Sunspun Fine Yarns


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Father’s Day

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Source: Susan Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks

Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September in Australia and New Zealand, and while the actual day varies depending on where you are, the more popular (northern hemisphere) day is around June. (If you have family on the other side of the world, you may need to program your calendar accordingly …)

Whether your dad is after a low-key day or an adrenaline lover, this is the day of days to remind him that he is special and treasured. And how else to tell him than with something handmade with lots of love?

Susan Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks (photographed above) are the ultimate happy socks, and perfect for self-striping or patterning sock yarn. If you don’t mind weaving in ends, you can use leftover yarn to create one-off effects. There are also new techniques embedded within the knitting of this sock, including a no kitchener method for heels and toes, and a smoother heel and toe decrease line.

 

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This worsted-weight herringbone scarf from Purl Soho is wonderfully lofty, and the stitch is a meditative, rhythmic knit once you get established and can easily ‘read’ the knitting. Make it in the nicest yarn you can find, perhaps something from the Woolfolk range we carry, for an enduring classic to be enjoyed in years to come.

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Work his favourite colours into Vorfreude by Monie Ebner, a garter and stockinette wrap that is versatile enough to be dressed up and down. You can go for a high-contrast palette, play with tonal variations on his/your favourite colour, or take the monochrome route.

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Cold-weather game cannot be bettered than in Byway, a chunky cable-knit wrap or scarf by Jared Flood in his new book Woolens. The allover textured fabric keeps the knitting interesting, and you can size up or down depending on your devotion – and time.

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Wardrobe staples are so easy to overlook because they are so unassuming, but odds are a sweater like this Good Old Friend by Veera Välimäki will be pulled out and worn all winter long. Make it in your favourite DK yarn; we think our Shilasdair or Cascade yarns would wear very well.

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Shellie Anderson’s Spire is made with Shibui Maai and Staccato to produce a warm, lush fabric. The finish is smart, subtle and it knits up quickly. The Channel Island cast-on looks fabulous; if it’s new to you, it is a technique worth using on other projects.

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Keep the hands warm and looking smart in these tartan and tweed mitts, which are constructed seamlessly and stranded from beginning to end so there are hardly any ends to weave in. You can dial up the tartan or tweed depending on your preference. We think these would work beautifully in the Rowan Felted Tweed DK, which comes in a large palette.

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And if dad wears ties, here’s a pattern that’s easily customisable and quietly whimsical too.

Very happy making to you, and to the dads out there, hope your football team wins, your horse comes home and you get spoilt utterly rotten.


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Yarn in Focus: Zealana Tui

Yarn in Focus: Zealana Tui

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Vital statistics
70% merino, 15% cashmere, 15% brushtail possum
100 g/111 metres
Gauge: 16 stitches = 10 cm on 5.5 mm needles
$20

Meet Zealana Tui, one of the new yarns we took on last year, alongside Zealana Air and Heron.

Tui is June’s Product of the Month, so we’re offering a 10% discount (20% for Sunspun members) on this yarn all month.

All Zealana yarns have an interesting story. Since its introduction to New Zealand by fur traders in the late nineteenth century, the non-native brushtail possum has reached staggering proportions, with commensurate damage to NZ’s native flora and fauna. (There are 4.4 million NZ people to 70 million brushtails.) Zealana yarns use brushtail possum in their yarns, which are produced responsibly and sustainably.

Tui is a bulky yarn, and part of Zealana’s Artisan series. Soft and lofty, this merino and possum yarn with a touch of cashmere is hard-wearing, so it’s perfect for big cozy sweaters or superwarm hats, scarves and cowls. You can felt Tui too, allowing for about 10 per cent shrinkage, in 60°C water and tumble-drying. Otherwise, handwash only in cold water and dry flat.

IMG_1432The yarn is robust and individual strands feel already a little felted in the skein. It skims nicely over needles (I used wooden ones), with no catches or snags.

The fabric produced is stable: the swatch evened out ever so slightly after a wash and block, but didn’t grow at all. Oh, and there’s a delicious halo on the swatch that is so beautiful. Being a lofty yarn, you can make big garments that nevertheless do not feel bulky.

This Argo cardigan has it all: a garter yoke, half-moon pockets and is knit in one piece, so there’s minimal finishing.

