Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


The Pirinoa Poncho

A few months ago, Mary Furness-Weir of Maniototo Wool, approached me to help her design a child’s poncho.

I was intrigued by the concept that she suggested, and thought it would be a nice challenge to design a garment for a change, so I said yes.

Today, after much swatching and discussion and test knitting (thanks Mary!), we are delighted to present The Pirinoa Poncho!

Pirinoa poncho

DK Pirinoa Poncho

The poncho has been designed to fit children aged 18 months – 4 years old.  There are two versions of the pattern – one in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool DK and the other in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool aran weight yarn. The little girl (2 yrs old) is wearing the DK version, and the little boy (3 yrs old) is wearing the aran weight version.

Aran weight Pirinoa Poncho

I am so in love with how the poncho has turned out, especially now I see it on the children it will fit.  These stunning photographs were taken by Emma Mehlhopt (said Mel-hop), a very talented photographer, who specialises in photographing children and family portraits ( Hasn’t she done a super, super job!?  I am so grateful to Emma for these beautiful photographs. And to the models’ mums for allowing their adorable children to be photographed.

Pirinhoa Poncho

There is a backstory to this design:  Once upon a time, Mary’s grandchildren had a poncho a bit like this.  They wore it from the time they were two years old and right up until they went to school.  It was a family favourite, very handy for throwing on between car and house, particularly in the bitter coastal winters where they live in the Wairarapa (the area is called Pirinoa, hence the name of this poncho). Mary thought that perhaps there may be other children who would also love to have a poncho like this, and so the concept was born.

This design has a special place in my heart:  it was designed in the Wairarapa, inspired by a Wairarapa family, photographed in the Wairarapa on little models who also live there, and is named after a place in the Wairarapa. In a way, it encapsulates a lot of what I loved about living there.  Family, friendship, community, lifestyle.  Thank you Mary, for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this one.

The pattern can be obtained in several ways:

  • A single printed leaflet from the Maniototo wool website, or at any outlets that sell the yarns – Country Rumours, 11 Talbot St, Geraldine; The Woolroom, 52B Ribbonwood Road, Geraldine, or markets such as KAN (Napier) and WOOLFEAST (Christchurch);
  • Printed patterns are available at The Land Girl, Pirinoa Village, where it is available in a kit including enough wool to make the poncho in either Aran or DK weights and a circular bamboo knitting needle. The first kits to sell will include a set of beautiful handmade wooden buttons; and

Handmade buttons

  • In soft copy (PDF) from my Ravelry store. DK version here and Aran weight version here.

Each of the printed patterns (from any outlet) will contain a one-time use only code so that you can also download the pattern to your Ravelry library.

Pirinoa Poncho

Yarn for the pattern can be obtained from Maniototo Wool’s website, where you can choose your colours. There is plenty of lovely Aran wool available. Orders for the new season’s DK yarn will be placed on a waitlist (it is still at the mill).

Mary and I look forward to seeing your own versions of these cute ponchos pop up on your project pages soon!


Knitting a bat

While we were in the shop picking up some Halloween decorations last week, the young boy spotted a ‘make your own kit’.

The kit“Ooh, mum!, can we get this!?” he asked excitedly.

” Yes, as long as you do it yourself – it’s your kit, OK?”


We got home.  The kit instructions proved completely indecipherable.   Even I could not make head or tail out of them.  Undeterred, I looked up YouTube, and found a great tutorial on loom knitting.

I got him started, and he was off!

He knits!The next day, he’d finished!  Here he is, binding off…

At this point, I got a bit jealous.  Someone in the house was knitting, and it wasn’t me! 😦  There was housework to be done, and all I could do was watch from the sidelines!

Sewing upSewing up the looped rope into a coil.

StickingSticking all the bat bits on to the coil.

Et voila!Et voilà!  It is done!  He was very possessive over this and refused to let me help at all.  (I was secretly quite proud).

In fact, he was so happy with his efforts that he prompted started an orange coil to make a pumpkin.   The pumpkin is finished, and now he’s on to a multicolour coil.

It’s quite funny having a knitting companion on the house…


From Mum, with love.

Some people are not fond of pink.  It definitely has a (smallish) space in my wardrobe though.  It is also a colour which I will forever associate with my baby girl.

I bought the yarn for this shawl a while ago, with the express intention of knitting something for her.  It has taken a while to decide on the right pattern!  I am supremely happy to show you the result today:

Golitha Falls Shawl

Golitha Falls Shawl

My baby girl is no longer a baby.  She’s a grown girl who will celebrate her 20th birthday in just a few days.  I guess this is my last chance to knit her something pink before she complains I’ll never think of her as an adult!  It’s going in the post to keep my girl warm where she lives in England.

Golitha Falls Shawl 3

I sometimes think that being a parent is one of the most heart-breaking things to be in the world.  From the moment they are born, they begin on their journey to eventually leaving you and setting out in the world on their own.  Loving and leaving – two vastly different sentiments, yet so intimately entwined.

The first smile, the first step, the first word, all celebrated with joy.  That first day at school, waving a happy goodbye (I shed the tear, not her!)  That first drive down the driveway… without me.  The stoic farewell at the airport as she embarked on her life journey.  It’s all part of being a parent, isn’t it? Raising a balanced, happy individual who is ready and willing to venture into the world on their own, living an independent life.  Being able to love, and yet let go.

