Kia ora and welcome to Cup of Tea and a Yarn. Join me on my creative adventures through Crochet, Knitting, Spinning, Weaving, Sewing and more.
Author: Cup of Tea and a Yarn
Kia ora, I'm Gill. A crocheter, knitter, spinner and more recently a weaver and I live in the Bay of Plenty in the North Island of New Zealand.
I love to use New Zealand yarns and fibre from our talented indy dyers
I usually would describe myself as someone who would prefer to be challenged and try/learn something new as often as possible rather than sticking with the tried and true. And yet here I am on my third – yep, that’s mythird! Vertices Unite. I’ve surprised myself.
There are a couple of differences, the first one was the smallest, and the second one was a size in between the small and large, and now I’m on the large. The other difference is, of course the colours 🙂
And if that wasn’t enough of a shock, I’ve just finished my second Way Out West Bandana Cowl, the second one was made with some of my handspun.
It’s a strange thing to have expectations about who you are and then surprise yourself…
I am lucky that I work with people who recognise that if I’m knitting it doesn’t mean I’m not working.
When I have to think about a piece of work I’m putting together, and I need that moment of peace to gather my thoughts I pick up my knitting and the next minute the keyboard is rattling away. I also knit in meetings, i feel it helps me to concentrate.
Researchers theorise that doodling helps the brain remain active compared to the strain of paying single-minded continuous attention.
So, if the knitting is an easy project then taking the research and swapping the word doodling to knitting is really not a stretch. Don’t you think?
I had 3 magic balls of sock yarn scraps and was about to start on another scrappy granny square blanket, and I just wasn’t feeling it. You know how you start something and it already feels like more work than fun? That’s the feeling I was getting from the blanket.
I’ve been looking at crochet sweater designs for a while and was umming and ahhing over those as well, so in the end the scrappy crochet blanket and the crochet sweater joined forces.
I love it so much and can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can pair it with a skirt and tights.
This is my recipe
I wanted to make use of what I had learned about knitting raglan sweater patterns, so using a 4mm hook I chained 108 to start, (enough to get over my head and a bit to spare) and set up for raglan increases, 36, 18, 36, 18.
Rather than a full on granny square corner I did 2 trebles chained 1 and then 2 more trebles in the corners for my raglan increases. I kept on increasing every round until the the raglan line was 8 inches (which is the same as one of my knitted ones that I quite like the fit of) then joined in the round.
Trying on as I went I just went round and round until it was as long as I wanted. There is no shaping in the arms either, so just round and round again until they were bracelet length.
Using the same yarn for the cuffs and waist I knitted a 2 x 1 rib to give it a more fitted waist and a bit of a balloon arm.
If you are a sock knitter, you may have seen your fav heel on the list.
I don’t know about you, but how well the heel looks, (i.e. lack of holes) is my number one indicator of whether I’ve done a good job knitting a pair of socks.
When I gift socks, the compliments and thanks are usually all about the pattern and how well it fits. I’m like, “yeah, yeah, that’s all good, but look at that heel!”
My favourite is the Fleegle heel. The first time I tried it was the first time I knitted a sock that didn’t have holes in it, there were no pesky stitches to pick up and, the short rows seemed to just disappear into the sock.
The Fleegle heel gave me the confidence to carry on with sock knitting, so much so that I’ve started to branch out and try other types. I recently tried the forethought heel (twice now, I feel like I’m getting better!) and, I’m almost able to enjoy the heel flap and gusset now too.
I treated myself to a yarn advent calendar for the first time last year. I loved opening the little parcels each day and ooing and ahhing over the pretties 🙂
I spent a lot of time thinking about what to make. There were 25 x 20 gram minis which is a decent amount of yarn to play with. My mum suggested making something that I could see all of the time rather than a shawl that would only come out for half of the year, and so a pom pom garland was created. And what’s great about that is I still have heaps of each colour left to make a shawl or two as well!
One of my other Christmas presents was an Ashford Blending Board.
