Sunspun Fine Yarns


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The Finish Line

We’ve had a slew of finished items come our way recently, and thought we’d share them with you.

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One of our lovely customers Claire brought in a finished Denali from Brooklyn Tweed’s Men, which she made for her son. The jumper by Norah Gaughan has come up so well in Debbie Bliss’ Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran: the syncopated cables on the front and back and the stocking-stitch sleeves give the sweater a neat, modern finish. One worth queuing for a loved one.

Another finished object we have to share is Faye’s utterly stunning Isager Spring sweater, made in Isager Spinni. Isn’t it so beautifully realised?

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This is a sister knit to Winter, which we’ve featured before. Both are lightweight, drape like a dream, and look like fun to make.

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Remember picture knits? We love this bold, beautiful cocky another of our customers made from Liz Gemmell’s Woolly Jumpers.

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One of Karen’s recent finishes is Romi Hill’s Zephyr Cove Shawl, an asymmetrical shawl with short rows, garter stitch and a picot edging, which she made in Colinette Jitterbug. The garter stitch makes this a ‘springy, squishy shawl’, and she has this advice for yarn choices if you’re planning to make one: choose one that is not too tightly spun, since the lace edging wouldn’t block as well.

ZephyrCove

Nicole has been hugely prolific, and among one of her recent stunning finishes is a Featherweight cardigan in the luxurious Skein, in a silk/merino blend. The colour, the fit and the finish are perfect.

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For a quick one, her colourwork hat uses small skeins of natural-dyed yarns from The Craft Sessions, worked back with Shilasdair Luxury 4 ply. Such a lovely palette.

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I recently took Sibella away with me and came home five weeks later with a finished cardigan (though I’m still deciding on buttons). This is probably one of the most satisfying knits I’ve ever made, and the perfect road project. Perhaps it was being on the road and therefore the imposed project monogamy, but I didn’t get stuck in sleeve-land either – a miracle! I used the fingering-weight Ton of Wool Four Cormo for this, and the fabric is gorgeous, springy and light; the finished cardi weighs about 258 grams.

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Whether you’re a process knitter or one who’s focused on the end product, there is an undeniable pleasure in finishing, even if it’s for the lessons learnt on what not to do. Do keep stopping by and showing us what you’ve done recently; we love hearing the stories behind the knits.

PS: Not that you’d need reminding of the benefits of crafting, but this is too good not to share: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/


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Weathering Winter

Have you noticed the days are starting to get just a little longer? The bulbs are popping, and more than a few magnolias around are budding too – oh, the promise and the anticipation! IMG_5765 But while it’s still cold enough, here are some quick ideas for items you can whip up and wear before the weather changes. If you’ve ever knitted an Olgajazzy pattern, you’d know they are impeccably thought through and well constructed. This textured Reimei cowl would be perfect in two high-contrast Cascade 220 colours. reimei1_medium2

Source: Olgajazzy

If you have a baby to knit for, here’s a wonderful little hoodie that will use up some of those DK leftovers hanging around. (Or make it in a solid, or colour-block it.) IMG_1991copy_medium2

Source: Undone57 on Ravelry

Have the bigger kids lost their winter hats again? Lucky Maria Carlander’s Little Scallops knits up in no time. (Make a few spares while you’re at it for gifts.) dsc_1270_medium

Source: Maria Carlander

This luxurious scarf/wrap, Simple Lines by Temple of Knit, would be divine in Shibui Pebble, and keep you warm as it grows too. simplelines-2

Source: Temple of Knit

Woolful have a new podcast up – perfect for when you’re driving around, knitting or waiting for the kids to finish their swim/football/dance class. Lovers of colour who live in Melbourne need to get themselves to Heide to admire the geometric vibrancy of Melinda Harper’s work. A surefire cure for any winter blues. xl-HARPERMNKNUNTITLED220132

Source: Heide. Melinda Harper, Untitled 2013, oil on canvas.

