Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Another chapter begins

Hello my wonderful knitting friends.

The last time you saw a post from me it appeared that I was riding off into the sunset with the man whom I had chosen to share my life with. Well, life as we know has good bits and bad bits, and it turned out that 2018 ended on one of the most horrible notes I have ever experienced. My relationship came to a sudden and shocking ending and I found myself heading once again back to Wellington, where it was possible for me to get a job that allowed me to be self-sufficient. That’s about it in a nutshell. My Instagram account has detailed some of the general happenings of the last year, so let’s fast forward get to something more positive.

2019 has begun with us once again back in Wellington. After house hunting, new job starting, new school searches and unpacking our lives from storage, life has begun to settle into a semblance of normality, for which I am very grateful.  

Much to my relief, the boy is enjoying his new school. He is in no mood to move again, which I fully appreciate! This year is his first year of senior school, and we have agreed that it would be a good idea to stay in one place for the next couple of years until he graduates.

The good thing for me is that I have knitting time again, my creative pressure valve which keeps me sane and connects me to my wonderful tribe of like-minded people.

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This is the Suburban Wrap by Joji Locatelli. I’d like to thank the very lovely Jose for the gift of this pattern. I like it so much that I’m tempted to knit another.img_20190330_144244

I used a merino/silk/yak single base for this pattern. Two skeins were from Happy-go-knitty, in Sikkim, and a third from Circus Tonic Handmade in the Hojtid base. I love the drape and warmth of this wrap. As you can see, it’s a little shorter than the shawls I usually knit. If I did work this again, I think I’d add another lace panel repeat. I certainly had enough yarn left over to do that.

I have also finished the Maniototo Sweater using the very wonderful Maniototo Wool. This is the DK woollen spun version in Blackberry. So cosy and warm – it has served me well in the first days of winter experienced this week.

I’d like to also talk about another good thing that happened. During the move from Wellington, I lost our dear and wonderful kitty, Roly. He has always had a horror of the cat carrier, change and the car, and in the attempt to move him into the car on the day of the shift, he ran away in fright, and I was unable to catch him in time to come with me to Nelson. Despite frantic notices on lost pet sites, and friends looking for him at our old house, I heard nothing for six months. Then one day, the phone rang, and it was the vet, telling me that the neighbour had found him!

By that stage, it was unclear which direction life was going in, so I arranged for him to go into a cattery until life became more certain.

And now, he is home. I am so very, very happy that we have him with us again. He has settled back into his old routines as if nothing has ever changed. This is a blessing for which I am also very grateful.

I have to say that I am not at all comfortable with this new format that WordPress has developed for blog entries… I’m really struggling with getting the look right, and time is precious.

So, a brief’ish note from me today. I am not sure if I will be able to continue writing here, but it seemed wrong to end this blog on the previous entry, which is so not my life any more.

Writing a blog takes a very large investment in time, and a strong desire to share in a personal way. Life events of the past six months have left me feeling more than a little broken. Culminating on top of years that have mostly felt like a struggle, my mojo to blog is at an all-time low.

I’m hoping that with time as my healer, my desire to share all the goodness that the knitting world has to offer will resurface. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, where it is easier to put little snippets and moments of life. Happy knitting, and may good karma be with you always.

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Life 3.0

Hello my lovely readers. It has indeed been quite some time! How has life treated you? I hope well, and that there have been some wonderful knitting moments enjoyed in among all the adventures.

It feels like time is passing faster than a shooting star, and life happenings do not appear to be slowing down, so before yet another month slips by, here is a quick update!

  1. I moved. To Nelson.

Nelson is a very beautiful place. A nice man lives here too. He invited me to come join him. I thought I should give it a go. 🙂 The boy likes the new place too. He thinks his new school is much nicer than his last one. And he gets to bike to school – hooray for exercise! (says mum).

It’s no wonder that Nelson is known for being one of the most scenic parts of New Zealand.

There are beaches,

and mountains

and interesting things to see in them.

There have been quite a few comings and goings since I moved, and in between settling into a new job and life, more exciting things have happened:

2. My daughter got married!

It was a wonderful, happy, intimate day. The bottom image is of all my three kids together. The wedding happened in Melbourne, where my daughter and her husband lived. They chose to get married on St Kilda beach, their happy place.

