Kiwiyarns Knits


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Selachimorpha, the Shark Sock

Selachimorpha is the scientific name for the modern shark.  This sock is dedicated to the shark and has been designed to highlight another of the reasons why we need to care about how our fish is harvested from the ocean.

Selachimorpha socks

Shark fins are represented by the lace and solid triangles that swim across the surface of your sock.

An Eye of Partridge heel suggests rough shark skin.

Selachimorpha socks

Knitted top down, this pattern comes with instructions for small, medium and large size.  Both written and charted  instructions are included.  Because this is a lace pattern, strategic selection needle size and yarn weight is suggested as the most effective method for change in sizing.  I have also included instructions for heel length and where to stop for the foot length on each size.

The fitting for this sock is generous, with a 20cm/8″ circumference in the leg, unstretched, in the medium size.

Download your free pattern here!

Happy Knitting!


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Will that be fins with your tuna?

If you are one of the lovely people who have been reading my blog for over a year, you will know that I have deep concerns about the sustainability of the ocean’s health, and with it, its inhabitants.

Today I’d like to talk about sharks.

Why does does the future of sharks concern me?  My main issue is that sharks are being killed mostly as bycatch.  Their lives are being wasted, the health of the ocean compromised simply because fishing companies have not come up with a better way to catch only the fish they are targeting.  So many sharks (and rays) are being killed as bycatch that today around 25% of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.   To ban shark finning is one thing, but if sharks continue to be caught as bycatch, have we done any good?

Sharks were not on my list to talk about at the time I was researching for my next post on Sustain the Sea.  They did not hit high on my radar because I did not know about the issues surrounding them.  I was going to talk about tuna,  until I stumbled across some very revealing information during my research that indicates a strong connection between sharks and tuna.

I figure that many people do know about the concerns around sharks and why fishing companies should be acting more responsibly in the way they harvest from the ocean.  If you do want a quick update, have a look at this info sheet from the New Zealand Shark Alliance.  It addresses New Zealand concerns around sharks in particular, but these issues are not just limited to New Zealand.  Some of you may be wondering why I’m addressing this issue when it seems the party is already over – lots of countries are banning shark finning, including New Zealand right?  Well… read on and find out more.

To rewind  to the point where my interest in sharks began:  I came across this short video.  It’s a fascinating presentation from a researcher for the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, an organisation that appears to be making very genuine efforts to introduce sustainable practices into the tuna fishing industry.

What I did not know until I started this research is that certain species of fish love to aggregate under large floating objects. This includes tuna and some species of shark.  The fishing industry has capitalised on this trait and created Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs).  FADs assist in the capture of up to 40% of the world’s tuna take.  Unfortunately, not only are sharks taken by the nets that then come along to scoop up the tuna, but they are also ensnared in the netted structures that hold these FADs in place.  The conservative kill rate for accidental entanglement is estimated at between 500,000 to one million sharks in the Indian ocean alone (see link for more information).

This infographic from the ISS Foundation is a stark illustration of how many sharks are killed from tuna fishing around the world.

It’s not just FADs that catch sharks though.  The Shark Trust provides a comprehensive outline of how commercial fishing practices ensnare enormous amounts of bycatch, in which sharks are included.  It is estimated in a recent report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (a study involving the collaboration of over 300 experts from 64 nations) that over 100,000,000 sharks (that’s 100 million) are killed every year.  Because of this extensive slaughter,  25% of shark and ray species are now threatened with extinction due to overfishing.  Tuna fishing is strongly implicated as one of the main reasons why sharks are caught.

The question pounding in my head after reading the research I have linked to you was:  how do we stop the accidental capture of sharks?  Unfortunately due to the lucrative returns that can be obtained from the sale of shark fins, and from what I can see (and I hope I am wrong), no penalties exist for capturing sharks, this bycatch is not unwelcomed by fishing companies.  There is therefore not a lot of incentive not to catch sharks.   Preventing sharks from being finned alive at sea is one thing, but if we can prevent them from being captured at all, isn’t that a better solution?  It also occurs to me that banning the sale of fins is not going to prevent the sharks from being captured in the first place, and then dumped back into the ocean dead, or brought to shore as the case may be, unless more accurate methods of fishing are employed.

In addition to their fins, sharks are also used in other ways.  Have a look here and here to see how we use shark products in everyday life.

I used to think tuna with its “dolphin friendly” logo was a good thing, and it made me feel okay about buying it.  Not any more.  Perhaps we should be looking for tins of tuna with “shark friendly” on them as well?

The good news is that a lot of research is being made made to reduce bycatch.  Also have a good look at the ISS website in particular to find what resolutions have been made in relation to tuna fishing.  This link will take you to the Summary of Resolutions taken by participating companies.  Those fishing companies are to be applauded for joining the organisation and introducing these moves.  I notice only one New Zealand fishing company on that list.