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The Yarnista made a most handsome, swinging version of Michele Wang’s Cabled Swing Poncho out of Tui, which shows off the cables and ribs beautifully. If you are interested in making this, do read Yarnista’s project notes, which are full of valuable, hard-won information. Her pointers on twill tape have wide application too, and will prolong the shape and life of the garment.

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For warm heads, this reversible, adaptable Man Hat by Haven Ashley is a must for any knitted hat collection. The yarn will seriously show off the stitches.

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Do drop in and have a look at Tui, and take advantage of the POM to buy some to take home.

Happy winter’s knitting to you!

 


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Xmas Giving

While we all know there is much more to Christmas than the giving of gifts, we also know that those who take the time to create with their hands also love making gifts for those who are near and dear to them.  Or perhaps someone ‘near and dear’ to you is a creator and you would love to give them a gift that brings about a smile of excited ‘new project’ anticipation!

We have put together a few options for you that are appropriate for both those who like to ‘create’ and those who like to purchase for ‘creators’.

This year, for the first time, we have collated two gift packs, both beautifully boxed and presented.

Mitts Pack

Mitts pack

This pack contains everything required to make a beautiful pair of fingerless mitts and some yummy handmade chocolate to sweeten the journey just that little bit more!

Gift Pack Contents

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  • 1 ball of Zealana Air laceweight yarn – 40% possum, 40% cashmere, 20% silk; pattern to make Zealana Light As Air Mitts and a calico project bag
  • set 2.75mm Knitpro Symfonie DPNs
  • Clover cable needles and Chibi needles
  • Stitch markers
  • a small tin for all the bits and bobs
  • and Bahen chocolate

 

Knitter’s Care Pack

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This pack contains everything required to pamper and spoil the ‘creator’ in your life! Beautiful products to look after hands, calm the spirit, sweeten the disposition and a project to while away pleasant time!

Gift Pack Contents

  • 1 box of organic tea from Love Tea
  • Handcream from Castille de Fleur
  • 1 x bottle Soak wool wash
  • Goats milk and lavender soap from Queen Bee Handmade
  • Bahen chocolate
  • 1 x ball of fibranatura Cottonwood yarn (100% organic cotton) and our Grandmother’s Favourite Washcloth pattern; a calico project bag.

New Patterns

We have released two new Sunspun patterns just in time for xmas.  These projects are simple and easy and will suit all skill levels of knitters.  The patterns are free and don’t require a great deal of yarn.  You can find them in our Ravely shop for easy downloading.

Mesh Scarf – A simple knitted pattern using yarn overs to achieve an open and airy mesh like fabric. Made from a lovely cotton tape yarn, the created fabric has beautiful drape. Uses 3 x balls of Isager Palet tape yarn (100% cotton).

Textured Summer Cushion – A simple knitted pattern using garter stitch and slipped stitches to make a subtly textured and patterned fabric. Uses 4 x balls Isager Bomulin yarn (75%cotton/25%linen). Complemented by a cotton/linen blend fabric backing with button closure.  For your convenience we have put together a kit containing the pattern, yarn, backing fabric, buttons and cushion insert.

If you would like to order any of the gift packs, the cushion kit or any of the yarns, just give us a call on 03 9830 1609 (mon – sat, 10am-5pm) or email us at shop@sunspun.com.au.

Happy ‘yarning’,

Karen.


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Yarn in Focus: Shibui Twig

Vital statistics

46% linen, 42% recycled silk, 12% wool
50 g/174 metres
Sportweight
Gauge: 22 stitches = 10 cm on 3.5 mm needles
$24 per skein

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Just in time for the warmer months is a new-to-us yarn from Shibui that combines linen, silk and wool. Not surprisingly, the resultant yarn combines the better qualities of those fibres: the linen producing a lightweight fabric with a hint of crispness that softens a bit more with each wash, and the silk a slight shimmer, making Twig ideal for trans-seasonal garments that you can layer.

IMG_3320The dominant linen and silk make-up also means that the yarn is less yielding in the hand when knitting, and can feel a little stringy and stiff, like most linen yarns can be. Unlike the Shibui Linen, which has a chainette structure and is therefore softer, Twig is made up of multiple individual plies, each of a single fibre. You may need to change metal or wooden needles depending on how tightly or loosely you knit to prevent the squeak and the work getting too tight.

