Sunspun Fine Yarns


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Christmas gift guide 3

Our final list of best yarn-related gifts ever is for all of you last-minute gift buyers… We hope it helps- just so you know, we’ll be here until 5pm on Christmas Eve!

 

Stocking fillers for $15 and under:

  •  A Lilly Brush for removing pills and hair from your hand knits- and other things! $13.95
Lilly Brush

Lilly Brush

 

  • For the plumpest and most beautiful pompoms, you need Clover pompom makers, which come in a variety of sizes (even a heart-shaped one!) and make the process of making pompoms super easy; sets of 2, $9.50-$18.95
Clover pompom makers

Clover pompom makers

 

For $30 and under:

  • A large bottle of Soak, our favourite for washing all your woollies- this stuff is so gentle that you don’t even need to rinse it out. 4 options for scents, including one scentless: 375ml, $22
Soak Wash

Soak Wash

 

  • For the newbie knitter, a Clover accessories set with everything you need to move on from  basic knits, including double-ended stitch holders, a tape measure, stitch markers, needles for seaming, a needle gauge and a pouch to keep them all safe: $29

 

  •  A skein of gorgeous hand-dyed Skein Top Draw Sock yarn, enough for a pair of socks for you or a loved one: super wash merino/ nylon, 400m/ 100gm, $28
Skein Top Draw Sock

Skein Top Draw Sock

 

For $50 and over:

  • Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle knittingthe bible for this style of colourwork knitting with sections covering history, colour, motifs, materials and techniques, as well as some classic 1980’s designs! $46 (you even get some change back on this one!)
Alice Statmore's Book of Fair Isle knitting

Alice Statmore’s Book of Fair Isle knitting

 

  • Everything you need to make Shibui’s No.6 Hat– for you and a friend! Simple and super-wearable, this slouchy beanie is knitted with a strand each of Silk Cloud and Baby Alpaca DK held together, making a super luxurious and soft fabric: $55 for the pattern and yarn (since Baby Alpaca comes in 100gm skeins, you get enough yarn to make two hats).
No. 6 Hat

No. 6 Hat

 

  • And, finally, the old favourite, a Sunspun gift certificate. We know a voucher can seem a bit of an easy way out but most knitters would rather use a voucher on something they’ve been coveting for ages than try to find a use for the yarn you thought they’d like!


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Christmas gift guide 2

Christmas is getting closer (how is your gift crafting coming along?!) so here is this weeks list of our best gift ideas for you or the knitters and crocheters around you…   Stocking fillers for $15 and under:

  • A set of Clover Chibi needles, the best ever wool needles with curved tips for seaming your projects! 3 small needles or 2 large in a cute little tube case, $8-10.
  • Every knitter needs a wee sheep on their desk or coffee table! This little cardboard sweetie holds cards, pens, paperclips and other bits and bobs: Karton sheep $14
Karton sheep

Karton sheep

  • A set of 3 multipurpose tools for picking up dropped stitches, working cables and lots more: set of 3 ebony or bone, $13.
Ebony and bone tools

Ebony and bone tools

For $30 and under:

  • The Harmony Crochet Stitch Motifs stitch dictionary with a whopping 250 different designs: $30.
  • The wonderful Yarn Pyramid print from the Fringe Supply Co: $27 (unframed)
Fringe Supply Co's Yarn Pyramid print

Fringe Supply Co’s Yarn Pyramid print

  • A lovely knit-print knitting project pouch from Canadian outfit, Danica Entwine: $27
Entwine zip pouch

Entwine zip pouch

For $50 and over:

  • Yokes, the new book from Kate Davies! This is sure to become the definitive resource for yoked jumpers and cardigans from all traditions around the world, with essays on each and 11 accompanying designs: $50.
Yokes by Kate Davies

Yokes by Kate Davies

  • A beautiful set of interchangeable needles to cover every needle size and length you could ever need! We have sets KnitPro Nova Deluxe (nickel, $117), Symphonie Deluxe and Fine (laminated birch, $122 and $130) and Bamboo Deluxe (bamboo, $146).
  • For all your winding pleasure, a combo set of skein holder and umbrella swift- you’ll be winding everything you can find with these at your disposal! $110/ set

 


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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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Spring samples

We installed a new spring window recently! The theme for the window was spring and all the loveliness that it entails- greens of every shade, blossoms, buds and bark, freshness and joy… We chose garments that could be worn in this transitional season of warm days and cool nights, as well as projects that are more enjoyable to knit in warm weather.

The Robin Pullover from Isager was a favourite of ours long before the pattern was available in English, so it was an easy pick for this round of samples. Knitted in Isager Spinni, a 3ply pure Danish wool yarn on 3mm needles, this piece has a beautiful light feel and wonderful drape (perfect for those three-quarter, dolman sleeves) and is a simple knit with just enough neat details to keep you interested!

