Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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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. ūüôā 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…

IMG_3366

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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Wait…

Oh gosh. Since when did it become December!? Christmas is just around the corner, and there is still so much to do!

Isn’t it funny how the end of a year provokes a whole range of thoughts around life, deadlines, accomplishments, wishes. In a way, it is a good thing because it gives us a sense of time. In another way, it can unintentionally create feelings of stress that shouldn’t be there. I do find it a great motivator to remember to ‘do’ something with my life.

In this post, I think it’s time I fronted up and explained a bit about my less-than-regular posts of late. Make a cup of tea and settle in… this is a bit of a wordy¬†one!

Life has been quite distracted chez Kiwiyarns over the past couple of months. As of November, I began working in a permanent role, although I have been in a ‘caretaker’ role for that position for a few months now. It’s¬†a senior job that is giving me a lot of satisfaction (and finally, some life certainty!) but is also draining my energy and ability to keep up the blog on a regular basis. I do apologise for this, as I value your interaction with me so much. My life over the past few years would not have been anywhere near as rich or as fulfilling had I not started this blog and¬†pursued the path of knitting creativity. But none of that would have been nearly as good if it hadn’t been for the support and friendship I have received from you. I thank you for this from the bottom of my heart.

In¬†my dream life, I would be a full-time knitting designer, fully immersed in the art of knitting and sharing that dream. However, from what I have seen and learned over the past few years, it takes a certain life circumstance for that to become a reality for most people. ¬†Importantly, you need to have a financial backer (usually, one’s partner from one I can see!) to cover one’s life necessities while the business is growing into a going concern. This scenario is most likely never going to be mine, and I have to be realistic about ensuring some security around the rest of my life. Hence the pragmatic return to my former career.

This is by no means the end, and I do not regret for one moment, the risk I took to delve into knitting in a deeper way. Quite apart from the richness of human interaction (which is sadly lacking in a corporate environment), I also got to learn in an unfettered environment, I found freedom and the ability to create Рindependently of any rules or structure.  And I was able to live the life I wanted. It has been soul-restoring. This has been worth more to me than any money in the world. I also got to be closer to my son that I ever would have been otherwise, and that too, is worth more to me than any money in the world.

I am still knitting furiously in my free moments (another reason I am not writing as much) and would love to keep sharing bits of my life with you here. It just may not be as frequently as before. You’ll see I am reasonably good at keeping up on Instagram, mainly because it’s a very quick process to take a photo and say a few words – I would love to see you over on that forum too!

Now, what has happened with my knitting since I last wrote? There have been a few socks.

But as you can see, my usual output has been somewhat diminished.

I did make a start on the shawl I spoke about last time, but I am not in the mood for blue hands at the moment. The naturally dyed indigo based yarn I chose leaches blue on to your skin like nothing on earth, and perhaps in another head space I would be able to cope with it, but not right now. So today, I decided to frog it and use this instead:

anna-gratton-wool-silk-mohair-in-forest

It is going to be beautiful. It’s Anna Gratton Wool/Silk/Mohair blend in Forest.

I am on a bit of a shawl bender to be honest. Once I have got my Christmas sock knitting out of the way, or maybe after I finish Regenerate (using Anna Gratton’s Forest colourway above), I already have the next shawl’s yarn all ready to go:
supplejack-yarns

I am fairly sure this will be Supplejack. I’m using Tanis Fibre Arts Blue Label in Lotus, Dark Harbour Yarn Port in Limey and Ruataniwha Dye Studio 100% merino in Spruce.

And maybe the one after that…

img_3049-800x800-2

This one is also Mary-Anne Mace‘s fault. That woman just cannot stop producing the most breathtakingly beautiful shawl patterns… this yarn is earmarked to be Spring Creek, or maybe the newest pattern that she has designed that is still in testing. There will be time to decide. The yarn is also Dark Harbour Yarn Port in the Fairwater colourway. The light grey is¬†also Dark Harbour Yarn Port but I have lost the label and cannot remember what the colour was called.

That’s the great thing about knitting. So much creative potential, so much to knit! ¬†Just a pity there is so little time…

Wishing you a good run-up into the Christmas season. What are your plans? I for one, am much looking forward to my firm’s annual three week break over the Christmas and into 2017. It will be good to relax, enjoy family and friends, and knit, knit, knit!

 


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Unexpectedly

Hello!

