New pattern: Whitewater Wrap

The Whitewater Wrap is a large rectangular shawl in flowing lace and restful garter stitch. My inspiration for the wrap is the waterfall in the middle of my hometown, Wairere falls in Whakatāne, a special place where I spent a lot of time exploring and climbing on the rocks as a kid.  

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The wrap is divided in half diagonally, with lace on one side and garter stitch on the other, but it's constructed very simply - just knit from end, with a stitch marker keeping track of the boundary between the two stitch patterns. I found it a relaxing knit, with intuitive lace and simple knit-and-purl wrong-side rows.

The lace pattern is made up of flowing lines of yarnovers and decreases, with sinuous shapes appearing and disappearing between them. This movement in the lace causes the stockinette stitches to shift direction, catching the light at different angles for a shimmering effect.

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To knit my sample I used three skeins of Sock Yarn from Wren & Ollie, a soft blend of 85% superwash merino and 15% nylon, in a beautiful and subtle colourway called ‘Glisten’. I love the extra depth the gentle speckles give to the stitch patterns!

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Whitewater Wrap features:

  • rectangular shape, with the lace end slanted on the bias

  • half flowing lace, half restful garter stitch

  • knit in one piece from end to end

  • techniques include simple lace knitting (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, ssk)

  • suitable for solid, semi-solid, or gently-speckled fingering-weight yarn

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

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The Whitewater Wrap pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Beeswax Shawl

The Beeswax Shawl is here! I've revisited the large-scale lace of my Beeswax Scarf, but instead of confining it to a rectangle, the honeycomb motifs flow in and out organically to form a long diamond-shaped wrap with gently-scalloped edges.

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The shawl is knit sideways from tip to tip, which has the advantage of keeping the rows relatively short throughout, especially at the narrow beginning and end of the shawl. I love being able to zoom through a lace repeat in a single sitting!

To knit the shawl you will need two skeins of fingering weight yarn. I used Superstar 4ply from Vintage Purls, which is a non-superwash blend of polwarth, silk, and a little black merino. This colourway, Polaris, is a beautiful rich gold.

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Beeswax Shawl features:

  • a long diamond-shaped shawl in textured lace
  • knit sideways from tip to tip
  • techniques include simple lace knitting (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, ssk), and a few double decreases
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed fingering-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.
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The Beeswax Shawl pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Rainbow Cake

It's been a while since I released a new hat design, but here we go!

Rainbow Cake is a cosy textured beanie designed to complement speckled or gently-variegated yarn. I really enjoyed knitting the two samples for this design, they went so fast compared to my usual diet of shawls (much as I adore them).

The arcs of ribbing remind me of rainbows, and the seed stitch texture looks like sprinkles when you combine it with a speckled yarn. I used two special skeins of madelinetosh yarn for these hats: one skein of Pure Merino Worsted in 'Pocket Rainbow' for the small sample, and one of 80/10/10 Worsted in 'Holi Grunge' for the large one. I really love the colour-pooling in the smaller hat, which I managed to achieve after a false start or two - but I'll tell you more about that in another post.

Because you only need one skein of yarn for either size (including the pompom and gauge swatch), a Rainbow Cake hat might be just the thing for one of the single skeins in your stash...

The two sizes are intended to fit kids with a head circumference between 16-19” / 40.5-48.5cm (Small size), and adults with a head circumference between 20-23” / 51-58.5cm (Large size).

Features:

  • texture made up of arcs of ribbing and seed-stitch panels
  • topped with an an optional pompom
  • a quick one-skein project, perfect for gift knitting
  • two sizes, for children and adults
  • requires one skein of worsted-weight yarn
  • suitable for speckled, semi-solid, or variegated yarn
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

You can see all the details and download the Rainbow Cake pattern on Ravelry.


If you're curious which recipe I used for my delicious photo props, it's the classic vanilla cupcake recipe from the Edmonds Cookbook, with my favourite lemon icing. Serious 80s birthday party nostalgia!

Wellington appreciation

I was lucky enough to visit Wellington last week! Willie's grandma was turning 90, so we all came over from Melbourne for the celebrations and to see our family & friends. It's always great to see my home city again, but this trip had a few extra-special highlights. 

