Sunspun Fine Yarns


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July at Sunspun

July sees us right in the heart of an Aussie winter. Now we don’t have snow here in Melbourne (sadly some of us may think!!) but let’s just pretend, for the length of this newsletter, that we do! And if you are in the Dandenongs or some regional areas of Victoria then you most certainly just had a wee amount of snow.

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So settle in, read on and let us tell you more about what’s on in July at Sunspun.

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn just keeps going from strength to strength. You can see the July dates in the table below. Don’t forget this free group is open to all, just remember we have had to cap the number each Friday to 10 to be able to accommodate everyone around the table. Some lovely friendships have already been made and new people are joining in!

Term 3 classes have started. We have some fabulous classes for you during July, including a new Knitting Clinic so you can get some help to finish off those projects that have been sitting in the ‘too hard’ basket just waiting for some loving attention. Don’t forget the ‘oldies but goodies’ on the calendar as well! To help you entertain your small people in the school holidays we have the second of our new kids knitting classes – Knitting Skills Extended – for those who are familiar with the basics. Adele is our teacher (you can read her bio here) and we would like to assure you that she has a current Working With Children Check. Just give us a call at the shop (9830 1609, Mon – Sat 10am-5pm) and we can answer any queries you may have as to class content and each one’s suitability for you or your children. Don’t forget our adult classes are now conducted on Tuesday nights. Children’s classes are on Thursday during the morning. Our private classes are proving to be very popular and allowing many customers to have personalised help with their knitting and crochet dilemmas. All the info is on our classes page.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for July is the very lovely Shilasdair yarn – Luxury 4ply. This beautiful Scottish yarn is from the Isle of Skye and has been a customer favourite for a ‘wee’ while. It is a 4ply (Fingering), 40% merino lambswool/40% angora/10% baby camel/10% cashmere yarn. Truly exotic!! It is hand dyed with beautiful natural dyes and comes with very generous meterage on the skein. It’s perfect for jumpers, cardigans and accessories – we have some samples knit up for you to see it ‘in action’. Our upcoming blog post will tell you more. A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

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A lot of us may only get as close to snow as a pretty snow globe this winter!

This year we want to showcase the talents of some very skilled people in our community. Kirsten Johnstone joins us again in July for the launch of her new mini collection, Kei, for Woolfolk. The garments and accessories will be in the shop on Friday/Saturday 8th/9th July for you to see and Kirsten will be in the shop on Saturday 9th July from 11.30 – 3.30pm to chat and help. Come along and say hi. All the details are on the blog.

We are very fortunate to have the lovely Clare Devine as a staff member. Did you know that Clare is a very talented designer and has a very devoted worldwide fan base? Towards the end of July and running into August we are soooo looking forward to being able to share many of these designs with you in a Trunk Show. We will be following our usual trunk show format and having a Sunspun Members’ Meet, Greet and Nibbles Night (with fashion parade) on Friday 29th July (by invitation only) with Clare’s knitted samples in the shop throughout the following week. More info on this later in a separate newsletter and blog post. If you are a sock and hat lover be prepared to swoon!!!

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In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, our new monthly discussion threads for you to participate in continue. The first is centred around garments – each month we feature a new garment and ask you to share past or current projects. The second is more general and talks about yarns, colours, shapes, etc. Lots for everyone! For July, our garment focus is sweaters and in the ‘other’ thread we will be chatting about the kinds of sweaters you like to make – pullovers, cardigans, vests, oversized, fitted, lightweight or thick and snuggly – so jump on in and tell us what you like! And don’t forget to share your show and tell by using the ‘Share with Group’ box on the project page for each of your projects. You will notice lots of folk have already been sharing with us. To show everyone how clever you are we will be posting a selection of these projects to our Facebook Page once a week (if you don’t want us to share your happy snaps just let us know in this ravelry thread).

So, that’s July. A month to learn, shop, share and dream about snow while Mother Nature sends us a lovely cold winter just right for our knitted woollies.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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June at Sunspun

June is a very exciting month!  Why?  Because Winter is here!!  All that wonderful, head clearing cold air!!  And firesides, and knitting, and hot soups, and knitting, and hot chocolates, and knitting ……..
So, grab a hot beverage, read on and let us tell you more about what’s on in June at Sunspun.

