Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

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Eriskay, the FO

The boy and I went on a little expedition to the wharf to take photos of the Eriskay socks.

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Given that these are socks inspired by the ganseys worn by fishermen and their families, I thought it would be appropriate to take photos of them in their natural setting. The Petone Wharf is a popular fishing spot, and has beautiful views of Wellington harbour.

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It was a lovely evening, and the fishermen had their lines out.

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We were lucky to see a catch being hauled in.

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Someone will eat well tonight! These are Kahawai, (Arripis Trutta) a fish endemic to New Zealand and Eastern Australian waters.

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So here, they are, the finished Eriskay socks.

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You may remember that the Eriskay gansey demonstrates a range of knitterly techniques, and so I designed these socks to reflect the the range of skills needed to knit an Eriskay.  I also tried to keep in theme with the beauty of an Eriskay sweater. I’m very happy with how they turned out.

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Cabling runs down the back of the leg, with the front knitted in a range of lace and knit/purl patterns evocative of those used in a gansey.

The boy did an excellent job of photographing the socks.

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We were going to stay on the wharf and enjoy the light supper of roast chicken and fresh bread that we had brought with us, but the wind was rather cold! Instead, we retreated to the car, and enjoyed the sunset in more comfortable conditions.

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It was a nice end to a lovely day.

Don’t forget, the Eriskay socks are free to download until 8 July.  I loaded the full version of the pattern to Ravelry this morning. Enjoy!



Sustain the Sea: Gyre

Long time readers of this blog will be aware of the free pattern collection I developed to highlight the importance of looking after our oceans:  Sustain the Sea.

Sustain the sea square

I have been absolutely thrilled to be joined in this initiative by Kiwi designers Mary-Anne Mace (Biophilia – pictured above) and Sonya Newstead (Empty Nets – pictured above).

Today, I’m honoured that we are joined by a wonderfully talented young designer, Josiah Bain, who hails from the United States of America.  It is truly exciting that this is developing into an international statement about our oceans, and that there are so many designers who are like-minded!

Josiah wrote to me recently offering to donate a pair of socks to this initiative:  Gyre.

A gyre is a system of currents in the ocean that spirals around a central point.  The gyre that these socks are named after is the North Pacific Gyre, the largest ecosystem on Earth. As well as being home to different marine creatures, the North Pacific Gyre is home to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He offers it here in the hopes that “awareness will be raised about the harmful practices and dreadful littering happening in our naturally splended oceans”.

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This is a beautiful pattern that harmonises completely with the theme behind the socks.  The socks are also very interestingly constructed. Please visit Josiah’s thoughtful blog post to read more about these socks, to download a free copy of the pattern and to find out about a very easy thing that all of us can do to contribute to the ocean’s health.

And who is his great model?

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Find that out too when you visit his blog!

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Thank you, Josiah, for this beautiful pattern, and importantly, for your own commitment to sustaining the sea!


Coming soon

Hello!! I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend!

I’m popping in very briefly today.  This week has been one of those very busy weeks, and although there is a huge amount cooking away in the background, I can’t show much of it to you yet.

Inspiration:  I suspect that many of you already know about this show.  I found it, and binge watched it, and I think it has to be the singularly most inspiring thing I have ever seen in my knitting life.  The episode I have linked you to has English subtitles, but if you watch it and like it, you’ll find that the language of knitting is so strong that you don’t really need to know what they are saying in the other episodes… It has electrified me!

Please excuse the horrible lighting – daylight disappeared before I got around to taking a photo…

The green things

The socks are my current ‘take along’ plain vanilla sock. They have received the most love this weekend, because I’ve been doing a bit of running around with the boy.  It’s an Opal colourway – Buffalo Bill.

The shawl is Liliaceous, another gorgeous number by Mary-Anne Mace. I’m using Zealana Kiwi in the Fern colourway.  It is another thank you gift… better knit it nicely!

The ball in the corner is a current secret project in Circus Tonic Handmade in the Silvereye colourway, and the skein in the top right is about something that I’ll be telling you about in a couple of days!!

Which leads me to say, come back on Monday, 16 May, because I have something brilliant to share with you.  (NZ/Aust readers please note this is US time, so it may not be until Tuesday, 17 May our time).  A wonderful designer has made a generous contribution to Sustain the Sea, and it is just beautiful.

I leave you with part of one of the photos minus the project… just a teaser!

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See you again soon!