I have been unexpectedly absent from the blog for a couple of weeks due to coming down with the flu,¬†a family vacation and some very busy times at work. It’s good to be back chatting with you!

We had an all-siblings and family get together to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. These photos are taken at Mount Maunganui (or looking across from Tauranga to Mount Maunganui) and are my teenage stomping grounds. It was lovely to¬†be on the beach again, feeling the sand under my toes. It was a contrast to Wellington beaches which are mostly¬†rocky, with their¬†own kind of wild beauty. Very different in character to the¬†gentle,¬†soft sand beaches I grew up on.

You can see larger images of these pictures by clicking on them.

Some knitting has been done, but not much, sadly.

I was unusually sick with the flu for several days, which even affected my ability to knit. (Fortunately, I was able to recover enough to attend my family gathering). And work has also eaten significantly into my spare time recently.

These projects cover the last two weeks –¬†the cardigan is a Drops pattern¬†that I am¬†modifying as I go. I do not fancy the¬†extended garter lapel in the front, so I will keep it straight edged. The cardigan has enough width without me needing to¬†any extra stitches. I also plan to knit¬†plain sleeves so that the overall effect is not too lacy.¬†The yarn is very special Madelinetosh Pashmina in Tart. A generous gift from¬†a very loving knitting friend.

The socks on the top are the finished ¬†V-Junkie socks, knit in Knitsch 100% merino sock, and the bottom pair are a plain vanilla pair worked in two colours. I used a now-discontinued indie dyer’s high twist merino sock yarn. They are the first contrasting toe/heel/cuff¬†socks I have made, and I am quite pleased with how they have turned out! They are also an effective way to use up those partial balls of sock yarn that aren’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks out of. I used approx 30gm of contrast sock colour and 60gm of the main colour.

One of the unexpected delights of the new place I am living in is the profusion of flowers that bloom in spring. I leave you with a small montage of some of the prettiness I see every day. It gladdens my heart РI hope to share a small piece of that joy with you.

My father and I were having a discussion¬†one day about plants, and gardens, and the simple pleasures of enjoying a piece of freshly picked fruit, or delight in a gorgeous bloom. He made the observation that the tree or plant you put in the ground is a gift to future generations, and that we are but temporary custodians of their fruit and beauty. Wise words indeed. Such a¬†simple act of planting can so powerfully contribute to someone’s future quality of life. After all, if it wasn’t for the efforts of previous people who lived in this house, I would not have all this loveliness to enjoy¬†now. I shall look after this garden, and add to it, so that others can continue to enjoy it long after we are gone.

A happy weekend to you, and Happy Knitting!


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The small things

Hello! I hope you are enjoying a relaxing weekend.

It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks for me and the busy-ness is not likely to stop for a while.   I have taken on a new position at work with much more responsibility (it is a temporary role, which I am not ungrateful for). Not much knitting time was to be had, so I am focusing on small things at the moment. I find the ability to finish something does help with lessening stress levels and keep the happiness in knitting.

The first was the Jackyll and Hide balaclava for the young man. He is very pleased with it. The pattern is very clever how it can fold up to become an ordinary hat. This was knitted in lovely aran style Maniototo Wool in the Matai colourway. It is a beautiful, warm orange. He has been wearing it constantly since I finished it (hat-style, in case you are wondering!)

The second lot of things I finished were a couple of pairs of tiny fingerless gloves for my nieces (3 – 5 yrs). ¬†I discovered that fingerless gloves for kids are a great way to use up sock yarn scraps! The pattern I used is my Adorable Kids Fingerless Mitts pattern. I have fiddled with the pattern some more, and¬†have updated it¬†– available at the link¬†if you’d like it.

This weekend, I decided to put my head down and finish that new sock pattern I have been working on for a few weeks.

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These are the Train Knitting socks. I started them when I was having to take the train to work. I was getting bored with knitting plain vanilla socks, but needed something that I could still knit without having to refer to a pattern much. I think the little windows in the socks are much like the flashing windows of a train as it travels along the tracks.

I will launch this as a new pattern in September to kick-start my contribution to the Socktober festivities happening over on the Carolina Fiber Girls’ podcast (the short answer is that I’m going to have a 40% discount on all my sock patterns from 15 September – 31 October). The yarn is Meraki Studio‘s sock base in a very pretty colourway called Tip Toeing Fairies.

I have used deep stash for this week’s new projects.