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn just keeps going from strength to strength.  You can see the June dates in the table below.  Don’t forget this free group is open to all, just remember we have had to cap the number each Friday to 10 to be able to accommodate everyone around the table. Some lovely friendships have already been made!

Term 2 classes have started.  We have some fabulous classes for you during June, including a new one for all the crocheters – How to Join Crocheted Motifs – so you will know how to put all those granny squares and other shapes together.  Don’t forget the ‘oldies but goodies’ on the calendar as well! Towards the end of the month school holidays start.  To help you entertain your small people we have scheduled two kids knitting classes – Learn How to Knit for complete beginners and Knitting Skills Extended for those who are familiar with the basics.  Adele is our teacher (you can read her bio here) and we would like to assure you that she has a current Working With Children Check.  Just give us a call at the shop (9830 1609, Mon – Sat 10am-5pm) and we can answer any queries you may have as to class content and each one’s suitability for you or your children. Don’t forget our adult classes are now conducted on Tuesday nights. Children’s classes are on Thursday during the morning.  All the info is on our classes page.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for June is the very lovely Zealana yarn – Tui.  This wonderful yarn is a 12ply (Bulky), 75% merino/15% cashmere/15% possum yarn.  It is very warm with a slight halo – perfect for jumpers, cardigans and scarves – and comes in some lovely colours.  A great chance to try some possum yarn – so warm and toasty. Our upcoming blog post will tell you more.  A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

As you know, we have a Sunspun Members loyalty programme that allows Members to receive discounts on all their purchases.  In a previous blog post we explained how it all works and let you know that we would be including some special members events this year.  Well, it’s time for another one!  We would like to invite all members to the shop for a special members only shopping day – Sunday 5th June.  As we have many members in country Victoria and interstate, special consideration will be given for you as well!  All the details have been sent out to members in a separate email.  If you  are a member and haven’t received your email invitation to this fabulous event just let us know.

As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you. We know it is not possible for you all to attend classes in the shop and so the YouTube channel is our way of making our knowledge accessible to all our customers. This month we have a couple of buttonhole techniques for you – an eyelet buttonhole and a one row horizontal buttonhole. Great timing as we move into cardigan knitting weather!  Jump over to our channel every now and then to check out our video offerings.

In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, our new monthly discussion threads for you to participate in continue. The first is centred around garments – each month we feature a new garment and ask you to share past or current projects.  The second is more general and talks about yarns, colours, shapes, etc.  Lots for everyone!  For June, our garment focus is shawls and in the ‘other’ thread we will be chatting about the shapes of shawls you like to make – asymmetric, crescent, triangular or rectangular, etc, so jump on in and tell us what you like! And don’t forget to share your show and tell by using the ‘Share with Group’ box on the project page for each of your projects.  You will notice lots of folk have already been sharing with us.  To show everyone how clever you are we will be posting a selection of these projects to our Facebook Page once a week (if you don’t want us to share your happy snaps just let us know in this ravelry thread).

Saturday 18th June is World Wide Knit in Public Day. It began in 2005 and has been an annual event ever since.  Knit in Public Day is really about showing the general public that knitting can be a community activity in a very distinct way.  Later in the month we will publish a blog post to tell you more about it.  How will you spend this fun day????

And lastly, but importantly, we will be closed Monday 13th June for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.  We will re-open on Tuesday 14th June as usual.

So, that’s June.  A month to learn, shop, share and snuggle inside with your yarn while Mother Nature sends us a lovely cold winter.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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May at Sunspun

May is a very special month! Why? Well let’s list the reasons – the weather is getting ever colder and the days shorter and providing more knitting/crocheting time, we have lots of great classes for you, a fabulous new Product of the Month and more …….

Oh ….. and, of course, May means Mother’s Day! Yippee!

So, read on and let us tell you more about what’s on in May at Sunspun.

