Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

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Regenerate

Oh my goodness. I did not mean to disappear for so long. A new year has begun, and we are already into the second month! Time seems to be flying faster and faster! I hope this post finds you well, and that your year has begun well!

In Wellington, we are experiencing the wettest/coolest summer in 30 years (described in the news as the fewest “beach days”). I have to say I am personally enjoying it. I wish I could say it has led to more knitting (and blogging) time, but that hasn’t really eventuated due to other life happenings.

You may have noticed my Instagram feed showing off the finished Regenerate. Here it is again (some of these pics haven’t made it to Instagram):

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It is large and I love it! And as usual with Mary-Anne Mace‘s designs, I enjoyed every minute of knitting this beautiful design.

Because I chose to use fingering-weight yarn and not lace-weight, and work one more repeat of Chart 3 to make it a larger shawl, I ran out of the 200g ball that I originally used, and had to find more (what’s new!) Fortunately, I had more Anna Gratton merino/mohair in my stash that matched perfectly and it adds to the wonderful woodland feel of this botanically inspired shawl .img_3143-800x800img_3147-800x600

It has been wonderful to cuddle under the shawl on our cooler days. It is yet another favourite piece of knitwear.

Friends of mine were admiring my shawls the other day and asked if I sold my work. I replied that it takes many, many hours to knit a shawl, and if I were to recoup my time costs, the figure involved would be viewed as unaffordable by most people. We went on to have a brief discussion about slow fashion and how making your own clothes does mean you can create them to your own specifications and in the colour/fabric you like. My friend remarked that it meant I had a unique wardrobe as a result, followed by cute addition from her husband of “well, it’s only unique because you won’t sell your work!” It was one of those maker’s moments. Clearly, my friend is now on the “knitworthy” list!

Since finishing Regenerate, I have begun work on Supplejack. This is a fast and fun project, and I am nearly finished!

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As usual, I am doing my own thing in some way, and in this instance it means I have used four colours and not three, and put in colours in the order that pleased me.

I’m using Dark Harbour Yarn in Jetsam in Limey and Port in Pearls That Were His Eyes; Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Lotus, and Ruataniwha Dye Studio 100% Merino in Spruce.

I’ll be able to show you the finished project soon!

 


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A New Year

Hello! It is the eve of another new year! I wish I could say the time has gone fast, but so much has happened, that I think it has been a very full year. It has been an eventful year on many, many, counts. I hope this year has treated you kindly on a personal level. My own has certainly been one of those roller coasters – terrible lows and also incredible highs. I am interested to see what the next 365 days bring!

I don’t have a finished object to show you as knitting time has been a little limited lately. But there are a few nice projects accompanying me into the new year:

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This is Regenerate. It should be nearly finished by now, but I made a major rookie mistake knitting this! There are two charts per row for this shawl, and for some reason, I knitted them in the wrong order. I wondered why I had so much trouble getting the pattern to look right and was getting quite frustrated with my knitting skills when I realised, into the third repeat of the second and third charts that I was doing it the wrong way round!!! Major durrh moment, and major sulking occurred as I ripped out the shawl to start all over again.

I re-ordered the printed charts and after a couple of days spent gathering my wits, started again. I am pleased that this time, the shawl is looking like it is meant to. The added bonus is that it is much easier to knit – for some ‘strange’ reason!

I am using Anna Gratton‘s gorgeous silk/mohair/wool blend in the Forest colourway. I really like how it is turning out.

I also have a couple of obligatory socks on the go.

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These pretty things are the Waving Lace Socks. I am knitting them in Circus Tonic Handmade’s Revelry sock in the Frilled Monarch colourway. Here’s a closer look:

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The other sock is some gorgeous Stray Cat Socks merino/cashmere/nylon blend:

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These are for the youngest boy, who is now taller than me. I knitted him some socks earlier in the year, and found to my horror that his feet had grown while I finished them. This time, they are man-sized socks!  Let’s hope they last a little while…

As the new year begins to roll in around the globe, I wish you Happy New Year!

May 2017 be a good year for you.


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Discoveries and meet-ups

Before I start today’s post, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your caring and concerned comments on my car crash. I may not be able to respond to each and every one of you individually, but your thoughts and kind wishes mean a great deal. Thank you, so much.

This week has been a little hard. Bruised ribs and whiplash don’t go away very quickly, but I am on the mend, and the young boy appears to be completely recovered, which is a massive relief! The insurance company is still to pay out as they are waiting on the police report before doing so. Hopefully that will not be much longer. Being without a car is a major hindrance!

So let’s move on to happier things and talk about knitting!

I finished the edging on Southern Skies, and here is the finished shawl. I have to say, I love it very much. The swirls of colour through it remind me of the southern lights, and as someone said on my Instagram account, it also looks a bit like a galaxy! Thanks again, Audry, for a beautiful pattern, and thanks to Anna Gratton for such a lovely night sky colourway.