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The grey alpaca/polwarth blend is from the South Island by a producer who no longer makes their own yarn. It is on its way to becoming a Braidsmaid.

The socks are two part-balls that I decided to combine into a sock with contrasting heels, toe and cuff. I haven’t actually knit a pair of socks like this before, but am loving how the two colourways are working together.¬†The yarn is the work of the¬†lovely James, who sadly¬†no longer dyes. ¬†I do so miss it.

Some of the prettiness that is showing up in my garden – Spring is not far away, although it feels like winter has only just started. I am looking forward to seeing the apple, plum and peach trees burst into blossom.

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Happy Knitting!

 

 


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Why she knits

A long time ago (maybe¬†nine years ago), a certain person fell in love with knitting. ¬†It wasn’t that she hadn’t knit before, but this time, after many years’ break, it was different. ¬†Knitting became her constant companion. Consequently,¬†there has hardly been a day when she hasn’t spent some time knitting (the days that did not involve knitting were due to flu days where nothing was possible except to lie in bed and sleep).

She loved knitting and everything associated with knitting.  The yarns.  The colours.  The stitches. The techniques.  The tools.  The history.  The people she met.  The animals.  The sheep that the yarn came from.  Especially the sheep.  Everything was so exciting and new and interesting!

Coloured sheep closeup

At first, she thought that she would only ever knit scarves.  That did not last long, as she branched into knitting clothes for her children and nieces.

A cheeky monkey in fingerless gloves

Eric's slippers

 

Woody sweater

She discovered New Zealand makers of knitting yarn Рwhom she realised did not have a high market presence (but totally deserved better).  Having a deep interest in sustainability, she wanted to support them and especially to support the wool industry in New Zealand, which appeared to be suffering a lack of appreciation.

Awakeri Woolcraft yarns

Zealana Heron

Anna Gratton Chili Chocolate

So she began to blog, and somehow, ended up designing small accessories to support the yarns she loved, and an even deeper element to knitting opened up.

Fair isle hat

Living and breathing all the aspects of knitting Рthe doing, the writing, the learning, the reading, the seeing, feeling, knowing, sharing Рher appreciation of knitting and levels of happiness increased ten-fold.

Leighlinbridge Aran

After declaring that she’d never have the patience to knit socks, one day she decided to try. ¬†She discovered that her earlier decision was a mistake.¬†¬†It’s a neat¬†trick to take¬†a small amount of stitches, design it to fit¬†a small part of the body, and turn it into a package of cuteness. There are limitless ways this can be done, and entire universe of knitting just in this one small¬†garment! ¬†Much enjoyment is now being had in knitting ALL the SOCKS!

Fire Flowers socks

Twisted Flower socks

After many troubled episodes of failure, she swore that she would never be able to understand how to knit lace.  One day, she got tired of looking on in envy at the stunningly beautiful things that others were making.  So she bothered to take time to learn, and found that she could indeed knit lace. It was a great moment of triumph.

Golitha Falls Shawl 3

Nowadays, she takes great pleasure in creating the beauty of lace.

Lilli Pilli

Knitting has been long spoken of as a form of meditation.  The act of meditation quiets the brain, calms the heart, and stills the nerves.  The meditator focuses only on the act of meditation.  In the case of the knitter, this is her knitting.  It works.  It calms, soothes, relaxes (most of the time).  This is an extremely important need in our everyday busy lives and is a source of great comfort in times of stress.

The act of creating something beautiful acts as reassurance that something meaningful can come out of a life that is sometimes in disarray.  It also creates joy, and a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Knitting provides so many opportunities to learn: ¬†about everything associated with knitting! Each area can encompass years of learning before mastership: ¬†techniques ‚Äď cables, colourwork and lace, different knitting styles¬†and finishing techniques; yarns ‚Äď how the animal or plant is farmed, how the fibre is harvested,¬†how its made into yarn, how different spin affects garment performance, ¬†how different¬†fibres are suitable for different purposes, how the treatment of the fibres affects garment performance; colour ‚Äď dyeing; different garment construction and design, the list is virtually endless. ¬†It‚Äôs a universe of learning and fulfilment that could fill one‚Äôs days to the end of time.

And so it does. ¬†She wakes up thinking of knitting, spends the day knitting as much as possible, and falls asleep at night, gazing at her beautiful collection of yarns, dreaming about what she will make from them when the time comes… to knit.