Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


41 Comments

Sometimes

Sometimes things don’t quite work out the way you think they will. It’s the way life is and part of fabric of existence. Happiness and triumph, sadness and disappointment, tenderness and love, anger and failure. Is it even possible to have one without the other?

This weekend, I planned to take the young boy to Napier to enjoy a last adventure before the holidays finished. But on the way, a driver did not take care to check the road was clear before before entering the highway and crossing the road.

photo_1469157591250 (1) (480x640).jpg

Unfortunately, I happened to be travelling on the highway this person was crossing, and just about to enter the intersection at 100km/hr. This is the result.

We were all very lucky. No one died and no one was seriously injured. It could have been much, much worse. Both cars are write-offs, and the young boy and I are feeling very sore and tender. I have mild whiplash and a bruised rib cage amongst a few other things. The young boy has a realistic impression of a seat belt across his chest in colourful purple bruising. Thankfully, that is all.

The NZ Police were amazing. They were very kind and drove us back into town and helped me to work out how we could find public transport to get home. We were quite a long way out of Wellington by this stage, and there was no one to call on to pick us up. Getting a bus and then a train and then a bus and then walking the final 15 minutes, with luggage, to get to one’s home while feeling shocked and banged up from an accident is still not a pleasant way to end the adventure.

The most terrible thing of course is that I now have no car. Hopefully it will not take long for insurance to kick in, and allow me to get some new wheels.

So, that is some of the bad/good of life that has been happening at my end this week.  This particular incident is not an adventure I or the boy would ever like to repeat, even if we are grateful that we are still alive and not badly injured!

Thank goodness for knitting, which has provided solace and a place to keep my mind off recent incidents.

IMG_2502 (640x470)

I would have dearly loved to show you a finished Southern Skies Shawl. It is very nearly done, but the edging is taking longer than I anticipated.

IMG_2506 (640x640).jpg

I am very pleased that it is as big as I would like it to be.

IMG_2507 (640x640).jpg

Anna Gratton did a wonderful job of translating the night sky. This looks like it has the Southern Lights flowing through it. I can’t wait to finish off the billions of edge stitches so I can block it and see it in its full glory!!

I did manage to finish the delicious stripey Cinnamon socks from Stray Cat Socks though, and they are keeping my feet nice and cosy as I type this.

IMG_2505 (640x640).jpg

I hope you have had a nice week and are enjoying your weekend.

Stay safe, and happy knitting!


5 Comments

Many things

Hello!  I hope this post finds you well, and enjoying life.

I have been missing in action on this blog for a week because life has been quite eventful (in a good way), being the school holidays, and I seem to be finding it hard to find the concentration to sit and write at the moment. Thank you for your patience.  I do not intend to give up blogging as it is a much appreciated means of communicating with like-minded people like you, my dear readers.

One of the things we have got up to was a quick trip to the mountains.

IMG_2476 (640x640) IMG_2477 (640x640)

There was not much snow on the Central Plateau. It has been a very mild winter so far.  But there was enough for the kids to have fun sledding. Mostly, it was great to catch up with my siblings and their families, whom I have not seen for some months.

Let’s get into the knitting news!

I have been very honoured to contribute a pattern for another sock box. This one is from Yarn Crush. My pattern is coming out in October, and I’ll be giving you more hints as time goes on, but I thought I would point out this well-priced product if you are interested in subscribing.

Also watch out for a few more sock pattern releases from me in the near future. The samples are piling up, so time to get down to business and finish the patterns! The first one I want to release is this, the Sassy Socks.

IMG_2265 (1018x1024).jpg

You may recall that this was the PostStitch SockStitch pattern for June. Did I ever link you to their interview with me and Hannah Ginn of Circus Tonic Handmade, whose yarn was in that box?  Those articles are here if you want to read.

I also have a few finished objects to show you.

Here is the beautiful Liliaceous shawl, another gorgeous design by Mary-Anne Mace.

