Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Alice’s Mitts


Just dropping in to let you know that Alice’s Mitts are now live on Ravelry.  This link will take you through to the pattern if you’d like to make a pair of your own!

Alice's mitts

These fingerless mitts are knit in the round using 2.5mm DPN needles and feature alternate slanting cables for each hand to give the mitts a balanced look. Knit the cuff/arm to the length you want before beginning the thumb gusset.

Size to fit the average medium sized woman’s hand, approximately 21cm/8” at widest point excluding thumb.

Measurement of pictured mitts is approx. 19cm/7½” long and used approx 55g of Ashford Mackenzie 4 ply 100% merino wool.

Sizing can be easily adjusted for fit by using 2.25mm/US 1 needles for smaller or 2.75mm/US 2 needles for larger hands.

Use whatever fingering weight (4 ply) yarn you fancy to knit these mitts! For luxury, why not try a squishy possum, alpaca or cashmere yarn!

Alice's mitts again

On this side of the planet, we’re about to experience our first week of proper winter weather, with snow forecast for the mountains and chilly temps for the rest.  I’m looking forward to rugging up in my winter woollens at last!



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


Strong heart

Today, dear readers, I introduce Strong Heart.

Originally conceptualised many months ago, after I’d been reading quite a few blog posts about life’s challenges, I thought it would be nice to knit something as a reminder of the nicer things in life, and as my gift to my knitting sisters, who find life a struggle on occasion.

These gloves are dedicated to my dear friend, Kb, who is going through some tremendous changes in her life right now.

It feels nice to finally have wrapped around my arms what I’ve had in my head for so long.  The cabled motif is a continuous string of hearts.  As I knitted them, I reflected on how much you could read into the hearts – a love of knitting; a love for the person you might be knitting the gloves for; a love for all things cabled – the list goes on!  In this case, the hearts represent “heart”.  The ability to take strength; to take heart, and go on, to take on the good and the bad, opportunity and disappointment, and continue to enjoy all that life has to offer.  Hence the name “Strong Heart”.

But wait, there’s more! This is the mitten version.

I’ve used the wonderful Stansborough Mythral yarn, (DK weight, 100% New Zealand Stansborough Grey wool), in the Rata colourway for the long, fingerless version.  The mittens are in Kokako Grey – the natural colour of the sheep.

The pattern is of course, free and it will be released in about a week.  (I have some major work on at the moment that will prevent me from writing the pattern up too quickly).  Thanks to my son Tim, for the great pics today.

I hope you are having a marvellous, relaxing weekend.  🙂


Mittens for a little girl

A friend wanted to send her friend’s daughter some mittens.  She asked if I’d knit them for her.  We had such fun playing in my yarn collection, choosing colours!

She needed them rather quickly, so I knit these over the weekend.

I especially love the pink and green stripey ones.

Here they are, kindly modelled by the young man who declared that they were very comfortable, but the colours weren’t quite right for him. ;-D

They’re done in a combination of Knitsch 100% merino (pink – Sweetheart) and Fibre Alive Merino Mania (green – Lemonza) sock yarns.    The colours go together well, no?

The green and blue are knitted in fingering weight possum yarn (Jamie Possum and Zealana Kauri).  If I had more time, I would have reknit these.  I am not happy about the placement of the stripes and the buttons – they need to go to the other side of the hand.  I’m twitching just looking at them on the screen… eeeeeh.  My friend told me not to fuss.  I guess that’s the most important thing – she likes them!  At least they’ll be warm and cuddly and help to keep one little girls’ hands warm come winter.

It was quite fun knitting them.


Wrist warmers? Easy fingerless gloves?

I knitted these to keep my wrists and hands warm while I work at my desk.  To me, they are wrist warmers.  Some might call them fingerless gloves because they have a hand section.

What would you call them?

They’re the easiest pattern in the world.  Coming to you soon!



Ta da!

Ha!  You thought you could beat me, you cheeky pair of gloves!  But no, I battled on, and now you are DONE!!!  Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!

I’m a bit surprised they fit – they’re meant for a very petite lady who is about the size of the average 12 yr old.  So they’ll be longer on her than on me which is good, but I think because this pattern is totally ribbing (including the cables), it’s so stretchy that even I can wear them.  Although as you can see, they are very snug.

I’m not sure about writing out the pattern for this. It’s a super simple concept – just rib all the way. Only the cables are a bit tricky because there are twists and crosses which require concentration, so it’s intermediate-level.   If you’d like it, let me know!

There’s another thing to be pleased about today – it’s only 17 degrees C!  Yay!  Woolly season is coming! 🙂