Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


10 Comments

A weekend ramble

We’re trying to make it a habit to get out of the house for a wander around the area every weekend.  While not a hard thing for me, the young boy can take some persuasion to shut down the tablet and get his head out of the matrix for a while.  We have to wait until evening, as it is still ferociously hot during the day.

I call these walks “Spot the treasure”.  Go down a seemingly boring country road…

Country road

and find that there are so many beautiful and useful things to discover if one cares to look.

Wild roses

Wild roses that were once part of someone’s garden.

Blackberry

Blackberries!  I would have loved to eat some of these, but one never knows if they have been sprayed (blackberry is considered a pest and vigorously sprayed to destroy the plants, so sad for the roadside forager!)

Hawthorn

Hawthorn trees grow aplenty!  I was most happy to see them!  I understand that Hawthorn has valuable medicinal properties.

Chamomile

A patch of chamomile brightens up the roadside.

Maize

A maize crop rustles in the wind.

Mountain vista

Look across the fields, and you are treated to the grandeur that is the tail of the Tararua ranges.

We always come home feeling content.  My soul feels refreshed.

And now I guess you are wondering if I have had any time for knitting?  Of course!

Falls of Rauros

This exquisite lovely is The Falls of Rauros.  Claire Ellen is such a talented designer!  I have done my own thing on the heel (I do not like the look of that sweet tomato heel) and added extra twisted stitch detail to the foot.  I may have also made the toe my own…  I am very pleased to have used one of my favourite sock yarns ever – Knitsch 100% merino sock in the Silver Lining colourway.  In addition to being a total pleasure to knit with, I think it makes the sock look very waterfall’ish.

The below are the waterfalls that were my yarn choice inspiration. These falls are in McLarens Falls Park near my hometown of Tauranga, a favourite waterhole of both young and old.

Inspiration waterfall

Now to finish the other!

One and a quarter socks

 

 

 

 

 

 


12 Comments

Morning

I’m not much of a morning person.  Don’t put the alarm on, and it’s not until around 8 o’clock before I decide to stir.  This morning, I was so tired after the week’s activities that it was 9.30am before my sleepy head decided to leave my pillow.  So nice to have a sleep-in!  Best of all, the young man’s homework assignment this week was to make someone at home breakfast in bed!  Yes!  Tea and toast with marmalade by my bedside!  :-)

Weekdays though, mean a dawn rising to get ready for work.  No lazing about in bed allowed!  There are benefits to getting up early.  My kitchen window faces east, and I love seeing the moment when the sun peeks up over the horizon.  It’s inspiring.

As we edge towards Autumn (hurrah!  It’s the last day of summer today!), my favourite type of morning is beginning to appear.

The sun’s rays creep forward, warming the cold ground… a vapour begins to rise.

Sunrise

It drifts, an ethereal veil over the landscape, creating soft colours and hazy shapes.

Morning mist

Shapes appear in the mist, the forms of cows grazing on breakfast.

Cows in the mistMagpies loudly warble their good mornings, blackbirds gossip.

For a few moments, I stand outside, enjoying the warmth of my woollen sweater, hot cup of tea in hand, savouring the fresh cool air, the still beauty of the morning, watching the world wake up and reveal itself, bit by bit.  There’s a certain magic in a beautiful morning. Taking a moment or two to enjoy is a joyous way to start the day!


2 Comments

Now you can dance with leaves

Fingers were finally put to keyboard, pattern was written, and photography happened… I have finally managed to write the pattern for Dancing with Leaves!

Dancing with Leaves scarf

This is to give you an indication of width.

Dancing with leaves

I quite like to wear it like this.  It has become a bit of a favourite!

Dancing with Leaves 2

Instructions for a wider width are included, so that you can make it a wrap size to be just a bit snugglier for cooler weather – it will be a nice shoulder warmer too.  There is enough yarn in one 200g skein of Anna Gratton’s 4 ply (fingering weight) 100% wool yarn for the wider version.  The one that you see here uses only 100g (about 416m/456yd).