After the reception, I took the boy to Luna Park, which was on the way back to our accommodation. He had a great time. He’d like to go back.

3.  I went to Unwind, my first knitting retreat!

There was yarn. A lot of yarn.

There was knitting with lovely people and sharing accommodation with knitty friends. It was absolutely awesome to meet people whom I had previously only known digitally, and to be able to put a face, a voice and a personality to the name.

There were dinners at which amazing knitting was admired. This is a knitter’s Celestarium. I absolutely love the edging she put on her shawl!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a knitting retreat without damage to the bank account… Some of this went to friends, but I admit there was a bit of yarn piggery involved!

It was such a privilege to spend three entire days doing nothing but knit, and talk knitting, and be around knitting people. Morag (Vintage Purls) did an amazing job organising the event, and I’d love to go back next year if I can. It was also my first time in Dunedin, a city most worthy of a second visit.

Thanks to going to Unwind and consulting with people who love colour, I managed to find the missing shade for my Three Colour Shawl. I ended up using Dark Harbour Yarn (silver with speckles) and (dark grey) and Hedgehog Fibres (mid-grey) for this shawl. I love it, and it is going to get a lot of use, as soon as the seasons remember that it is Autumn… it is unsurprising to know I am not enjoying this very long Summer.

So ends my quick update. It feels like I’ve done a bit of a life reboot. 2018 is going to be an interesting year.

My apologies for the bad quality of the photos. I’ve been using my phone to take photos recently, and it seems I need to take a bit more care with focus, now that I see the images in larger format!

I really hope I’ll get time to keep up with this blog this year. There needs to be a post about yarn in Nelson, obviously, and although 90% of my stash is now in deep storage until I decide on my permanent place of abode (hyperventilation tends to occur when I think about this too much), I have got enough here to keep me busy for several months. I have discovered to my disappointment that knitting and relationships sometimes do not mix too well though… we went to the beach this weekend. I took out my knitting (what else is there to do if just sitting down right?) and there was a most scandalised “You didn’t!” remark… sigh. -.-

Thank you for keeping up with my blog and patience while I negotiate changing life circumstances. More than ever, I appreciate my knitting community.

Until next time!

 


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The sweater and other things

It appears that the last time I posted, I was about to knit this sweater:IMG_3343 (800x468)IMG_3335 (800x533)

And as you can see, it is done!  Quite a while ago in fact… I am aware that I have posted about it on Instagram and Facebook, but it seems wrong to have talked about it here, and then not show you the result.  The Wolf River sweater is now a new favourite, and I am extremely happy with the yarn I used, Maniototo Wool. It is light, warm, and delightfully cosy. It’s different to the superwash yarns – which are normally a lot denser. This is an extremely light sweater – I used only 470gms to make it.

I keep looking at the other amounts of Maniototo Wool in my stash, and thinking I must make another thing! Many more things!

Life this year has been extremely busy, stressful, sad, mad, happy, the full spectrum. Lately, there has been more joy than sadness, and that has been good. Some day I will tell you more, but I have been feeling very drained this year, and the words have not come. Hence my silence. I apologise I have been so quiet, and I do thank those of you who have stayed with me, and for your very caring and welcome messages that I have received. The next step, of course, is for me to reply!!

In three weeks, I will not be working for a while, and while that brings a certain level of stress in terms of finding a new source of employment, I have had to bring an end to my current job in order to find balance in my life again. I have come out of my shell a little over the last few weeks and having engaged with knitting friends, found that quite a few of my friends are undergoing the same experience. This year has been tough. For many!  I am looking forward to having ‘me’ time again, and to being able to spend more of it in the world of knitting and with my wonderful knitting friends on both this blog and in person. And to finding a job that I like a bit better.

You ask what I’ve been up to since I’ve posted here last? I have finished quite a few pairs of socks, but the only photos I have are on Instagram – the link in my side bar will give you a peek at what I have been up to if you would like to see!

I did manage to get around to taking some photos of my current main activity. This is the Assana wrap. I’m knitting it in Whimzy Sokkusu (variegated stripe), Tanis Fibre Arts (stone) and Dark Harbour Port yarn (dark blue lace). The colours are very complementary, and I am very excited about adding it to my winter wardrobe!

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My current obsession is this:IMG_3359

I am still playing around with possible colour combinations, but I do so love the muted effect of the speckle yarns in this pattern, and I am determined to try to replicate the general effect in my eventual yarn choices.

