Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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A new chapter

Moving day

Happy New Year folks!!  Today, I should like to tell you about a very exciting thing that has been happening in the background, that I can now reveal.  I am about to embark on the next chapter of my life:

Long time readers of my blog will remember that once upon a time, I lived for a while in the country.  I haven’t got any of those pictures on my current laptop, but the below picture is from one of my designs, and you can see it there.  It was a heavenly place to live, and the young boy and I liked it very much.

There were chickens to play with, sheep and cows and horses to look at, and lovely bracing walks to go on.  The weather was wild, and the landscape inspiring (especially when it came to designing!)  The seasons became intimate markers of time, and observation of and interactions with animals and plants truly connected us to the natural world.  I felt like I had finally found my place.

Country lifeWe had to move back into the city, the main reason being that the eldest son, who joined me while I was living there, could get to school on time.   So for the past three years, my view has been this:

City view

It’s a nice view.  We look on to the country, but are not in the country.  It has been a bit torturous to look out at those hills, wishing I was in them, and not looking at them.  However, the move was for a good reason, and I do not resent it.

Plans have been brewing for a while to get back to country living. Now that the eldest boy has left school and is about to begin his own new chapter with a new life at university, those plans could be put into action.

We move very soon, and the house is increasingly looking like this:

Packing!!

As each day passes, my spirits lift with excitement just a little bit more!  Each day brings us closer and closer to the new home!!!!

It is good that I found a house in time so that I could move during my annual holidays.  This means that the moving process has been more leisurely than if I had to cram it into just two or three days.  So there has still been time for a little bit of this:

Imagine When

and a little bit of that (these will be a full toe version, not the yoga version):

Withywindle

They make nice rest breaks.  And there has still been time to do some fun things with the boy, including his 11th birthday party, trips to the movies and the beach and play dates with friends.

A day at the beach

However, I must get my A into G a bit more as the Big Day rushes ever closer, and there are still a million things to do.  It’s the sorting out of old things and the “do I keep this?” that are most time consuming.  It is a good time to get rid of clutter though!

I am incredibly excited that the thing that the young boy and I have wished for the most in the past three years is finally about to become a reality.  I could not say it would happen until only recently, as I wasn’t sure where the best place to go was, and once the place was chosen, accommodation was hard to find.

This is just the beginning, and I hope that other things I aspire to accomplish in 2015 and onwards will also happen.  I won’t say what they are here because I don’t know if they will eventuate yet, but at least we start the year with great optimism and hope!

So again, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and I wish you every success with your own endeavours and plans for the year!

 

 

 

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What now, 2015?

I realised as I looked at the socks I have knitted this year, that I have a very definite preference for sock colours.  Mostly blue, green and purply tones.  Nothing too bright or shouty, nothing too unusual.

Is that me being very, very boring?  Most likely.

Maybe I just wanted the socks to tone with my grey and blue shoes (but then how do you explain the berry shades…?)

Perhaps it’s because they tone with my clothes (but then, how many colours don’t go with my usual uniform of blue jeans?)

That made me think that perhaps I could do something different with my sock goals for 2015.  Maybe I could do something about expanding my colour choices…

I had a shuffle in the stash, and brought out a few possible candidates.  How about this nice selection of New Zealand and overseas yarns for starters?

2015 socks?

This lot looks nice and pretty and varied!  Not too much green and blue, with a few more oranges and yellows thrown in there?

Let’s do a reality check.

Reality check

Aw man!  This is weird.  Have I just gone and done a ‘same old’?

“Mum, you are boring” said the youngest, so very candidly, over my shoulder.  “But then, you have knitted so many colours – maybe it’s hard to find anything different?” he continued, rapidly saving himself.

This is a concern!  I chose those colours because I knew I would knit them.  I do have other colours in the stash, but I know I would have an issue knitting some of them.  You know the colours that you look at and say “oh, that’s different!  Maybe I should break out of my usual colour preferences and be adventurous for a change?” The one that you then invariably end up frogging, because the more you look at it as you knit it, the more offensive it proves to the eye?  I’m going to have to be strategic with how I use them up.

I think the answer lies in knitting for others.  For in choosing a yarn and style for someone else, one does not reflect one’s own preferences, but that of the recipient (or, one hopes!) That will also be one way to keep knitting socks but not have an exploding sock drawer, or feel too greedy about one’s sock collection…

So, let’s try this one again, and start with…

Socks for others

Ah!  Better!  Each of these colours have been picked out with a person in mind.  Except perhaps for the one on the far right… that happens to be for me (see what I mean about blue, green and purply tones!?)