The yarn is Anna Gratton’s 4 ply 100% wool, and I made only one change to the pattern – instead of a garter border, I knitted on a Shetland lace Brand Iron edging. It has made the shawl larger and also a bit more feminine, which I like.

Having a lot of time to knit on the train on the way to work has meant that I have been giving socks a bit of attention this week. This is Dark Harbour Yarn‘s lovely Jetsam sock in Narwhal Hits the Disco. I see she has a very similar Rare and Exotic Beast in her shop at the moment which would be almost identical in my opinion. I am using my Bark sock pattern to liven the knitting up a bit.

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Before I start on yet another new shawl, I have decided I need to finish another long time WIP.

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This is my Ulva Lactuca shawl in laceweight, using Zealana Kiwi. At this weight, it has become more a summer shawl/scarf style, which will be nice to use when the weather warms up again.

Being a blogger and reader of blogs has given me lovely opportunities to meet some wonderful people.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of having coffee with Keiry Belton, co-author of Stitching up Paris – The Insider’s Guide to Parisian Knitting, Sewing, Notions and Needlecraft Stores.

If you have not heard of her yet, Keiry has just returned from a period living in Paris as an expatriate. I enjoyed following the blog she wrote about her adventures while there.  While she was there, she also co-wrote Stitching up Paris with Barbara Cattoni, another expatriate living in Paris, who runs personal walking tours of Parisian stitching stores at http://www.stitchingupparis.com.

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Stitching up Paris is the ideal companion for any needlecraft fan. The contents are organised very neatly into both genre (knitting/fabrics/embroidery/haberdashery/vintage and shabby chic) and by also by area. This makes it easy to find the information you are after.

Well written, and filled with beautiful photography, I  especially loved reading the little stories about the stores/areas that accompanied the reviews.  If I ever get a chance to visit Paris, this book will be coming with me!

The book is available to purchase here and if you live in New Zealand, I understand that the book can also be purchased from Minerva.

I leave you today with a new indie yarnie discovery:

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This is Artist’s Palette Yarn, a UK indie dyer. With the exchange rate happily a bit friendlier at the moment, I took the opportunity to indulge in some pretty colourways. Her palette is very much to my taste – one of those sites where you could happily tick ‘one of everything please!’

Hope you are having a marvellous weekend!

 

 

Waiting for Rain


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Waiting for Rain and Light Gale

As I was typing this header, it occurred to me that both my recent Finished Objects are about the weather. Isn’t that funny!

Here are Light Gale and Waiting for Rain.

A bit about both:

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I used The Wool Company’s Utiku Merino Possum in the Mink colourway.

As noted in my last post about this pattern, I certainly did not need 1,400 yards noted in the pattern.  Knitted in the smaller size, I used 362 gm, which is the equivalent of 795 metres, or 869 yards. (That’s 3.6 balls of the merino possum yarn in case you are wondering.)

The pattern itself could have included a schematic.  I find them very useful so I can adjust sizing easily if necessary.  I also like charts, and find written instructions difficult for pattern repeats, so I charted out my own, and that made it much easier to work out the stitch pattern quickly.

I did not do a tubular cast on or cast off. Instead, I used a long tail cast on, and cast off using my own half-stretchy bind-off method.

Alicia used a stockinette style decrease, which contrasts against the purl background of the body.  I chose not to do that, and reversed the shaping instructions (P2tog and P2togtbl) so that the shaping was invisible.

I did not put on a button, but just sewed a join into the two sides.

The rest of the pattern was knit as instructed.

I love possum yarn.  See the soft, fluid drape of the fabric, and the warm, snuggly halo that develops after blocking.  Besides pure wool, it is my next favourite medium to work in. It does not pill, it is surprisingly hard wearing, and it stays looking beautiful for years and years. (Note that recycled possum yarns can be less hard-wearing.)

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Waiting for Rain

This is such a sweet pattern. I used Anna Gratton’s silk/mohair/wool mix which she has unfortunately since discontinued.  It gives a beautiful organic texture to knitting.

Anna Gratton silk/mohair/wool

I wanted my Waiting for Rain to be organic looking, and I was pleased that the yarn I chose has definitely given the desired effect.

I did not change anything about the pattern.

The only thing I would say is that I am not 100% happy with my bind off and the edging.  It is a tiny bit tight for my liking, not enough to be a real issue, but just enough to make me think “hmm.”  I did use the lace bind off recommended by Sylvia, but as I have noted before, my bind off is always very tight for some reason, so I may have to look into a further adaptation of this method to work for me.

There is a lot of knitting news to talk about this week, so I think I will break this week’s postings into two.  Watch out for another one from me tomorrow about future projects!

I’m going to be examining three swatches. And trying to decide which one to use for this.

Have a happy and great weekend!

