Sunspun Fine Yarns

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The Australian Sheep and Wool Show

After a frosty start, last Sunday at the Sheep and Wool Show was beautifully sunny. It was great to be out in the country air with good friends and all things woolly. A group of us from Sunspun travelled to Bendigo by train, which is a great way to get there. We spent the two-hour trip there and back knitting and chatting about knitting ☺. It was also a good chance for me to get some serious work done on my Dotted Rays shawl (finished!), which had been sitting unloved for several weeks while I worked on a few quick projects for the shop.

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We arrived just before 11 am and got the shuttle bus to the show and hit the woolcraft section first. It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying making and the skill and amount of work that goes into some of the projects is so inspiring. There were lots of stalls selling hand-dyed yarn, all manner of items for spinning (of which I’m very ignorant) and weaving. We ran into a few customers and suppliers, and I made a few new contacts (so watch this space!).

One of our regulars is from Queen Bee Handmade, so we had a chat about soap for washing woollens. I caught up with the team from Art Viva, who make hand-crafted knitting needles from sustainably harvested Tasmanian Oak. It was great to put a face to a name I’ve been emailing these past couple of years.

I also met The Button Lady, Elizabeth, who for many years had a stall at the Camberwell Market. She lives in Stawell now and no longer goes to the market but we had a good chat about buttons and collecting. Did you know there’s a button collectors club in Melbourne? They’re having an expo and sale day on Saturday 10 October, so if you’re in the Burwood East area it’d be worth a look. I bought a few buttons and a vintage Patons beehive needle gauge from Elizabeth.

There were lots of other things to see but I ran out of time this year! Last year we watched a bit of the sheep-dog trials, which were impressive, and some of the sheep-judging – definitely recommended. There’s also farm equipment, tractors and so on, which is fun for young kids if they’re obsessed with vehicles, like mine are.

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Our highlights:

Nicole: Petting the animals and seeing the raw fleeces.

Karen: Seeing the beautiful brown sheep and getting some lovely Polwarth yarn from Tarndie.

Jackie and Chelsea: The train trip up! Good conversation, good knitting and a smidge of anticipation.

Amy: The woolcraft section. I love seeing all the beautiful knitted, crocheted and woven pieces entered in the competition and the knitted garments for sale. I bought my three-year-old son these little crocheted lion mitts.  When I gave them to him, he promptly started roaring and trying to ‘frighten’ us with them. 20150721-DSC_0784

The organisers report an 8 per cent increase in visitors to the show this year, which happens to be the biggest event of its type in the world. We love that there are so many fellow wool-lovers out there, and can’t wait to see what next year brings!

PS: Meet Dotted Rays, done and blocked!


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Woolly Dates

A select list of wool-related events and happenings in Victoria that may be of interest …

The Geelong Scarf Festival, Coastline, runs from 5 June to 2 August at the National Wool Museum. They are also on a mission to break a Guinness World Record to build the world’s largest flock of handmade pompom sheep. The goal: 10,000-plus pompom sheep in conjunction with Melissa Peacock, the artist-in-residence. More information on the website.

The famous Australian Sheep & Wool Show and Artisans Textile Festival runs this coming weekend at Bendigo, from 17–19 July. The biggest show of its kind in the world, this is one not to be missed; showcased are Australia’s top wool-growers and all things woollen.

The Royal Melbourne Show Art, Craft and Cookery exhibition is always a popular attraction at the Show. If you’re interested in entering your knitted or crocheted items, you need to get your registration in by 17 July, with all postal/courier exhibits to be delivered by 4 September and in person by 9 September. Results are revealed on 18 September.

The Black & Coloured Sheep Breeders Association of Australia are running a Sheep & Woodcraft Field Day on 27 September in Cranbourne. There will be craft demonstrations, a craft market selling yarns and supplies, a petting farm for the little ones and more.

Share with us in Comments below if you know of other notable events around town.

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5 things we love….

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

1.  The fact that the Sheepshow is only a week away! Are you going? If you haven’t heard about this essential event on Australia’s woolly calender, you’re missing out on meeting fibre-producing animals and the people that turn that fibre into stuff we can work with and wear. Just be sure to take a big bag for all the treasures you’ll find and also to really rug up- it gets pretty chilly up there!

Gratuitous cute sheep shot in case you need motivation to come along!

In case you need coercing to attend, here’s a gratuitous cute sheep shot!


2.  The Neural Knitworks travelling exhibition for National Science Week, which celebrates the connection between knitting, crochet and other yarn crafts and maintaining brain health. Made up of a huge number of yarn neurons currently being made by communities of crafters at small Neural Knitworks gatherings around Australia, the exhibit will begin its journey at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery in August. Get involved (or find out more) here.


3. The gorgeous new pattern from small American yarn producer Quince and Co., the Texo Shawl:

Texo Shawl

Texo Shawl

Texo Shawl

Texo Shawl

At this time of year, so many of the northern hemisphere patterns leave us cold but this one is perfect for casting on right now. Knit in 4ply, it would be a perfect pairing with our Shilasdair Luxury 4ply or our literally-just-arrived Skein Topdrawer Sock or Merino Silk Sport… More on our new Skein yarns next week!


4.  The latest installment of Our Tools, Ourselves from the Fringe Association, featuring our perennial knit crush, Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. You really get a sense of the attention to detail and technique that makes his work so successful.


5.  The beautiful fibres coming out of Cheryl Crosbie’s Granite Haven property in Euroa, central Victoria. Cheryl raises llamas and Gotland Sheep for spinning and knitting fibre and her commitment to a beautiful-quality, locally-processed product is paying off- her fleece, rovings and yarn are very beautiful. She has an open day coming up later in the year and we are hoping to get up there to visit this great enterprise.