Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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.

IMG_2547 (800x800)

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

IMG_2549 (640x640)

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

IMG_2510 (640x640)

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:

IMG_2516 (640x640)

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!




1 Comment

Southern Skies – a chance to meet Audry in Wellington!

If you read Audry Nicklin’s blog, you will know that she is in Wellington at the moment.

I have had the great privilege of spending some time with her this trip.  Last night, she prepared the most delicious taco salad I have ever eaten, and then we went to see glow worms and eels.  (To my eternal shame, the spot is less than five minutes’ drive away, and I have been there many times during the day, but never thought to go see the night life.  Thanks to her friend and host, Chris, for suggesting it!)

However, today I want to tell you that if you are in Wellington, and have always thought about wanting to make this:ws_celestarium4 (640x427)

(This is my Celestarium – it is a bit smaller than the pattern version because I didn’t use the right size needles for my gauge) or its sister, the Southern Skies, and are not quite sure about how to get started on it, or are not comfortable with the idea of incorporating beads, then you are in luck!

Audry will be running a class  at Holland Road Yarn Company this Thursday evening, 23 October.

I am sure it will be a very fun and informative evening!

And the winner…

of one free e-copy of Lit Knits is Karen!  Congratulations Karen!  PM has been sent to you.

Thanks again to everyone who entered the giveaway for Lit Knits, and for your lovely, thoughtful comments.  You really made my day.  🙂

Remember, there are still eight more opportunities to enter the draw for a copy of the book – just follow the breadcrumb trail of the book tour!  Audry has listed all the book tours on her blog.  Do pop in on the others, I particularly loved the post by PansandNeedles.

Good luck!


Follow the breadcrumb trail

I think one of the best things about childhood is being read to by an adult.  I have so many happy memories of bedtime stories (and not bedtime stories!) being read to me by my mother and grandmother, the expression in their voices bringing the characters to life, translating the emotions portrayed in words, which in turn captivated the imagination and cultivated an enduring love of books.  Their encouragement of reading and regular infusions of new books into my life made me keen to read, and read I did.  I think I just about devoured the entire school library in my time!

Reaching back in time, I think one of my favourite childhood stories would have to be Hansel and Gretel.

For a fairy tale, it had quite a lot going on – love, betrayal, self-empowerment of children, triumphing over evil, a happy ending.

Hansel’s gathering of pebbles to find their way home and tricking the witch with a bone was ingenious; Gretel overcoming the witch, pure courage.  Victory in freeing her brother; their happy reunion with their beloved father.  I always felt very satisfied when I finished reading it.

Hansel and Gretel was so much more exciting and realistic to me than other saccharine fantasy tales of some unimaginably beautiful princess finding herself in difficulty and having a handsome prince ride to her rescue… quite hard to relate to!

Later on, the Laura Ingalls series was favourite reading material at home (this, and Anne Frank, brought on the craze for autobiographical books), leading on to Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the hilarious P.G. Wodehouse and James Herriot amongst many, many others.  I was probably a little strange in loving all the Shakespeare plays, but they appealed to me.  Roald Dahl came late in life. Although we had shelves of amazing books at home, my mother did not approve of his books for some strange reason, (my poor sister was given “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as a gift, and it went in the fire, to our great sorrow) so they were banned reading until I left home and could buy them and read them in the privacy of my own home.  There were some things I would refuse to read. Mills & Boon… say no more.

As each of my children were born, I continued the beloved tradition.  Beatrix Potter’s “The Story of Miss Moppet” was the very first story I ever read my infant daughter.  As she got older, it became one of her favourite stories, and she would coo in sympathy for poor Miss Moppet and her head in the duster,miss moppet

and shriek in laughter at silly Miss Moppet finding the duster empty after the clever little mouse had squeezed out of the hole in it and was dancing a jig on top of the cupboard!

naught mouse in miss moppet

In fact, I bought the compendium of Beatrix Potter stories when I was only 19 years old, and hadn’t even got a partner yet, and it would be a few more years after that before my first child was born!  But the idea of being able to one day read this treasury of beautiful stories to my own children inspired me to get it.  I even have Pat Menchini’s “The Beatrix Potter Knitting Book” of ’80s designs all inspired by B.P. stories and shot on location on some of the National Trust properties that were owned by Beatrix Potter.  Some of them are still very knittable!