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Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn just keeps going from strength to strength. You can see the May dates in the table below. Don’t forget this free group is open to all, just remember we have had to cap the number each Friday to 10 to be able to accommodate everyone around the table.

Term 2 classes have started. We have some fabulous classes for you during May, including two new ones – Your Measurements, Your Sweater (a design and fit class) and Portuguese Style Knitting. Don’t forget the ‘oldies but goodies’ on the calendar as well! And there is one, Blossom Scarf, for all the crochet enthusiasts! We are eager to help you expand your knitting and crochet skills and have a good selection of techniques for you to try. Just give us a call at the shop (9830 1609, Mon – Sat 10am-5pm) and we can answer any queries you may have as to class content and each one’s suitability for you. Don’t forget our classes are now conducted on Tuesday nights, we hope this allows additional customers access to educational opportunities.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for May is the very lovely Danish yarn – Isager Aplaca 2. This beautiful yarn is a 4ply (Fingering), 50% wool/50% alpaca yarn. It is soft and drapey – perfect for cowls, scarves, shawls and garments. In fact, we have some of these things made up as samples in the shop for you to see the yarn ‘in action’! Common and frequent customer comments about it praise its softness and incredible colour palette. Colour is something the gals at Isager are extremely good at. And we have pattern leaflets and books from Isager that will sorely tempt you! Our blog post will tell you more. A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

May means Mother’s Day. Such a special day for us all. A day to celebrate the Mother that we have and the Mother that we are. We have a Mother’s Day display in the shop, giving you ideas about what to make for a special Mum who loves her hand knits and crochet items. Some are simple, some are quick and some just that little bit luxurious. And, of course, some special ‘pamper’ items like beautiful handmade soap, hand cream, chocolate and tea! Those special things that say – in a ‘yarny and yummy way’ ………..

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As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you. We know it is not possible for you all to attend classes in the shop and so the YouTube channel is our way of making our knowledge accessible to all our customers. This month we have a couple of ‘must know’ techniques – the best way to Pick Up and Knit Stitches and How to Pick Up the Wrap when you are wrapping and turning for short rows.

In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, we have started a couple of new monthly discussion threads for you to participate in. The first is centred around garments – each month we will feature a new garment and ask you to share past or current projects. The second will be more general and talk about yarns, colours, shapes, etc. Lots for everyone! For May, our garment focus is socks and in the ‘other’ thread we will be chatting about the kinds of socks you like to make – plain, patterned, stripes, etc, so jump on in and tell us what you like! And don’t forget to share your show and tell by using the ‘Share with Group’ box on the project page for each of your projects. You will notice lots of folk have already been sharing with us. To show everyone how clever you are we will be posting a selection of these projects to our Facebook Page once a week (if you don’t want us to share your happy snaps just let us know in this ravelry thread).

And lastly, but importantly, we have a new staff member – Clare. Be sure to stop by on a Monday and say ‘hi and welcome’ to her. We know she will say ‘hi’ back!!!

So, that’s May. A month to learn, shop, share and celebrate the special ‘Mum’ in your life.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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Brioche-mania

 

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Source: Brioche Scarf, Purl Soho

Once in a while in the knitting world comes along a pattern or style that catches fire, when it seems everyone is making or has made one of it. I’m looking at you, Clapotis, Hitchhiker, Featherweight Cardigan, Honey Cowl, Turn a Square and so on. If social media can be considered any measure of popularity, brioche stitch still has its hold on garments this year; there are exquisite knitted items around on Ravelry and Instagram, and also in the knitwear in the shops for the southern-hemisphere winter.

To demystify this versatile stitch and to inspire, we are running a single-colour brioche class on 12 April at the store. This is one stitch that is much easier shown than learnt from from a book; there are all sorts of little tips and tricks with it that come hard won from experience – and Sue’s the one to explain them to you. Just call (03) 9830 1609 or email shop@sunspun.com.au to book your place.

