Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Winding trails for Nepal

We’ve all heard the terrible news of the earthquake in Nepal.  The scenes of destruction are uncomfortably familiar, and heart-rending.  There is great need for help.

I have decided to do something on my part for the people of Nepal.

Winding trails

I finished the pattern for this cowl this week.  I am making it free, but in exchange, I encourage you to donate an appropriate amount to my chosen charity, Global Giving Foundation.  All funds received by Global Giving in this link will go to providing for survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.  Even a small amount will go a long way towards helping provide for immediate needs.

Amended to add: I have since discovered that most aid agencies are taking minimum donations of $10. If this is above your budget level, but you would still like to donate, I suggest buying one of my other patterns – all proceeds from the sale of any of my patterns for the month of April and May will be donated to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts.

I found this article very useful in helping me decide who to choose for donations.

winding trails cowl

This cowl was already called Winding Trails, but somehow it’s even more appropriate, as it calls to mind the winding trails of the Himalayas, and the difficult road that lies ahead for Nepal’s recovery.

Download here.

About this cowl:  This is an advanced beginner level pattern.  It is knitted in the round, using a 12 round, 7 stitch repeat.

You need approx. 200m/218yds of DK/sport weight yarn.   I recommend a yarn with drape, a reasonably smooth texture and round body.  An alpaca/merino, alpaca/silk or merino/silk type will be ideal.  In this sample I have used Outlaw Yarns Vanitas, an alpaca blend, DK weight yarn (100g/200m per ball).

Suggested needle size:  4.5mm.

Finished measurements:  70cm/27.5″ around and 22cm/8.75″ tall.




A small collection

The fruits of my labours from a few months ago are ready to be shown to you today.  I thought that I’d present them as my first Small Collection!!  If you stay with me to the end of this post, you’ll also see details of a KAL and a special offer for the month of November.

First up, I am excited to show you the Diamonds are Forever cowl, originally designed for the Knitsch Jewel Thief yarn club.  The rights have returned to me, so I am happily able to make the pattern available to all.

diamonds are forever cowl

When Tash invited me to design a pattern for The Jewel Thief yarn club, I immediately thought of diamonds. A necklace of diamond lace!  This is an easy lace cowl, alternating diamond lattice with garter stitch.  Lace holes separate each section to provide definition and extra drape.  The garter stitch sections are themselves divided lengthways into alternating panels of diamond lattice and garter stitch.

Diamonds are Forever detail

I knitted this cowl using only two skeins of Knitsch 100% merino sock yarn, although it will suit all fingering weight yarn.  I love it for days when I just need a bit of warmth around the neck.  Why not try it with DK or worsted weight yarn and get a larger and squooshier cowl for the cold winter days?

The pattern only has one chart which is a simple 6 stitch, 12 row repeat.  It’s a good one to “cut your teeth” on lace or if you’re looking to knit something interesting that isn’t going to be too demanding on your attention. I’ve suggested the use of stitch markers in the pattern to divide the sections.  I found they were a useful way to keep one’s place.

The diamond panels that alternate with the garter stitch align to the same chart rows in the diamond block panels, so it is easy to keep track of where you are in the pattern.

diamonds are forever 2

This link will take you to the pattern on Ravelry.

Next up, are the Aster socks, which you will have already seen in my post about the Aster MKAL.

Aster socks

It’s the detail that I’m most proud of.


This is where I’ve hinted at the flowers above the leaves.

More flowersAnd more travelling down the leg of the sock, ending in an interesting cabled heel, that everyone loved, and said was the best of all!  I will leave that detail a small mystery because although the concept worked well, I was slightly unhappy with the edge cable, so I have changed it (no, don’t worry, MKAL knitters, it’s only a small change, but I am much happier with it now. I think when you see it you’ll agree it’s a better design).

