Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Swan River Cardigan


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As fast as you can

Knit, knit, knit as fast as you can! Winter is nearly at an end, and it feels like it has only just begun. The season in New Zealand really is far too short in my opinion! In fact, this year, I think Winter happened last week, with the rest of it more like Autumn conditions. I really hope this is not the beginning of generally warmer winters.

This week, I was really happy to finally finish my Swan River Cardigan. Sorry about the weird poses… I was trying to show the way the cardigan falls at the side!

I have never knit one of these very simply constructed cardigans before. It is essentially knit sideways as a long rectangle with two slits for the armholes, and then you add sleeves.

It is as it was designed in the pattern – with drop shoulders which means that the cardigan is quite loose-fitting and definitely a spring/summer or indoor cardigan rather than something for winter outdoors.

The only mods I made were to make the sleeves plain, rather than lace. I felt there would be too much lace otherwise. I also added an extra cm of length to the fronts to make them just a bit longer than originally designed.

I am totally in love with the yarn. You may recall that this is the Luxury Lambswool 4 ply, dyed as a a one-off special for me from Maniototo Wool. However, the very same yarn is available from Happy-go-knitty as the Hakatere base (you may have to contact her about it or find it at KAN if you are going – it doesn’t appear to be in the Etsy store although I have seen it on Helene’s Instagram feed), and from Ruataniwha Dye Studio (again, best to enquire).  I used 390gms of yarn, which amounted to approx 827m/905yds. I highly recommend it! It is incredibly soft, which a beautiful drape and sheen.

I am very happy I got a sufficient quantity to make one more thing – a shawl.

Last week, I also received some happy mail!

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Yarn Crush wrote to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their boxes. As you know, I would never say no to anything knitting related!

This cute box contains enough alpaca/cotton yarn to make one of the two enclosed patterns (both a market bag – one crochet, one knit), a very  decorative draw string, badges and a notebook. They have quite a unique offering. Each box is different – go have a look at their website to find out more!

With Winter fast approaching an end, I thought I had better be nice and knit the young man the balaclava he has his heart set on.

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Unfortunately, I misread the quantity of yarn required – it needs 200g!  And I only ordered one skein… guess it will have to wait to be finished when the yarn arrives. It is very clever – looks like a normal hat, but then you can pull it down over your face and turn into a jack-o-lantern, which the boy loved the idea of! This is also in Maniototo Wool – the Aran Style, in the Matai colourway.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

 

 

 

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A proper winter weekend

Hello, and a Happy Weekend to you!

I am enjoying my cosy knitting room with a roaring fire AND a heater going, while the hail and rain fall outside, and snow settles on the hills that I can see from my window.  I am feeling extremely happy. It is finally Winter!

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An added happiness is the sight of my new car sitting in the driveway, bought yesterday. It feels incredibly good to finally have a pair of wheels again! I decided to upgrade, and added some extra money of my own to the insurance payout so that I could afford a good car. I am very pleased to finally have something that I really, really like – my first ‘grown up’ car – a Honda Accord. The young boy is extremely impressed. I hope nothing horrid happens to this one (or us in it, for that matter)!

Train knitting certainly had its advantages. Note I speak of it in past tense already!

I finished one pair of socks and have already gone past the heel on a second pair. I appear to have needed cheerful socks to knit on the train – the colour scheme appears very similar in these photos, but you will see they are different when I show more!  The yarn for my second pair is from Meraki Studios. All going well, the second pair will become a pattern.

The cardigan I have been talking about knitting is now only minus one sleeve. I modified the pattern from a lace sleeve to a stockinette sleeve and thought I had better sew it in and see how it looked before proceeding with the second. I think it works. The cardigan will be finished by next weekend, and hopefully blocked as well. I am very much enjoying working with this luxury 4 ply lambswool.

Audry of Bear Ears was highly entertaining in her recent post about socks and her need to get her self-striping socks exactly the same. Her post also jogged my memory into recalling that it is nearly SOCKtober! This year I have been a bit more organised and am planning to release a number of sock patterns closer to the date. I have also agreed to participate in the Carolina Fiber Girls‘ SOCKtober initiative by offering my sock patterns at a significant discount between 15 September and 31 October. Listen in during the August podcasts to hear about all about their plans. I will also keep you informed here.

I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend wherever you are, and if you are in New Zealand, hopefully staying warm!

 


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Discoveries and meet-ups

Before I start today’s post, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your caring and concerned comments on my car crash. I may not be able to respond to each and every one of you individually, but your thoughts and kind wishes mean a great deal. Thank you, so much.

This week has been a little hard. Bruised ribs and whiplash don’t go away very quickly, but I am on the mend, and the young boy appears to be completely recovered, which is a massive relief! The insurance company is still to pay out as they are waiting on the police report before doing so. Hopefully that will not be much longer. Being without a car is a major hindrance!

So let’s move on to happier things and talk about knitting!

I finished the edging on Southern Skies, and here is the finished shawl. I have to say, I love it very much. The swirls of colour through it remind me of the southern lights, and as someone said on my Instagram account, it also looks a bit like a galaxy! Thanks again, Audry, for a beautiful pattern, and thanks to Anna Gratton for such a lovely night sky colourway.

The yarn is Anna Gratton’s 4 ply 100% wool, and I made only one change to the pattern – instead of a garter border, I knitted on a Shetland lace Brand Iron edging. It has made the shawl larger and also a bit more feminine, which I like.

Having a lot of time to knit on the train on the way to work has meant that I have been giving socks a bit of attention this week. This is Dark Harbour Yarn‘s lovely Jetsam sock in Narwhal Hits the Disco. I see she has a very similar Rare and Exotic Beast in her shop at the moment which would be almost identical in my opinion. I am using my Bark sock pattern to liven the knitting up a bit.

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Before I start on yet another new shawl, I have decided I need to finish another long time WIP.

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This is my Ulva Lactuca shawl in laceweight, using Zealana Kiwi. At this weight, it has become more a summer shawl/scarf style, which will be nice to use when the weather warms up again.

Being a blogger and reader of blogs has given me lovely opportunities to meet some wonderful people.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of having coffee with Keiry Belton, co-author of Stitching up Paris – The Insider’s Guide to Parisian Knitting, Sewing, Notions and Needlecraft Stores.

If you have not heard of her yet, Keiry has just returned from a period living in Paris as an expatriate. I enjoyed following the blog she wrote about her adventures while there.  While she was there, she also co-wrote Stitching up Paris with Barbara Cattoni, another expatriate living in Paris, who runs personal walking tours of Parisian stitching stores at http://www.stitchingupparis.com.

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Stitching up Paris is the ideal companion for any needlecraft fan. The contents are organised very neatly into both genre (knitting/fabrics/embroidery/haberdashery/vintage and shabby chic) and by also by area. This makes it easy to find the information you are after.

Well written, and filled with beautiful photography, I  especially loved reading the little stories about the stores/areas that accompanied the reviews.  If I ever get a chance to visit Paris, this book will be coming with me!

The book is available to purchase here and if you live in New Zealand, I understand that the book can also be purchased from Minerva.

I leave you today with a new indie yarnie discovery:

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This is Artist’s Palette Yarn, a UK indie dyer. With the exchange rate happily a bit friendlier at the moment, I took the opportunity to indulge in some pretty colourways. Her palette is very much to my taste – one of those sites where you could happily tick ‘one of everything please!’

Hope you are having a marvellous weekend!

 

 


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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

Stay safe, and happy knitting!


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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!

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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.

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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!

 

 


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!