Brioche actually refers to a family of ribbed patterned stitches that feature slipped stitches and yarn overs knitted or purled together. Among its many variations are waffle, honeycomb, Tunisian and Estonian stitches. (And yes, its name does hark back, according to some sources, to the famous French cake.) Some stitches are formed by knitting one, then knitting the stitch below (or purling one, then purling the one below), which produces the same result, often called Fisherman’s Rib or English Rib.

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Source: stitchpiecenpurl.com

It takes two rows to complete a single row of brioche knitting since half the stitches are slipped on one round, then knitted or purled on the next. As in regular stocking/stockinette stitch, stockinette brioche stitch works all the right-side stitches as a brk – called bark stitch, or brioche knit stitch – and the wrong side as a brp – called burp, or brioche purl stitch. You can work the stitch as you do your regular knitting, making increases and decreases into the pattern and so on.

The result is a fabric of double thickness, warmth and elasticity. It is usually reversible too.

Because of its elasticity, gauge is so important with brioche, so knit a generous-sized swatch. You need to cast on and bind off very loosely with brioche because of the stretch. You may find you need to go down a needle size or two to get a fabric you like, depending on how tightly or loosely you knit, and use your swatch to ascertain how hard you want to block the finished item. To minimize flare in items that are knitted flat, you may want to start and finish each row with two sets of K1, P1 for a sturdier edge.

Nancy Marchant, an authority on all things brioche, recommends working with non-superwash wool, and not using slippery yarns such as alpaca and silk, since brioche knitting has a tendency to grow lengthwise.

If you’ve never tried brioche before, be patient until you get the hang of it. It can take a few rows (about 5 to 6) before the pattern be easily read. The occasional lifeline when you’re working with large stitch counts may not be a bad idea. When counting, remember that yarnovers are not included in the stitch count: as Marchant says, think of the slip one, yarn-over stitch ‘as a stitch with a shawl over its shoulders’.

The thicker your yarn and the larger your needles, the lighter and fluffier your knitting will be: brioche stitches look crisp and pop so well. And once you get the hang of it, there’s a satisfying rhythm to the knitting, and heaps of fun to be had with colours.

51R9MSVX98LElizabeth Zimmerman called brioche ‘Prime Rib’ in her books, and her matchless The Opinionated Knitter gives the pattern for a sweater, and a watch cap that ‘my husband calls Tamerlane, my daughters très Dior, and which my son and I just wear for warmth’. Here’s the pattern: ‘With #11 needles work 10” in Prime Rib, then 4 rows in K1, P1 rib. Next row, sl 1, K1, psso across. P1 row, K1 row. Thread yarn through st, and draw tight. Sew up. Try on.’ How’s that for concision?

For Purl Soho’s Brioche Scarf (pictured above), pick the lushest, loftiest wool you can lay your hands on. Our Zealana Heron or Cascade yarns would make beautiful, light pieces that squish satisfyingly.

This chunky, fluffy cowl or moebius from L’Oisive Thé is an easy beginner’s piece to work up, as it is knitted flat and seamed together, ideal for that single skein of speckled or variegated yarn.

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This Colour-dipped Hat is knitted in Fisherman’s Rib (the knit-below version of brioche), and comes in sizing from baby to adult.

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Source: Purl Soho

For coziness without too much bulk, Christelle Nihoul’s Lagertha cardigan confines the brioche to the neck and button tab. You can see that brioche lends itself well to cabling. It’s knit top down, so you can try and tweak as you go.

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Source: Christal LK

I recently finished the saddle-shouldered Oshima for the shop. The pattern was such a pleasure to knit in Zealana Heron, it was worth knitting slowly just to properly experience it all. The details in the sweater make use of brioche properties: a tubular cast on and sewn cast off for maximum stretch; and sleeve, shoulder and cowl decreases and increases that dovetail into the pattern (check out the back to see what I mean). The squish in the fabric is unbelievable.

If you’re after a challenge, Nancy Marchant has created a damask fabric for this reversible cowl, which is knit in the round. As you can see, what effects you can create in stocking stitch, you can do in brioche too. Both sides will have a different dominant colour, and there are some sumptuous colour matches on Ravelry to inspire and tempt.