I am even toying with a DK version, as I crave a heavier lace wrap in a beautiful naturally coloured 100% wool (it’s called wishful winter thinking).

DK weight lace

A version of this pattern is free with yarn purchase from Anna Gratton (if you are in the Wellington region, she’s going to be at the Martinborough Fair next weekend, 7 March), or you can buy the pattern only here.

Information about the pattern:

This is an advanced entry level lace scarf, ie., it is an easy pattern, but best attempted by someone who already knows the basics of lace (YO, K2tog, SSK).   I have written in plenty of instructional hints.  Both charts and written instructions are provided, to suit pattern reading preferences.  Blocking is essential to achieve the correct finish!

Scarf size:  23cm/9 inches wide and 190cm/74″ long

Wrap size:  40cm/15 inches wide x 190cm/74″ long

You need:

100g (416m/456yd)  4 ply (fingering weight) yarn for the scarf.

200g (833m/912yd) 4 ply (fingering weight) yarn for the wrap.

3.75mm needles and 4.5mm needles

The usual snips, needle, blocking pins and tape measure for finishing work.

Dancing with leavesEnjoy!


12 Comments

The art of appreciation

I want to start this post by acknowledging your very kind thoughts and wishes and support of the Fire Flowers socks.  It has been very encouraging.  Thank you very much!  It means a lot to me to know that my designs are liked.

Today, I thought I’d talk about a wee situation I have been having stern talks with myself about.

Me1:  “Being saddled to a desk has got to be one of the most effective ways to generate impulse buying.  Up pops an email from a favourite yarn retailer, you see a very pretty yarn looking at you/in a moment of needing some mental relief, one decides to visit a favourite indie dyer, and… oh look!  Such pretty colours!!….and before you know it, out comes the credit card and…”

Me2:  Stop!! Stop!!  This where one needs to look away!!  Close the browser!! Put away the credit card!

Me1:  [Sigh].  “I am feeling virtuous because I did just that, and have saved myself from buying yarn that I do not need.  I have so much yarn now that I really must knit some down before I make any more purchases!  I think it would be an insult to the yarn producer to keep buying and just not make anything from it.  Especially because I love to support independent yarn producers and New Zealand yarn manufacturers of quality yarns.  And support means using and enjoying as much as buying!  This does not stop me from dreaming about more yarn, and coveting more yarn that I see online, but no!  I must be firm, and do more knitting from the stash!”

On this vein, I have been very good and agreed with myself that rather than wanting more yarn, how about using what I already have? Yarn that has already been obtained from coveted suppliers??

Finishing some WIPs would be a good place to start.  I persevered with knitting Imagine When.  Garter stitch is not one of my favourite stitches.  But look, now I have a pretty new shawl to wear!

Imagine When shawl

Such a beautiful colourway!  It is Amazonas from Wollmeise, a beautiful gift from a good friend.

A cute boy decided to do a bit of photo bombing…

Imagine When 2

I haven’t done a great job of following the pattern exactly.  I found that my brain is definitely attuned to reading charts, and following this written pattern was supremely difficult. Too much has been going on and my concentration levels have been focused elsewhere.  Looking at where I deviated from the pattern, I see that it was at the time that I moved house.  It has turned out basically the same, and that will be fine as it is still wearable, and is still in line with the essential parts of the pattern.  No one can tell at all where it is different unless you hold up the project against the pattern picture and compare closely.  But that is not going to happen!  Hehe.  Doesn’t it feel fantastic to get a project off the needles!

Now I am free to focus on The Falls of Rauros.  This is Claire Ellen’s February sock, and it’s another one of her master pieces!  My initial reaction was to choose a blue yarn for this sock, but then I thought about the colour of a waterfall, and it is generally a silver colour.  Like this:

Waterfall

I love the Lord of the Rings references in Claire’s socks.  Living in the land of the Lord of the Rings scenery makes it so easy for me.  :D  So I chose a classic colourway from Knitsch – Silver Lining – for this sock.  Pics will come when there is something to show.