Every single stitch of this shawl was knitted thinking of her.  I miss her very much, and I hope that when she wears this shawl around her shoulders on cold winter mornings (she’s already told me it will be her ‘house shawl’) it will remind her of her mum, and that even though I am very far away, she is never far from my thoughts.

Knitted in Flagstaff Alpacas’ 4 ply 100% alpaca in baby pink.  The pattern is called Golitha Falls Shawl, by Anniken Allis.  Both yarn and pattern are highly recommended!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway from my previous post – there’s still time if you’d like the chance to win a copy of “Lit Knits”.


The generation of tomorrow

For my son’s birthday party, I knitted several of these little guys as favours:

I’m not sure what happened to my head, but I forgot to take pictures of the others.  Probably something to do with rushing around trying to prepare for the party, and then giving them away to the boys before I thought about photographing them!

I knitted them because my son asked me to do them as favours, and I trusted his instincts on the matter.  It struck me as each boy received their small favour, how much they really liked their gift.  The boys immediately thought of a use for these little guys, attaching them to their balloons, and using them as very cute parachutists.  It was a very happy moment.

Reflecting on this, I remembered the time that I taught knitting at the school, and how the kids actually wanted to learn how to knit, not just because it was the thing to do at school that day.  The older kids were off doing another class while I taught the younger ones, and their disappointment at having missed out was palpable.

It’s such a contrast to my childhood.  As a child of the ’70’s, receiving something hand crafted was unfortunately (and shamefully) not appreciated.  I remember my uncle brought back a present of a handmade cloth doll from a trip overseas, and I actually cried with disappointment, and refused to accept the gift because I thought it was so ugly.  Later on, I did play with it, but I never really warmed to it somehow.  Plastic Barbie ruled the day!

My relatives were not knitters, so I was never given anything hand knitted.  It’s a good thing, as I am ashamed to say it probably would not have been graciously received.  Like the time I was allowed to request a treat as a reward for fulfilling all my chores and received… handmade doll’s clothes.  Not the factory-made ones that I asked for, and coveted.  I was crushed.  For years!

I don’t think my childhood values were that different to those of others of my generation.  It seems that times have changed though.  My son’s most treasured possessions are toys and clothes that I have knitted him.  He’s always asking me to knit him something, and he jealously watches hats and other items go out the door that are knitted for others.

Attending his friends’ birthday parties, and presenting a hand knitted gift (with some trepidation), it’s still a surprise to see genuine happiness and delight when the child opens his/her present.

While I am a solid convert to the beauty and quality of the handmade, my memories of childhood reactions to the handmade means that I don’t automatically expect others to appreciate what I do.

It still amazes me that my nieces love receiving the things I knit them, and the one time I sent something to one niece without including something for her sister, there was an outraged “Where’s mine???” (and possibly tears).  Needless to say, I won’t be sending single items again!

I think it’s a good and wonderful thing that today’s children are growing up appreciating the handmade, and by the same token, true quality.  It’s a small indication that perhaps their values will develop the changes of today, and it fills me with hope for the future.


Talking about it helps

Thank you all for your wonderful, supportive comments on my last post.  It really did help to see your remarks – since then, I have put my head down and knitted an entire 3 balls of yarn, and am now only two repeats away from completion!  Yay!!!!!  If I keep this up, I’ll have something to show you by tomorrow night!  So thank you all, again.

At the least, it kept me honest to the task.  At the best, it was the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one in my position!

Speaking of talking about it, I’ll leave you with a “non-conversation” I had with the older boy the other day.  I think some of you will identify!

As some of you will know, I enjoy looking at magazines, books and Ravelry to spy the latest knitting goodies that I could add to my ever-growing queue of projects.  Sometimes, it’s nice to share my happiness at seeing the designs that catch my eye.

So the other day, happily looking through Rowan 46, I spied a number of stylish, chunky man knits.

Me to 15 yr old son:  “Ooh, come and look at this.  Don’t these sweaters look good?”

Son:  [Short silence].  (Then in an irritable tone) “I thought we’ve already discussed it.”

Me:  [Puzzled] Discussed what?

Son:  [More irritably] “The sweater you’re going to knit me!”

Me:  [Confused]  “Oh.  Yes, I am knitting that, but I just thought I’d show you some other nice man knits!”

Son:  [Exasperated snort].  “Not interested!”  (Retreats to the kitchen to continue his afternoon snack.)

Me:  [Disappointed sigh, looking forlornly at said knits].  You just can’t talk knitting with boys can you?

This is why it’s nice to have you here.  At least someone is interested!! 😉



Many of you dear readers will know by now that my little boy is a great fan of knitted soft toys (plushies).  Especially ones that have anything to do with Pokémon.  So imagine my delight when researching Pokémon toys on Ravelry to stumble across the wonderful Alyssa, who creates amazing amigurumi knitting and crochet patterns!

And this is what Eric chose and asked me to knit at speed:

It’s a free pattern, and written in a very innovative way – you almost need to do no sewing up at all as it’s pretty much knitted in one.  I’ve been used to having to knit all the pieces and then sew them up one by one… it’s rather painstaking.  So this was a refreshing change!

I am afraid I did not do a perfect job with the duplicate stitch on the tummy, but he doesn’t seem to mind, and Wooper was duly taken to school today for a show-and-tell.

Knitted in The Wool Company‘s 100% Perendale 8 ply yarn in Aqua and Cyclamen.

Thanks once again, Alyssa!