Archive for the ‘using your stash’ Category

popping in

Saturday, 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.


June knitting

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I’ve had fun this week, and it’s all been about gloves. First, I made these for my friend Ingrids’ birthday. She’s the same dear friend who is the recipient of a pair of Shiraz slippers. Her style is not at all frilly, so I decided to make the July Gloves minus the lace panel. I kept the opening, and made just one line of bobbles. I hope she likes them. They’re in Koigu KPM shade 1110.

Here they are….

Do any of you have something like this lying around your house? Precious little leftover balls of yarn you just can’t bear to part with?

These are all Koigu kpm, collected over the 12 years I’ve been knitting with it. There is more, actually a large zipped plastic duvet bag, but shhhhh! I find it very hard to discard small bits of yarn, so I end up with a bin full of it. Not just Koigu. I find it hard to discard any yarn. It just seems wasteful and I always harbour a vague idea that I’ll find a use for it. So, this week, I did.

I’m sometimes asked where I get my inspiration, and I always give the usual list  (textiles, travel, museums, nature, etc ) which, without examples, can seem a bit dry. So let me show you what I found recently, and what it inspired.

It’s an Indian throw made of old saris, big and small pieces patched together and then quilted. I fell in love with it, so I bought it for myself as a reward for…well, do I really need an excuse? It must have been the inspiration for my current project, gloves made from my scraps.

Here they are

I’m using the July Gloves pattern for the fingers and making up the rest.

I’m going to continue for a few days on this quest to use up my stash and will report back with some more examples.

It’s SO much fun to do this. Next up, I think it’ll be fingerless gloves with stripes.


finishing slippers

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Hi Everyone,

As promised, I’ve put together a tutorial on making the Shiraz Slippers from Knitting Everyday Finery.

Let it be said that the slippers are perfectly fine without suede soles or any of the other touches I’ve put on them in this post. My only advice would be to felt them more than once so that they’re really firm. They’ll stay on your feet better that way. You can wash them again and again, with or without the soles, and each time they’ll come out firm and snug. They take quite a beating. While I was writing my book last winter,  I wore them every day around the house, so they’ve been washed several times and each time I’m amazed at how great they look afterwards.

If you’re fainthearted about making the soles, I’ve made a bunch and I’m selling them. Each set includes linen thread. You can buy them here, but if you’re outside NZ it’s best to email me for a less expensive shipping charge.

The soles make the slippers more comfortable, and sturdier. I also added an insole to mine, which I didn’t include in the book version. You can skip the insole, but the addition of a lovely fabric lining gives them a touch of luxury. Besides, you can put to good use those little bits of fabric you can’t bear to part with.

I made these for my friend Ingrid who fell in love with mine and offered to pay me to make some for her (she doesn’t knit), but since she went to the trouble of hand printing a lovely curtain to disguise the untidy shelves in my workspace, I decided to make the slippers for her birthday. Love the barter system!

So, to begin.

You ‘ll need:

• yarn and needles listed on page 79 of Knitting Everyday Finery

• 22 x 22 cm  piece of suede, and same size of lining fabric and iron-on interfacing if desired [I found my suede in the scrap bin at a shop that makes custom leather jackets]

• 3 metres of linen thread

• 24 cm length of  ribbon

• sewing thread  to match lining fabric and ribbon

• hole puncher

Now, the making:

1. The actual knitting takes a very short time. You can comfortably finish a slipper in an evening.

2. Felting: To save water, I’ve taken to putting my slippers in with other things that can tolerate a hot wash [cleaning rags and dog blankets spring to mind]. I find that they need to be felted a few times. Once they’re felted to your satisfaction, give the toes a little stretch and pinch to accentuate the point. It tends to round out a little during the felting.


3. You could can attach the suede pads at this point. Scroll down to #8 to see that process, or hang around here for the fun part, which is to choose a lovely fabric for the insoles. This is the moment when my wanton fabric hoarding is completely justified.Which to choose? My slippers are dark green (Cascade 220 #2446 bronzed green heather).


4. Turn your slippers inside out and make a template for your insoles by drawing around the sole with tracing paper. Cut the fabric with 1.5 cm to spare around the edge. Also cut matching pieces of iron-on interfacing.

5. Iron the interfacing to the WS of the fabric. I stitched the interfacing and fabric together, just a few rows of machine stitching, in a grid pattern. After you do this, iron them again.

6. Sew a loose basting stitch around the edge of the insoles. This will help  to turn the edge.

7. They’re now ready to sew into place. Pin the insoles to the base of the slipper, then hand sew around the edge.

8. Turn your slippers right side out. Now they’re ready for the suede soles.

Trace around the template in the book, then cut our your paper template. Draw around the template on the wrong side of the suede to mark where you’ll cut the leather.

9. Using the smallest size puncher, make your holes 5 mm apart and 5 mm from the edge of the suede.

10. Pin the patches to the underside of the slippers. Sew them in place using blanket stitch. I used wool to stitch my first pair, but I wore them so much, the stitching wore through in places, so now I use linen thread which is much stronger.

11. Last touch (if desired): some ribbon trim for the heels. You’ll need two 12-cm lengths of ribbon. Folding each piece over 1 cm where it meets the sole, pin it in place up the heel, and make a 3 cm turn at the top, with the resulting loop protruding 1 cm above the heel. Sew in place with a matching thread. Voilà! You have a beautiful pair of slippers!