You can use any typical sock weight yarn for this design – any of the New Zealand sock yarns will be fine, and if you are using an international one, just don’t choose something too heavy (eg. Blue Moon Socks that Rock) or the sock will be bigger than designed (unless you want it that way).  For this sock, I used another one of James’ fabulous Fibre Alive Merino Mania in the Blackcurrant colourway (sadly James does not dye any more, but any supertwist 2 ply 100% merino sock yarn will be similar to what I used).

This sock is constructed top-down.  The pattern is lacy, so I have reduced the number of stitches to give the sock a snug fit for the specified sizes.  It is available in medium and large size – the large uses a 64 stitch cast on – if you do not like your sock too snug, this might be the better size for you.  This pattern is recommended for intermediate level sock knitters.  It would also be helpful to have knowledge of basic lace stitches (treatment of YO, K2tog and SSK).

Here’s the link to the pattern.

Still with me?  (It’s a long post… sorry!)

Here’s the best bit:

  1. Some of the MKAL knitters (and Alice) have been very kind and agreed to co-moderate a KAL for Aster over on the Kiwiyarns Knits group on Ravelry.  If you have been keen to develop your lace sock skills, this is a good pattern to try out, and you’ll have help along the way.  The flowers utilise a double yarn over, and the leaves have an unusual double structure, which is good for someone looking for a small challenge, not to mention the cool cabled heel (which isn’t a challenge, it’s just a buzz).  As it is my birthday month, and I am now so old that I feel it’s better to give than receive, I am going to select a couple of lovely participants to receive some goodies at some point during the month.
  2. To further tempt you, if you purchase any two of my three most recent patterns  (Something Lovely, Diamonds are Forever or Aster) you will receive an automatic 30% off the combined price.  This discount applies to all purchases during November.  No code required!  A few people have already bought the Diamonds are Forever cowl.  If you have, and you also buy another of the mentioned patterns in November, the discount will apply to your second purchase.
  3. I have one more pattern to add to this Small Collection.  It’s a bonus freebie. I’m hoping it will be ready for November – work commitments permitting!

I do hope some of you will join us for the KAL.  It should be fun!


Something Lovely

Hello!  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the start of the week.

Thank you for your very supportive comments to the sneak peek of this design!  I have finally got the finishing touches done on Something Lovely, and am pleased to let you know that it is now available on Ravelry.

Something Lovely cowlSomething Lovely was designed to go especially well with New Zealand brushtail possum based yarn, in particular, the beautiful worsted weight Zealana yarns (KAURI Worsted (pictured above), HERON and AIR Chunky (pictured at bottom of post).  I love how possum yarns are so soft and warm – they are like little portable heaters around the neck and chest!  Because they are pill resistant and wear very well, I find that they are great for accessories that will be in the ‘public eye’ so to speak – such as things that go around the neck.

Here’s a closer look at the pattern detail:

Something Lovely cowl detail

The panels of lace and double moss are alternate, a deliberate feature because I wanted each stitch pattern to be visible however I wore the cowl.  I find that if I have a ‘half and half’ pattern that sometimes you might only see one or the other stitch, depending on how you wear it, but not both.  Alternating the panels takes away that problem.

You can, of course, substitute your own choice worsted yarn, although I would suggest keeping as close as possible to the qualities of the drapey soft yarn that I have used for this design.  Other than a possum blend, something in an alpaca/silk, or mohair/merino or a yak yarn would be quite good, but I also wonder if a more rustic-style wool yarn such as Shelter wouldn’t look amazing as well?

The pattern takes around 400m of worsted weight yarn using 5.5mm needles.

The skill level would suit an intermediate level knitter, or an adventurous advanced beginner with a rudimentary understanding of lace stitches.

The pattern is available at this link.


Something Lovely 2




Seadragons galore and Something Lovely

In a few days I’ll be asking you to help us vote for the best interpretation of dragon socks!   We’re approaching the final days of the Seadragonus KAL and I thought I’d show you some of the very elegant dragons that are appearing.  See this link to go to the page where everyone’s dragons are being posted and where the vote will be held.

I have really enjoyed this KAL.  It brings a happy smile to my face to see the socks being knitted, and most enjoyably, to interact with those who are participating.  I look forward to more KALs in future!  Thanks again to Alice for organising it in the first place!

