Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Knitting all the things


If you are like many in Knitting Land, the advent of December has suddenly induced the uncomfortable thought: “How much time left until Christmas!?”  I hope holiday and Christmas plans are going well!

The lack of a day job means that despite the end of year rush,  I am able to take as much advantage of the time while it is available to me to knit and especially to develop more of those designs that have been swimming around in my head for ages!

As a result, a lot is happening in my knitting world and there is a lot to show you!  So get yourself a nice drink to sip, make yourself comfortable and settle in for some eye candy!

I wanted to first say thank you for liking the Slipped Hat I designed for Zealana!  Had to show it one more time… so pleased with how it has been modelled and photographed! It is actually a quick knit, and if you do not choose to make a pompom, then you only need one ball of each colour for this pattern.  There are so many pretty colour combinations you could choose to knit this.  Another combination I thought of was Kale and Peppermint – dark teal and light mint together.  Yummy!  You could also go slightly off-grid and use Sugar and Deepwater – creamy silver and ocean blue variegated.  The combinations are many!

Image courtesy of Zealana

This year,  I have also taken it upon myself to do a limited amount of Christmas knitting. I’m choosing my recipients carefully.  I have recently been hearing “more socks!?” and “I have too many knitted things from you, it’s such a pain they take up so much space”, and to those family members, none they shall have! (I forgive them, because you have to be able to speak your mind when you are with family.  :-))

However, I do know for certain that there are a few people who should appreciate a knitted gift.  My son’s teacher will receive a hat.  From experience, teachers usually love to receive knitted things, so I hope he likes this thank you gift for being such an awesome teacher to my son this year…

IMG_1534 (768x1024)

Compliant young man modelling said finished hat before it was washed and blocked.

It is knitted out of pure, naturally coloured New Zealand wool. The young man picked it out as he said his teacher would look good in it.  I’ve decided to be lazy and use a free pattern that seems to work well for many people.  Bonus points for being quick to knit!  I converted it to knitting in the round.  It works just as well, and then you don’t have a seam to sew afterwards.

I might also knit a similar hat for my brother, who spends a lot of time at sea, and likes my knitted things, and for my brother-in-law who works outdoors and is very knitworthy and makes my knitter’s heart burst with happiness at how he wears my knitted things into oblivion.  Better hurry though… time is ticking!

I’m also starting work on a new fingerless glove design that will also be a gift. More to come about that later.

Some socks have also been knitted as gifts.  You have seen most of them already.  One of them is a new design that I will introduce soon.

In addition to Christmas knitting for others, there has been some sock knitting happiness for me…

Joyeux Noelle

I have always fancied a Christmas sock, and Stray Cat Socks in Joyeux Noelle is just amazing!  The colours glow with a richness that isn’t properly captured by the camera.

Apart from gift and Christmas knitting, I want show you a new indie dyer from Australia, Circus Tonic Handmade. This is an indie dyer who is new on the market, and I rather like her approach to using Australian bird colours for inspiration.

Galah in Circus Tonic Handmade

This one is called Galah.  The yarn and I are having a difference of opinion at the moment.  It wants to be the design I’ve just drawn up.  I want it to be Melisandre. I have a feeling the yarn might win.  I’ve thought of another yarn that will look stunning as Melisandre, while Galah will be quite lovely in my new design (the yarn tells me I am being sensible).

Speaking of sock planning, here’s a peek at some gorgeous lovelies from Vintage Purls that I was playing with last week.  One of them is destined to become a sock design very soon. I hope!

Vintage Purls

I do not think I have told you yet that I have started Biophilia.  I am on the third lace set, which ends in nupps. Such a pretty, pretty, shawl!  I only allow myself to work on this on weekends, which is now my official ‘me’ knitting time – the rest of the week is designated to designing and knitting things on deadline, looking for a day job and doing parent stuff. It is very hard to keep my paws off it! Roll on Saturday!


Biophilia is being knitted in Knitsch 100% merino Sock in a colourway called Rocky Shore. It is very ‘oceany’ and lends itself well to the theme of the design!

I have been feeling the need for a summery cardigan, and after much looking at patterns on Ravelry, have whittled my choice down to Drops 95-21 Cardigan in Lace Pattern. I like how it looks on others, so I am confident it will look as good as it appears in the pattern.  Mostly importantly, there are not acres of dreaded stocking stitch to knit! I’m going to knit it in this super lovely Madelintosh Pashmina in Tart that was very generously gifted to me by a special friend:


Whether I get the time to do this before Christmas, in addition to starting on several gorgeous shawl patterns I have acquired (will show you next post) is highly unlikely!

You may be wondering what happened to Two Hearts.  The back has been ripped out three times as I have adjusted stitch count for a non-cabled back (too much cabling for my taste to have it on both the front and the back of the sweater, so I have modified).   Now that I have finally got the right number of stitches to suit my gauge and match the size of the front, it is progressing nicely!  It is not finished in time for the end of Wovember, but I shall have it in time for next winter! I won’t show you a picture of the back.  Stocking stitch is not the most interesting thing to photograph.

