Month: April 2014

When can a ball of yarn be called faulty?


When can a ball of yarn be called faulty?

Balls of yarn are annoying when they have knots.
Balls of yarn are annoying when they have thicker or thinner bits when they are not meant to.
Balls of yarn are annoying when they fluff or pill as you knit.
Balls of yarn are annoying when they have foreign objects or sticks in them.
Balls of yarn are annoying when they don’t unravel tidily as you knit.

But these can all be part and parcel of knitting or crocheting with a ball of yarn.

But balls of yarn should not have broken bits. I was knitting a lace pattern with a ball of 100% merino Patons Dreamtime  4ply. I had used one ball and had no problems with it. Then as I started the front of the lace overdress with a new ball of the same wool, I got a surprise. All of a sudden as I was knitting just a few rows into this new ball of yarn, it was suddenly not attached to the rest of the ball. Almost as though someone was playing a trick on me and had cut it when I wasn’t looking.

But no, no one had cut it or played a trick on me. The ball of yarn was just as you see it in the photo above. So I undid the row that I had almost finished (annoying when it is an intricate lace pattern) so I could rejoin the yarn at the beginning of a row. And off I went knitting my intricate lace once again and oh dear, within the next two rows there it was again. Another broken piece. I found three broken pieces within four rows.

So I stopped, put that ball aside and picked up a third one that I had. Thank goodness, no broken pieces in that one and I could finish my lace overdress in peaceful knitting bliss.

So what did I do with that faulty ball of yarn? I took it back to the shop where I had bought it a few days earlier and they kindly replaced it and even gave me back the faulty one. Great customer service.


Purple baby alpaca double breasted cardigan for our baby


100% baby alpaca yarn. Oh how I had picked this yarn up so many times in the store and squeezed it and sneakily squashed it against my face when no one was looking. And each time I put it back on the shelf. I just couldn’t justify paying $16NZ (8 British pounds) per 50g ball just to have in my stash.

And then one day, I saw it on sale, marked down to $12 per ball. Still expensive but it must have caught me on a weak day. I bought four balls of purple and four balls of aqua. Beautiful colours and oh so soft.


A few weeks ago, I was wandering around the local yarn store across the road from where I work (as I do many times) and I saw this cute double breasted jacket pattern in double knit that had just arrived. Aha, I can just see this knitted up with my purple baby alpaca that looks out at me from my stash bin each time I visit it.

This was a very quick knit and the pattern is well written. I did add lots of length to the jacket.I started the armholes at 18cm instead of 11cm as suggested in the pattern. I wanted to make the smallest size (56cm) for my grandbaby girl who is 10 month old but I was worried it might not fit her through the winter and I thought the next size would be too big. So I  made the smaller size but I went up one needle size, just to make it that little bit bigger. It has worked out just right. It fits her now and will hopefully last through the New Zealand winter which is almost here.

Pattern book – Naturally Yarns K574 jacket
Pattern – Double breasted jacket
Yarn – Indiecita baby alpaca DK
Link to Ravelry here

A little man’s cable cardigan for George


I made this little cable cardigan at Christmas time for a five year old boy named George who lives in the UK. I finished it the day before George and his family flew out from New Zealand to go home. His mum didn’t try it on him but said she would send a photo of George wearing the cardigan once they were back home.


So I waited and I waited and after a few months, there was still no photo. And then I heard that the cardigan didn’t fit and it had been passed on to another little boy who needed something warm to wear for the cold UK winter.

When I had the idea to knit for George and his sister for Christmas, I chose from my Rowan studio issue thirty kids book that had gorgeous patterns from birth to 5 years and because George was an “average” size five year old, I didn’t even think for one moment that the 5 year old cardigan size would not fit.

The finished size for the Kurt cable cardigan that I knitted is 69cm (27 inches). I still have no idea whether that is a normal five year old finished size or not. I did find this knitting guide for children’s sizes and it shows a finished size for a four year old is 71cm (28inches) but who is to know if that is right either. I know the sizings are just meant to be a guide but I am still really disappointed that I got this one so wrong. I guess I have only myself to blame and I have put this experience down to learning.

Apart from the problem with the size, this was such great fun to knit. The cables were not difficult and the pattern was easy to memorise after a few rows. The shawl collar sits nicely and the finished cardigan is just perfect for a little man. I hope the little man in the UK kept warm and cosy in his cardigan and that he had lots of fun wearing it.


Pattern book – Rowan Studio issue thirty
Pattern – Kurt
Yarn – Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8ply
Link to Ravelry here

Hats for premature babies


Thirty or so years ago, I had a premature baby. I have vivid memories of him lying in his incubator dressed in his nappy, a tiny knitted hat and a pair of little booties.

I wondered at the time who knitted these little hats and booties. Now I know. They are knitted by wonderful people who give their knitting time for these tiny, vulnerable babies who were meant to be still tucked inside their mummy, all safe and warm.

I was so happy when a friend asked me recently to help her make some preemie baby hats for her local hospital. They only take a few hours to knit and one of the fun parts is choosing from the bits of left over machine washable, merino baby wool from my stash and then deciding which pattern to use.  They are a great little fill-in project for when you are still in the planning stage of your next big one or when you want something to knit in the car and your current project is too intricate, or is at the picking up stitches stage or seaming stage.

My daughter who has a small baby and is a novice knitter, even found the time to make one of these little hats for the hospital. She made the little green one with the garter stitch hem in the centre of the photo.

My friend mentioned last week that her local hospital now needs booties.

I have used a few different patterns for these hats.

UPDATED August 2015 (one more in grey for the hospital)

DSC_0027 (1)

Pattern site – Andycrafts (free premature baby patterns)
Pattern – Hats for Premature babies (4ply and DK)
Yarn – Shepherds baby wool merino, Cleckheaton merino bambino 4ply and Rowan Baby merino silk DK
Link to Ravelry project here and here

Pattern book – Patons Newborn Collection
Pattern – Jessica
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry here

Pattern book – Knit lace and leaves for baby
Pattern – Leaf pattern hat
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry here