Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


The finished things

Hello, and a happy weekend to you!

I’ve had a relatively productive week knitting-wise.  This is surprising because it is getting very hard to keep my eyes open past 10.30pm at night.  I must have learned to knit faster!

EternidadI’ve finally finished Eternidad.  You’ll notice that is has a much lacier look than the original.  This is because I used a yarn that was finer than recommended.  It’s no longer available, but something like Madelintosh Tosh Merino Light is very similar.  Very pleased with it.  I shall be wearing this quite a lot I think!

Fish isle

I finished and blocked my nephew’s Fish Isle last night.  It’s handy to have a nice warm fire to quickly dry one’s knitted items!

I am a little out of practice with knitting things for small people.  Although the gauge is as per the pattern, somehow the sleeves look quite narrow, and I’m not sure if the yoke will match the lower half.  I will find out when my sister puts it on her son!  Once I know it fits ok, I’ll make the second for his younger brother.  I knitted this in Anna Gratton’s machine washable 8 ply in the Paua colourway, and a loose skein of organic merino from Skeinz that I had floating around.

BFF socks

These are BFF socks, destined to be a gift.  These socks are a good lesson in how yarn weight affects gauge!  Because I have knit to many socks, I never do a swatch for socks these days as I think I have a good feel for how many stitches I should cast on to match size and yarn.  However, I tricked myself into thinking that this sport weight yarn was sock weight, and learned my lesson in first frogging the medium size (72 sts cast on), then the small size (64 sts) (pictured above) and now I’m on my third iteration with 56 stitches.  The socks will either now be too small or just right.  If that fails, I will tempt fate by using 2.5mm needles with 56 stitches, and if that fails, the ball will be wound up, put away, and I will find another yarn that has a much more accommodating nature.  This is why one uses sock weight yarn to knit socks!!

I am doggedly persevering because I am fixated on knitting the recipient some nice, warm, possum socks (this yarn is John Q Earthware) that she can wear in her gumboots when out in the garden this winter.  Nothing else will do (until I give up in frustration and switch to alpaca instead..!)

Somehow, this yarn felt finer than the last time I knitted with it.  I did knit my eldest son (now very much man-sized) some socks using this yarn with a 64 sts cast on and 2.75mm needles, and they came out just right.  So I thought that because I am using 2.25mm needles this time, that 64 stitches would be fine for a woman’s medium/small size.  Well, the answer to that my friends, is that I was wrong!

There are a couple of other projects on the needles that are coming along swimmingly, but I shall tell you about them in another post, as I think I’ve captured enough of your attention in this post already.

One last thing!  If you are in Wellington on 20 June, don’t forget to pop into the Social Wool Fair!  The great thing about this event is its very social nature – you can take your knitting, sit and have coffee and cake in the adjacent chat room (without feeling like you have to clear off because the café needs the seats for other customers), and indulge in the yarn greatness that will be there!

I’m going to be on the look-out for some new needles, and I’d like to get more closely acquainted with this yummy yarn.  I’m sure there will be more to tempt me, as I see that Anna Gratton, Spinning a Yarn, Vintage Purls, Skeinz and more will be there!!!  Supporting this fair raises proceeds for hospice care, a very worthy cause.  It is a shame that other Wellington indie dyers aren’t going to be there, but I am guessing they must have been all-dyed-out from the other yarn events that have been happening recently. Boo for me!





An Autumn ramble

We’ve had a bit of bad weather this week, and by this afternoon, cabin fever had hit big time.  I dug the young man out of his bean bag and off we went down the road.

Country road

It is heartening to see how lush and green everything looks after the sun-baked brown of summer.


The culverts are full of water.


Quite pleased I managed to catch this rainbow!


The hawthorn berries have all been eaten by the birds, and most of the leaves have come off the trees.  Little buds have appeared, awaiting spring’s warmth before they burst forth.


There is a deer farm nearby.

Young bulls

There was considerable attention paid to the young bulls, who were just as curious about us.  They all came crowding to the fence to have a look.

Young bull

In fact, they took turns to pose for the camera. :-)  This young chap has such a sweet face!

Curious bulls

Quite a few breeds in there, but don’t ask me to tell you what they are just yet!

Country road

It was nice to listen to the crunch of gravel under our feet, and feel the breeze in our faces.  It was slightly colder than I thought it would be – we should have worn hats!

Dog print

Small details were noticed, reminders of ones who had been there before us.

Toi toi grass

The toi toi grass flowers looked very picturesque against the grey clouds.


