Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Dancing with lace, playing with leaves

We all know about blocking.  Sometimes I don’t agree with it.  I don’t think socks need to be blocked, for instance.  My view is that they block on the feet – why do they need a special blocking when they are just going to be washed and dried and unceremoniously hung on the line after each use anyway?

Lace, however, is a completely different story.  It begins with inspiration.

Anna Gratton 4 ply pure wool

The colour looked like autumn leaves to me – beautiful russet and brown tones.  Each different shading a delight to my eye.  I found a motif, and began to knit.

It starts off misshapen, like a newly hatched butterfly’s wing.

Lace in progress

It is lumpy and crumpled and looks like nothing very pretty.  It must be blocked to bring out its true form.

Unblocked lace

It is given a bath, rolled in a towel, carefully patted and pinned into shape.


It lies, quietly drying.


Like the butterfly’s wing, once in its true form, its beauty becomes apparent.

Now dry, it lifts off its mat…


Each motif clearly defined.

Leaf motif

It flutters gently in the breeze, a translucent work delicate stitches and fine, beautiful yarn.

The finished piece

I will not sear your eyes with a picture of me wearing it.  My old lumpy form does not do this prettiness justice. The fingering weight Corriedale wool is very light and soft and comfortable to wear.

It is a simple motif, needing no further embellishment.  Several attempts at putting on an edging were made and discarded.  In the end, I decided it was lovely just like that.

Pattern:  Leaf motif, scarf my own design.  I will get around to publishing it soon.

Yarn:  Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. 4 ply pure wool multicolour in Desert.

Weight:  100g

I must do more lace knitting in 2015.  It is very satisfying.

Playing with leaves in Anna Gratton yarn





I see stripes

I’ve been trying very hard to be good and finish up projects before I start new ones.  It has been especially hard on the sock front, but reminding myself of the reward of that satisfying feeling of getting a few projects off the needles seems to be helping!

Finished and in-progress things from the last few days, which funnily enough, seem to be mostly stripy!

The young boy's sweater

Why is it that when you want people to look nice for the camera, they do the exact opposite?  Someone was quite put out at being asked to pose… but at least you can see the finished result (I can’t be bothered blocking it so it’s a little rumpled looking – matches the boy, I think).  As mentioned in a previous post, this is a sweater of collaboration between the young boy and me.  He chose the colours and the general concept, and I worked out how to knit it!

I knitted the body stripes in reverse stocking stitch to give the sweater a bit more texture.  I felt the stripes looked too flat otherwise, and it’s a nice echo of the garter stitch welt and cuff.  I kept the sleeve stripes stocking stitch though – they would have looked too much like flotation devices otherwise!

The sweater was knitted in the round up to the armholes, then I divided for the armholes, and knitted the front and back separately.  I added some short rows to the back as the young man has broad shoulders, but a bad habit of slumping, and that always produces an unattractive look with the back of the sweater riding up.  I think the short rows have done a good job of keeping the back hem line straight.

The sleeves were picked up after I joined the shoulders, and knitted in the round down to the cuff.   Finally, I added a couple of rows of garter stitch to the neckline.

I was reminded why I am not so fond of knitting stripes when I got to the sleeves.


That jog is oh-so-annoying!  I couldn’t be bothered to rip back on this one, as he’ll probably have outgrown the sweater by next winter, so I’m not too worried about making it perfect.  The colour change is on the inside of the arm, and no one is going to see.  However, with the next sleeve, I decided to review my notes on jogless stripes (this and this tutorial from TECHKnitting are very helpful).

The result is much better.  I suspect that once I get around to blocking the sweater, the stripes will even out even more.

jogless stripe

Unfortunately, the next design that the young man wants me to knit for him involves an entirely striped sweater… it’s enough to make the heart quail.  Ah well, nothing like a challenge!!

The sweater is knitted in The Wool Company 100% Corriedale – a very good workhorse yarn.

Then there are the socks:

Imp socks

The Imp’s socks in self-striping yarn from Stray Cat Socks in the Momentum colourway.  Very pretty, and happily perfectly identical.  I hope she fits them, or they might have to get sent back to me for ‘renovations’.

