Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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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.

his-eriskay-collage-2

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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The Pirinoa Poncho

A few months ago, Mary Furness-Weir of Maniototo Wool, approached me to help her design a child’s poncho.

I was intrigued by the concept that she suggested, and thought it would be a nice challenge to design a garment for a change, so I said yes.

Today, after much swatching and discussion and test knitting (thanks Mary!), we are delighted to present The Pirinoa Poncho!

Pirinoa poncho

DK Pirinoa Poncho

The poncho has been designed to fit children aged 18 months – 4 years old.  There are two versions of the pattern – one in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool DK and the other in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool aran weight yarn. The little girl (2 yrs old) is wearing the DK version, and the little boy (3 yrs old) is wearing the aran weight version.

Aran weight Pirinoa Poncho

I am so in love with how the poncho has turned out, especially now I see it on the children it will fit.  These stunning photographs were taken by Emma Mehlhopt (said Mel-hop), a very talented photographer, who specialises in photographing children and family portraits (Cheekyart.co.nz). Hasn’t she done a super, super job!?  I am so grateful to Emma for these beautiful photographs. And to the models’ mums for allowing their adorable children to be photographed.

Pirinhoa Poncho

There is a backstory to this design:  Once upon a time, Mary’s grandchildren had a poncho a bit like this.  They wore it from the time they were two years old and right up until they went to school.  It was a family favourite, very handy for throwing on between car and house, particularly in the bitter coastal winters where they live in the Wairarapa (the area is called Pirinoa, hence the name of this poncho). Mary thought that perhaps there may be other children who would also love to have a poncho like this, and so the concept was born.

This design has a special place in my heart:  it was designed in the Wairarapa, inspired by a Wairarapa family, photographed in the Wairarapa on little models who also live there, and is named after a place in the Wairarapa. In a way, it encapsulates a lot of what I loved about living there.  Family, friendship, community, lifestyle.  Thank you Mary, for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this one.

The pattern can be obtained in several ways:

  • A single printed leaflet from the Maniototo wool website, or at any outlets that sell the yarns – Country Rumours, 11 Talbot St, Geraldine; The Woolroom, 52B Ribbonwood Road, Geraldine, or markets such as KAN (Napier) and WOOLFEAST (Christchurch);
  • Printed patterns are available at The Land Girl, Pirinoa Village, where it is available in a kit including enough wool to make the poncho in either Aran or DK weights and a circular bamboo knitting needle. The first kits to sell will include a set of beautiful handmade wooden buttons; and

Handmade buttons

  • In soft copy (PDF) from my Ravelry store. DK version here and Aran weight version here.

Each of the printed patterns (from any outlet) will contain a one-time use only code so that you can also download the pattern to your Ravelry library.

Pirinoa Poncho

Yarn for the pattern can be obtained from Maniototo Wool’s website, where you can choose your colours. There is plenty of lovely Aran wool available. Orders for the new season’s DK yarn will be placed on a waitlist (it is still at the mill).

Mary and I look forward to seeing your own versions of these cute ponchos pop up on your project pages soon!


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Mary, Mary, quite contrary

I am delighted, very happy, most relieved, to release the pattern for Mary, Mary today!

Mary, Mary socks

This is fun, feminine design inspired by the nursery rhyme “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”.  The main motif on this sock reflects “silver bells”, while delicate mock cabling along the sides are the “cockle shells”.  The use of softly coloured yarn from Circus Tonic Handmade contributes to the overall delicate look of this pattern.

This particular version uses the Western Whipbird colourway.  As you’ll know, I also knitted versions in the Galah colourway:

Galah colourway

and in Vintage Purls (I think it was called Whisper of Doubt, if I remember correctly):

Mary, Mary in Vintage Purls

I’m very happy with how these socks have ultimately turned out.

Mary, Mary socks

They are definitely one of my favourite designs!

Many thanks also to my test knitter for her feedback on the pattern.

I want to thank readers for your patience in having to wait so long for this pattern.  I am offering this pattern at 50% off for the next three days (until 20 April 2016) (regular price is going to be NZ$5).  You don’t need a code – the discount will apply automatically.  Download here.

There are also going to be opportunities to receive a free copy of this pattern.  Hang tight while I work out the details!


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Seriously Pretty

For a long time, I have hankered after a pretty, feminine yarn, with the barest hint of blush.  Something that reminded me of the palest cherry blossom scattered over clean white sheets.  I never was able to find that colourway, until Circus Tonic Handmade appeared on the scene.

