New pattern: Moccs

October 10th, 2014


Here’s something I’ve been working on: Moccs.  The pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry here.

They come in 2 sizes, and they’re not felted, just knit, a quick one at that. Perfect for the upcoming holiday season; something to tuck in a bag for a weekend away, or to slip on your feet for an evening on the couch.

Here’s another pic. They’re made with the ultra-luscious Blue Sky Alpacas Extra, just one skein. You could probably make 3 pair from two skeins.

The idea came to me a year ago after I made these baby booties for my book Knitting Gifts For Baby

Memories of family road trips to New Mexico were the inspiration. Stopping at road side stand to buy a sweet little pair of hand made leather moccasins.

Why should babies have all the fun?

I’ve also just finished another project I love. This time not my pattern. It’s Running Stitch Skirt by Yumiko Sakurai of the blog harumidoridesigns

There’s a little of the Southwest/Sundance catalog about this design too, isn’t there?

photo courtesy of Interweave

I love love my skirt which I made in Rowan Purelife Revive (gorgeous recycled yarn, one third each silk, cotton and rayon), the slip stitch stripes in Habu Cotton Gima. It’s knit sideways in reverse stockinette. The only features I altered were the back seam and waistband. The pattern called for a drawstring but I prefer a hem with elastic inserted. And instead of sewing the back seam I finished it with a three-needle bind off, seam on the outside. Apologies for this strange angle, a skirt selfie is tough! you get the picture.

My friend Paula made one in Euroflax linen, and another in wool. A skirt is such a great project and they’re surprisingly flattering provided they have enough width to not be tight too across the rear. That’s the secret. This is a wonderful design.

Happy knitting!

xox Mel

popping in

June 7th, 2014

Hello Friends,

First, an announcement: all of my yarn that can be seen on South Seas Knitting can now be bought from Wildfiber, my former store, which almost closed but was rescued at the last minute by two lovely ladies, Teri and Claudia. They don’t yet have e-commerce up and running but I’ll bet if you called or email them they would send you whatever you want.

I have been a recalcitrant blogger, I know. It’s because of life’s changes that we must all go through and there’ve been many in the past year. When I popped in to say hello last October, I was in New Zealand for the funeral of my only sibling, my sister, Robyn, who had been unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer a few months before, and whom I thankfully came to New Zealand to see a month before she passed away. Writing this, I still can hardly believe she’s gone. Thankfully, I am still connected to her through my nephew and niece, both of whom I adore, and who have two gorgeous children apiece.

Here are my nephew Joe’s two kids wearing their hats I knitted for them. Ruben’s hat is the one from my last post, that I had to make all over again due to the twisted stitches. Lucia’s is the Blue Sky Alpacas Kitty Hat, a genius design by Lisa Whiting. I love this hat so much I’ve made another one for my niece’s little girl.



At the end of last year I embarked on a major knitting project. After spending three years writing my two latest books, I fancied following someone else’s pattern for a change, so I went searching for something to use up my enormous stash of Koigu. I decided on Hue Shift Afghan by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence.

It uses 10 shades, with 100 permutations. I love the way Kerin combined the colors and it’s the best use of mitered squares I’ve even seen. It’s made of four sections. The only sewing is the connection of these 4 squares. I knit the whole blanket on 2 size US 5 double pointed needles [I have a habit of using the shortest needles I can whenever I can and often use a couple of dpns]

Here’s my blanket when I was about to begin the 4th and final square. I could barely believe I’d gotten this far.

and here it is, finished with the 10 rows of garter stitch edging. I made it for my son, Pete.


Before I parted ways with my glorious and beloved stash of yarn sold to Wildfiber, they invited me to participate in a pop up store. so. much. fun.

Over three days I saw many of my friends and former customers. It was like having a knitting shop all over again. And part of having that all-over-again-feeling, was the exhaustion at the end of each day!

There was Mary, wearing her Everyday Cardigan from Knitting Everyday Finery


and Karen wearing Wandering Cable Scarf. (I recently added this pattern to Ravelry). How pretty is this pink and yellow colour combination?

Now I’ll leave you with a peek in a corner of our garden at our tiny house in Santa Monica. We are now living in it. It is very very small, but I’ve been reminded that I’m a spoiled Kiwi-Californian who is used to space. We’ve made a gorgeous little garden, full of the drought tolerant plants I love so much, and 5 New Zealand pohutukawa trees in pots.



