Sunspun Fine Yarns


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Product of the Month – October

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Isager Highland is our October yarn of the month, which means you can buy the yarn all month at a 10% discount (20% for Sunspun members).

If you’ve been to the store, you’d know we love Isager yarns from Denmark. Highland is produced in Peru and this sportweight, pure wool yarn is all that you’ve come to expect from Isager – grown under strict environmental conditions and  minimally processed.

Each 50 g ball of the plied yarn yields 280 metres, which goes a long, long way. The yarn itself is light and strong, and the full range of colours is lightly heathered. Because of its weight, it can be stranded with other Isager yarns to create one-off fabrics.

Highland is good to work with. While not buttery soft, it feels good0 in the hand. The plies are tight enough that they don’t catch (I used Addis), and sticky enough to have some memory (very handy if you need to rip back). The Highland fabric blooms, transforms and relaxes into a garment or accessory with beautiful drape when blocked. Depending on gauge, it can also grow when blocked, so if the item looks small when you’re knitting, don’t fret too much. Be sure to swatch beforehand to check your gauge.

This is one of those enormously versatile yarns, yielding ethereally light lace on the one hand and blending beautifully for colourwork items.

The magic of blocking. The Daffodil cardigan in Highland: left shows the
back (blocked) and right is the unblocked sleeve.

Here are a few quick ideas that show off the yarn’s best features.

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Knit n Slide is a Stephen West semicircular shawl with a lacy border and beautiful scallops. There are some stunning examples on Ravelry, and colours can be as dramatic or complementary as you like.

Halligarth by Gudrun Johnston is a woodland shawl featuring a traditional lace motif. Two skeins should make a shawlette, and four will give you a large shawl.

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Finally, to return to first principles, two patterns created by Helga Isager: Vivi, a colourwork pattern, and the Daffodil cardigan. Daffodil cardigan is soon to be a sample instore, so drop by soon to have a look. Ours was knit in three balls.

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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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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

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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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Summer Yarn Tasting

What, I hear you say, is Yarn Tasting?  I’m so glad you asked!!  You know how the bread shop gives you little samples to try so you know what you really like?  Well, we are giving you little samples to try so you know what you really like!

Summer presents many opportunities for yarn lovers to expand their horizons and knit/crochet with a whole variety of things that they perhaps haven’t tried before.  We know we are all wool, cashmere and alpaca lovers but have you experienced the wonderful crunch of linen, the softness of cotton or the beautiful sheen of bamboo?

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We have decided that you all need to try these intriguing and fabulous yarns and experience the different textured fabrics they produce.  In a country with the weather vagaries that Australia experiences it just makes sense to have some summer yarns and projects as part of your ‘yarny’ repertoire.  So details …….

When:              Saturday 5th December 2015     11am – 3pm

Where:            Sunspun Shop – 185 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury

What to bring:    Knitting needles/crochet hooks in sizes 3.25mm, 3.50mm, 4.00mm (note knitting needles/crochet hooks can’t be supplied)

Cost:                  Enthusiasm!

We will have small amounts of various yarns wound off for you to try.  You will be able to take home all the swatches you make for your swatch library (we know you all have one!!!).  We will have some samples made up for you to see how these yarns behave in ‘bigger than swatch size’ fabric and some patterns that would be suitable for them as well.

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As a bonus and a ‘thank you for coming’, if you purchase any of the featured yarns or patterns on the day, you will receive a 10% discount.

Please let us know if you are coming to participate (you can email shop@sunspun.com.au us or phone us 03 9830 1609) so we can make sure we have enough yarn prepared.

How exciting – yarn never ‘tasted’ so good!!

Happy ‘yarning’

Karen.

 

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Sunspun Yarn Along 2015-2016

Do you love to ‘share’ your yarn experiences with like minded souls? Well, yarn alongs are a fabulous way to do this.  You work on the same project/s as others and share your triumphs, tears and successes along the way.

Sunspun is running our very first yarn along!  We are calling it a ‘yarn along’ because we sincerely believe that knitting and crocheting should each be given moments in the spotlight!

So …… what item are we creating in our yarn along?  We have chosen a shawl as the project – a lovely accessory that can be made warm for winter using beautiful soft, drapey wools or cool for summer in your choice of lovely cottons or linens.  They are relatively quick to finish (!), almost universally loved and a project that has no pesky fit issues. Winner all round!

So into the nitty gritty:

The Timetable

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The Patterns

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In the words of the designer Melanie Berg:

“Make your own luck with this cheerful, playful shawl – it’s game for anything, and the infinite colour possibilities really let your personality shine. Garter stitch sections take turns with slipped-stitch stripes to create bright daubs of colour.”

The pattern can be purchased from us in the shop or directly from Melanie through her ravelry page.  You can see from the various completed projects in ravelry just how different Moonraker can look with different colour choices.

Our sample has been created using the gorgeous Isager Alpaca 2 – a beautifully soft yarn that is 50% alpaca and 50% wool.  In this yarn you need 2 skeins each of your two main colours and 1 skein each of two contrast colours for the ‘flowers/daubs of colour’.

