Sunspun Fine Yarns


Leave a comment

Product of the Month – September

It’s that time of the month when we roll out our Product of the Month, and September’s star is White Gum Wool (4 ply). As with all products of the month, you can buy them at 10% off (20% for Sunspun members).

White Gum Wool comes from 1600 Saxon merinos raised by the inspiring Nan Bray just south of Oatlands in Tasmania. A woman determined to do things in a different way, in a better way, Nan – a former marine physicist and an ex-city slicker to boot – combines generations-old shepherding and wool-raising skills with ground-breaking research to produce yarn that is unsurpassed in quality.

Nan keeps the sheep family groups together for their lifetimes, which means the mothers teach their babies how to graze on a wide range of native and exotic plants. Both animal and landscape are ethically cared for – that means no mules and no fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides. As a result, Nan gets more wool per animal per year, greater fleece strength and fewer interventions are needed with the sheep.

DSCN7008-e1389852362519You can catch up with Nan and stories from her farm through her blog, and do watch her story on Landline – it’s a cracker.

It would be an understatement to say knitters love and are loyal to this stunning yarn. Designers such as Tikki Knits, Sally Oakley and Evie and Essie have built patterns around White Gum yarns, and dyers such as Augustbird, Nunnaba and Gradient use White Gum as a base.

This merino is strong and really one of the softest you’ll find, which means you can wear it next to the skin. And as with all things wool, it’s comfortable in all but the most extreme of weather. Each ball of the 100 gram yarn has a generous 472 metres. And did we mention it comes in sixteen well-matched natural colours? Pictured below is the sedge colourway.

IMG_1481 (1).jpgWhite Gum 4 ply is light, oh so soft and buttery to knit with, and slips off the needles smoothly. It has the most beautiful hand – see that slight halo? Because it has lots of loft and elasticity,  you may need to block quite vigorously to open up lace projects. In stocking stitch and with smaller needles, the fabric is dense and almost velvety. (The ball band gives the tension at 28 stitches by 36 rows on 3.25 mm needles for a 10 cm square.)

This is the go-to yarn for baby wear, and luxurious shawls and shawls that drape beautifully, so use the yarn with your favourite fingering-weight patterns. Here are a few that have caught our eye.

cowl1_medium2Evie & Essie’s Sparkles Snood is a deep and light textured cowl that intersperses lace with ribbing and slipped stitches. The yarns shows off the stitch details well, making this a piece to cherish for years to come.

image_medium2

Daysfull made a stunning Enkei by Kirsten Johnstone in the everlasting colourway – it’s a pop of sunny happiness. The top-down cardigan is shaped with raglan increases, then knit back and forth, finishing with that peekaboo cutout at the back. (With yarn so soft, you can expect some pilling, so get yourself a good shaver while you’re at it …)

DSC_0477_medium2Rhiannon Owens’ Gwyn Minikins is a classic cropped child’s cardigan knit seamlessly from the top down with a lace yoke and a stockinette body. It will go beautifully over a favourite dress or jeans.image-16_copy_medium2.jpg

Françoise Danoy’s Tokerau shawl marries a subtle textured stockinette body with intricate lace, and just enough complexity to hold your interest as you’re knitting. The shawl would look as stunning in a single colour as it would in two contrasting colours.

And if you’re after a challenge, there is Jared Flood’s Girasole. Originally knit in worsted-weight yarn, knitter Pam Chiang has made hers using 450 g of White Gum, adding two repeats and a wide sawtooth border for the stunner pictured below. 20151208_094240_1__medium2.jpg

Source: Pam Chiang 


Leave a comment

Kirsten Johnstone – Kei Collection Launch

As you know, at Sunspun we have a very soft spot and a great deal of affection for designer, Kirsten Johnstone, and her beautiful designs. Earlier this year we showcased many of those designs in our very first 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.

self_sq_xlarge

We are privileged to be able to share her new mini collection for Woolfolk with you. In Kirsten’s words, “the Kei Collection (Kei is Japanese for shape) comprises four designs in Woolfolk Tynd with a unifying Drawstring Element and named after a shape to help ‘tie’ the collection together (bad pun fully intended)”. How exciting! We will be one of the first to see them! There are both accessories and garments in the collection.

Have you been in the shop and felt the exquisite Woolfolk yarns? Truly a sensual experience! The softest 100% merino yarn we have ever had in our hands – with the additional desirable qualities of being ethically and sustainably produced. Tynd is a 4ply yarn with a tight twist that creates both an elegant and lightweight fabric. The colour palette is both sophisticated and understated. A perfectly lovely marriage for Kirsten’s designs that also embody both these qualities.

13774_779280812156047_832191343752536020_n

And so to the nitty gritty details:

The Kei Collection will be in the shop for you to touch, feel and try on! Kirsten will also be present in the shop to answer all your questions. At the previous trunk show she soooo enjoyed meeting you all and being able to help you with pattern and yarn choices.

The Collection: in shop Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July
Kirsten: in the shop Saturday 9th July 11.30 – 3.30pm

Additionally, Kirsten’s patterns from the Kei Collection will be available for purchase with a 10% discount (Sunspun Members are entitled their usual discount as well) for the duration of the mini launch. Annnnd, Woolfolk Tynd will also be available for 10% off during the Friday and Saturday of the collection launch. Cleverly, two of the designs use only one skein of Tynd so it is the perfect time for you to try this truly superb yarn.

1-1

So, we hope that you will come along and touch and feel and try on and chat and enjoy the wonderful creations in Kirsten Johnstone’s new Kei Collection!

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


Leave a comment

June at Sunspun

June is a very exciting month!  Why?  Because Winter is here!!  All that wonderful, head clearing cold air!!  And firesides, and knitting, and hot soups, and knitting, and hot chocolates, and knitting ……..
So, grab a hot beverage, read on and let us tell you more about what’s on in June at Sunspun.

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn just keeps going from strength to strength.  You can see the June 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. Some lovely friendships have already been made!

Term 2 classes have started.  We have some fabulous classes for you during June, including a new one for all the crocheters – How to Join Crocheted Motifs – so you will know how to put all those granny squares and other shapes together.  Don’t forget the ‘oldies but goodies’ on the calendar as well! Towards the end of the month school holidays start.  To help you entertain your small people we have scheduled two kids knitting classes – Learn How to Knit for complete beginners and Knitting Skills Extended for those who are familiar with the basics.  Adele is our teacher (you can read her bio here) and we would like to assure you that she has a current Working With Children Check.  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 or your children. Don’t forget our adult classes are now conducted on Tuesday nights. Children’s classes are on Thursday during the morning.  All the info is on our classes page.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for June is the very lovely Zealana yarn – Tui.  This wonderful yarn is a 12ply (Bulky), 75% merino/15% cashmere/15% possum yarn.  It is very warm with a slight halo – perfect for jumpers, cardigans and scarves – and comes in some lovely colours.  A great chance to try some possum yarn – so warm and toasty. Our upcoming blog post will tell you more.  A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

As you know, we have a Sunspun Members loyalty programme that allows Members to receive discounts on all their purchases.  In a previous blog post we explained how it all works and let you know that we would be including some special members events this year.  Well, it’s time for another one!  We would like to invite all members to the shop for a special members only shopping day – Sunday 5th June.  As we have many members in country Victoria and interstate, special consideration will be given for you as well!  All the details have been sent out to members in a separate email.  If you  are a member and haven’t received your email invitation to this fabulous event just let us know.

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 buttonhole techniques for you – an eyelet buttonhole and a one row horizontal buttonhole. Great timing as we move into cardigan knitting weather!  Jump over to our channel every now and then to check out our video offerings.

In our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, our new monthly discussion threads for you to participate in continue. The first is centred around garments – each month we feature a new garment and ask you to share past or current projects.  The second is more general and talks about yarns, colours, shapes, etc.  Lots for everyone!  For June, our garment focus is shawls and in the ‘other’ thread we will be chatting about the shapes of shawls you like to make – asymmetric, crescent, triangular or rectangular, 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).

Saturday 18th June is World Wide Knit in Public Day. It began in 2005 and has been an annual event ever since.  Knit in Public Day is really about showing the general public that knitting can be a community activity in a very distinct way.  Later in the month we will publish a blog post to tell you more about it.  How will you spend this fun day????

And lastly, but importantly, we will be closed Monday 13th June for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.  We will re-open on Tuesday 14th June as usual.

So, that’s June.  A month to learn, shop, share and snuggle inside with your yarn while Mother Nature sends us a lovely cold winter.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


Leave a comment

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.


1 Comment

Sunspun Membership

Fringe Association Tote

Did you know we have a Membership programme?

Well we do!!  It is designed to acknowledge the very valuable contribution  our regular customers make to our shop, how precious your feedback on our classes, patterns and yarns is to us and how much we love being able to ‘yarn’ with you on your visits to the shop and over email.

So how does it work?

There are a couple of different options:

  • The cost of membership is $35 for one year or $65 for two years.  We will also advise you when your renewal is due so you can take advantage of our additional early renewal discount
  • Members are issued a membership card
  • Current members’ benefits include:
    • 10% discount on all purchases in-store and mail order (excluding class fees).  This discount applies to all sale stock and our mega summer and winter sales, enabling members to benefit from additional savings on already discounted stock. Yippee!!!

This year will see the expansion of our membership programme to include various new benefits and exclusive members only events.  To date we have the following events planned for members in 2016:

  • Exclusive opening hours for a special shopping day with an increased discount.
  • We will have some in-store visits by Australian designers this year and members will be invited to ‘Meet, Greet and Nibbles’ events.
  • A members’ Xmas party.

And we are just getting started!  Our brains ‘runneth over’ with all manner of ideas to enrich your Sunspun experience!  Stay tuned.

If you would like to take out a sunspun membership or ask for clarification on any details, please email us (shop@sunspun.com.au) or call (03) 9830 1609.

Happy ‘yarning’
Karen.

 

 


Leave a comment

Product of the Month – February 2016

One of the exciting new activities we are starting this year is 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.

And now for the nitty-gritty:

  • The 10% discount is only available on new purchases of the featured product/s – it doesn’t apply to items already on lay-by.
  • No lay-bys.
  • If the product/s are returned, as per our usual returns policy, they must be accompanied by the receipt of purchase. Yarns are only accepted for return if we still have the dye lot in stock; books, patterns, needles and accessories are not returnable. The refund will be given as an exchange on additional items or as a credit note and the refundable amount will be the amount actually paid, i.e. the discounted value of the product. Of course, if a product is damaged when purchased please bring it back to us ASAP.

So, keep a watch for the Sunspun newsletter to find out the hero for each month. We hope you find wonderful new products that you may not have previously considered using.

Now to introduce this month’s product, which is Rowan’s Revive, which we reviewed in depth in October.  This recycled cotton, silk and viscose yarn creates a fabric with a subtle tweedy texture (see the swatch below) but not the weight, producing garments that will work for a summer’s evening through to pieces for layering. It drapes well and softens when washed, so check your gauge after a soak.

2016-02-02 11.10.46

Come and see our new sample using Revive instore: Emmer is knitted in the round with a simple square neckline. This versatile top can be paired with a jacket for the office, and dressed down with jeans for Saturday run-arounds. It works up quickly too, so come in and give Revive a try this month.

2016-02-02 11.09.56

 


Leave a comment

Xmas and 2015 in Review

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

shutterstock_340247306

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