Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Sustain the Sea: Tidal Hat

Today, I bring you the Tidal Hat. You’ll have seen a previous incarnation of this hat before on my blog, but I never had the motivation to write up the pattern.  It occurred to me that it would make a nice addition to Sustain the Sea, so here it is!

Tidal hat

This hat celebrates water and the sea, its ebb and flow, and the sandy beaches where rivers join the sea.  If we look after the quality of the water and air that goes into the sea, it will help the sea look after us.

The beach

This pattern depicts water as it ripples down the rivers to the sea, and the waves of sand left behind when the tide goes out.  Purl stitches reflect the grainy sand, and the reverse stocking stitch gives the hat a slight ‘slouch’.  The twisted stitches framing the ripples represent shells that are so much a part of the beach, and a visible reminder of the fragile balance of life in the sea.


The brim is knitted with a smaller needle to keep it from stretching too much over time, and allows the hat to hug the head so it is less likely to blow off in the wind!  The looser crown gauge makes a hat that is comfortable to wear and flatters the face.

Tidal hat 2

I encourage you to try the no-cable-needle method to knit the waves.  It’s very easy, and will save a lot of time and fiddling with cable needles!  Instructions on how to do this are contained in the pattern.  Magic loop with a long circular needle to knit the hat, and you’ll even be able to bind off the crown without changing to DPN needles.

I selected a beautiful, crisp New Zealand Corriedale yarn:  Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. pure wool naturals in Pumice, to reflect the colour of sand and shells and convey a sense of purity to the design. The structure of the spin has a liveliness that provides great stitch definition.  It’s one of my favourite New Zealand yarns – durable, comfortable, warm.

Using this wool is also a sustainable choice for me – it is a natural colour, and it has been grown, shorn, spun and now knitted all within a two hour’s drive from where I live in Wellington.  I’m very lucky to have access to such wonderful wool.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I chose, you can find it here, or email Anna Gratton direct at filaro AT

Download the free pattern here: Free pattern: Tidal Hat or on Ravelry.

You’ll need:

50g (108m/118yd) DK weight yarn (suggested yarn is Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. 8 ply pure wool naturals in Pumice)

3.75mm (US 5) and 4.5mm (US 7) circular needles (or DPNS if you prefer)

Back viewMy thanks to the oldest boy for patiently taking photos for this pattern at the mouth of the Hutt River, where the river meets the sea.

River mouth


Sustain the Sea: The Orange Roughy Mitts

Welcome to the first design from my new series collection, Sustain the Sea!!

Orange Roughy Mitts

The Orange Roughy Fingerless Gloves.

This pattern is a mid-length fingerless glove.  I have selected a ‘scale’ pattern to highlight its fishy tribute, with the seed stitch thumb further hinting at marine origins.  The stretchy bind and ribbing represents fins.  The colour is that of the orange roughy fish.

Full detail

These gloves are knitted to a tight gauge to prevent stretching during wear.  They fit the arm like a second skin, and will keep you nice and snug on those crisp autumn and winter mornings.

Sizing:  One size.  Fits the average woman.  Approx 25cm/10″ long and 18cm/7″ around before wear.  Worn with between 0 – 2″ negative ease.

You need:  70g of high twist wool sock yarn.  For this sample, I have used Fibre Alive Merino Mania in a one-off colourway, wonderfully named “Orange Roughy”. An available alternative in the exact same colour and style of yarn is Knitsch 100% New Zealand merino sock yarn in Charlemange.

Other suitable alternatives available overseas include in the US, Koigu KPPM, Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, or in the UK, high-twist BFL sock yarn or the merino/nylon/ stellina sparkle 4 ply such as the ones brought in to New Zealand by Doe Arnot). Any yarns with the same sock weight, with high wool content and in high twist spin will be suitable to get the same effect as you see above.  Wool is important for its stretch, and the high twist gives the “scales” definition.

Needles:  2.25mm (US1) DPNs

Gauge:  10 sts x 14 rows to 2.5cm / 1″ in scale stitch pattern

Skill level:  Familiarity with knitting in the round and ability to read charts would be useful.

Download here: Free pattern: Orange Roughy Fingerless Gloves or from Ravelry.  In return, I ask that you ‘pay me’ by buying “good choice” fish when you next decide to have a fish dinner. 🙂

Orange Roughy Mitts

My thanks to the oldest boy for his fantastic photography at Makara Beach.

About the orange roughy

I have chosen to tribute the orange roughy to begin this series.  This fish heads the “do not eat” and “worst choice” list on all “Best Fish Guide” lists that are currently produced by any marine conservation organisation.  In fact, it is arguable that this fish should be on the menu at all as there is no truly sustainable way of catching this fish.

The orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) is a bright red, deep sea fish.  Its colour fades to a light, pinkish orange after death.  It is part of the slimehead family, and also known in other countries as deepsea perch, sea perch, red roughy, hoplostete orange, granatbarsch, pesce arancio, beryx de nouvelle-zelande, or rosy soldierfish (Wikipedia).

New Zealand and Australian orange roughy stocks were discovered in the 1970’s.  Since then, although quotas have been reduced in recent years, and several fishery areas closed due to over-fishing, most populations of orange roughy stocks still open to fishing are now only one-fifth of their original unfished size in the 1970’s. In fact, orange roughy in Australia is listed as “Conservation Dependent” and protected under national environmental law. (Australian Marine Conservation Society)

The orange roughy is extremely long-lived – as far as we know, it can live up to 150 years.  The fish are caught around sea mounts using bottom-trawling as they congregate to spawn or feed.  Most caught fish are around 30 – 40 cm long (their size at approx. 20 – 30 years of age) although they can grow to twice this size.  Very little is known about orange roughy reproductive habits.  It is likely that individual orange roughy do not spawn every year once they reach maturity at 20+ years, and when they do, the fish release less eggs than other species.

In addition to the obvious consequences of catching a slow growing, low-fertility fish as it is in the process of reproducing, bottom trawling destroys sea floor species assemblages and fragile seamount habitats, where the fish are found.  It effectively bulldozes the sea floor demolishing black corals, lace corals, coral trees, colourful sponge fields and long-lived bryozoans, some aged at over 500 years old (Forest & Bird). Deep water sharks and other non-target fish species are also caught.  Endangered seabird and sea lion by catch has also been reported.   Little is known about deep sea environments.  What harm are we causing besides the obvious destruction?  What are we doing to the deep sea eco-system by removing this important part of the food chain?

Due to its long life, the orange roughy contains high levels of mercury in its flesh.  It is also very low in omega-3 fatty-acids, making this fish a much less nutritionally suitable fish for human consumption than other species.

Current statistic indicate that orange roughy is mostly exported to the USA (69%) and Australia (18%), with some to the UK, Europe and China. Orange roughy is also sold in New Zealand.

Although quotas exist for this fish, it is admitted that it is unknown whether the levels permitted by the quotas are sustainable.  Statistics indicate that once exploited, orange roughy populations have not recovered.

After reading the facts, I believe that fishing for orange roughy is undoubtedly not sustainable in any form.

Please do not eat orange roughy.


Forest & Bird Best fish guide

Current Fisheries information

NZ Fisheries Site – the Orange Roughy

Wikipedia – the Orange Roughy

Mar-Eco – the Orange Roughy

Greenpeace – the Orange Roughy

Australian Marine Conservation Society Sustainable Seafood Guide

Blue Ocean Institute – Species Score Card


Are you WALing too?

Have you noticed the new image on my sidebar?

Yes, it’s November!  And that means it’s Wovember!

This year, Wovember organisers have come up with a new way that knitters can participate in promoting pure wool: the WAL.

It’s simple:  in short, simply knit a project in 100% wool during Wovember, notify the organisers on 15 November and send them a pic of your finished project on 30 November! (have a look at the link I’ve given above for full details)

Pure wool is so versatile…

More Lillia Hyrna




Pure wool

As you can guess, I already have mine – the Shepherd Hoodie strikes me as an extremely Wovemberish project.  Plus, we’re allowed to include a project that we have already started!

So what are you waiting for?  I bet you have a 100% wool WIP project tucked into your basket somewhere… why not finish it during November and send in your photo?

It will be a fantastic tribute to, and showcase of pure wool to see all those amazing projects.


I should have known better

I stood in the store and looked at the cardigan.  It seemed like the perfect pretty summer cardigan to me.  It had a neckline I wanted to check out, the right colour and shape and it was only $30.  What could go wrong?  I don’t have time to knit everything I want to wear sadly, and this seemed like a nice, lightweight number that I could buy and then concentrate my time on knitting other things that are more suitable for colder weather.

I went home and happily put on my new cardigan.  The neckline was great – haha! I can now queue the Rosemary Cardigan with confidence to make a winter cardigan of the same shape!

The new cardigan

A few minutes later, I started to feel strange.  Clammy.  Sticky.  Irritable.  What was this?  I was most uncomfortable!  I took off the cardigan, but started to feel cold.  It definitely wasn’t too warm to wear it!?  Then I realised:  the cardigan was not made from wool.  Or cotton.  Or any other natural fibre.  It didn’t even have viscose or rayon in it.

Lulled by the fact that I hadn’t bought any clothing ready made (with the exception of knickers, but you can’t knit them) from a store for over a year, I had fallen prey to a cardigan that was obviously pure synthetic even though it came from a high street shop that normally sells good quality clothing.  I had forgotten do to my normal check on the label for some natural fibre content.

