Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life




I have been unexpectedly absent from the blog for a couple of weeks due to coming down with the flu, a family vacation and some very busy times at work. It’s good to be back chatting with you!

We had an all-siblings and family get together to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. These photos are taken at Mount Maunganui (or looking across from Tauranga to Mount Maunganui) and are my teenage stomping grounds. It was lovely to be on the beach again, feeling the sand under my toes. It was a contrast to Wellington beaches which are mostly rocky, with their own kind of wild beauty. Very different in character to the gentle, soft sand beaches I grew up on.

You can see larger images of these pictures by clicking on them.

Some knitting has been done, but not much, sadly.

I was unusually sick with the flu for several days, which even affected my ability to knit. (Fortunately, I was able to recover enough to attend my family gathering). And work has also eaten significantly into my spare time recently.

These projects cover the last two weeks – the cardigan is a Drops pattern that I am modifying as I go. I do not fancy the extended garter lapel in the front, so I will keep it straight edged. The cardigan has enough width without me needing to any extra stitches. I also plan to knit plain sleeves so that the overall effect is not too lacy. The yarn is very special Madelinetosh Pashmina in Tart. A generous gift from a very loving knitting friend.

The socks on the top are the finished  V-Junkie socks, knit in Knitsch 100% merino sock, and the bottom pair are a plain vanilla pair worked in two colours. I used a now-discontinued indie dyer’s high twist merino sock yarn. They are the first contrasting toe/heel/cuff socks I have made, and I am quite pleased with how they have turned out! They are also an effective way to use up those partial balls of sock yarn that aren’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks out of. I used approx 30gm of contrast sock colour and 60gm of the main colour.

One of the unexpected delights of the new place I am living in is the profusion of flowers that bloom in spring. I leave you with a small montage of some of the prettiness I see every day. It gladdens my heart – I hope to share a small piece of that joy with you.

My father and I were having a discussion one day about plants, and gardens, and the simple pleasures of enjoying a piece of freshly picked fruit, or delight in a gorgeous bloom. He made the observation that the tree or plant you put in the ground is a gift to future generations, and that we are but temporary custodians of their fruit and beauty. Wise words indeed. Such a simple act of planting can so powerfully contribute to someone’s future quality of life. After all, if it wasn’t for the efforts of previous people who lived in this house, I would not have all this loveliness to enjoy now. I shall look after this garden, and add to it, so that others can continue to enjoy it long after we are gone.

A happy weekend to you, and Happy Knitting!


The Putangirua Pinnacles

Last weekend, friends invited us to join them for a walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles.

Putangirua Pinnacles

I first heard about the Pinnacles (as they are known here in the Wairarapa) from a colleague, who said they were very interesting rocks.  I have to giggle now at his description.  They are definitely interesting geological formations.  The tower shapes are called hoodoos.  Formed by erosion over thousands of years, they make a spectacular landscape!

This particular photo cost me 45 minutes of hard climbing, and a very badly blistered heel that meant I wore backless shoes to work all week… I think it was worth it.  Now that my foot has stopped stinging!

The Pinnacles 2

This photo shows the Pinnacles as seen from the bottom of the formations.  We walked from the lookout down to the bottom of the riverbed, only a 20 minute walk or so.

Putangirua Pinnacles

You then walk along the riverbed and into the base of the Pinnacles.  I don’t think it would be a good idea to come here right after heavy rain – this riverbed would not be as friendly!  A fact born out by the numerous pools of thick mud we came across during our walk – the children had a lot of fun poking sticks into them.

Another interesting fact about the Pinnacles which I discovered more recently, is that they are the location for the scene in the Lord of the Rings where Aragorn travels the Paths of the Dead to summon the Army of the Dead.

Putangirua Pinnacles

The kids decided it would be cool to investigate the narrow pathway to see if it led to a cave.  They chickened out before they got to the end.

THe Pinnacles 4

The shapes of the hoodoos and the feel of the canyon that we walked through it certainly does give this area an other-worldly feel.  It really does look the part of a scene from the Lord of the Rings.

The Pinnacles 5

Peter Jackson’s location crew chose well!

The Pinnacles 6

Can you see the naturally formed head sculptures in this photo?  The Young Boy said one of them looked like an Easter Island head, and I think he is right!

The Pinnacles 7

We were lucky to go on the day we did.  Almost as soon as we got back to the carpark, a strong wind blew in and lasted for the next few days.  It would have made walking here particularly unpleasant!

I was very grateful to be invited to go for that walk.  It was much more fun with company.  Young Boy was even more pleased – he got to have a sleepover with his best friend that night as well.


A trip to Castlepoint

It was a perfect day on Sunday.  Far too gorgeous to waste indoors.  I decided it was time we did more exploring of our new environment!

It has been a while since we went to the beach.  I decided some fresh sea air was just what we needed!


This is Castlepoint.  It is quite spectacular.

According to this website, Castlepoint is one of New Zealand’s 10 most loved beaches.  The lighthouse at this beach is one of the two remaining beam lighthouses left in New Zealand.

The young boy certainly loved the sand – perfect for digging large holes!  I dipped my feet into the sea, but decided that it was just a bit too chilly for paddling.

Castlepoint beachI had a nice time in the sand too…

Knitting at the beach

After holes had been dug to one young person’s satisfaction, and sand dunes appropriately rolled down and enjoyed, I dragged him up to the lighthouse for a walk and a look at what was on the other side of the reef.

Lighthouse at Castlepoint

It took one’s breath away!

View from the lighthouse

The colour of the sea was stunning…

Beyond Castlepoint

Here’s a view looking back towards the bay.

Castlepoint village

A geology student would find the landscape fascinating.  There are fossils to be seen, and clear layers of seashells and sandstone.  There is some very entertaining information about the history of Castlepoint here.

More Castlepoint

We drove home, feeling refreshed and relaxed.  What a wonderful day!  How lucky we are to be living in such an amazingly beautiful place!

There are plans afoot to go back as soon as possible and explore more of the walks!

Sand dune at Castlepoint


Otari Wilton’s Bush

We’ve had family visiting this weekend.  It was wonderful to see my sister and her family.

Today, we went to Otari Wilton’s Bush for a relaxing walk before they left to head back north.  Otari Wilton’s Bush is a reserve and also contains the only botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants.  The forest is a tiny remnant of mature podocarp northern rata forest that was once the common forest type on the Wellington Peninsula.

Fortunately for us, some far-sighted individuals back in the 1800’s realised that not much forest was being preserved in the rush to ‘develop’ New Zealand.  So this tiny bit of land (today it’s around 100 hectares) has been protected as a recreation area for Wellingtonians since the 1860’s.  You can read more about it in the link I’ve provided above.

Come for a walk with me now,

The majestic Kauri, a tree with an immense lifespan was once extensively harvested for its beautiful timber.

The tawa tree. Its bark has antiseptic properties and a decoction was used to clean wounds.  I love the feathery branches – it’s like a tree from a fantasy, or a beautifully cabled sweater…

Kaka beak.  I want some for my garden!

Ngaio seedling. The leaves of this small tree were crushed in water and used by Maori as an insect repellent. Handy to know if you’re caught in the bush when the midges are out!

These are wee things, only about 1cm (1/2″) off the ground.  Endemic to the South Island hill country, don’t they look just like the ball of fluff that Dr. Seuss’ Whoville lived on?

This is the NZ tree fuchsia flower. The berries are edible, and most delicious.  The flower has bright blue pollen.  It makes me think of yarn.

Still a common small tree, Bushman’s Toilet Paper has a self-explanatory name… it has soft, velvety leaves that are perfect for um… sanitary purposes.

Another South Island plant, it grows low on the ground.  You can see the thick leaves and small flowers well adapted to surviving in high country.

The new, red leaves lit by the sun in the dark green shaded forest looked like a spot of fire!

The silver fern – this is the symbol you often see displayed on New Zealand sports team outfits.

Thankfully still common, this kawakawa is a first-growth shrub/small tree that provides food and medicine. The fruit are delicious (just don’t bite the peppery seed) and the leaves make a good poultice for pain. Pour hot water on the leaves for a refreshing and delicious tea. Notice the moth-eaten leaves (they are nibbled by caterpillars). The holey leaves have the best medicinal qualities.

We only did the short, 30 minute walk.  You could stay in there all day, exploring and learning about the native plants and botanical history of New Zealand.

It was the perfect ending to a happy weekend.


Saturday cuteness

Chugging along slowly with things this week.  I can’t believe how a little cold can play such havoc with one’s mental capacity!  Thank you so much for your well wishes from my last post. 🙂  I really appreciate your kind comments.

I thought I’d pop in with a photo of the cutest little baby Emperor Tamarin.   It’s the school holidays and my brother and family came down to Wellington for the day.   We went to the Wellington Zoo for a family outing.  I haven’t been to the zoo for a while, and in that time they have done a lot to develop it and make it more interesting and interactive for the visitor.  We really enjoyed our stay!  It’s a good zoo for a half-day trip – not so big that you get tired before you see all the exhibits.

This baby is so tiny, he’ll fit into your hand – see the average-sized dinner plate he/she’s eyeing up appreciatively.

One more photo, just for fun:

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!  From the sounds of it, it’s pretty hot in some places in the world right now – hope you get some relief soon.

I’ll be back soon with some finished project photos!


Finding New Zealand knitting yarn in Wellington

(Updated Oct 2015)

It has been a while since I wrote about shopping for yarn in New Zealand!  So today, I thought I would write a specific post about where you can find New Zealand knitting yarn if you are visiting Wellington.

It’s interesting that each of the yarn stores in this city tends to have a different focus (interesting in that each store offers something slightly different, but also frustrating from a shopper’s point of view if you want to see as much as possible under one roof!)