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In store news, we have new samples! Here’s Camilla Babe, knit with five balls of Heron in the lichen colourway. 20150729-DSC_0796 The Dotted Rays shawl took three balls of Cima and Silk Cloud in the jumpsuit colourway. 20150721-DSC_0787 It looks like the Cascade 220 has been a hit with many of you. We’re pleased to report that more is on the way, including new colours. Finally, our first Sunday workshop is on this weekend, 2 August, from 10.30pm to 3.30pm with Karen, on knitting in the round. Don’t forget that our Wednesday evening classes are ongoing – next week’s class covers knitting tips and tricks. We hope to see you soon.


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Show & Tell (& Yarns on Sale)

For this short week, we thought we’d have a little show and tell.

Just in time for Easter, Amy’s finished the rattle for her daughter. You can see the finished bunny in action on Instagram @sunspunyarns – that bobtail is the cutest ever!

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Nicole is swatching with the new Noro Silk Garden Solo, which is the same silk–mohair–wool yarn base in single, subtle colourways.

image1I’ve just started on Helga Isager’s Siberia Anorak using the Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Isager ALJ yarns. Can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s all grown up; the yarns certainly work well together and the fabric is very squishy. It’ll be a warm one, this. Isager

Drop by and pick up your Easter supplies before we close on Friday (we reopen on Tuesday). We also have some yarns on sale – perfect for that holiday project.

Was  Now
Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk  $13.50  $7.00
Debbie Bliss Andes $14.95 $8.00
Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply  $12.95  $6.50
Jo Sharp Classic DK  $8.50  $4.50
Sublime Extra Fine Merino 4 ply  $12.50  $6.50
Louisa Harding Grace Hand Beaded  $22.00  $11.00
Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra  $11.50  $6.00

See you at the other end of the holidays. Have a safe one.


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Australian Story

Wool lovers know that Australian merino is among the finest yarns in the world, usually exported, and seldom made available for hand-knitting.

greenmill

Australian Country Spinners, owners of Cleckheaton, are changing the local hand-knitting game with their new yarn, Australian Superfine Merino, from sheep raised in a sustainable way.

The yarn is milled at the Wangaratta Woollen Mills in regional Victoria, and reboots an established and much loved brand. Cleckheaton have really gone to town to show how special this yarn is: in place of the more usual paper band is a letter-pressed swing tag with a ribbon that can be sewn as a label on your finished garment.

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There are 30 jewel-like colours in DK merino to choose from, and each ball is 65 g (more meterage means fewer joins, yay!). The yarn’s tightly plied structure gives terrific stitch definition, and it’s beautifully soft. More than a few customers who bought the yarn last week have said how much it reminds them of Zara yarns.

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We have kits of the booties and beanies at the shop, in different colour options, which come in their own project bags.

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And it’s great to see good pattern support too, with a wide selection of hard-copy pattern leaflets (also available as downloads) for accessories, and garments for babies, men, women and children.

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As the weather cools down by the day, it’s been lovely catching up with some of you when you drop by to stock up for autumn/winter knitting. We’re here to help with ideas and suggestions, so please do not hesitate to ask.

In store news, here are two recently finished one-skein projects: an utterly divine Hitchhiker, knit in Colinette Jitterbug.

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And a Dangling Conversation, a quick knit that uses just one skein of Shibui Linen.

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Tell us what’s on your needles, and share your finished projects with us on Instagram, @sunspunyarns.


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Love Stories

With Valentine’s Day but a heartbeat away, we thought we’d indulge in all things love, hearts and devotion. And yarn, of course. Always yarn.

window displayOur Valentine’s windows by Raynor.


#1 Love

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a crafty woman in possession of a sound mind must be in want of a yarn shop.

One day Amy was browsing and chatting in the shop when she found out it was up for sale. And so the former customer decided to take the plunge made her dreams – and every knitter’s – come true.

#2 Hearts

EZ heart

Trust the inimitable and mischievous Elizabeth Zimmerman to think of wearing your heart on your sleeve … This heart-motif bonnet started out as a heart-shaped elbow patch. Knitted in garter stitch, the heart is made by picking up the edge stitches and the hat finished with an i-cord border and ties.