Being primarily garter stitch this shawl is suitable for all knitting skill levels.  For the daisy stitch flowers we have put together a video tutorial in our youtube channel for you.  They are not difficult but the pattern language may confuse you a little – hence the video tute!

CrochetSunday Shawl

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In the words of the designer The Little Bee ~ Alia Bland

“The Sunday Shawl is a soft & snuggly shawl, perfect for nippy winter days and nights.

Make this shawl your own by choosing a colour scheme to suit your personality or follow the colours suggested in the pattern, it’s up to you!”

The pattern can be purchased from us in the shop or directly from Alia through her ravelry page.  And as an added bonus Alia has graciously offered a 20% discount to SAL participants – just use the coupon code SUNSPUN at the checkout. You can see from the various completed projects in ravelry just how different the Sunday Shawl can look with different colour and yarn choices.  It should be noted that the pattern as purchased directly from Alia is written in US crochet terminology.  We have translated it to Australian terminology for you.  If you purchase through the shop we will give you the converted copy.  However, if you purchase directly from Alia, just present us with proof of purchase (your ravelry receipt will be fine) and we will supply you the converted version – a pdf copy so you can print it out at home.

Our sample has been created using cotton 8ply yarns – we were going for a very light, bright and summery look!  Primarily Debbie Bliss Cotton DK yarns.  You will need 7 balls of your main colour and 1 ball each of 7 contrast colours.

This shawl pattern was chosen for its simplicity – it is suitable for all crochet skill levels.  The pattern is beautifully written with extensive photo support for every row.  Additionally, we have created a video tutorial in our youtube channel for you showing how to do the magic circle to start.

Help Sessions

We are having some help sessions in the shop if you would like some hands on assistance.  These sessions are free of charge.  Just bring your project and your questions and we will sort you out!

There are two sessions each day:

Friday 27th November and Saturday 28th November               morning: 11am – 1pm        afternoon: 2pm – 4pm.

Ravelry Group

We have established a SAL thread in our ravelry group for you to post photos, ask questions and share tears and triumphs.

Please post your finished photos in this thread – by Friday 22nd January 2016. We will choose a winner for our crochet prize and our knitting prize from these pics.  The prizes will be randomly awarded on Saturday 23rd January 2016 and communicated through the Group Thread and to the winners individual Ravelry pages.

# tags

When you share photos in instagram and ravelry and Facebook (notice we have cheekily supposed you will!) please use #sunspunSAL2015.

So are you in?  Let’s make this fab and create and share.

Happy ‘yarning’

Karen.

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The Finish Line

We’ve had a slew of finished items come our way recently, and thought we’d share them with you.

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One of our lovely customers Claire brought in a finished Denali from Brooklyn Tweed’s Men, which she made for her son. The jumper by Norah Gaughan has come up so well in Debbie Bliss’ Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran: the syncopated cables on the front and back and the stocking-stitch sleeves give the sweater a neat, modern finish. One worth queuing for a loved one.

Another finished object we have to share is Faye’s utterly stunning Isager Spring sweater, made in Isager Spinni. Isn’t it so beautifully realised?

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This is a sister knit to Winter, which we’ve featured before. Both are lightweight, drape like a dream, and look like fun to make.

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Remember picture knits? We love this bold, beautiful cocky another of our customers made from Liz Gemmell’s Woolly Jumpers.

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One of Karen’s recent finishes is Romi Hill’s Zephyr Cove Shawl, an asymmetrical shawl with short rows, garter stitch and a picot edging, which she made in Colinette Jitterbug. The garter stitch makes this a ‘springy, squishy shawl’, and she has this advice for yarn choices if you’re planning to make one: choose one that is not too tightly spun, since the lace edging wouldn’t block as well.

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Nicole has been hugely prolific, and among one of her recent stunning finishes is a Featherweight cardigan in the luxurious Skein, in a silk/merino blend. The colour, the fit and the finish are perfect.

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For a quick one, her colourwork hat uses small skeins of natural-dyed yarns from The Craft Sessions, worked back with Shilasdair Luxury 4 ply. Such a lovely palette.

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I recently took Sibella away with me and came home five weeks later with a finished cardigan (though I’m still deciding on buttons). This is probably one of the most satisfying knits I’ve ever made, and the perfect road project. Perhaps it was being on the road and therefore the imposed project monogamy, but I didn’t get stuck in sleeve-land either – a miracle! I used the fingering-weight Ton of Wool Four Cormo for this, and the fabric is gorgeous, springy and light; the finished cardi weighs about 258 grams.

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Whether you’re a process knitter or one who’s focused on the end product, there is an undeniable pleasure in finishing, even if it’s for the lessons learnt on what not to do. Do keep stopping by and showing us what you’ve done recently; we love hearing the stories behind the knits.

PS: Not that you’d need reminding of the benefits of crafting, but this is too good not to share: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/