Sunspun Fine Yarns


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July at Sunspun

July sees us right in the heart of an Aussie winter. Now we don’t have snow here in Melbourne (sadly some of us may think!!) but let’s just pretend, for the length of this newsletter, that we do! And if you are in the Dandenongs or some regional areas of Victoria then you most certainly just had a wee amount of snow.

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So settle in, read on and let us tell you more about what’s on in July at Sunspun.

Our regular Friday Sit & Yarn just keeps going from strength to strength. You can see the July 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 and new people are joining in!

Term 3 classes have started. We have some fabulous classes for you during July, including a new Knitting Clinic so you can get some help to finish off those projects that have been sitting in the ‘too hard’ basket just waiting for some loving attention. Don’t forget the ‘oldies but goodies’ on the calendar as well! To help you entertain your small people in the school holidays we have the second of our new kids knitting classes – 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. Our private classes are proving to be very popular and allowing many customers to have personalised help with their knitting and crochet dilemmas. 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 July is the very lovely Shilasdair yarn – Luxury 4ply. This beautiful Scottish yarn is from the Isle of Skye and has been a customer favourite for a ‘wee’ while. It is a 4ply (Fingering), 40% merino lambswool/40% angora/10% baby camel/10% cashmere yarn. Truly exotic!! It is hand dyed with beautiful natural dyes and comes with very generous meterage on the skein. It’s perfect for jumpers, cardigans and accessories – we have some samples knit up for you to see it ‘in action’. Our upcoming blog post will tell you more. A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

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A lot of us may only get as close to snow as a pretty snow globe this winter!

This year we want to showcase the talents of some very skilled people in our community. Kirsten Johnstone joins us again in July for the launch of her new mini collection, Kei, for Woolfolk. The garments and accessories will be in the shop on Friday/Saturday 8th/9th July for you to see and Kirsten will be in the shop on Saturday 9th July from 11.30 – 3.30pm to chat and help. Come along and say hi. All the details are on the blog.

We are very fortunate to have the lovely Clare Devine as a staff member. Did you know that Clare is a very talented designer and has a very devoted worldwide fan base? Towards the end of July and running into August we are soooo looking forward to being able to share many of these designs with you in a Trunk Show. We will be following our usual trunk show format and having a Sunspun Members’ Meet, Greet and Nibbles Night (with fashion parade) on Friday 29th July (by invitation only) with Clare’s knitted samples in the shop throughout the following week. More info on this later in a separate newsletter and blog post. If you are a sock and hat lover be prepared to swoon!!!

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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 July, our garment focus is sweaters and in the ‘other’ thread we will be chatting about the kinds of sweaters you like to make – pullovers, cardigans, vests, oversized, fitted, lightweight or thick and snuggly – 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).

So, that’s July. A month to learn, shop, share and dream about snow while Mother Nature sends us a lovely cold winter just right for our knitted woollies.

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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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.


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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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March at Sunspun

It’s Autumn!! You know what that means – cooler weather is coming. The days are getting shorter, we are spending more time inside with our knitting and crochet warming our laps and keeping our hands extra busy and our spirits are soothed by the yarn running through our fingers.

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March is another busy month for us – lol, they all seem busy! We have our regular Friday Sit & Yarn – it is becoming sooooo popular and some wonderful friendships are being made. It is quite on the cards that we may even have our first baby born this month (the due date is early April but you know babies – their schedule is all their own!). Don’t forget this group is open to all. You can see the dates in the table below.

Wednesday nights sees more classes happening – including a class taught by our special guest teacher, Australian Designer extraordinaire, Kirsten Johnstone. Kirsten proudly flies the banner for Aussie designers internationally and has designed for some of the most popular yarn companies and magazines around today. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to have her garments in the shop for a Trunk Show. As well as teaching for us, Kirsten will participate in an (invitation only) Meet, Greet & Nibbles night for Sunspun Members and will also be in the shop to meet you all, answer questions and watch you try on her lovely garments! All the details can be found on our blog.

This year Easter has come early. We will have a display in the shop of some ‘Easter’ inspiration for you. The shop will be CLOSED from Good Friday through to Easter Monday and will OPEN again on Tuesday 29th March. We will remind you closer to the date.

As you know from a previous blog post, we now have a Product of the Month each and every month! The highlighted product for March is the exquisitely soft Baby Alpaca by Shibui Yarns. This beautiful yarn is an 8ply (DK), 100% baby alpaca yarn. It is so very soft – perfect for cowls, scarves and shawls. An upcoming blog post will tell you more and we have some items made up in the shop for you to see, touch and try on. A yarn that just cannot be ignored!!

Annnnnd ……. WE HAVE NEW YARNS!!!!