Therefore the goals:

  • Knit for others in 2015.
  • I will not be limiting myself to which patterns I knit because I know that the moment I say I will knit a or b, along comes c, d and e, all of which look so much prettier or more tempting!
  • Most of all, knitting must be enjoyable, because it’s what we do to feel good and to show our love for others.

How many socks to do I intend to knit?  I liked having a goal last year.  It made me focus on what I was knitting, so I think I will do the same for this year.

  • If I can knit 36 pairs socks of in 2015 as well, I should be very happy.  It’s not more than 2014 because I want to knit other things as well.  If I end up knitting more, then that will be a bonus!

I do have a very long list of sock patterns that I would like to design.  It could be a book.  The list sits in my notebook, with sketches and swatches.  The issue will be to find the time to finish the designs and knit the socks.   This requires more than just sitting in front of the TV and knitting, or snatching a moment here and there, which is what my current knitting time is composed of.  I hope I will be able to make some of them a reality, especially during winter, when work is slow and my hours are more regular.

Future sock designs

Here are a couple of the yarns, all ready and waiting.  Oh so much pretty in my head – oh to make it a reality!

So much for the socks.  As for other things to knit, I do want to knit more shawls.  Here is one I picked out this week:

Future shawl

This is a skein of Wollmeise that a dear friend gifted to me a while ago.  I have been hoarding it, waiting for the right project. At 150g, it seemed a waste to turn it into socks when so much would be left over.  The pattern is Imagine When by Joji Locatelli.  I saw a few beautiful Wollmeise masterpieces in this design when I was researching what to do with the skein, so I have decided to make a start!  I imagine it would also be beautiful in silk/merino or an alpaca yarn.  Maybe I’ll make more than one!

There are a few other shawls I think I’d like to tackle this year, now that I am confident with lace.  (It feels good to be  able to say that.)  Here’s a beginning list (which may change, knowing the vagaries of my mind):

  • Rosebud was a generous pattern gift from another lovely friend.  I will use more Anna Gratton 4 ply pure wool to make this.  Most likely, a beautiful Saffron yellow.

Anna Gratton 4 ply pure wool

  • I think Sail to Treasure Island would be fascinating in a fingering weight.  I’m envisaging more Anna Gratton, this time her merino/mohair in a gorgeous ocean tone. I just hope I will have enough yarn.  In bulky weight (the original yarn), you need 1990m.  I only have one skein of this (approx 800m), which I am fairly sure will not be enough. Perhaps I will find another similar skein at this year’s Wonders of Wool market?

Mohair merino by Anna Gratton

  • Dew Drops or similar has been long admired.  I will take a leaf out of another good friend’s book and knit this one in Zealana. Maybe something truly luxurious like Zealana Air laceweight?  Or some yak/silk from Happy-go-knitty?

Zealana Air

  • Cameo looks like a lovely little palate cleanser, and will be lovely in a soft drapey yarn.  I can just see it in some Zealana Kiwi laceweight.

Zealana Kiwi laceweight

  • Puck, a DK weight shawl is crying out to be knitted in Zealana Rimu – I can imagine it will be sooo lovely to wear in warm and snuggly possum! I even seem to have the exact colours! Plus I have always wanted to knit something by Boo Knits.

Zealana Rimu

  • Spellbound is another stunningly beautiful design by Boo Knits.  Her shawls are so pretty they bring tears of appreciation to my eyes.  This one would be so pretty as a summer shawl, I think in a silk/merino from Spinning a Yarn. I have two of these skeins, that should be enough.

Silk merino by Spinning a Yarn

So many shawls, so little time.  Can I tear myself away from all the socks to find the time to knit some of these pretties?

 


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The year in socks

It has been quite entertaining to pull my 2014 socks out and review what I have done on the sock front this year.  I also feel that somehow, I have managed to learn quite a lot about sock knitting (and designing!)

2014 sock knitting

Not shown in this picture are seven other pairs which I have given away, two which were drying on the line, and three which I cannot show you until I know whether a certain publication has accepted the design.  Also not shown are two other pairs on the needles still being finished… and this the pair, which I finished yesterday and after I took the above photo:

All Hallows' Eve socks

All up, I seem have completed 36 pairs of socks this year (assuming I get those two other pairs finished).

