks, and some parrots chillin’ in the trees, although they were irritatingly camera shy.
Our little beach also turned out to be the perfect backdrop for Jon to take some photos of my Designated Adventuring Shirt – I finished this a while ago, but had to wait for photos until a suitable adventure presented itself!
This shirt was inspired by a base layer merino long sleeved shirt that we both wear when we go hiking: It’s raglan to eliminate the shoulder seams, and side panels instead of side seams. The neck is quite close fitting, which also helps with pack straps. It’s made with about 3cm of negative ease because wrinkles under pack straps are problematic, and the fabric is a merino/lycra blend from The Fabric Store, because merino is the best natural fiber for hiking, and even if it weren’t, merino is the new black.
This was actually one if the first knit/stretch garments I made with my new sewing machine, and it was quite a revelation to say the least. She’s a 1959 Elna Supermatic, and these old girls have been known to be a bit finicky with ‘odd’ fabrics. At first we had a bit of a fuss, but things went swimmingly as soon as my needle was swapped for a ball point.
The interesting thing about the Supermatics is that they don’t have stitch ‘settings’ per se- they have interchangeable bakelite cams that each drive a different stitch- something like 150 of them! This shirt exists because I discovered that not only did a ‘stretch stitch’ cam exist, but I already had it in my sewing box!
The stretch stitch is basically a little wavy version of a 3 point zig zag – you can control its width and length for different amounts of stretch. I also happen to think it’s a really cool design element! I used it for topstitching everywhere, although one could conceivably do a non-topstitched version if one felt it was necessary.
I do have a serger – and I do use it frequently, but one of the things that makes me the happiest is when things are beautiful on the inside and you can’t do that without matching thread. I have neither storage space nor funding to accommodate an entire rainbow of four cones of thread for each project I make. My Elna purred along quite happily with this fabric, and the seams are enclosed within the top-stitching anyways so it doesn’t really matter.
I would also like to just point out that my two tone hiking shirt is very definitely the coolest thing on the trails, especially considering it is both of my favorite colors, it matches Everything – including my adventure pants (not me-made, but insanely comfy and as they’re literally coming apart at the seams, expect copies in the near future…).
Jon scrambled up this hill after we had our little photo session, so I snapped some more pictures before we continued on our bird hunt.
There’s a very cool (oldest operational!) lighthouse on the island, and the lightkeeper’s house is now a residence for the Department of Conservation people who watch over the birds. That whole area is surrounded by flowering trees, bird boxes, and informational signage, which is great if you don’t have an Authentic Kiwi Fiancé to impart Fun Bird Facts and Plant Wisdom as you walk. (“That one likes fields, doesn’t fly, and only eats grass. It’s basically just a sheep with feathers.”)
We finished our circumnavigation of the island back at the ferry dock, where we hung out for a while on the pier and saw – gasp!- Jellyfish!
That’s my first ever spotted-in-the-wild jellyfish right there, folks! In my adventure shirt and everything! The ferry captain said that the jellyfish start coming out when the water starts to warm up- which is excellent timing because I’ve got some swimsuits to make, just in time for summer! Just gotta avoid getting jellyfish-stung when I go swimming apparently…