My own second knit had completely unforseen results:

Seadragonus socks

They became the young boy’s socks!  He loves them so much that he has now worn them for approximately 24 hours, and refuses to take them off!  Looks like I now have another hand knit sock convert in the household. 🙂

The socks also fit me, but they do have more negative ease than my first socks, and I believe this is due to the yarn I used being squishier.  It’s the second time I have knitted socks in a squishy yarn that has made the sock turn out smaller than the first pair.

I also finished another design this week, and I’m very pleased to give you a preview:

Something Lovely

This is Something Lovely (unless I can think of a different name before I publish it!).   It is designed specifically with Zealana yarns in mind – AIR Chunky, KAURI Worsted or HERON Worsted.  All three yarns have the same approximate gauge, and all have the same beautiful drape, warmth and softness that is so typical of a good New Zealand possum yarn.  Each yarn has slightly different properties.  This cowl uses about 380m in all three yarns.

Something Lovely features alternating panels of lace and double moss.  I have been craving a cowl that combines both texture and prettiness in a way that can be worn both casually and to work over one’s coat.  I am not fond of all over lace in a garment, so this design is my ideal of texture and lace combined.  I have broken up the panels so that it is possible to see both stitch patterns at any point of wear.

My first iteration was in AIR Chunky in the Gold colourway (L07):

AIR Chunky cowl

It is total luxury, with its cashmere, NZ brushtail possum and silk blend, and I love this colour so much!!  It is so light that I don’t even notice it around my neck, except for the extremely warm and cuddly feeling that has been keeping me very snug this week!  See the beautifully soft haze of the downy fibres used in this yarn, and pretty shimmer!

There were a couple of things I did not like about the design once I had finished it, so I fiddled a bit to come up with the next iteration in KAURI Worsted in Red Waina (K10 colourway):

Kauri Worsted

It is essentially the same, but I shortened it from its original length so that it sat better around the neck, and also changed the lace repeat so that it finished and ended in a satisfyingly balanced way.  KAURI is a blend of merino, NZ brushtail possum and silk.  It softens incredibly once it is washed, and a beautiful bloom develops.  With its wool content, this yarn has a bit more substance than AIR, although it is still a light, warm and soft choice.  I am wearing my sweater in this yarn today as we’re having a stormy Spring day and it is rather cold!!  But the warmth and softness of the possum is keeping me toasty and comfortable.  It is so soft that I can feel the softness and cuddliness even through my merino base layer! KAURI is also a more economical choice than AIR Chunky.  I used four and a bit balls of KAURI for this cowl, which I think is quite an approachable amount for a special gift or a treat for yourself!

I haven’t knit this design in HERON, but know it well enough to know it will use the same amount of yarn and come out at the same size. HERON is a blend of merino and possum.  Again, it blooms and softens and drapes in a magically lovely way once it is washed, and it would make a very good choice for this cowl as well, using only four balls.

This is some Heron that I have in my stash.  You can see it doesn’t look terribly fluffy in the ball, but once knitted and washed, it becomes the same as the sweater I have laid the balls on – my Affection, knitted in Heron.  With just merino and possum, it is one of the more traditional possum blends, although I particularly love it because of its single-spun, slightly heathered look – so special!

Zealana Heron

Something Lovely is a quick knit – I finished the second cowl in only two days.  A good choice for Christmas gift knitting!?

The pattern will be released as soon as I can get some nice photos taken by the eldest boy, hopefully by the end of this week.


The latticework cowl

Today, I’m delighted to release the pattern for the Latticework Cowl.

Latticework in Maniototo Wool

This cowl was knitted in the round from just less than one skein of Maniototo Wool in the Tussock colourway.  The yarn shows up the latticework cables beautifully – you can see the latticework fencing inspiration for this design in the background.

The design can be worn two ways – turned down for those warmer days when you prefer a bit of air around the neck, and full length, when insulation against the wind and cold are a premium consideration!