 

Robin Pullover

Robin Pullover

Robin Pullover

Robin Pullover

 

Madeline Cardigan from Kim Hargreaves’ Honey Collection is another simple knit with beautiful details. We chose to knit it in Australia’s very own Skein Yarn Silk Merino Sport, a hand-dyed 6ply with incredible softness and drape. It can be hard to know how to make use of hand-dyed yarns- too much patterning and you can lose the beauty of both dye and design- but this highlights Kristen’s wonderful dyeing while still being immensely wearable.

 

Madeline Cardigan

Madeline Cardigan in Skein Merino Silk Sport in Bark

Madeline detail

Madeline detail

 

Next up, we have Summer Carnival from Victorian handknit designer Georgie Hallam; this sweet little cropped cardigan is also perfect for summer and is worked in Ella Rae Lace Solids, a 4ply superfine merino with a beautiful twist and rich colours. With a little lace detail and top-down, seamless construction, this offers some interesting techniques to knitters but is quickly knitted and very easily worn!

 

Summer Carnival

Summer Carnival

Summer Carnival

Summer Carnival

 

And then there is Carpino by Carol Feller. This one is close to all our hearts; we love the modern twist on a classic lace jumper with seamless construction and neat details but, for us, it’s all about the colour! It really shows how a colour really sets the tone for a garment and, if you have a look through the Ravelry projects page for this design, you’ll see how different they all look. (We especially love Lauren’s in Victorian yarn Ton of Wool Cormo!). Ours was knitted in naturally-dyed Shilasdair Luxury 4ply from western Scotland and the merino/ camel/ angora/ cashmere blend adds a wonderful softness and halo to this, without in any way taking away from the lace. Beautiful!

 

Carpino

Carpino

Carpino detail

Carpino detail

 

Granny’s Favourite is another design from Georgie Hallam but this time for toddlers and kids; with a lovely lace yoke and seamless contstruction, it’s a super-cute, quick knit with all the detail we’ve come to expect from Georgie’s patterns. It also gives you different options for sleeve and body length, in case you’re not sure how far your yarn is going to go. For this one, we chose one of Rowan’s recycled yarns, Revive, a blend of cotton, silk and viscose that has a lovely tweedy texture.

 

Granny's Favourite

Granny’s Favourite

 

Berenice from Julie Hoover is another lovely design for girls and comes in a wide range of sizes (from 2-10 years). As well as being super-pretty with those cable and lace panels, Berenice is a practical layering piece that works equally well paired with long sleeves and jeans or a dress. Designed for Brooklyn Tweed Loft, a 4ply wool yarn, we knitted it holding together one strand each of Isager Alpaca 1 and 2, which makes for a beautifully drapey, soft fabric.

 

Berenice

Berenice

 

Rock Island Shawl by Jared Flood was a design we’d been dyeing to knit for ages; it’s such a wonderful, delicate lace that is impressive but still wearable. We found a knitter with the skills and time to make it for us and it has certainly paid off with all the interest it’s attracted in the shop! This beauty was knitted in Skein Merino Silk Lace in Gingko and only took 3/4 of one skein…

 

Rock Island Shawl

Rock Island Shawl

 

And lastly, our lovely Camomille! This pretty shawl comes from the Amimono Knit Collection 2010 by Helga Isager (daughter of Marianne, who runs Isager) and was knit using one strand of Isager Alpaca 1 (in a soft chartreuse) throughout and joining a strand of Isager Tvinni to create subtle stripes. Camomille is that kind of shawl that is lightweight and drapey but still large and woolly enough to actually do the job of a shawl- no mini shawlette, this one!

 

Camomille Shawl

Camomille Shawl

 

So there you have it- a complete tour of our spring samples. We hope they’ve inspired you!

 

 

 

 


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In focus: Weaving looms

We recently began carrying a small number of weaving looms and tools from a great new Melbourne outfit, Loom and Spindle. Andrea is a mad-keen weaver and developed these beautiful frame looms as a way of expanding access to weaving to those of us who want to weave small pieces or work in a portable format. She’s part of the wave of modern weaving and tapestry flooding the craft world at the moment and it’s really lovely to see a Melbourne craftsperson out there taking part of such a big movement.

Loom and Spindle looms are made locally (by Andrea’s brother) and are beautifully cut with a super-smooth finish; we haven’t had a single fibre snag on the surface of our loom. And, thankfully for us here in the shop with no tools at hand, they are also super easy to assemble!

 

Warped

Warped

Beginning to weave

Beginning to weave

Weaving

Weaving

Blue, green, white, grey...

Blue, green, white, grey…

 

If you are keen to try weaving, these looms are such an easy way to get started; Andrea also offers a kit of perspex weaving tools so you have everything you need to get started. She also has some really helpful guidelines on her blog, including tutorials on assembling and warping your loom, materials you might like to try working with and tips and techniques to progressing from novice status.

