Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


13 Comments

Lacebark

Hello, and a Happy Weekend to you, in what has been another momentous week on the global stage.  I hope this post finds you well, and doing things that you love.

It is a rainy, rainy day today, perfect for staying home, curling up with knitting and doing not much else.

Thank you so much for your lovely, supportive comments about the finished cardigan I showed you last. I have to say, having now worn it for a couple of weeks, I am especially enamoured of the beautiful yarn – that cashmere blend is something else!

I managed to finish Lacebark this week!  I am so thrilled with how it turned out! As you can see by the million photographs I took…

img_3017

Mary-Anne Mace’s designs take my breath away every time.

So, what did I do for this shawl?

I used three different yarns, but all in the same high-twist merino base type, to give the shawl textural consistency.  I knew when I started it that I would not have enough of the main gradient yarn I used from Ozifarmer’s Market, so I scratched around in my stash and found a beautiful deeper purple colourway from another indie dyer (who sadly no longer makes pretty yarn), and a plain undyed yarn.

I worked the tip in white, and then added in the gradient, and when the gradient was done, I added in the deeper purple.

The pattern itself is interesting. You start out with very basic lace, and gradually move into more and more complex lace techniques as you progress. The final few charts with lace on every side were quite a brain workout, but the result is worth it, and I am sure the grey matter is working much better after that bit of exercise! I do like the progression of lace pattern –  it makes it quite interesting to wear.

In between lace knitting, I did plain vanilla sock knitting, and finished the cute colourway I got from Doespins a while ago, and started another pair (yarn from Happy-go-knitty). These are quite good to knit in the sleepy hours I resist going to bed in, helping me to wind down after a long day in the office, and getting in some ‘me’ time.img_3038-1024x575

It seems that not only must there always be a sock, but there must also always be a shawl on the needles. After much deliberation, I’ve picked the next project.

img_3040-1024x1024I can’t help myself – it’s another Lace Eater design, Regenerate, found in Knitty’s Spring/Summer 2014 patterns. I’m pairing it with Rosewood Wool’s natural dyed Romney wool.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 


11 Comments

Super early or super late!?

A Happy Weekend to you! I for one am very pleased it is Saturday!

As predicted, I managed to finish Braidsmaid this week. I may be lucky and get a couple of wears out of it before the weather warms up too much more. At least it is ready for next Winter? Or am I super late for this Winter? It doesn’t matter much. It will still be worn. There’s no such thing as an expiry date when it comes to knitting!

I knitted Braidsmaid in a DK weight natural grey alpaca/polwarth mix that I got from the South Island a while ago.  I used exactly 250gms of yarn, or about 450m.  It drapes beautifully and is so warm and snuggly. I do love wearing alpaca.

The shawl is the perfect size to wear under a coat. Featuring a reversible cable and garter stitch, you don’t need to worry which side is the right side, because they both look the same.

It has a shaping that I don’t think I have used before – you start at one end with the braid only and gradually increase the garter edges out to a certain width. Then one side is decreased gradually while the other is knitted on to the braided edge as you go. Such a clever design!

I think the key thing to know about this shawl (in terms of sizing) is that the shawl will only be as wide and as long as you end on Body Pattern I.   The width of the shawl at this point determines how long the shawl will be – the remainder of the shawl is all about decreasing one side down.  If you want a larger shawl than noted in the pattern, you should work a couple more repeats in this section before starting the remaining sections. In my case, I simply worked the number of repeats noted in the pattern. If I was to knit it again, I would probably chose to work one more repeat to make the shawl slightly larger.

I did a bit of an all-night knit bender this week… I found yet another WIP at the bottom of my basket and proceeded to finish it during the quiet hours of the night.

christmas-geeks-800x800

I lost interest in them last summer after I didn’t complete them in time for Christmas. They are now ready for this Christmas!

These are Stray Cat Socks‘ in Joyeux Noelle, a Christmas colourway, using my Geek socks pattern. I get a little thrill every time I look at the projects in this pattern – there are over 450 projects noted on Ravelry so far – it makes it so worthwhile to make the effort to design a special sock. Thanks so much to everyone who has knitted this pattern!

The current frenzy of knitting shows no signs of abating any time too soon. I have made good progress on the next pair of socks, the V Junkie socks from Socktopus.