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It would be remiss to speak of things brioche and not mention Stephen West, whose creations are fun itself. His Bundled in Brioche collection offers eleven patterns, including the instant heirloom Briochevron Blanket, and this sumptuous cowl and scarf.

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Source: westknits

Do come and join us next week if you can, and see the wonderful world this new suite of stitches opens up.


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April at Sunspun

Well knitting weather is certainly here and you have been visiting the shop to restock – or add to – your stash (you know which category you fit into!!).  It is lovely say “hello again” or “welcome back” and help you plan your next project.  New patterns and books are arriving in the shop as we gear up to make sure we have all the necessary supplies to see you through the cooler and colder months to come.  So grab your yarn and needles/hooks and a ‘beverage of choice’ and find out what we have for you in April.

 

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn has become sooooo popular and some wonderful friendships have been made.  You can see the April dates in the table below.  Don’t forget this free group is open to all – however, we have decided to cap the number of attendees each week to ten.  Our table just can’t accommodate any more people comfortably and still leave room for staff and customers to move around the shop.  Since we don’t want to lock you into a regular commitment we aren’t taking names for each Friday – just rock up and grab a chair till all ten are full. We have some flyers from our local Booroondara Council detailing knitting groups that are held in the Libraries in our area.  Feel free to ask us for one – you may find a group that suits your availability to a tee!  Additionally, check out your own local council – most areas have knitting groups already established.

Term 2 classes swing into action in April.  We have some fabulous new classes for you as well as some oldies but goodies!  We are eager to help you expand your knitting and crochet skills and have a good selection of techniques for you to try.  Just give us a call at the shop (9830 1609, Mon – Sat 10am-5pm) and we can answer any queries you may have as to class content and your suitability for each one.  In the past, our classes have been run on Wednesday nights.  Term 2 sees them moved to Tuesday nights.  We hope this doesn’t cause too much inconvenience and that it allows additional customers access to educational opportunities.

The shop will be CLOSED on Monday 25th April for Anzac Day. We will OPEN again on Tuesday 26th April at 10am.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month!  The highlighted product for April is the very lovely Milla Mia 5ply.  This beautiful yarn is a 5ply (Sport), 100% merino wool yarn.  It is so very soft – perfect for cowls, scarves, shawls, baby garments and all those ‘wear next to your skin’ projects.  An upcoming blog post will tell you more and we have some items made up in the shop for you to see this lovely yarn ‘in action’.  Sadly, Milla Mia will no longer be available to us wholesale (you will be only able to get it through an international online shop) so what we have left is all we can get!  If you love this yarn, and we know many of you do, now is your opportunity to grab some at a reduced price.  A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

Annnnnd ……. WE HAVE MORE NEW YARNS!!!!  We will just give you the short version here because we will feature some of them in upcoming blog posts.

  • White Gum Wool – a gorgeously soft Australian yarn – we have the entire range of 4ply colours.  We knitted one ball into a sample for you to feel and it just went on forever!!
  • Orkney Angora – it has to be felt to be believed – an 8ply yarn, 80% angora/20% wool (angora from ethically and humanely treated rabbits) in many colours from the Orkney Islands.  Mmmmm…..

You will notice some new faces behind the counter over the coming weeks.  Karyn (not to be confused with Karen – lol, we still haven’t been able to figure out an appropriate way to stop them both answering ‘yes’ at the same time!!!) has been one of our extraordinary sample knitters for quite a while – you will notice her work all around the shop.  She has great technical ability and isn’t afraid to tweak a pattern!  Adele is particularly adept at colour work and is also joining the teaching crew – she will be introducing Kids Holiday Knitting Classes for us during this term. You can find out more about them on the Classes page on the website. Bex has been a customer for quite some time and always has a project or two on her needles.

As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you – this month is ‘garter stitch’ month.  Learn how to graft (Kitchener Stitch) in garter stitch and how to use a double ended crochet hook (available in the shop) to easily and quickly pick up those dropped garter stitches.