Liliaceous

I used Zealana Kiwi Laceweight in the Fern colourway. It took almost all of four balls to knit.

As usual, the pattern is beautifully written. I loved knitting it, despite making a terrible mistake in the final chart (my own fault), and having to rip out a day’s work in order to reknit the edging correctly. These things happen!
Liliaceous

This shawl is a thank you gift for the very nice person who was kind enough to give me a job at the beginning of the year.

I also finished the fingerless gloves, and they have been appreciatively received by the eldest boy. Thank goodness he likes them!

Fingerless gloves

I am still working on the Swan River cardigan. It is almost time to make the second armhole, which means that I should be nearing completion in about a week (she says!)

It is also time to finish the Southern Skies shawl, which has been hibernating for some months.

Southern skies shawl

The thing that concerns me is that despite using much larger needles, the shawl still seems to be much smaller than I would like it to be. I will add on a significant lace border if that is the case – I have plenty of yarn to make that modification. Between that and blocking, I should get the size I desire!

Happy Knitting!

 

 


6 Comments

The trouble with WIPs

It is a wonderful and exciting thing to be a knitter. The ability to create new projects is boundless, limited only by one’s imagination, time and sometimes, skill.

On the other hand, the ability to finish new things, hampered by one’s “cast-on-itis” can sometimes be challenging. It is something I must grapple with this week so that I can happily cast on yet more things (and have some hope of finishing them!)

This week another new thing (or two) popped on to the needles.

Thank you very much to everyone who gave my votes a little extra boost for the Aussie Sock Knitters’ KAL.  The clear voter’s choice was Bordurensocken.

I had a couple of hiccups starting this one.  As I mentioned in my first post about this, I was going to use Tanis Fibre Arts’ Dove colourway.  Only, when I started knitting it, the result didn’t look so great.

IMG_2439 (800x600).jpg

Despite the soft variegation, it was still too variegated, and I couldn’t see the design very well at all.

I finally found what I was looking for in Circus Tonic Handmade’s Revelry Sock in the Grey Whistler colourway. It’s a lovely pattern, so ornate, I love it! Once it is finished and modelled, you’ll be able to see the detail a lot better.

IMG_2465 (640x640)

I have been really enjoying Stray Cat Socks‘ new base, an 80% merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon blend, called “Essential Deluxe.” So much so that I have finished one sock already! The lovely drape and softness of this yarn, combined with the just ‘one more stripe’ syndrome made it hard to put down.

IMG_2457 (800x600).jpg

I also really appreciated all your comments on last week’s swatching exercise.  Thank you! I think I will definitely go with the blue silk/merino/angora mix.  But first, I need to finish a couple of things!

This pair of fingerless mitts has been requested urgently by the eldest boy, now living the student life.  Obviously, the walk to uni in the mornings is a little chilly! I’m using Bleating Art’s Pacemaker Sock, a 100% super twisted merino yarn. Pattern is from my head.

IMG_2460 (800x800)

I’m also still working on my Swan River cardigan in Maniototo Wool and the Liliaceous Shawl in Zealana Kiwi Laceweight.  There is nothing new to show you, so I will wait until they are finished before I put up any more photos of them.

And of course, this post would not be complete without some talk of WIPs to come!

Midnight Yarns

This beautiful mushroom coloured 100% merino from Midnight Yarns arrived in my letterbox recently. It is destined to become Lacebark as soon as I finish Liliaceous!

To my North American friends, Happy 4th of July!

IMG_2435 (800x600)


13 Comments

The tale of the swatches

I think one of the biggest benefits of being a knitter is being able to make garments to suit yourself. It is wonderful to be able to adapt garments to your own liking, by choosing pattern, materials and colour to your taste.

It is also good to be able to experiment a little before jumping in, because sometimes one’s first choice isn’t quite the right choice, and some pre-thought helps to save much angst later. The luxury of time to consider is often not available when shopping for a ready made garment.

