Sunspun Fine Yarns

Product of the Month – July 2016

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It feels like we’re picking all our favourites for products of the month lately, and July is no exception. Please welcome Shilasdair Luxury, which can be purchased with a 10% discount (20% for Sunspun members) all month long. We are so pleased to be the only shop in Australia to carry these exquisite beauties and treasure our ongoing association with Shilasdair.

From the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland, Shilasdair is one of those yarns that carries its provenance with every skein, with a yarn palette inspired by the colours of wild Scotland and the Scottish Highlands. Traditionally dyed by Eva Lambert from natural materials such as tansy, meadowsweet, madder and indigo, and with colours such as Wild Mushroom, Autumn Leaves, Hawthorn and Foxglove, is there a yarn with more romance?

The fingering-weight (4ply) Luxury is a blend of cashmere, baby camel, angora and lambswool. Each 50 g skein carries about 200 metres, and the fabric is at its best when knit on 3 to 3.5 mm needles. Swatch, wash and assess.

The yarn can shed a little when you knit with it, and some of the colour can rub off too. If you’re using it for colourwork, Karen, who loves Shilasdair, suggests adding a little vinegar to the blocking water to help set the colour. As with all hand-dyed yarns, buy enough for your project, because the colours are often totally different from dyelot to dyelot.

Given the cashmere and angora in the blend, you can imagine how warm the fabric is. This is a yarn that blooms and softens the more you wear it, with a slight halo, so use it for making items in timeless styles that will endure and can be passed on.

We have a much admired Carpino sample instore, a classic lace jumper in Tansy Gold.

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Karyn has also made a sweet Violet Bonnet by Melissa LaBarre in A Fleece Cloud colourway for Nicole’s baby.

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Frozen Silver Sweater by Suvi Simola is one of those timeless sweaters that you will reach for time and again, with a simple textured bodice front and back, and a choice of contrast ribbing for a bit of fun.

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The pine-cone lace in this Pomme de pin cardigan will bloom beautifully in Shilasdair, and the cardigan will be very warm too, because of the yarn blends.

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The utterly complementary colours Shilasdair comes in make them a natural candidate for colour work, from their subtle heathers to gentle variegations. Kate Davies’ Ursula Cardigan calls for Jamieson & Smith yarns, but you can use Shilasdair in its place. This cardigan is knit in the round from the bottom up, and steeks are cut for the front and arm openings – perfect for those who are looking to extend their knitting chops.

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Source: Kate Davies Designs

Túngata Cowl by Stephen West is reversible and worked in the round using three colours. Both sides are geometric, graphic and the results can be as dramatic as you want, depending on how contrasting the colours you choose are.

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The original Soumak Scarf Wrap calls for Rowan Fine Tweed, but we can see this working with different colour stories using Shilasdair. The seamless scarf is large and versatile, and the slipped stitches and colours keep the knitting interesting. Extended, this would make a fabulous blanket too.

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Finally, we cannot let a Scottish yarn slip by without featuring a hap! Montbretia is a beauty knitted in short rows, bobbles and welts, and makes good use of dramatic colour. The pattern is from The Book of Haps, which features 13 patterns by Kate Davies, Jen Arnall-Culliford and other renowned designers, which has enough patterns in it for a few years’ worth of shawls and wraps.

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Do give Shilasdair a try in July and decide for yourself what the fuss has been about!

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