Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Blocking be good (ish)

I hope you have had a lovely week, and are enjoying your weekend!

The last post I wrote was about the mods I made to the cardigan I was about to finish.

I thought I would show you the finished object today, which gives a stark illustration of how yarn can be affected by washing/blocking.

The image on the left is the finished cardigan before it was blocked. The middle and right side images are of the cardigan after it was blocked. Can you see how much it has grown with blocking? I did not stretch it out – this is just the size it became after the yarn was wet. (Click on the images if you’d like to see a larger-sized version).

I anticipated that the yarn would grow more than a non-superwash yarn, as experience from handling yarn over the years told me the feel of the superwash said “I will grow when you block me.” Still, I was hoping it wouldn’t grow quite so much – the cardigan isn’t as cute as I wanted it to be, but I think the once the weather gets warmer, it will look nice with a skirt and t-shirt or over a dress. Apart from not using this yarn, I don’t think there was much else I could have done to prevent it getting bigger except to knit it very small. The risk then would have been just how small to knit it?  Swatches do not always tell the truth… All in all, it is a very lovely yarn, and I am still pleased I chose to use it.

Thank you very much for all your lovely comments in that post about whether I should fix the dye before wearing the cardigan. In the end, I decided to see how much dye was going to get released from washing, and it wasn’t much at all. I always wash red clothing separately to other colours because any red does have the propensity to bleed, so I will do the same with this cardigan, and there should be no issues in future!

The exact quality of blocking a garment and being able to open up a pattern and stretch out a fabric will be most welcome in the next project I am about to finish:img_2994-800x449

This is one of the very talented Mary-Anne Mace’s beautiful shawl designs, Lacebark. It seems I must always have a Lace Eater Design on my needles! Knitting her designs is like reading a good book – compulsive, and hard to put down! img_2995-800x449

I used an Ozifarmer’s Market gradient for this shawl (Ozimerino in Dusk), and I love it. The only thing was that I knew I would run out of yarn before I ran out of pattern, but decided that this was the yarn for the pattern!  I wanted the wider end to be darker, and knew that I might have issues finding a yarn to match the colour. I hoping that the yarn I found in my stash will work.  It seems to be working out so far, but I’ll know properly once I finish it and view the final blocked result.

Most of Lacebark is an easy knit, but the final few charts do have a few mind-stretching exercises with lace on both the right and wrong sides. Sometimes, my work-weary brain found this a little hard to cope with, and when that happened, I retreated to the comfort of plain vanilla socks.

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This is one of Doespins’ pretty variegated yarns that I got from her a while ago. It’s a high twist Blue Faced Leicester yarn in the Wild Rice colourway.

Happy knitting!  I hope to be back soon to show you the finished Lacebark, which I am much looking forward to wearing!

 

 

 

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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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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.

 

 

 


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Discoveries and meet-ups

Before I start today’s post, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your caring and concerned comments on my car crash. I may not be able to respond to each and every one of you individually, but your thoughts and kind wishes mean a great deal. Thank you, so much.

This week has been a little hard. Bruised ribs and whiplash don’t go away very quickly, but I am on the mend, and the young boy appears to be completely recovered, which is a massive relief! The insurance company is still to pay out as they are waiting on the police report before doing so. Hopefully that will not be much longer. Being without a car is a major hindrance!

So let’s move on to happier things and talk about knitting!

I finished the edging on Southern Skies, and here is the finished shawl. I have to say, I love it very much. The swirls of colour through it remind me of the southern lights, and as someone said on my Instagram account, it also looks a bit like a galaxy! Thanks again, Audry, for a beautiful pattern, and thanks to Anna Gratton for such a lovely night sky colourway.

The yarn is Anna Gratton’s 4 ply 100% wool, and I made only one change to the pattern – instead of a garter border, I knitted on a Shetland lace Brand Iron edging. It has made the shawl larger and also a bit more feminine, which I like.

Having a lot of time to knit on the train on the way to work has meant that I have been giving socks a bit of attention this week. This is Dark Harbour Yarn‘s lovely Jetsam sock in Narwhal Hits the Disco. I see she has a very similar Rare and Exotic Beast in her shop at the moment which would be almost identical in my opinion. I am using my Bark sock pattern to liven the knitting up a bit.

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Before I start on yet another new shawl, I have decided I need to finish another long time WIP.

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This is my Ulva Lactuca shawl in laceweight, using Zealana Kiwi. At this weight, it has become more a summer shawl/scarf style, which will be nice to use when the weather warms up again.

Being a blogger and reader of blogs has given me lovely opportunities to meet some wonderful people.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of having coffee with Keiry Belton, co-author of Stitching up Paris – The Insider’s Guide to Parisian Knitting, Sewing, Notions and Needlecraft Stores.

If you have not heard of her yet, Keiry has just returned from a period living in Paris as an expatriate. I enjoyed following the blog she wrote about her adventures while there.  While she was there, she also co-wrote Stitching up Paris with Barbara Cattoni, another expatriate living in Paris, who runs personal walking tours of Parisian stitching stores at http://www.stitchingupparis.com.

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Stitching up Paris is the ideal companion for any needlecraft fan. The contents are organised very neatly into both genre (knitting/fabrics/embroidery/haberdashery/vintage and shabby chic) and by also by area. This makes it easy to find the information you are after.

Well written, and filled with beautiful photography, I  especially loved reading the little stories about the stores/areas that accompanied the reviews.  If I ever get a chance to visit Paris, this book will be coming with me!

The book is available to purchase here and if you live in New Zealand, I understand that the book can also be purchased from Minerva.

I leave you today with a new indie yarnie discovery:

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This is Artist’s Palette Yarn, a UK indie dyer. With the exchange rate happily a bit friendlier at the moment, I took the opportunity to indulge in some pretty colourways. Her palette is very much to my taste – one of those sites where you could happily tick ‘one of everything please!’

Hope you are having a marvellous weekend!