V junkie socks

The winding party has begun for the 3 colour cashmere shawl. Part of me is worrying that I have chosen the right shawl to knit. The yarn I am using is so special and so pretty that I need to be sure that whatever I use it for is going to do it justice! I might consider that issue a bit more…

I hope you are enjoying a great start to your weekend.

Happy Knitting!


16 Comments

Socktober

Hello!

Welcome to the beginning of Socktober festivities!

Today I am pleased to release two new sock patterns.

They are the large version of the Eriskay socks:

This pattern is the sock version of a modern take on the Eriskay gansey. Ganseys were knitted, functional sweaters worn by those who needed to be able to move freely in an age when garments were almost without exception heavy, stiff, tailored and restrictive. They originated with the sea folk of the British Isles – fishermen, sailors and the navy, who needed to wear garments that would be warm, wind and waterproof while allowing ease of movement. Typical patterning featured vertical or horizontal bands of knit and purl patterns and some cabling, inspired by the seascape and tools of their trade. The fancier ganseys were kept for ‘best’, with plainer, workday ganseys knitted with practicality and ease of repair in mind. The gansey from the island of Eriskay was known as the most ornately patterned gansey of the British Isles, and featured elaborate knit and purl patterns, cabling and lace.

his-eriskay-collage-2

Purchasers will get two patterns with this purchase – the large version shown above, and the existing medium size shown below. The large size version above was knitted using Vintage Purls Sock. It takes almost exactly 100g (360m) to knit a large-sized sock.

IMG_2300 (800x600)

The second new sock pattern is the Train Spotting socks.

Knitting on public transport is a somewhat specialised sport. You want to not infringe on other passengers’ personal space, and you also want to work on something interesting that doesn’t need frequent pattern checks or complicated stitch manoeuvres.  Socks are some of the most ideal travelling knits for that reason. I designed these socks to knit during my commute to work; interesting to knit but at the same time not require too much looking at a pattern or fiddly stitches.  It is called Train Spotting in honour of the reason behind this pattern and because I think the little windows in the pattern look like the flashing windows of a train going by.

img_2594-800x800

These were knitted using Meraki Studios Sock. The pattern is easy to knit, and comes with instructions for three sizes:  small (6″ leg circumference), medium (7″ leg circumference) and large (8″ leg circumference).

And don’t forget the best bit:  All purchases of my sock patterns between now and 31 October 2016 qualify for a 40% discount with the coupon code SOCKtober2016 (sinply enter this code on checkout to obtain the discount).

Happy Knitting!

 

 


28 Comments

The Pirinoa Poncho

A few months ago, Mary Furness-Weir of Maniototo Wool, approached me to help her design a child’s poncho.

I was intrigued by the concept that she suggested, and thought it would be a nice challenge to design a garment for a change, so I said yes.

Today, after much swatching and discussion and test knitting (thanks Mary!), we are delighted to present The Pirinoa Poncho!

Pirinoa poncho

DK Pirinoa Poncho

The poncho has been designed to fit children aged 18 months – 4 years old.  There are two versions of the pattern – one in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool DK and the other in Maniototo Wool’s 100% wool aran weight yarn. The little girl (2 yrs old) is wearing the DK version, and the little boy (3 yrs old) is wearing the aran weight version.

Aran weight Pirinoa Poncho

I am so in love with how the poncho has turned out, especially now I see it on the children it will fit.  These stunning photographs were taken by Emma Mehlhopt (said Mel-hop), a very talented photographer, who specialises in photographing children and family portraits (Cheekyart.co.nz). Hasn’t she done a super, super job!?  I am so grateful to Emma for these beautiful photographs. And to the models’ mums for allowing their adorable children to be photographed.

Pirinhoa Poncho

There is a backstory to this design:  Once upon a time, Mary’s grandchildren had a poncho a bit like this.  They wore it from the time they were two years old and right up until they went to school.  It was a family favourite, very handy for throwing on between car and house, particularly in the bitter coastal winters where they live in the Wairarapa (the area is called Pirinoa, hence the name of this poncho). Mary thought that perhaps there may be other children who would also love to have a poncho like this, and so the concept was born.

This design has a special place in my heart:  it was designed in the Wairarapa, inspired by a Wairarapa family, photographed in the Wairarapa on little models who also live there, and is named after a place in the Wairarapa. In a way, it encapsulates a lot of what I loved about living there.  Family, friendship, community, lifestyle.  Thank you Mary, for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this one.

