Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


It’s Winter, which means…

The wool fair season continues!  Hurrah!!

If you are in Wellington or visiting around this time, you might like to know about the following dates:

21 June – Social Wool Fair

This is the second year this fair has run.  It’s a mix of stalls for both “new” yarn and the big “destash” event for knitters and crocheters who want to offload yarn they will no longer knit or magazines/books and crafting-related supplies that they will no longer use.  Have a look here and here for more information. Lots of indie people appear to be coming whom I haven’t been aware of before…

This year, the event is being held on  Saturday 21 June, at St Anne’s Hall, Emmet Street, Newtown.  From 10am to 4pm!

2 Aug – Wonders of Wool

This event is so popular that the Wellington Underground Market organisers have put on a second event day!  10am to 4pm at the Wellington Underground Market, Jervois Quay, Wellington Waterfront.

27th/28th Sep and 4th /5th Oct Fashion and Accessories Market

Not strictly a yarn event, but I do know that at least two yarnies who have booked stalls for this feature market at Wellington Underground Market, which is being held during the World of Wearable Art weeks.  Address and time, same as for Wonders of Wool.

Slurpy, slurp!  I had better start saving my pennies!


Three bags full, Wonders of Wool

It was a most wonderful day yesterday.  The market was packed, the purchases fast and furious, and many, many crinkly paper bags full of wool went walking out the door, carried by very happy owners.

My own purchases amounted to three bags full.  I am still grinning with pleasure.

Spoils from the Wonders of Wool

Let me introduce these lovelies:

First up, Anna Gratton‘s Little Wool Co. yarns.

Midnight sky

These are two yummy 200g skeins of 100% pure NZ wool (Corriedale) yarn in the 4 ply weight, in a colourway called “Midnight Sky”.  I wanted it as soon as I saw it because it’s going to be my second attempt at the Southern Skies shawl.  I have realised that super twist yarn is perhaps not the best for this shawl when combined with my tension (my first attempt came out pitifully small), so I’m going to use this ‘normal spin’ instead, combined with bigger needles. Plus, I think the variegation of dark blue/purple, brown and green is going to make fantastic visual interest in this pi shawl, with the swirling colours going round and round.


This is also Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. 100% pure wool, this time in Saffron.  It’s actually an even richer yellow than this photo suggests – more like an egg yolk colour.  I love it, and it is going to become the Rosebud shawl.  I love yellow roses, and I think this colour will be perfect for it.

Natural silver wool yarn

More 4 ply 100% pure wool from Anna Gratton, this is a natural colour wool, the Silver colourway.  There are no definite plans for it, but I think a shawl in natural colour would be perfect at some point.

Next up, Maniototo Wool!

Maniototo Wool's stall

You won’t believe how long I had to wait to get this photo!  Mary’s stall was crowded with enthusiastic shoppers – I have still managed to get someone’s hand of holding a skein in this pic… despite trying to respect people’s privacy by not taking pictures of them shopping.  It was quite funny to see a dozen arms reaching into those hanging display units the first time I went past.  It would have made an amazing picture.  I am just so happy that her yarn is being recognised.  It is really great stuff.  This picture was taken at around 11am, and already the stocks were looking low.

So what did I get from her?

Maniototo Wool in barn red

Mary has both aran weight and DK weight yarn.  This lot is DK weight, and after seeing the darling little sweater she had knitted in this barn red colourway, I have decided to do the same for my baby nephew.  I reckon he’ll look so cute in it! These are two 100g hanks (about 400m in total), so I think there will be enough yarn, as long as I knit it this winter! I think I need to emphasise here how light this yarn is – compared to many wool yarns, this wool is like meringue, it’s incredibly lofty, and very suitable for little ones due to its light weight and lack of scratch.

Talking some more to Mary, I realise just how much effort has gone into getting this yarn right.  She told me that the first spin she did of this wool was rejected because it did not reflect the quality of the wool – it was too dense and ropey.  So she turned to a boutique New Zealand mill, Wild Earth Yarns, with the request that she “wanted the wool to be spun so that the crimp of the fleece is matched by the twist of the spinning.” The deep experience of the mill owner really shows through in the resulting yarn.