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Amy swatched in this yarn and found it tended to bias a little (see pic above). The swatch will probably relax when given a good bath and blocked, but it’s something to watch for. Also, again because of the linen, uneven tensioning and stitches do not always block out, so go slow until you get the hang and work out the tricks with handling this yarn!

With the linen and silk, perhaps consider garments that drape, have flowing lines, and simple shaping that does not rely overly much on yarn elasticity. Think Calvin Klein or Eileen Fisher garments; Shellie Anderson seems to have channelled those designers in her Slope Tank, which also includes a feature hem done in short rows. That says summer in a pic, doesn’t it?

Shibui-Collection-Slope-1_mediumOr Heidi Kirrmaier’s sleek and minimalist Fine Sand cardigan, which showcases the wabi-sabi qualities of the fabric. The top-down cardigan has simple, elegant lines, and a lightly shaped front section. This most wearable garment has wardrobe staple stamped all over it.

16659670353_f4301bc5cc_zIf you’re familiar with Shibui yarns, you’d know they are designed to be paired with other Shibui yarns to produce different fabrics and endless effects. The Trestle tee blends Twig with Pebble for a tunic-style tee that will wear well from late summer into autumn.

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Kristin Ford’s Mix No. 3 is an ethereal-and-solid shawl that is very versatile and can be worn in so many different ways – as a shawl, or pulled together into a scarf. Those transparent stripes are such a lovely feature. The original pattern calls for Staccato and Silk Cloud, but you can substitute with Twig and Silk Cloud for a different but no less elegant effect.

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If you cannot choose between the twelve different Twig colourways, perhaps Judy Brien’s Okapi is an option – you can play around with colour combinations as your heart desires! This top-down, seamless sweater has saddle shoulders. The pattern calls for a lace-weight yarn held double, so a single strand of Twig should work (you won’t get that marled look though), but swatch before you begin.

DSC06100_medium2Lace lovers need to check out the stunning allover lace that features in the Hitofude Cardigan, which will show off the yarn beautifully; we can imagine the linen and silk contributing to the cardigan’s overall drape. There are some stunning finished examples on Ravelry – look them up and be inspired!

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Father’s Day

Oh yes, it’s on next weekend … and on the off-chance you haven’t started making/sourcing something, here are some ideas that may help. The projects are organised by time needed (ahem), with the longest running first. Rest assured that ALL are easy and work up quickly (thank you, worsted-weight yarns), with no complicated cabling/colourwork demands. Hop onto Ravelry if you’re after something a little more challenging!

Start now if you want to produce Kirsten Johnstone’s handsome Sankai and knit hard! The sweater is knit in the round until the arms, then worked flat. The rolled collar and shoulder are made in one piece with short-row shaping for a simple V-neck finish. The detailing is wonderful: the cuffs and hems are folded, so make them in a contrasting colour for a bit of fun. The colour-blocking option is pictured below.

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Source: Tamara Erbacher for assemblage

Jared Flood’s Cobblestone is one of the easiest sweaters around to make and wear. The rounded garter yoke, garter side panels and cuffs bring a pleasing geometry and finish to a classic round-neck sweater. Plus, it’s knit in the round too: no seaming.

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Source: Brooklyn Tweed

If you can get stuck in sleeve-land (so, so guilty) play to your strengths and go for vests. Nathan is knit in worsted weight wool, and the side ribbing detail lifts the vest from the ruck.

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Source: Jones & Vandermeer

You can never have too many scarves. Make one in farrow rib or mistake rib; both yield lovely squishy fabrics and, it goes without saying, they knit up quickly too.

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Source: Purl Soho’s Mistake Rib scarf

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Farrow rib scarf

If the dads in your life don’t tend to wear knits, go for some posh soap with a waffly washcloth.

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Or try this Tawashi knot, which is part puzzle and part scrubber.

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Finally, the knitted tie. This has been known to be controversial. But here’s a tip from what’s out in the stores: the Paul Smith number below is knit in quite a fine gauge in a simple overall pattern (not garter), and kept skinny. Your choice on whether to make a tube, or to work flat. Think sock yarn or, if using something like a Zara 8 ply, go down a few needle sizes to get a dense, sturdy fabric that won’t stretch out of shape too much. The tubular/folded-hem edging in a contrasting colour is a neat touch. If you’re out of time, a knit 1, purl 1 edging for a few rows (in a slightly larger needle size than the main body) would do the job and won’t curl.

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