Breeding Wonderful Maniototo Wool

Out of a flock of several thousand sheep, a special breeding programme is taking place to produce wonderful Maniototo Wool

It’s the end of May. If all has gone as planned the Romney ewes are now “in lamb” and will spend the winter getting on with their pregnancy. The Merino rams are removed and returned to the peace and quiet of the ram paddock until their services are required again next Autumn.

What a season it has been. Ewes are separated into 10 or so “mini flocks” of about 80 sheep. A stud Merino ram goes with them. At the end of the mating season each miniflock is brought into the barn, and all the ewes have their eartag number recorded next to the name of Their Ram.

Here comes one of the miniflocks towards the barn to have their numbers recorded, and their ram taken away. It is a chilly minus one degree centigrade, and you can see heat rising off the ewes as they come up the driveway towards the barn.

The Merino rams used in this breeding programme come from well known and respected Australian stud breeders, and are selected for desirable genetic characteristics to be introduced to the flock as a whole. Each ram is known by the name of the stud he came from. Occasionally, a ram will also have his own name.

This year Johnny Duncan, the farmer has a soft spot for a ram called Cheetah, who is very tame and friendly. He comes from the “Terrick West” stud.


Here is Johnny with his rams, and inspecting the fleece      






When the lambs are born in October, they are eartagged within two days of birth, so that both parents are known.

Johnny can’t wait to see what Cheetah’s progeny are like.

Watch this space………..

June 18, 2017 - 9:25 pm

Roberta Preston - delighted to have seen Maniototo wool !

Knitting Curlicues

I’m pretty useless at making a good pompom for a hat, so I’m knitting curlicues instead. A bunch of knitted curlicues can look pretty good on the top of a woolly hat.

The decision was made when I photographed my version of the Ba-able Hat on a snowy morning.  Baable hat.1I thought the pompom looked a bit pathetic. The trouble is that I just don’t seem to be able to tie a strand tight enough to hold the whole thing together, and it very soon falls apart.





Ok, so here’s a picture of a whole lot of curlicues on top of this knitted hat…Curlicues





Or of you want to make them a bit more pompom- like, you can catch the ends and bundle each one up

like this…… Baable hat.2





So here is how to make them: Using suitable yarn and needles for your project, cast on 20 stitches (cable cast on). First Row: Knit into the back and front of every stitch. Next Row: Purl all 40 stitches. Next Row: Cast off loosely. If your cast off is inclined to be tight, use a bigger needle. As you cast off, observe the curlicue curling. Then thread the two ends through the top of the hat and tie them off.

I added about 8 curlicues to the top of the two hats pictured.

March 23, 2018 - 12:04 am

Carla Burt - Thank you for this great information! I love my curlicues!

Knitting With Aran Style Wool

It is the season for knitting with lovely woolly Aran style wool. Winter in the South island of new Zealand is looming….. A few months ago I decided to tackle “Beccs” by Isabell Kraemer, knowing that I needed to replace an old black cardi that was looking past it’s best. Maniototo Aran style wool absolutely loves cables!

IMG_20151030_194556I chose “Dark Greywacke” for the cardigan. Knowing that our aran style wool yarn can “grow” ever so slightly when blocked, I made it one size smaller than I needed, and used 5mm needles. I didn’t want it to be a huge, sloppy garment. It is knitted from the top down, so great for trying on as you go. The sleeves are knitted in the round using the magic loop method. There are no seams.


Here’s a look at the cable which travels all the way down………………. (The picture shows the colour  a bit greyer than it actually is). The design is very clever. I haven’t made an I cord binding before, and I really like the firmness it gives to the edges of the cardigan. The shaping down the sides of the body takes place in a reverse  stocking stitch strip.IMG_20160406_154359





IMG_20151101_104003One thing I really hate is narrow armholes and a tight upper sleeve, so when it came to picking up the stitches for the sleeves, I followed the instructions for the biggest size allowing a lot more room, even though the sleeve was still quite slim. I knitted the sleeve on these extra stitches until just below the elbow then started decreasing.



Here’s the finished cardigan. I absolutely love it. The size is perfect, and I’ll wear this all winter. Such a lovely design, and so suitable for this wool yarn. The fit is great. See details of the project hereIMG_20160501_104543

The Pirinoa Poncho in Cosy Wool

Today we introduce The Pirinoa Poncho – a versatile outer garment knitted in cosy wool. It will fit a child from 18 months until about 4 years old or more, and suits boys and girls. This poncho was inspired by something similar worn by the Didsbury children who live on Pirinoa Station, a large farm in South Wairarapa, New Zealand. Our version has been designed by Wei Siew Leong Kiwiyarns Knits. It can be knitted in our Aran weight wool or our DK wool. There is a pattern available for the Aran weight and another for the DK weight.

ponchos.27The poncho is great for throwing on a child when you take them out of the car, to keep them cosy and warm on a wintery day.

The pictures show the little boy model aged 3 wearing the Aran weight poncho. The colour is “Riverstone”, a soft silvery grey. The little girl aged 2 is wearing the DK version in colourway “Wintery Blue”, a soft blue/grey.ponchos.22

We love these photos. The models are local children who live in Pirinoa, and the photographs were taken by Emma from Cheeky Art Photography


Our hand dyed, woollen spun Maniototo Wool is very suited to cables. It is a light, full-of-air yarn that looks wonderful knitted into cables, for extra cosiness without a lot of weight. It takes 3 skeins of wool to knit the poncho. For the DK version, you will have enough wool left from 300g to knit a hat or mitts.

The pattern is available in printed form via our website (see the Products page)

Poncho Patterns (800x571)

It can be downloaded from by going to Wei Siew Leong’s Ravelry store.

If you purchase a printed copy it will come with a code (for one time use only) so you can download it into your Ravelry Library.

We hope you will love knitting this poncho as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.


A Child’s Cardi to Knit

Ahuriri cardi

This is such a simple little cardi to knit with our Aran style wool.  It takes just a single 100g skein. The pattern is Quick Oats By Taiga Hilliard designs, and can be found on The pattern is free to download

As it is a warm thick cardi on a child, I made it without sleeves, so it can be worn with a fine merino underneath. Instead of the sleeves as written I knitted a few rounds of garter stitch at the armhole. I also added an extra button. Sometimes it is hard to think of a use for a single pretty multi-coloured skein. This cardi pattern works well with one of these pretty skeins. The colour used here is a limited edition dye batch called Ahuriri Blue. Email us at to see if we still have a skein of this or something similar available