The pattern can be obtained in several ways:

  • A single printed leaflet from the Maniototo wool website, or at any outlets that sell the yarns – Country Rumours, 11 Talbot St, Geraldine; The Woolroom, 52B Ribbonwood Road, Geraldine, or markets such as KAN (Napier) and WOOLFEAST (Christchurch);
  • Printed patterns are available at The Land Girl, Pirinoa Village, where it is available in a kit including enough wool to make the poncho in either Aran or DK weights and a circular bamboo knitting needle. The first kits to sell will include a set of beautiful handmade wooden buttons; and

Handmade buttons

  • In soft copy (PDF) from my Ravelry store. DK version here and Aran weight version here.

Each of the printed patterns (from any outlet) will contain a one-time use only code so that you can also download the pattern to your Ravelry library.

Pirinoa Poncho

Yarn for the pattern can be obtained from Maniototo Wool’s website, where you can choose your colours. There is plenty of lovely Aran wool available. Orders for the new season’s DK yarn will be placed on a waitlist (it is still at the mill).

Mary and I look forward to seeing your own versions of these cute ponchos pop up on your project pages soon!


21 Comments

Hello

I feel like it has been simply ages since I last made a post!  I moved house and as you will know, it takes a while to get one’s life back together again after such a tumultuous event.  I hope you are all well, and enjoying life!

The new house is very different.  It was probably built in about the 1950’s, without the beautiful high ceilings that I loved so much in the other house, nor the gorgeous wooden floors.  Complaining aside, it will be a fine house to live in, and I am especially happy to hear plenty of native birdlife outside my window, including tuis, bellbirds and morepork!  I managed to unpack a lot of boxes today, but there is still a way to go before the house is looking homely.  I will show you photos of my surrounds as soon as I get to go and see them myself.  I’m very excited to go exploring – we are living close to the Hutt River, and I think it’s going to be rather awesome!

Much knitting has happened, because during this time, I also took two flights up to Auckland, giving me a total of four hours to knit!!!  What a lovely luxury.  Many things got finished!

This shawl was the one I was working on prior to the move.  It had to be finished to get on the plane to go as a gift.  I was pleased I made the deadline.  It is a quick knit – I finished it in 11 days, and was able to work at it at a leisurely pace.

Here it is, catching the early morning sun:

High Country Crescent

High Country Crescent

HIgh Country Crescent

The shawl is called High Country Crescent, and I knitted it in Spinning a Yarn‘s 4 ply merino silk. It is another stunning design from Mary-Anne Mace.  Mary-Anne has generously offered to give one free copy to a lucky reader.  If you’d like to go into the draw, please leave a comment about what yarn you would knit this shawl in.  I’ll draw the winner next Sunday, 17 April.  Good luck!

Skies above Auckland

It was a lovely day to fly, and we got window seats!  Doesn’t the coastline look beautiful?

The young boy is now on an epic trip overseas to visit his grandfather and father in turn, which means that I am officially on ‘mumcation’!!  Before you say ‘hurrah, knitting time!’, my employer has offered me a lot more hours for the next couple of weeks, which means that the ‘mumcation’ has turned into full-time work ++.  Oh well, at least I’m getting paid!

The second trip was for work.

On the plane trips, I was able to finish two pairs of socks:

Anemone socks toe up

These are the toe-up version of my Anemone socks. I am planning to amend my original pattern and add the instructions for this version as an update (the pattern will have both toe up and cuff down instructions).  If you have bought the pattern, the update will show in your Ravelry library at some point (I am terribly, terribly, behind with pattern writing at the moment).  I knitted this pair in Knitsch 100% merino sock in the Arronax colourway.  Once I update the pattern, I will be raising the price to reflect the additional effort and to begin to bring my patterns in line with market prices.  You can save money by buying the pattern now, and wait for the update if you’d like this version!

Plain vanilla socks

These are a pair that I started back on Christmas Day(!) as a pair of ‘waiting socks’, meaning I knit them only when I’m hanging around waiting for something (such as on a plane trip).  I’m very pleased I have finally got them off the needles.  The socks are knitted in an Opal colourway called the Fireman – this colourway was from a series devoted to representing occupations.  I think they did well representing fire and smoke!  They are just a plain vanilla cuff down pattern.

I have quite a few things lined up to show you in the next few weeks:  a number of patterns are in final/almost final stages, I have drafted a couple of tutorial type posts on socks, and of course, that review on the Naturally yarns needs to be written, in amongst others.

