Sunspun Fine Yarns


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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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Product of the Month – May 2016

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It is a pleasure to reveal May’s Product of the Month, a house favourite, Isager Alpaca 2. As with all POMs, we’re offering a 10% discount (20% for members) on this yarn throughout the month of May, so here’s your chance to try out the yarn if you haven’t before, or to stock up as needed.

Isager yarns are a mainstay of Denmark’s knitting world, and the Alpaca 2 is a fingering-weight yarn blend of 50 per cent merino and 50 per cent alpaca. It has a beautiful hand, and finished items carry a light halo from the alpaca. The yarn produces light yet warm garments, with the merino lending it some memory,  which makes it perfect for lacework that needs to be opened up. At a generous 247 metres per 50 g, a skein goes a long, long way. And then there’s the colour range, which is as wide as it is complementary. Truly, this is one yarn to add to your collection; we know that those who’ve used it come back to it time and again.

Here are some ideas on what to make with it.

Colourwork lovers can rejoice in Marianne Isager’s Summer in Tokyo from her book Japanese Inspired Collections – it means you do not have to confine yourself to knitting in just one colour.

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Source: Interweave Knits

The drape from the alpaca/merino blend lends itself well to this postive-ease Isabell Kramer Westbourne sweater. That it’s seamless and knit top-down means it’s easily customised to your preferences, and there’s minimal finishing.

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Source: Grasflecken

For versatility, little beats a simple, classic cardigan; this is Louise Light from Carrie Bostick Hoge.

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Source: Carrie Bostick Hoge

Marnie McLean’s Pas de Valse is a loose cardigan knit in one piece, and the light halo from the alpaca will make the finished piece seem all the more luxurious (not to mention fill out the fabric a little). As you can see below, it can be worn in many ways.

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Source: Marnie

Isager Alpaca 2 is pretty hard to pass up for stoles and shawls. Make them big and generous enough so you can be enveloped in the fabric, like this Vector from Tanis Lavallee, which is knit on the bias in garter stitch with a crisp, slipped-stitch edging.

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Source: Brooklyn Tweed

Karen made a stunning Moonraker as part of the Sunspun Shawl-a-Long using four colours of Isager.

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And if you are after something a little pretty with intricate patterning, the bud lacework in this Swallowtail Shawl is easy enough to memorise and blooms beautifully after blocking.

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Source: Interweave Knits


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Product of the Month – April

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Our April Product of the Month is MillaMia 5 ply yarn, which we know many of you are fans of. POM means there’s a 10% discount (20% for members) on the yarn, so now’s the time to stock up, especially since the yarn won’t be available to us wholesale anymore once our stocks are exhausted.

This merino yarn is beautiful to work with, and if you’re knitting people who fear the itch factor from wool, MillaMia is the yarn to use. They are divine for baby and kids’ clothes, and drape so well in adults’ clothes. Stitches are crisp and defined in this plied yarn, and its wide colour range is particularly well suited to colourwork. Plus, it’s machine-washable. We have some samples instore for you to look at while you decide.

The patterns above come from MillaMia pattern books, which we are selling at half-price, so drop by and pick up a bargain.


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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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Yarn in Focus: Shibui Baby Alpaca

Vital statistics

100% alpaca
100 g/233 metres
DK/8 ply
Gauge: 22 stitches = 10 cm on 4 mm needles
$26

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What better way to welcome autumn than with Shibui Baby Alpaca, which is also our Product of the Month. Remember, we offer a 10% discount (20% for Sunspun members) on the chosen product of the month, and this yarn is seriously worth the investment.

The overall loveliness of Shibui yarns is well known, and Baby Alpaca is no less irresistible than the rest of their range. It is soft, soft, soft and silky in the hand, with a beautiful halo and the drape on finished items is heavenly to behold. The generous yardage also means that the yarn goes on and on and on.

IMG_1413 (1)The yarn is quite loosely plied (there are three strands), so you do have to watch that you don’t snag one of the strands when knitting. And don’t worry about any slight unevenness in your knitting: once soaked and dried, the stitches plump up beautifully and the swatch evens out with a gentle block. It is soft enough for next-to-the-skin wear, light and warm.

This is one of those 8 plies that’s almost like a sportweight/5 ply yarn, so you are likely able to use Baby Alpaca in patterns that call for sportweight yarn. Just swatch and see how the fabric knits up.

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For a quick one-skein taster, how about Hinagiku Hat – this slouchy beanie has an allover daisy stitch pattern, is worked in the round and completely seamless. It’d make the perfect trans-seasonal hat.

One skein should be just enough to make the justly beloved Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief, a triangular shawl that can be made bigger or smaller depending on how much yarn you have – just add more garter eyelet and stocking stitch panels as needed.

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Shibui yarns are made for plying with another yarn for different effects; this Piega cowl by Kristin Ford used a strand each of Shibui Silk Cloud and Baby Alpaca for a braided wonder that is fun to knit and will make a wonderful gift.

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Heidi Kirrmaier’s Climb Every Mountain is a cape-like pullover worked from the top down, seamlessly and in the round, with short rows to shape the neckline. The drape from alpaca will make this truly luxurious.

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Midnight Mix by Judy Brien is a simple and cosy classic sweater, its cable panel lending the piece some texture. There is minimal shaping so this piece, especially in alpaca with its drape, will skim. Because it’s knit top down, you can try it on as you go and adjust as necessary.

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Joji Locatelli’s True is like a knitted hug: a simple, generous cardigan that will be one of those pieces you return to again and again. It’s also convertible.

 

 

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As the Baby Alpaca is so light and warm, it’s ideal for kids’ clothes, perhaps My Honey, a sweet cardigan with a lacy yoke and puffed sleeves that will wear well. (Sample is knit in an alpaca yarn, though not the Shibui.)

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Fans of stranded colourwork may want to try the luxurious lined Fiddlehead Mittens by Adrian Bizilia. Their warmth and your colour choice will chase away all winter blues. There are some stunning finished examples in Ravelry.

 


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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.


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Product of the Month – February 2016

One of the exciting new activities we are starting this year is Product of the Month. Each month we will feature a different product – it could be a yarn, a book, a pattern or a tool – and we are offering a 10% discount (20% for members) on the chosen item for the entire month. Woohoo! We will have a display set up in the shop so look for it when you come in.

And now for the nitty-gritty:

  • The 10% discount is only available on new purchases of the featured product/s – it doesn’t apply to items already on lay-by.
  • No lay-bys.
  • If the product/s are returned, as per our usual returns policy, they must be accompanied by the receipt of purchase. Yarns are only accepted for return if we still have the dye lot in stock; books, patterns, needles and accessories are not returnable. The refund will be given as an exchange on additional items or as a credit note and the refundable amount will be the amount actually paid, i.e. the discounted value of the product. Of course, if a product is damaged when purchased please bring it back to us ASAP.

So, keep a watch for the Sunspun newsletter to find out the hero for each month. We hope you find wonderful new products that you may not have previously considered using.

Now to introduce this month’s product, which is Rowan’s Revive, which we reviewed in depth in October.  This recycled cotton, silk and viscose yarn creates a fabric with a subtle tweedy texture (see the swatch below) but not the weight, producing garments that will work for a summer’s evening through to pieces for layering. It drapes well and softens when washed, so check your gauge after a soak.

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Come and see our new sample using Revive instore: Emmer is knitted in the round with a simple square neckline. This versatile top can be paired with a jacket for the office, and dressed down with jeans for Saturday run-arounds. It works up quickly too, so come in and give Revive a try this month.

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