Also, I am going to make a very concerted effort to finish Robin as soon as I can.  It is rumpled from sitting in its project bag, and lacks just a small bit for the hem and sleeves.  I can feel that Autumn is just around the corner, and it would be nice to have a new piece of knitwear to wear this season, especially in Zealana Kiwi!

Robin

Next off the block, I will finish the Leighlinbridge Aran.  As you can see, it is another beautiful possum yarn from The Wool Company.  People tell me it will be cold here in winter.   I do remember seeing much colder night temperatures for the Wairarapa on my weather forecast screen when I lived in Wellington, so I will believe it, despite the fact that the concept of cold seems a distant memory at present.

Leighlinbridge Aran

Such beautiful yarns.  It’s an insult not to finish the project right?

 


25 Comments

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Hello, and “Kung Hei Fat Choy”, or Happy Chinese New Year!

It is the Year of the Sheep/Goat as of today, and in celebration of the year of our favourite animal, I am pleased to release my new sock pattern, Fire Flowers!

Fire Flowers socks

If you haven’t already, you can read a bit of the background to the design here.

Things you will want to know:

  1. These socks are free for the next 15 days (until 6 March 2015), to celebrate the Chinese New Year period.  In the spirit of “good luck money” (laisee), I am making them my gift to you.  Download here!  No code required.
  2. They are knit from the cuff down.
  3. Recommended user level is intermediate.
  4. Written pattern comes with charts.
  5. Sizing is for Medium (sock measures 19cm/7.5 inch foot circumference) or Large (sock measures 20cm/8 inch foot circumference).
  6. Sock as shown is knit in Bleating Art Sock.  Any fingering weight sock yarn will suit, although it will show to best effect in a solid or semi-solid yarn.  As mentioned in my previous post, a non-splitty yarn with lots of elasticity is best used for this pattern.

Fire Flowers

Enjoy! And may the Year of the Sheep bring peace, joy and happiness to you and yours!

 

 


21 Comments

Peeks

I feel like I’m only getting to peek at my knitting these days.  I’m trying not to get frustrated.  Work is only going to be busy for so long, and then I should be able to have quality time back again.  In the meantime, my yarn looks at me accusingly.

I have been a very lucky girl.

Doespins yarn

Housewarming present.  Naturally dyed yarn!!!!!  Drool!!! The colours are much more vibrant that my camera has allowed me to show.  I am much looking forward to turning them into pretty socks (or maybe a shawl).  I was particularly excited by the far right skein – it is dyed with indigo.  I love, love, love, the semi-solid look of this colour. It’s a bit like faded jeans.  Doe will be bringing these to the market soon.  I’m looking forward to seeing all the other pretty colours she has produced!

Maniototo Wool

And another housewarming present!  So spoilt!  Can you tell from just looking at it that it is Maniototo Wool? It’s that gorgeous bounce and soft ‘touch me’ look to the wool that gives it away. This season’s yarn includes a DK weight. There is more twist to this yarn than last year’s DK spin.  I foresee some happy knitting times coming up.  If I can be a good girl and finish the sweaters I have in my WIP basket, I would like to knit a sweater in this yarn.

I also have a heap of something delicious piled up next to me that I want to swatch and tell you about.

The Fire Flower sock pattern is done, but I’m fussing over it.  It will be out very, very, soon.  Promise!

And then I need to write up Dancing with Leaves.  I managed to lose the draft in the move (it had not got to typed stage yet, darn!) but it is a simple pattern, so I don’t think it will take me too long.

So much to do, so little time to do it in!  As the young boy remarked recently, “Time in the Wairarapa flies!”  It can do me a favour and slow down a bit please!

And as if the above wasn’t enough yarn, this was my housewarming present to me:

Mango

Anna Gratton 4 ply 50/50 merino/mohair in the Mango colourway.  The merino/mohair base takes colour beautifully – it really does look like a mango in my opinion!

I couldn’t help myself, and also added some Chilli Chocolate (this one is a 400g skein) to the collection.

Anna Gratton Chili Chocolate

If there is no time to knit, there is definitely time to buy! (erk!)