Saturday, 29 June 2013

knit 2, purl 2

Winter is a great time for knitting and making a teeny, tiny dent in the yarn stash I have.  Of course, if I knit something then I think I am justified in buying more yarn to replace the yarn I have used as well as buying a little extra as part of my doomsday preparations.   My Brownie leader would be proud of me and my eagerness to "always be prepared".

With 31 million sheep you could be forgiven for thinking that New Zealand produces an abundance of fancy yarns and that there are hundreds of little independent yarn dyeing ventures.  Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.  So, whenever I am overseas I like to look at buy yarn that doesn't seem to be readily available in New Zealand... or, at least, that is what I tell my husband when I can't get my bag closed and I exceed my luggage allowance.

While I was in New York in December last year I bought some soft, baby alpaca yarn from Purl Soho. I started knitting immediately and finished early in the New Year.  The pattern was Big Sweater, Little Pockets by Kate Schoren and purchased from Ravelry.

 size 4

My version should be renamed Big Sweater, No Pockets. This was the perfect top to make because the short sleeves did not need much yarn:  I had worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish and I unsuccessfully returned to the shop to try to get another skein.  Luckily, I had more than enough.

This sweater was knitted in the round so there was no seaming to do and no untidy selvedge edges to hide.  And there were several new (to me) techniques to try like the tubular cast-on and the suspended bind-off.

Apparently Rosa is happy to wear this item because it is super soft and not "scratchy" like a lot of knits.

I recently finished another top for Rosa: Tama by Kelly Brooker

size 4

This was knitted from Noro silk garden yarn I purchased from the Mendocino Yarn Shop in June last year. I don't recall where I bought the buttons but I think they are made from Fimo and the colours of the flowers seemed well suited to this yarn.

 This was a top-down knit.  After the buttonhole band and raglan shaping were knitted, the rest was finished on a circular needle.  I love not having to do any seaming - just a few ends to sew in and some buttons to sew on!

I am not a very good knitter and I despair about the state of my sloppy selvedges and my backwards knitting (I knit left-handed so things like button bands are often reversed unless I can be bothered to reverse the instructions which I obviously couldn't be bothered to do this time!).  I have become a regular reader of Arenda Holladay's blog.  Arenda is a master knitter and her weekly post is full of knowledgeable tips and expert explanations so I'm hoping some of it will rub off on me...

Finally, one of the sweaters I most enjoyed knitting last year was Owlet by Kate Davies.  I plan to make another one soon but surprisingly will have to purchase some chunky yarn to do so

size 2
Made for a colleague's daughter

And just to prove how essential a stash is, the mohair yarn I used in this sweater was purchased in 2002 in Melbourne and patiently waited for the perfect pattern!


  1. The jerseys look quite cosy. It's a pity the big jersey wasn't quite big enough for me!

  2. Hi,
    Just commenting on your thoughts about NZ wool. I sew and knit. I buy a lot of fabric from the USA but try to stick to NZ wool. This doesn't always work but I try - we have sheep on part of our farm - so I have some motivation. As far as buying gorgeous NZ wool have you tried the Ashford shop in Ashburton ? - Nicky is always finding gorgeous new sources of local wool and its a dream shop. Try also Touch yarns if you haven't before, and I presume you know about Knitsch (Holland Road Yarn Company) and Vintage Purls, and many others. I'm always finding someone nationally (or locally) who is dyeing their own wool for sale, and the yarns are GORGEOUS! There's a blog somewhere: kiwiyarns I think that writes about all the small companies that produce yarn. Yes, much of it is bog-standard, but there are plenty of exceptions. I'm enjoying your blog - and hope I haven't repeated what you already know but as NZ wool is about the same price as US wool (unlike fabric/books) then I do hope we support it! Sorry for the blather! :-)

  3. Hi Taryn
    Thanks for "the blather". I have spent an interesting and expensive night looking at the various websites you suggested. Yes, I knew about some of them - and I am less than an hour from the Ashford shop - but you certainly proved how ignorant I am about indie yarn dyers and shops selling lovely yarns here!
    I checked out your blog: it scared me as to how similar many of our books and patterns are... Must be something in that Canterbury water...
    Your knitting is lovely (and I'm envious!)