Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Lacebark

Hello, and a Happy Weekend to you, in what has been another momentous week on the global stage.  I hope this post finds you well, and doing things that you love.

It is a rainy, rainy day today, perfect for staying home, curling up with knitting and doing not much else.

Thank you so much for your lovely, supportive comments about the finished cardigan I showed you last. I have to say, having now worn it for a couple of weeks, I am especially enamoured of the beautiful yarn – that cashmere blend is something else!

I managed to finish Lacebark this week!  I am so thrilled with how it turned out! As you can see by the million photographs I took…

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Mary-Anne Mace’s designs take my breath away every time.

So, what did I do for this shawl?

I used three different yarns, but all in the same high-twist merino base type, to give the shawl textural consistency.  I knew when I started it that I would not have enough of the main gradient yarn I used from Ozifarmer’s Market, so I scratched around in my stash and found a beautiful deeper purple colourway from another indie dyer (who sadly no longer makes pretty yarn), and a plain undyed yarn.

I worked the tip in white, and then added in the gradient, and when the gradient was done, I added in the deeper purple.

The pattern itself is interesting. You start out with very basic lace, and gradually move into more and more complex lace techniques as you progress. The final few charts with lace on every side were quite a brain workout, but the result is worth it, and I am sure the grey matter is working much better after that bit of exercise! I do like the progression of lace pattern –  it makes it quite interesting to wear.

In between lace knitting, I did plain vanilla sock knitting, and finished the cute colourway I got from Doespins a while ago, and started another pair (yarn from Happy-go-knitty). These are quite good to knit in the sleepy hours I resist going to bed in, helping me to wind down after a long day in the office, and getting in some ‘me’ time.img_3038-1024x575

It seems that not only must there always be a sock, but there must also always be a shawl on the needles. After much deliberation, I’ve picked the next project.

img_3040-1024x1024I can’t help myself – it’s another Lace Eater design, Regenerate, found in Knitty’s Spring/Summer 2014 patterns. I’m pairing it with Rosewood Wool’s natural dyed Romney wool.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 

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Biophilia

I don’t always smile in delight when I have finished a project.  Biophilia is one that has me positively beaming in delight!

IMG_1673 (800x567).jpgMary-Anne Mace well deserves the title of The Lace Eater!  Thank you, Mary-Anne, for a truly inspired design that reflects the sea so well.

The next time we go to the beach, I will take Biophilia and do a proper photo shoot, but for now, I share these images.

If you are interested in the technical details, I used Knitsch 100% merino Sock in Rocky Shore, with the last three or four rows in Fly My Pretties, about 180gm/600m in total (Rocky Shore would equate to three full skeins, with about half a skein in Fly My Pretties).

The two colourways worked together so perfectly – I’m fairly sure the base colour for Fly My Pretties is the same as Rocky Shore.  I used some dark brown beads with a purply undertone (like seaweed) to give contrast but also harmonise with the overall colour design.

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The colours were like the sea to photograph.  In some lights, it’s a beautiful, rich colour like you see in the above photo, and in other lights, it’s more muted like the photos in the collage.  I quite like that.

The darker edging is to help with the watery effect.  I hope it conveys the sense that the shawl has been dipped in water.  The beads being the glistening drops of water.  I probably should have used a lighter colour bead to convey light reflecting off the water, but oh well, I still think this looks OK.

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This shawl would have to be one of the most technically challenging things I have ever knit.  As if lace wasn’t enough, Mary-Anne has added cables, nupps and beads into the mix!  I do not like nupps.  In the end, after struggling heroically with two rows of 7 stitch nupps, I reduced the size to 5 stitches, which was much more manageable and meant less dropped stitches. There is not a huge difference in effect, and it meant a much happier me!

The pattern is very well written, and very easy to follow.  It’s just that for this shawl to look good, it requires a level of precision of execution that had my brain cells almost popping!  I’ll definitely knit another Lace Eater design the next time I need a brain workout!  I’m sure experienced knitters of lace will be giggling at this.  I obviously need to knit more complex lace projects this year.

I haven’t blocked the shawl exactly the same as Mary-Anne’s original.  I didn’t go back and look at the pattern photo again when I was pinning out, but I think it still looks okay.

Thank you again, Mary-Anne, for this amazing contribution to Sustain the Sea.


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Empty nets, the FO!

I finished Empty Nets this week.  To do the pattern justice, especially in view of the fact that the time and talent for this pattern was donated by Sonya Newstead to the Sustain the Sea initiative, I decided we needed to take a trip to the beach.  I picked the young man up after school and we drove to the Lake Ferry beach in South Wairarapa, which we haven’t been to before.

It is a rugged piece of beach.  Not really a swimming beach, but very beautiful and scenic.  On one side, Lake Onoke drains into Palliser Bay.

Lake Ferry

On the other side, is Palliser Bay.

