Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


Pattern release: Sylvia

Today (with  more than a little nervousness), I am excited to release the Sylvia shawl pattern.

I adore cables.  Often mentioned for their ability to ‘tell a story’ in knitting, I took this concept to tell of my love for the New Zealand forest. Of walking amongst trees with their cabled, knotted bark; of the way the sunlight dapples the ground as it filters down through the leaves; of the streams that meander through the land that I love so much.

I chose cables that reflect these elements and for their harmony and balance when combined.  The cable patterns I have chosen are not all common. You will easily get the grasp of three of the four cables in the shawl, but do make sure you pay careful attention to the central cable chart.  At the suggestion of one of my lovely test knitters, I have included colour coding to help with ease of reading this chart.

I used Stansborough’s Mythral to knit this shawl, choosing this rare breed New Zealand wool yarn for its perfect match to what I wanted to achieve in terms of stitch definition, overall look and functionality.  Strong, but with a lightness and fluidity to it, it has a beautiful lustre (which you can see in the photo below where the sun hits the shawl), a wonderful ability to hold its shape, drape beautifully and keep the wearer warm and cosy.  It’s a yarn that will stand the test of time.

Dimensions: 25”/64cm wide x 77”/1.94m long.

I recommend this pattern at intermediate level.

You need

4.5mm (US 7) circular needle (100cm/40” length)

Cable needle

16 balls (50g = 113yd/104m) Stansborough Mythral DK 100% wool in Kokako

Sylvia is available for purchase here (Ravelry link – you do not need to be a member).  The pattern is 3MB in size.  If you need a smaller file to suit your Internet capability, please contact me for a lower resolution copy.

I hope you enjoy knitting Sylvia as much as I did.  Many thanks to my wonderful test knitters who took the time to make sure my charts were accurate!

Happy Knitting!




At 3am this morning, Sylvia came into being.

It was a bitter-sweet moment to cast off.  I seem to have put so much of myself into this shawl that it’s almost a part of me now.  On one hand, I was delighted to finally be rid of this project (and finally be able to wear it!) On the other hand, I was sad to see it coming off the needles.

This is my tribute to Wovember.  100% wool top, 75% wool skirt, 100% wool shawl.

I have to admit I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I started this design.  I thought it would be an 8 ball project. 16 balls of Stansborough Mythral 100% wool later…  What I thought would take me a week to knit ended up taking nearly four.

There’s something about hand knitting that is intensely satisfying.  To look at a project and think that the entire project was made by you, that every detail was crafted stitch by stitch with your own two hands.  The fact that I planned and put together all the elements of this shawl adds even more to my happiness.

I have to tell you about the blocking bit too.  Cheryl at Stansborough informs me that to get the best out of this yarn, you need to soak it in hot water after you’ve finished knitting.  She also advised that you can spin it on a regular spin in the washing machine, and hang it (!) up to dry.

So… with bated breath, I filled the tub with what I figured to be hot water (I measured the temperature after I’d put the shawl in: 38C/100F).  I left it soaking with wool wash for 10 minutes.  Then I drained it, and put it in my front-loading washing machine on a 800RPM spin.  9 nervous minutes later… it came out light, soft, and perfectly beautiful.  With even more lustre and drape than before.  You’ll see post-blocking photos when I release the pattern.

I was too chicken to hang it on the line to dry though, so it’s drying on a rack on my deck.  I can tell already though that I should not have been worried.  This wool has a durability and strength to it that will allow it to keep its shape well, and I doubt a hanging on the line would do anything bad to it at all.

Pattern will be released soon!


Testing Sylvia

I finished charting the cabled shawl late last week.  It was an effort!

Now I need to know if I have made sense.  My brain is officially fried after all that, and as I’m knitting the shawl, I think I can no longer read the chart.  It seems to read okay, but you know what it’s like when you go on auto-pilot… As a result I’m slightly paranoid that the charts don’t make sense at all and the only one who can possibly read them is me. Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes (or should I say brain).

Would anyone like to test knit a chart or two?  Pretty please?

This is Chart B:

And this is Chart D:

If you’d like to test it, email me (wsleong AT hotmail DOT co DOT nz) and I will be in contact with a file for you.  All testers will receive a free copy of this pattern once I have finished it.  Thank you!!!

This will be the only testing on this shawl as there are no other tricky bits to it and the pattern will be straightforward. In fact, if you’re one of those people who is happy working without a cable needle, you’ll find this shawl is one of those patterns where you can do that. (Although I shall say that while I’m okay without a needle for certain cables, on others I still prefer the safety of my cable needle!)

The pattern uses 4.5mm needles and DK weight yarn.  Wool is the best medium to knit this.

You’re probably wondering why I’ve entitled this post “Testing Sylvia”.  Pondering a name for this shawl, I realised that the name for this shawl was obvious.  Sylvia is an ancient Latin name meaning “woods” or “forest”.  And you may remember that my walks in the forest inspired this shawl.  It so happens that Sylvia is the name of my daughter, and she’s very fond of shawls.  Given the design, the inspiration and the name are so interlinked, it is only fitting that my first-born, pay-for pattern be named for my first-born child.

My darling Sylvia, this one is for you.


Mythral goes global

It’s the news you’ve been waiting for.

Cheryl Eldridge delightedly informed me today that Stansborough now has both a US and European distributor for Mythral yarn!

I’m so happy to tell you that The Yarn Sisters  and Lanamania have taken on Mythral’s distributorship for the United States and Europe respectively.  Both these companies also represent Zealana, and understand New Zealand yarns well.

Additionally, Claudia Pacheco of Lanamania is a gifted designer, which will mean that you’ll soon see more gorgeous creations to knit out of Mythral.

The Yarn Sisters and Lanamania are now gearing up to take the yarn to their respective markets, and I wish them every success.

Have a look at these links (US) (Europe) for local yarn stores that stock yarns from The Yarn Sisters and Lanamania.  The best way to ensure these stores get you some Mythral is to ask!


Of a mouse, cables and lace

Thankfully, it’s not what you’re thinking.  But it’s almost as bad.

Someone decided he needed a Pikachu, the mouse Pokémon.  Of course, no knitting pattern for a Pikachu exists, so I had to knit it on the fly.  I got no rest from hassling until it was done…  equal to mouse damage, if you ask me!

The knitting is not the finest example of my work, and I am absolutely terrible at embroidery, but at least he’s happy and has stopped the infernal pestering!

So now, I can get back to the prettiest lace cardi…

and some fine cables.

I’ve finally got the central cable perfect.  Pattern writing can begin!


Wrist warmers? Easy fingerless gloves?

I knitted these to keep my wrists and hands warm while I work at my desk.  To me, they are wrist warmers.  Some might call them fingerless gloves because they have a hand section.

What would you call them?

They’re the easiest pattern in the world.  Coming to you soon!