Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Happy Christmas!

A Very Merry Christmas to you, dear knitting friends.

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I know Christmas Day passed before I wrote this, but I hope you had a wonderful, blessed day with family and friends.

It was a very busy lead-in to this period, with me working right up to Christmas Eve. Fortunately, we still found time for fun things like Christmas baking!

 

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The last few days have been filled with friends and family, and it has been wonderful to catch up with everyone, and to see the eldest boy again.

 

I’ll be back to tell you about my latest knitting endeavours soon!

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Knitting all the things

Hello!!

If you are like many in Knitting Land, the advent of December has suddenly induced the uncomfortable thought: “How much time left until Christmas!?”  I hope holiday and Christmas plans are going well!

The lack of a day job means that despite the end of year rush,  I am able to take as much advantage of the time while it is available to me to knit and especially to develop more of those designs that have been swimming around in my head for ages!

As a result, a lot is happening in my knitting world and there is a lot to show you!  So get yourself a nice drink to sip, make yourself comfortable and settle in for some eye candy!

I wanted to first say thank you for liking the Slipped Hat I designed for Zealana!  Had to show it one more time… so pleased with how it has been modelled and photographed! It is actually a quick knit, and if you do not choose to make a pompom, then you only need one ball of each colour for this pattern.  There are so many pretty colour combinations you could choose to knit this.  Another combination I thought of was Kale and Peppermint – dark teal and light mint together.  Yummy!  You could also go slightly off-grid and use Sugar and Deepwater – creamy silver and ocean blue variegated.  The combinations are many!

Image courtesy of Zealana

This year,  I have also taken it upon myself to do a limited amount of Christmas knitting. I’m choosing my recipients carefully.  I have recently been hearing “more socks!?” and “I have too many knitted things from you, it’s such a pain they take up so much space”, and to those family members, none they shall have! (I forgive them, because you have to be able to speak your mind when you are with family.  :-))

However, I do know for certain that there are a few people who should appreciate a knitted gift.  My son’s teacher will receive a hat.  From experience, teachers usually love to receive knitted things, so I hope he likes this thank you gift for being such an awesome teacher to my son this year…

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Compliant young man modelling said finished hat before it was washed and blocked.

It is knitted out of pure, naturally coloured New Zealand wool. The young man picked it out as he said his teacher would look good in it.  I’ve decided to be lazy and use a free pattern that seems to work well for many people.  Bonus points for being quick to knit!  I converted it to knitting in the round.  It works just as well, and then you don’t have a seam to sew afterwards.

I might also knit a similar hat for my brother, who spends a lot of time at sea, and likes my knitted things, and for my brother-in-law who works outdoors and is very knitworthy and makes my knitter’s heart burst with happiness at how he wears my knitted things into oblivion.  Better hurry though… time is ticking!

I’m also starting work on a new fingerless glove design that will also be a gift. More to come about that later.

Some socks have also been knitted as gifts.  You have seen most of them already.  One of them is a new design that I will introduce soon.

In addition to Christmas knitting for others, there has been some sock knitting happiness for me…

Joyeux Noelle

I have always fancied a Christmas sock, and Stray Cat Socks in Joyeux Noelle is just amazing!  The colours glow with a richness that isn’t properly captured by the camera.

Apart from gift and Christmas knitting, I want show you a new indie dyer from Australia, Circus Tonic Handmade. This is an indie dyer who is new on the market, and I rather like her approach to using Australian bird colours for inspiration.

Galah in Circus Tonic Handmade

This one is called Galah.  The yarn and I are having a difference of opinion at the moment.  It wants to be the design I’ve just drawn up.  I want it to be Melisandre. I have a feeling the yarn might win.  I’ve thought of another yarn that will look stunning as Melisandre, while Galah will be quite lovely in my new design (the yarn tells me I am being sensible).

Speaking of sock planning, here’s a peek at some gorgeous lovelies from Vintage Purls that I was playing with last week.  One of them is destined to become a sock design very soon. I hope!