Palliser Bay

It was a nice place to take photos.  The water was too cold for swimming, and the beach is not very safe for this activity, so the boy and I had wave races and dared each other to get our legs wet by the icy water!

On to Empty Nets – here it is, in its full glory!

Empty Nets

I’m very proud of this picture, because it was taken by the youngest child.  I think his photography skills are coming along nicely!

Empty Nets 2

I decided I wanted the shawl to be bigger than designed, so I knitted 20 repeats instead of 17.

Empty Nets - waves

I adore the wave edgings.

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The final edge is bound off using a ruffle, to represent the waves breaking on the beach.  I kept mine small and did not work the second set of increases.

It’s a funny shawl to knit because you think it cannot possibly become a triangle while knitting it – it looks like a slice of pizza!  When finished and blocked though, it magically transforms!  My notes are here if you want to know more details.

Empty Nets 4

Words cannot express my gratitude to Sonya for donating this shawl pattern.  I cherish the feeling of comfort that there are many people who do care about the planet and keeping life on it sustainable for future generations, as evidenced by so many of your comments while writing about this subject.

I think that if more people thought about contributing meaningfully to this life, and considered the impact of their actions on the environment around them (social and physical) the world would be in a much better place than it is today.  Let’s all keep on trying!


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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

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(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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This week

Well hello there, and a Happy Sunday to you!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments and support for my latest sock pattern, Sprig.  I’m so happy that you like it!

With Sprig finally off my radar, I’ve been focusing on finalising the pattern for my next design, Daisy.  With each passing design, my concepts seem to get more and more intricate, and although I am Super Happy with this next sock, I know it is going to be a possibly too fiddly for many.  It’s not really one of those talking and knitting designs.  So… I have also developed an alternative version which retains the main concept but does allow talking and knitting at the same time.  I am finishing the writing and testing phase now.  It is a very fun design – it will allow you to use up sock yarn scraps too!

I do have a finished object to show you!

Reyna

Reyna is done.  I love how it has turned out in Noro.  I added a picot bind-off to make it a bit more feminine.  It is a small scarf rather than a shawl in my opinion.  I think you could have a lot of fun with it in sport or DK weight – it would become a beautiful, large version that would be very snuggly in winter.

Having finished Reyna, I felt a large hole open up in my world of shawl WIPs… and quickly cast on for another one…

Empty Nets

This is the beginning of Empty Nets, a gorgeous design from Sonya Newbold that is also a contribution to the Sustain the Sea initiative, still very much on my mind.  I’m using Zealana Kiwi Laceweight in the Ponamu colourway.  Sonya is a very clever designer.  I love how this design is going to start splitting at this point into the net shapes with the wave borders on either side.

I have to share some yarn love.  When Anna Gratton featured these beauties, some had to come home to me!  The first is her Ocean colourway – it is a 400g hank of merino/mohair.  The second is Iris, in 100% wool fingering weight.

Anna Gratton yarns

I do have a particular project in mind for Ocean.  I thought it would make a very nice Kate Davies Northmavine Hap.  To my great joy, I have discovered that I do have the exact right match for the grey contrast!

Northmavine hap yarns

My early morning strolls in the garden to collect food for the rabbit and guinea pig have given me so much delight. It is such a nice way to start the day.

Wild poppy

A delicate wild poppy in the field next door, little papery petals still opening up.  So fleeting that if you do not catch a photo when you see it, the petals will have dropped before you come back.

Blueberry

The blueberry bush is very happy in its new home in the vegetable patch, and promises lots of delicious berries soon!

Purple chard

My mutant chard looked stunning against the rising sun.  New growth is appearing to replace the winter-worn leaves, but I did like the effect of the pink veins contrasting with the green leaves in the early morning light.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 


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Sprig

Today, I am very happy to bring you a sock that celebrates Spring.  It is the second design in the Nature Series.

Peach blossom

This Spring, I have spent an inordinate amount of time happily staring at blossoms.

Plum blossom

Beautiful spring flowers, bluebells and snow drops.

snow drop

blue bell

I wanted to conceptualise the lacey, curved look of the flowers and blossoms in bare branches and settled on this.

Sprig socks

They are called Sprig.  The lacey design at once hints at the structure of the blossoms and the tangle of bare branches.

Sprig

They are a reasonably simple knit, just an eight stitch repeat.  If you are a very experienced lace knitter, you could knit these without having to refer to the pattern very much, but the rest of us will need to glance at the chart.

I have provided both written and charted instructions.  A few may be pleased to know that the only purl stitches needed in this pattern are in the ribbing and heel flap.

I’m not a confident user of test knitters, so I generally knit at least two versions of each sock pattern I produce myself, to make sure the pattern works.  It is still a terrifying experience to release a pattern… what if it has a mistake!!!?  I’ll get over it one day. 🙂

These versions were knitted in Soft Like Kittens’ Noodle Sock (grey):

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and Vintage Purls Sock:

Sprig

The pattern is available on Ravelry.

Happy Socktober!!