Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



When I started this blog back in 2009, my aim was to contribute in some way to the sustainability of New Zealand’s wool industry and the yarns made using New Zealand wool, by writing about them and showcasing projects that I knitted, and ultimately designed, in those yarns.  I also devoted lot of energy to writing information about New Zealand yarns that I had found but on which there was very little public information.

Things have moved on a bit, and some of my information has since become out of date as these yarn companies’ businesses have developed (or not).  I am pleased to see that wool’s popularity is also on the uptick (although I take no credit for that!!)

I have begun updating my pages about New Zealand yarn companies, and started with Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co.   I hope you enjoy reading!

I have included up to date buying information  as well as more examples of projects I have knitted using her beautiful yarns.  Remember this one?

The Shepherd Hoodie

And if you suddenly fancy a bit of Anna Gratton Little Wool Co., do remember she’ll be at the Social Wool Fair on Saturday, 20 June (or you can contact her directly on Facebook or her email: filaro AT

Mohair merino by Anna Gratton



Dancing with lace, playing with leaves

We all know about blocking.  Sometimes I don’t agree with it.  I don’t think socks need to be blocked, for instance.  My view is that they block on the feet – why do they need a special blocking when they are just going to be washed and dried and unceremoniously hung on the line after each use anyway?

Lace, however, is a completely different story.  It begins with inspiration.

Anna Gratton 4 ply pure wool

The colour looked like autumn leaves to me – beautiful russet and brown tones.  Each different shading a delight to my eye.  I found a motif, and began to knit.

It starts off misshapen, like a newly hatched butterfly’s wing.

Lace in progress

It is lumpy and crumpled and looks like nothing very pretty.  It must be blocked to bring out its true form.

Unblocked lace

It is given a bath, rolled in a towel, carefully patted and pinned into shape.


It lies, quietly drying.


Like the butterfly’s wing, once in its true form, its beauty becomes apparent.

Now dry, it lifts off its mat…


Each motif clearly defined.

Leaf motif

It flutters gently in the breeze, a translucent work delicate stitches and fine, beautiful yarn.

The finished piece

I will not sear your eyes with a picture of me wearing it.  My old lumpy form does not do this prettiness justice. The fingering weight Corriedale wool is very light and soft and comfortable to wear.

It is a simple motif, needing no further embellishment.  Several attempts at putting on an edging were made and discarded.  In the end, I decided it was lovely just like that.

Pattern:  Leaf motif, scarf my own design.  I will get around to publishing it soon.

Yarn:  Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. 4 ply pure wool multicolour in Desert.

Weight:  100g

I must do more lace knitting in 2015.  It is very satisfying.

Playing with leaves in Anna Gratton yarn




The Shepherd Hoodie: Finale!

It has been very wet and cool this week, in contrast to last week.  That makes drying a thick wool hoodie quite difficult.  However, Sally’s hoodie was finally off the rack last night, so without further ado, here are our finished projects, and just in time for the end of Wovember!


The Shepherd Hoodie

Very happy.  It will do very well when the weather cools down.Lace on button band

Yarn:  Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. DK Pure Wool Naturals in Coffee.

Sally’s (10 ply (aran) weight pure wool in a natural white from Skeinz that she hand-dyed):

Sally's Shepherd Hoodie

Hmmmm…. lush!  I can feel myself all cuddled up in it!

Side view

You can see the difference in the way the two projects look in different weight yarns.  Sally’s is very squishy and soft and cuddly looking, whereas mine with a slightly finer weight, has a more streamlined, and crisper look.

Close upAnd now, winter, please come back to the Southern hemisphere…

Shepherd Hoodie

Check out Sally’s blog for her final post on this topic and more pictures.


KAL Diary: The Shepherd Hoodie, Week 8

It has been a very hot and sunny week this week.  I am very sad that I cannot wear my glorious new FO,  the Shepherd Hoodie.


It is now blocked and dry, and I am incredibly happy with how it looks and fits… I want it to be winter again NOW!!!!! But it’s going to be at least three to four months before it is cool enough again for me to wear it.  Sigh.  Very jealous of all you people in the Northern hemisphere who can snuggle into your freshly knitted coats right away!

DSC09935 (800x600)The top button is very cute.  I’m glad I went ahead and bought it.

I’d love to show you the finished pictures of the hoodie in its entirety, by Sally isn’t done yet.  She’s had a tough week and it has been hard to get to the knitting (in contrast to my general lack of work availability).  There should be a nice collage of both her and my pics to see by the middle of this week and in time for the end of Wovember.


In terms of finishing off, I don’t think I have anything more to tell you about modifications or tips than I have already mentioned except that the hood was especially tiresome to knit.  I had a hard time keeping awake whilst knitting it! Seed stitch is not the fastest stitch in the world, but it looks amazing now it’s done, and it was really, really, worth it!

The blocking has definitely ‘finished’ the look, but you’ll have to wait for a few days to see what I mean.  🙂

In the meantime, pop over to Sally’s blog, to enter an amazing giveaway she’s running – two copies of Kate Davies’ book “Colours of Shetland”!

Stay tuned for modelled pictures!


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


KAL Diary: The Shepherd Hoodie Week 3

This week, I deliberately went slow on the hoodie.

Week 3

I told myself it was because I didn’t want to get too ahead of Sally.  I had knitted quite a few inches of the hoodie before we agreed to a KAL, after all.

Instead, I focused on finishing up (and starting) a few projects, giving them every reason in the world to come first, ahead of the Shepherd Hoodie.

But deep down inside, my stomach was churning the real answer:  sleeves. Sleeves that are knitted in the round.  Sleeves of Doom.  And I was edging ever closer to them!

I have been known to deliberately knit sleeves flat even though they are meant to be knitted in the round, because I have such an aversion of knitting them in this way.  It’s all that chunk of material (the whole sweater!) that has to go round and round and round every time I turn a row… it makes me dizzy.  It’s very different to sock knitting, which is a very small piece of fabric that sits neatly in the hand.  I may yet see if I can knit these sleeves flat although I suspect it won’t be possible in this case without a huge amount of trouble.

In the meantime, I have talked myself into understanding that I have to knit the bodice before I need to knit the sleeves, so I might as well do that before worry about what is to come?

Leaving aside the sleeve issue, here’s what I have to say about the knitting this week:

The armholes are genius.  Why hasn’t anyone thought before to knit across the row, putting the stitches that are already knitted on to waste yarn, rather than binding off and then having more annoying ends to tidy up later?  Very smart, Kate Davies!

The other thing I’m looking forward to (despite my worries about the sleeves) is the armhole gusset.  It’s seed stitch.  No bulk under the arms, and extra room to allow movement.  Love it!

Sally made a very smart point in her post last week.  She said she was going to knit another three inches so as not to mess up the buttonhole placement.  Aha!  I thought, yes, that is a good point.  If I knit less than 3″, I may find the buttonhole in a strange place.  So I have done the same.  The “skirt” of the hoodie now measures 20 1/2″ like Sally’s.

This week, I also went in search of buttons.


The young boy helped me pick them out, saying the swirls were very complimentary to the cables.  He’s got quite an eye, I have to say!