Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Oden

The Oden socks are done.  They were very satisfying to knit, and I am very pleased with how they’ve turned out.

Oden socks

I find patterned socks go quite quickly, because I want to keep seeing the repeats forming.  In fact, it was very hard to put these down, and I was a bit sad when they were finished because I missed knitting them.  I might have to knit another pair!!

Oden socks againWith the cable only on the front, and double ribbing for the rest of the sock, they were very quick to knit.  I especially liked the double rib slip stitch heel.  I haven’t done this style of heel before, and I enjoyed the look of it.

The yarn, Cromwell, by Verandah Yarns, is a supertwist 100% merino sock yarn, spun in New Zealand.  It met my expectations for this pattern perfectly!

The young boy says the Oden socks look like a Celtic wood carving.  I think he is quite right!


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The Droplet Socks

It’s funny what inspires us to design.

In winter, I spend a few minutes most mornings wiping away the condensation that has collected on the inside of my windows overnight.

On the outside of one of my windows, there is a small patch of beautiful, golden lichen.  It’s so pretty, I don’t want to pick it off.  I believe its name is Xanthoria parietina or Golden Shield Lichen.

Window droplets and lichenI must have spent some time absorbing the beauty of these two images in concert, because this is what popped off my needles recently:

Droplet socks

I’m so happy with this design that I thought I’d share it with you today!

The stitch pattern is a very simple lace pattern of alternating K2tog and SSK forming the droplets.  Twisted stitch ribbing creates defined “rivulets” between the droplets.  The droplets begin as small “beads” at the top of the cuff and turn into longer droplets towards the toes.

See the two images together:

Inspiration and its result

The sock is constructed top down. Customise the sock according to your preference with your favourite heel and toe construction!  The length can easily be altered by knitting more or less repeats of the pattern, and smaller than average feet should be able to achieve a good fit by using slightly smaller needles (2.25mm).

Of course, I was very lucky to find yarn in the exact colour of the lichen at Holland Road Yarn Company.

Knitsch in West Janney, image courtest of Holland Road Yarn Company

Knitsch in West Janney, image courtest of Holland Road Yarn Company

This Knitsch colourway is called West Janney.  Tash has luckily just dyed a fresh batch, so if you’d like some of this pretty colour for your own, hop on over, but be quick or I am sure it will all sell out very quickly!

I decided to do something different with this pattern.  I have included two types of instructions.  There are ‘basic’ instructions for experienced sock knitters and more detailed instructions for beginner/occasional sock knitters.

The reason I did this is because when I knit socks, I already know how to start the cuff, and form the heel and toes, and don’t really want to wade through all those instructions (which end up muddling my brain).  So I have left only the bones of the instructions in there, which is what I need to see to knit a sock.  Maybe some of you feel the same?  I know that not everyone is ready for this kind of pattern though, so for those who need to see detailed instructions, they are there too.

The free pattern is here:  Free pattern: Droplet socks.  I will also shortly load the pattern on to Ravelry, where you can also download it for free.

I hope you enjoy knitting them as much as I did!!

Droplet socks


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Scent of a yarn

Last year, I decided to start knitting a cardigan from this beautiful, felted New Zealand merino yarn.  You may remember it.

Alas, when I got to this point something happened to my commitment to this project, and the cardigan lay unfinished for the whole winter.

Remember too, how I’ve been muttering about wanting a summer cardigan?  I decided that rather than frolic in the fields of fancy and start one of the new projects I have queued, I really be practical and dig out this UFO and try finishing the second sleeve.  I suspect the reason I stopped at this point last year is because I’m not overly fond of knitting sleeves in the round.  Having already knitted one sleeve in the round, it would look strange for me to knit the second one flat, so I told myself to get over it, and just knit the thing!