Speaking of Two Hearts, the knitter mentioned in my last post about this was mortified about reader reactions to her pointing out the mis-crossed cable.  She said, “Well I certainly didn’t mean it like that! I guess if it was me, I’d be much happier that someone had pointed it out when I had a chance to fix it – which is what happened. And what a brilliant job, and a new knitting skill picked up! At the start of the conversation, I guess I was fishing about to see if it was something I could mention – therefore giving the opportunity to fix, or whether I’d just get thumped. I may have done it inelegantly, but I credited WS with making phenomenal garments, and figured she’d probably want to know – while it was still a very easy fix. I would definitely want to know, and have dropped down around 100 rows to fix a miss-crossed cable.” (And knowing her, yes, she certainly would have done that!)

I am glad that she pointed out the error, and have expressed my thanks, because I learned so much in the process, and as she said, I did want to know while it was still an easy fix!  Some mistakes can be left, but that one was just too much over the line for my tolerance levels!

There is so much more to talk about, but I’m going to stop here and save it for another post.  Thanks for staying with me, and thank you for sticking with me over this year.  I really enjoy reading your comments.  You often make me laugh or smile in delight at what you say.  You have been good company!

A bit of non-knitting to finish.  The hay makers came last week.  It was nearly dark by the time they got to the field next to the house, which is why the photograph looks like this:

Hay making

This is the field now:


You can see how long the grass was by the fact that it nearly hides the calves grazing the edges!

Calves in field

I’m rather enjoying seeing all the different looks to this field over the year.



Gift pattern from Zealana!

Today, Zealana released a free pattern in time for the holidays.  It is designed by me!

Image courtesy of Zealana

Image courtesy of Zealana

I am super happy with how it has been photographed and styled – what a stunning model and location!

Image courtesy of Zealana

The pattern is available for download from Zealana’s website page – visit their Facebook page for the link, or if you don’t have Facebook, download it from their website here.

The colourwork in this hat is a slipped stitch pattern, popularised by Barbara Walker as mosaic knitting.  Mosaic knitting is easy to knit and faster than traditional stranded colourwork because only one strand of yarn is used in each round. The double-sided band makes for extra warmth around the ears.  It is finished with a stylish pompom.

Image courtesy of Zealana

This hat is worked in the round.  When working the slipped stitches, the working yarn is always stranded across the wrong side of the work.  Remember to keep the floats loose by spacing the slipped stitches.  There is no need to break the yarn between color changes.

Image courtesy of Zealana

The hat uses Zealana Cozi in the Bittersweet and Custard colourways.

Materials needed are 2 balls of Bittersweet and 1 ball of Custard.  You also need 2.75mm and 3.25mm circular needles, stitch markers and a pom pom maker.

Hat is 21” / 54 cm around the band and 9.5” / 24cm tall excluding the pompom.  Fits the average adult head and allows a moderate amount of slouch.

Happy Knitting!



A simple hat

Thanks to the Yarnsisters, I was recently the very lucky recipient of a couple of gorgeous balls of Zealana’s AIR MARLE.

Zealana Marle

I felt extremely happy to receive the MARLE because I haven’t seen anyone retailing it in New Zealand and so hadn’t been able to get my eager paws on any of this amazing stuff!

For the many who have not seen this yarn yet:  it is almost too sumptuous to be believed.  It is made from three twisted strands of AIR laceweight – outrageous luxury!  (The Zealana AIR range is all comprised of a heavenly 40% cashmere, 40% brushtail possum down and 20% mulberry silk blend).  AIR MARLE represents ultimate softness in the extreme, yet there is great strength in the yarn due to the three tightly plied AIR laceweight strands.

I’ve put in a picture so you can see what I mean:

Zealana Air laceweight and marle

The blue yarn is some Zealana AIR laceweight that I have.  You can see how the strand weight and composition is exactly the same as the individual strands within the MARLE.

Because the particular colourway I got is a black/natural marl, it is difficult to do much with it beside something quite simple, as stitch patterns tend to get lost in it.  I suspect the softer coloured shades of this yarn are much easier to knit in a stitch pattern though.  I’m particularly in love with these three shades (images courtesy of the Zealana website):









Someone needs to stock AIR MARLE!

Anyway, back to the hat:  I played around with a couple of swatches, but in the end I decided it wanted to be a simple hat that let the qualities of the yarn be the highlight. The hat got put on the boy to model…


This proved to be a dangerous thing to do because the boy decided he didn’t want to take it off. He came up with other cool ways to wear it…

Simple hat

Simple hat again

He is much too engrossed in his game to pay attention to my photographic needs, but you get the idea…

And now it is his.  Hmm.  Oh well, at least I have enough of the second ball to make into something for me!  I decided to knit one more of the same style for me:

The Simple Hat

I thought I’d demonstrate how a bit more length in the body can create a different look:

The Simple Hat

It is not in AIR MARLE for obvious reasons.  I used a possum/cashmere/merino blend from Mohair Craft.