October 7th, 2013

This is the price of watching a British soap opera (Mistresses), one of those guilty pleasures that has you counting the hours til the end of the day when you can tune in and knit. I know you know what I’m talking about.

There I was, peacefully  following my chart to make this hat for my little nephew Ruben, heaving a sigh of relief as I completed the motif and began the downhill slope decreasing at the top of the hat. As I’d worked this far, I noticed that the hat seemed annoyingly flipped over the needle, something I thought (remember the show is gripping) would “iron itself out” at the end. Hmmm. No. It was a classic twist, more dramatic than any faux pas I’ve made in the past because it involved all that color work.

Here’s my second attempt. Much better.

For the hat pattern I used Karen Canapa’s Earflap Hat 

The motifs I found at Tricksy Knitter

I used Koigu Kerst2400 and 2341

Check for twisting before going too far!

Topsy-Turvy winner

September 3rd, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Thank you all, for entering this competition. You appreciate Susan’s work, and for good reason. What an important member of the knitting community she is, so full of enthusiasm and ideas.

Congratulations to Patricia McAdams who is the winner of a copy of this wonderful book. Patrica is keen to make the topsy turvy doll which is the other project I also want to make but didn’t include in my blog post. You can see it in Susan’s Ravelry projects here.

I really recommend buying the book if you didn’t win it. The fun you’ll have making these charming toys, and the smiles you’ll see when you show them off, make the purchase worthwhile. There’s a Kindle version as well as hard cover: Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys.

Happy toy knitting!

I am in New Zealand at the moment, for sad reasons, but I’m enjoying seeing my extended family and my wonderful friends who are letting me stay at their homes. At the weekend I took the train out west to see Ingrid and Graeme. They’re long time friends whom I’ve know since the early 80s when we all lived in London. They returned to Auckland and over the years, had a lovely daughter, Una, and built a house on the land where Ingrid grew up in a house her parents built in the 50s. It’s been a labor of love. Ingrid and Graeme are practitioners of the “do-it-yourself” kiwi philosophy. They were recycling furniture and making things by hand (a whole house!) long before it became popular to do so (note that I’m resisting using the word trendy because I think it’s over-used and also, dismissive of a very worthy way of life ). I love their house. Its many wood surfaces, hand printed textiles, paintings and furniture remind me of the famous Eames house in Los Angeles. It’s an inspiration.

Here’s a taste of my weekend:


Sunday afternoon we went for a hike along a spectacular section of the Ed Hillary trail between Muriwai and Te Henga, picnicking on the cliff top..

Next week I return to Santa Monica where I’m teaching a workshop at Wildfiber: the cover bonnet from Knitting Gifts For Baby, September 21 & 28, 2 to 5 pm.

Also on Saturday September 28 I’m going to be part of this fun event at the New Zealand Consulate. I’ll be selling and signing books, and displaying my work. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and you’re interested in attending, please email me at

xo Mel

topsy turvy book giveaway

August 26th, 2013

Update August 30.

Hi Everyone,

Thank you to everyone who left a comment to win Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys!  The competition is now closed.

I’m visiting old friends outside Auckland for the weekend. I’ll be back and will announce the lucky winner on Monday. Stay tuned!

Hey, look who showed up on my doorstep today.

Mrs Squirrel and Mr Penguin are my latest knitting project and they’re from the loveliest book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out knit toys, by Susan B Anderson. Susan has such a wonderful sense of fun and this book is just sheer cuteness from cover to cover. All of the toys double as something else. For example, the squirrel transforms into a cute hedgehog (below) and that egg he’s looking at has the penguin inside.

My husband requested the penguin on looking through the book and he laughed out loud when I showed him the finished toy. What joy. I can’t wait to give them to my niece’s children in New Zealand.

Here’s the cover of Susan’s book.

Susan has four kids, and it must be really fun to have her as mom, because she is wonderfully inventive. You can visit her blog here and see her designs on Ravelry here

I want to make so many of these toys! Next comes this dog and doghouse…


and I can’t wait to make this: first it’s an egg…

next it’s an alligator…

The thing I love about these toys is that they’re educational as well as cute.

Here’s how the penguin works as per the illustration in the book. As well as the patterns, the book has clear photos of techniques. Everything is there.

The icebergs in this just tickle me. I happen to love penguins because like me, they’re from the southern hemisphere.

and now for more pics of Squirrel who wants you to see her acorn…

and her tail…

The hedgehog is adorable. For her spikes I learned how to make twisted loops which I’ve never attempted before.

I used different yarns from those Susan recommended. That’s the great thing about these toys. You can use bits and pieces from your stash.