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Of knits and stuff

Alpaca is one of those fibres that really comes into its own when used in the right pattern. I chose it to knit Paris Toujours.  The yarn is from Skeinz and is called Alpaca Sterling.  It is 98% alpaca, with 2% silver accent that gives the yarn just the twinkliest hint of bling.  I used 300gm in total. It is very nice yarn, and I really enjoyed using it.  Some alpaca yarns are treated with a chemical of some kind that helps it to stick together during spinning. This chemical can create a yarn that has a horrible drag on the needles, making it a total pain in the A to knit.  I was very relieved that Alpaca Sterling had none of that drag.

The shawl has turned out to be the loveliest thing with gorgeous softness, drape and warmth.  I can see I will use it a lot come winter!

You can see more of the sparkle in this WIP photo:

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The pattern is as usual, well written by Isabell Kraemer.  It is one of those projects that you can knit and not think about too much once the pattern is established and you figure out unusual things like the slipped stitch edging.  You can see it in the photo above – it makes for a lovely neat edge to the shawl.  I like it and will use it again in future!

IMG_1705 (800x600)I am very, very, nearly finished on Two Hearts.  Just a quarter of the second sleeve to go and the sewing up, so you will see it soon!  I am very excited, as sometimes it has felt like I will never get to the end of it!

The finishing of these two projects leaves me with thoughts on what to do next.  I am very much in the mood to finish up other outstanding WIPs that I have had sitting around for a while, especially this one:IMG_1720 (800x800)

It’s the Leighlinbridge Aran by Melissa Leapman that has been stuck for lack of concentration time for a few months.  I realise I made one of the twisted cables just slightly larger than the others, but too bad, it will be fine.  I can live with it.  I’m using The Wool Company’s Possum Merino in a colourway that is very similar to the new Sea Foam.  That was a mistake looking up the colourways because now that I have seen the new season’s colours, I Want Them All!!!! They are absolutely gorgeous!

The new project that I’d like to start is my retry of Audry’s Southern Skies.  After my failure with the original yarn I chose (it came out far too small), I decided to use a yarn with less spring, and asked Anna Gratton if she’d custom dye me a night sky using her 4 ply 100% wool.  This is what came back, called Midnight Sky:IMG_1715 (800x705)

I got it out of storage this week and decided that it was just far too beautiful not to knit into a shawl. I can see it will be very reflective of the Milky Way when taken on long time exposure.  I love it!!

I’m going to knit it with 4mm needles as I want it to be nice and big, and I know that my gauge is much tighter than Audry’s.  More on this shawl soon!

I’ve now got at least seven designs sitting on my list of things to write up.  Somehow, I am lacking the motivation.  I think the realisation that pattern designing is not a viable income generator for me has me in a bit of a writing funk.  I keep coming up with designs because I keep knitting things from my head and thinking “someone would like to knit this too, I bet”.  I am grateful that many of you like my designs, but I need to accept that designing is just a hobby and do it for the love of designing and sharing rather than anything else. Still, it is a good exercise to keep my brain exercised during this hiatus from work.

Perhaps too, because I lack mental stimulation in other areas at the moment, that my mind has turned to wanting to learn new things, to stretch and grow.  So there is a bit of a fascination with all things lace and colourwork and complex cables going on…

Finally, I’d like to link to this uplifting video I came across this week.  It’s about emotional first aid.  Guy Winch made a very good point about how we look after ourselves really well physically, but how often do we do the same to our minds? He touches on things like loneliness and fear of failure and rejection, not the catch phrase depression that seems to be all the rage to talk about these days.  It’s a really good listen, and I got a lot out of it, so I am sharing it with you.

Wishing you all a good week!


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Hybrid Vigour

I finished it.

Hybrid Vigour shawl

It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of lace I have knit yet, in my opinion!

It fits very nicely, and I can see that I will get a lot more use out of this when the weather warms up again.

Hybrid Vigour shawl

The ‘shawlcho’ concept is genius – no more worrying about the shawl slipping off!  Mary-Anne Mace has done a brilliant job of Hybrid Vigour.

The beads were fixed with a crochet hook.  I have to say that I do like this method of affixing beads – it means I don’t have the weight of the beads on my yarn as I am knitting, and they also sit much more nicely in the knitting that the other way.  I used a mix of glass beads that came pre-mixed – I bought them years ago, when I was into beading, and am very pleased that I can use them again and appreciate their beauty.  Their colour tones well with the yarn.

Beads in knittingThe yarn is Anna Gratton 4 ply merino/mohair in Lavender Fields.  I used 140gms, which is less than one skein. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this yarn knits as lace.  It shows a good level of definition!

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It’s the perfect wrap for a cool summer evening, or indeed a warmer winter day.

It’s such a wonderful feeling to finish a project, and be happy with it, and know that I have accomplished something.

Design by Mary-Anne Mace

It’s so pretty that I might even knit another one!