Sunspun Fine Yarns


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Meet the Maker: Clare Devine of KnitShareLove

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Clare Devine. Devine by name, divine by nature, as exemplified on her blog KnitShareLove, a space that, Clare says, allows her ‘to share the things that inspire me, the makers that create things that make my heart skip a beat … a space to share the magical fibre things that fill my heart with creative inspired joy’.

Clare now calls Melbourne home, after lives as a writer, designer and technical editor. Originally from South Africa, her incurable wanderlust has seen her knit her way around the UK, back to Western Cape and now, Australia.

You may have encountered some of Clare’s designs for accessories on Ravelry, which have secured a worldwide fan base for her. Best of all, for the next little while, she is all ours! If you’ve been to the shop on Monday, you may just have met Clare.

(All pix courtesy of Clare. Click on the pictures to take you to the patterns.)

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In KnitShareLove you’ve created such a warm, big-hearted community space. The site really speaks to knitters and people who love the craft and all that is associated with it. Beyond the patterns, you are so much about sharing skills. Tell us when the site began, your ambitions for it, and how it has evolved over the years.

KnitShareLove evolved over a number of years, really. I first started knitting when we were travelling in Australia but I did not think about turning it into a business until I had my little girl. KnitShareLove was officially launched this year but the sentiment has always been at the heart of what I do. I love knitting and sharing my passion with other knitters, whether that is through my designs or sharing skills. KnitShareLove is a space to bring together all the things I love most about the knitting community.

Did you become a designer from your other life as a technical editor? I guess I’m wondering, did one lead to the other?

Those two lives sort of grew together hand in hand as I transitioned from working a full-time job in an entirely different field to working from home to look after my little one.

I love working as an editor, it allows me to flex the grey matter and play with Excel … I have loved worked with many designers over the years from all over the place, and always enjoy getting to know them and their working style.

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You’ve lived the knitterly life in a few different countries now. Is there a difference in knitting/making culture in each of those places? And has the Net made access to these communities easier?

I think there is always a difference between places – the climate, size of a place and access to yarns has a huge role to play in how people knit and how we interact.

I loved living in Edinburgh and sometimes think I was spoilt by how awesome it was – the knitting scene there is really active and I had so much access to all sorts of wonderful yarn and fibre inspiration.

That said, I’m really enjoying finding my way around the Aussie fibre scene. Nothing beats making new fibre friends and discovering new yarns. I am really interested in locally produced yarns so I’m currently on the hunt for interesting producers in Australia. There isn’t the same small-mill-style yarn creation happening here as in the UK, but I’m finding some stunning yarns and am always on the look-out for more.

Let’s talk about your design life. Are you led by the yarn, or does the design come first, then it’s a matter of finding the right yarn to do it justice? Or is it a combination of all that and other intangibles?

This really depends on the design. Sometimes I am led by an idea for a collection where I know what I want and I pick yarns to match; The Tea Collection was a little like this. Once I knew I wanted to create a series of Tea Hats I picked out yarns that balanced the collection and matched my design ideas for each tea.

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In other collections I’m very much driven by the yarn. Neighbourhood Sheep Society is very much like this. This is a really fun project I work on each year with Jess from Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. We pick yarns that fascinate us, she works her colour magic and dyes them up, and I let them speak to me about what they want to be. I’m a firm believer in swatching and letting the yarn tell you what it wants to be – this always works better than trying to make yarn into something it is not suited for.
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Tell us about your ongoing romance with socks and hats. Why? 

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For ages I swore I wouldn’t knit socks – I just didn’t see the point! Then a switch flicked in my brain and I was madly in love with sock construction. I love that there are so many different ways to turn a heel or shape a toe. I’ve had lots of fun over the years designing socks. Socks also make perfect travel projects, so I always have a few on the needles ready to pick up as I dash out the door or set off on a big adventure.

Hats – they were my break from socks! I started with Lapsang and then I found myself obsessed with the idea of Tea Hats and I took it from there. I love that you can get a hat from a single skein – I can pick up interesting yarns here and there and always have enough yarn for a great hat.