Stay tuned, and thank you for reading!


26 Comments

The knitted highlights of 2015, hopes and dreams for 2016

When I posted my goals of 2015, I certainly didn’t realise I would spend six months of the year working full-time and feeling exhausted for most of it.  I thought I was being conservative by setting a goal of 36 pairs of socks for 2015.  In the end, I only knitted 29 pairs, and a heap of other things.  All in all, 55 projects.  A couple of them are nearly-completed WIPs, and others are still in progress, but it’s not too bad a number considering.

These are some of my highlights:

Socks of 2015

These are the knitted socks from other designers that give me a little thrill every time I put them on (the blue ones were gifted, but I definitely want to knit my own pair!) Interestingly, these socks were the ones I also found most challenging!  Three of these pairs are Claire Ellen designs – Yavanna, The Falls of Rauros and In the Golden Hall.  The blue one is Embossed Leaves.

These are the non-socks that I knitted in 2015  that I was most happy with and have worn extensively since they were completed:

Garments of 2015

Hybrid Vigour, Empty Nets and Robin.

Favourite sock designs that I completed or released in 2015:

Sock designs 2015

The green sock design is still to be released, in case you are wondering why you don’t recognise that picture! Details of these designs and more are in my Ravelry store.  It seems it was my designing that suffered the most in 2015.  I only released nine patterns, and some of them feel like they were knitted a very long time ago.  I have so many more ideas in my head, but it takes a huge amount of energy to release a pattern, and it is mental energy that I just did not have. Hopefully I’ll have the time to release two others in late January that have been knitted, but just not formatted.

A summary of the projects of 2015 are:

2 x soft toys

2 x pairs fingerless gloves

7 x garments (3 of them are still in progress)

10 x shawl/scarf things (3 are still WIPs)

5 x hats

29 x pairs of socks (one of two may still need finishing)

Total meterage knitted is about 19,000m/20,800yd to date for 2015.  Now I know why I keep having to fill yarn holes in my stash.

I’m not sure if I managed to edge away much from my definite colour preferences, but I think we always reach for what we like/something to suit the mood, so I think that part is just not worth forcing!

The year ahead

2016 is going to be interesting.

I am part of a group of three organising a Wellington region yarn event to be held in the Wairarapa in October 2016.  Full details are still to be worked out, but we have had a heap of good comments back, and a lot of enthusiasm for it, which is most encouraging!  It is beginning to feel quite exciting!

I may have to make some very tough decisions about where I live and how I work.  Things will sort themselves out in the next month (I hope!!!)  The job/financial situation is becoming a bit dire.

On the knitting front, I don’t really know whether to set any particular goals. I still have that book’s worth of socks I want to design.  I think one main objective will be to decrease the size of my stash.  It is glorious, and I adore my stash, but I am starting to feel the need to de-clutter, and that means less yarn coming in than going out (notice I haven’t said “no buying yarn…” hehe).  However, if I do what I want to and knit a few more garments in 2016, that should quite easily take care of a lot of it.

I think I will still aim for 36 pairs of socks in 2016.  Socks are quite easily knit in a couple of days, and I love knitting them.  I am starting to run out of victims to gift socks to though… it may mean I have to start a second sock drawer!! Or maybe I should start knitting larger socks and knit more for the male members of the family.  That will mean buying more “man colour” yarn.  Oh dear!  😉

Man coloured yarn

This looks like a reasonable start though.  Perhaps I have more gender-neutral yarn in my stash than I imagined!

The interesting thing is that at a certain point of time (most commonly, around the 1st of a year for some reason) we stand still and make predictions about what we want to do or how we think events will unfold.  Quite a lot of the time, those predictions do not eventuate due to unforeseen circumstances (because no matter how much we try, we cannot predict the future).  Or they may take place in a different form to how we imagined.  So I am going to take life as it comes in 2016.  Important life principles will always happen (like making time for family).  There are certain things to work towards (eg. the yarn event) and certain things to accomplish (ie. find a decent job), but I am looking forward to being adaptable towards how those things happen.

I leave you with a photo of a balloon we saw in the early morning sky last week.  Just like that balloon, I hope your dreams carry you to amazing heights, that you are thrilled and delighted by your accomplishments, and that plenty of time happens in which to enjoy the company of friends and family.  Here’s to a Good 2016!

Balloon