Kiwiyarns Knits


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A bit of this and that

The past couple of weeks have been a bit strange.  I’ve started and discarded a number of posts.  There are things to talk about but I haven’t quite found the right words.  I think I’ve sunk into a bit of a reflective state of mind that hasn’t quite right for blogging.  So, I’ve decided that the best way to talk about what has been happening will be in snippets:

I’m working on another pattern that has me very excited, but that’s all I can tell you about at this stage.  It’s another ‘geek happy’ pattern.  I really wasn’t sure if others would understand the concept of this sock, but the secret advisers I’ve talked to have all been very supportive, so I think it’s going to fly.  I do hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as me when it is released.

In the meantime, I share a picture of pretty yarn from the very talented Helene of Happy-go-knitty.  Some of it may have been for my new design…

Yarn from Happy-go-knitty

The Ripe Raspberry pink at the end is the most heavenly soft yarn I have ever felt (truly!).  It’s 50% yak, 50% silk.  The yarn is a heavier lace weight, which I like because I am still not overly fond of knitting cobweb weight yarn.  I think it will become a lace shawl fairly quickly.  The stitch markers are adorable.  Each of them has a different word such as ‘love’, ‘create’ and ‘imagine’.

It has been school holidays, and I had another happy ‘mumcation’ which involved very little besides knitting, outside of working hours.  I had time and space to experiment with new techniques and stitches that I don’t usually have the concentration for.  It was very productive from that point of view! It’s wonderful when you have a sister whose kids are the same age as yours.  One day I will be able to repay the favour and my sister can have a ‘mumcation’ too!  I am enjoying having the boy home though.  Life will soon be back to normal when the older one returns from his holiday too.

I have discovered a couple of new-to-market yarns.  Post coming about them soon.

One of the reasons for not having much to say is because I’ve been also working on this very, um, tedious project:

Robin

Robin is a lovely design, and I really want a sweater like this, and I love, love, love the Zealana Kiwi fingering that I’m knitting it in.  The stocking stitch hell will be worth it, I tell myself through gritted teeth and sleepy, drooping eyelids.  I feel that this project is a test of perseverance.  It’s very hard to stay awake at the end of the day and knit hundreds of stitches in stocking stitch.

Why am I knitting a plain stocking stitch sweater in a design that can easily be got from the stores for a much cheaper price?  You’ve probably guessed:  It’s all about the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern! I’ve wanted another sweater in Kiwi ever since I finished my Autumnal Cardigan, and found that this yarn is just the best thing ever.  The yarn has not pilled or gone out of shape at all.  It has the most amazing drape, and it is soooo comfortable to wear!! After wearing this cardigan all summer and autumn, the cotton in the yarn has softened and weathered just enough to give my Autumnal that slightly faded denim look and feel that you get in a good pair of jeans after a period of wear.  It is really the perfect yarn for an autumnal garment.  And I think it will be amazing in this pattern.  Only eight more 500 stitch rows before I can separate the sleeves from the body.  I.can.do.it!!!

Those who know me well might shriek a little this next thing:  I am considering starting a Facebook page for Kiwiyarns Knits. You read that right.  The person with complete anathema towards Facebook is now thinking about using it.  Why?  Well, I want to make information about New Zealand yarns more accessible.  This blog is a great repository for information, but I do recognise that the use of social media has moved on a lot since I started Kiwiyarns Knits. I think that a Facebook page may be a more flexible way of sharing information in quick bite sizes.  It will sit along side this blog, which I am going to keep writing, but it will have a different angle to sharing information.  For example, through all my ‘likes’, you’ll be able to easily find the Facebook pages of other yarn companies in New Zealand.  I could share quick photos of interesting things I’ve seen but which don’t quite make a post.  People can use the page to share useful information about what they know of happenings in the New Zealand knitting scene.  I’d really love it if people posted pictures of their projects in New Zealand yarn, or of my designs.  The one thing that will not happen on that page is selling.  I really have an issue with buying on Facebook, and I’m not about to start that on my page. So what do you think?  Would you be interested in seeing a Kiwiyarns Knits Facebook page?  I’ve also considered Instagram and Pinterest and all those other social media tools, but I think that Facebook will serve my purposes best.  I’d be keen to know if there is interest in this.

Thanks for bearing with this unusual post.  I’m sure I’ll get out of my current state of mind soon.


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Touched

The reaction to the Anemone socks has been incredible.  I have been feeling quite overwhelmed by how much you like them… I never expected the pattern to achieve the no.1 “hot now” spot on Ravelry!!  Thank you so much for downloading the pattern, and all your super lovely comments about the socks.

Sometimes it is hard to know if a chosen design direction is the right way to go.  To receive your affirmation is very reassuring.

I realise that winter is the time when my brain kicks into creative mode, and I have so many ideas for patterns at the moment that my note books are getting quite full!   Let us see how many of them reach the light of day!

In the meantime, I thought I’d show you my version of Alice’s Mitts.

Alice's Mitts

 

Do not worry, the car was parked when I took these pictures.  I just thought it might be nice to show the mitts in action!