When I saw Hannah’s Galah colourway, that beautifully muted pink and grey, I knew it had to be mine.  And then I started knitting it, and the pattern I have had in my head for a long time (but wasn’t able to find the right colour yarn for it) sprang up and shouted “Me, me, me, me!!!”

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After much swatching and ripping, I realised the pattern had to be toe-up, which threw me a bit as I dislike the backwards (to me) way of knitting heels.  Then I remembered that I could always do an afterthought heel, and all was well with the world again!

This merino/nylon blend yarn (Revelry Sock) is the softest sock yarn I have ever laid my hands on.  The merino wool used to make this yarn is of very high quality. It is so soft, I was scared that it would be weak, but it is not.  It is very well spun, with a non-splitty, springy twist that is perfect for socks or anything else you want to knit it in. I like it very much.

I think there is definitely a place in the world for pretty, feminine colours.  Ones that aren’t super saturated, but not washed out either.  It’s my new favourite style of colourway!

I bet you want to see that design I spoke of?

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This is a sneaky peek of Mary, Mary.  All going well, I’ll be releasing the pattern towards the end of next week (dependent on testing time).  Mary, Mary, was inspired by the nursery rhyme, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  With silver bells and cockle shells, and little maids all in a row.”  It is a feminine design to match a feminine yarn, and I am very pleased with how it turned out in the end.  (The sock hasn’t been blocked yet, which is why it’s still a bit wonky looking).

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Can you see the silver bells and cockle shells?  I took the bell reference to be flowers like the Lily of the Valley which have little bells, and the cockle shells are run up the sides, like little borders on the flower beds.

The pattern is not hard to knit.  I will give you links to the Turkish cast on that I used (it is so simple, it is my favourite method for double-sided cast ons) and how to work out the length of the foot before commencing the heel.  The heel will also have a surprise.  I worked out how to knit a cushioned afterthought heel that fits well.  I am very pleased with it and for me, it will help very much with the holes that always develop first on the bottom of my heels!

On a final note, speaking of pretty, I saw some truly amazing and exciting New Zealand produced yarn this weekend.  Mary Furness-Weir of Maniototo Wool has produced a special new yarn this season – it is called Luxury Lambswool (from the wool of ram lambs). It is a worsted-spun, DK weight yarn.  I have never felt anything so beautiful.  It has drape, sheen, it is incredibly smooth (due to the worsted spin) and it is soft.  Oh so soft (22 micron).  It is quite tightly spun, which makes it even more different to the usual DK weight wool yarns.  It makes my head burst.  I want it ALL.  I don’t have photos (Mary only had two skeins for her own use on her when she showed them to me and I stupidly forgot to take a photo… I was too busy coveting).  I have regrammed one of her posts showing the yarn – have a look at the Instagram photo on my sidebar (visible if you are reading this post on a PC), and you’ll see the yarn.  Or if you follow me on Instagram (Kiwiyarns), you’ll see it in my feed.

If you hurry, you’ll find some on the indie shelf at Holland Road Yarn Company this month.  Mary will be in store at lunch time tomorrow (Monday), in case you are in Wellington and have time to meet her.

I had better get cracking and produce more patterns so I can afford to buy some before it is all gone!


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The knitted highlights of 2015, hopes and dreams for 2016

When I posted my goals of 2015, I certainly didn’t realise I would spend six months of the year working full-time and feeling exhausted for most of it.  I thought I was being conservative by setting a goal of 36 pairs of socks for 2015.  In the end, I only knitted 29 pairs, and a heap of other things.  All in all, 55 projects.  A couple of them are nearly-completed WIPs, and others are still in progress, but it’s not too bad a number considering.

These are some of my highlights:

Socks of 2015

These are the knitted socks from other designers that give me a little thrill every time I put them on (the blue ones were gifted, but I definitely want to knit my own pair!) Interestingly, these socks were the ones I also found most challenging!  Three of these pairs are Claire Ellen designs – Yavanna, The Falls of Rauros and In the Golden Hall.  The blue one is Embossed Leaves.

These are the non-socks that I knitted in 2015  that I was most happy with and have worn extensively since they were completed:

Garments of 2015

Hybrid Vigour, Empty Nets and Robin.

