Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Ga-Ga for Grape

Just a selection of some of grape inspired yarns in our range yarns
 We all have favourite colours.  Those special colours that just make us drool, go weak at the knees and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Colour is an indicator of our mood, how we express ourselves, how we want to world to see us.
This is the most popular colour in Texas
The Yarn Kitchen at Skeinz is always looking to find the right colours to reflect the dynamic consumers that love our yarns.  One colour that is most often requested, purchased, followed and has the most passionate advocates is purple or in our case grape.

By adding it to randoms you just get itchy to start casting on
It hit me as I was adding two new yarns to the site today, both variants of grape, how much this colour is adored.  We have a grape shape across at least nine different ranges, it is a common component within our random shade combinations - so what does this all mean.....?
Just loaded today - I can't see this lasting long!
According to Dr. Google...
This color relates to the imagination and spirituality. It stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. It is an introspective color, allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts.
In the meaning of colors, purple and violet represent the future, the imagination and dreams, while spiritually calming the emotions. They inspire and enhance psychic ability and spiritual enlightenment, while, at the same time, keeping us grounded.
One of the most popular samples in the shop - Grape Baby Cardigan
What?!  This sort of sounds like a lot of knitters I know - does this mean we are destined to love the glamour of grape?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

KAN Krazy

Winner of the first KAN photo competition - Alice Best. 
It's been three weeks now since KAN 2014 wrapped up.  This year was epic.  Bigger numbers, more classes, more trading, simply a much bigger event.  I am not a professional event organiser.  I do KAN because I am passionate about yarn craft and I wish to see it not only survive, but thrive, so when you are thrown a massive snafu a week out from the event (the local council not allowing our venue to occupy their brand new function room - the one we had book), it was, too say the least, panic stations.
KAN sponsor & all round stunning woman - Tash from Holland Road
This is were people make all the difference.  People like the team at East Pier (our venue) who worked tirelessly with me to nut out solutions.  The Crown Hotel, where I had already booked teaching space, banding together to pull in all the resources we could muster in Ahuriri to make sure this event went ahead. And of course my amazing work mates at Skeinz, who all help keep me sane during the preparations.

Sue Schrueder one of the KAN tutors and Margaret Stove MBE
Also the people that attend KAN.  It was the Kanannites, especially those who have been coming for years, who share in my passion for yarn craft and have the vision to know how incredible KAN will be next year, you all made this event so very, very special - Thank you!

Vanitas was launched at KAN this year - Divine!
This mutual pulling together created an atmosphere that had such a buzz, one which filtered out to the locals that braved the rain to come out in droves to check out the event on the public market day on Sunday morning - quite overwhelming.

The Port View Room was one of the gems discovered after the snafu.
Now I have some perspective I am so excited about KAN 2015.  East Pier will have been completed and the venue, with vast trading and social spaces, all with uninterrupted sea views, will just be awesome.  The Crown Hotel are back on board this year with their beautifully appointed conference rooms and the technically pimped out Port View Room has also been booked again.  I'm in discussion with the tutors to create a class schedule that will have you all salivating & a new improved registration system will be in place to help getting yourself booked in a breeze.

Just a hint of socialising went on
If you want to get a feel for the KAN experience, pictures were uploaded to Twitter & Instagram using #knitaugustnights & make sure you join the Knit August Nights Facebook page.  East Pier will also have accommodation available next year, along with the excellent Crown Hotel, Navigate Seaside accommodation & Harbour View Motor Lodge - each of them seconds away from the venue.  I hope to see you next year!
Persian Poppies was one of the sold out classes this year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Alpaca Adoration

The new very limited edition range of  Skeinz Alpaca Pure
Behind the closed doors at Skeinz, in the heart of the yarn kitchen we process a lot of Alpaca.  When I say a lot, I mean A LOT of Alpaca. It seems strange then that we don't do a range of Alpaca or Alpaca predominant yarns ourselves, until now.

My favourite from the new collection - it's just such an optimistic shade!
Especially to celebrate Knit August Nights & our sponsoring of the Alpaca hand crafts section of the Hawkes Bay A & P Show, we have produced a very small limited edition range of pure Alpaca yarns.  Pure Alpaca has a lightness, softness and warmth that is quite unique.  It doesn't have the energy & fibre memory as wool, but what it does have is a floaty drape that lends itself to light dreamy garments, wraps, shawls or feminine cardigans.  Because of it's smoothness and softness it is also a great option for children you need something very gentle next to their skins.

Damask Shawl
 A couple of patterns I think would look amazing in the Skeinz Pure Alpaca are the damask shawl by Kitman Figeuroa. Available in 3 sizes and in both written and charted format, it's feminine and would showcase the properties of Alpaca perfectly.

Beautiful Buttercup
The second is Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier.  Kirrmaier is famous for her free flowing style or easy to wear garments that flatter everyone.  She is one of my 'go to' designers if I am looking for something special to add to my pattern collection.
A bouquet of loveliness - Heritage Alpaca Merino

The other thing I love about Alpaca is how nicely it plays with other fibres.  if you blend it back with wool you have a yarn that takes on the best from both fibres:  Softness, drape with structure & style.  In our Heritage range we have introduced a new 50/50 blend of Alpaca with Organic Merino to produce a seriously squishy, lovable yarn.  Available currently in 4 shades from the Vintage palette: Merlot, Charcoal, Rosehip & Alpine with Pewter still to come, it's a range that begs to have colours mixed and mingled, blended, just as we have blended the two fibres together.