I did think I would like a shorter hat at first, but when it is winter, and there is a fierce, cold wind blowing, there is nothing more that I like than extra protection for the ears and neck!  A longer hat it became!

I have constructed the band/brim of the hat in a tighter tension than the body as I feel this is the best way for hats to be in the windy Wellington climate. This way there is less risk of the hat blowing off in the wind, but you also get a nice slouch happening in the body of the hat with the use of larger needles.  The tighter band has also given this hat the added benefit of the ability to shape it as you will without it being overly tight (I was quite surprised he got it to peak like that).

It’s a very simple hat to make, suitable for all levels of knitter, and very quick to knit.  The shorter hat was made over a day.  The pattern is based on a design I have used a lot over the years.  I decided it needed to become a pattern so I don’t have to sit down and think through the math every time I want to knit it!

This pattern  will suit any weight of DK yarn you choose to use (another great Zealana yarn that would be perfect for this pattern is RIMU), although you’ll need to bear in mind that the resulting hat’s look will reflect the properties of your chosen yarn (see the two different looks above as an example – that AIR MARLE has certainly given a simple design quite a bit of style!)

I thought this pattern would be a versatile one for Christmas gifts – especially for that fussy male who doesn’t like anything ‘too stylish’, for those days when you just want to wear a simple hat. 🙂

When Audry came over on the day I finished it, the first thing she saw was the hat on the table, and she wanted to wear it too!

Simple Hat

Doesn’t she look great! (Thanks Audry for letting me take photos!)

Audry in hat

This is my pre-Christmas gift to you, download here for the free pattern:  A Simple Hat.  It is one size, suitable to be worn by most heads aged 10 – 100, but is easily adapted to make it smaller or larger by subtracting or adding stitches in multiples of four.  To make the sizes as shown, you need:

  • about 140m/153yd of DK yarn (for the shorter version)
  • about 180m/196yd of DK yarn (for the longer version)
  • 3.75mm circular needles (60cm/24″ circular)
  • 5mm circular needles (80cm/32″ circular for magic loop)
  • one stitch marker

I have used the magic loop method to knit the hat, but you can also use DPNs in the same sizes as noted if you prefer this method of knitting hats in the round.





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



This weekend was very productive.

I finished the hat.  I am very happy with how it has come out, and the design has inspired thoughts of several patterns.  We shall see if anything comes of it.  My pattern-writing mojo seems to have fizzled at the moment.  For now this hat has a title to do with water.  Don’t you think it looks just like rivulets of water?

The orange hatI also finished the hoodie.  I will wait to show it to you as it’s on its way to the recipient now, and he should see it first when it comes out of the box.  Also,  I want to know if it fits him before I show it to you (also hoping I might get a modelled picture… hint, hint).  However, I will show you this finishing detail that I am rather happy with:

Reinforced shoulderThis is the inside shoulder seam.  I added cotton tape (quite happy I had some nice stuff that looks good too) which is an old trick to stabilise the shoulder and prevent stretching from occurring.  I worry that the weight of the sweater will in time cause the shoulder to lose shape and sag.  The tape has been sewn into the seams of both shoulders, and should prevent this possibility.

I also finished some socks:

Squeaky Elliot socksDelicious BFL from Squeaky Elliott, another generous gift from Kb.

The possum scarf also got finished.  Just in time for the polar blast that hit tonight!  I will try to convince a young man to allow me to photograph him in it at some point.  He happily wrapped himself in its cuddly warmth and softness when he got in from school today, as it was finally dry from blocking.

All that finishing meant that the only WIP I had left in my basket was the Southern Skies shawl! I felt bereft.  The basket looked lonely.

Needless to say, a couple of WIPs have since sprung on to the needles.  🙂  For one, I think I need to get some mittens done tonight so that someone’s hands don’t freeze on the way to school tomorrow!



It seems that this week is hat week!

Inspired by the gorgeous chocolate wool I used for the ribbed beanie, I decided to knit another in DK weight yarn this time.

I finished it last night.

This one is called Tidal.  The undulating twisted stitches remind me of how the exposed seabed looks at low tide.  Knitted in Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. DK pure wool naturals in the natural dark chocolate colour, Peat.

TidalI really like it.  It does all the right things for me – looks good on my head, covers the ears and keeps the neck warm, and it’s not too tight and not too loose.   And there is just the right amount of patterning on the hat to suit my sensibilities.

I’m hoping to have the pattern ready in time to have a hard copy at Anna Gratton’s stall at the Wonders of Wool market, but no promises.  If it is, it will be free with yarn purchase (there will be 100g skeins of natural DK yarn as well this time).

In any event, the pattern will be available for download from my blog within the week.