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 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!
I got a gorgeous fiber batt at FiberTron the other weekend from Twisted Zisters. It was a mix of merino and silk in soft white, yellow, and burgundy reds.
I’ve had a couple of Annettes batts before which I’ve played with and made some passably okay yarn from, and this time I wanted to really try hard to do it justice.
I did a lot of googling and decided my best plan of attack would be to break it up in to rolags. This was something new for me, so they’re probably not the best looking ones you might have seen…
I kind of decided to go a bit thick and thin with the spinning, which was lucky because it seemed like that’s what the fiber wanted as well!!
Then came the decision of what to do next. I didn’t feel like it would make a good single, but I also didn’t want to ply it on itself and loose any of the texture. So I dug out some left over burgundy/red HolstGarn Super Soft and decided to use that to ply with.
The result is 2 skeins of barber pole, almost art yarn like, DK (ish) weight wool.
I had decided that I had enough sweaters for this season and I wasn’t going to knit anymore….
Then while I was at FibreTron I admired the sweaters that looked like they weighed nothing and looked so feminine. I had to make one as soon as possible!
Before I commit my yarn budget to some yummy alpaca I thought I’d try a floaty thing with some stash yarn first. I found the Sweater No. 1 pattern by My Favourite Things (some really gorgeous patterns with quite a few in English), and it’s coming along really fast!
Then the other day PoisonGrrls(this link goes to Ravelry) who is one of my fav designers, launched a new sweater pattern called the Joanie Boatneck. It’s a stripey fitted raglan with cable detail on the raglan increase and the side seams.
They are running a KAL for this one and the knitting bit starts next week.
And. I’m doing it.
I guess the answer to the question “How many sweaters is enough?”, is that I obviously don’t feel like I have enough yet!
After a weekend of full on geeking I reflected on how lucky we are in New Zealand to be able to go to events in person. We can hug old friends and new, and not have to worry about whether we are putting ourselves at risk of getting sick.
Saturday was a full fiber immersion at FibreTron2020. It was the first in person yarn event since lockdown and it was crazy busy in a good way.
I helped out Julie from Wool on Wheels for the day. I feel like this meant that I got to see so many more people than if I’d been there as a customer. And of course I managed to squeeze a bit of time in to have a nice little shop, and a chat to some of my favourite New Zealand indie dyers and designers.
Talk about exhausted! As well as being on my feet helping all day it was a constant sensory overload and I loved it 🙂
Sunday’s in person geekfest was all about sci-fi, fantasy, pop-culture and cosplay at the Armageddon expo. A two day event that goes around all of the main centers in New Zealand. This year it was missing its overseas guests, though it made up for it by having them attend virtually on a really big screen. Luckily Sunday was quite a bit quieter than Saturday so it was easy to get around and have a really good look at what was there. And of course admire all of the people in their amazing costumes!
It’d be lovely to have a few days of rest now to recharge the batteries, however work awaits, (something else I’m incredibly grateful to still have), so resting will have to wait until next weekend :-).
This week I’ve been playing. I’m expecting some 5gram minis and was looking for something to make with them. I love this which I have on my Pinterest ‘knitting things’ board
I tried smerging a Baktus pattern with the Sonnentau which I’d had in my library for yonks.
Then I realised why I hadn’t ever got past the first few rows of the Sonnentau, the dangles did my head in, it takes alot of concentration for me especially if I want all the dangles to be the same (one day it will happen….).
To replace the dangles I tried casting on a few stitches and then knitting a bobble on the end, then casting off, it just didn’t give me the look I wanted. Then I fell out with the shape of the Baktus.
Enter the Smash and Puny shawl one that I’ve used as a base for asymmetrical shawls in the past because I love the edges. And my crochet hook for spirals.
I had a magic ball of mostly green so I did a bit to see how it went… Then more inspiration struck and I decided to do a rainbow one with a mini skein set I had, and a couple of extra bits. And that’s where I am now.
Just when I think I’m getting past beginner knitter stage I learn another technique. It’s like knitting is the crafting rainbow, you think you’re getting closer to the pot of gold and it’s always just out of reach. 😁
It only took 4 goes to get it right… It probably didn’t help that the yarn is so beautifully silky and the needles are pretty big and both of those things are outside my comfort zone.
The yarn is a gorgeous 50 percent merino 50 percent silk from New Zealand indy dyer and designer Harnie Hoolie that I got at Unwind in Dunedin earlier in the year. And the cast on is the Ranunculus sweater (this link opens in Ravelry)
I’ve cast on as part of a small knit along I’ve joined. I’m unsure about the top, I have a feeling it might not suit me, but I hear its a really quick knit so I’m giving it a go.