As we all know, sometimes we find that there’s only so far we can go on our own, so it’s good to know that there are some great folk teaching weaving around Melbourne: Rosemary Slade is holding a class in weaving basics this Saturday at Handmakers Factory and, if you are really serious about weaving, do consider the introductory and more advanced weaving courses available at the Victorian Weavers and Spinners Guild in North Carlton. There is a massive amount of accumulated knowledge in that place and many people willing to help you on your way, as well as an amazing range of fibres and dyes in the craft outlet. And the Australian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne is an inspiring place to visit and study too!

And, just to whet your appetite, here’s our list of local and overseas people doing beautiful things in tapestry and weaving…

Amanda Ho of sampling 

Kim McKechnie of shipbuilding

Meghan Shimek of nativetextile

Belinda Evans of alchemy

Maryanne Moodie of maryannemoodie

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 


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Pattern leaflets

As knitters who have all been shopping at Sunspun since we first started knitting, we’ve always coveted the beautiful publications put out by the yarn companies carried at the shop. After all, yes, there may sometimes only be one or two projects in a book that we know we want to knit but honestly, who can resist the incredibly beautiful Rowan magazines or Debbie Bliss with her gorgeous, moss-stitch-clad babies?! Those publications are part of a collection and we love having them on our bookshelves at home. We pore over them and find inspiration in the stitches, colours and styling in their pages, encouraging us to try things we really don’t imagine we could succeed at making.

But, having matured as knitters on the internet and Ravelry, we also like being able to buy individual pattern leaflets, often from independent designers whose approach can be quite different to the designers working for large yarn companies. This is why we’re broadening our pattern range at Sunspun and will be carrying the latest books and magazines from our yarn producers, as well as a wide range of individual pattern leaflets.

We now have a good selection of designs (around 50!) from Brooklyn Tweed. This New York-based yarn company and design house are known for their clean designs that blend traditional and modern techniques with wearability and that are always interesting to knit! Like a lot of small companies, these patterns are written with care and precision and include a lot of detail on techniques and sizing, so you always feel you’re on the right track.

 

Brooklyn Tweed Men

Brooklyn Tweed Men

Bedford

Bedford

Blueprint

Blueprint with loads of information on fit

 

We also have a wide range of patterns from even smaller independent designers, such as Olgajazzy, Rebecca Danger, Jane Richmond, Tincan Knits, Joji Locatelli, Tiny Owl Knits and Kirsten Johnstone. There is so much talent out there in the knitting world and we’ve so far only got a small percentage of their designs, from colourwork mittens and lace scarves and shawls to blankets, kids leg warmers and whimsical animals.

 

Aranami by Olgajazzy

Aranami by Olgajazzy

 

We’ll be adding more designers to our collection and are currently waiting on a series of patterns from small but widely-loved designers Kate Davies and Georgie Hallam of Tikki Knits– so do keep enquiring about new arrivals when you come into the shop.

We really hope that you enjoy having access to so many different designers and that the many ways in which they design and construct their patterns creates some really interesting knitting for you!


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5 things we love…

The knits, patterns, people and movements that are currently inspiring us…

 

1.  The month-long Craft Cubed, Craft Victoria’s annual festival of experimental, skilled and ideas-based craft and design, with exhibitions, installations, open studios, workshops and events going on Victoria-wide program throughout August. Our picks are Ilka White’s workshops on weaving and braided rugs, textile artist and photographer Siri Hayes’ open studio and Handmakers Factory’s shibori cushion workshop.

 

2.  The new collection of patterns from Shibui (now in-store), including beautiful designs from Lori Versace and Kirsten Johnstone:

Mix No. 31 by Lori Versace

Mix No. 31 by Lori Versace

Mix No. 31 by Lori Versace

Mix No. 31 by Lori Versace

Monochrome Blur by Kirsten Johnstone

Monochrome Blur by Kirsten Johnstone

 

3.  The Tweedback Thursday competition going on at Brooklyn Tweed at the moment- a great excuse to drag out your childhood photo album and hunt out some shots of you or your loved ones in favourite childhood hand knits! At the very least, you’ll have a giggle and you may even win some Brooklyn Tweed yarn. (Speaking of BT, we just received a big pile of their fabulous patterns- more on those next week but we’re pretty sure you’re going to love them.)

 

4.  The fact that it’s only 4 weeks today until the Craft Sessions! Today is the very last day to register so be quick if you’re still thinking of coming.

 

5.  Going with the theme of craft camps, the stories and images from the Fancy Tiger adventure to an incredible Estonian craft camp, complete with traditional colourwork mittens, bone needle carving, Estonian lace, ribbon weaving and so much incredible craft. Definitely food for thought when it comes to craft-focused travel!

Estonian gloves (image from http://fancytiger.blogspot.com.au

Estonian gloves (image from http://fancytiger.blogspot.com.au)