Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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A knitter’s Christmas

Christmas 2015

This post is a bit late due to various distractions and interruptions!  Christmas has been lovely.  My sister and family visited, and there was a lot of eating and talking and enjoying the company of family whom I had not seen in over a year.

In the end, I knitted and gifted four hats, two pairs of fingerless mittens, four pairs of socks and a couple of soft toys.  I think they were all well received.

The soft toys are Plants vs Zombie inspired – you can see them in the collage above.  Initially, I knitted only the Pea Shooter because I wasn’t sure if he would like it.  The boy loved it so much that I promptly got an order for the rest of the set! The Frozen Pea Shooter has been finished, and a Sunflower and Repeater remain to be done.  The pattern is free on Ravelry from Ginger Grant – linked to here in case you want to knit your own.  Be aware that there is a small omission in the pattern about when to place the eyes.  I used plastic soft toy eyes and put them in before completing the stuffing on the head.  I also added drinking straws to the stems to strengthen them, and added picot ice crystals on the Frozen Pea Shooter to make it more authentic.

For knitting, I have started a sparkly shawl (Paris Toujours in Skeinz Alpaca Sterling), most likely for me, and a pair of alpaca socks for winter.

Paris Toujours

This yarn was a lovely gift from The Sweaty Knitter, received earlier in the year.  This alpaca sock blend looks like handspun, but it has been commercially spun by a small mill in the United States – it is amazing that you can trace the fleece used in each yarn cake back to an individual alpaca!  The pattern is just a basic ribbed sock that comes from my head.

Alpaca sock

Some amazing gifts were received:

Christmas gifts

I am particularly besotted by the sweater lot of Wollmeise and the lovely bag it came in… 1,500m of pure deliciousness that will be perfect for a lacy cardigan. In addition was more beautiful British wool.  Also from another lovely friend was a very thoughtful gift of some crystals, incense and chocolate. I was thoroughly spoilt!

There may have been some new for-me yarn under the tree as well…
CircusTonicHandmade

Hannah of Circus Tonic Handmade is a hive of inspiration.  Every time I look at her etsy site, there are yet more mouth-watering shades of pretty yarn.  Maybe fortunately for my and your pocket, she is now on holiday until 22 January…

Doespins alpaca merino

The very long-awaited Flagstaff Alpaca’s merino/alpaca/nylon sock base finally arrived, and Doe has started to dye it and list it in her etsy shop.  Of course, I had to get some.  In fact, I need to get more of this lovely yarn when I can because this is the very last alpaca yarn that Andy of Flagstaff Alpacas is going to spin, from what I understand due to the closure of the mill where the yarn is made.  I am very sad about that.  There are some very beautiful, masterfully dyed colours in the Doe’s shop.

So that was my knitty Christmas in a nutshell!

I also need to tell you about Charles Gandy‘s visit, which I referred to in my last post.  Charles is a TKGA Master Knitter and fibre artist who amongst other things, knits amazing art socks.  He is author of The Embellished Sock, a book of socks that are knitted art for the foot.  This one is my particular favourites from the book, called Tiptoe Through the Tulip socks.

Tulips_small2

Charles told us about his upcoming exhibition “Beyond the Sock” featuring amazing art based around a sock form. None of the socks are meant to be worn, but they look absolutely amazing, and hearing about the process involved in creating the socks was very inspirational.  Those fortunate enough to see the exhibition when it opens at the Bascom later in 2016 will be amazed.  More details are in this link where you can also see a small peek of the exhibition socks and other examples of his work.

Charles showed us a couple of techniques (finger cords and the twist) that he uses one of his other books, commissioned by Regia.  We were lucky enough to be given a booklet each, personally signed by him.  I might just knit one of them for the sheer fun of it!

Charles Gandy socks

As 2016 begins, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!  2015 was a real mixed bag for many of us.  Let’s hope that 2016 perhaps provides a bit of respite.  Let us look for opportunities to nurture our friends and family, show love and find peace.

I’ll be back soon with a small review of the favourite projects of 2015!

Happy Knitting!

 

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A knitter’s midwinter

Hello!!!  I hope this post finds you well in your respective parts of the world, and looking forward to the start of the weekend.  Here in Wellington, we enjoyed a sprinkling of snow and a heap of hail today, and now it is a c-c-c-c-coooooold evening!!  Perfect weather to snuggle up next to the fire with one’s knitting!!  I hear that things are even better in the South Island with lots of snow… hope you are all staying warm!

