Sunspun Fine Yarns

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Xmas and 2015 in Review

Can you believe it is Xmas time already?!?!?


2015 has been a big year here at Sunspun

  • We farewelled Jules and Jackie and welcomed Karen and Nicole.
  • We welcomed Sue and Melinda as visiting teachers.
  • A past member of our Sunspun Family, Kylie, released the first patterns for her label, Whisky Bay Woollens.
  • We had our first off site stall at The Craft Sessions.
  • Our huge Spring Clean Sale saw so much yarn heading home with many happy yarn folk!
  • Cascade 220, a much loved yarn around the world, was added to our yarn range and it has been mega popular.
  • We introduced several new yarns into our range – yarns from Zealana containing possum fibres – Heron and Air, Trapillo from Trap Art and Twig from Shibui just to name a few. Mmmm …..
  • We had some interesting and entertaining blog posts – for example Craft on Film, Slow Craft, Knitting in Scotland and crafting in Paris – ooh la la!!
  • We introduced our Magazine Subscription Service to ensure you always have the magazines you love.
  • We held our first Summer Yarn Tasting – it was a full house with those eager to try some summer weight yarns. This may be the first of many ‘yarn tasting’ events. Shhh don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret!!
  • Our new Sit & Yarn group has started. Feel free to join in on Friday mornings from 11am-1pm.
  • We launched our very own youtube channel – Sunspun. Keep watch for more and more tutorials to be added.
  • We held our first KAL/CAL – a shawl along – in fact, it is still going and you can still join in. Details in our ravelry group thread.
  • We expanded our pattern range by releasing three new free patterns just in time for xmas – Mesh Scarf, Textured Summer Cushion and Grandmother’s Favourite Face Washer. For your convenience, we have included all the bits and bobs – fabric, buttons and cushion insert – in a kit for the Textured Summer Cushion. Expect more new patterns next year.
  • We have assembled two beautiful gift packs – a Knitter’s Care Pack and a Mitts Pack. We love these!


    Both our ravelry group – Sunspun Fibre Folk – and Facebook page have been re-invigorated so feel free to follow our shenanigans in these places. You may even find something you would like to join in…..


    Phew – as you can see – a busy, busy year …… but what fun we had!!


    Our last day of trading for 2015 is Christmas Eve – Thursday 24th December. We will be open till our usual closing time – 5pm. We will be having a small break between Christmas and New Year and will re-open 10am Tuesday 5th January 2016. We will remind you, via Instagram and Facebook, closer to the date so you have a chance to grab any last minute things you may need to carry you over our ‘re-charge the batteries’ break!


    Happy ‘yarning’,
    The Sunspun Team
    Amy, Karen and Nicole


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Things to See & Make


Source: Lamington Drive

To look and find

The walls at Lamington Drive have been transformed into pages from Beci Orpin’s latest book, Find Me a Castle. The look-and-find exhibition will be on until 5 September 2015, and looks to be great fun for kids small and not-so-small. At 101A Sackville Street, Collingwood.

To make (i)

Isabell Kraemer’s Reagan has to be the prettiest cardigan we’ve seen in a while, and best of all, it’s one of those that you can flip and wear upside-down. The pattern calls for a wool–cotton yarn, which makes the finished garment perfect for layering. Start now, and you can wear it on spring days and cool summer nights. Reagan

To make (ii)

Our interest in allover patterning continues, and Melanie Berg’s Threshold ticks all those sweater boxes: top town, seamless, boat neck, a subtle criss-cross design, drop-shoulder construction and a boxy cut. One to make if you look forward to many evenings of purely meditative knitting.


To lift you up

Do you use moodboards? They are a particularly effective tool for when you’re looking to expand your colour and design horizons. Tanis Fiber Arts posts hers every Monday. Whether you’re looking for a lift, or a touch of simple beauty as you go about your day, there’s something to suit every, um, mood.


Source: Tanis Fiber Arts

To hatalong

Fringe Hatalongs are becoming a bit of a thing now (Amy made the Hermaness Worsted), and the latest project is just up if you want to join in. This time, the project is based on colourwork. The pattern uses between 80 and 125 metres of a main colour and 14–20 metres of a contrast colour in worsted-weight wool. (Cascade would work well.)

To applaud

Debbie Bliss, well known internationally for her amazing yarns and designs has been awarded an MBE for her services in knitting and craft in the recent Queen’s birthday honours list. It is so inspiring to see knitting and the crafts make the headlines, and Debbie’s work thus acknowledged!


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One-stitch Wonders

This has been quite the winter for the southern states in Australia – snowfall, sleet and serious wind chill factors. Brrrrrrr!


