Postcard From ... New Zealand


This guest post is part of the 2017 Makers Postcard series - find other posts here, and the 2016 series here.


It’s hard not to be influenced by the New Zealand landscape. The colours are vibrant and the light is intense. I remember returning home to New Zealand after years in the UK and reeling at the intensity of colour that hit me as I stepped off the plane. The sky is vast, the trees every shade of green and brown and the sea, which is only a stones throw from anywhere, dances with glitter from the sun’s strong rays. It's as if someone painted New Zealand with a brush dipped in acrylic paint compared to the soft, muted watercolours of England that I’d left behind.

Much of New Zealand hasn’t been developed. It’s barely been touched. The tribes that lived here for thousands of years lived in harmony with the land and it has only been in the last 150 years that greater numbers of people have made New Zealand their home. There are huge areas of native bush yet to be explored and wild beaches that will never be tamed. And there’s something about the juxtaposition of ancient and new that I love. It’s raw and wise, and yet fresh and youthful all at the same time. It’s tricky to explain but easy to feel.

Photos © Libby Jonson

You can find the influence of New Zealand's raw, textural landscape in many of my designs. I’m drawn to earthy shades and buckets of texture and I’m always searching for the perfect balance between simplicity and excitement in my work. I can’t help but return to certain stitches and concepts over and over; twisted stitches, rhythmic garter, simple angular lace and stripes of colour and texture.

Combined with my love of texture, is my deep desire to create practical things. I think that this must be something that’s been set into my bones by my ancestors who were early settlers here. Life was hard, many families arrived from Europe to find that the “farms" they’d bought were actually dense bush, buried in parts of New Zealand that were still inaccessible. Some of my ancestors travelled for two years to reach their “farm”. They cut through bush and built roads just to get there and when they arrived, found more thick bush. My heart goes out to the women, no doubt having more babies as they travelled, who worked tirelessly to feed and clothe their families from whatever they could forage and re-use while they made that trip. 


Clothes are my perfect choice for practical things to make. I knit and sew many of my own clothes and nothing gives me more pleasure than wearing clothes I’ve made and dressing my children in handmade clothes.

Over the last few years, it’s been such a wonderful challenge learning to design and publish my own knitting patterns and I’m thrilled that so many other people have enjoyed knitting them too. I really love seeing how people interpret the patterns, change the yarn and the colours and make them their own. And, it makes me happy knowing that there’s a little bit of New Zealand infused into every stitch.

You can find Libby as 'Truly Myrtle' on her website and podcast, on Ravelry, Facebook and InstagramIf you are inspired by your location this summer, please share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #makerspostcards and tag me @craftsfromthecwtch. 

2 comments

  1. You and Truly Myrtle- my two favourite bloggers - what a treat :)

    ReplyDelete

The blog is on an extended break (read about it in the latest post) and commenting will be closed for all posts at the end of 2017. Thank you!

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