I love looking at detail.  This bark looks like it should be a yarn colourway.  Can’t you just see a pair of socks in this colour!?

Autumn toadstool

A little toadstool, so delicate.  It looks like a ballerina’s tutu, or just like a parasol that could be used by a mouse!

Future socks

Back home, future socks are swirling in my head.

Embossed leaves

These socks were favourite project of the week.  I’m completely in love with the colour and the pattern.  They were so addictive to knit, I think I might need to make another pair!  These ones are a gift.

Embossed leaves socks

The pattern is Embossed Leaves, and I knitted them in Knitsch 100% merino sock in the Asterias colourway.


A trip to Castlepoint

It was a perfect day on Sunday.  Far too gorgeous to waste indoors.  I decided it was time we did more exploring of our new environment!

It has been a while since we went to the beach.  I decided some fresh sea air was just what we needed!


This is Castlepoint.  It is quite spectacular.

According to this website, Castlepoint is one of New Zealand’s 10 most loved beaches.  The lighthouse at this beach is one of the two remaining beam lighthouses left in New Zealand.

The young boy certainly loved the sand – perfect for digging large holes!  I dipped my feet into the sea, but decided that it was just a bit too chilly for paddling.

Castlepoint beachI had a nice time in the sand too…

Knitting at the beach

After holes had been dug to one young person’s satisfaction, and sand dunes appropriately rolled down and enjoyed, I dragged him up to the lighthouse for a walk and a look at what was on the other side of the reef.

Lighthouse at Castlepoint

It took one’s breath away!

View from the lighthouse

The colour of the sea was stunning…

Beyond Castlepoint

Here’s a view looking back towards the bay.

Castlepoint village

A geology student would find the landscape fascinating.  There are fossils to be seen, and clear layers of seashells and sandstone.  There is some very entertaining information about the history of Castlepoint here.

More Castlepoint

We drove home, feeling refreshed and relaxed.  What a wonderful day!  How lucky we are to be living in such an amazingly beautiful place!

There are plans afoot to go back as soon as possible and explore more of the walks!

Sand dune at Castlepoint


#project vest: the conclusion

I went a bit more slowly finishing the second half of this vest.  It actually didn’t take very long because there is less fabric in the front!  If you count all the hours I spent knitting and finishing this vest, the result will equal about 24 hours. Maybe a bit less.


I’m a bit hot and bothered from mowing the lawns in this picture.  Do not worry – I didn’t wear my brand new vest doing the mowing!  Had to get that pic before the light went though!

I thought I’d show you how it looked before and after some blocking:

Prior to blocking

Here it is awaiting its bath.  Notice how the bands twisted and would not lie flat?  The fabric itself also felt quite stiff and a little oily for some reason.


Here it is in its bath with a small amount of wool wash added.  See how the water has made the fibres much more relaxed and even.

Blocked vest

Blocking has brought out the true qualities of the Stansborough Grey wool.  The fabric has become beautifully lofty, with a gorgeous fluidity, lustre and drape.

This yarn dries extremely quickly.  This wool seems to shake off moisture much more quickly than other fibres.  I put it on a rack to dry outside, and it was dry in two hours!  I think being non-washine washable has also helped to preserve the moisture-repellent properties of the wool.

It’s going to be a great work vest as soon as the weather decides to make wearing wool a good idea!

Yarn:  Stansborough Mithril

Pattern: V-neck or rounded sleeveless tunic

Amount used:  approx 325g (for size 40″) of DK weight yarn.

Last weekend, I also finished my Golden Hall socks.  Here they are!

Golden Hall socks

These socks were cast on with many more stitches that I would normally use, and I was convinced at one stage that they would be too big for me.  Those cables sure do eat yarn and suck in the width though… I finished this project with only 6″ of yarn to spare from an entire 100g skein!  That was close.  I used 30% more yarn than I normally need for a pair of socks.

The only mods I made for this sock were to decrease across the instep on the first row of the toe shaping so that all the cable endings were K2tog.  This also conveniently brought the stitch count back down to my the usual number I begin with:  64 stitches.  By doing so, I knew that the toe would be the right length for my foot.  I also decreased the sole down to 32 sts during the gusset shaping which helped with width issues (and yarn quantities!)

I didn’t find the intense amount of cabling on these socks particularly intuitive (some cable patterns hardly need looking at once you’ve done the first motif, but not this one).  This made it slow to knit because I was glued to the chart. I know others were much more comfortable with the pattern.

