All in the detail

A road I drive along daily is Tinakori Road, one of the first settlement areas in Wellington and part of the area that was once home to many of the upper-class, including famous New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield.  It’s still the official address for the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

It’s a busy, narrow street, and traffic rushes through without pause.  Unless you park your car and walk along it, one wouldn’t have much opportunity to notice its historical past or even observe some of the more interesting aspects of architecture in the buildings.

While the road is not a major shopping destination, it is tourist destination for those who are interested in seeing Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace and home.  There are also a couple of historical pubs, some galleries, a couple of antique shops, a hairdresser or two, but nothing to give me an excuse to go there.  For me, it’s just the road I drive down to get to and from work.  I’m usually too busy concentrating on staying in my lane, avoiding oncoming traffic, watching out for pedestrians who seem to enjoy gambling their lives away by stepping out in front of moving cars, or people who have parked and open their doors just as you are driving past…

Until the other day, when I was stuck in a stand-still rush hour traffic jam.  Then it dawned on me that here was the perfect the opportunity to take in a more leisurely view of the street front (as I tried not to be too concerned about the time ticking ever nearer to the young boy’s after school care centre close time…)

I particularly enjoyed seeing these:

Filigree balcony

Corner decoration

Historical buildings in wellington


Tinakori Rd

They are quick snapshots that I took so I could look at the things that interested me at leisure.  It’s a funny thing, but newer buildings do not feature interesting enclosures or decorative detailing any more.  It’s a feature that I appreciate in older buildings.  There’s something very graceful about them, and a lot of it has to do with the beauty added by the decorative (and often functional) features.  Perhaps that’s what I quite like about knitting too – being able to add beauty to a functional item of clothing.

My knitter’s brain starting whirring from all that inspiration I was looking at…

Meet my new as yet un-named pattern:

Latticework cowl

I don’t think I will get enough time to write the pattern and photograph it properly for release at the Wonders of Wool market on Saturday, but it will be out soon as it’s an easy pattern, and I have (I hope!) a small window of head space coming up to give me time to write it and test it.

It takes just under one skein of Maniototo Wool‘s gorgeous worsted-weight yarn to knit this (you’ll need about 90g, or 180m/200yd).  Get your skein at the Wonders of Wool market on Saturday if you’re in Wellington! Alternatively, it is the perfect stash buster for that lone 100g skein of worsted-weight yarn floating around…

The pattern will be free with purchase of yarn from Maniototo Wool (leave your email address with her and I’ll give her a code for you to get it free on Ravelry, or it will be emailed to you as a PDF).

I’m very happy with it.  It’s so soft and buttery feeling, cushiony and warm.  I’m betting it’s going to be a nice insulation against those chill winter winds too.  It’s going to be my everyday-wear cowl this winter!

Cowl detail

22 thoughts on “All in the detail

  1. I used to walk along Tinakori Road quite regularly when we lived in Thorndon. It’s a lovely street, despite the sometimes rather scary traffic. I adore the old buildings and wish that the art of building such beauty was not lost (I believe these styles are still incorporated into new buildings on occasion, but at a hefty price). Thanks for the memories 🙂 Lovely cowl too btw, it looks very cosy! Not much use for it up in Auckland though…

  2. Yep
    Tinakori Rd is kinda scary whether you are a pedestrian or a driver !
    And yes, as crafts people, it is very cool being able to add beauty/decoration to functional items.
    Your cowl pattern looks fabulous & is the perfect excuse to buy more maniototo wool 🙂

  3. I know Tinakori Rd, have always loved and appreciated it’s uniqueness, beautiful buildings and the old “Shepherds Arms’. always had to visit and enjoy the embroidery shop there.Also some wonderful boutique shops.Wellington to me is a wonderful city. Thank you for the little journey and hope you have a wonderful time at the Wanders of Wool market. Wish I could visit.Your cowl looks great. Shirley

    1. That’s right – there was a Nancy’s on the road! It has now moved to Thorndon Quay. Glad you enjoyed the quick trip down memory lane. 🙂

  4. I love those old places on Tinakori Road, very elegant. There’s a wonderful bookshop there, Millwood books, worth a leisurely stroll to check it out. Most impressive that you convert idea to FO in such short time!

    1. It’s a thing I’ve had brewing for a while, but needed the right inspiration to set it in my mind. The cowl itself is a really quick knit.

  5. That does look warm and buttery! I’ve not really ever worn a cowl. Would it be helpful if it was a tad bit more tight so wind doesn’t blow down your neck?

    1. I find it more comfortable to wear cowls that don’t feel like they are choking me. 🙂 Also it doesn’t get that cold in Wellington that things have to be completely insulated against the elements. I find them great to wear – but easier than scarves because they won’t fall off, and they stay where they are put. You should try knitting one!

  6. You are so right about the details of old buildings ! Often I forget to look up, really up, when I go around town, but every time I do I discover new details 🙂

    That cowl looks gorgeous ! This autumn/winter I already considered knitting a cowl, as shawls/scarfs won’t stay put that well when cycling, so this will surely be on my list ! ( won’t be knitting it that soon though, as spring is hitting is here and I find myself longing for all kind of summery knits… today is 15º C and sunny ! )

  7. I’m usually a passenger whenever I’m in Wellington, so I’ve enjoyed looking out the car window and seeing all those house details. I was pleased to realize that I know where the first picture was taken! I’ve always thought that the detail there is quite beautiful.
    Good luck getting your pattern all tested and released! It kind of reminds me of the criss cross pattern seen on pies. Mmmm.

    1. I’m impressed that you remembered that detail in your travels!
      Hehe. Apple pies are on the brain at the moment too… it’s Autumn, and it’s pie season!

  8. Saw your cowl on Ravelry, what beautiful cables! I love the details on the traditional buildings too. Here we just keep building steel and glass boxes 😦

    1. It’s the same in New Zealand. Modern architecture still does not quite ‘do it’ I think, in the same way as the older methods of designing buildings.

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