Alice's Mitts

I used a similar yarn base to Vintage Purls’ sock yarn, a base that was dyed by Alice in the inaugural dye lot for Bleating Art.  I love it so much! Such a beautiful gun metal grey with wonderfully even variegation.  It seemed fitting to use her yarn for the pattern that she inspired.

Alice's Mitts

I knitted these one repeat longer than shown in the original pattern as I like my mitts to go fully up the sleeve for wind insulation (the cuff is only just out of the picture under my sleeve).  I also finished the mitts with slightly less ribbing than I suggested in the pattern.  The ribbing measures about 1cm, or half an inch in this version.

It has been coooold this week, and I fully appreciated the bit of warmth around my hands this morning.  I also liked how for once, I had a coordinating accessory to go with my clothes!

I leave you with a picture of the latest yummy yarn to arrive in my mailbox to fill the hole in my stash from using the yarn above… (terrible, aren’t I!?)

Doespins 100% supertwist BFL

This is one skein of high twist 100% BFL yarn in the Wild Rice colourway from Doespins.  Nom, nom, I wonder how long it will be before I find myself needing to cast on with it!

 

 

 


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The Anemone Socks

Today, I am excited to release the Anemone Socks pattern!

Anemone socks

The Anemone Socks feature a simple 8 stitch repeat that is easily memorised to make this sock an engaging but easy project for commuting knitting or while watching television.  A pretty eye of partridge heel gives a durable heel and complements the broderie anglaise stitch pattern.

Anemone socks

There are two size instructions – medium and large.

This stitch pattern does not have the same number of stitches per row – the stitch count reduces in the K2tog, SKPO row before being increasing back to 64 stitches when the long stitches are made.  This factor creates a sock with slightly less give than normal around the cuff, although the foot is not affected as the stocking stitch sole adds stretch.

The medium size as shown (7” cuff) weighs 85g using the specified yarn.  More yarn may be needed for larger sizes depending on length of cuff knitted.

The recommended yarn weight for the medium size is a standard super twist sock yarn like Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn. In terms of other New Zealand yarns, if you have any Bleating Art, Fibre Alive, Verandah Yarns Merino Sock, Vintage Purls or Double Helix from Soft Like Kittens lurking in your stash, those yarns are also perfect for this pattern.  Any of the sock yarns sold by Doespins or the alpaca sock from Happy-go-knitty are also fine.  (I used the sadly discontinued Fibre Alive Merino Mania sock yarn in the Douglas colourway to knit these socks.)

Examples of similar weight (fingering) international yarns would be Koigu KPPPM, MadTosh Sock, Sokkusu “O” and Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock (there are of course, many other alternatives!)  Standard commercial sock yarns like Opal, Patons and Regia will also be the right weight.

Click here to go through to the pattern page.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this pattern is free to readers (or those who are told the code!) until midnight 18 July 2014, New Zealand time.  Just enter the code “DANA” in the coupon code section at checkout.

It’s also a little thank you to everyone for reading this blog, as I reach my 500th follower.

Happy Knitting!

Anemone socks

 


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Alice’s Mitts

Hello!!

Just dropping in to let you know that Alice’s Mitts are now live on Ravelry.  This link will take you through to the pattern if you’d like to make a pair of your own!

Alice's mitts

These fingerless mitts are knit in the round using 2.5mm DPN needles and feature alternate slanting cables for each hand to give the mitts a balanced look. Knit the cuff/arm to the length you want before beginning the thumb gusset.

Size to fit the average medium sized woman’s hand, approximately 21cm/8” at widest point excluding thumb.

Measurement of pictured mitts is approx. 19cm/7½” long and used approx 55g of Ashford Mackenzie 4 ply 100% merino wool.

Sizing can be easily adjusted for fit by using 2.25mm/US 1 needles for smaller or 2.75mm/US 2 needles for larger hands.

Use whatever fingering weight (4 ply) yarn you fancy to knit these mitts! For luxury, why not try a squishy possum, alpaca or cashmere yarn!

Alice's mitts again

On this side of the planet, we’re about to experience our first week of proper winter weather, with snow forecast for the mountains and chilly temps for the rest.  I’m looking forward to rugging up in my winter woollens at last!


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Geek

I have long been fascinated with the look of broderie anglaise.  There is something very sweet about this lace embroidery, which is characterized by patterns composed of round or oval holes which are cut out of the fabric, called eyelets, then bound with buttonhole stitches.  As a young girl, I wore a blouse made out of a fabric featuring little broderie anglaise flowers all over it, and ever since then, I have retained a fondness for fabric featuring this technique (although I no longer wear it).

Recently, I found a knitting stitch by that name! I was terribly excited and immediately had to do some swatching!

Anemone socks

I particularly love it because you create the broderie anglaise look using a very simple but interesting technique, which fills my geeky need to try new things and find joy in new discoveries!

