Kiwi Summer KCAL Invitation

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.

Pohutakawa Tree, Otumoetai New Zealand

Here are the rules so far (there aren’t many and they are pretty fluid)

  1. The pattern is from a New Zealand Designer
  2. And/or the yarn is from a New Zealand Indie Dyer
  3. Whatever you knit or crochet is completed by the 28th February (this is my randomly chosen end of summer day )
  4. Yes you can use the KCAL to finish something you’ve started and got stuck on
  5. Anyone can join in from wherever you are
  6. 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.


Links

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

And, as always google is our friend and spits out a good list of NZ Indie Yarn Dyers

Handspun Slipover

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!

Snapped out of our Smugness

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!

Ranunculus

This was the tubular cast on sweater that I started. I didn’t get very far though because the yarn was so deliciously drapery and summery and we’re in the middle of winter.

I restarted with some possum merino yarn that I had bought by mistake (its an ethical and values thing… poor possums) which I held together with some holst garn super soft.

I like it alot more than I thought I would. I wasnt sure I’d like the boxyness of it. But it’s warm and comfy and the possum merino is incredibly light 😁

Tubular Top

My first tubular cast on.

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.

Spin, Weave, Sew

It’s been a pretty wet long weekend. I also took a couple of days off to make it extra long. So it’s been great to have loads of crafty time, to play and to go for nice bracing walks inbetween showers.

I finished my first proper weaving project and I’m totally stoked at how it’s turned out.

The edges were way more consistent and the start and the end are even the same width! I ended up using about 20grams of the purple merino sock yarn and 2 of the batts that I’d spun from Twisted Zisters. It probably took about 16 hours of weaving time all together, not including the hour or so to thread it up.

I have no idea what I’ll do with it – for now I’m just enjoying looking at it 🙂


I also spent a day spinning some fiber that I’d got from Anna Gratton Ltd, it’s a mix of Corridale, Mohair, Silk and Nylon Glitter.

The glitter was a bit hard on my fingers which were a bit tender by the end of the day, and the mohair got up my nose just a bit, it looks really pretty though, so I’m glad I persevered. I think it’s about a sport weight, I haven’t given it it’s bath yet, so it may or may not fluff up a bit more.


Then lastly the embroidery… this was supposed to be my main project for the weekend, and I’d organised in my head that I’d go and get my supplies on Friday and then get started on Saturday. But, best laid plans and all that… Seems that 20cm embroidery hoops have been in big demand because after lots of hunting around shops I didn’t find the right sized hoop until Tuesday, and by then I’d kind of lost motivation. So I started it, but only because I felt like I had to, rather than wanted to.

The carbon paper tracing was kind of fun and I thought I’d made a pretty good start – then I went wrong and had to unpick a bit, which meant un-threading my needle – and do you think I could re-thread it? I lost patience after the 5th attempt and put the whole thing away for another day!

The Weaving Bug

Gill here again….

I decided to try and make a ‘thing’ maybe a wrap or maybe material for a bag or something, anyway I started it.

One thing I wasn’t sure of (and have no idea how to find out yet – though I’m sure there are websites) is to work out how much yarn I need to do the weaving bit (the weft) to get what I want, so it will be a bit of trial and error.

I have three of these fabulous batts from Twisted Zisters, I’d spun two of them so I spun the last one and ended up with about 550 meters of a sport/DK weight yarn with some thick and thin bits (not quite art yarn, more like some lumpy spinning) I also had some nice purply merino 4ply from one of our wonderful NZ Indy Dyers (I can’t credit the right one though since I’ve annoyingly lost the tag!)

I ordered some 50 % merino / 50% rayon from Anna Gratton Ltd to use as my warp and got started.

And here it is so far….

In hindsight I think the warp might be a little thin for my inexperience and it took a long time and heaps of patience for me to thread the loom up without having loads of twisted threads, though now it’s on it’s way I’m really loving how it’s looking and that my handspun is looking pretty good.

I think the fabric might end up being a bit gappy (I think that’s called open-weave) and I’m so excited to see how it all looks at the end that I’m powering through and making great progress.

After this project I’m going to have to invest in some online learning, or try getting up to Auckland to a Handweavers Guild class so I can make the most of my wee loom and learn how to do patterns and stuff. Exciting!!

I bought an Ashford Knitters Loom

Kia ora. A couple of weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a loom. We don’t have a heap of space, and I lost my craft room when we moved to Tauranga which meant I needed something small. I chose the Ashford Knitters Loom because I can fold it up and pop it away under the bed or in the cupboard whenever it isn’t being used.

I’m not sure why I wanted to have a go at weaving really. I’d made myself a pin loom a few years ago and played with some tapestry weaving which was fun (but fiddly!) but I didn’t have the ‘weaving bug’.

But I do now!

It took me a couple of goes to get going. I found that the yarn picked for warping is really important because it can stick together and get all tangled, or it’s not strong enough and breaks (I tried not to cry as I had to unwrap all of those 1.5 meter lengths and put them in the scraps box)

I’m a bit of a trial and error learner so just kind of made it up as I went along and went looking for help when things weren’t working as planned. (Ashford have some great video tutorials!)

This is my first go, hopefully you can see how I got a bit better as I went along – the blue bit is where I started, and my tension is all over the place. I gave myself permission just to play and have no outcome in mind, so I used scraps of yarn with lots of different colours and weights so I could get the feel for what it might turn out like. Once I got used to the beating bit, I found the edges (I think it’s called the selvage) hard to get consistent and I think that might be a work in progress….

I’m really proud of my first lump of fabric. It won’t become anything. It’s too short to be a wrap and too fat to be a scarf, and I don’t trust my weaving not to fall apart if I sew it into a bag, but it’s pretty 🙂 maybe it’ll be a table runner…

The Traffic Knitting Paradox

Often when I sit in stationary traffic I go to grab my handbag knitting or crochet project and try and do a few stitches, and unless there is a big accident or total gridlock it is inevitable that as soon as I have it ready in my lap the traffic moves.

I know as an absolute factoid (an item of unreliable information) that if I hadn’t picked up my knitting or crochet the traffic would not have moved.

This is something I have done multiple experiments over the past 2 years so there’s research to back this up.

I call it the Traffic Knitting Paradox.

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re stuck in traffic, grab your knitting or crochet * and see if the traffic starts moving for you.

*Neither Teaandayarn nor Kiwibelleknits endorse or encourage the use of needles or hooks whilst in charge of a moving vehicle and trust you will act as responsible adults.

To crop or not to crop

Late last year I knitted the Party Top and to my utter suprise it fit me well, (it can be worn out of the house and everything!). Then I knitted the Confetti Crop Top which was another roaring success. And this weekend I cast off Umberellas which also fits perfectly (I made it a lot shorter than the pattern calls for).

Confetti Crop and Part Top

I’m mainly surprised because my swatching is not good. I have read enough to know to do it, so I do. And then when it doesn’t quite match what it’s supposed to match I just wing it. But that’s another conversation..

I have on my needles at the moment the Shifty sweater (another crop) and then this weekend I cast on the Soldotna crop.

Soldotna Crop

These two I have on the needles are pretty short which means I will finish them quickly, which is a bonus and one has short sleeves, even better bonus!

I wonder if by starting my garment adventure and having such good results with these crops it’ll mean that I never do a full length top? And will it limit my knitting repertoire and keep my knitting growth as stunted as the bodies of my sweaters? And can all sweaters just be knitted shorter if you want?

I’m hoping to find out the answer to the last question in Dunedin at one of my Unwind classes 🤞 and I guess time will tell for the other answers.