Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Super early or super late!?

A Happy Weekend to you! I for one am very pleased it is Saturday!

As predicted, I managed to finish Braidsmaid this week. I may be lucky and get a couple of wears out of it before the weather warms up too much more. At least it is ready for next Winter? Or am I super late for this Winter? It doesn’t matter much. It will still be worn. There’s no such thing as an expiry date when it comes to knitting!

I knitted Braidsmaid in a DK weight natural grey alpaca/polwarth mix that I got from the South Island a while ago.  I used exactly 250gms of yarn, or about 450m.  It drapes beautifully and is so warm and snuggly. I do love wearing alpaca.

The shawl is the perfect size to wear under a coat. Featuring a reversible cable and garter stitch, you don’t need to worry which side is the right side, because they both look the same.

It has a shaping that I don’t think I have used before – you start at one end with the braid only and gradually increase the garter edges out to a certain width. Then one side is decreased gradually while the other is knitted on to the braided edge as you go. Such a clever design!

I think the key thing to know about this shawl (in terms of sizing) is that the shawl will only be as wide and as long as you end on Body Pattern I.   The width of the shawl at this point determines how long the shawl will be – the remainder of the shawl is all about decreasing one side down.  If you want a larger shawl than noted in the pattern, you should work a couple more repeats in this section before starting the remaining sections. In my case, I simply worked the number of repeats noted in the pattern. If I was to knit it again, I would probably chose to work one more repeat to make the shawl slightly larger.

I did a bit of an all-night knit bender this week… I found yet another WIP at the bottom of my basket and proceeded to finish it during the quiet hours of the night.

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I lost interest in them last summer after I didn’t complete them in time for Christmas. They are now ready for this Christmas!

These are Stray Cat Socks‘ in Joyeux Noelle, a Christmas colourway, using my Geek socks pattern. I get a little thrill every time I look at the projects in this pattern – there are over 450 projects noted on Ravelry so far – it makes it so worthwhile to make the effort to design a special sock. Thanks so much to everyone who has knitted this pattern!

The current frenzy of knitting shows no signs of abating any time too soon. I have made good progress on the next pair of socks, the V Junkie socks from Socktopus.

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The winding party has begun for the 3 colour cashmere shawl. Part of me is worrying that I have chosen the right shawl to knit. The yarn I am using is so special and so pretty that I need to be sure that whatever I use it for is going to do it justice! I might consider that issue a bit more…

I hope you are enjoying a great start to your weekend.

Happy Knitting!


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Socktober

Hello!

Welcome to the beginning of Socktober festivities!

Today I am pleased to release two new sock patterns.

They are the large version of the Eriskay socks:

This pattern is the sock version of a modern take on the Eriskay gansey. 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.

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Purchasers will get two patterns with this purchase – the large version shown above, and the existing medium size shown below. The large size version above was knitted using Vintage Purls Sock. It takes almost exactly 100g (360m) to knit a large-sized sock.

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The second new sock pattern is the Train Spotting socks.

Knitting on public transport is a somewhat specialised sport. You want to not infringe on other passengers’ personal space, and you also want to work on something interesting that doesn’t need frequent pattern checks or complicated stitch manoeuvres.  Socks are some of the most ideal travelling knits for that reason. I designed these socks to knit during my commute to work; interesting to knit but at the same time not require too much looking at a pattern or fiddly stitches.  It is called Train Spotting in honour of the reason behind this pattern and because I think the little windows in the pattern look like the flashing windows of a train going by.

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These were knitted using Meraki Studios Sock. The pattern is easy to knit, and comes with instructions for three sizes:  small (6″ leg circumference), medium (7″ leg circumference) and large (8″ leg circumference).

And don’t forget the best bit:  All purchases of my sock patterns between now and 31 October 2016 qualify for a 40% discount with the coupon code SOCKtober2016 (sinply enter this code on checkout to obtain the discount).

Happy Knitting!