This week has been such an exciting one in the knitting sense.  I managed to finish not one, but three(!) projects!

First up is Nurmilintu:  This is lovely little free pattern almost knits itself.  I am very happy with my yarn choice (alpaca/silk from Flagstaff Alpacas and Doespins) as it complements both the lace pattern and the drape beautifully.

NurmilintuIt sits around my neck as I type this, a lovely soft cloud of warmth to keep out the winter chill.

Last night, I finished the Noro Silk Garden socks that I have been knitting for a while.  They were my ‘waiting for the boy’ socks – knitted while waiting for him to come out of school and during his swimming lessons.

Noro socks

My sons do not like them, and made derogatory comments about how they look old (that’s the silk) and not very colour coordinated.  Too bad.  I think they are lovely, and deliberately made them non-identical.  It is a bit disconcerting to look down and see two differently coloured socks peeking out from under one’s jeans though! I knitted the socks with the yellow cuff first, and was disappointed when I got to the end and found the pretty pink and purple colour would be missed out.  So I started the next sock where the first one left off, and I rather like that colour combination better.  The heavier weight of this yarn has made them lovely and squooshy to wear too!  I might just have to knit more Noro socks…

And finally, and very excitingly, I have finished Seadragonus!

Seadragonus

Seadragonus will be released in the next week or so.  The pattern has been written, and I just have to make final edits.  I designed this pattern to give my brain a rest after another pattern that I have just finished (I’ll have to tell you about that one another time).  It’s an easy, playful pattern, designed to mimic the larger back scales and smaller belly scales typical in a reptile, and give the general impression of… a dragon!

This pattern marks the start of a couple of sea-themed patterns.  Shark week is coming up, and I aim to produce a sock pattern that highlights the issues surrounding the ocean’s sharks.  It will be part of my Sustain the Sea collection, and therefore a free pattern.  I’ve been silent on the subject of the sea for a while, and not because it is no dearer to my heart.  It’s just that the issues in fishing and the state of the sea became too painful to talk about, and I had to take a break.  Time to get a grip!

On a brighter note, have you seen soknitsome’s most recent post?  She talks about a very worthy cause that we can all participate in to raise funds for literacy.  It’s as simple as logging the number of pages you read every day.  I could not imagine a world without words, and yet there are still millions of people deprived of this simple right.  Go on – have a read! 🙂

Wishing you a lovely weekend.


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Knitted bliss

Hello!!  I hope this post finds you well and refreshed after the Easter holidays!

As for me, to say that I have had some time to knit again does not convey how happy I feel about this situation!

I even have a little ditty to describe it (bear with me):

Ahhh… how lovely to take root in my chair and knit without a care

To sit and knit and knit and knit

It gives me such a hit!  (Hehe!)

Even more happily, this is what happens when a knitter is finally let loose on her knitting:  projects that have until now taken weeks have come flying off the needles… (monster update below).

Here are my completed Rumpelstiltskin socks:

Rumpelstiltskin socks

I’m completely in love with the delicate lace patterning of this design, and so happy with how they turned out!! The beautiful merino/silk blend I got from Sally at Verandah Yarns complements the pattern perfectly.  The socks have turned out to be everything I wanted to them to be.  🙂  Thank you Sally, for this beautiful yarn!  I feel like my feet are wrapped in luxury!

A sweater for the young man is almost done.  The design is a collaborative effort between me and him. Having given up on ever finding the right pattern to knit for him, I drew various versions of what I could do with the colours he chose, and he selected the final design for me to knit.

Sweater in The Wool Co. Corriedale

It’s about time he got a new winter sweater.  I’m using The Wool Company’s Corriedale in three colours – Celtic, Sunflower and Holly (I’m not sure if they still do Holly and Celtic).

The sock fever shows no sign of abating.  Having finished one sock, I had to fill the void by casting on more…

Crenate socks

More love!!  You can’t see much at the moment, but this is such a pretty design to knit!  The design is Crenate by Rachel Coopey. I’m knitting it in Doe Arnot‘s Embers colourway using Flagstaff Alpacas’ merino/alpaca/nylon sock yarn.

There is also the matter of what I have now dubbed the “Imp socks” – in the Momentum colourway from Stray Cat Socks.