That’s frost, people. In the inner city.

On days and weeks like these, many of us retreat to the comfort of our old faithfuls, and judging by what’s on the Melbourne streets this winter, the one indispensable item in many wardrobes is the cowl. There are almost more popular as scarves some days, and it’s easy to see why.

Oversized ones can be wound and unwound depending on the amount of warmth needed, and the smaller ones tuck away neatly inside shirt collars or boat-neck /V-neck jumpers.

Cowls are also one of the easier things you can make – they are perfect beginner projects – and easy to make your own. Take a tip from some of the most loved cowls on Ravelry, each of which uses one stitch and one yarn to full effect.


Source: Honey Cowl, Madeline Tosh

Two of the more popular on Ravelry are the Honey Cowl, which has had nearly 20,000 makes, and the Gap-tastic Cowl, which is big, bulky – and knits up quickly.


Source: Jen Geigley

Cupido is a slipped-stitch beauty that looks almost lacy.


Source: Hiroko Fukatsu

And then there are the colourwork and the lace options …

So, here’s a cowl that we’ve come up with instore that celebrates one-stitch wonders – and it’s entirely reversible. Knitted in broken rib/rice stitch, the allover pattern on both sides feels nubby on one side and lightly waffly on the other. Best of all, it needs little to no blocking, unless you want to open up the pattern a little – it lies flat on its own.


The ginger-coloured version (shown on the rice stitch side) uses just one skein of Cascade 220 (colourway Birch Heather), and is knit on 4.5 mm needles. It measures 16 cm (6.25 in) high by 100 cm (40 in) around.


The cream-coloured version (shown on the broken rib side) is knit with the yarn held double on 9 mm needles. It takes 3 skeins, and measures 25 cm (10 in) high by 152 cm (60 in) around.

You can use your favourite cast on, or follow the pattern for an i-cord edging. Both these samples are instore, as is the pattern, which sets out all the details and options.

Or, if you want to have a go at making your own, there are many online stitch dictionaries to help, such as New Stitch a Day, Knitting on the Net or just google. Stay warm!

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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.


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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New Tricks

If you’ve been knitting a while, there is no question that you’ll have your armoury of favourite techniques to draw on, whether it be for casting on, knitting in the round, working short rows or making jogless stripes. Case in point: while working on the sleeves for Helga Isager’s Siberia Anorak, I realised there was no way I could knit the sleeves on double-pointed needles – not with mohair and 4.5 mm needles – and produce a neat finish. (I tried. I failed. Again and again.)


So, after more than three decades of knitting, I finally learnt how to magic-loop. And I am equally gobsmacked and embarrassed that it took me so long to do so, because the technique was (i) so easy, (ii) faster than using double-points and (iii) produced such an elegant result. This was not through a lack of curiosity or a resistance to learning new techniques, but more an irrational devotion to double-pointed needles (I’m old school that way). Nonetheless, the exercise did leave me wondering how much use I’ll get out of them in future, since inevitably new techniques become my default method – or at least until something else proves its worth.

Which led me to wonder: do we refresh or reboot our skills enough? Often workarounds can be found (in the case of those sleeves, aggressive blocking), but the thrill of knowing more than one way to do something is inherently satisfying. Is there a technique or a particular kind of knitting – lace, shawls, socks – you’ve always veered away from? Let us know in the comments!

While there are books and websites galore that can show you a specific technique, little beats the face-to-face interaction and hands-on application of a class, with someone to demonstrate and explain why doing something in a particular way produces a certain result. Our class series are up and running again (see the tab above), and next week’s class (22 April) is, coincidentally, on tips and tricks, covering everything from yarn choice and substitution to swatching, troubleshooting and different methods for increasing and decreasing.

Another class on 6 May deals with finishing techniques, including selvedge stitches, grafting, bind-offs and blocking for a professional finish.

There are spots still available for those classes, so please call the shop to book your spot, and meet up with like-minded crafters for a night of learning, inspiration and new friends.

In store news, Noro’s Silk Garden Solo is in stock. This silk, mohair and wool yarn is basically the incomparable Noro colours neat, without the signature striping. If you’ve never used this yarn before, do consider giving it a go. The sheen from the silk and the warmth and drape will yield long-lasting garments, accessories and blankets. We have all ten colours in-store.


AND STOP PRESS … our shipment of Cascade 220 is IN. Oh, the anticipation has been killing! One of the most popular and versatile yarns around, it comes in an incredible range of colours; it’s one of those workhorse yarns that thoroughly deserves its reputation. We’re starting with a range of 44 colours, including some stunning heathers. More about them next week — gotta unpack!