I opened the bag of yarn.  And that’s when it hit me.  The gentle scent of beautiful sheep.  Clean sheep, wholesome sheep.  I wish there was a way to convey scent over the internet.  It took me back to a memorable childhood summer holiday, spent perched on the rails in my uncle’s woolshed, watching the men shearing the sheep.  Of grabbing a handful of the freshly shorn fleece from the wool bale, looking at the crimp of the wool in fascination, squishing it in my hands, smelling the sweet lanolin, rubbing the oils into my fingers.  It’s not the smell of wet, dirty wool that often offends the sensibilities.  It’s reminiscent of warm dry hay, spicy, and warm, and enticing.  You want to bury your nose in it and breathe it all up!!

On top of this yarn’s gorgeous softness, I wonder why I ever stopped knitting this project in the first place?

I’m halfway done on the sleeve now.  Once it’s finished, I can join the sleeves to the body, knit the bands, and I will have a lovely new summer cardigan!

Funnily enough, today’s Wovember post is all about Emily Chamelin on harvesting wool…!  She talks about her experience of visiting New Zealand for the Golden Shears competition, and it fits perfectly with my recollections of seeing the sheep shearing in my childhood.  It got me so excited!! The last picture is exactly the kind of woolshed that talked about – go and have a look, it’s a wonderful read!


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MY Olga

Here she is in all her glory:  the finished Olga!

It’s so snuggly, and so soft!  I’ve left the neckline wide, but it still keeps my neck nice and warm.

I’m afraid it now only remotely resembles the original Olga, but it’s definitely the Olga I wanted.  I’ve Raveled my notes here if you want to know exactly what I did.

It’s going to be a while before I knit anything with 10mm (US15) needles again though.  That size needle is really not my favourite!  I was very pleased to be finished.


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Karma

I believe there is a knitting deity.  The knitting deity allows you mostly the freedom to knit what you want, when you want, and how much you want.  But sometimes, this deity makes its presence known when you push the envelope a wee bit too far.

So when I said I was casting on for a new sweater (even though I have three sweater WIPs) and then I cast on for yet another pair of socks (even though I had three on the needles), this deity obviously decided that it was time I learned a lesson in moderation.

You saw what happened to Olga.  And while Olga sits in the time-out pile, I did decide to cast on for those pretty, self-striping socks.  I happily knitted an entire cuff.  So pretty!!!  Look at those cute stripes coming out all on their own!!

But the young boy who has watched me knitting since he was knee-high to a grasshopper looked at it and said “Mum, whose socks are those?”

“Mine!”

“I think it’s too small”.

“Well, it’s a bit smaller than I normally knit, but I think it’s ok.”  (I’m using 2mm needles with 68 stitches).

“I could wear them if they’re don’t fit…”

“But they’re pink and green.”  (No way am I giving these gorgeous self-striping socks up!!)

“Yes, but no one will see as they’ll be hidden under my jeans!”

His comments bothered and twanged at the back of my mind all the way down the cuff.  Last night, I tried them on.  And realised with an immense sigh that “someone” was right again, and they were indeed the exact right size for a nine-year-old boy.  He has an unnerving ability to tell when my knitting is going wrong!!

Today, much humbled, I sat down and actually finished something.

They’re very pretty.  I ought to have finished them sooner.

Do you think I can start the self-striping pretties now???


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Sorbet swirl

A little boy is sick this week.  In between mopping fevered brow, washing away buckets of puke and emptying baskets of snotty tissues, something popped off the needles.

Pretty, non?  They’re my first pair of Knitsch socks, believe it or not.  Yummy, squishy, hand-dyed 100% New Zealand merino!  I have to say I like pure wool socks a lot better than the 75% wool, 25% nylon versions.  I find the nylon content shows through after a year or so of wear, and makes the socks feel squeaky.  And then I don’t like the socks quite so much any more.  Whereas, pure wool just keeps getting nicer…

These are a standard 64 stitch cast on with 2.25mm needles, cuff down, partridge eye heel and tapered toe (as opposed to a square toe).

The little boy is better today, thank goodness!  He’s still running a temperature but at least I know he’s on the mend.