The Imp socks

They will eventually go to one of my nieces.  Once I have stopped feeling aggrieved at her for stealing her mum’s birthday socks.  Guess that explains the name, huh?

I have also finally finished this pair, which have turned out so well that I feel confident about presenting them to my mother for her use!  The yarn is an Opal Vincent van Gogh range colourway (5434).  I always send along a small bit of yarn in case repairs are needed further down the line.

Self-patterning Opal yarn socks

Progress is also being made on the latticework cowl pattern.  Assuming that the weather is cooperative this week (botheration… it is raining again today), I will have it properly photographed and the design released next week.

It is such a nice feeling to have my life back again after being so busy at work.  And although I still have a mountain of ironing to get through, at least I also now have a clean house, and getting-there tidy garden (just the back half still to mow and cut back).  I’m almost feeling human once more!

 

 

 

 


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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”.


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The Lamplight shawl

This has easily got to be one of the most beautiful things I have knitted to date.

Lamplight shawlI finished the Lamplight Shawl today.

As I mentioned in my last post about this shawl, I knitted it in fingering weight alpaca silk because I wanted a larger shawl.  It’s a soft, warm hug around my shoulders.

DetailSee how the alpaca fibres have filled out the spaces between the YO holes?  Extra warmth!!

I talked to Andy at Flagstaff Alpacas about the yarn as it is different to the usual alpaca/silk blends you find on the market these days.  Most alpaca/silk blends that I have come across have a predominance of silk in them, but as the aim of Flagstaff Alpacas is to highlight the beautiful alpaca fibre, Andy deliberately kept the alpaca dominant in this blend, with only 20% silk content.

The silk content is enough to give the yarn more lustre than a straight alpaca, and there is a certain body and buttery quality to the strand that you don’t get with pure alpaca.   It’s rather scrumptious.

I was impatient to show it to you, so this is it unblocked.  It’s now spread all over my bed, drying.

Lamplight 2

Hurry up and dry already so I can wear you!!!

In other news, watch out for a post from me on Wednesday.  I will be releasing a new design!!  It has something to do with the image you see below.

Window droplets and lichenHope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Keep calm and carry yarn!

 

 


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A different kind of knitting

There is something about knitting lace that I find incredibly soothing.

Now that I actually understand the harmony of stitches hidden between the YOs and K2togs, SSK and PSSOs, the rhythm of lace is relaxing, enchanting even.  That period of formal study of lace has really paid off.

You hold the needles differently when knitting lace, the strand of yarn slips between your fingers, held gently, not gripped.  One’s tension is relaxed, and as a result, the mind relaxes too.  I find my breathing slows down, the furrows between the eyebrows ease, the tension from my shoulders disappears.  This is an extremely agreeable discovery that has added much to my enjoyment of knitting lace.

I have found to my surprise, that I can now read lace charts.  I no longer approach a lace pattern with trepidation and anxiety, but rather a strange excitement fills my heart as I realise that I can knit this!!

My eyes linger over lace patterns as I dissect the stitches and figure out their construction.  I want to knit all the lace things now!!!

Triangle shawlThis is the Lamplight shawl, a pattern from Shetland Wool Brokers, specifying their beautiful 2 ply laceweight wool.  I, however, decided it was meant to be in alpaca silk.

I’m nearly done – there is still a whole half of the knitted-on edging to be done yet, but I have other projects that are sadly keeping me away from finishing this shawl for a few more days.  It’s a basic pattern – it’s what I needed to finally wash away the fear of knitting lace, and replace it was a new confidence that I am madly hoping will stay!  I have even watched TV and carried on a conversation while knitting this!!

The drape of the yarn is excellent, the beautiful qualities of alpaca enhanced by a touch of silk.  It’s a new yarn from Flagstaff Alpacas – 20% silk, 80% alpaca.  A fingering weight, 720m/787yds per 200g hank.  Because my shawl is so large, I got two hanks, and will be left with enough meterage for something else as well.  Want some in colour?  Have a look at Doe Arnot’s felt shop!

Learning a new skill is always good for the soul.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll have read of my struggles with lace knitting.  However, I think it’s finally over now.  And a whole new world of pretty new patterns has just opened up to me!!

And last, but not least, thank you all for your very kind words of greeting to my last post.  It’s good to be able to ‘talk’ to you again!