Will I be eating tuna in future?  The answer is still no.  Not until I know for certain that tuna stocks are being managed sustainably, and that my serve of tuna does not come with a figurative side of shark.  And in addition to avoiding shark fin soup, I will also be looking more closely at things I buy for bywords for shark product.

In tribute to the shark, watch out for tomorrow’s free pattern release of my salute to the shark:  Selachimorpha.

Selachimorpha

Please note that the thoughts above are my personal “key” conclusions, and I have not attempted to comprehensively address the issues – it would take a much longer article than what I have written!

 


TGIF

A visit to the beach is always restful.

The beach

Pebbles crunch pleasingly under foot.  The sea sighs a gentle song, breathing slow waves of sound.

wavesSeabirds call.  The air smells pleasantly of fresh seaweed, washed up on the beach after a recent storm.

Seaweed

There are  interesting things to look at, each creature or feature a thing of wonder.

The beauty of nature.

The power of the sea and nature to slowly shape and carve.

The intricate details.

Limpet

Sea life

Driftwood

shell patterns

Rock holes

Shaped by the sea

 

Flotsam

 

I feel the week’s stress and tension washed away with the waves and the breeze.

The perfect way to start the weekend.

 

 


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Seadragonus

Beware the fearsome Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus!  One of the most fearsome of all the dragons in the book series “How to Train Your Dragon“, it is my favourite dragon because the Seadragonus was the personal dragon of each of the Hiccups in history.  Highly intelligent, with a huge, fearsome personality and a huge dash of cuteness (in the case of Toothless, in any event), they come in blue, green or purple – all my favourite sock colours!  I decided to name my dragon-inspired sock after the Seadragonus.

Seadragonus

With thanks to the eldest boy for a great photography job again.

When I first designed this sock, I was only going to release it in a standard medium size.  But then I thought about the amount of questions I got for Anemone relating to adjusting the sock for small or large sizing, and I thought that it might be a good idea to include more sizes.  Then it occurred to me that this pattern was also suitable for a man’s sock, but the heel might not appeal to him. So I included a sturdy heel alternative as well.  Incorporating all the additions means that it has taken me a bit longer than planned to release this design, but I think it now makes this pattern much more flexible for knitters, and one that will accommodate most teen – adult foot shapes.

I designed Seadragonus to be very wearable, with the impression of scales in the larger pattern over the entire foot and the smaller belly scales on the heel.  It is an easy top-down sock pattern, with an 8-stitch repeat, and a small cable twist every 6 rows.

You need:

2 x 50g Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn (167m/182yd per 50g) in the Hydro colourway (or other sock yarn of your choice)

2.25mm DPN needles or 80cm circulars for magic loop (or size to get gauge)

1 x cable needle

The pattern has three sizes:  S, M and L.  Medium fits the average woman’s foot.  To knit the large size you will need more yarn (if you are planning to use a sock yarn that has 400m to a skein, one will be enough, assuming as you don’t make the leg longer than the suggested length).  To make this sock more unisex, I have also included an alternative standard slipped stitch heel, as the scale heel might be a bit too feminine for a man’s taste.

To commemorate the release of the Seadragonus, the lovely Alice has very sweetly started a group on Ravelry for my designs (blush!) You are cordially invited to join the Kiwiyarns Knits group!   The first topic she has posted is a knit-a-long (KAL) for Seadragonus for the month of September.

To support this KAL, and to encourage as many people to join as possible, I am going to offer Seadragonus at the introductory price of $2.50 until the 15th of September.  The discount will be automatically applied on checkout, and you do not need to join the KAL to receive the discount.  To make things a bit exciting, I thought I would also raise the bar and set a challenge:  Can you be adventurous with yarn and knit a truly dragon-worthy sock!?  How you interpret this is entirely up to you!

The prize will be two 50g skeins of my favourite sock yarn in the world, the yarn I used to knit this sock – Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn and a surprise Kiwi speciality goodie or two.  The winner will be chosen by popular vote.

Everyone who participates and posts a completed picture in the thread will also receive a coupon code to get their next purchase of one of my patterns free (I have a few more designs coming out, and the code will keep if you’d like to wait to spend it).  Further details are on the KAL discussion thread.

There is of course no compulsion to join in the join in the challenge.  If you’d just like to KAL for a knit and natter, please do join in!

We look forward to seeing you on the Kiwiyarns Knits group!

Pattern available for purchase here.

Seadragonus sock

 

 

 


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A knitter’s midwinter

Hello!!!  I hope this post finds you well in your respective parts of the world, and looking forward to the start of the weekend.  Here in Wellington, we enjoyed a sprinkling of snow and a heap of hail today, and now it is a c-c-c-c-coooooold evening!!  Perfect weather to snuggle up next to the fire with one’s knitting!!  I hear that things are even better in the South Island with lots of snow… hope you are all staying warm!