Favourite sock designs that I completed or released in 2015:

Sock designs 2015

The green sock design is still to be released, in case you are wondering why you don’t recognise that picture! Details of these designs and more are in my Ravelry store.  It seems it was my designing that suffered the most in 2015.  I only released nine patterns, and some of them feel like they were knitted a very long time ago.  I have so many more ideas in my head, but it takes a huge amount of energy to release a pattern, and it is mental energy that I just did not have. Hopefully I’ll have the time to release two others in late January that have been knitted, but just not formatted.

A summary of the projects of 2015 are:

2 x soft toys

2 x pairs fingerless gloves

7 x garments (3 of them are still in progress)

10 x shawl/scarf things (3 are still WIPs)

5 x hats

29 x pairs of socks (one of two may still need finishing)

Total meterage knitted is about 19,000m/20,800yd to date for 2015.  Now I know why I keep having to fill yarn holes in my stash.

I’m not sure if I managed to edge away much from my definite colour preferences, but I think we always reach for what we like/something to suit the mood, so I think that part is just not worth forcing!

The year ahead

2016 is going to be interesting.

I am part of a group of three organising a Wellington region yarn event to be held in the Wairarapa in October 2016.  Full details are still to be worked out, but we have had a heap of good comments back, and a lot of enthusiasm for it, which is most encouraging!  It is beginning to feel quite exciting!

I may have to make some very tough decisions about where I live and how I work.  Things will sort themselves out in the next month (I hope!!!)  The job/financial situation is becoming a bit dire.

On the knitting front, I don’t really know whether to set any particular goals. I still have that book’s worth of socks I want to design.  I think one main objective will be to decrease the size of my stash.  It is glorious, and I adore my stash, but I am starting to feel the need to de-clutter, and that means less yarn coming in than going out (notice I haven’t said “no buying yarn…” hehe).  However, if I do what I want to and knit a few more garments in 2016, that should quite easily take care of a lot of it.

I think I will still aim for 36 pairs of socks in 2016.  Socks are quite easily knit in a couple of days, and I love knitting them.  I am starting to run out of victims to gift socks to though… it may mean I have to start a second sock drawer!! Or maybe I should start knitting larger socks and knit more for the male members of the family.  That will mean buying more “man colour” yarn.  Oh dear!  😉

Man coloured yarn

This looks like a reasonable start though.  Perhaps I have more gender-neutral yarn in my stash than I imagined!

The interesting thing is that at a certain point of time (most commonly, around the 1st of a year for some reason) we stand still and make predictions about what we want to do or how we think events will unfold.  Quite a lot of the time, those predictions do not eventuate due to unforeseen circumstances (because no matter how much we try, we cannot predict the future).  Or they may take place in a different form to how we imagined.  So I am going to take life as it comes in 2016.  Important life principles will always happen (like making time for family).  There are certain things to work towards (eg. the yarn event) and certain things to accomplish (ie. find a decent job), but I am looking forward to being adaptable towards how those things happen.

I leave you with a photo of a balloon we saw in the early morning sky last week.  Just like that balloon, I hope your dreams carry you to amazing heights, that you are thrilled and delighted by your accomplishments, and that plenty of time happens in which to enjoy the company of friends and family.  Here’s to a Good 2016!

Balloon


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Gift pattern from Zealana!

Today, Zealana released a free pattern in time for the holidays.  It is designed by me!

Image courtesy of Zealana

Image courtesy of Zealana

I am super happy with how it has been photographed and styled – what a stunning model and location!

Image courtesy of Zealana

The pattern is available for download from Zealana’s website page – visit their Facebook page for the link, or if you don’t have Facebook, download it from their website here.

The colourwork in this hat is a slipped stitch pattern, popularised by Barbara Walker as mosaic knitting.  Mosaic knitting is easy to knit and faster than traditional stranded colourwork because only one strand of yarn is used in each round. The double-sided band makes for extra warmth around the ears.  It is finished with a stylish pompom.

Image courtesy of Zealana

This hat is worked in the round.  When working the slipped stitches, the working yarn is always stranded across the wrong side of the work.  Remember to keep the floats loose by spacing the slipped stitches.  There is no need to break the yarn between color changes.

Image courtesy of Zealana

The hat uses Zealana Cozi in the Bittersweet and Custard colourways.

Materials needed are 2 balls of Bittersweet and 1 ball of Custard.  You also need 2.75mm and 3.25mm circular needles, stitch markers and a pom pom maker.

Hat is 21” / 54 cm around the band and 9.5” / 24cm tall excluding the pompom.  Fits the average adult head and allows a moderate amount of slouch.

Happy Knitting!