Eriskay sock



Hello!!  Happy weekend, and a Happy Mother’s Day for tomorrow!  May you get very appropriately spoiled by your children and spouses!

This week has been a busy one. The boy finally came home from his epic overseas adventure, and the ‘mumcation’ was officially over.  Not that it was much of one… I think I worked for most of that time!

This is a rather lengthy post, so I’m going to summarise it here for your convenience:

  1. I’m introducing the Eriskay gansey sock MKAL and an invitation for you to join
  2. I’m sharing details of a couple of FOs, and
  3. I have an annoucement – the winner of the lovely goodies from Rose Marlow.

The Eriskay Gansey MKAL

Not too long ago, one of the lovely moderators of the Aussie Sock Knitters group on Ravelry invited me to join the group.  It so happens that they are currently hosting a gansey sock KAL.  I have wanted to knit another gansey-style sock for a while, and one of the knitters in the group commented that it would be great to see a gansey sock from me.  I did have one sitting in my design book, and having been so nicely asked, I got it out, and had a look, but realised to my horror that quite a few other people had already designed one that looked almost identical.  Back to the drawing board!

I was delighted when my subsequent swatchings turned into a sock that I really like, and it looks different to anything else out there.  So I thought I would offer it to the group as a MKAL, if they were interested.

Eriskay sock

A few in the group are keen, and so the MKAL is on!  It starts tomorrow, when I release the first clue, and ends on 8 July.  If you would like to join, come along and say hi at the Aussie Sock Knitters Group! If you’d just like to knit on your own with the pattern, you will find it here.  Update notifications will appear automatically if you add the pattern to your library, which means you won’t miss out on the clues when they appear.  The pattern will be free for the duration of the MKAL.

Here’s a bit of the story that I thought about when I was researching this pattern:

Ganseys were knitted, functional sweaters worn by those who needed to be able to move freely in an age when garments were almost without exception heavy, stiff, tailored and restrictive. They originated with the sea folk of the British Isles – fishermen, sailors and the navy, who needed to wear garments that would be warm, wind and waterproof while allowing ease of movement.

Typical patterning featured vertical or horizontal bands of knit and purl patterns and some cabling, inspired by the seascape and tools of their trade. The fancier ganseys were kept for ‘best’, with plainer, workday ganseys knitted with practicality and ease of repair in mind. The gansey from the island of Eriskay was known as the most ornately patterned gansey of the British Isles, and featured elaborate knit and purl patterns, cabling and lace. This pattern is the sock version of a modern take on the Eriskay gansey.

Visit this link to Ravelry for more information about the pattern.

On to the FOs:

I have actually managed to finish a couple of projects!

This one is the Amalfi Poncho.  It is made out of The Wool Company‘s variegated yarn.  The colourway I used (Autumn) is no longer available, but the colourway I have linked to above (Lava) looks very similar to what I had.  As we usually discover with projects that take a while to complete, I don’t know why I didn’t finish it earlier as I just love it!  Actually, I do know why it took a while.  I dislike garter stitch very much.  But it was worth it!! I think it’s going to be a winter staple.

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I also finished a pair of scrappy socks. I called them sunset and sunrise. It was fun choosing the colours to work together!  My OCDC tendencies don’t allow me to love them entirely though because they don’t “match”.:-)

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I blended the colours using slip stitch.

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This is the sunrise sock – there were four colourways used in the toe for predawn – grey, a grey variegated sparkle, a multi-colour and the main colour which I used over most of the sock to represent dawn, before the sky turned into day blue.

The motivation for these socks was a mini swap with Hannah of Circus Tonic Handmade – a few of the yarns she sent me can be seen in those socks.  Thanks again Hannah!

Rose Marlow giveaway

And now, the thing that a few of you are waiting for!  The winner of the gorgeous project bag and goodies from Rose Marlow! I did a random number draw, and it turned out to be comment number 45!


Comment number 45 is Kari, who said “I like bags made with a sturdy fabric with lining. I prefer a flat bottom and a wrist strap. Like others, I like to keep my bag firmly attached to my body so it can’t go walk-about when I’m out knitting with friends. I also want to be able to close it tightly so things don’t fall out. inner pockets are not important to me.”

Kari, I have sent an email to the address you provided in your comment.  Can you please get back to me so I can send you the goodies!

Thank you very much to everyone who participated!  It was very interesting to read all your comments, and I am sure that Meg got a lot of ideas out of them for future offerings on her etsy site!

and thank you!

