History records a one-day cricket match between New Zealand and Australia was controversially abandoned without a ball being bowled in Napier 12 months ago.

But it was still a needle match for Christine McClusky who, despite being a cricket watcher rather than an absolute fanatic, outlasted most of those at McLean Park. She stayed around until the game-less end was announced after 7pm on February 2 last year.

Mrs McClusky spent the day with a friend on the embankment knitting, and says: "We were probably the only people who were happy. I think I was knitting a shawl. I got heaps done. It was great."

Knitting is something she does often, for Wool 'n' Things, the Onekawa shop she took over about 18 months ago from her mother, who had been in the business about 23 years.


Maintaining a loyalty to wool in the face of the synthetic fibre takeover, Mrs McClusky says, with the shelves crammed with skeins of colourful wool: ''People like to know what it feels like when it's knitted.''

For a bit of variation in a once common homemaking craft, her knitting includes such items as socks for Scottish husband Paul, another part of the use of the fibre that was once a backbone of the New Zealand rural economy, and even a way of life in the homesteads of the nation.

"He doesn't knit," she says.

"But we've been married 27 years, so he knows a lot about it."

Hawke's Bay had a good share of the peak 70 million sheep population of the 1980s, and retains a solid share with the population now under 30 million, a decline which saw wool export volumes halved between 1995 and 2011.

Mrs McClusky's mum saw no reason to get out amid the wool decline, although the shop did branch into some synthetic fibre, as well as haberdashery and sewing. Alterations of school uniforms are big part of the current operation.

Shop assistant Liz Batchelar has a particular interest in crocheting and a lot of experience in patchwork and sewing.

Mrs McClusky also saw a good future in wool. She says there has been some resurgence in the retail sale of wool in a world moving to the use of natural fibre, with midwives and other health professionals adamant of the use wool products instead of synthetic fibres for babies and other young children.

There's also a resurgence of interest in craftwork.

Classes and knitting groups have been established by the shop with multiple benefits, which means she's not surprised by those she does find taking to the craft.

''A lot of people like to knit to keep active, to keep occupied when they're sitting, to use their hands. A lot do it to switch off. You have to focus on your pattern, and you end up with something useful at the end.''