Peter Rabbit cardigan

Peter Rabbit cardigan and toning skirt from The Beatrix Potter Knitting Book

So when Audry told me about the book she was writing (Lit Knits), and that it would feature patterns inspired by children’s stories, I was very excited.  So many stories I could think of, so many patterns that one could think up!  What a great idea!  I waited patiently… for two years!  Clearly, this book would be one worth waiting for.

Then, on her trip out to New Zealand earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of what she had dreamed up, and I saw that my hunch was right!

White Rabbit Mittens, and with a clock in the palm!?

Rabbit mittens

A Treasure Island blanket!?

Sail To Treasure Islandand of course, the Robin Hoodie, which I loved so much that of course I had to test knit it!

Robin hoodie

The fact that Audry has taken the concept of a story, and embodied its spirit in the design is inspired and speaks of the many hours of thinking she must have put into each and every design in Lit Knits.  This is the point about Lit Knits that captured my imagination.  A knitting pattern book inspired by a story or movie is not new. Only many of these books are basically costume reproductions (not a bad thing, but I’m just telling you here why Lit Knits is different to me).  Audry has taken it a step further:  it’s a book of patterns that embody a story.  You won’t look like you are wearing a story, or a character out of a book when you wear one of these garments.  I like that.

Today, I invite you to “follow the breadcrumb trail” as I am honoured to kick start the first round of Audry Nicklin’s blog tour for Lit Knits!

Audry has very kindly offered to give away one free copy of her e-book to a reader of Kiwiyarns Knits and on each of the other blogs who participate in this book tour between now and 25 September.

So… to enter the giveaway, the conditions are:  leave a comment on this blog saying which of the designs in Lit Knits is your favourite.  To view the patterns, click here for a link to Ravelry or here to go to the Bear-ears website (by the way, did you realise that the patterns can be purchased individually if you only want to knit one of the patterns from her book?)

I will draw a name from the list by random draw on 12 September, and we’ll be in touch for your details!

If you decide that you simply must have a hard copy (that’s me), then there is a special deal on at the moment:

Preorder Lit Knits by September 25 and you will get a complimentary copy of the e-book immediately with your order.  After September 25, the e-book will only be available as a separate purchase.

Visit Vivian at Bits and Pieces on 6 September for the next stop of this tour!

And, if you haven’t already discovered them, pop on over to Audry’s blog, where she has put up the back story to each of her designs.  They’re great reading!



I can finally tell you about one of my exciting secret knits today!

Robin HoodieThis is the Robin Hoodie.

Robin Hoodie 2

It’s the test knit I did for Audry for her long-awaited new book – Lit Knits.

I used Naturally’s Aran Tweed, sadly discontinued.  I think it’s the perfect project for this yarn though!

I had a bit of fun and did a mini-themed pic:

In the 'bush'!

Enough of me.  Have you seen the book yet?  Lit Knits is chock-full of drool-worthy, knit-worthy projects.  I’ve already decided I need to knit more from it, including this:

Deep Sea Wanderer

Reproduced with permission of Audry Nicklin

and this:

Sail To Treasure Island

Reproduced with permission of Audry Nicklin

Go on and have a look at the book yourself!  I hope you’ll understand why I’ve been raving about the book for quite a while now.  🙂


A Knitter’s day

Yesterday was one of those days when I didn’t think anything could get much better.

I was very privileged to have a day with Audry on her trip to New Zealand.  We had so much fun! Audry has written a post about her day, and I don’t think I can add much to it, except to say thanks very much to Jimad for allowing us to visit the mill, and for spending time showing us around when he was already very busy.  And of course, thanks to Audry for meeting up with me!  It was really lovely to meet her after reading her blog all this time, and knitting her pattern.

During lunch, I showed Audry my current pattern in development and she displayed impressive detail and pattern writing skills by critiquing (very nicely) the design.  I think it will be much, much better when I finally get around to finalising it!  I really enjoyed having someone to chew over the design with.

Audry asked me to model the Southern skies version of Celestarium… I am not sure I quite make the grade for professional model, but it was a privilege to help her with the pictures.  🙂  I’m looking forward to the release of the pattern (maybe tomorrow?) so I can knit it!

Hop on over to her blog for a sneak peek of the new Southern Companion and a read about our day!

Oh, and before I forget… I was treated to a very sneak peek of the patterns in her new book!  The designs are simply beautiful, well curated, quirky and very interesting-to-knit looking.  It’s going to be a good one.