Thursday was a whirlwind of brunch at Island Bay, settling into the hotel where we would be holding the first of the birthday parties, and zipping around town gathering supplies (and coffee)...

The waves at Island Bay, across the road from our brunch cafe

Julian and I stopped for long blacks at the Flight Coffee Hangar!

On Friday, after the party, I went for a lovely solo stroll from our hotel to the waterfront and back. The familiar landmarks looked beautiful in the early evening light...

Looking across the harbour

Over the bridge to Civic Square

My favourite library ever (sniff)...

Old Bank Arcade with overhead bus power-lines

I had Saturday afternoon all to myself, so naturally I headed for Tash's amazing yarn shop Holland Road Yarn Co, stopping for a quick lunch at Deluxe on the way.

Oriental Bay beach, below my old flat

Deluxe Cafe has reliably amazing salads!

I spent nearly two hours at the yarn shop, browsing and chatting... and spinning! A spinning group was in residence on the shop's couches, with wheels and spindles whizzing. Jen invited me to join in, and loaned me one of the shop spinning wheels and some fibre to have a try at wheel-spinning.

I had only ever spun yarn using a spindle, so I needed help to get started (thank you Alexis!). I managed to get everything flowing nicely a couple of times, in between fighting with over-twisting, re-attaching my fibre, and spinning the wheel the wrong way. I definitely got a good taste of using a wheel, and I've started researching affordable models. ;)

Holland Road is a wonderfully colourful place!

A rainbow of Quince & Co yarn

The Brooklyn Tweed Shelter wall

My very first wheel-spun yarn!

An amazing Sophie's Universe blanket on the shop's knitting couch

Heading back to Oriental Bay via the waterfront

Boat-sheds in the sun

The other big highlight of my few days in Wellington was joining my old choir on Sunday morning for some plainchant, Byrd, and Palestrina. Due to a long and expensive period of earthquake-strengthening, St Mary's has been closed for the last few years and only re-opened a couple of weeks ago. It was so good to see my choir friends and sing with them again...

The restored St Mary of the Angels, open again at last!

My view from the choir loft

I rounded out my trip with a lovely lunch with Willie and family, and then headed north to my family in Whakatane. I'll be here for a couple more weeks before I fly back to Melbourne. So far I've been enjoying Mum & Dad's cooking, scoffing all the feijoas I can find, and quietly getting back to my knitting projects.

These are my precious new yarn pets from Holland Road - aren't they gorgeous?

Knitsch Singularity + Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

Yarn is definitely my favourite kind of souvenir. <3

Bees on the brain

I'm a week and a bit into my holiday at Mum & Dad's in Whakatane, and so far I've knit half a scarf and taken a ridiculous number of photos. I've borrowed Julian's DSLR camera for the trip, so I can get to grips with its manual controls with Dad's help. It's a lot of fun taking practice photos of whatever I fancy!

But before I get into photo-talk, I'll show you the scarf. It uses a stitch pattern I drafted up about six months ago, which is a lace-and-texture version of my Beeswax cable pattern. It traces the same shapes, with decreases forming the surface layer of honeycomb and yarn-overs forming the layer behind. The benefit of this version is that it's easy to knit flat, whereas the cabled Beeswax pattern is only really suitable for knitting in the round.

The yarn is a rich golden shade of Outlaw Yarn's Bohemia Worsted called 'Troy'. I hope to have the pattern available in about a month's time. :)

One really cool thing about playing with a DSLR camera (and having a photographer and his gear on hand) is trying out different lenses. My favourites at the moment are macro tubes, which can be stacked behind the lens to get varying levels of close-up-ness.

You can really see the darker possum fibres and lighter alpaca hairs in this yarn with a macro shot:

I've also been taking lots of photos around the garden, of flowers and insects and birds. I'm most proud of these bee photos, taken with a macro tube extension. The bee was foraging in a big patch of flowering pizza thyme, one of my family's favourite all-purpose herbs.

As part of my new photography learning curve, I've signed up for the free course A Year With My Camera, which involves weekly email lessons and homework assignments to share in the Facebook group (or on Instagram). We're only two weeks in, so you can still join in if you'd like!