 

 


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Caretta Caretta and the shawl planning

A happy weekend to you!

This weekend hasn’t been the most wonderful. I am stressing about work and how much I still have to do, but sometimes we get so overwhelmed that the only thing to do is walk away and bury oneself in something else in order to reset the brain so it can function normally again. My colleague referred to it as having too many tabs open in the brain, and I think she is absolutely right! So I have shut all the tabs, and decided instead to open a fun, de-stress app called “knitting”.

A sock was finished this week. I am absolutely in love with this colourway. I think the Caretta Caretta pattern in Socktopus has teamed the Sokkusu O yarn perfectly. I love the vintage effect.

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It was meant to have beads, but I don’t like the idea of beads pressing into my feet, so omitted them. I think it still looks great without them. I also made some accidental mods – instead of 3 x 1 ribbing in the cuff, I made it 2 x 2.  By the time I realised my mistake, I decided that it was fine like that. I also went into automatic toe mode and made the toes stockinette as opposed to 3 x 1 rib, but again, I think they look fine as is so did not rip out and redo.

The other project that has been occupying my needles is the Braidsmaid.

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I am fascinated with the shaping aspects of this shawl. I will tell you more about it when it is finished – likely to be next weekend.

And then there was more shawl planning… so much fun! (If you click on the images you will be able to see larger versions if you are interested).

I am wanting to knit the 3 colour cashmere shawl and have been thinking a lot about colour options. Whatever I wear needs to fit in with my mostly neutral (corporate) wardrobe. I already have quite a few shawls featuring red, so went for something different. These two are in the lead at the moment:

These lovelies are (from left),  House Crow (Revelry Sock) by CircusTonichandmade; Stone (Purple Label) by Tanis Fiber Arts, and Mink (Tough Love Sock) by Sweet Georgia. The second colour option is Barn Owl (the white speckle) (Jubilee Sock) by CircusTonicHandmade; a yarn whose label I have lost, and Stone by Tanis Fiber Arts.

Decisions, decisions!!  One combination picks up the browns in all the yarns and the other combination picks up the purples. I suspect I will end up with the purples, as they work better with my colouring.  Plus I feel more excited about the finished product when I see those skeins together!

And finally, the next sock I have started:

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This is V Junkie, also from Socktopus. I’m using an older Knitsch colourway, Mandli. It’s a very fun knit.

I had better go now and sort myself for the launch of Socktober later in the week – watch out for two sock pattern releases from me on 15 September, and don’t forget the code SOCKtober2016 to get 40% off all sock patterns in my store from 15 September – 31 October 2016. Don’t forget to check out the Carolina Fiber Girls or their Ravelry Group for details of other exciting Socktober specials!

Have a wonderful start to the week, and Happy Knitting!


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There must always be a sock

Hello, and a happy weekend to you!

It is funny how sock knitting can become so addictive. How little twitches happen if there is not a sock to work on in the near vicinity at all times. What causes this devotion to the art of making beautiful footwear?

It is the yarn, looking oh so tempting on the shelf of one’s stash or store, as the case may be? Or is it all those lovely patterns out there, just begging to be made into a gorgeous sock of own’s own?

Or it is the wonderful feel of the yarn and the ever changing view of colour and pattern (especially in hand-dyed or self-patterning yarn) as it slides between one’s fingers, accompanied by the comforting click of the needles?

Is it the great satisfaction of seeing something so pretty coming off the needles in a relatively short time period, and being able to enjoy it afterwards for a long time?

In any event, I will not deny that I am totally addicted to making socks.
All the socks

I showed you the contrast cuff/heel/toe pair last week.  These are now my ‘take along’ socks because they are nice and easy and don’t require concentration or looking at a pattern to knit.