$30 may not seem a lot of money, but it equates to a fair chunk of yarn.  In fact, depending on the yarn I choose, it is almost the cost of a hand knitted New Zealand pure wool/natural fibre cardigan that will not make me sweat, or feel sticky.  It will also definitely last a whole lot longer than this piece I have bought, and which already sports several small yarn pulls!!

I should have known better.

And now, I’m going to have to knit that cardigan I wanted because there isn’t any other way to get it in a cost-effective fashion, or it seems, the quality I need!

I feel I should insert this qualifier here just in case I hear “what do you expect from cheap” next:  I know this was a cheap cardigan, but I also have at least three expensive pure wool cardigans from designer labels from my richer days, and they are now so full of holes and darned patches as to be unwearable except for gardening and house cleaning.  I decided that knitwear had to be knitted by me after that, and that I was not going to pay over $100 for any piece of commercial knitwear given how quickly it wore out.

So what am I going to knit? After much pondering on the patterns I’ve admired on Ravelry, and to find the one that most fits what I want, I think it’s going to have to be Tempest.

Next I thought, “oh no, now I’m going to have to buy more yarn!”, but I then I decided I had better have a look at what was already in my stash…

I went to the stash room, and look at what I found:

Knitsch in Silver Lining and Pencarrow

Knitsch 100% merino wool in Silver Lining and Pencarrow

I’ve been looking for a project for this Knitsch yarn for quite a while, and I think I have just found it.  

I don’t know why I even bother buying ready made knitted clothing these days. Making your own is so much better and more fun.  It will just have to take a bit longer before I can have that cardigan!


A sweet cable

Here is Affection, all finished!

Rowan Affection

I have mixed feelings about this sweater.  Although I love the cropped look in Rowan’s pattern photo, I knew that the moment I bent down, or reached up, or did anything other than stand straight, it would have annoyed the snot out of me to have knitted it at that length.  I would be constantly tugging it down to cover exposed ‘bits’ of tummy or butt cleavage.  Not really my cup of tea these days!

So I added in an extra repeat of the cable, and an extra inch to the sleeves to accommodate my freakishly long arms, and it’s exactly the length and fit that it is meant to be on me.  However, it does not look like the picture.  My brain is having issues accepting the way this looks “because it’s what you intended it to be” against “but it’s not like the picture!”

I suspect I should have knitted one size smaller to make it not so wide though.  Ah well, I hear “boxy” is in!

Grumbling aside, I do love the look of the cables in the front.  They are so sweet!


The yarn, Zealana Heron, is also another winner – it feels like a soft, warm hug, and the colour and texture match the delicacy of the cable pattern very well.  It’s the Cloud Blue shade, in case you’re wondering.

I mentioned in my last post about this sweater that I expected the yarn to bloom. Let’s have a look and see shall we?

This is it unblocked:

Heron Unblocked

Compare it with the blocked:

Heron Blocked 2

The difference is not major, but there is a definite softening of lines and a certain softness of look that I expected to see.  As with all possum yarns, the bath has allowed the possum fibres to expand out of the merino wool and fill in the gaps between the yarn.  There is a lovely haze that promises warmth and cosiness, and a softness that means wearing it next to the skin is a complete reality. 

I’m looking forward to wearing it when winter rolls around.



I figure some of you will want to see what the Market Jacket looked like finished.  We got a cold snap today (hooray!) and my wrists are a bit sore from knitting Jacket No. 1 (the final piece – the collar – sits on my lap as I write this), so I decided to put the finishing touches to the Market Jacket.

I’ve been hesitating to put the buttons on because I just hate how buttons tend to pull through the holes after a while and the knit ends up looking less polished than it should.  Taking a look at my commercially knitted cardigans, I realised that the button bands are all lined with grosgrain ribbon.  I decided to follow suit.

Lined with ribbon

The ribbon lining has made a huge difference – the bands are stable without being stiff.  It also allowed me to sew the buttons on using normal sewing thread – something I usually don’t do when I’m sewing buttons directly on to the knitted button band because it doesn’t feel secure.  I’m going to line all my cardigan button bands from now on.  I guess it makes sense.  After all, when you sew, you always put interfacing on button bands.  Why not the same principle for knitting?

That done, here is the jacket:

Market jacket doneThe notes are all here if you want to see them.

It’s a very cool jacket.  I really like it, but it’s still going off as a present.  I think it will suit the recipient even more than me.  I’m already excited about a couple of other jackets I have my greedy little eyes on…

Tomorrow, I will start seaming Jacket No. 1.  After that, I have 10 days to get Jacket No.2 finished.  It will be a tight squeeze, but it can be done.

I am so sick of knitting jackets though!!!  There is some serious fantasizing of cables and other pretty knitting going on at this end.  The wishlist queue of knits is getting longer by the day!

And guess what?  Today’s the 3rd anniversary of my blog!  Time flies.

Hope you’re all having a good week. 🙂