Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Sustain the Sea: Gyre

Long time readers of this blog will be aware of the free pattern collection I developed to highlight the importance of looking after our oceans:  Sustain the Sea.

Sustain the sea square

I have been absolutely thrilled to be joined in this initiative by Kiwi designers Mary-Anne Mace (Biophilia – pictured above) and Sonya Newstead (Empty Nets – pictured above).

Today, I’m honoured that we are joined by a wonderfully talented young designer, Josiah Bain, who hails from the United States of America.  It is truly exciting that this is developing into an international statement about our oceans, and that there are so many designers who are like-minded!

Josiah wrote to me recently offering to donate a pair of socks to this initiative:  Gyre.

A gyre is a system of currents in the ocean that spirals around a central point.  The gyre that these socks are named after is the North Pacific Gyre, the largest ecosystem on Earth. As well as being home to different marine creatures, the North Pacific Gyre is home to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He offers it here in the hopes that “awareness will be raised about the harmful practices and dreadful littering happening in our naturally splended oceans”.

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This is a beautiful pattern that harmonises completely with the theme behind the socks.  The socks are also very interestingly constructed. Please visit Josiah’s thoughtful blog post to read more about these socks, to download a free copy of the pattern and to find out about a very easy thing that all of us can do to contribute to the ocean’s health.

And who is his great model?

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Find that out too when you visit his blog!

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Thank you, Josiah, for this beautiful pattern, and importantly, for your own commitment to sustaining the sea!


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Knitting all the things

Hello!!

If you are like many in Knitting Land, the advent of December has suddenly induced the uncomfortable thought: “How much time left until Christmas!?”  I hope holiday and Christmas plans are going well!

The lack of a day job means that despite the end of year rush,  I am able to take as much advantage of the time while it is available to me to knit and especially to develop more of those designs that have been swimming around in my head for ages!

As a result, a lot is happening in my knitting world and there is a lot to show you!  So get yourself a nice drink to sip, make yourself comfortable and settle in for some eye candy!

I wanted to first say thank you for liking the Slipped Hat I designed for Zealana!  Had to show it one more time… so pleased with how it has been modelled and photographed! It is actually a quick knit, and if you do not choose to make a pompom, then you only need one ball of each colour for this pattern.  There are so many pretty colour combinations you could choose to knit this.  Another combination I thought of was Kale and Peppermint – dark teal and light mint together.  Yummy!  You could also go slightly off-grid and use Sugar and Deepwater – creamy silver and ocean blue variegated.  The combinations are many!

Image courtesy of Zealana

This year,  I have also taken it upon myself to do a limited amount of Christmas knitting. I’m choosing my recipients carefully.  I have recently been hearing “more socks!?” and “I have too many knitted things from you, it’s such a pain they take up so much space”, and to those family members, none they shall have! (I forgive them, because you have to be able to speak your mind when you are with family.  :-))

However, I do know for certain that there are a few people who should appreciate a knitted gift.  My son’s teacher will receive a hat.  From experience, teachers usually love to receive knitted things, so I hope he likes this thank you gift for being such an awesome teacher to my son this year…

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Compliant young man modelling said finished hat before it was washed and blocked.

It is knitted out of pure, naturally coloured New Zealand wool. The young man picked it out as he said his teacher would look good in it.  I’ve decided to be lazy and use a free pattern that seems to work well for many people.  Bonus points for being quick to knit!  I converted it to knitting in the round.  It works just as well, and then you don’t have a seam to sew afterwards.

I might also knit a similar hat for my brother, who spends a lot of time at sea, and likes my knitted things, and for my brother-in-law who works outdoors and is very knitworthy and makes my knitter’s heart burst with happiness at how he wears my knitted things into oblivion.  Better hurry though… time is ticking!

I’m also starting work on a new fingerless glove design that will also be a gift. More to come about that later.

Some socks have also been knitted as gifts.  You have seen most of them already.  One of them is a new design that I will introduce soon.

In addition to Christmas knitting for others, there has been some sock knitting happiness for me…

Joyeux Noelle

I have always fancied a Christmas sock, and Stray Cat Socks in Joyeux Noelle is just amazing!  The colours glow with a richness that isn’t properly captured by the camera.

Apart from gift and Christmas knitting, I want show you a new indie dyer from Australia, Circus Tonic Handmade. This is an indie dyer who is new on the market, and I rather like her approach to using Australian bird colours for inspiration.

Galah in Circus Tonic Handmade

This one is called Galah.  The yarn and I are having a difference of opinion at the moment.  It wants to be the design I’ve just drawn up.  I want it to be Melisandre. I have a feeling the yarn might win.  I’ve thought of another yarn that will look stunning as Melisandre, while Galah will be quite lovely in my new design (the yarn tells me I am being sensible).