When I set out my sock goals for 2014, I said I wanted to knit 12 pairs of patterned socks and four pairs of plain vanilla socks.  Against this goal, I have knit:

  • 12 pairs of plain vanilla socks (including two others still on the needles)
  • 24 pairs of patterned socks (including designing five pairs of patterned socks. One pair still under wraps)

Designed socks

  • All up, that’s 231% of I originally set out to do.  Aaaah!!!

I certainly did not think I’d knit that much, and if I said I’d knit 36 pairs at the start of the year, I think I would have felt more than intimidated at this number as an official goal.  Just shows what can be done when you are having fun!

During the year, the youngest boy decided he liked knitted socks, and so he got some too:

DSC01856 (1024x768)

There has been a big learning curve in sock knitting confidence.  When I set out to knit many of the socks you see below, I was more than worried I would not be able to knit the sock.  In fact, not so long ago, I would have said to many patterns, “there is no way I could knit that”.  I decided fear was not allowed to be a limiting factor, and I am glad I pushed my boundaries.

Patterned challenges

I’m particularly proud of these socks.

Claire Ellen socks

The unintended consequence of knitting all the socks is that there is now a small (ahem) issue with storage.

No space!

I’m going to have to rethink how my socks are stored!

Here is recap of sock patterns in case you would like to knit any for yourself:

  1. Smaug by Claire Ellen
  2. Cuff down Elementary Watsons by Sherry Menton (gifted)
  3. Oden by Mia Dehmer
  4. Snowflowers by Manuela Burkhardt
  5. Monkey by Cookie A (gifted)
  6. Cadence socks by verybusymonkey
  7. Rumpelstiltskin by verybusymonkey
  8. Hiya Hiya Peach leaf lace socks by Qianer Huang
  9. Hiya Hiya Arrow Lace Socks I by Qianer Huang
  10. Crenate by Rachel Coopey (gifted)
  11. Swanky School Socks by Sharon Jane
  12. Treebeard by Claire Ellen
  13. Anemone by me
  14. Seadragonus by me (x 2)
  15. Aster by me
  16. Selachimorpha by me
  17. #3 Bagshot Row by Claire Ellen
  18. Java socks by Cailyn Meyer (for the boy)
  19. The Sign of the Prancing Pony by Claire Ellen
  20. Susanna by Stephanie van der Linden

I guess you might want to know what yarns were featured here as well.  I used Doespins (lots of); Handmaiden Casbah; Knitsch 100% merino sock (lots of); Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock; Opal sock yarn; Regia sock yarn; Stray Cat Socks (lots of); John Q Earthware possum/merino/nylon and Jewel 100% merino sock; Sokkusu O; Bleating Art high twist merino; Happy-go-knitty; Noro Silk Garden Light and quite a number of other New Zealand yarns that are now very sadly no longer available.

Hmm.  Now I feel deflated.  There were so many more socks that I wanted to knit this year!

Eldest son walked in at this point of my writing this post.  I said “Do you think that’s a lot of socks?  I thought so, but now I’m not sure.”

Son:  “Yeah, that’s a lot of socks.  That’s 20 pairs!” (He was looking at the list above).

Me:  “Not really.  It’s 36 pairs actually.”

Son:  “That’s nearly 1oo socks!”

Me:   “No.  That’s only 72 socks.”

Son: “Well, it’s closer to 100 than 50.”

Me:  “100.  Do you think I could knit 100 socks next year?”

Son:  “Yes.”

Me:  “That’s 50 pairs!  I can’t do a pair a week!” (mind boggling)

Son:  “Yes, you can.  You just don’t want to.” (tempting the devil)

Me:  “Hmm…” (she senses a challenge, and is thinking about rising to it)

Let us see.  I’d like to knit 50 pairs of socks next year.  However, I think that realistically, 40 might be the more achievable number, assuming work commitments don’t get in the way. I also don’t want to make my knitting feel like a burden.  It is the thing I do to relax, and if I impose a hefty challenge to myself, would that kill the joy a bit?  Also, I think I need to knit a few more lace things and cabled sweaters.  And where would I put all those socks?  I suppose I could just knit exclusively for others… (family members begin to rub hands in glee).

I do have some thoughts about what I’d like to do with socks in 2015.  I shall tell you about that in a forthcoming post!

Do you have any knitting goals for 2015?