Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



As I finish the second version of my new design, I thought I’d let you know I’m very, very pleased with it.  I hope you like it too when I finally reveal it in its entirety.

The only thing is – I keep seeing variations that I could knit!  I suppose I have to draw the line at some point and just stick to what has decided to come off the needles.

So while you are waiting for the pattern to dry, I thought I’d bore you with the story of how I came to design.

In the 70’s, when I was a child, my parents lived in Malaysia.  Back then, my mother decided it was more practical to have the family’s clothes tailor-made.  Being of British build, we were much larger framed than the tiny locals, and finding clothing that fit was a real issue (even though my mother was skeletally thin, and we were active, slim children with a Chinese dad).

It was fantastic for me – I’d sketch the designs of what I wanted to wear, and my mother would take me and my crude drawings to the dressmaker, who would then manifest my wishes in beautiful fabrics of cool cotton (and once, a gorgeous forest green silk from a recycled sari we got at a school jumble sale!)

When we moved back to New Zealand, there was a bit of a clash of tastes between by-now highly opinionated teen-aged daughter and mother, and she ended up giving me a small allowance to buy my own clothes, rather than face the trauma of going to town with me.  The only thing is… the allowance didn’t quite cover what it cost to buy clothing.  Many of you will remember that back then, it was actually cheaper to make your own clothes than buy them.  So I took to sewing and knitting for myself and my younger siblings too.  I even made my mother a couple of things – she still wears one of the tops, 20 years later!

I decided then that I wanted to be a designer when I “grew up”, and was even offered a job as a seamstress with a local design house after I left school.  For many reasons that I won’t go into here (although lack of mentoring, encouragement and confidence to pursue design would have had a large part to play in this) I ended up going on to study in the business field, living in Hong Kong, working in a corporate environment, raising three children, and that was the end of my creating.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and I found myself back in New Zealand where, thanks to my sister, I rediscovered a passion for knitting!

I suppose it was inevitable that the “picky” in me would start to want to do my own thing with knitting like I did with clothing all those years ago.

It is fortunate that I have a ‘real’ job to rely on to pay the bills, but it’s nice to have come full circle in a way.  I sometimes wonder what life would be like for me now had I stuck to my guns and gone on to design school.  Ah well, we cannot regret what has happened in our lives, but at least I can still design, after a fashion.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

11 thoughts on “Creating

  1. Am looking forward to seeing it in it’s entirety. Funny how when you get to a certain age you wonder what if I had done this or that. I wonder what I would be like now if I had been brave enough to spread my wings. But then I wouldn’t have the J’s, the life experiences and be who I am now.

    I wonder who I would be……….xx

  2. Such a great story, I really wish I had not grown up in a time where making your own clothes is much more expensive, there are so many great patterns and fabrics! I cannot wait to see your new design, anything with cables is automatically awesome though!

  3. Those heart shaped cables are absolutely gorgeous!
    Sometimes we take the longer path, but finally end up where we really wished to be. There’s so many designers who haven’t attended design school, some very famous ones are Gianfranco Ferre (architect), Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Paco Rabanne, etc. School is one thing, talent is other, and you – believe me – are talented.

  4. While you may not have “officially” taken the path of a designer, you are a talented designer all the same. I love your work (as you already know). xo

  5. Your path sounds similar to my path…I’ve always loved design and at 23 (a bit of a late start – ha ha at least that’s how it felt back then) I was accepted to FIDM but due to life circumstance, my upcoming wedding and a move from San Diego to Los Angeles, I decided to delay starting design school for a semester. Then life just happened, I got married, got a job that I enjoyed, I was happy and busy and thought do I really want to go back to school again… I decided not go pursue it. I don’t regret it, there’s no point, but there has always been that pull, so now almost 20 years later I’m circling back. I too have my day job that I’m grateful for…but am trying to transition.

    I am loving the heart cable design…it reminds me of the bleeding heart flower, beautiful.

  6. Thank you for telling your story, Wei Siew. Many people follow a path that makes sense early on, especially when we have to make a living. But many of us come back to what we love eventually, because that is what feeds our souls. :-). Your designs are lovely — simple, with an interesting focal point.

  7. Those cables look like hearts. I love it! Was that on purpose or a happy accident?

  8. Thanks for the back story.

  9. It must have been cool to be able to sketch out what you want and have it created for you – with sewing, I always found the sketching bit far more fun than the creating bit. But with knitting, the creating bit is at least as enjoyable.