Speaking of sock planning, here’s a peek at some gorgeous lovelies from Vintage Purls that I was playing with last week.  One of them is destined to become a sock design very soon. I hope!

Vintage Purls

I do not think I have told you yet that I have started Biophilia.  I am on the third lace set, which ends in nupps. Such a pretty, pretty, shawl!  I only allow myself to work on this on weekends, which is now my official ‘me’ knitting time – the rest of the week is designated to designing and knitting things on deadline, looking for a day job and doing parent stuff. It is very hard to keep my paws off it! Roll on Saturday!

Biophilia

Biophilia is being knitted in Knitsch 100% merino Sock in a colourway called Rocky Shore. It is very ‘oceany’ and lends itself well to the theme of the design!

I have been feeling the need for a summery cardigan, and after much looking at patterns on Ravelry, have whittled my choice down to Drops 95-21 Cardigan in Lace Pattern. I like how it looks on others, so I am confident it will look as good as it appears in the pattern.  Mostly importantly, there are not acres of dreaded stocking stitch to knit! I’m going to knit it in this super lovely Madelintosh Pashmina in Tart that was very generously gifted to me by a special friend:

Madelinetosh

Whether I get the time to do this before Christmas, in addition to starting on several gorgeous shawl patterns I have acquired (will show you next post) is highly unlikely!

You may be wondering what happened to Two Hearts.  The back has been ripped out three times as I have adjusted stitch count for a non-cabled back (too much cabling for my taste to have it on both the front and the back of the sweater, so I have modified).   Now that I have finally got the right number of stitches to suit my gauge and match the size of the front, it is progressing nicely!  It is not finished in time for the end of Wovember, but I shall have it in time for next winter! I won’t show you a picture of the back.  Stocking stitch is not the most interesting thing to photograph.

Speaking of Two Hearts, the knitter mentioned in my last post about this was mortified about reader reactions to her pointing out the mis-crossed cable.  She said, “Well I certainly didn’t mean it like that! I guess if it was me, I’d be much happier that someone had pointed it out when I had a chance to fix it – which is what happened. And what a brilliant job, and a new knitting skill picked up! At the start of the conversation, I guess I was fishing about to see if it was something I could mention – therefore giving the opportunity to fix, or whether I’d just get thumped. I may have done it inelegantly, but I credited WS with making phenomenal garments, and figured she’d probably want to know – while it was still a very easy fix. I would definitely want to know, and have dropped down around 100 rows to fix a miss-crossed cable.” (And knowing her, yes, she certainly would have done that!)

I am glad that she pointed out the error, and have expressed my thanks, because I learned so much in the process, and as she said, I did want to know while it was still an easy fix!  Some mistakes can be left, but that one was just too much over the line for my tolerance levels!

There is so much more to talk about, but I’m going to stop here and save it for another post.  Thanks for staying with me, and thank you for sticking with me over this year.  I really enjoy reading your comments.  You often make me laugh or smile in delight at what you say.  You have been good company!

A bit of non-knitting to finish.  The hay makers came last week.  It was nearly dark by the time they got to the field next to the house, which is why the photograph looks like this:

Hay making

This is the field now:

Afterwards

You can see how long the grass was by the fact that it nearly hides the calves grazing the edges!

Calves in field

I’m rather enjoying seeing all the different looks to this field over the year.


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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!

 


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Geeks that weren’t and were

I recently finished knitting a pair of Geek socks which are to be a present (seems like I am doing a bit of Christmas gift knitting after all!)  I took some pictures as I was knitting them to explain some of the technical aspects that are specific to afterthought heels and that sometimes catch people unawares.

One of the questions I got when the pattern was first released was how to measure the length of the foot when there is no heel to measure.  In the photo below, I am about to start shaping the toe of the Geek sock.  The part where the heel begins on the Geek is where the waste yarn (green line) goes through the blue section – see how I have aligned it to the inner edge of the heel flap?

Measuring foot length

From the green line, the measurement to the beginning of the toe shaping is the same as if you were measuring from the inner edge of the gusset/heel flap (as illustrated above).  This way of measuring has never been an issue with me because I learned to measure sock length using this method (the final measurement of the sock automatically includes the addition 2″/5cm of heel depth). However, I know that others do measure from the back of the heel, and this is probably why some had difficulty.

Next I went along merrily shaping the toe, and then I went back to work the afterthought heel.  I completed the heel and then did a test try-on of the sock.

Apologies for the poor quality of the next pic – it was taken with my phone camera to post to Instagram.