We will just give you the short version here because we will feature some of them in upcoming blog posts.

Zealana Rimu (8ply/DK) and Zealana Tui (12ply/Bulky) – both yarns are wool/possum blends
Shibui Maai (8ply/DK) alpaca/wool blend, chainette yarn
Woolfolk yarns – ALL of them!

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As always, our YouTube channel, Sunspun, has new videos to ‘teach’ you and our Ravelry group, Sunspun Fibre Folk, has new discussion threads for you to participate in.

Phew! Did you need a cuppa to get through all that?!?!? Well, save your energy for March because Sunspun will be ‘hopping’ (pun intended!!).

Happy ‘yarning’,
Karen.


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Meet the Maker: Kirsten Johnstone, Assemblage

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Kirsten and her new pup Zali. She is wearing Namiki, a design with a treetops motif, knit in Woolfolk Tynd.

It is no secret that all of us at Sunspun are huge fans of knitwear designer and architect Kirsten Johnstone from Assemblage. Kirsten’s knits often feature simple, classic shapes with subtle, effective embellishment, and the finished pieces are timeless, to be dressed up or down as the occasion demands.

We admire Kirsten’s work so much that when it came time to refurbish our interiors in 2014, she was the logical choice, the one we thought who could understand the needs and workings of a yarn store, and how best to store and showcase yarn and finished objects.

We are pleased to have Kirsten coming instore on 9 March as a special guest teacher; she will be showing knitters how to make her Seven Circle neckpiece. Call or email us to book your place. In the meantime, make yourself a cuppa and meet the woman behind the knits.

Tell us a little about Assemblage: when it began, your ambitions for it, and how it has evolved.

Assemblage began soon after I discovered online blogging. It’s hard to imagine today, but there was a time when I didn’t know there was an online craft community! I had read an interview in The Age and they listed a website address. I opened the link, not really understanding what a blog was, and noticed all these extra links in the sidebar. Well, I was off and cruising my way through many of those key blogs from that first wave of online crafting. It was such a pivotal moment for me in terms of crafting.

I had always loved ‘making’ from a very young age and had stopped during my higher schooling and university years. The discovery of the online world of crafting was not only an encouragement but a relief – here was my tribe.

The knitting side of things really began with my discovery of Habu Textiles; their Kusha Kusha Felted Scarf was my first knit project in more than fifteen years, which reignited the tactile delight that knitting imparts and opened up a whole new world of yarn possibilities.

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Element, from Wool People 9 for Brooklyn Tweed. Pic by Jared Flood.

It’s been so gratifying watching your designs from Melbourne go out into the wider world, through your association with Brooklyn Tweed, Shibui, Amirisu, Quince and Co. and Blue Sky Alpacas. It must be satisfying seeing your design sensibility so warmly embraced, and so many iterations of Seven Circle, Rauin, Zumthor, Kozue and Hane out there. How did those associations start?

It is always exciting to have my designs published and seeing people’s finished projects.

My first association was with Brooklyn Tweed, who contacted me with an invitation to submit a design for the inaugural Wool People series. I cannot tell you how exciting that was! Then I was invited by Shibui to submit a design for their Geometry Collection – I submitted three for them to choose from, and to my surprise and delight, they used all three. I love seeing a little bit of Melbourne being included in collections around the world.

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Fusuma is a cowl knit in Shibui Pebble.

When designing, are you led by the yarn you want to use or do you do your own thing? Or is it a combination of all that and other intangibles?

I suppose each designer has their own methodology and typically it depends on the scenario. If I am invited to submit a design, then the yarn is effectively already chosen so that becomes a given.

I try to maintain a sketchbook of ideas that I regularly refer back over. This is my primary design reference from which I draw ideas, perhaps annotate with a yarn and colourway, stitch pattern options, and thoughts on construction or design options for the piece.

The actual design is always something I want to wear. I decided at the very beginning that I didn’t want to design just for the sake of it; I wanted it to be enjoyable since it is my second job and therefore needed to be about joy in the process. They are always designs I love and wear, and hope others might too.

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The treetops motif in Kozue are also echoed in Namiki.

Your work is always so beautifully realised, the finishing impeccable, with details that lift a familiar silhouette into something more. What makes you tinker away at a hemline or a stitch pattern or revisit a beloved pattern of yours to give it a new twist?

Thank you. I have learnt so much since my first forays into knitwear design. The perfectionist in me seeks to ensure a quality fit, excellent construction and knitting technique. This has continued to develop along with my own understanding of knitwear design.

This is the beautiful thing about design in all its guises: each and every new project provides an opportunity to stretch myself as a designer, to grow, to develop, to try new things, to refine my process and outcomes.

