Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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New beginnings

Today was my last day at work.  I feel happy, sad, angry.  A bit achey where my heart is, and sometimes a little bit weepy. Redundancy, and the stress surrounding a restructuring is a very, very horrible experience to go through.

On an objective level, this exercise was just a ‘numbers game’, and not about performance.  The human cost that comes with this sort of process is very high though, and I do believe there must be better ways of achieving business objectives than this.  I am not the only one to go, and not the only one who has been affected.  My friends and now ex-colleagues will also feel the loss for quite some time.

I’m also feeling it for others whom I know who are also facing the same thing at their work places.  It seems to be catching, this restructuring business.

The silver lining is that I am now free to look into doing something new, and creating a life that is suited to what I need, and if I am very honest, in having a period of rest.

Let’s turn to happier topics!

On Wednesday, it was Pet Day at the young boy’s school and he chose to take Coal, the Adorable Bunny.  Thanks to the adorable bunny and a young man’s curiosity about how to care for his beloved pet, the duo won the red ribbon (First) in the small mammal category!

Winner!

Not just that, the young man then won the Cup for Best Knowledge and Care of Small Mammals!

Cup winner

It was an awesome day!  I was a very proud mama, and he was a very happy boy!

Happy Boy

The season is marching along quickly, and new delights have been found in the garden.

Plums

Blossoms have now turned into the promise of tasty plums.

Wild pansie

The cutest wild pansy growing in the grass.

Spring sky

A glorious sky seen through the newest spring leaves.

All these things bring joy and peace to the mind and heart.

Knitting progress is coming along nicely, but it’s mostly secret knitting.  I’ll be back later in the weekend with things to show on that front!

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Weekend rainbows

Rainbow 3

If you have been watching my Instagram feed in the side bar (or following along – I’ve been having a lot of fun with it and discovering lots of nice people to follow!) you’ll have noticed I finished the Happy Rainbow socks a few days ago.  I decided to wear them today! I do love the feel of this 100% BFL sock yarn from Happy-go-knitty.

It is a beautiful start to the weekend.  A lovely warm, still and sunny day.  The perfect weather in which to kick back and recharge the batteries with a bit of reading, knitting and sitting in the garden with the bunny.  He is so adorable – look at him sitting companionably beside me as I knit.

Coal and Reyna

I’ve had to start a new ‘mindless’ knit – this one is Reyna.  I’m using Noro Taiyo Sock.  Such a lovely, lovely yarn, and the perfect stripe sequence for this pattern!  It’s actually quite hard to put down because for a change I am enjoying the garter stitch.  I attribute this to the gorgeous yarn and Noro’s special rustic wool/cotton/silk feel that I love so much.

It has been an emotionally exhausting week, and there are a few more to come while my workplace sorts out an organisation-wide restructuring.  It’s very likely I will not have a job soon.  That is okay. Sometimes a door needs to close, and in this case, I think it is time I looked to find new activities to pay the bills.  The rainbow message of hope is a particularly apt one for me at the moment!

Rainbow socks

That isn’t to say it still isn’t a super scary situation to be in, particularly as I do not have a partner, and I have a child to feed as well, but I need to put on my ‘big girl pants’ and work it through.  Audry had some lovely words of advice on her blog today, and she is quite right.  It will be alright in the end.

I did decide I needed a bit of a pick-me-up, and managed to convince myself that some new yarn was necessary… yeah…

new yarn

Midnight Yarns is a new-to-me NZ indie dyer – another discovery from Instagram!  Super pretty dye job on a sparkling sock base!  Vintage Purls had an all-blue stocking last week, and I of course decided I did not have enough blue in my stash!

Tomorrow, should the weather hold (we are supposedly in for some gale force winds) we are going on a walk with friends to a new-to-me location.  Watch the Instagram feed for pretty pics!

Hope you are having a good weekend and here’s to a great start to Socktober!


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Why she knits

A long time ago (maybe nine years ago), a certain person fell in love with knitting.  It wasn’t that she hadn’t knit before, but this time, after many years’ break, it was different.  Knitting became her constant companion. Consequently, there has hardly been a day when she hasn’t spent some time knitting (the days that did not involve knitting were due to flu days where nothing was possible except to lie in bed and sleep).

She loved knitting and everything associated with knitting.  The yarns.  The colours.  The stitches. The techniques.  The tools.  The history.  The people she met.  The animals.  The sheep that the yarn came from.  Especially the sheep.  Everything was so exciting and new and interesting!

Coloured sheep closeup

At first, she thought that she would only ever knit scarves.  That did not last long, as she branched into knitting clothes for her children and nieces.

A cheeky monkey in fingerless gloves

Eric's slippers

 

Woody sweater

She discovered New Zealand makers of knitting yarn – whom she realised did not have a high market presence (but totally deserved better).  Having a deep interest in sustainability, she wanted to support them and especially to support the wool industry in New Zealand, which appeared to be suffering a lack of appreciation.

Awakeri Woolcraft yarns

Zealana Heron

Anna Gratton Chili Chocolate

So she began to blog, and somehow, ended up designing small accessories to support the yarns she loved, and an even deeper element to knitting opened up.

Fair isle hat

Living and breathing all the aspects of knitting – the doing, the writing, the learning, the reading, the seeing, feeling, knowing, sharing – her appreciation of knitting and levels of happiness increased ten-fold.