Of course, one cannot knit a pair of socks for one sister without the other getting a pair too.

Regia self-striping yarn

These are knitted in a Regia Jazz self-striping colourway (6451).

And finally, an almost pair that isn’t stripy:

Crenate socks

The alpaca/merino/nylon sock yarn in the Embers colourway from Doe Arnot.  Very cosy, and looking nice in Crenate.

I am looking forward to this weekend.  Lucky me!  I have a knitting date with the lovely Alice of Bleating Art Yarn! (And if you haven’t already noticed, an update of gorgeous new colourful yarn has recently been put up…)

I also want to say thank you to all you very amazing people who bought my Latticework Cowl pattern.  I really appreciate your support of my endeavours!  🙂

Wishing you a lovely weekend.



The Shepherd Hoodie: Finale!

It has been very wet and cool this week, in contrast to last week.  That makes drying a thick wool hoodie quite difficult.  However, Sally’s hoodie was finally off the rack last night, so without further ado, here are our finished projects, and just in time for the end of Wovember!


The Shepherd Hoodie

Very happy.  It will do very well when the weather cools down.Lace on button band

Yarn:  Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. DK Pure Wool Naturals in Coffee.

Sally’s (10 ply (aran) weight pure wool in a natural white from Skeinz that she hand-dyed):

Sally's Shepherd Hoodie

Hmmmm…. lush!  I can feel myself all cuddled up in it!

Side view

You can see the difference in the way the two projects look in different weight yarns.  Sally’s is very squishy and soft and cuddly looking, whereas mine with a slightly finer weight, has a more streamlined, and crisper look.

Close upAnd now, winter, please come back to the Southern hemisphere…

Shepherd Hoodie

Check out Sally’s blog for her final post on this topic and more pictures.


KAL Diary: The Shepherd Hoodie, Week 8

It has been a very hot and sunny week this week.  I am very sad that I cannot wear my glorious new FO,  the Shepherd Hoodie.


It is now blocked and dry, and I am incredibly happy with how it looks and fits… I want it to be winter again NOW!!!!! But it’s going to be at least three to four months before it is cool enough again for me to wear it.  Sigh.  Very jealous of all you people in the Northern hemisphere who can snuggle into your freshly knitted coats right away!

DSC09935 (800x600)The top button is very cute.  I’m glad I went ahead and bought it.

I’d love to show you the finished pictures of the hoodie in its entirety, by Sally isn’t done yet.  She’s had a tough week and it has been hard to get to the knitting (in contrast to my general lack of work availability).  There should be a nice collage of both her and my pics to see by the middle of this week and in time for the end of Wovember.


In terms of finishing off, I don’t think I have anything more to tell you about modifications or tips than I have already mentioned except that the hood was especially tiresome to knit.  I had a hard time keeping awake whilst knitting it! Seed stitch is not the fastest stitch in the world, but it looks amazing now it’s done, and it was really, really, worth it!

The blocking has definitely ‘finished’ the look, but you’ll have to wait for a few days to see what I mean.  🙂

In the meantime, pop over to Sally’s blog, to enter an amazing giveaway she’s running – two copies of Kate Davies’ book “Colours of Shetland”!

Stay tuned for modelled pictures!


Sustain the Sea: Tidal Hat

Today, I bring you the Tidal Hat. You’ll have seen a previous incarnation of this hat before on my blog, but I never had the motivation to write up the pattern.  It occurred to me that it would make a nice addition to Sustain the Sea, so here it is!

Tidal hat

This hat celebrates water and the sea, its ebb and flow, and the sandy beaches where rivers join the sea.  If we look after the quality of the water and air that goes into the sea, it will help the sea look after us.

The beach

This pattern depicts water as it ripples down the rivers to the sea, and the waves of sand left behind when the tide goes out.  Purl stitches reflect the grainy sand, and the reverse stocking stitch gives the hat a slight ‘slouch’.  The twisted stitches framing the ripples represent shells that are so much a part of the beach, and a visible reminder of the fragile balance of life in the sea.