You can find the ingenious Heart Hat from Knitting Workshop on Ravelry. Ours was knitted in cream Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and the heart is in Rowan Pure Wool Aran.

#3 Devotion

One of the loveliest things about knitting and crochet is the company we keep. Do you know that the Ravelry knitting and crochet website now has more than 5 million members worldwide?

If you haven’t signed up and hopped on, do go and have a look. This is one of the most useful, user-driven sites you can find online, and it’s free.

Ravelry is indispensable if you want to know more about yarn, tools and patterns, but it’s in a league of its own when you want to hear about others’ experiences with a pattern you plan to make. Just knowing, for instance, that the sleeves on a particular cardigan run long, or that a hat knits up tight no matter what yarn/needles you use can help you plan and learn from others’ experiences. You also get a chance to look at garments on real bodies as opposed to models, check out yarn substitutions and connect with like-minded souls in the forums.

And if you need a skein or 10 metres of yarn in a particular dye-lot to finish your project, odds are you’ll find a kind soul who can help.

So bravo Jessica, Carey, Mary-Heather, Sarah and Christina, for keeping the Ravelry show on the road.

#4 Inspiration

And we couldn’t do a post on love and hearts without mentioning some patterns on the theme. If you get started now, you’ll make it in time for 14 February. Here are two ideas by Martin Storey for Rowan Yarns:

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And a trio of cushions from Millamia, which are also available as print-outs in-store.

Spread_group_medium2If you prefer something small, Lucy from Attic24’s crochet hearts are very sweet. They can be used to embellish a gift or handmade card, turned into brooches or hair slides for the little ones, or make heaps and string them up into a bunting.

heartIn store news, a reminder that the Blossom Scarf kits are available. Post your pics on Instagram and tag us: @sunspunyarns. We’d love to see how you’re going!

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And here’s Jackie’s finished the warm, light and squishy Simple Sprinkle, which used five colours from the Tailored Strands Alpaca range.

Love and flowers to you!

 

 


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WIPs and FOs

A couple of weeks ago, we recapped our spring samples for you. This time, we thought we’d show you our personal FOs and WIPs! We’re always knitting here at Sunspun. Well, not actually in the shop- although that’s what everyone always thinks when you tell them you work in a yarn shop!- but in all those spare moments in the day… during lunch, on the train to and from work, at the traffic lights- you know how it is. For us, it goes on year-round, despite the heat, and that’s the sure sign of a die-hard knitter!

So here’s a taster of a few things we’ve finished recently or are currently working on…

Amy just finished Paige from Rowan 52, a big fuzzy jumper for next winter. Designed to be knitted holding 3 strands of Rowan Kidsilk Haze together, it makes for a super quick and easy knit, with some nice details, such as the lower back and those beautiful colours… This will be perfect for cold winter days and nights.

 

Paige

Paige

Paige

Paige

 

Jackie, our style girl, is always on the hunt for interesting twists and details and her current project certainly reflects that; she used the Camomille Shawl from our Amimono Collection 2010 as a springboard for her first shawl, omitting the stripes and holding a strand of Alpaca 1 and Spinni together throughout. She’s planning to knit until it is large enough (or her yarn runs out!) and then those little balls of Spinni colour will be used for a very sweet twist at the end. You’ll have to wait to see what she’s planning!

 

Jackie's first shawl

Jackie’s first shawl

 

Having recently felted one of her most favourite cardigans in Rowan Felted Tweed, Kylie is putting all her love for this gorgeous yarn into another version of the same design, Peasy, but with a touch of stranded colourwork. She’s modified a chart from one of the independent designers that we carry, Tin Can Knits, (but this time a free pattern, the  Clayoquot Beanie from their latest collection, Road Trip) and is knitting it with Carbon, Clay and Mineral. We hope this will make you as happy as the last one, Kylie!

 

Jumper

Kylie’s colourwork jumper

 

And Jules is currently knitting Docklight from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2104. In order to make a 10ply, she’s holding together 2 strands of our lovely naturally-dyed Shilasdair Luxury 4ply and is loving the squishy, warm fabric that it is making- hooray for fisherman’s rib! Like all of Julie Hoover’s designs, Docklight has some beautiful details, such as the neat tubular cast on, delicate lace motif and decreases that merge beautifully into the rib.