I also had to get one of her aran weight variegated skeins…

Random dyed tussock wool yarn

This one is called Random Tussock.  Lush!

Mary also makes a beautiful wool wash.  It has a refreshing eucalyptus scent (made with real essential oils, not synthetic chemical smell), and I was very happy to obtain another bottle from her.

DSC00647 (640x480)

Then I spied Spinning A Yarn!

Spinning a YarnSome of you will already know that Jessicah has passed the Spinning a Yarn business to her equally talented sister.  Her sister (I rather rudely forgot to ask her name) has started a website for Spinning a Yarn and I have to say, it is very cool. LOVE the way she has displayed those yarns oh so temptingly! (The original etsy site contains the remainder of Jessicah’s work).  The idea is to have a new collection of colourways every season, so what you see above is this season’s offering – which will change again in a few months’ time.

I fell instantly in love with this golden merino/silk creation, Winter Sweet:

Winter Sweet, Spinning a Yarn

I couldn’t quite capture the colour correctly in this photo.  It truly is a gold.  The website pic is more accurate. These are two 100g skeins in the 4 ply weight (800m total), destined to become a beautiful shawl at some point.

Spinning a Yarn, like all the stalls at the market, was heaving with customers and I had to try to take photos in between hands… here’s one of my out-takes.  It made me smile to see so much enthusiasm.

Shopping at Spinning a Yarn

Of course, a visit to the Wonders of Wool market is never complete without a stop at Holland Road Yarn Co.’s stall.  I wanted to see the new season’s colours and replenish my stash of Knitsch:

Knitsch sock yarn

The orange is Easy as Stone, the greys are the “Isobar” kit (more about that in a minute) and the top pinks are more Gwyneth.  I seem to be incapable of not having that colourway in my stash…

I have to say that our yarnies are an incredibly talented lot when it comes to creative packaging and presentation.  Look at how the kit for Isobar came:

Isobar kit

Four 50g skeins of yarn were packaged in a cellophane bag, with pattern, and put into a small-sized blank pizza box.  Love it! There was plenty of this kit when I wandered over, and if you would like to have one, it is now available on the website.

By this time, this shopper’s energy levels were flagging just a bit.  All that colour and sensory stimulation had my poor little brain spazzing.  I was also conscious that one young boy was getting bored (although he was extremely good and did not complain the whole time I was there, which I was very grateful to him for).

I made one more stop.  This is Happy-go-knitty‘s colourful stall:


Helene did not disappoint, and I was extremely happy to come away with:


From left, a self-striping in blues alpaca/merino sock yarn, destined for the older boy.  Deep blue BFL random dyed, another merino/alpaca sock in soft raspberry/tangerine colours, a very lovely red semi-solid BFL and last but not least, the colourway I especially wanted to acquire – a self-striping grey and pink BFL.   Super excited I managed to get the last skein!!!

The deep blue and raspberry/tangerine yarns were not technically purchased – they are destined to become samples for one of Helene’s upcoming yarn clubs.  I feel very honoured that she has approached me to use my Orange Roughy fingerless gloves pattern for the next club.  The samples are being knitted to decide which yarn would be better for the club.  This is a very thoughtful approach I feel, from the viewpoint of a designer. Helene wants me to be comfortable that the yarn she uses for the club does show the pattern to its best potential – hence my involvement.

So that was about it for me.  I did also purchase some awesome DPN rosewood needles from 2 Minute Needles. I had a small discussion with them about where the wood came from.  The sisters who run 2 Minute Needles have gone to tremendous efforts to ascertain that the source of the wood for their needles is sustainable, and this made me feel comfortable about the purchase.

I was also very pleased that I did not exceed my budget for this market.  Having worked very hard for the past month, my bank account is healthy enough to sustain this purchase.  🙂  And I was very pleased to invest some of it into New Zealand’s knitting and wool industry.