This ‘tour’ starts in the centre of Wellington, and we gradually work our way outwards:

Knit World,  185 Willis Street, Wellington
Opening hours:  10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
, 10am – 4pm Saturday, 11am – 2pm Sunday (Sunday hours from March – Sept only)
Tel:  +64 4 385 1918  E:

Knit World is one of New Zealand’s largest yarn store “chains”, with 10 stores nationwide.  It stocks a good  range of  quality New Zealand yarns, including Touch Yarns, Stansborough, Ashford and Naturally. The Wellington store recently moved to a street front store and is now a lot easier to find than previously.  

New Knit World shop front

This is a photo of the new store front location.  It is very easy to get to.


Nancy’s Embroidery  261 Thorndon Quay, Wellington, T:  +64 4 473 4047

As its name suggests, Nancy’s is a specialist embroidery and quilting store.  In 2015, the shop moved a couple of doors down from its old location and now has an exciting new open plan layout with a greater emphasis
on creative activities in the shop, including a casual drop in stitching and knitting area where you can sit and stitch!

They also stock an increasing range of luxury knitting yarn, including Stansborough’s Mithril, Annabelle’s, and their own New Zealand made label Strand, Zealana, Noro, MilliaMia and more.

Wellington Sewing Services, Shop 3, Kilbirnie Plaza, 22 Bay Rd, Kilbirnie
T:  +64 4 387 4505

I must tell you have that I have never been to this store.  However, from what I can see of their website, if you do find yourself in the Eastern part of Wellington city, this might be a useful place to bear in mind for yarn supplies.  The range of New Zealand yarn is not extensive, but they do have Ashford, Touch Yarns and Naturally, and possibly a bit more.  One of these days, I shall get over there to investigate in person!

There’s a lovely sandy beach down that way… with a hip cafe where you can sit outside on a nice day.

 Holland Road Yarn CompanUpstairs, Grand Arcade, Willis St, Wellington CBD.  
Opening hours:  10am – 5pm Tues – Fri, 10am – 4pm Sat
T: +64 4 499 6845

This store is owned by the creator of Knitsch yarns.  In addition to the Knitsch range of pretty, hand-dyed yarn, the store stocks an array of other exciting New Zealand yarns, including Zealana and Ashford, as well as some of the Skeinz yarns.  The store also stocks a range of international yarns that we haven’t been able to readily access before in Wellington.

Holland Road Yarn Co. Willis St

Zealana Kiwi and Naturally Waikiwi and 4 ply

Zealana Kiwi and Naturally Waikiwi and 4 ply

Stansborough, 68 Fitzherbert Street, Petone, Wellington

T:  +64 4 566 5591 

While you are in Petone, you should also drop in to visit Stansborough, home of some of the beautiful fabrics that have graced movies such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and many others.  Stansborough’s gallery which is only a five – ten minute walk from HRYC in Jackson St.  The gallery is stocked with stunning, pure Stansborough Grey wool blankets, throws, shawls and other items, all woven on turn-of-the-century looms in elegant weave patterns, and hand-finished to perfection.  They make beautiful quality, unique gifts to take home.  And of course, you can also find Stansborough’s gorgeous yarns!  You’ll also see the looms that the fantastic fabrics are woven on – fascinating!

Stansborough yarns

Knit World, 62 Queen’s Road, Lower Hutt, Wellington
Tel:  +64 4 566 4689 

This is Knit World’s Lower Hutt store.  It does not have the same variety of New Zealand yarns, but if you cannot go to the city store, this store is still a good one to visit.

Thimbles’n’Threads, 40 Park St, Upper Hutt, Wellington
Tel:  +64 4 526 6513

The furtherest “Wellington” store from the city centre, it’s about a 40 minute drive up State Highway 2 from Wellington city.  If you’re on your way to the Wairarapa (home of fabulous wines), this is a nice little diversion along the way.   It is divided evenly into well-displayed embroidery, quilting and knitting supplies.  It’s a large,  gleaming, comfortable shop, very clean and neat.  It smells especially nice.  The range of haberdashery (including beautiful buttons), quilting and embroidery threads is staggering.   The yarn range has been reduced a little over the years, but it is still substantial, and what they do have is good.  If you want to see (and squish) the entire Touch Yarns range, this is where you should come.  It’s the only place I have seen it all together – 100% merino in 4 and 8 ply, boucle, brushed mohair, possum yarn, sock yarn, and scarf kits.  They also stock Annabelle’s as well as some Naturally yarns (as well as other imported quality yarns).

Of course, it was rude not to buy anything when I went to visit, so a small souvenir had to come home with me…

I know… more sock yarn!  I did spend a long time lingering over the beautiful skeins of hand-dyed possum yarns, but they were just a bit more than my budget can afford at the moment.

So there you have it.  I have probably missed one or two of the smaller stores that stock a limited range of yarn, but this is the basic list.

Enjoy your visit here!