There has been a lot of “wishful knitting” happening. By “wishful knitting” I mean the getting out of pretty yarn from the stash, playing around with colour combinations and matching yarn to patterns.  Even if not much actual knitting happens… My living room looks like a yarn explosion has happened…

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I can’t believe it is nearly Christmas. It’s quite exciting in a way. A new year around the corner, new beginnings and new plans… I think it is going to be an eventful year, to say the least!

See you again, soon!

 


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Winter

“I think you need to knit a sweater next.” said my friend, Alex. She is right, I suspect. The current shawl and sock streak has enabled me to knit at times when I just need to knit and not think, and also produce beautiful neckwear that goes well with my wardrobe. But maybe it is time. I recently got some beautiful Maniototo Wool in Aran Style. Maybe it is time it becomes a sweater.

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I have not blogged much recently. A lot of it has to do with being fully occupied on the work front, which means that all I have felt like doing when I got home was to knit to lessen the effects of a stressful day.  I’ve also been dealing with a personal issue that has taken a lot of emotional energy.  Things are a bit ‘low’ here, but such is life, disappointing things happen, and at some point in time I hope to be back to my former, more balanced self.

I’ve finished/started a few things since you last saw me here:

I’m of course most proud of the lovely Speckle Tonic, another gorgeous Lace Eater design.

I used two skeins of Circus Tonic Handmade’s single ply merino. The colourways I used are Grey Whistler and Cape Barren Goose. I used almost the entire 200g, and ran out of the grey on the very last row.  This caused a bit of a predicament, but I decided to experiment by using the lighter colour for the bind off, and I think it actually has worked really well.

My Find your Fade shawl has fared less well. I find the lace on this design too random looking for my liking. The shawl is currently back in balls while I work up the motivation to start again and pick a lace detail that I can live with.

And in the meantime, pretty stripey socks are a great form of meditational knitting!

Now to tell you about a new family member who has come to stay: You may remember that we used to have a little mini lop rabbit, Cole. He had to stay behind when we moved to this house, but the young man hankered after his beloved pet and has never stopped wanting wanting him back. Recently, an opportunity came up to perhaps have him back, but I learned at about the same time that he had passed away.  Naturally, this was a very upsetting thing to learn, and made the young man even sadder that he would never see his lovely rabbit again.

Cole had fathered a set of babies before he passed away, and the daughter rabbit in turn, had recently had babies of her own. The young man was determined that we obtain one of Cole’s descendants, and in the time-honoured tradition of kids who get their parents in a situation where there is not much you can do to back out of it, someone has come to live with us.

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This is Caramel. He is lively and fun and full of energy.

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We won’t be able to have him in the garden because he’ll dig holes and be damaging to the property. But he gets lots of supervised hoppy time in the house, and he is busy endearing himself to us with his very engaging ways.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend wherever you are. I’m looking forward to an afternoon tucked up in front of the fire, enjoying the therapeutic effect of playing with sticks and string.


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Autumn

Hello!  I hope this post finds you well and happy. It is a misty, wet day today, and we are expecting a bit of weather over the next few days. I hope it isn’t too bad – the storm caused quite a bit of damage in Australia, I understand.

My favourite season of the year approaches, and I am much looking forward to crisp, frosty mornings and toasty nights in front of a warm, crackling fire.

The awesome thing about having an established garden is discovering the hidden delights that reveal themselves with each passing season. Here are some of the new treasures that I have been enjoying.

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Hydrangeas are slowly deepening into autumnal shades.IMG_3306 (1024x575)IMG_3305 (1024x575)

These gorgeous flowers have popped up and gaily decorate the garden. Does anyone know what they are called?IMG_3288 (1024x575)

The wood pile has been replenished, in time for that first cold night.

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And now, on to this week’s news!

Just for you Steph, here’s the baking I did this week, an oaty caramel slice. 🙂

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I made it a bit more fancy by adding coconut to the base and also topped it with sliced almonds. It has gone down very well at home. I took some to work to share, as there is no way we can finish it all without it going stale. Everyone thought it was very nice. If there is interest, I can supply the recipe.

