Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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.


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!


From my stash to yours


Have you ever wondered what certain New Zealand yarns would be like to knit?

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How warm and soft is a possum yarn really?

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Compare a beautifully crafted pure New Zealand wool yarn from a boutique mill to one from a commercial mill?

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Investigate how a colourful New Zealand indie dyer’s yarn might work up into a shawl or socks?

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Now is a chance to find out!

It’s time to pay rent, and I need to make a withdrawal from my yarn bank.  This means I’m going to have to release some very treasured yarns that I have been collecting back into the market.  All my yarns are stored carefully in plastic to avoid the threat of moth attack, and out of direct sunshine. They are in mint condition, and certainly, if I wasn’t in this situation, would happily remain in my stash until I was ready to use them.

However, a girl must feed her family, and there are only so many yarns one can knit (and I do have a few). So it is time to be pragmatic and offer some to you for your enjoyment.

This is a one-time-only offer.  Once the yarn is gone, it is gone.  Have a look in on my Ravelry trade tab to see the yarns I am pulling for sale, and pm me if you are interested. I’m going to be asking for slightly under the current purchasing price plus postage.

Hopefully something interests you.  🙂



I don’t always smile in delight when I have finished a project.  Biophilia is one that has me positively beaming in delight!

IMG_1673 (800x567).jpgMary-Anne Mace well deserves the title of The Lace Eater!  Thank you, Mary-Anne, for a truly inspired design that reflects the sea so well.

The next time we go to the beach, I will take Biophilia and do a proper photo shoot, but for now, I share these images.

If you are interested in the technical details, I used Knitsch 100% merino Sock in Rocky Shore, with the last three or four rows in Fly My Pretties, about 180gm/600m in total (Rocky Shore would equate to three full skeins, with about half a skein in Fly My Pretties).

The two colourways worked together so perfectly – I’m fairly sure the base colour for Fly My Pretties is the same as Rocky Shore.  I used some dark brown beads with a purply undertone (like seaweed) to give contrast but also harmonise with the overall colour design.

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The colours were like the sea to photograph.  In some lights, it’s a beautiful, rich colour like you see in the above photo, and in other lights, it’s more muted like the photos in the collage.  I quite like that.

The darker edging is to help with the watery effect.  I hope it conveys the sense that the shawl has been dipped in water.  The beads being the glistening drops of water.  I probably should have used a lighter colour bead to convey light reflecting off the water, but oh well, I still think this looks OK.

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This shawl would have to be one of the most technically challenging things I have ever knit.  As if lace wasn’t enough, Mary-Anne has added cables, nupps and beads into the mix!  I do not like nupps.  In the end, after struggling heroically with two rows of 7 stitch nupps, I reduced the size to 5 stitches, which was much more manageable and meant less dropped stitches. There is not a huge difference in effect, and it meant a much happier me!

The pattern is very well written, and very easy to follow.  It’s just that for this shawl to look good, it requires a level of precision of execution that had my brain cells almost popping!  I’ll definitely knit another Lace Eater design the next time I need a brain workout!  I’m sure experienced knitters of lace will be giggling at this.  I obviously need to knit more complex lace projects this year.

I haven’t blocked the shawl exactly the same as Mary-Anne’s original.  I didn’t go back and look at the pattern photo again when I was pinning out, but I think it still looks okay.

Thank you again, Mary-Anne, for this amazing contribution to Sustain the Sea.


Lilli Pilli

I suddenly realised that I have forgotten to show you my finished Lilli Pilli!

Lilli Pilli

Some thoughts on knitting and wearing this shawl:

  1. It is pleasantly large.  Since moving to the Wairarapa, where it is colder in Winter than in Wellington, I have come to appreciate the larger shawl.  More corking over the winter coat!
  2. The schematics on this pattern drove me a bit nuts.  The pattern says it is meant to be 185cm/73cm, but each section of shawl did not have a measurement.  If knitted according to the gauge measurements, the shawl would have been a lot shorter (about 145cm) and I wasn’t quite sure if I’d be able to block a whole 40cm (about a foot) into the shawl.  So, I knitted as follows:
    1. First section – 30cm (12”) slightly stretched when laid out on the carpet.
    2. Second section (lace)  – knitted 10 repeats as instructed because that’s all the yarn I had in the red colourway and I needed to save the rest for the second lace section. Section measures 44cm (17”) slightly stretched when laid out on the carpet.
    3. Third – 79cm (31”). Could not bear to knit any more stripes (I did about 110 stripes (220 rows) in the end) and after draping it around my neck figured it was long enough.
    4. Fourth – 12cm (4.5”). Ran out of yarn at exactly 4 repeats. Decided on balance not to add more lace repeats using the other colours in the shawl, and finished with a picot bind off in a contrasting colour to give it a slightly feminine ‘pop’.
    5. The total shawl length is approx 64” (165cm) spread out on the floor but unblocked. It is still shorter than the pattern’s specification of 73” (185cm) but having found the right way to wear it, I am satisfied and in fact, I think it is the perfect length. The yarn is very stretchy, as it is sock yarn, and I suspect that stretchy quality is making up for the lack of specified length.
  3. I used Knitsch 100% merino sock in Silver Lining and Pencarrow.  (approx 120gms of each) and an entire 100gm hank of a very similar 100% merino supertwist base but dyed by another dyer (who no longer dyes).
  4. It looks very lovely and apart from the grizzles about lack of measurements in the schematic, the pattern is very well written.  And I love the combination of lace and garter (even if I hate knitting garter stitch.  :-))
  5. The shape of the shawl is interesting.  It does not drape around my shoulders very well – the way I am wearing it looks best for me.  It seems to be that way for most people though – if you have a look at other Ravelry projects of this shawl, most have ended up wearing around the neck as opposed to the shoulders.

So there you have it!

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It appears that patterns have a life of their own in my head.  I start with a general idea of what I want to do, get a semblance of a pattern together, and start knitting.  And sometimes, the pattern just develops a life of its own, and I knit as if on auto-pilot, the stitches tumbling off my needles, as if in a desperate hurry to be born into a project.  It’s an effort to keep up with the notes when this happens.

Daisy 2

I’ve been treasuring this special colourway from Knitsch (it’s called Green Thumb?) for a wee while, awaiting the perfect project, and now I have it.

I really ought to be finalising the patterns for the last two socks I have just completed the designs for, but this sock baby is in a hurry to come into the world too.

It’s going to be a rockin’ Socktober!  It feels wonderful to be creating again!




Things in between

I wanted to say firstly, thank you all so much for liking the Bark sock design!  I always find it nerve-racking to issue a sock pattern – to see it so well received is a massive relief and I am very grateful to all of you for your support! Thanks a million!!

Today I thought I’d talk about a couple of the other things that I have been busy with.

Soon after I finished Bark, I came across the Minecraft socks.  I was intrigued to see that they were very similar to the Bark stitch pattern (there is a difference though).  Anyway, Young Boy is a great fan of Minecraft, and I was rather missing knitting the Bark socks, so these are the result!

Minecraft socks

Minecraft socks

When I showed the pattern to Young Boy, he said “Why are you even asking if I want them?  The answer is yes, obviously!”  I pulled out several skeins of yarn that were possibilities for a match to the Minecraft world colour theme, and he chose this yarn.  He said it looked like the Minecraft world if you went up in a rocket and looked down on it.  Wins all around!

They were just as compulsive to knit as Bark, and Young Boy likes them.  I’ve been having fun playing with special effects in photos, so the colour is slightly different to what they are in reality, but you can get a sense of the blockiness of the stitch pattern here. The yarn is Knitsch 100% merino sock in South Pacific.  On a related note, I am delighted and ecstatic that Tash of Knitsch has started dyeing again as of 1 September!! Hurrah!!  I am looking forward to seeing what new colourways she brings out!

I am creeping through Lilli Pilli.  Although I have finished all 100 rows in the third section, the shawl is still far too short and does not sit nicely when I try it on.  It should be about 160cm (63 inches) at this stage, but it is only 140cm (55 inches).  It’s not going to block much larger, so I need to build in more length and add more stripes.  I find it quite difficult to knit for long periods because it seems that no matter how much I knit I can’t see progress.   It’s a great watching movies and knitting thing to do because then the rows fly by and you don’t notice the knitting time!

Lastly, I thought I’d give you a hint of the next design for the nature series!

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Spring leaves

Spring is well and truly here.  Enjoy the rest of your week!