I’m sure there is a knack to making rolags, and practice will make them more consistent, but I am having loads of fun playing! I made a whole heap and have just started spinning them, and it’s so cool to see how the colours are coming out and how the yarn looks.
It feels so fab to have such a creative start to the year.
I am taking part in the New Zealand secret santa which is run on twitter. Anyone in the country can take part and its such a fabulous heartwarming thing to be a part of. My twitter match lives in the South Island so a handknit hat was a part of the parcel.
Opening date is the 16th December, check out #nzsecretsanta2020 on twitter that day for lots of feel goods
When we were in lock down the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Health became our voice of reason. Calm and measured he fronted up on the TV with our Prime Minister every day at 1pm. The openness of his communication and his down to earthness means he is now a national icon and he is also our new Christmas tree ornament 😁😁😁
There are so many things I want to make at the moment.
There are gorgeous frocks and skirts that I want to try sewing, weaving ideas I want to do, spinning some alpaca that my sister just bought for me, and then to top it off I received this in the post with even more lovely things:
I am extremely aware of how lucky we are right now. I am so very grateful to still have my job, and even more so to have some spare $$s to spend on making. And of course lucky to be able to roam freely around the country without worrying about the virus.
And whilst the guilty thought of a few months off sounds tempting, it is just as rewarding to pop the lovely things to one side until the weekend when there is an opportunity for them to get added to the rest of the pile of WIPs.
I would like to invite you to a Kiwi Summer Knit and Crochet Along, a KCAL (which I am pronouncing Kay Cal).
Even though summer doesn’t officially start until December, and finishes in March, Labour Weekend at the end of October is definitely the unofficial start. The clocks have gone forward, the temperatures are going up more often than coming down, and summer is definitely in the air. Which is why I’ve decided that the start of the KCAL is going to be the beginning of November.
The rules are a bit fluid at the moment, though the whole idea is to bring attention to New Zealand designers and New Zealand indie dyers.
Here are the rules so far (there aren’t many and they are pretty fluid)
The pattern is from a New Zealand Designer
And/or the yarn is from a New Zealand Indie Dyer
Whatever you knit or crochet is completed by the 28th February (this is my randomly chosen end of summer day )
Yes you can use the KCAL to finish something you’ve started and got stuck on
Anyone can join in from wherever you are
Post pics of your finished items on Instagram #kiwisummerKCAL2020 if you want to be in to win*.
*I will get organised and make sure there are some prizes to give away in a random draw at the end that reflect the same theme.
Julie at Wool on Wheels has an amazing directory of NZ Pattern Designers, Yarn shops and Online Yarn Brands (check out the Indie dyers list)
You can also search for New Zealand as the designer country on Ravelry
The Creative Fibre website also has a great directory to look through on
I’ve been thinking for ages about making a tank top. Not one of the summery ones you wear with shorts, more like the ones that, if you think of them, might remind you of the 1970’s and was worn over checked shirts with a pair of cords.
I have loads of patterns favourited on Pinterest and Ravelry, and of course a fair isle one would be the ultimate! (Like the one the actor who plays Neville Longbottom wears).
Before I make the commitment of months that would take to make something like that I decided on something a bit more simpler and have cast on the Stockholm Slipover by Petite Knit and I’m using some orange and turquoise random stripey handspun.
I reckon it’ll either be the coolest or ugliest thing in my wardrobe… it’s knitting up fast so it won’t be long before I find out!
Just yesterday we were talking about extending our bubble to include the Cook Islands, and then WHAM! today we are back up the alert levels. I’m feeling sorry for the people in Auckland who are on strict restrictions with schools closed and people told to stay home until the government decides next steps.
Being in the Bay of Plenty we are at level 2, which just means social distancing again, this time is a bit different though because we are being encouraged to wear masks when we are out and about.
I’ve been on YouTube checking out the many many “how to’s” and have dug out some cotton and elastic and thought I might give it a go.
I quite like the stripey one and the tartan/plaid one. The next question is which style… maybe one of each.
So, yep. It totally sucks. I feel like going back is way harder, and I’m hoping that focusing on making things helps….. though it might also mean a whole lot of new projects started too!