Knitting this week has been reasonably productive due to the fact I now take the train to work instead of driving. I have to say, I much prefer not being stuck in anxiety-inducing traffic jams every morning, and being able to get to work at an earlier hour to boot! It also is a way to make me leave the office by 6pm so that I get home in time to cook dinner and spend an hour with the boy before he goes to bed.

Last week, I finished the Spring Creek Shawl, another beauty of a pattern from The Lace Eater. Here it is, styled as I have worn it to work all week:

Spring creek shawl

I just love it! The border has a beaded lace design that Mary-Anne explains completely unintentionally looks like a dragonfly, but I think it actually fits the creek theme very well, given how dragonflies hover over streams. I used green beads, which I think gives the motif a more insect-like character.

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As usual with Mary-Anne’s patterns, she has provided a lot of knitting-interest-factor in this shawl, but none of the lace techniques are at all complicated.

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Some more details:

  • I used approx 180g of yarn (nearly one skein each of the two colours I chose – Tanis Fibre Art’s Dove colourway and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Mink)
  • I skipped the first colour change to create a larger block of colour in the first section, and deliberately engineered the remaining colour changes so that the more detailed lace was knitted with the darker semi-solid, to show up the pattern.

The other thing I finished this week were my train knitting socks:

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These are to be a gift for a friend who has the same size feet as me. I used Stray Cat Socks self-striping yarn in the Denim & Dandelions colourway. It’s such a fun colour combination! There is a little bit of greedy piggy in me that says ‘I want them!’ but honestly, with a drawer literally bursting with handknit socks of my own, it is time I did some sharing with knit-worthy friends.

So what’s next?

I am currently working on another pair of socks. These are the Cranachan socks from Issue 96 of The Knitter.  The yarn is Whimzy Sokkusu O in Flower Power. Sokkusu O is definitely one of my favourite sock yarn bases. I like how springy it is, and how defined the stitches are. Did you know it is milled in Italy?  It’s a little bit of fancy, and I like that I am supporting a base made by a quality manufacturer.

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I have also been quite enchanted with the Find your Fade shawl creations that I have been seeing all over the internet, and have been playing with some ideas of my own.

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I still cannot decide which colour combination to use, but all the favourites have been bagged up together, and I think the best thing will just be to start with the colour I am convinced has to be part of the shawl, and just let the ‘fade’ happen as I knit.

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week.

Happy Knitting!


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Catch up

Hello there! Things are certainly going pear-shaped with my intentions to blog regularly!  I have managed to disappear yet again for quite a while. As well as being busy at work, I have also been sick. There is a bug going around that knocks you sideways – a nasty thing that masquerades as a cold, but then you find yourself sapped you of energy and strength for quite some time afterwards. I suspect a few of you may have had it too. In my case, I was down for three weeks, resulting in very unproductive weekends. It has not been fun at all. And I have really missed my interactions with all of you.

However, I have had some time to knit, so it wasn’t entirely unproductive.  It is another reason I have been silent here. Knitting is such great stress relief.

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This is my lastest project – the Spring Creek shawl. I love the moodiness of the two colours together – Tanis Fiber Arts’ cashmere blend in Dove and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Mink.

Supplejack has been finished for a while, and I have been wearing it almost exclusively. I love it and am actually thinking of making another of this one – it is such a lovely design and a very fast knit. You’ll see there are a few ways to wear this shawl. In one of the photos you see me with a very special knitting friend. She lives in the UK, but she came over to visit her family, and we got to meet up!!! It was a most awesome weekend!

I used a combination of four yarns for Supplejack – Ruataniwha Dye Studio in NZ lambswool in the Spruce colourway (that’s the main lace panel), Dark Harbour Yarn Port in Limey and Pearls That Were His Eyes (bright green and grey) and Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Lotus (the variegated greens).

I have also been knitting socks.

These are a plain vanilla sock in Moods of Colours Softsock in a self-striping colourway.  The yarn was so pretty – I had to have me some!

These socks are ones I also finished a couple of weeks ago – Waving Lace Socks in Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry Sock in the Frilled Monarch colourway. Another very pretty colourway in one of my all-time favourite yarns!

I can’t believe it is autumn already. From this knitter’s point of view, the New Zealand summer has been rather marvellously cool, and I am glad of it.

The plums have come and gone, and now the apples are ripe, and making delicious apple pies and crumbles for one young man’s happy stomach. Homegrown produce is the best.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Happy Knitting!