This week has been such an exciting one in the knitting sense.  I managed to finish not one, but three(!) projects!

First up is Nurmilintu:  This is lovely little free pattern almost knits itself.  I am very happy with my yarn choice (alpaca/silk from Flagstaff Alpacas and Doespins) as it complements both the lace pattern and the drape beautifully.

NurmilintuIt sits around my neck as I type this, a lovely soft cloud of warmth to keep out the winter chill.

Last night, I finished the Noro Silk Garden socks that I have been knitting for a while.  They were my ‘waiting for the boy’ socks – knitted while waiting for him to come out of school and during his swimming lessons.

Noro socks

My sons do not like them, and made derogatory comments about how they look old (that’s the silk) and not very colour coordinated.  Too bad.  I think they are lovely, and deliberately made them non-identical.  It is a bit disconcerting to look down and see two differently coloured socks peeking out from under one’s jeans though! I knitted the socks with the yellow cuff first, and was disappointed when I got to the end and found the pretty pink and purple colour would be missed out.  So I started the next sock where the first one left off, and I rather like that colour combination better.  The heavier weight of this yarn has made them lovely and squooshy to wear too!  I might just have to knit more Noro socks…

And finally, and very excitingly, I have finished Seadragonus!

Seadragonus

Seadragonus will be released in the next week or so.  The pattern has been written, and I just have to make final edits.  I designed this pattern to give my brain a rest after another pattern that I have just finished (I’ll have to tell you about that one another time).  It’s an easy, playful pattern, designed to mimic the larger back scales and smaller belly scales typical in a reptile, and give the general impression of… a dragon!

This pattern marks the start of a couple of sea-themed patterns.  Shark week is coming up, and I aim to produce a sock pattern that highlights the issues surrounding the ocean’s sharks.  It will be part of my Sustain the Sea collection, and therefore a free pattern.  I’ve been silent on the subject of the sea for a while, and not because it is no dearer to my heart.  It’s just that the issues in fishing and the state of the sea became too painful to talk about, and I had to take a break.  Time to get a grip!

On a brighter note, have you seen soknitsome’s most recent post?  She talks about a very worthy cause that we can all participate in to raise funds for literacy.  It’s as simple as logging the number of pages you read every day.  I could not imagine a world without words, and yet there are still millions of people deprived of this simple right.  Go on – have a read! :-)

Wishing you a lovely weekend.


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Objects of desire

There is something about a sock – the perfection of its size, the detail that can be incorporated into such a small area of knitting, the variety of stitch techniques that can be used – I can’t believe I resisted knitting socks for such a long time!  Socks are a very satisfying form of knitting for the time poor.  And I seem to have been reinfected with sockitis in a majorly big way.  All I can think about is socks, socks and more socks!

The worst thing about this particular bout is that it’s designing sockitis! I have so many ideas bubbling that I am getting annoyed because I can’t knit them fast enough.  Good thing there is such a thing as a designing note book, for the storage of ideas for future production.  So I can’t even show you properly what I have been up to yet.  Sigh!!  Needless to say, I am extremely excited and very, very happy with how the designs are turning out.  Here is a sneak peek of one that will be released shortly.

Seadragonus

This is Seadragonus.  I have been wanting my very own dragon sock pattern for a while, and this one is named after some of my inspiration – the most impressive dragon of all – the Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus from How to Train Your Dragon (the book series by Cressida Cowell).  The young boy is a great fan of this series, and we have read every single book together as bedtime reading as they have come out.  If you have kids and haven’t yet read the books, I encourage you to consider reading them – they are quite different to the movie version.  We are eagerly awaiting what I think must be the final book, having been left on a cliffhanger as usual!

Back to Seadragonus, I have used my all-time favourite high twist merino sock yarn from Knitsch for this sock.  It’s in the Hydro colourway, which is also an appropriate colour!  I believe there is some in stock at the moment… if you are quick!

For a bit of relief from sock-vision, I decided to go for a small palate cleanser to work on in between bouts of sock.

This little design has been a very nice distraction.

Nurmulintu

It’s Nurmilintu. I decided to knit it in some beautiful alpaca/silk from Flagstaff Alpacas (more is coming soon!!)  The cream is the natural colour, and the blue has been hand-dyed by Doe Arnot.  It is so soft, and so squishy.  A lovely small thing to knit to break up the project cycle!

I had a very lovely quick visit to the second Wonders of Wool market yesterday.  Some yarn may have decided to come home with me (cough, cough).  I think that should almost be it for large yarn purchases until next year.  There is a serious amount of yarn at home that requires my attention now!

stash enhancement

Hope you are having a great weekend!