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).


  • 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!

New pattern: Multifaceted Mitts

Presenting Multifaceted Mitts, the fingerless mitts version of my Multifaceted Mittens! Personally, I love mitts. Having my fingers free is so much more practical, plus I get to show off my nail polish... ;)


  • all-over stranded colourwork pattern inspired by crystals
  • twisted ribbing at the cuffs and mitt-tops
  • short-cuff and long-cuff options (mitts shown with long cuffs)
  • full-mitten version also available (separately or both in an ebook)
  • requires less than 50g of fingering-weight yarn in each colour
  • one size, to fit 7-8" palm circumference
  • pattern includes colourwork charts

Like the mittens, the mitts are knit in Knitsch Sock yarn from Holland Road Yarn Co. This time I chose 'Sweet Pea' for the main colour, a really strong vibrant pink, and 'Silver Lining' again for the contrast colour (because of its shimmering-metal illusion).

The mitts have a few extra little details, like the two-colour ribbing at the top of the thumb. This allows for a decent amount of ribbing while also continuing the colourwork pattern. It's slightly awkward to switch between knit and purl stitches while also switching colours, but it's only for a small area (and the effect is really worth it).

For details, and to download the Multifaceted Mitts pattern, visit its pattern page on Ravelry or Loveknitting. An ebook with both patterns (at a reduced price per pattern) is also available on Ravelry.

Birds, a blossom, and a beanie

Mum and Dad's house is excellent for incidental birdwatching. They have plenty of trees in the garden, including a big camellia which is always tui-infested! Here's my list of species I have seen today: sparrows, goldfinches, waxeyes, yellowhammers, fantails, tuis, and one great big kereru.

Dad let slip that there was a spare birdhouse in the garage, and we eventually found a good spot for it... right below the first birdhouse. Hopefully the sparrows who've been setting up their nest won't mind having neighbours. They're in a big prunus tree which we can see from the house (all the better to spy baby birds). The first few blossoms appeared today, like pink popcorn...

Sparrow apartments

The first blossom of spring! *pop*

I finished a hat I've been working on - a Lapwing, in Vintage Purls Sock. It's a lovely slouchy beanie, with the purl side outwards. The wide rainbow 'pooling' on the brim happened totally by accident! I wasn't sure about it at first, because I really liked the yarn as it looked in the ball (with the colours totally mixed up) - but I got that effect at the top of the hat anyway, once I started decreasing stitches. And happily, I have half the ball left over to make something else with. :)

My new Lapwing hat, with broccoli plants

I'm nearing the end of the 'body' of my honeycomb cardie - only a few rows of ribbing to go, and then on to the sleeves. Hazel has decreed it cosy enough to sleep on, which I suppose bodes well!

Monday night Monteverdi

Last night I went to a Baroque Voices concert, and had a lovely Monteverdi overdose! "The Full Monte: Concert 3" was full of madrigals for different configurations of up to five voices, some accompanied by bass viol plus theorbo or chitarrino. A theorbo, by the way, is a kind of long-necked lute (I think they look really cool with their outrigger strings - see below!), and a chitarrino is a kind of small guitar (I think that's one in the painting below).

Theorbo player, c.1615

The music for this concert was mainly from Monteverdi's third book of madrigals (1592), with some added highlights from the seventh book (1619). Baroque Voices is performing all nine books over the course of their "Full Monte" series - quite an undertaking! To give you an idea of the style of music, here's a video of some of the same singers doing a piece from the second book of madrigals (from their last concert, in April):

And one with instruments accompanying:

The concert was directed by soprano Pepe Becker, who conducted the group occasionally as necessary. The texts of the madrigals are your standard Baroque fare: love-lorn shepherds and shepherdesses, lovers and fair ladies, heroic knights and wicked sorceresses. A neat addition to the concert was the declamation (in impassioned Italian) of some of the texts by David Groves, who had translated them for the programme.

The venue was Wellington's Sacred Heart Cathedral - a slightly odd choice for a secular-themed concert. The interior is a neo-classical pink-and-white confection that always makes me think of meringues or ice-cream cakes!

Sacred Heart Cathedral, in all its pink-and-white glory

One of the most enjoyable aspects (for me) was that lots of the music was unfamiliar. This is the beauty of an unabridged concert series - you don't just hear the same few most-popular works, you get surprises too! Only one of the pieces was one I'd sung before: Ahi, sciocco mondo cieco, a soprano duet which Theresa and I sang for a choir party item once upon a time. Monteverdi is so much fun to sing! I miss my duet buddies, I do...

A Very Fancy Hat

While driving northwards last Monday we stopped in Carterton for a spy in an antique shop. Mum rescued a cute embroidered tablecloth, and I found a hat. A 1950s pink velvet number that wouldn't look out of place on a My Little Pony!

I am now 20% more fancy.