Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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.  🙂


#project vest: the conclusion

I went a bit more slowly finishing the second half of this vest.  It actually didn’t take very long because there is less fabric in the front!  If you count all the hours I spent knitting and finishing this vest, the result will equal about 24 hours. Maybe a bit less.


I’m a bit hot and bothered from mowing the lawns in this picture.  Do not worry – I didn’t wear my brand new vest doing the mowing!  Had to get that pic before the light went though!

I thought I’d show you how it looked before and after some blocking:

Prior to blocking

Here it is awaiting its bath.  Notice how the bands twisted and would not lie flat?  The fabric itself also felt quite stiff and a little oily for some reason.


Here it is in its bath with a small amount of wool wash added.  See how the water has made the fibres much more relaxed and even.

Blocked vest

Blocking has brought out the true qualities of the Stansborough Grey wool.  The fabric has become beautifully lofty, with a gorgeous fluidity, lustre and drape.

This yarn dries extremely quickly.  This wool seems to shake off moisture much more quickly than other fibres.  I put it on a rack to dry outside, and it was dry in two hours!  I think being non-washine washable has also helped to preserve the moisture-repellent properties of the wool.

It’s going to be a great work vest as soon as the weather decides to make wearing wool a good idea!

Yarn:  Stansborough Mithril

Pattern: V-neck or rounded sleeveless tunic

Amount used:  approx 325g (for size 40″) of DK weight yarn.

Last weekend, I also finished my Golden Hall socks.  Here they are!

Golden Hall socks

These socks were cast on with many more stitches that I would normally use, and I was convinced at one stage that they would be too big for me.  Those cables sure do eat yarn and suck in the width though… I finished this project with only 6″ of yarn to spare from an entire 100g skein!  That was close.  I used 30% more yarn than I normally need for a pair of socks.

The only mods I made for this sock were to decrease across the instep on the first row of the toe shaping so that all the cable endings were K2tog.  This also conveniently brought the stitch count back down to my the usual number I begin with:  64 stitches.  By doing so, I knew that the toe would be the right length for my foot.  I also decreased the sole down to 32 sts during the gusset shaping which helped with width issues (and yarn quantities!)

I didn’t find the intense amount of cabling on these socks particularly intuitive (some cable patterns hardly need looking at once you’ve done the first motif, but not this one).  This made it slow to knit because I was glued to the chart. I know others were much more comfortable with the pattern.

The yarn is more of my very favourite super twisted 100% merino sock yarn.  This colourway was dyed by the talented James of Fibre Alive, another sadly no longer indie dye business.  I cry a little every time I use one of his yarns because they are so lovely and I won’t be able to get any more!!

However, very pleased to now have another pair of yummy socks to add to my drawer!


The Bofur collection

Do you remember how I told you I was doing some secret knitting a little while ago?

Well, I can now tell you about some of it!

If you click on this link you’ll be taken to the part of Stansborough’s website that features their movie products.  Scroll down, and you’ll see…



Images are compliments of Stansborough.

Those are knitting kits for both Bofur’s gloves and scarf!!  And yours truly was lucky enough to help recreate the pattern and knit the sample!  Such an exciting and fast-paced project it was too!

It was an immense honour and privilege to work with Cheryl Eldridge at Stansborough to recreate a likeness of the costume design for the dwarf Bofur’s scarf and fingerless mittens from “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey”.  

The patterns are now available for sale as a kit of both pattern and yarn, and seeing it all packaged up and photographed is such a thrill!!  The folks at Stansborough have done a great job.

(I did not design or knit the originals used in the movie – just for clarity.)

You may have noticed that the yarn has been renamed “Mithril”.  This is part of the licensing agreement with Warner Brothers.

In addition to their availability from Weta, other retail stockists of Hobbit products and direct from Stansborough, the kits for the scarf and gloves will also soon be available from The YarnSisters in the US, Lanamania in Europe and in New Zealand from Holland Road Yarn Company and Mynx String Therapy, amongst others.

Thanks again to Cheryl for involving me in this exciting project.


The glimmer of Mythral

“Mr Baggins!” he cried. “Here is the first payment of your reward! Cast off your old coat and put on this!”

With that he put on Bilbo a small coat of mail, wrought for some young elf-prince long ago. It was of silver-steel, which the elves call mithril, and with it went a belt of pearls and crystals. – The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

Thus we are first acquainted with that beautiful mail tunic that saved the lives of both Bilbo and later, Frodo.