The yarn is more of my very favourite super twisted 100% merino sock yarn.  This colourway was dyed by the talented James of Fibre Alive, another sadly no longer indie dye business.  I cry a little every time I use one of his yarns because they are so lovely and I won’t be able to get any more!!

However, very pleased to now have another pair of yummy socks to add to my drawer!


At last.

Before we get started with today’s post, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated funds or bought patterns for donation of the proceeds to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts!  You are all amazing! :-)

This week, I decided to ignore my compulsion to cast on all the things, and instead focused on finishing some of the things!


Pinch me!  It’s finished!  Here is Robin, all done.  One word:  Love.

I was embarrassed to note that the start date on my Ravelry project page shows it has taken me nearly a year to complete!  I blame the stocking stitch island – the project sat unloved in my basket for quite a few months.  As much as I love this sweater, and am so happy to be wearing it, I think this will be the last all-over stocking stitch garment that I consciously decide to knit.   The result is great, but the process of getting there was decidedly not.  Having said that, I suspect stocking stitch sweaters are akin to giving birth – you swear at the time that you will never do that again, only to find that the pain is quickly forgotten at the thought of another adorable baby coming into your life.  I can say that because I have given birth.  Three times.

Grumbling aside, I Love this Sweater and it is going to get a very good amount of use.  I would attribute 70% of my happiness in this sweater to the yarn:  I chose to make it in Zealana Kiwi, a beautiful blend of organic cotton/brushtail possum/NZ merino –  one of my favourite yarns of all time! The colourways are 14 Majestic (darker purple, main body) and 06 Papura (lighter, finer stripe).  The yarn feels like your favourite pair of well-loved jeans that have been worn to death and are oh-so-comfortable.  Gently heathered from the different take-up levels of dye by the three fibres in this yarn, it also gives the garment what I would call a gracefully faded look. It’s my thing!

Zealana Kiwi never pills, wears like iron and does not go out of shape.  I can wear this sweater without fear of it being overly ‘precious’ to look after.  Kiwi has the softness and comfort of cotton, which makes this yarn perfect to wear against the skin, but blended with the warmth of wool and possum fibre. It is also (as you can see) not fluffy at all, and in fact, it is impossible to see that it is contains possum. As I write, I am wearing it with a merino base layer but as you can see below, I can discard the base layer when the temperature is warm, and still feel very comfortable.  Perfect!

In terms of the pattern, there is much that I like about it:  I love the extra fabric at the back.  Very flattering, and it also addresses the terrible discomfort that occurs with shorter sweaters that don’t quite cover the small of one’s back:  cold kidneys!  I love the neckline and the slight dolman sleeves which add to the comfort levels of wearing it.

Being a top-down sweater, there was very minimal finishing involved.  Only the endless ends to weave in from all the stripe changes… ;-)

Robin II

Project notes here.  Thanks to the youngest boy for the photos!

This weekend, I also finished the Vest.  I shall tell you about that soon.





Winding trails for Nepal

We’ve all heard the terrible news of the earthquake in Nepal.  The scenes of destruction are uncomfortably familiar, and heart-rending.  There is great need for help.

I have decided to do something on my part for the people of Nepal.

Winding trails

I finished the pattern for this cowl this week.  I am making it free, but in exchange, I encourage you to donate an appropriate amount to my chosen charity, Global Giving Foundation.  All funds received by Global Giving in this link will go to providing for survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.  Even a small amount will go a long way towards helping provide for immediate needs.

Amended to add: I have since discovered that most aid agencies are taking minimum donations of $10. If this is above your budget level, but you would still like to donate, I suggest buying one of my other patterns – all proceeds from the sale of any of my patterns for the month of April and May will be donated to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts.

I found this article very useful in helping me decide who to choose for donations.

winding trails cowl

This cowl was already called Winding Trails, but somehow it’s even more appropriate, as it calls to mind the winding trails of the Himalayas, and the difficult road that lies ahead for Nepal’s recovery.

Download here.

About this cowl:  This is an advanced beginner level pattern.  It is knitted in the round, using a 12 round, 7 stitch repeat.

You need approx. 200m/218yds of DK/sport weight yarn.   I recommend a yarn with drape, a reasonably smooth texture and round body.  An alpaca/merino, alpaca/silk or merino/silk type will be ideal.  In this sample I have used Outlaw Yarns Vanitas, an alpaca blend, DK weight yarn (100g/200m per ball).

Suggested needle size:  4.5mm.

Finished measurements:  70cm/27.5″ around and 22cm/8.75″ tall.