Vintage Purls

I do not think I have told you yet that I have started Biophilia.  I am on the third lace set, which ends in nupps. Such a pretty, pretty, shawl!  I only allow myself to work on this on weekends, which is now my official ‘me’ knitting time – the rest of the week is designated to designing and knitting things on deadline, looking for a day job and doing parent stuff. It is very hard to keep my paws off it! Roll on Saturday!

Biophilia

Biophilia is being knitted in Knitsch 100% merino Sock in a colourway called Rocky Shore. It is very ‘oceany’ and lends itself well to the theme of the design!

I have been feeling the need for a summery cardigan, and after much looking at patterns on Ravelry, have whittled my choice down to Drops 95-21 Cardigan in Lace Pattern. I like how it looks on others, so I am confident it will look as good as it appears in the pattern.  Mostly importantly, there are not acres of dreaded stocking stitch to knit! I’m going to knit it in this super lovely Madelintosh Pashmina in Tart that was very generously gifted to me by a special friend:

Madelinetosh

Whether I get the time to do this before Christmas, in addition to starting on several gorgeous shawl patterns I have acquired (will show you next post) is highly unlikely!

You may be wondering what happened to Two Hearts.  The back has been ripped out three times as I have adjusted stitch count for a non-cabled back (too much cabling for my taste to have it on both the front and the back of the sweater, so I have modified).   Now that I have finally got the right number of stitches to suit my gauge and match the size of the front, it is progressing nicely!  It is not finished in time for the end of Wovember, but I shall have it in time for next winter! I won’t show you a picture of the back.  Stocking stitch is not the most interesting thing to photograph.

Speaking of Two Hearts, the knitter mentioned in my last post about this was mortified about reader reactions to her pointing out the mis-crossed cable.  She said, “Well I certainly didn’t mean it like that! I guess if it was me, I’d be much happier that someone had pointed it out when I had a chance to fix it – which is what happened. And what a brilliant job, and a new knitting skill picked up! At the start of the conversation, I guess I was fishing about to see if it was something I could mention – therefore giving the opportunity to fix, or whether I’d just get thumped. I may have done it inelegantly, but I credited WS with making phenomenal garments, and figured she’d probably want to know – while it was still a very easy fix. I would definitely want to know, and have dropped down around 100 rows to fix a miss-crossed cable.” (And knowing her, yes, she certainly would have done that!)

I am glad that she pointed out the error, and have expressed my thanks, because I learned so much in the process, and as she said, I did want to know while it was still an easy fix!  Some mistakes can be left, but that one was just too much over the line for my tolerance levels!

There is so much more to talk about, but I’m going to stop here and save it for another post.  Thanks for staying with me, and thank you for sticking with me over this year.  I really enjoy reading your comments.  You often make me laugh or smile in delight at what you say.  You have been good company!

A bit of non-knitting to finish.  The hay makers came last week.  It was nearly dark by the time they got to the field next to the house, which is why the photograph looks like this:

Hay making

This is the field now:

Afterwards

You can see how long the grass was by the fact that it nearly hides the calves grazing the edges!

Calves in field

I’m rather enjoying seeing all the different looks to this field over the year.


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Wishes do come true!

It’s all Audry’s fault.

Last Christmas, she posted about this pair of socks.  They are very nice socks, especially the colourway. I wanted them. Or more exactly, I wanted to make a pair just like that, and find the self-striping yarn to do it!

Of course, Christmas colourways on side side of the world seem to be quite hard to come by.  Not to be deterred, I did a little wishing at Stray Cat Socks a few months ago.  Then Alice happened to mention something about Christmas colourways on Tracy’s Etsy site!  Gah!!  I had to have a look!  A few clicks later…

Stray Cat Socks

Oh, happy days!!!  Exactly what I wished for!

Joyeux Noel

Winter Wonderland had to come home with me too… it’s very Dr. Seuss, and the young boy thought he’d like a pair of socks in this stripe very much.