Because of its qualities, Stansborough’s Mythral is named after the essence of mithril, and I can see why.

I was knitting with Stansborough Mythral today, and greatly admiring the glimmer and gleam of the yarn and wondering how I could illustrate this quality to my readers.  I decided that it might work if I took a picture of it next to other yarn, to show just how glittery it is.

In the photo below you can see from left, an 80% alpaca/20% merino yarn; a 50/50 merino silk blend, and finally, Mythral 100% Stansborough Grey wool.

I have not altered this image, it was taken in daylight, on a foggy, rainy day.  Yet, can you see how the Mythral outshines even the silk in the skein next to it?

Illustrating the lustre of Mythral

Here’s another picture, showing a pure Corriedale wool next to the Mythral along with the alpaca and silk/merino blends.

CompositionDSC09525 (1024x768)I think it’s a rather appropriate name, don’t you?


Mythral is back!!!

Today, I have the very immense pleasure of sharing with you that the new batch of Stansborough Mythral has finally arrived!!!!  You can imagine I was dying to get home and play with these!

Stansborough MythralIf you’ve missed my posts about Stansborough’s Mythral in the past, I’ll just quickly introduce this unique and beautiful yarn.  It’s the wool that was made famous by those fantastic elven cloaks in Lord of the Rings.  Subsequently, knitter demand convinced the Eldridges (who own and breed the unique sheep behind this yarn, and who produce timelessly tasteful fabrics and accessories from the wool) to turn some of it into knitting yarn.  The wool has also been used in costumes for the Hobbit movies, and in due course there will be more knitterly joy in that department to share with you when it can be talked about!

Cheryl, the brains behind the designs and creative side of Stansborough, designed the colour to be overdyed on to the natural grey, turning something special into something even more special. It’s a naturally heathered effect, in very Middle Earth colours.

This yarn was first released as Mythral two years ago, and knitter (and crocheter) awareness of this very special yarn has gradually been increasing since.  Once you get over the fact that it is not your typical merino, you learn to appreciate its very special lustre, drape, resilience and unique look.  It softens every time you wash it, and it’s a yarn that you can wear to death, and it will still look fabulous year after year.  It is not scratchy.  It just has a certain strength to the strand that most people are not used to in this day and age of super soft yarn.  It means you can knit up cables that really ‘pop’, and use it in garments where you want flow and movement and the knowledge that your garment will not stretch out of shape.

This second batch features a new colour:  Raupo (the Maori word for bullrush).  If you remember the funny bottle-brush shaped flower stem of the bullrush, you’ll immediately recognise the rusty orange brown in the above picture.

Stansborough Mythral

So in the image above, from reader left, the Mythral colours this time are:  Kakariki (Maori word for green and also the name of a very cute, rare native New Zealand parrot).  Next to it is Rata, the rich, pretty red of the Rata tree flower.  Then comes Takahe, a steel blue, my personal favourite. Takahe is the name of another very rare New Zealand bird that needs to be seen to be described! Then comes the luscious Raupo. Finally, there is the natural colour of the Stansborough Grey sheep, given the name Kokako, (another endangered New Zealand bird with soft grey plumage and bright blue wattles).  

Such scrumptious colours, I can already see colourwork and stripes in my future!

If you want to know more about the namesakes of the colours for Mythral, have a look at the Department of Conservation’s website which has some very interesting information (and you can see nice pictures and even listen to the calls of the birds).

Now to the very important stuff:  how to get hold of some of this for yourself!

If you cannot wait, and must have some NOW, I suggest you email Cheryl at  The yarn will also be up on the website soon.

If you are in Wellington, you can also call into Stansborough’s gallery at 22 Sydney St, Petone to pick it up in person, and I am sure that it will soon be available at Holland Road Yarn Store and other New Zealand stockists.

Wholesale quantities will also be shortly winging their way to The Yarn Sisters (where you can order it through their Shopatron site) in the US and Lanamania in Europe.

I’ve had a broad smile on my face all day – it’s wonderful to have this fantastic yarn available to knitters again!


Hobbit talk

Just a quick pop in to share a new link with you today from one of my favourite New Zealand wool (and yarn) producers.

This is Stansborough’s facebook page, and a great way to find out what happening in Wellington this week with the launch of the Hobbit, including an artisan market that starts today!  It looks amazing! Must go.

I’m so pleased to see they’ve been involved in producing more of their beautiful woollen fabrics for this new movie.