In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, we are starting a couple of new monthly discussion threads for you to participate in.  The first is centred around garments – each month we will feature a new garment and ask you to share past or current projects.  The second will be more general and talk about yarns, colours, shapes, etc.  Lots for everyone!  And don’t forget to share your show and tell by using the ‘Share with Group’ box on the project page for each of your projects.  You will notice lots of folk have already been sharing with us.  Click on the pics and see some really lovely items.

                       

Wow!  Did your ‘beverage of choice’ last through all that? No – then grab another and start knitting/crocheting those ‘yarny’ projects that warm us both inside and out.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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Class List Term 2, 2016

We know a lot of you have been keenly waiting for it, so we’re very pleased to release our class list for Term 2.  We have some exciting new classes for you (look for the * in the schedule) and, of course, we will be re-scheduling all those you already know and love!  We have changed the day of the week the classes will run on – classes will now occur on Tuesday nights from 6.15pm – 9.15pm.

This term sees the introduction of our new Fit Your Knit series – a series of classes designed to help you learn about your body shape, create patterns specifically to your measurements, customise commercial patterns from other designers for fit and to re-gauge patterns for different yarn weights.  Watch out for them over the coming terms.

Also new to this term – Kids Holiday classes.  Run on Thursdays in the school holidays (June/July), kids (aged 7+ years old) can learn to knit or increase their knitting skills.  These classes will be 2 hours long and are scheduled for 11am – 1pm.  Are there budding knitters in your household?!?!

The Term 2 schedule is shown below and a full description of each class can be found on our website here.

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We would like to introduce you to a new ‘in-house’ teacher – Adele.  You will see her behind the counter as well so be sure to say hello.  Adele will be teaching our Kids classes.  You can read more about her (and our other teachers) here.

If you have any questions or queries please email us (shop@sunspun.com.au) or give us a call (03 9830 1609).

Happy ‘yarny education’
Karen.


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March at Sunspun

It’s Autumn!! You know what that means – cooler weather is coming. The days are getting shorter, we are spending more time inside with our knitting and crochet warming our laps and keeping our hands extra busy and our spirits are soothed by the yarn running through our fingers.

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March is another busy month for us – lol, they all seem busy! We have our regular Friday Sit & Yarn – it is becoming sooooo popular and some wonderful friendships are being made. It is quite on the cards that we may even have our first baby born this month (the due date is early April but you know babies – their schedule is all their own!). Don’t forget this group is open to all. You can see the dates in the table below.

Wednesday nights sees more classes happening – including a class taught by our special guest teacher, Australian Designer extraordinaire, Kirsten Johnstone. Kirsten proudly flies the banner for Aussie designers internationally and has designed for some of the most popular yarn companies and magazines around today. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to have her garments in the shop for a Trunk Show. As well as teaching for us, Kirsten will participate in an (invitation only) Meet, Greet & Nibbles night for Sunspun Members and will also be in the shop to meet you all, answer questions and watch you try on her lovely garments! All the details can be found on our blog.

This year Easter has come early. We will have a display in the shop of some ‘Easter’ inspiration for you. The shop will be CLOSED from Good Friday through to Easter Monday and will OPEN again on Tuesday 29th March. We will remind you closer to the date.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for March is the exquisitely soft Baby Alpaca by Shibui Yarns. This beautiful yarn is an 8ply (DK), 100% baby alpaca yarn. It is so very soft – perfect for cowls, scarves and shawls. An upcoming blog post will tell you more and we have some items made up in the shop for you to see, touch and try on. A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

Annnnnd ……. WE HAVE NEW YARNS!!!!

We will just give you the short version here because we will feature some of them in upcoming blog posts.

Zealana Rimu (8ply/DK) and Zealana Tui (12ply/Bulky) – both yarns are wool/possum blends
Shibui Maai (8ply/DK) alpaca/wool blend, chainette yarn
Woolfolk yarns – ALL of them!

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As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you and our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, has new discussion threads for you to participate in.

Phew! Did you need a cuppa to get through all that?!?!? Well, save your energy for March because Sunspun will be ‘hopping’ (pun intended!!).

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.