My squirrel/hedgehog is made with Koigu KPM and the penguin/egg with Cascade 220.

So now for the giveaway. If you leave a comment, you’ll be in the drawer to win a copy of this gorgeous book.

[I'm sorry but it's only available to readers in the USA].  The giveaway will close Friday August 30, at noon Pacific time.

happy knitting, everyone!

xo Mel



August 18th, 2013

At last I’ve published the pattern for Stella, the womens’ and girls’ version of the baby bonnet on the cover of my book, minus the chin strap.


It’s available on Ravelry here 

and is named after my friend Anna’s daughter. Isn’t she lovely?        


This is a quick post, as I’m off to New Zealand tomorrow.

I’ll be in touch from there. In the meantime, I wanted to share this photo with you. It’s my friend Gilda’s grandson in a sailor suit she knitted for him. It begs for one of those “if only my grandmother would stop knitting” captions, doesn’t it…..?

With my thoughts now turning to  New Zealand, I’m looking forward to some familiar sights, like these villas in my old stomping ground.

Look for my post nest week when I’ll be writing about an exciting new book I’ve been knitting from.

There will be a giveaway, too.


how much is that

August 2nd, 2013

doggie in the window of a store on Montana Ave. I find myself wondering if dogs actually enjoy wearing sweaters? Especially in LA?

This guy looks happy without one. I love his old soul demeanour.

Lots of good things are happening.

Walks to the ocean and back every day. Hula hoops are in, evidently, as exercise. This was a class taught by the girl in the blue hair who did an elegant Hawaiian hip roll.

Tiny house purchase approaching.

Knitting projects: a new slipper pattern (coming soon in PDF), a toy from Susan Anderson’s new book, a neon striped sweater for myself in Koigu KPM, top down with a subtle cable

and a cardi for myself which I’ve already worn and like very much. Short sleeves and open pattern (sea foam) make it a perfect summer item. Pattern is Frontier, from Rowan Magazine 51. Yarn is Filatura Di Crosa Zara.

Discovered a fantastic new taco place on Santa Monica Blvd at 23rd St. Tacos Punta Cabras serves seafood and vegetarian tacos and tostadas with exotic cashew mayonnaise and pineapple salsa. I’m addicted. It’s all served with surfer dude style and attitude. It gets busy at lunchtime. Evenings are more serene. I hate to admit it, but it rivals La Super Rica in Santa Barbara and Mexican Specialties in Auckland and they’re both hard acts to follow.

Observations of the varied and interesting place I live in.

Roses outside our cottage

 What is big sexy beach hair?  David and I are calling it  BSBH or big sexy for short, whenever we see a head of something we think might be IT.

We ventured Down to Echo Park recently, to visit a prefab house we’re considering, and found ourselves here

Birds seem to be the theme in textile decor


and the clientele

Down town, bicycle bike racks, how witty of the City

and now to house keeping

Questions have been asked about South Seas Knitting and whether it will reopen. Everything displayed on the website is available (prices are New Zealand). If you see something you’d like to purchase, email me and I’ll give you a USA price and a shipping quote, then send you a paypal invoice. Items will be shipped from Santa Monica. My patterns are available on Ravelry or Patternfish or directly from me:

til next time xo Mel



July 17th, 2013

Thank you thank you lovely readers for your words of encouragement! You’ve given me renewed enthusiasm!

Let me tell you about one of the best days of my life so far.

It was my birthday. And a big one. David asked me how I wanted to spend it,  and received the strictest instructions of the “don’t you dare” variety not to organize a surprise party. Eeew. I’m phobic about being the center of attention.

One doesn’t really want to think too much about such a birthday let alone come up with a way to celebrate it, so I was quite pleased with myself for remembering that ever since I’ve lived in LA I’ve wanted to visit Lotusland, the garden in Montecito.

Montecito is just south of Santa Barbara. If you’re visiting the LA area, and you like plants, it’s a must see. Due to parking restrictions, reservations are required. Information here. This is because the neighbors on the surrounding estates were not keen on it being open to the public, so they struck a compromise and restricted the number of cars that could be there at any one time. If you’ve ever driven around the meandering Montecito roads and wondered what’s behind the grandiose gates, this is your chance to look inside.

It was the most beautiful day in every imaginable way, not the least least of which was my family surprising me and showing up to accompany us.

lotus land
A place or state of languid contentment.
[After the Land of the Lotus-eaters in the Odyssey]

I love gardens, especially Southern California/Mediterranean gardens.

