Kaka Hap

I was going fairly strong on cold-sheeping for a year. Then disaster struck: Kate Davies released a new book of patterns.

The marketing of the Book of Haps was masterful. Collaborators Kate Davies and Jen Arnall-Culliford opened up pre-orders and then released a preview of a pattern a day, building interest, creating an ardent following and ultimately making the book irresistible.

So I bought it.

That in and of itself wasn’t strong enough to break my cold-sheeping resolve. Enter the delightful enabler Katherine from Fiber and Sustenance. Katherine is the girlfriend of an old friend of mine, who is visiting from the States. She likes knitting and beer and food and we were pretty much instant friends.

Friiiiiiends. Photo: Fiber & Sustenance

Almost as quickly, we decided that we would do a KAL for the amazingly creative Nut Hap, taking our inspiration from New Zealand birds and using New Zealand yarn.

And that’s how I was broken from cold sheeping.

Lone Kaka

The kākā photos are from digitaltrails, who has many more awesome bird and wildlife photos of their Flckr page – check it out.

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My bird is the kākā (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis). When I left Wellington eight years ago, you could only really find kākā in the wildlife sanctuary, Zealandia. Kākā had been wiped out in the Wellington region in the early twentieth century and pests like possums had kept them out. In 2002, Zealandia created a pest-free zone in Karori and gradually began re-introducing kākā.

I didn’t realise quite how successful Zealandia had been until I started my internship at the Wellington Botanic Garden. On my first day, as I walked up to the top of the hill, I was startled as a large brown bird with a flash of orange under its wings swooped across the path.

That looked like a kākā! I thought to myself. I cannot believe I just saw a kākā! It was amazing.

Then I rounded the corner and there was a whole flock of them on the grass, just chilling out. Much excitement ensued.

Turns out, Zealandia has done an amazing job of re-establishing kākā – so much so that ingrates in Wellington are complaining there are too many! They can be rather destructive birds; they are, after all, from the parrot family and that strong curved beak is designed to tear, shred and generally cause havoc.

But they are also cheeky, brave, endearing and utterly gorgeous – perfect inspiration for a New Zealand version of the Nut Hap.

Young Kaka minded by parents.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Katherine is taking the Kingfisher as her inspiration (read about it here). We’re both using Ashford 8 ply Tekapo, a rather woolly, very springy yarn that is grown, prepared and spun in New Zealand.

My Kākā Hap swatch in Ashford Tekapo 8ply in shades from top to bottom: Natural White, Mustard, Ochre, 217, and 209

My Kākā Hap swatch in Ashford Tekapo 8ply in shades from top to bottom: Natural White, Mustard, Ochre, 217, and 209

And now I’m off to finish casting on!

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