I also detest having a cold head or feet, so hats and socks are must-have accessories in my wardrobe.

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What are the signature Clare Devine touches to your work?

I think my signature would be incorporating tips and techniques into designs that elevate your knitting. I love teaching and am always trying to learn new things that I can use in my workshops to help knitters improve their knitting. I try to factor these things into my designs so you are always adding to your knitting repertoire. I recently started producing tutorials to accompany my patterns – they can be found here.

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Tell us about your design process, and how you know when you’ve got it with a piece of work.

My design process isn’t as streamlined as I would like. I think that is partly the way my creative brain works, and partly because the last few years have been pretty chaotic with many house moves and lives spread across three continents.

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I have lots of ideas and notebooks full of sketches. Sometimes things take ages to click into place, but occasionally everything just falls into place pretty quickly. The process of taking an idea from concept through swatching to a final pattern is fairly long. There are lots of bits and pieces that need to be aligned to get to the final proofed pattern. Working with supportive technical editors and brilliant testers is always a joy and helps me fine-tune the final product.

Do you get a chance to knit others’ patterns? And do you tinker with them – does the designer brain kick in and go, hang on, you can get a better result if you do this …

Not as much as I would like! Knitting isn’t the quickest activity and I almost always knit my own samples so most of my knitting time is taken up with sample knitting and design work. I do try to knit other patterns occasionally though. When I’m knitting another designer’s pattern I like to let my design brain switch off and just enjoy the process – I find it more relaxing that way.

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Which other designers, artists or creative people inspire you?

This is a hard one – there are so many inspiring designers and creatives out there! One of my favourite knitwear designers is Bristol Ivy. I think she’s a genius when it comes to pushing the boundaries of construction and knitting technique. I love her aesthetic and style, and wish I could have endless knitting hours to work on knitting some of her amazing designs.

Yarn and colour is a huge inspiration for my work, and I’ve enjoyed discovering local hand-dyers since I moved to Australia, including August Bird, Miss Click Clack, Circus Tonic Handmade, Gradient and, more recently, spotted at Bendigo, Owl of Athena.

I also find lots of inspiring creatives on Instagram and have enjoyed discovering local artists and designers. At the moment I am fascinated by dyeing, fabric, quilting, exploring our new adopted home country and knitting. Some interesting accounts I have seen recently on Instagram include @Iamalchemy@Arrowmountain@Maxhosa@Mazeandvale@Rebeccadesnos@Trinannelie@Salt_and_still@Seaskyeat@Vic_pemberton and @Thefolkmaker.

What can we look forward to in your trunk show at Sunspun?

We have picked out a selection of hats, shawls and socks for the trunk show. I also have a few new patterns that will be debuting at Sunspun.

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Akin (pictured above, and Clare is wearing one too, at the start of the story) is an easy hat that is perfect for the whole family – it comes in seven sizes – and you can knit it in almost any yarn weight. Perfect for a quick winter warmer (certainly very much needed in Melbourne at the moment).

I’m also releasing three socks that were previously only available in The Knitter, a UK magazine, so I’m very excited about showing those off.

Most of all, I am looking forward to meeting local knitters and fibre folk!

~

From 30 July, drop into Sunspun for Clare’s trunk show, where you can touch, feel and try on her wide selection of accessories. All of Clare’s patterns are available for purchase with a 10% discount (Sunspun members can add their usual discount) for the duration of the trunk show.  On Saturday morning, Clare will be in the shop to say hi, answer questions, sign patterns and help you decide which beautiful yarns to choose for your next knit!

On Tuesday 2 August from 6.15pm–9.15pm Clare will be teaching her Snell Cowl class, a slip-stitch colourwork project.  Call us on (03) 9830 1609 to secure your spot.

 

 


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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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April at Sunspun

Well knitting weather is certainly here and you have been visiting the shop to restock – or add to – your stash (you know which category you fit into!!).  It is lovely say “hello again” or “welcome back” and help you plan your next project.  New patterns and books are arriving in the shop as we gear up to make sure we have all the necessary supplies to see you through the cooler and colder months to come.  So grab your yarn and needles/hooks and a ‘beverage of choice’ and find out what we have for you in April.

