Manuka Mittens were a natural follow-up to the Maranui Mittens. These are different though! They are more subtle, a little more grown up and refined.
Manuka trees are prickly things that have incredible pink or white flowers during certain times of the year. These mittens have a small colour work design around the hand that features zigzagging lines that remind me of the spiked leaves of the manuka tree, and little blossoms in the middle that are embellished with tiny beads.
These mittens have a long cuff that blocks any rogue breezes from chilling your wrists, and the ribbing (which is twisted for a different take on standard ribbing) holds them snug against your arm.
The thumbs are gusseted to make sure that the mittens sit comfortably over the broadest part of your hand, with the thumb being knitted last.
If you would like to make a pair of these for yourself you can find the pattern here on Ravelry. Happy knitting and don’t forget to tag your projects on instagram with #manukamittens if you post there! You can find me here on instagram if you would like sneak previews at patterns that are coming soon.
Maranui’s is a fantastic cafe on the water (almost literally – the beach is under the foundations) in Wellington’s Lyall Bay.
Wellington is known for it’s wind and wild weather, and on a family holiday there last year we experienced it first-hand. We were on Lyall Bay’s sandy beach when a squall hit and we made a mad dash for cover at the closet building, Marinui Surf and Life Saving Club. You have to climb up a winding set of stairs to get to the cafe on the top floor, and when you arrive the views are almost more impressive than when you are standing on the beach itself.
What I love about Maranui’s is the decor. It is boldly decorated and bright. This combined with the cold-snap inspired my Maranui Mittens.
The pattern for these mittens includes sizes for 2-3 years (4 years, 5-6 years, 7-10 years, Adult small, medium, large). So if you wanted to you could make a pair for your whole family!
The mittens are worked in the round and use two contrasting colours to give a cheerful and bright effect to the finished items. They are simple to make and because of the thumb gusset, they are also comfortable to wear. The smaller sizes use hardly any yarn so these are a fantastic way to use up some oddments of yarn in your stash. (We all have them).
If you would like to make some Maranui Mittens of your own you can find the pattern here.
The yarn for this jumper, the yellowy-mustardy-goldenness of it, fell into my hands at the same time as the blossoms on our local Kowhai tree came out. Kowhai is the Maori word for ‘yellow’ and the Kowhai tree is riotously bright at a time when most other trees are still bare.
It was the little bell-shaped blossoms that got me thinking about bright spots on darkness, or little drops of colour against plain skies. After letting the ideas mull around in my head for awhile I had a sudden urge to cast on, the image of what I wanted to make had landed, complete.
The Kowhai Pullover is worked from the top down in one piece. The little lace holes create an all-over pattern that covers the yoke and sleeves, then the body is smooth, simple, stocking stitch. The pattern is designed to have at least 2 inches of positive ease, making it comfortable and cosy.
While this pattern is not a ‘beginners’ pattern as it requires you to ‘read’ knitting in parts, if you have a few finished items under your belt and you want a bit of a challenge, you can definitely do this!
If you would like to make a Kowhai Pullover you can find the pattern here on Ravelry. Let me know if you do cast on, I’d love to see your colour choices! I am thinking of making one in hot pink just to see the colour against the black sand of my favourite beach next spring…
Matariki is Maori New Year, a time when the seven stars of Matariki (known as the Seven Sisters) can be seen clearly in the night sky. I knew right away that the aptly named ‘star stitch’ needed to become a soft warm baby blanket and I am so pleased with the result. The star stitch is not difficult to work and it creates a dense and warm fabric that has a lovely textured surface.
This blanket is knitted in two parts. First the center of the blanket is worked flat (back and forth on 2 needles) then the border is worked by picking up stitches all the way around the the blanket and working in the round. Increases are worked at the corners of the blanket border to stop the edges from pulling in. The blanket created is a small bassinet sized blanket that measures 25 inches x 30 inches once blocked.
One of my favourite things about working on The New Zealand Collection is that the models are my friends, colleagues, and family. They are people that are special to me and mine, and to spend time with them in this way was particularly rewarding. This delightful baby is Heidi, and her smile is just gorgeous! She giggled and clapped throughout the shoot and then, like the model-baby that she is, she went down for a nap without a fuss!
To make Matariki Blanket for a special baby of your own, or for someone else’s lucky little one, you can find the pattern here.
Fionadp on Ravelry made an absolutely gorgeous blanket with rainbow edging which can be seen here if you want some inspiration!
Along the walkways and dunes of most New Zealand beaches you will find delicate, fluffy-headed grasses growing at the edge of the path, often in the sand itself.
This bonnet is named after those deceptively strong seaside-plants, the Hare’s Tail grass. Lacy ribbing is worked over the head of the bonnet and for comfort the back of the bonnet is smooth stockinette. This bonnet is actually a very simple knit but you will be able to pretend it was tricky to impress others!
The bonnet is worked from the brim back, with simple decreases shaping the back and making it fit snugly around small heads. The ties can be worked in i-cord as mine were, or you could use a fine ribbon instead.
The teeny-tiny model for this pattern was Lulu, and at the time of shooting the images she was only 2-and-bit weeks old. I loved the look of her vintage sheet and her wee singlet with this bonnet. The morning was horribly hot and humid but Lulu was a star and put up with all my shifting and lifting of her to get the photos.
The Hare’s Tail Bonnet pattern is written for three sizes, newborn, 3-6 months, and 6-12 months. Even the largest size uses hardly any yarn, so go stash-diving and see what you can find.
To make one for someone precious you can find the pattern on Ravelry here. And come and join my Ravelry group too while you are over there. We have lots of testing opportunities coming up, and you will be the first to know about promotions and new releases.
Over the next 30 days I am going to tell the story of each of the patterns in The New Zealand Collection and I can’t wait to start! Each pattern is a knitted representation or interpretation about something that I love. Back soon!
One of my favourite places in the world is Tongariro National Park.
It has every shade of blue, grey, purple and green you can imagine, and the landscape is cold, unpredictable and imposing. So when Heather from T&H Fiber Works put out a call for a designer to make something in these two yarns….
I knew exactly what they needed to be!
Into the Mountains is my newest, and now my favourite, design. It is a lightweight shawl that has sections of lace in chevrons and snowflakes, simple stripes for texture and the asymmetric shape eliminates any of those excruciatingly long rows that large shawls are known for.
In spite of the finished product being large and airy, it is a portable knitting project and I quite literally took everywhere to work on (including my bed and Anchor Bay).
Into the mountains adds a layer of luxury to your between-seasons wardrobe and if you would like to make one you can join me for a knit-a-long on Ravelry here! And the pattern is available on Ravelry too, just use this link: Into the Mountains.