 

Docklight

Docklight

 

So that’s what is on our needles! How about you?!


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Shibui FOs

We’ve been busy getting to know our new Shibui yarns- and, as everyone know, the only way to do that is to knit with them! So here are the first of our finished objects from Shibui yarns…

First up is Kylie’s hat, her own design no less and one of a series that she’ll be releasing over the next few months:

Kylie's hat

Kylie’s hat

For this design, she used two Shibui yarns, Cima and Pebble, and knitted them held double on 3.5mm needles, ending up with a 6ply tension; for the cast-on and chevron highlights (and that gorgeous pompom!), she held together two strands of Cima in Jumpsuit and, for the body, a strand of Cima in Fjord and one of Pebble in Ivory.

One of the beautiful things about using more than two or more strands of Shibui (and other fine yarns) together is that you never know how the two yarns will work together- the combination is often quite different to both individual yarns! In the case of Kylie’s hat, the two strands of Cima, a smooth alpaca/ merino blend that feels quite light and drapey, resulted a surprisingly plump and bouncy fabric with lovely stitch clarity, whereas the combination of Cima and Pebble resulted in a super-comfy, lightweight hat with a subtle fuzzy halo.

 

Amy knitted up a Shibui design, the Cliff Hat from Shellie Anderson, in Pebble:

Amy's Cliff Hat

Amy’s Cliff Hat

This design uses 5 different shades of Pebble and Amy took inspiration from another knitter for her colours- we love Ravelry for so many reasons but especially for sharing all the awesome talent of others! The yarn is held double (two strands of the same colour) and knitted on a 2.75mm needle for the main colourwork body of the hat. Amy found the Pebble really lovely to work with and that the lightness and softness of the merino and cashmere content combined well with the strength of recycled silk to create a soft, lightweight hat with a nice little bloom after blocking.

 

Jules made the Georgia Vest from Cecily Glownik McDonald:

Georgia Vest

Jules’ Georgia Vest

This lovely design really needs a soft, supple fabric to allow the vest and its cowl neckline to drape properly and holding together one strand of Silk Cloud and one of Pebble (both in Ash) has definitely achieved that. The Pebble creates the structure for the garment, while the super-soft kid mohair and silk combo of Silk Cloud makes this lightweight (the garment only weighs 170gm) but incredibly warm and very snuggly!

 

And here is a sneak peak of Jackie’s beautifully neat little mitred squares that she is working using two strands of Pebble; they’ll be sewn together to make a beautiful, warm winter scarf/ wrap. Hurry up, Jackie- we can’t wait to see it finished!

Jackie's Squares Scarf

Jackie’s Squares Scarf

 

We’d love to see and hear what you’re planning with Shibui!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Works in progress

We’re in the midst of giving the shop a big overhaul and wanted to share some progress shots with you! Last weekend, the walls went from ochre and turquoise to a soft dove-grey…

July 2013

July 2013

March 2014

March 2014

We were a little sad that our lighting and new shelving didn’t arrive at the same time as it would have allowed us to make all the changes in one big step- but, on the other hand, it’s going to take a bit of time and thought to squeeze all the yarn, both new and existing, into the new shelving units so the delay is not a bad thing!

July 2013

July 2013

March 2014

March 2014

July 2013

July 2013

March 2014

March 2014

We’re really looking forward to having proper display units for our books and patterns so that we can finally clear our tables and start holding knitting groups and classes. We’re anticipating getting started in early-mid April so keep an eye out for details on those here and on Twitter and Instagram (we’re @sunspunknitting if you don’t already follow us).

The new dark grey on the shopfront really frames the window display…

Window display

Coincidentally, our display of baby knits was ready just in time to put in the freshly painted shop. There’s so much reflection in the window that I had to take them all down and photograph them inside (albeit without any shop lights) to show you their exquisite cuteness!