 

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn has become sooooo popular and some wonderful friendships have been made.  You can see the April dates in the table below.  Don’t forget this free group is open to all – however, we have decided to cap the number of attendees each week to ten.  Our table just can’t accommodate any more people comfortably and still leave room for staff and customers to move around the shop.  Since we don’t want to lock you into a regular commitment we aren’t taking names for each Friday – just rock up and grab a chair till all ten are full. We have some flyers from our local Booroondara Council detailing knitting groups that are held in the Libraries in our area.  Feel free to ask us for one – you may find a group that suits your availability to a tee!  Additionally, check out your own local council – most areas have knitting groups already established.

Term 2 classes swing into action in April.  We have some fabulous new classes for you as well as some oldies but goodies!  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 your suitability for each one.  In the past, our classes have been run on Wednesday nights.  Term 2 sees them moved to Tuesday nights.  We hope this doesn’t cause too much inconvenience and that it allows additional customers access to educational opportunities.

The shop will be CLOSED on Monday 25th April for Anzac Day. We will OPEN again on Tuesday 26th April at 10am.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month!  The highlighted product for April is the very lovely Milla Mia 5ply.  This beautiful yarn is a 5ply (Sport), 100% merino wool yarn.  It is so very soft – perfect for cowls, scarves, shawls, baby garments and all those ‘wear next to your skin’ projects.  An upcoming blog post will tell you more and we have some items made up in the shop for you to see this lovely yarn ‘in action’.  Sadly, Milla Mia will no longer be available to us wholesale (you will be only able to get it through an international online shop) so what we have left is all we can get!  If you love this yarn, and we know many of you do, now is your opportunity to grab some at a reduced price.  A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

Annnnnd ……. WE HAVE MORE NEW YARNS!!!!  We will just give you the short version here because we will feature some of them in upcoming blog posts.

  • White Gum Wool – a gorgeously soft Australian yarn – we have the entire range of 4ply colours.  We knitted one ball into a sample for you to feel and it just went on forever!!
  • Orkney Angora – it has to be felt to be believed – an 8ply yarn, 80% angora/20% wool (angora from ethically and humanely treated rabbits) in many colours from the Orkney Islands.  Mmmmm…..

You will notice some new faces behind the counter over the coming weeks.  Karyn (not to be confused with Karen – lol, we still haven’t been able to figure out an appropriate way to stop them both answering ‘yes’ at the same time!!!) has been one of our extraordinary sample knitters for quite a while – you will notice her work all around the shop.  She has great technical ability and isn’t afraid to tweak a pattern!  Adele is particularly adept at colour work and is also joining the teaching crew – she will be introducing Kids Holiday Knitting Classes for us during this term. You can find out more about them on the Classes page on the website. Bex has been a customer for quite some time and always has a project or two on her needles.

As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you – this month is ‘garter stitch’ month.  Learn how to graft (Kitchener Stitch) in garter stitch and how to use a double ended crochet hook (available in the shop) to easily and quickly pick up those dropped garter stitches.

In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, we are starting 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!  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.  Click on the pics and see some really lovely items.

                       

Wow!  Did your ‘beverage of choice’ last through all that? No – then grab another and start knitting/crocheting those ‘yarny’ projects that warm us both inside and out.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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Class List Term 2, 2016

We know a lot of you have been keenly waiting for it, so we’re very pleased to release our class list for Term 2.  We have some exciting new classes for you (look for the * in the schedule) and, of course, we will be re-scheduling all those you already know and love!  We have changed the day of the week the classes will run on – classes will now occur on Tuesday nights from 6.15pm – 9.15pm.

This term sees the introduction of our new Fit Your Knit series – a series of classes designed to help you learn about your body shape, create patterns specifically to your measurements, customise commercial patterns from other designers for fit and to re-gauge patterns for different yarn weights.  Watch out for them over the coming terms.

