Three Winners & Hatching A Plan

Hatching A Plan

I've got some winners to announce from the Kelpie Vest giveaway but first I'll thought I'd give you a peek at a new design that's on my needles.

Isn't the yarn just stunning? It's a tightly twisted single spun sock-weight merino, dyed by my old UK neighbours, Sparkleduck called "Solo". The colourway is "Neptune". I was delighted when I discovered they lived only a trot down the road from me in Cambridge and managed to collect quite a tidy pile of Sparkleduck yarn for my stash.

As the weather cools off here I've been reaching for my scarves, shawls and cowls to give me a little bit of extra warmth over my sweaters and cardigans. It's not quite cold enough for a coat but something around my neck is perfect; cosy with a splash of colour.

So obviously, I need more woollies to wrap around my neck. Hence my plan. I've designed a funky wee wrap with a modern twist and I'm busy writing the pattern and knitting it up. Stay tuned for a cute wrap sometime soon.

Anyway, I do also have some winners to tell you about. 

I've randomly drawn three names from all the entries and congratulations go to:


You've each won a copy of Tiny Lovely's very cute Kelpie Vest!

Please drop me a line with your email and Ravelry details. You'll each receive a copy of the pattern straight into your Ravelry Library.

Kelpie Vest & A Giveaway

Kelpie Vest

This is how our "photoshoot" ended. We started all neat and tidy but it didn't take long to be covered in grass clippings and feijoa juice. It's my favourite photo of the afternoon.

Shall we get back to the beginning?

Kelpie Vest Kelpie Vest

I knit this sweet little vest as a test knit for Becca at Tiny Lovely Knits. She has written a great new pattern and needed people to test that it all worked and fitted properly before she published it. 

I jumped at the chance. I'm really keen to get to know more New Zealand designers and knitters but also, as the temperature drops here, it's become apparent to me how much my kids are in need of new knits, especially vest tops like this. They keep little people warm without making them feel too hot and they can be layered up without getting all bunchy around the arms.

Kelpie Vest

Isn't it cute? It's a top down, seamless top that would be perfect for a range of knitters - from beginners to experienced. The techniques you need to know are knit, purl, increasing stitches, working in the round and if you chose the version with a sweet cable running down the side; how to use a cable needle. The neckband and shoulders come together almost by magic and the body is mostly happy, mindless knitting in the round so it's perfect for tired evenings and chit chat.

Becca released her Kelpie vest this week and it's available in a whopping number of sizes: 3 months to 12 years and in no less than 3 yarn weights - double knitting, worsted and chunky.

I'm sure I'll be making more myself, my big kids already want them! In fact my 10 year old thinks she might like to make her own :) I can also see that this pattern will be popular for new babies too - a tiny vest could be whipped up in no time and would make such a great gift.

Kelpie Vest

Mine is a double knit version. I used a gorgeous 50/50 silk/merino blend of yarn from my stash that's probably quite wasted on a small person but it's soft and warm with beautiful drape and my wee girl loves it. 

The pattern photo shows the cable version that includes a cable running down the side of the body. I liked the simplicity of the ribbed sides, so went for that. There are options for both in the pattern but if you didn't fancy either, or wanted a really quick and easy knit, there's no reason why you couldn't do straight stockinette all around the body.

Kelpie Vest

See, she loves those feijoas. There were a few left on our trees after a bumper crop this summer. If you haven't tried feijoas and you don't live in New Zealand I don't know how easily you'll be able to get hold of them. If you can, do! A garden staple in New Zealand, feijoas are delicious. They are a sweet, soft green fruit with a creamy/grainy centre and come in a range of sizes depending on the variety and you can eat them raw or cooked. Ours are large with creamy centres. I've heard talk of feijoas in London but never saw them there myself. Sometimes they're called pineapple guavas. Have you come across them where you are?

Anyway, back to the knitting and the giveaway!

Becca has very generously offered three copies of her Kelpie Vest pattern to giveaway to three lucky readers. Do you fancy winning one? 

If you do, leave me a comment below and let me know if you've ever tasted a feijoa and if you thought it was yummy. I'll close the draw and randomly choose three winners on Wednesday 28th May 2014

Just one entry each please, but feel free to tell all your friends!

In the meantime, you can find  Becca's gorgeous Kelpie Vest on Ravelry here (she's got an introductory offer of 25% off until May 25th!) and the project page for my pink version (including yarn & needle details), here

By the way, if you noticed the knitted headband in my photos and fancied whipping up one too - I've got a free little pattern for them here.

Fingers crossed!

Journey: A Review & Giveaway


They've done it again! Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook have created another beautiful book of knitting patterns. Only this time, they have both designed pieces for the collection.

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to be asked to review their first book, Island, a collection of fabulous knitting patterns designed by Jane Richmond. From the moment I saw the video for Journey I crossed my fingers they'd ask me to review this book too. And they did! Yippee! 

It's gorgeous. The photography is gentle, the colours subtle and yet the mood is both lighthearted and inspiring. Can you tell I love the combined aesthetic of Shannon and Jane? I really do. Jane tells us at the beginning of the book that her style is very minimalist and Shannon's is edgy and colourful - opposites of one another - yet the book flows beautifully. Jane and Shannon have a wonderful synergy that has resulted in a collection that will appeal to a broad range of tastes and ages; it is both refreshingly modern and gracefully romantic all at the same time. I LOVE it.

I'll take a breath now. I'm quite excited.

