Blogtober 27th: Kiwiana Swap

Usually on a Tuesday night, I go to knitting night.  Instead of having our knitting on Tuesday, we are postponing it until Wednesday this week because we are having a super exciting swap night and want to have as all the swap participants there.  The swap that we are doing is a hand-dyed yarn swap, with a theme of Kiwiana.  Tomorrow I will take my camera to record the lovely parcels that get swapped, but I thought I would give you a heads-up tonight so that you know what to expect.

This swap is particularly exciting because it will be exchanged in person. All of the other swaps I have done have been sent off  in the post, and there is always a delay between sending off and receiving.  It can sometimes be hard to tell if the recipient really likes their gift from a written reaction, and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the colours and themes of the packages that are described.  So I am looking forward to being right in the action tomorrow night!

These are the guidelines we were given for the swap.

The swap will consist of :

* 100-200 grams of hand dyded yarn ( 100 grams 4 ply is plenty for a project but 8-10ply would need 150-200grams)
* A pattern matching your yarn and theme
* Paperwork of some discription ( poem, recipe, book etc)
* A small gift under $10 (eg, stitch markers, a dishcloth, some soap, chocolate etc )

The theme of ‘Kiwiana” might be a little mystifying to some overseas readers, so I thought I should explain what the concept is. According to Wikipedia, Kiwiana is items” which are either unique to or particularly common to New Zealand, particularly from the early and mid twentieth century. Although the term is sometimes used to describe any and all New Zealand icons, it is more commonly used to describe pop culture items such as toys or branded foods. A few more serious national icons have become kiwiana through heavy use in advertising and the souvenir industry. These include the kiwi and the tiki. Kiwiana is generally seen as a form of kitsch.”

These 1994 stamps celebrate Kiwiana.

A small town on the way to Hamilton and Auckland from our city has a huge Kiwiana mural and has branded itself as a type of Kiwiana town, with displays in the shopping centre, and even the public toilets featuring gorgeous hand painted Kiwiana themed tiles. 


The biggest problem that I had translating the Kiwiana theme into a yarn swap was the fact that I wanted the yarn to be usable at the end. Sure, I could colour yarn “Buzzy Bee” theme colours. But would anyone want to wear it?


And, while I love my pavalova with kiwifruit on top as much as the next girl, green and white yarn isn’t *that* inspiring, is it?

File:Kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) 1 Luc Viatour.jpg


Other Kiwiana includes: a Chocolate fish,  Edmonds ‘Sure to Rise’ Baking Powder, Gumboots,  a tiki, Hokey pokey ice-cream, Jandals, Kiwi, Kiwifruit, Marmite, Number 8 wire, Paua, Pineapple lumps,  the Silver fern, Swanndri (a black and red checked jacket), Top ice cream,Watties tomato sauce (especially when served in a plastic container shaped like a tomato).

A sauce bottle shaped like a tomato and filled with Watties tomato sauce ...

Gotta love the tomato. We always had one growing up.  And that’s kinda the point about Kiwiana. Despite the kitsch aspect, it is still seen everywhere.  The ‘Kiwi” bird is such a familar shape even Miss 3 recognised it when borrowed by Lynley Dodd for one of her nonsense birds in The Nickle Nackle Tree. While some uses are tacky, there is generally a great deal of affection for these well known Kiwi icons. 

I had great fun trying to think a little outside the box in terms of expectations, and I know that my knitting friends have had heaps of fun working on their swaps too.  I can hardly wait.




7 Responses to “Blogtober 27th: Kiwiana Swap”

  1. 1 nova October 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    oh it’ll be choice as to see what everyone comes up with aye!?! 😉 please take photos of everything for us 😀

  2. 2 Jo October 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    yes yes heaps and heaps of photo’s please 🙂

  3. 3 Sam October 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    i soooo can’t wait!

  4. 4 Kate Salisbury-Metcalfe October 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I’m counting down!!! Sooooo exciting 🙂

  5. 5 Hannah October 28, 2009 at 8:00 am

    woop woop!!!!!!!!!!!

    we even drove through Otorohanga yesterday on the way home hehehe

    I cant wait to see how creative everyone has been! i will be taking photos too hehe

  6. 6 helenkosings October 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I had no idea that Kiwiana was a “thing”! I’ll be back to read more….

  7. 7 Celeritas October 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Can New Zealanders who aren’t part of your group join?

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