Geeks in a mess

Disaster!  Silly me did not check against what I had written in my own pattern, and I had not worked two plain rounds after picking up all the heel stitches from the waste yarn and before starting the heel shaping.  The sock was far too tight around the ankle as a result.

Now, by this stage I had also confidently woven in all the ends, and do you think I could find them all for the simple task of ripping the heel!??  I got madder and madder, then out came the scissors.  Snip! Snip! Snip!  Fine then!!  I shall reknit the foot and afterthought heel instead!  I have to say certain therapeutic value was gained from cutting up that sock…

Finished Geeks

They turned out well in the end. Those afterthought heels sure look odd compared to a normal heel, but they fit just as well (so long as one remembers those extra rounds before starting to shape the heel!)

I’m not a fan of blocking socks.  My take is that they block when you wear them, so why bother!  The only value that I see in sock blockers is that they make the sock look pretty if you’re going to photograph them unworn.  If you are giving the socks away, I guess they do give them a certain ‘finished’ look!

I’m fairly sure that most people instantly recognise this yarn, but if you are wondering, it’s Stray Cat Socks in the Aotearoa colourway.


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Biophilia

Today, Mary-Anne Mace, New Zealand lace designer extraordinaire, released Biophilia.
Biophilia
(photo copyright of Mary-Anne Mace)
I am so very, very touched that Mary-Anne has freely contributed this design to the Sustain the Sea initiative. She brought tears to my eyes when I saw what she had created, and read her message below.  Here are her words about Biophilia:
“Biophilia is a term first used by psychologist Erich Fromm, and developed by biologist E. O Wilson to describe a hypothetically innate human tendency to feel an emotional attachment to the natural world.

 Regardless of whether the tendency for biophilia exists or not, human dependence upon the natural world and its complex ecosystems is a fundamental truth.  The idea that human wellbeing is utterly dependent upon our positive interactions with the natural world and its biological diversity makes conservation of the planet’s ecological systems imperative. This decades old theory is even more relevant today as we continue to transform the planet in our quest for perpetual economic growth.

This shawl, Biophilia is a part of the Sustain the Sea collection. It is a free pattern, and yet it is not free. I ask that you consider your relationship with the natural world around you, and how your activities impact upon it. Is there something you can do to reverse environmental degradation from your home, in your community? I ask that you actively do something, and continue to do something that benefits the environment. To be effective, conservation and protection of the Earth’s resources and ecosystems must be adopted in the home, and then spread outwards through workplaces, schools, boardrooms, and government departments via policy makers, educators, parents, conservationists, writers, idealists, you and me. From the home to the sea – while environmental degradation may seem an insurmountable by-product of human activity – together we are many. Together we are so many, many people – ourselves a huge, diverse, and imaginative repository of information, solutions and actions that can benefit the environment, our relationship to it, and ultimately our own wellbeing.

Biophilia is a top-down crescent shaped shawl that represents my own connection to and affection for the natural environment. The motifs represent filament strands of entangled seaweed billowing in the ocean currents. Beads are worked at the edge and drip from each picot point.” – Mary-Anne Mace

Biophilia 2

(photo copyright of Mary-Anne Mace)

Thank you, Mary-Anne.

I’m sure you will agree that Biophilia is a stunningly beautiful shawl.  Mary-Anne has very eloquently expressed much of what I feel, and now I have a name to put to it:  Biophilia!

I’ll be casting on for this shawl very soon.  Join me!  Download the pattern on Ravelry – link here.


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The nature series: Bark

I love to make beautiful fabric.

Knitting

The feel of the yarn as it threads through fingers and around needles.

The enjoyment of seeing a beautiful thing coming out of what was once (very pretty) wool string.

Creating

The excitement of seeing a concept become reality!

Sock

I’ve been looking at a lot of texture in nature lately.  Bark and the things that grow on bark have been particularly fascinating.

BarkThey have inspired and motivated.

Bark socks

These are the first design in my nature series.

Bark socks 2

As you can expect, they are called Bark.  🙂

I have used Tanis Fibre Arts’ Blue Label (80% wool, 20% nylon) in the Tartan colourway.  It is, I think, perfectly matched to the inspiration, where you can see many colours that harmoniously blend on the bark of a tree.

This is an easy pattern, designed for knitters who want an interesting sock to knit without having to concentrate too much.  This pattern suits any standard weight sock yarn.  The stitch pattern is in multiples of four, which means that it can be easily adapted for non-standard sock yarn weights or other sizing by the addition or subtraction of stitches.  Sizing is provided for an adult small, medium or large size.  You need approximately 320m of yarn for the medium size.

I’m making the first of these designs free, in celebration of the free joy that nature gives us.  Download here.

I plan to release three designs in all.

Enjoy!