Latticework cowl turned down

The cowl takes around 180m of worsted weight/aran/10 ply yarn.  It’s a great stash buster, taking only one 100g skein of yarn and (I hope you agree) it’s a stylish addition to the winter wardrobe.  I’ve been wearing mine this week now that the weather has finally turned – and feeling rather grand!

Thanks again to the eldest boy for the photographs.

Here’s a detailed picture of the patterning:

Latticework cowl detail

This pattern is free with purchase of yarn from Maniototo Wool.  Mary will give you a code that you can use on Ravelry to download the pattern for free or the pattern can be emailed to you.  (If you have already purchased yarn from Mary and would like this pattern, you may also request the code from her).

The pattern is also available for purchase as a standalone pattern here.  The price is NZ$3.50.



Bo and Paua

There’s nothing like a surf in my favourite Ravelry sock forums to help dispel a case of the ‘back to work’ melancholies.  Knitters are such a happy bunch, and the enthusiasm displayed is very infectious!  Within minutes, I was happily humming to myself and adding yet more lovely patterns that I admired to my rapidly expanding sock queue!

I appear (hopefully) to have resolved yesterday’s tension issue by knitting the last of the heel on 2.75mm needles (two sizes larger!) but have reverted back to 2.25mm needles for the shaping of the heel and the beginning of the foot.  Fingers crossed that it will work out!  So far, so good.

Today I thought I’d show you a couple of projects that I completed over the holidays. I gave away my original Bo cowl when I first designed it, but decided that it would be nice to have one of my own.  Plus, I wanted to see how it would come out in the mohair/merino yarn that acts as a replacement suggestion to the discontinued Anna Gratton silk blend that the original was knitted in.

This is the fingering weight Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. merino/mohair in the Forest colourway.  I’m finally happy with the photos of the colour!

Bo merino mohair cowl

It’s a very long cowl – in the below photo, I’ve actually wrapped it around my neck three times to make a very cosy neck warmer.

DSC00186 (800x756)Doubled, it looks more like this:

Doubled Bo

The good thing about this pattern is that you can adapt it to suit yourself for length. It’s only a two-stitch design, and I’m thinking it would probably look quite fine with a third of the stitches cut out, casting on 299 stitches instead of 399.  It’s knitted in the round, which is why you have an odd number cast on, just in case you are wondering.  Or you could have a short cowl, and only cast on 169 – 189 stitches for a cowl that goes around the neck without doubling it over.

Also, during this process I discovered that my original linen stitch was far too tight for the merino/mohair (the mohair really bulks out the stitches!), so have updated the pattern (also available on my Free Patterns page) to include a knit row between each slipped stitch row.  It feels and knits a lot better this way. Here’s a close up of the different textured stitches.

Close upI feel all set for the winter winds now!

On to the next FO, this is my first pair of finished socks for 2014.  They’re my ‘swatch’ socks.

Paua socks

I’ve called them that because I wanted to design a pair of socks in this beautiful sparkly merino/nylon/stellina yarn from Doe Arnot, coloured like the pretty paua shell (abalone). Only, I discovered that the yarn was already quite busy in terms of colour, and whatever I did ended up looking lost.  If you have a look at the link I’ve given you, Doe has a pair of socks knitted in the colourway in the picture.  It’s interesting how the patterning can come out so differently depending on one’s tension I suppose.

Mine are based on the standard 64 stitch cast on, using 2.50mm needles.

However, after knitting two socks (each of them with a different pattern on them, and both ripped back a couple of times already), I was certainly not going to rip them back yet again, and so I have a pair of what I call, Swatch Socks.

Paua socksThe patterning that I put on them is fairly minimal, and given that these socks will spend most of their life in a pair of shoes, or worn at home, it won’t matter that they look “original”. 😉  I really love the colourway!

So, even though the concept that I was thinking of didn’t work for this particular yarn, if I were to knit these in a pattern (as opposed to plain vanilla or plain ribbed), I reckon any of thisthis, or this would look fabulous.