This one was established by an eccentric Polish woman and sometime opera singer, Madame Ganna Walska, who married a succession of rich men, hence accumulating wealth which she chose to spend on a 37-acre garden. I can’t think of a better way to spend a fortune. Her style is distinct and very beautiful, with large numbers of any particular plant and in some cases, like cycads, plants that no longer exist in the native habitat. She could never buy just one of anything, or even 10, she bought hundreds. This was her style. It gives a feeling of lushness and plenty and is visually stunning.

The climate in Montecito is my kind of perfect, not too hot, with ocean breezes that make a garden tour on a sunny day a very pleasant thing to do.

First sight on beginning our tour: a lemon-covered pergola. What a fantastic idea.

I won’t attempt to name all the plants since I didn’t have the good sense to write them down and now I don’t remember but this one we all know – an organ pipe cactus about to flower

prickly pear


beautiful sculptural agave

California live oak

olives – hey, I’m doing all right with my naming so far

one of several ponds, this one edged with abalone shells in the shape of lotus flowers

giant clam shell waterfall

in the Japanese garden

large pond filled with lotus

is this bamboo?

just when you’re completely dazzled by the combinations of bright green and silver, you come across the pink residence and signs of Delft

does anyone know what plant this is?

Dracaena from Africa. Lotusland has a spectacular collection.

the fern garden – masterful plantings of trees give it shade.

Even though my small house will have only a tiny space for a garden, I’m inspired by Madame to make it beautiful.




what I’ve been up to

July 6th, 2013

I used to be a conscientious blogger. But then I decided to move countries, again. The result was an adventure that has not been easy. But here I am, back in my beloved Santa Monica, and life is starting to take shape once more.

My new book, Knitting Gifts for Baby has been released at last!

Here are a few photos from the inside pages:

Little Fishing Vest

Spring Blanket


Horseshoe Pullover


Cable Cape

There are 26 projects in total, for newborns and toddlers. I’m very proud of this book. If can say so myself, it’s beautiful. I did all the photo styling myself, and knitted all the projects. It was a labor of love.

For anyone who lives in Southern California, I’m teaching workshops at Compatto, on Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica. The green Spring blanket (above) is one scheduled for August.

I have a new passion. For a few years now I’ve been interested in small houses and their increasing popularity.  As anyone who visited me in Auckland will know, I lived in a rather large modern house. Many an evening David and I discussed how little of it we actually used. In fact we’d stride around the kitchen and living area and demonstrate to ourselves how wasteful we were.  While it’s wonderful to have space, there are heating, water and electricity costs, and padding around the big empty rooms reminds you that your family have left home, as if you needed a reminder. So here we are in California, about to buy a small house and put our money where our mouths are. Our object of desire is a teensy cottage in Ocean Park, just around the corner from Whole Foods  on Lincoln Blvd (walking distance, yes!), Rose Ave, and the beach. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with it as much depends on the state of the walls and foundations, which we’ll know more about once we take possession.We may renovate it, or we may build a new, small house.  This will keep me busy, so knitting is going to become for the first time in many years, my hobby.

Knowing this was going to happen, I’ve been deciding whether to continue with this blog or start a new one. I love knitting, but it’s not all of my story. I still haven’t decided and I welcome your input.

In the meantime, here are some photos of the Getty Center which I’ve visited several times since we’ve been back in LA. I love the outdoor spaces and the spectacular views even more than the galleries. I’m thinking that once I’m living in my small house I’ll be able to come here for a sense of grandeur.

terrace with the city Pacific Ocean in the distance

fabulous curves

later afternoon shadows

the rill

giant bouquets of bougainvillea above the pond








new book!

April 16th, 2013

Advance copies of my new book arrived from the printer last week. How excited was I to go to the Fex Ex office to pick them up? Very!

Here it is

It turned out to be a timely arrival. The LA Yarn Crawl was happening and I was able to  show it to knitters at my event at Compatto where the projects were on display. It’s always fun to see people react to your work. I watched a man (there were a few men, all knitters) thumb through it, his facial expressions changing with each page. He loved it, and ordered a signed copy.

The Leia Bonnet on the cover is one of my favorite projects, so I decided to make a pattern for a larger version to fit girls and bigger girls. I’ll be publishing it as a PDF in a couple of weeks.

The new hat on my lovely friend Anna

and her daughter Stella, after whom the hat will be named

I’ll be publishing Stella the PDF on Ravelry soon.

You can order Knitting Gifts For Baby here.

Best wishes,