There were other stalls at the market that I did not get time to visit, and also, I had run out of budget funds by this stage… a hand-spinning stall with some beautiful hanks of natural coloured yarn (some of it looked like black alpaca, and was very tempting), Robyn Egge Yarns (I think they must have come down from Auckland), Yarnz (ooh, that Noro looked so pretty…!), and several others.

The next market is in August.  Time to start saving for that, and in the meantime, knit some of this lovely yarn!


Coming to Wonders of Wool?

If you are a knitter living in Wellington, you will no doubt already know about the annual Wellington Underground Market‘s Wonders of Wool theme market.  This year, it’s on Saturday, 5 April and also again in August.  Have you marked your diary yet!??

As far as I’m concerned, the April date is the Day of Days in my knitting calendar!  It has also almost become the event that marks the beginning of the “serious knitting season” for Wellington at least, and I’m very much looking forward to popping along!!  I had been feeling a little sad and left out of all the excitement of the two main knitting retreats that happen in New Zealand (Unwind and KAN) in addition to the Creative Fibre events. Due to my personal circumstances it will be a few years before I’ll be able to get to any these events and all the delicious yarn in the attendant markets.

I was curious to know which of my favourite New Zealand indie yarnies would be taking a stall at Wonders of Wool, so to cheer myself up, I dropped some of them a line (and did a bit of online research), and can confirm that it’s going to be a goodie again this year!!  I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself!

Want the gossip?

Tash Barneveld of Knitsch (Holland Road Yarn Company) will be launching the eagerly anticipated new-season Knitsch colours!!  Be there if you want some as I’m not sure how much will be left for her shops after this market! 😉  She’ll also have Isobar kits from the last yarn club in both the grey gradient and other colourways (in addition to many other yummy things).

Anna Gratton (Little Wool Co.) will be bringing us more of her amazing range of beautiful multi-dyed merino/mohair, boucle, 100% wool yarns, and of course, fibre in her unique colourways and blends, for spinning.  She will also have some of the new season natural yarns from her Corriedale sheep… I’m particularly keen on getting some of that gorgeous 4 ply in silver (picture below from Anna’s Facebook page – the silver is the one in the middle).

Anna Gratton Corriedale wool yarn

Helene of Happy-go-knitty is coming down from Auckland!  She’ll be bringing more of her gorgeous, bright, energetic and happy colours in self-striping and semi-solids… including rainbow self-striping yarn!  There will be a range of yarns available, including her iconic 100% BFL sock yarn, alpaca/merino sock yarn and 8 ply wool.  Maybe also the lace weight silk/merino?

I saw a colourway she was asking opinions for on her Facebook page (pink and grey self-striping) that has “I want” all over it. I’m fairly certain some of it will be there… (I hope!)

At this point, I’m seriously wondering how much cash is going to be left in my bank account at the end of my visit to this particular market!

Mary Furness Weir of Maniototo Wool has informed me she’ll present too!  I’m really looking forward to meeting her!  A big basket of 50g skeins of one-off colours, some random dyed, in addition to the ten regular Maniototo Wool colours will be on offer.  I hope Mary also brings some of that gorgeous soap she makes.  It smells divine, and is so nice to use on woollen garments!

I notice from the Yarnz website that Nanette will be there again too.  She sells a range of hard-to-find imported yarns (Noro, Ella Rae, Kauni, Sugar’n’Cream Cotton and more) and needles (Hiya Hiya, Addi, Clover and others).

The above list was enough to convince me to put this date in my calendar in INK.  There will be other stall holders too, I haven’t been able to get around everyone to be able to give you a comprehensive list.  Anyway, I should like the surprise of seeing who else has decided to come along to tempt us with their creative wondrousness.

Hope you enjoy the market as much as I do!


A grand week

Wonders of Wool was great!!

This is some of my haul:

Some of the haul

The rest of what you don’t see is a super amount of naturally coloured 100% wool  from Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co.  For gorgeous sweaters that will keep me and my family warm.  You’ll see more of it when I start to knit it shortly.

Let us examine some of this yarny happiness in more detail shall we?

Fibre Alive

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember the sad day when I told you that James of Fibre Alive had decided to stop dyeing yarn.  So yes, your eyes do not deceive you – I was so happy to see James at the market!!