Finally, I’d like to say thank you for all the interest shown in the Pirinoa Poncho!  It was amazing and awesome.  We were quite blown away!  Thanks again, very much!  I’m so very happy for Mary of Maniototo Wool, who came up with an excellent pattern concept!



The Pirinoa Poncho

A few months ago, Mary Furness-Weir of Maniototo Wool, approached me to help her design a child’s poncho.

I was intrigued by the concept that she suggested, and thought it would be a nice challenge to design a garment for a change, so I said yes.

Today, after much swatching and discussion and test knitting (thanks Mary!), we are delighted to present The Pirinoa Poncho!

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DK Pirinoa Poncho

The poncho has been designed to fit children aged 18 months – 4 years old.  There are two versions of the pattern – one in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool DK and the other in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool aran weight yarn. The little girl (2 yrs old) is wearing the DK version, and the little boy (3 yrs old) is wearing the aran weight version.

Aran weight Pirinoa Poncho

I am so in love with how the poncho has turned out, especially now I see it on the children it will fit.  These stunning photographs were taken by Emma Mehlhopt (said Mel-hop), a very talented photographer, who specialises in photographing children and family portraits ( Hasn’t she done a super, super job!?  I am so grateful to Emma for these beautiful photographs. And to the models’ mums for allowing their adorable children to be photographed.

Pirinhoa Poncho

There is a backstory to this design:  Once upon a time, Mary’s grandchildren had a poncho a bit like this.  They wore it from the time they were two years old and right up until they went to school.  It was a family favourite, very handy for throwing on between car and house, particularly in the bitter coastal winters where they live in the Wairarapa (the area is called Pirinoa, hence the name of this poncho). Mary thought that perhaps there may be other children who would also love to have a poncho like this, and so the concept was born.

This design has a special place in my heart:  it was designed in the Wairarapa, inspired by a Wairarapa family, photographed in the Wairarapa on little models who also live there, and is named after a place in the Wairarapa. In a way, it encapsulates a lot of what I loved about living there.  Family, friendship, community, lifestyle.  Thank you Mary, for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this one.

The pattern can be obtained in several ways:

  • A single printed leaflet from the Maniototo wool website, or at any outlets that sell the yarns – Country Rumours, 11 Talbot St, Geraldine; The Woolroom, 52B Ribbonwood Road, Geraldine, or markets such as KAN (Napier) and WOOLFEAST (Christchurch);
  • Printed patterns are available at The Land Girl, Pirinoa Village, where it is available in a kit including enough wool to make the poncho in either Aran or DK weights and a circular bamboo knitting needle. The first kits to sell will include a set of beautiful handmade wooden buttons; and

Handmade buttons

  • In soft copy (PDF) from my Ravelry store. DK version here and Aran weight version here.

Each of the printed patterns (from any outlet) will contain a one-time use only code so that you can also download the pattern to your Ravelry library.

Pirinoa Poncho

Yarn for the pattern can be obtained from Maniototo Wool’s website, where you can choose your colours. There is plenty of lovely Aran wool available. Orders for the new season’s DK yarn will be placed on a waitlist (it is still at the mill).

Mary and I look forward to seeing your own versions of these cute ponchos pop up on your project pages soon!


A giveway – Rose Marlow – NZ indie maker

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Meg of Rose Marlow, a New Zealand indie maker business.

Meg and Jen make beautiful things that knitters like.  Today, I’m hosting a giveaway for some of this lovely parcel of goodies that arrived on my doorstep!  Would you like to know more?

Rose Marlow

The yarn is mine for review, and I will be telling you more about it in due course. The stitch markers, project bag and pom pom are up for grabs.

The bag is very generously sized and big enough to hold a shawl project.  Here it is sitting next to one of my latest sock projects, for comparison purposes.  I have filled it with a 200g skein of shawl yarn and my small notions kit, and as you can see, there is still plenty of room for more in it.

Project bag comparison

It is made of double-lined Japanese fabric, and has a sturdy metal zip and handmade leather pull.

Project bag

The stitch markers are made of glass beads.

Stitch markers

They come in a handy handmade Japanese fabric bag.

And for those who like pompoms but dislike making them:


It will look nice atop a knitted hat!

If you would like to be the recipient of this parcel, please leave a comment sharing what features you would look for in a project bag if you were to buy one. I think mine would have to be one that is small enough to fit into my purse and the fabric is dense enough that my needles don’t poke through.

This giveaway is open to both New Zealand and overseas participants.

I will draw the winner next week, Sunday, 1 May. Good luck!