The brim is knitted with a smaller needle to keep it from stretching too much over time, and allows the hat to hug the head so it is less likely to blow off in the wind!  The looser crown gauge makes a hat that is comfortable to wear and flatters the face.

Tidal hat 2

I encourage you to try the no-cable-needle method to knit the waves.  It’s very easy, and will save a lot of time and fiddling with cable needles!  Instructions on how to do this are contained in the pattern.  Magic loop with a long circular needle to knit the hat, and you’ll even be able to bind off the crown without changing to DPN needles.

I selected a beautiful, crisp New Zealand Corriedale yarn:  Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. pure wool naturals in Pumice, to reflect the colour of sand and shells and convey a sense of purity to the design. The structure of the spin has a liveliness that provides great stitch definition.  It’s one of my favourite New Zealand yarns – durable, comfortable, warm.

Using this wool is also a sustainable choice for me – it is a natural colour, and it has been grown, shorn, spun and now knitted all within a two hour’s drive from where I live in Wellington.  I’m very lucky to have access to such wonderful wool.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I chose, you can find it here, or email Anna Gratton direct at filaro AT

Download the free pattern here: Free pattern: Tidal Hat or on Ravelry.

You’ll need:

50g (108m/118yd) DK weight yarn (suggested yarn is Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. 8 ply pure wool naturals in Pumice)

3.75mm (US 5) and 4.5mm (US 7) circular needles (or DPNS if you prefer)

Back viewMy thanks to the oldest boy for patiently taking photos for this pattern at the mouth of the Hutt River, where the river meets the sea.

River mouth


KAL Diary: The Shepherd Hoodie, Week 7

Well, I’ve nearly done it….  The sleeves and minus 5cm of the hood.  All that is left to be done this week is finish that never-ending seed stitch, sew in the lace ribbon facing for the button band, weave in the ends, and block this gorgeous baby.

Shepherd Hoodie

Then Sally and I will get together for a meet-up and photo shoot next weekend, and we’ll do the big reveal!

I am afraid that I allowed myself to get distracted with more activity on the Sustain the Sea front this week, hence the lack of significant progress on the Shepherd Hoodie.

In terms of knitting tips, I have an observation about the hood increasing.

When I got to the hood increases, I found the instructions of “M1, work 1, sm, work 1, M1” slightly confusing.

What I’m trying to say here is:  with seed stitch, the order is:  one knit and the next stitch is a purl.  If you increase between the knit and the purl, you will either get K, K, P or K, P, P.  This means that you will find it impossible to keep the sequence of alternating knits and purls.  So I got a wee bit confused by the wording because in my head, as the order then looked like this:

p, [p], k, (sm), p, [k], k – (the stitches in square brackets being the m1).  The order got all messed up whichever way I did it?

In order to prevent this, I did the following instead:

K, [P] (sm), [K], P.  The stitches in the square brackets are the new stitches.  Can you see how the original K and P have their pattern maintained?  I switched the order, so that the instructions read “work 1, M1, sm, M1, work 1”.

The next row with an increase the went something like this:

K, P, K, [P], (sm), [K], P, K, P

By keeping the two increases immediately next to each other, I was able to maintain the seed stitch patterning throughout the increasing.

I’m not sure if the original instructions are a typo, or whether I am unaware of some secret other way of being able to increase in seed stitch, but this is what worked for me.  🙂

The final note for this week is that I underestimated how much yarn I did need, and have ended up going into a fifth hank of yarn. This is consistent with the quantities noted on the pattern though.  I figure I’ll have used 850g or thereabouts by the time it’s done.

Overall, this has been a great pattern to knit.  I am sorry I have to wait until next winter before I can wear it as it’s far too warm now in this part of the world.  However, when I do, it will be a very snug, and much worn item of clothing!

Due to the natural colour of this beautiful wool from Anna Gratton‘s Corriedales, it will go with everything in my wardrobe.  I’ll be able to wear it everywhere, from the casual tramp along the beach, at the farmers’ market, and even as a work coat.

Hop on over to Sally’s post to see what she has to say about her week with the hoodie.