Winter Wonderland

Thank you Tracy, for making my Christmas wishes come true!  🙂

 

 


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Vacation

Hello folks, just six more sleeps and I get my first proper vacation in several years! I can’t wait.  After a very.long.year I’m hanging out for sleep-ins.  And long evenings.  Perhaps a walk or two along the beach.  Maybe a glass of wine.  Catching up with family and friends.  Hanging out with my kids.  It will be fabulous.  I’m so tired.  It will be good to have a break.

The “C” word is being quietly ignored.  I think that it’s madness and totally counter-intuitive to be celebrating Christmas in summer.  For those of you who don’t know, New Zealand still has a big “summer shutdown” (basically everything except necessities and retail close down for two to three weeks from Christmas and over the new year) and with all the madness of finishing up work (deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines), getting kids sorted for the long summer break, vacation organisation, and Christmas on top of it… well.

To save my sanity, I keep it simple.  I haven’t even got the tree up yet.  Erk!  Never mind, this weekend will solve all issues and what’s left to be done will be sorted.  It’s a shame really.  We need something in winter to cheer up the spirits and have something to look forward to (Christmas for those in the Northern hemisphere!), but there is nothing culturally traditional for the Southern hemisphere winter/early spring except for the Maori new year (Matariki).  Not being Maori though, it doesn’t mean much to me.  This is what happens when you live in a colonised country!

One of the things I do not to, mainly because it’s not physically possible to accommodate everyone I want to knit for, is Christmas knitting.  However, this year, I have made an exception.  My son’s teacher has been amazing to him this year, so to show my thanks I decided to knit her a couple of hats as she’s admired my knitting and I figure she likes it.  People normally give gifts of wine or chocolate to teachers here, but my neighbour is a teacher, and she gets so much chocolate that she ends up giving it away.  I decided that chocolate might not be such a meaningful gift.

It was meant to be one hat.

Star-crossed slouchy berett

This is the very popular Star Crossed Slouchy Beret.  Only I knitted it on one sized smaller needles than I should have in a moment of inattention.  It feels too small for my head, and so in a fit of insecurity (I hate giving gifts that aren’t quite right), I decided to make one more.  Just in case.

Kittiwake

This is Kittiwake, a lovely Alice Starmore pattern.  Funny that it’s the same name as a very gorgeous cardigan in the latest issue of Knitty!  This one feels right.  I hope she likes at least one of them!  Pattern notes are in the link I’ve provided if you want to see more.  It’s knitted in the most fabulous Rowan Fine Tweed.

I’m also busily knitting one other project which I hope to get done before Christmas, but it’s slow going and because I’m so fatigued, I keep falling asleep while I’m knitting.  Not good!!  It might not make the Christmas mail cut-off at this rate.  Never mind.

I hope all your own preparations for Christmas an/or the summer break (depending on which hemisphere you’re in) are going well.


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Yarn production

Just another pop in today to point out some fascinating posts happening on Anna Gratton’s facebook page as she takes us through the yarn making process from wool to yarn.  Pop over and have a look!  She’s even made a few mini videos of the process.

If you’re around and about in Wellington this weekend, she’s going to be at the Wellington Underground Market’s Christmas-themed market this 8/9 December.  Anna promises to bring baskets of pretty, multi-coloured yarn…!!!


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Thankful

This Christmas, I received a beautiful surprise gift.

My lovely knitting friend, Kb, knitted a monster in gorgeous yarn, decorated him with beautifully, and mailed him to me all the way from the UK.

He strikes me as the perfect knitter’s gift, from one knitter to another.

Just look at those cute stitch markers!  The ones that spell Y.A.R.N are actually old typewriter keys.  The beads are so beautiful.  There’s also one on his ear.

And funny badges:

He sits at my desk, my little knitting buddy.  So cute, I had to share him with you.

Thank you again, Kb.  You’re a true sweetie.