Today I shall tell you about the Tale of The Swatches, which illustrates my point quite well.

IMG_2407 (800x611)

These swatches were all made in my decision making process around which yarn to use to knit Gwyneth, pictured below.  It is from Issue No. 95 of The Knitter.
IMG_2431 (800x800)

The first swatch I made is in Cleckheaton Country Naturals. I chose it because it has a similar tweedy look to the original yarn used in the pattern.

IMG_2410 (640x480)

The original yarn (Artesano Nebula) is composed of 33.5% alpaca, 50% wool and 16.5% viscose.  This would give the fabric a lighter quality to what I would get with the above 85% superwash wool/ 10% acrylic/ 5% viscose mix. I thought that the fibre mix would be reasonably similar, but the swatch feels heavy. I think I didn’t realise just how much I’m not fond of the superwash feel either. I wasn’t sure it would feel comfortable with this yarn in a cardigan.

So I knitted another swatch.

IMG_2408 (640x480)

This is pure wool.  It is Stansborough’s Mithril, a beautiful overdyed grey from the Stansborough Grey sheep, which gives that same tweedy look, but it is a much lighter yarn, as you can see.  Looking at it, I’m not sure I want a large, red cardigan, and it is perhaps too light and may not give the garment the structure I am looking for.

Then I noticed that the original yarn was a single, roving style.  So I picked up the long-overdue-for-a-swatch Naturally Harmony, a felted single ply, 100% New Zealand Merino yarn, and made one more.

IMG_2409 (640x480)

Well, I have to say that I just LOVE the fabric that this yarn produces.  It is very soft and lofty. Look at that lovely crisp stitch definition, and the beautiful, demure evenness of the fabric… it would make a beautiful sweater or shawl or hat. You could just cuddle up in it and feel enveloped in warmth and snuggliness… I have bookmarked it firmly for further investigation in that area.  Sadly, it produces a fabric that is too tidy to be suitable for the look I am aiming for in this cardigan though. I notice that the yarn is available in a tweed, and am very tempted to purchase a skein for investigation.

However, conscious of the size of my stash, I decided to be good and turn my attention to it one last time.  A yarn I initially looked at but rejected on the basis of colour looked suitable. It is also Cleckheaton, a mix of merino, angora and silk. It has a tweed fleck, and it is a single ply roving style yarn.

IMG_2435 (800x600)

The fabric has good stitch definition.  It is just the right weight.  It will be warm without being heavy, and has the right about of structure to give the garment a good shape.

I think we have finally found it!  I am still not sure that the colour will go well with jeans, but there are other things in my wardrobe that it will match.  Why else would I have bought a sweater quantity of this yarn otherwise!?

Making one’s own knitwear is the best!

Waiting for Rain


11 Comments

Waiting for Rain and Light Gale

As I was typing this header, it occurred to me that both my recent Finished Objects are about the weather. Isn’t that funny!

Here are Light Gale and Waiting for Rain.

A bit about both:

Light Gale

I used The Wool Company’s Utiku Merino Possum in the Mink colourway.

As noted in my last post about this pattern, I certainly did not need 1,400 yards noted in the pattern.  Knitted in the smaller size, I used 362 gm, which is the equivalent of 795 metres, or 869 yards. (That’s 3.6 balls of the merino possum yarn in case you are wondering.)

The pattern itself could have included a schematic.  I find them very useful so I can adjust sizing easily if necessary.  I also like charts, and find written instructions difficult for pattern repeats, so I charted out my own, and that made it much easier to work out the stitch pattern quickly.

I did not do a tubular cast on or cast off. Instead, I used a long tail cast on, and cast off using my own half-stretchy bind-off method.

Alicia used a stockinette style decrease, which contrasts against the purl background of the body.  I chose not to do that, and reversed the shaping instructions (P2tog and P2togtbl) so that the shaping was invisible.

I did not put on a button, but just sewed a join into the two sides.