Leighlinbridge Aran

After declaring that she’d never have the patience to knit socks, one day she decided to try.  She discovered that her earlier decision was a mistake.  It’s a neat trick to take a small amount of stitches, design it to fit a small part of the body, and turn it into a package of cuteness. There are limitless ways this can be done, and entire universe of knitting just in this one small garment!  Much enjoyment is now being had in knitting ALL the SOCKS!

Fire Flowers socks

Twisted Flower socks

After many troubled episodes of failure, she swore that she would never be able to understand how to knit lace.  One day, she got tired of looking on in envy at the stunningly beautiful things that others were making.  So she bothered to take time to learn, and found that she could indeed knit lace. It was a great moment of triumph.

Golitha Falls Shawl 3

Nowadays, she takes great pleasure in creating the beauty of lace.

Lilli Pilli

Knitting has been long spoken of as a form of meditation.  The act of meditation quiets the brain, calms the heart, and stills the nerves.  The meditator focuses only on the act of meditation.  In the case of the knitter, this is her knitting.  It works.  It calms, soothes, relaxes (most of the time).  This is an extremely important need in our everyday busy lives and is a source of great comfort in times of stress.

The act of creating something beautiful acts as reassurance that something meaningful can come out of a life that is sometimes in disarray.  It also creates joy, and a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Knitting provides so many opportunities to learn:  about everything associated with knitting! Each area can encompass years of learning before mastership:  techniques – cables, colourwork and lace, different knitting styles and finishing techniques; yarns – how the animal or plant is farmed, how the fibre is harvested, how its made into yarn, how different spin affects garment performance,  how different fibres are suitable for different purposes, how the treatment of the fibres affects garment performance; colour – dyeing; different garment construction and design, the list is virtually endless.  It’s a universe of learning and fulfilment that could fill one’s days to the end of time.

And so it does.  She wakes up thinking of knitting, spends the day knitting as much as possible, and falls asleep at night, gazing at her beautiful collection of yarns, dreaming about what she will make from them when the time comes… to knit.

 


TGIF

A visit to the beach is always restful.

The beach

Pebbles crunch pleasingly under foot.  The sea sighs a gentle song, breathing slow waves of sound.

wavesSeabirds call.  The air smells pleasantly of fresh seaweed, washed up on the beach after a recent storm.

Seaweed

There are  interesting things to look at, each creature or feature a thing of wonder.

The beauty of nature.

The power of the sea and nature to slowly shape and carve.

The intricate details.

Limpet

Sea life

Driftwood

shell patterns

Rock holes

Shaped by the sea

 

Flotsam

 

I feel the week’s stress and tension washed away with the waves and the breeze.

The perfect way to start the weekend.

 

 


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Tension

Holidays are over, and I went back to work this week.  This morning, I sat down to knit a few rows on my sock heel before I headed out the door.

After a bit, I began to notice something rather strange. (The photo is not the best, but it’s all I could get in early morning light).

Different tensionCan you see how the top rows are very different to the bottom rows?

I looked at it again from a different angle:

Tight tension!

Nope, my eyes were not playing tricks on me.  Then, I thought I’d done something wrong with the stitches, but no, the pattern is the same.

It was a bit of a shock to realise that the different look to the sock heel was because my tension (gauge) had suddenly become veeeeeerrrry, veeeeerrry, tight.

Whereas my gauge over the holidays was nice and relaxed, and quite normal for me, it seems I’m suffering an extreme form of the blues at going back to work, and this has shown up in my tension becoming so tight that it has changed the entire look of the stitch pattern.  Tension has literally changed my tension!

I’m probably going to have to knit the rest of the sock on needles two sizes larger! I tried ripping back the tight bit and using a size larger (going from 2.25mm to 2.5mm) but even that tension is far too tight.  Reeelaaax, deep breaths, think happy thoughts, I said to myself.  It still hasn’t worked.  😦  I’ll have to try 2.75mm next.

The gauge at the beginning of my knitting is correct, so I need to replicate that. Ripping back and starting again will not work on my current gauge as the sock will come out the wrong size and the stitch pattern will not look right.  I wonder how much larger the needles will have to be before I finally get the right gauge!?

Quite interesting that.  I didn’t know I was feeling so tense.  It’s not surprising though. I had already decided that things need to be different this year, but it looks like my body is telling me that things really have to change.  With a young family relying on me, I cannot afford to jeopardise my future ability to provide for them by carrying on with status quo.

It’s just funny that it was my knitting that has made me quite literally ‘see’ it.


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The lace “thing”

Must stop looking at lace shawl patterns on Ravelry… sooo pretty…

Must.stop.printing.out.patterns.for.lace.shawls…

Must knit lace shawl…

Must.stop.knitting.lace.shawl.

Must.stop.breaking.needles.ripping.out.lace.shawl.

Must.stop.getting.angry.with.self. (deep breath)

Why, oh why, is it so hard to break into lace? (sad sigh)

Let’s start again.  Small.

FrejaLovely Freja socks.  In beautiful Happy-go-knitty yarn.  A delightful sister act from the Dehmer sisters.

This is hopeful.  It “only” took me half a sock to finally get that this pattern is actually a simple lace design of very regular stitch pattern… ;P

I do not know what it is about lace.  I find it very difficult to get the ‘hang’ of it.  I know it’s simple.  I know the steps are logical.  But somehow, it takes me quite a few repeats to finally cement it in my brain!

I shall conquer lace yet!