First up is Ravi by Carol Feller in Milla Mia Naturally Soft 5ply, worked entirely seamlessly for happy knitting:

Ravi

Ravi

It would look so sweet with these skinny little leggings from Patons Little Sweeties:

Leggings

Leggings

Then we have this super-cute romper from Debbie Bliss Celebrating Family in Baby Cashmerino (look at that adorable picot edging on the little leg-holes!):

Romper

Romper

And this sweet little striped dress from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino 4, also worked in four shades of Baby Cashmerino:

Striped dress

Striped dress

This sweet Lacy Cardigan is knitted in Snuggly Baby Bamboo:

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Billy from Little Rowan looks impressive in its stitch pattern but is actually just a combination of knits and purls with a few cables thrown in:

Billy Hoodie

Billy Hoodie

And lastly (and my favourite!), Mr Friedrich the Fox from Rowan Studio 30:

Friedrich

Friedrich

So many cuties! Thanks so much to all our sample knitters! When we decided back in January to make our first window display (which will change every couple of months), we chose to make baby knits because Amy, Sunpsun’s new owner, is expecting a baby in mid-late April… which is now just around the corner! She’s working so hard to get all the changes made before her little girl arrives but, in preparation, we have a new staff member Kylie to help fill her shoes in the coming months… so do come by to meet Kylie and see Amy before she takes some time off- or just to admire the new wall colours and baby samples!


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In focus: Summer Tweed

As knitters, we know how challenging it can be to get a sense of a yarn by just seeing it in the ball… we want to know how it will feel as a fabric, how it will hang and drape on the body and how a colour looks used on its own and combined with others. This is precisely why we’ve decided to focus more time and resources on putting together a display of samples that will change every two months- just so that you can see and feel our yarns knitted up! We’re working with a group of lovely knitters and crocheters, who are doing a beautiful job making our first round of samples for us (because, honestly, we would never have enough time to make them all ourselves!) and we can’t wait to see all those sweet baby knits arrive in the shop! In the meantime, Jules recently completed a new shop sample in Rowan Summer Tweed, a perfect garment for this hot Melbourne summer…This is Prairie from Rowan Summer Textures, an oversized tunic knitted in Rowan Summer Tweed:

Prairie in Summer Tweed

Prairie in Summer Tweed

Prairie is worked in a mesh-like variation of garter stitch with stitches made into the row below. Once you get the rhythm, it’s simple to work and, worked on 6mm needles, creates an open, drapey fabric that hangs beautifully. It also makes Summer Tweed, a silk/ wool 10ply that you’d think might be a bit heavy for a long-sleeved garment in our Australian summers, very comfortable and cool to wear.

Mesh-like fabric

Mesh-like fabric

While the bands are worked in garter stitch, the soft, wide neckline is ribbed on a smaller needle, a clever way of preventing it from stretching out of shape.

Lovely neckline detail

Lovely neckline detail

We chose the shade Swirl, a lovely, cool blue that’s around a lot at the moment. One of the lovely qualities of Summer Tweed is the depth of colour that comes from the tweedy flecks and silk nubs blended in during spinning- and that really comes through in an open stitch pattern like this one, where the yarn is really on show.

Tweedy flecks and silk nubs

Tweedy flecks and silk nubs

The blend of cotton and silk makes for an interesting texture which feels crisp but light and soft on the body and has great drape, all of which is put to perfect use in this design. Like all cottons, it tends to stretch so consider using stitch patterns such as stranded colourwork and cables that provide stability and prevent your project from dropping. And it comes in a range of earthy, rich colours that work well together or on their own…

Earthy tones

Earthy tones

Jewel tones

Jewel tones

Because Summer Tweed has a big 120m in each 50gm ball, the smallest size uses less than 10 balls, which is quite unusual for such an oversized garment!

Ideal uses for Summer Tweed:

Spring-summer garments (such as tanks, cardigans and tunics), baby blankets, colourwork knitting.

Vital stats for Summer Tweed:

Yarn weight:  Aran or 10ply

Tension:  16 stitches and 23 rows per 10cm

Needle size:  5mm

Metrage:  120m per 50gm

Fibre composition: 70% silk, 30% cotton