After a break and a rest, James has decided to make a return to his love of dyeing, albeit in a smaller scale.  He has also added another base to his yarn selections!  And as of today, he has reopened his online store!!  Woohoo!!!  Happy jigs happening at this end.  I’m so happy I can once again enjoy his wonderful talent.

Of course, I had to replenish my stock of Happy-go-knitty yarn.  Especially self-striping loveliness!


I also was delighted to finally meet Sally of Verandah Yarns in person, and to acquire some of her gorgeous colourways.  So pretty, I’m thinking I should do a shawl with the yarn and not socks.  She manages to achieve a striking depth to her colours.  Quite masterful.

Verandah Yarns

And finally, more lovelies from Anna Gratton.  I think I could have bought ALL her stock… but one must spread the budget around, and share nicely with other knitters…

The colour transitions in this hank of Little Wool Co. merino/mohair make my heart go bumpty-bump extra fast.


Alice made me buy this one (hehe, blame the co-shopper!)  Actually, I’ve had Lime lust for a while, especially after I saw her Wholehearted shawl in the same colourway.  Lime, 4 ply 100% wool

I didn’t think that a week could get much better when it was topped and tailed with a woolfest at each end.

What I didn’t count on was the wonderful people I would catch up with and meet, who turned the events not just into an occasion to add to my stash but something very special indeed.  We often talk about how knitting brings people together.  This week was very much an illustration of that point for me.

I’m going to be smiling for a while.  



It seems that this week is hat week!

Inspired by the gorgeous chocolate wool I used for the ribbed beanie, I decided to knit another in DK weight yarn this time.

I finished it last night.

This one is called Tidal.  The undulating twisted stitches remind me of how the exposed seabed looks at low tide.  Knitted in Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. DK pure wool naturals in the natural dark chocolate colour, Peat.

TidalI really like it.  It does all the right things for me – looks good on my head, covers the ears and keeps the neck warm, and it’s not too tight and not too loose.   And there is just the right amount of patterning on the hat to suit my sensibilities.

I’m hoping to have the pattern ready in time to have a hard copy at Anna Gratton’s stall at the Wonders of Wool market, but no promises.  If it is, it will be free with yarn purchase (there will be 100g skeins of natural DK yarn as well this time).

In any event, the pattern will be available for download from my blog within the week.


The seagull

“Skee!  Skeeee!”  screamed the seagull.

“Oh, look Eric, the seagull is eyeing your sausage!” I remarked.


“Look up there!”  I pointed, to a seagull hovering close overhead with its beady eye fixed on his lunch.

The ribbed beanie

“Aaargh!  It’s not getting my food!!” he wailed, covering his lunch and running from the hovering bird.

Ribbed beanie“Has it gone yet?  Where is it?”

WatchingEric remembered the story I told him of the seagull snatching his aunt’s hamburger right out of her hands when she lived in Sydney.   I don’t think New Zealand seagulls are quite as aggressive, but you never know…

Can we go yet?“I think we need to go home now.  Can we go yet?  I don’t like that seagull!”

I found the situation rather amusing (bad mummy).  The seagull soon gave up and went away, but someone’s nerve had been shattered, and all he wanted to do was eat his lunch in peace, away from the greedy eyes of hungry seagulls.

Why were we on the beach?  I was trying(!) to get a photo of the hat.  It’s a small revamp of an existing pattern to take into account new yarn, and new sizing (small and medium/large) so that the hat can be used as a family pattern for all of dad, mum and kid.  Eric’s wearing the medium/large in case you’re wondering.

It’s knitted in Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. 100% wool naturals in 12 ply in Peat.  The pattern is available for free dowload here and on my “free patterns” page as well as in hard copy at Anna Gratton’s stall at the Wellington Underground Wonders of Wool market this Saturday.  Anna has wound special 100g hanks of 12 ply, 100% naturally coloured wool yarn that are just the right size for one hat (with a little left over).  The hard copy pattern will be free with yarn purchase.

Oh, and in case you are coming, do pop over here for a chance of a free skein of yarn from Happy-go-knitty!

Hope to see you there!