The rest of the pattern was knit as instructed.

I love possum yarn.  See the soft, fluid drape of the fabric, and the warm, snuggly halo that develops after blocking.  Besides pure wool, it is my next favourite medium to work in. It does not pill, it is surprisingly hard wearing, and it stays looking beautiful for years and years. (Note that recycled possum yarns can be less hard-wearing.)

IMG_2429 (1024x1024)

Waiting for Rain

This is such a sweet pattern. I used Anna Gratton’s silk/mohair/wool mix which she has unfortunately since discontinued.  It gives a beautiful organic texture to knitting.

Anna Gratton silk/mohair/wool

I wanted my Waiting for Rain to be organic looking, and I was pleased that the yarn I chose has definitely given the desired effect.

I did not change anything about the pattern.

The only thing I would say is that I am not 100% happy with my bind off and the edging.  It is a tiny bit tight for my liking, not enough to be a real issue, but just enough to make me think “hmm.”  I did use the lace bind off recommended by Sylvia, but as I have noted before, my bind off is always very tight for some reason, so I may have to look into a further adaptation of this method to work for me.

There is a lot of knitting news to talk about this week, so I think I will break this week’s postings into two.  Watch out for another one from me tomorrow about future projects!

I’m going to be examining three swatches. And trying to decide which one to use for this.

Have a happy and great weekend!


9 Comments

All the socks

This week’s post is all about the Socks.

There have been some happy happenings in the background which I can now tell you about!

June PostStitch Box

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a pattern to PostStitch‘s June SockStitch box.

The yarn this pattern was to go with was the delectable Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry Sock base in Rose Crowned Fruit Dove.  I decided to contribute an entirely new design to this box, the Sassy Socks. These socks were originally a Christmas present for my cousin, who lives in Australia. However, the original socks were too small (I had this mistaken idea that she had tiny feet, which she doesn’t), so I reworked them in a larger size and let PostStitch have use of the pattern for the June box, matched with Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry Sock. This pattern will be available for general release in July, but I understand that sets are still available from PostStitch.

PicMonkey Collage (1024x512)

A KAL

There is an exciting KAL happening over on Aussie Sock Knitters Forum on Ravelry for the month of July.  This KAL is genius – you pick the socks you might want to knit (up to 5) and everyone else votes for the favourite that you will actually knit.

I picked out a few patterns from my (ahem, very long) queue. Please help to decide which of the socks I should knit here. I’d really appreciate some extra votes. At the moment, the favourites are Bordurensocken and Pointelle and votes are neck-to-neck.

I’ve picked out my yarn. If it’s Bordurensocken, I shall use Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label in Dove, as it is a gorgeous dreamy colour and soft and beautiful, and will match the pattern very well.

IMG_2389 (1024x683)

If it is to be Pointelle, I am thinking I’ll use this Whimzy Sokkusu O in Peeta. I may yet change this option. I ordered some yummy looking yarn from OziFarmer’s Market and I may decide to swap it for that yarn assuming it gets here in time for the KAL start in July. I thought I should see about using Australian yarn, given it is an Australian knitters’ group after all!

Pointelle option

I’m looking forward to the start of the KAL and to finding out what the chosen sock is to be!

Yarn finds

I thought I’d finish by showing you some beauties that I have discovered lately:

Ruataniwha Dye Studio

These are gorgeous yarns from Ruataniwha Dye Studio, who is a Kiwi based in Japan.  I adore the subtle colours Steph uses. She’s also going to be stocking Maniototo Wool’s Luxury Lambswool in 4 ply very soon – an indie dyer to watch!

Also, I finally got around to ordering some of Stray Cat Socks‘ new Essential Deluxe (cashmere/merino/nylon base)…

Stray Cat Socks

This is Cinnamon. It is gorgeously soft and luxurious feeling!! I anticipate that it will find its way on to my needles sooner rather than later!

Happy Knitting!