As you can see, the swatch very quickly became socks…

DSC00978 (640x480)

The set-up for the stitch is created by first knitting a K2tog and a SKPO, which creates a very tiny gap between the stitches.  After the ‘rest’ row (one row of straight knit stitch), you insert the needle two rows below into that gap to create the long “broderie” stitch.  This completes the effect of both eyelet and lace stitch, and yet there is no yarn over involved, and look is very neat.  It’s very simple, and effective!

Also interesting to my knitting brain was that I got to be ambidextrous – the original instructions simply said to insert the needle back in between the gap after knitting two stitches to create the second long stitch, but I found this very hard as twisting my hand to get the needle backwards over two stitches made my wrist sore. It was almost impossible to execute!  I instinctively wanted to use the left needle to make the second stitch, so I decided to try it, and was delighted to find it the perfect technique!  (The resulting stitch is then transferred to the right needle).  It made for a very happy, geeky moment to discover this easy solution!

Initially, I thought to call the socks “Geek” because there was so much ‘geeking out’ designing this pattern, but I showed a picture of the socks to Alice, and she thought they looked like anemones.  I think she’s right, and so the “Anemone” socks they are!  Thanks Alice!

Anemone socks

The pattern and technical details will be released within the next few days.

In the spirit of ‘dana’, I am making this pattern free for one week after release  to readers of this blog with the code “DANA”.  Simply put in the code on checkout, and the pattern will be free.  Do try them!

(‘Dana’ is a Sanskrit and Pali word that means “generosity” or “giving.” It refers specifically to taking delight in giving – that is, getting in touch with the natural generosity and wish to share inside of us. The mind of generosity is a joyful mind; it does not suffer from regret or a feeling of poverty. Rather, the act of giving itself is pleasurable and seeing others’ using our offering is an extra bonus.” (basicbuddhism.org))

It was such a lovely day today, so still, and warm and sunny.  A brilliant winter’s day!  Look who joined me on the balcony.

The Cat

Actually, I think he was a bit annoyed that he was required to share his normally private spot with my socks.  :-)

Socks again

Hope you are having a brilliant weekend!  Watch out for the pattern release soon!

 

 


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Treebeard and Poppy socks and the Social Wool Fair

So overjoyed was I at being able to have a week of regular hours that I completed these socks in exactly one week.

Treebeard

Pattern:  Treebeard by Claire Ellen

Yarn:  Knitsch 100% merino sock in Emo Nemo (limited edition colourway)

The only thing I’d say about them is that I followed other knitters’ advice and used a larger sock needle than suggested.  The pattern says 2.25mm, but I used 2.5mms.  The socks fit well but I think I would have struggled if I had used the smaller needle.  However, there is the matter of the pattern not showing up very distinctly.  You can see it more clearly in the final photo (where I have pulled up the socks to show the lace separations).  I figure if you blocked the socks you might get the look in that picture.  I wonder if I blocked them out like that though, would they not be too baggy on me afterwards considering they fit perfectly as is?  Maybe I should have risked the smaller needle, and trusted that they would have stretched out over my feet after all and given the look they should have had!??

Love how cosy they feel in Knitsch merino.  I think the colour suits the ‘old forest’ theme of these socks.

Finding myself bereft of a sock project after finishing the Treebeards, I was left in a quandary.  Should I start knitting one of my current designs in progress, or should I choose from the mountain of sock patterns sitting by my knitting chair?

I do need to come to grips with toe-up socks because I’ve got a design in my head that will only work toe-up (unless I modify it).  What better way to learn that to knit a few toe-up socks?

I’ve chosen the Poppy socks to start with, using Knitsch’s Moulin Rouge colourway. I think it’s very poppy’ish don’t you?  I’m not sure if the pattern was the wisest choice though.  After I cast on, I thought I had better go and look at what other people have said about the pattern, and there were a fair few remarks (and photos) about weirdly fitting heels and no stretch.  Oh dear.  Now all my anti-toe-up bells were a-jangling!!!  I hate it when I break out in a nervous sweat about how a sock is going to go.

I looked again at the pattern instructions for the heel, and I think that by following some of the suggestions from other knitters and using my own knitting common sense and knowledge of how heels fit, I should be able to get these babies to work.  Let’s see how I get on!

Poppy

Now I shall tell you all about the Social Wool Fair that we had yesterday!  It was a very lovely day, in a spacious hall that was visited by a constant stream of eager knitters and crafters.  Again I bought more than I ought to…. (ahem).   Not pictured below is Kate Davie’s Colours of Shetland book and more wooden DPNs.

Social wool fair acquisitions

 

I especially loved catching up with people and hearing all their news.  It was also super to meet a few readers and get more of an appreciation for who reads my blog!  People, I am in awe of your knitting skills!

I think the social aspect was very well done.  The markets that I have attended in the past do not tend to facilitate being able to just stand and talk or sit and knit and natter, or have a coffee and a bite to eat, as the case may be, yet this day definitely provided that option.  Fantastic!  Well done, and many, many thanks to the organisers for bringing in so many amazing sellers, and also providing the opportunity for people to contribute for the benefit of charity.

Hope you are having a great weekend!