Also new to this term – Kids Holiday classes.  Run on Thursdays in the school holidays (June/July), kids (aged 7+ years old) can learn to knit or increase their knitting skills.  These classes will be 2 hours long and are scheduled for 11am – 1pm.  Are there budding knitters in your household?!?!

The Term 2 schedule is shown below and a full description of each class can be found on our website here.

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We would like to introduce you to a new ‘in-house’ teacher – Adele.  You will see her behind the counter as well so be sure to say hello.  Adele will be teaching our Kids classes.  You can read more about her (and our other teachers) here.

If you have any questions or queries please email us (shop@sunspun.com.au) or give us a call (03 9830 1609).

Happy ‘yarny education’
Karen.


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We’re Having a Trunk Show with Kirsten Johnstone!

Have you heard of a Trunk Show before?
No? Then read on! Yes? Then read on!

A Trunk Show is a selection of knitted samples from yarn companies or designers that a shop can borrow for a short period of time to allow its customers to see what patterns or yarns will look like when they are knitted up. It is a special event that allows folk to come and see items that are not normally on display. As wonderful an asset to our knitting world as the internet has become, opening up the works of all designers to all knitters around the globe, nothing appeals like touching and feeling the garments and accessories that have so cleverly been created. And often a Trunk Show will include a visit by the designer to meet and chat to customers in the shop.

And so, without out any further ado, let me introduce you to Kirsten Johnstone and give you the details of the forthcoming trunk show.

Kirsten is a local Melbourne gal who has made a wonderful splash on the international knitting scene. She has designed for such influential companies as Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co, Woolfolk, Blue Sky Alpacas, amirisu and Shibui Knits. In her ‘other’ life (you know, when she is not knitting!) Kirsten is an architect and her love of clean lines and structure can be seen in her knitting designs. As she describes her garments “designs with a distinctive urban edge yet elegantly wearable”.

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We are thrilled to be able to share Kirsten’s designs with you over the span of a week or so in March. We will have a selection of 16 garments and accessories in the shop for you to touch, feel and try on! Additionally, Kirsten’s patterns will be available for purchase with a 5% discount (15% for Sunspun Members) for the duration of the trunk show. Annnnd ……. Kirsten will be in the shop on Saturday morning to say hi, answer questions and sign patterns!

Kirsten has graciously agreed to teach a class for us as well! On Wednesday 9th March (6.15 – 9.15pm) we have scheduled her Sev[en]circles Neckpiece class. If you would like to book in now is the time as places are already filling. Just call us (9830 1609) and we can book you in and secure your spot.

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A special treat for Sunspun Members is a Meet, Greet and Nibbles night with Kirsten on Friday night. Oh …… and did I mention the Fashion Parade!!! For those of us who are ‘models’ – a very scary proposition!! Please make sure you RSVP by the required date (see your Invitation email) so we make sure to order sufficient nibbles.

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So, we hope that you will come along and touch and feel and try on and chat and enjoy the wonderful talent of Kirsten Johnstone – Aussie designer extraordinaire!

Happy ‘yarning’,
Amy, Karen and Nicole.                          Zenmon-2-650x650.jpg

 

Event details summarised below !

Trunk Show Details
Sat 5th March – Sat 12th March
Meet Kirsten Sat 5th March 11am-2pm
Discounted patterns during show

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Sunspun Member Event
(by invitation only)

Friday 4th March
Times: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Food provided; free event
Fashion Parade


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February at Sunspun

Well, the heat is still with us – perfect for cool summer knitting projects!  The kidlets are back at school and the ‘real’ year is beginning.  We will be kicking things up a few notches this year and introducing some new activities and opportunities for you to have some fun with your yarny endeavours and to increase your knowledge of all things yarn.

To start us off, our Term 1 classes get underway.  We have some new classes, some  returning classes and some new and guest teachers for you – oh, and of course, our beloved ‘returning’ teachers!!  You can check out our Classes page to find out more.  We have added a Classes Board in the shop displaying some samples of what each class offers to help you decide what class/es is/are best for you.

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One of the exciting new ‘activities’ we are starting this year is our Product of the Month. Each month we will feature a different product – it could be a yarn, a book, a pattern or a tool – and we are offering a 10% discount (20% for Members) on the chosen item for the entire month!  Woohoo!  We will have a display set up in the shop so look for it when you come in. All the nitty gritty in an upcoming blog post.

February is the month of ‘amour’ – well at least Sunday 14th is!  Along with our Product of the Month display we will have a Valentine’s Day in shop display up and running from 1st – 13th February.  We have some patterns, samples and products all suitable for you to show your love and appreciation to significant others in your life.

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Shown above is one of our new samples for our Valentine’s Day display, Lovely Cowl by Ashley Solley knit in Shibui’s gorgeously soft Baby Alpaca.

Dates for your diary:

February at Sunspun

Date

Event/Location

Link

2 – 27 February

 Product of the Month – Revive by Rowan

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Friday

5, 12, 19, 26th February

Sit and Yarn 11am – 1pm

Sunspun Shop

Blog

Monday-Saturday

1-13 February

Valentine’s Day Display

Blog

Wednesday

3 February

Finishing Your Knits Class

Class List

Wednesday

10 February

Top Down Socks Class

Class List

Wednesday

17 February

Beginners Crochet Class

Class List

Wednesday

24 February

Slipped Stitch & Mosaic Colourwork Class

Class List

We will be adding new content to our Youtube channel this month so keep an eye open for it.  And our Ravelry Group – Sunspun Fibre Folk – is growing steadily.  There is a new thread open for chatting – First Project on Your Needles/Hook in 2016.  Click on over and share, show and tell us all your first project for 2016.

Happy ‘yarning’
Amy, Karen and Nicole.


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Upcoming classes: Textured knitting

​Textured patterns have a long history in knitting; consider the intricate patterns of fisherman’s ganseys and aran jumpers or the delicate lace panels of a baby’s gown. Textures can prove effective in adding detail and interest into your finished pieces and enabling you to embellish and personalise your knitting and work well in both solid or multi-coloured yarns. Newer knitters can be perturbed and a little put off by some of the seemingly complicated methods of adding textures to their work, but this class is here to take you beyond basic stocking stitch and show you how to work textured stitches with confidence.  ​After all, texture is made with mostly just variations of knit and purl, isn’t it?
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Marlene Socks by Cookie A

Slip-stitch baby cardigan

Slip-stitch baby cardigan

 This is a project-based class so you’ll take something home a finished (or almost!) object after the class. The class teacher, our own lovely Kylie, has designed a wee triangular kerchief called Trail Mix to introduce knitters to textured stitch patterns​; each section of this kerchief uses a different stitch pattern and introduces a new method for adding texture to knitting, such as slipped stitches, knit/purl combinations, cables, eyelets, lace and bobbles.​ As you work through the different sections, this kerchief will ​take you on a lovely meandering hike over mossy trails, paddock fences, an apiary and a pine forest, and finally finishing at a pebbly creek.
Trail Mix Shawlette

Trail Mix Shawlette

During the class, we’ll also be discussing how to read from pattern charts, something that until people are often wary of until they experience how clear they really are.  Charts are becoming increasingly prevelant in contemporary patterns and can make working complicated stitch patterns a little simpler.  They also allow the designer to condense the physical size of their patterns, meaning they require less printing and are easier to travel with for the knitter on the go.  We’ll be working from both charts and written instructions, to highlight the differences of both methods.

 So grab your materials (and maybe some hiking boots and a snack) and you’re ready to get started!

Materials:

100g of 8ply yarn: a smooth-textured, ​solid or heathered yarn in a light colour will best showcase the textured stitches​

4mm needles of your choice

2 stitch markers or a few scraps of yarn

 

This shawl was specifically designed for this class at Sunspun and each participant will receive a printed copy of the pattern, not available anywhere else until October 2014!​​ Please email or call the shop to book your place.