IMG_2719-WEB IMG_2771-WEB

The Antrorse sweater is my hands-down favourite of the collection. It's aran weight, perfect for my impending New Zealand winter and I can just see myself wearing it with a pair of tight trousers like the ones I made for Outfit 2 in February and a pair of boots. It's the neckline that really caught my eye. Gorgeous open or closed, I think it's funky and a great way to showcase three rather fabulous buttons. I love the contrast of the garter stitch with the stockinette of the body, even the way it takes on a looser gauge. If it weren't so hot here right now, I'd be casting it on and whipping it up before Christmas.

The collection is entitled "Journey" and although I'd ideally be reminded of a journey that I'm on, or I have taken when I flip through the pages, I'm struck instead by the amazing journeys that Shannon and Jane are on themselves. I live miles away from these women but I can see even from here how hard they work at their respective businesses and how talented they both are. It looks like they're having such a good time :)

This sweater was designed by Shannon. She's designed accessories before but this is her first big garment and I'm so excited for her that she's done it and it's such a goodie. I can't wait to see what other sweaters (and cardigans!) are lying in wait in the pages of her sketchbooks ...


The next things that caught my eye were these cute socks. What a great way to use up those last bits of gorgeous sock yarn? You already know I'm a sucker for stripes but did you know I'm a big fan of coloured toes too? Yip. Jane designed the Climb socks and I'm pretty sure they're her first socks too. Don't they just encapsulate her stylish, clean look? Lovely.


The Onward shawl by Shannon is also a favourite of mine. It uses a worsted weight yarn and has a long wingspan so it'd be super cosy. I love Shannon's use of contrasting textures and she's done it again so well here, with the flat geometric shapes in the body of the shawl and the airy yarn-overs up the centre. I bet the pattern would be a breeze to remember and I can just see this growing over my knee, keeping me warm inch by inch.


This is how I'd wear it. Side poncho style, maybe with a big brooch or pin to hold it in place on my shoulder. Although I love the pale colour of the shawl in the sample, I can also see it in a darker jewel tone - it'd be a striking piece to finish an outfit and would work dressed up or down, daytime or night-time.


Quite aside from the groovy styling and super toning of colours, I love these mitts. They are the Spate mitts by Jane and they're full of scrummy texture and look like they'd be warm without being too bulky. I'm envisioning that I'm going to need fingerless mitts in my New Zealand winters on the side of the rugby field and these might be perfect for the job, especially with the ends flipped down for chillier mornings. Jane says they are deceivingly simple to knit, they don't need any cable needles. Imagine, you could have these too - just one skein of your favourite soft worsted weight yarn, a couple of evenings work ...

But that's not all! There are a couple of other patterns in the book too - a lovely long cardigan from Jane and a cute wee hat from Shannon, do go check them out!

And, it really isn't all. Jane and Shannon have generously donated an ebook copy of Journey for one lucky reader! Fancy a copy for yourself? Just leave me a comment below by Midnight Sunday 8th December 2013, NZ time and tell me how you'd wear your favourite design from the collection. I'll draw a winner and let you know next week who you are. Just one entry each please and don't forget to include your Ravelry name or email address!

In the meantime, if you can't wait, feel free to nip over to the Marian Rae website (Jane & Shannon's publishing company) or Ravelry to buy a print copy or ebook version of Journey. The individual pdf patterns are also available for sale.


(By the way, all the photos were taken by the very talented Nicholas Kupiak and are used with permission)

Catching Up & A Giveaway!

Portable projects

We're slowly getting into a rhythm. Usually it consists of to-ing and fro-ing to school, the supermarket and swimming, making packed lunches for 8 kids and dinner for 12 of us. The kids are sorting out their pecking order and I seem to be back to my unshakeable habit of spreading yarn, fabric, needles and books from one end of the house to the other and forgetting where I've put the car keys.

After a week of feeling frozen when I first arrived, I'm now lovely and warm and dreaming of new sundresses, super light-weight lace knitting and roomy bags to fill with bottles of water and sunscreen. I even caught myself talking my sister into making ourselves swimsuits today ... surely evidence that things are settling into some kind of normal.

I'll show you what I've been making soon, but first I have a bit of catching up to do. I managed to finish the beautiful hat for my friend (I've got some photos for later in the week) and if you're a follower of my Facebook page, you might remember that just before I left the UK I had my first article published. What a buzz! I was thrilled to appear in the second edition of iMake Magazine, put together by Martine of the wonderful iMake blog and podcast.

iMake Magazine is a digital magazine that you can download to your computer or tablet, full of interesting foodie and crafty reads. In this recent issue, I particularly enjoyed the articles about photography and handmade gifts, as well as the delicious gluten-free cake recipe which I will be sure to try out. My article was about portable crafts. It was a very timely topic for me and I really enjoyed planning, photographing and writing about what I could bring with me on my big trip to keep me busy and satisfied. The above photo is a taste of what I tucked into my suitcase.

Guess what?! Martine has kindly donated 5 copies of the fabulous iMake Magazine to give away to you lovely people!

If you'd like to win a digital copy, leave me a comment below this post by midnight (NZ time) Sunday 1 December 2013 and tell me your perfect holiday craft. I'll then draw five winners and let you know who you are next week (just one comment each please).

Fingers crossed! X

Crochet Winners!

anni-2-2 Rita-2

We've got two winners!

Congratulations Debbie - who loved the Berula Poncho and Cindy (More Like June) - who loved the cute Euphorbia dress! 

You've both won a pattern of your choice from the fabulous Crochet Project Botanicals Spring/Summer collection.

I'll be in touch!!!