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Rauin; pic by Tamara Erbacher.

And how do you know when you’ve got it with a piece of work? Is something ever finished for you, or do you keep working away at published patterns – or, at the very least, let the subconscious work on it for you?

Ah, yes! The eternal designer’s question: when is the design complete? There are definitely times when yes, I feel the design is exactly what it should be and I am supremely pleased with the end result.

Sankai|Woman is an example of this. This design was an extension of one of my very first designs, Paper Crane. I love Paper Crane for its simplicity and how it plays with the inherent properties of knitted fabric to roll, which I showcased by juxtaposing two grains of stocking stitch across the bust. I thought these two features could also be applied in a more fitted and somewhat traditional sweater with some serious short-row shaping for a more polished result with hidden cuff details and tailored back shaping.

Paper Crane (left) and Sankai (right) have a fraternal resemblance. Sankai pic by Tamara Erbacher.

On average, how long does a piece take from first swatch to publication/upload?

If I am submitting a design to a company, I spend at least a month sketching, swatching, washing, blocking, photographing, drafting and then writing up my design proposal. I submit a PDF with all the relevant design information, which might include a sketch of the piece drawn to scale with dimensions (yes, ever the architect!) and possibly front and back views of the design, the design concept, yarn, gauge, needles, stitch pattern, design details and techniques.

Once the design is accepted, we agree on a date for the final knitted sample; it might be eight to twelve weeks later for a single piece, with a sized, graded and tech-edited pattern accompanying.

It might then take between four to six months for the yarn company release the pattern to the public. So, all up, somewhere between seven and twelve months.

For my self-published designs, the process is more organic. I have a small self-published collection coming out in Woolfolk Tynd soon. After initial sketches and swatches, I received the yarn and started work on the first design. Unfortunately at times the collection has been set aside for my work commitments but I am pleased to report I am now on the home straight. It has been two years in the making! Thankfully, not all my designs take this long – usually more like three to six months from start to pushing the ‘publish’ button.

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Zumthor.

Do your patterns come to you resolved or does the success of the piece lie in the countless hours of finetuning and working with test knitters?

You can see from the above that my answer here is a definite no! For me, it is a process of countless hours of visualisation and contemplation, often in the early hours of the morning when I should be asleep.

I prefer to knit each design because I finetune the piece as I go. My sample knitter is fabulous, but I try to limit her potential frustration by providing designs that I have already worked through at least once. I trust her to point out any errors or ways I could phrase a particular technique or sequence to make it simpler or more readily understood by another knitter.

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Hane; pic by Tamara Erbacher.

We know you have another life as an award-winning architect. How do you reconcile both jobs? Do they play well together? It may be projection on my part, but it does seem like architectural elements find their way into your knits.

While I love designing knitwear, I work hard to ensure it stays fun and is a positive, creative outlet. At the end of each day, I love sitting on the couch with my knitting for a little bit of ‘me-time’. Being an architect is definitely my main role and not something I am willing to give up just yet.

I agree with you, my design aesthetic plays across both my architecture and my knitwear design: clean and minimal, highly functional and efficient, considered and refined. I also love sewing and photography, and have dabbled in ceramics and printmaking. I see a consistent design aesthetic across all these disciplines.

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The Fractal Cowl is a sliver of Melbourne for the world: the triangles in the body of the cowl are inspired by the architecture at Federation Square, designed by Lab Architecture Studio.

What are the challenges to running your own business? How do you get the business and the creative aspects to mesh?

There are many challenges. Architecturally speaking I always need to find new clients; the majority of my projects come via personal recommendation.

Also work–life balance and time management (24 hours are simply not enough!) are big challenges. While there are many benefits to running your own business there are most definitely times I wish I could simply clock off and leave it all behind at the office. For me, knitting is an excellent way to relax and switch off while still being creative.

What and who inspires you?

I am passionate about modern design in all its forms – architecture, art, ceramics, fashion, food, furniture, sculpture … the list is long. Japanese design and designers. I love the concept of simplicity – the process of paring back to the essentials to release an inherent beauty or key element.

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Amime; pic by Tamara Erbacher.

What is on the horizon for Assemblage?

2016 is going to be a great year for Assemblage! I have two design commissions to be released in the first half of 2016 along with new self-published designs, including two small collections in Woolfolk, two pieces in Habu and a re-release of a design in Shibui. I’m excited about the next chapter and I so love being a part of this crafting community.

Pebble_2_small2And a big thank you to Sunspun, who are avid supporters of my designs and my local yarn store. I look forward to meeting some of you at the class in March!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been such a pleasure having Kirsten with us. Come and say hello to her on 9 March for the Seven Circles class, and knit one of her designs – we promise you won’t be disappointed!


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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