So start your Alpaca adoration today.  Skeinz Pure Limited Edition Alpaca $4.95 50gm for a very limited time & Heritage Alpaca Organic Merino $6.50 50gm

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In the thick of it.

A couple of the development yarns we are playing around with at the moment.
 The best thing about working on yarn development is you get to try almost every style of yarn, colour, weight & thickness.  Recent years have seen the rise of very thick, lofty yarns for garments & home wares.  We make our Texas yarn which is such a perennial favourite for fashion conscience knitters and the perfect yarn for teaching beginners.  A Ravelry search in Super Bulky yarns reveals a multitude of patterns that all knit up in a matter of hours.

These Cushions are so easy to do
Use either Texas or by double/triple stranding a DK yarn.
We have also been working of yarns that are even thicker.  Fiddling around with a cable yarn construction for a yarn ideal for arm knitting or "Bag Smith" style Tunisian crochet.  However one of the easiest and thickest of all the 'yarns' we have isn't yarn at all - it's our Skeinz Slivers.  These are carded and gilled to create an untwisted rope of sliver, which can be knitted.

The Giganto Blanket made from unspun roving
Now this isn't a 'pop out & buy' a super thick set of needles type yarn.  Start scouring your hardware store for drainage piping, broomsticks or thick dowling.  These unspun slivers are knitted on "needles" with diameters of 30, 40, 50mm or more.  Patterns are even available for these blankets - the Giganto Blanket on Ravelry is a great place to start, also hit Pinterest & see what others have been checking out to get ideas.

Double stranding Texas would achieve this look.
Much of the fun is letting your imagination go wild.  Check out our rovings - they are in 4 natural shades which complement most homes.  If you want to inject some colour - then multi-strand a variety of yarns, especially of they have fuzz or loft to them.  So, go on, get into the tick of it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Team Talk

Em and Robynne - the lovely ladies at the end of the phone & the emails
When you call of email & inquiry to Skeinz, it's more than likely it will be answered by one of these two special ladies.  Em & Robynne are the familiar faces, voices & names behind the retail Skeinz store.

Em is our 'Bookend' lady, working in the shop on Mondays & Fridays & for another part of our parent company the rest of the week.  An Aussie implant, we have now totally 'kiwi-fied' Em & she now know more about yarn than she ever thought possible - pretty impressive considering she isn't a knitter!  When Em isn't with us, she's kept extremely busy with two very active sporty children, we often joke that we come to work to take a break!

Robynne has been the linchpin of the Skeinz store for almost 3 years now & she is the smiling calm influence that we all love so much here.  If you've dealt with Robynne you'll know she has a ferocious knowledge around yarn craft & she has knitted many of the beautiful samples featured in the store.  Robynne gave up teaching to indulge her passion for yarn craft & when she's not with us she's indulging in her two delicious grandchildren who live locally or taking time off to visit those who live farther away.

For the next team profile, I will shed light on the inner workings of what Peter & I get up to behind closed doors.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Going Retro.

Battlestar in it's first incarnation
Galactica - The yarn inspired by the TV Series
When I was in my 20's "Going Retro" mean getting in touch with your inner beatnik & channeling the 60's, today the 80's is considered retro & I saw someone trying to pass something from the 90's off into the same retro genre - I think I am having one of those "you know when you're getting older moments..."
Who remembers these guy? NKTOB
New Kids on the Block yarn - Acid Wash jeans all the way!
However having a little experience under your belt isn't exactly a bad thing when it comes to designing new colours & yarns.  Peter & I have been tinkering away with a new "Acid Wash" look technique, inspired very much by the 80's fashion, look & culture.
I just LOVED this show in the 80's!  Johnny Depp's first big role.
The range is part way through development, but we have just released a limited number of the prototype yarns into the store to share with all of you.  I have been working a project in the colour way 21 Jump Street & have loved the graduating effects of the base colour with the "graffiti" layer of colour over the top.  Check the colours out now & if you are feeling nostalgic, snap them up whilst you can, colours are very limited.

Jump Street the yarn - a little bit acid wash with some graffiti attitude.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The Natural shades in Silver lining
 Shooting out for my lunch break today Pharrell Williams "Happy" was on the radio & I thought that is just so appropriate for all the deliciousness which has come past my desk over the week.

Julia Stanfield's Poplar Cowl knitted in Silver Lining 
Silver Lining is now fully loaded on it's entirety - Naturals & earthy tones.  I swatched some of the Triple Peak over the weekend for a vest I planned for my husband - it is just so lush!
Also the Poplar Cowl that I test knitted for Julia Stanfield in the Clifton Stone is now available.  The project is in the shop & has been fondled, caressed & modeled by many of our Skeinz regulars.
Miranda's brightly wrapped 'Urban' trees for Wool Week
Also over the past week the Campaign for Wool week has been making a splash around the country - especially in Auckland.  We worked alongside Auckland Designer Miranda Brown & supplied some of our Urban yarn for her "Tree Wraps" that featured at Britomart in downtown Auckland.  The 'Urban' looks great & certainly brightened up what was a dull week weather wise in our biggest city.

The first two Heritage Kid Mohair colours
Waiting in the wings that certainly made me very happy are the first two Heritage Kid Mohair colours.  Now in the shop (I'll load to the web store when I have the range in it's entirety) the Jelly Baby & Teal just scream "HAPPY".  I know most people poo hoo Mohair as their perception is of something fluffy & fuzzy.  This Kid Mohair is far from this - it's incredibly soft, pliant & because it has been spun into a smooth DK yarn the lustre that is unique to Mohair shines through.  I am itching to get it on the needles & get a project knocked out for you all ASAP.

In the meantime: Knit on & be happy!