The pretty sunset coloured socks on the right are a pair that snuck on to the needles this week. You may have noticed my obsession on Instagram… They are the Caretta Caretta pattern in Alice Yu’s Socktopus book. I actually started the cuff in this yarn (Sokkusu O – Pairie Dusk) quite a while ago, intending to knit a plain vanilla sock, but there it got stuck until my current mood, which is ‘clean out all the WIPs!’ In the meantime, I acquired the Socktopus book (so many good patterns in there!) and decided that it would be nice to combine Sokkusu O (original yarn in the book) with one of her patterns. The combination is working beautifully, and I am very pleased with them. It is meant to have beads, but I do not like the idea of beads pressing into my feet so I have omitted them.

The blue of the left is the large size counterpart to the Eriskay sock pattern that I released some time ago. I’m going to be giving this pair to my brother for his birthday which isn’t for a couple more months, and so I have been a bit lazy about finishing them. But next week is looming, and this is another pattern that I will release for the Socktober celebrations, so I had better get my A into G!  This pattern will be available as a set with Eriskay – anyone who has purchased the medium size version will also get this one as part of the package.

The end sock is my sad attempt at joining the Aussie Knitter’s Sock KAL for July and August.

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I am not sure why, but this sock is really not doing it for me. The patterning, I think, is possibly too intricate for a sock. I just haven’t been able to ‘get into’ it. It looks quite nice as a sleeve, or maybe even a pair of delicate fingerless mittens! In the meantime, I think the only thing is to frog it and save the delicious Circus Tonic Handmade yarn for another project that deserves it better. It has become an eyesore on my knitting desk.

And the other part of a sock knitting obsession?  Compulsively planning for the next pairs… which is part of yet another theme, use up some of that deep stash!

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Happy Knitting!

 


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The small things

Hello! I hope you are enjoying a relaxing weekend.

It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks for me and the busy-ness is not likely to stop for a while.   I have taken on a new position at work with much more responsibility (it is a temporary role, which I am not ungrateful for). Not much knitting time was to be had, so I am focusing on small things at the moment. I find the ability to finish something does help with lessening stress levels and keep the happiness in knitting.

The first was the Jackyll and Hide balaclava for the young man. He is very pleased with it. The pattern is very clever how it can fold up to become an ordinary hat. This was knitted in lovely aran style Maniototo Wool in the Matai colourway. It is a beautiful, warm orange. He has been wearing it constantly since I finished it (hat-style, in case you are wondering!)

The second lot of things I finished were a couple of pairs of tiny fingerless gloves for my nieces (3 – 5 yrs).  I discovered that fingerless gloves for kids are a great way to use up sock yarn scraps! The pattern I used is my Adorable Kids Fingerless Mitts pattern. I have fiddled with the pattern some more, and have updated it – available at the link if you’d like it.

This weekend, I decided to put my head down and finish that new sock pattern I have been working on for a few weeks.

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These are the Train Knitting socks. I started them when I was having to take the train to work. I was getting bored with knitting plain vanilla socks, but needed something that I could still knit without having to refer to a pattern much. I think the little windows in the socks are much like the flashing windows of a train as it travels along the tracks.

I will launch this as a new pattern in September to kick-start my contribution to the Socktober festivities happening over on the Carolina Fiber Girls’ podcast (the short answer is that I’m going to have a 40% discount on all my sock patterns from 15 September – 31 October). The yarn is Meraki Studio‘s sock base in a very pretty colourway called Tip Toeing Fairies.

I have used deep stash for this week’s new projects.

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The grey alpaca/polwarth blend is from the South Island by a producer who no longer makes their own yarn. It is on its way to becoming a Braidsmaid.

The socks are two part-balls that I decided to combine into a sock with contrasting heels, toe and cuff. I haven’t actually knit a pair of socks like this before, but am loving how the two colourways are working together. The yarn is the work of the lovely James, who sadly no longer dyes.  I do so miss it.

Some of the prettiness that is showing up in my garden – Spring is not far away, although it feels like winter has only just started. I am looking forward to seeing the apple, plum and peach trees burst into blossom.

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Happy Knitting!

 

 

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.