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French Macaroon_EDITStrand yarn was developed in the 1990s by Ruth Mary and Neville Beach in con­sulta­tion with the New Zea­l­and Wool Research Insti­tute as an embroid­ery yarn. They had been run­ning Angora goats on their Ohariu Val­ley prop­erty and were look­ing for dif­fer­ent uses for their mohair fibre. Strand yarn is com­posed of 50 per­cent mohair and 50 per­cent wool. The mohair gives the yarn the lustre of silk and the wool its strength and bounce.

When I star­ted design­ing needle­point kit sets while at design school, I made the decision that I wanted to use a New Zea­l­and yarn. The fact that Strand yarn had a vibrancy that is lack­ing in impor­ted yarns, reflect­ing our dis­tinct­ive light, was an added bonus.

Fast-for­ward ten years, and the Beaches were approach­ing their 80s and look­ing to find a new home for the product. I didn’t want to see my favour­ite yarn dis­ap­pear, so I brought Strand into the Nancy’s Embroid­ery family.

Shortly after, I dis­covered that people were knit­ting and crochet­ing with Strand yarn, so in con­junc­tion with the world­wide resur­gence of interest in these crafts I have intro­duced 25g balls. The yarn knits as a three-ply, and is per­fect for baby items and col­our­ful accessor­ies (there are more than 170 dif­fer­ent col­ours in the range).

It was excit­ing in 2011 to organ­ise a new spin. The mohair came from Ohuka Farms in Auck­land, and the Cor­riedale wool from Tyntes­field Sta­tion in Marl­bor­ough. The fibres are sent to Design Spun in Hawke’s Bay, where they are spun to very par­tic­u­lar spe­cific­a­tions. Here in Wel­ling­ton, some of the res­ult­ing yarn is then hand-dyed in smal­ler quant­it­ies for the embroid­ery skeins and com­mer­cially dyed in lar­ger quant­it­ies at Wool­yarns in Naenae. Both dye­ing pro­cesses use the exhaust meth­od, which means that the water is clean at the end of the process.

Last year, inspired by the beau­ti­ful Soph­ie Digard scarves at Ves­sel in Vic­tor­ia Street and with the aim of high­light­ing the many col­ours of Strand yarns, I spent quite some time design­ing the French Macar­on scarf seen here. For a soft, drapey effect, I com­bined the Strand col­ours with Zeal­ana Air in lace weight.

In April, we moved into a new shop and as part of the interi­or design we have used lamp­shades covered with a stitch tech­nique that sign­posts the rel­ev­ant area. French Macar­on polka dots in our new col­ours with white Strand yarn look fresh and inter­est­ing at the new shop, Nancy’s Stitch Stu­dio at 261 Thorndon Quay.


French Macaron Scarf



  • Main col­our: 2 balls Zeal­ana Air Lace Charcoal
  • Macar­on col­ours: 3 × Strand 10m skeins of Puka Pea­cock 392 and 395, Miro Olive 153 and 155, Titoki Pink 492 and 494, Tainui Yel­low 453, Titoki Gold 484, Dark Rata Red 385 and 386, and Ngaio Viol­et 175
  • 3mm crochet hook


13 × 125cm (3 × 22 macarons)

Abbreviations (UK)

ch, chain; dc, double crochet (= single crochet in US ter­min­o­logy); sl st, slip stitch; st(s), stitch(es)


Round 1 (macaron):

Using one of the macar­on col­ours, 4 ch, sl st into 1st ch to form a ring, 30 dc (approx.) into ring, turn­ing as you go. Fasten off when you have made a 2cm macar­on or the size you would like.

Round 2:

Join main col­our. 1 ch, *1 dc into next st, 2 dc into next st, repeat from * to end of round, fin­ish­ing with 1 dc into st where main col­our was joined.

Round 3:

Con­tin­ue work­ing in a spir­al. *1 dc into next st, 1 dc into next st, 2 dc into next st, repeat from * until end of round.

Round 4:

Con­tin­ue work­ing in a spir­al. *1 dc into next st, 1 dc into next st, 1 dc into next st, 2 dc into next st, repeat from * until end of round, then fasten off.


Repeat 65 more times with dif­fer­ent macar­on col­ours, then plan your layout.



With main col­our, join two macar­ons with wrong side facing with 5 dc, con­tin­ue dc around middle motif until in pos­i­tion to join third motif with 5 dc, then fasten off. When you have joined a second row of three macar­ons togeth­er, don’t fasten off but con­tin­ue around the third macar­on until you are in pos­i­tion to join the first row. Join with 5 dc, then con­tin­ue to middle macar­ons and repeat 5 dc to join them, and so on for the side macar­ons. Con­tin­ue mak­ing rows and join­ing up the scarf until it is complete.

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