Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spin Cycle.

Voluptuous Clouds of Lovliness
Along with the increased popularity of knitting, spinning too has received a resurgence of popularity.  Wheels are being snapped up in garage sales, on Trade Me & Ebay and more and more yarn lovers are having a go at spinning their own yarns.
Chasing Rainbows - Available last year
I learnt to spin after my first son was born, but I had to put it on hiatus when he started to get mobile, the temptation to jam little fingers into moving parts was just too much for my wee man.  So my wheel went away until I attended the Unwind Fibrecraft retreat in Dunedin a couple of years ago.  Spinners there travelled with their wheels & I got to see what could be done with some of the amazing hand painted slivers now available.

My Chasing Rainbows & Clifton Stone homespun skeins
This got me inspired to make sure that we have some slivers available from skeinz.com for all those that love to spin or, like me, were getting back to their wheels & starting for the very first time.  We always have some good kiwi crossbred sliver available.  This is mid micron and draws very easily - making it easier to refine your technique if you are learning.  It spins up easily & quickly and is perfect for the classic farm style homespun projects.

Starting to knit up my Chasing Rainbows
In recent months I have been skulking about the mill looking for other gems to entice spinners.  At the end of last year we did a colour trial for a new yarn (coming soon) and I was able to snaffle some deliciously vibrant fibre, called Chasing Rainbows, which sold out in record time.   I was one of the lucky ones who had this fibre and I have been s pinning it up across the Summer break, I also have been knitting some of the Silver Lining Sliver from our popular DK range which I rescued from the blending bins.  
The new Arapawa Slivers
This year I have pounced on the gill ends of the new batch of this yarn before it was reblended.  There are four natural shades of 19 micron rare breed Arapawa Merino (in this case, last batch was mostly Stewart Island Merino with Arapawa) and it is simply TO DIE FOR!  It is so soft and spins like a dream.  If you are wanting some special sliver for an heirloom project - this is the sliver for you.  Make sure you check it out before it all spins itself out he door!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

In the most unlikely of places...

Doesn't Shohug look gorgeous! He LOVES the Bangladesh Cricket team and is very proud of his jumper in team colours.
Last week I received the loveliest of messages via our Facebook page from Susan it read
"Hello, I thought you would like to see the photo of the little boy in Bangladesh. I bought the wool from you and the lovely lady at the desk printed out the Bangladesh cricket uniform for me so we could get the colours just right. My 80 year old mother knitted this. These children have nothing, their father is my brothers rickshaw wallah.  I will be coming for more wool for sure.  He is very proud of his jersey"

I remember this very well as luck would have it, I was in the shop covering that particular day - Susan is often in purchasing yarn for her mother and another knitting group.  I remember it so vividly as I would have thought that Bangladesh would be the last place that warm woollies would be worn, but the northern part of the country gets very cold and at each end of the day and an extra layer is most certainly required, but often not available. After receiving this photograph I quizzed her a little farther and asked what is it that they do with the yarn?

The kids proudly modelling their hats & headbands
Her brother works in Bangladesh and friends of his run a school, through a church group they have been knitting hats, headbands, scarves and slippers for the children.  It gets surprisingly cold where they are and whilst most of the children are barefoot to school, the cold concrete floors are made more bearable by the slippers and the kids are kept cosy with the rest.

The slippers help keep feet warm on the very cold concrete floors
It has been a real joy to see our yarn being utilised in such a way that makes a real difference in peoples lives.  Whilst I knit for my pure pleasure and to make items for my family, it fills my heart with joy to see the smiles on the faces of these children as they have received knitted garments from our yarn and from Kiwi knitters.

A smile to make the heart sing
If you knit for charity and would like to share some of the joy you have shared through yarn please contact me either through or Facebook page or at info@skeinz.com & if you would like to help these beautiful children in Bangladesh, just let me know and I will put you in touch with the group offering support.  Thank you Susan for sharing this wonderful initiative.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Greetings and Salutations for the Festive Season

A glimpse into the shop - you can even see into the mill
Things are well and truly winding up at The Yarn Kitchen.  The mill is busy with the last day of processing today before clean up tomorrow & our own festive staff function tomorrow evening.

It has been an exciting year with wonderful growth at Skeinz, so thank you to all those who have purchased from us over the past year.  It has seen four new yarns launched, with double that already imminent for the new year.  All processed here, in our Napier mill, something we are very proud of.  In the face of a barrage of cheap imports we try very, very hard to purchase as much as we can from New Zealand sources first to spin and process here at home.
Our Penguin mascot are still popular this season.
Skeinz & our mill are very much a family - we have three couples that work here, a mother and son and frequently other family members get roped in during the peak times of year.  Over half the staff have been with us for more than a decade ( in fact we have many who have hit the 20+ and 30+ year mark) and even though it feels like yesterday since I started, I will be entering my 8th year next year.

So from our Skeinz & Yarn Kitchen family to yours.  Have a very festive, happy & safe holiday season.  We looking forward to seeing you all in the new year.

This is the closest we come to a snow drift at the Yarn Kitchen

Skeinz Shop Hours: I have posted these on the home page of the web (in the ‘Blog & News’ section), but just to remind you that the last day for the Skeinz Shop here is Napier is this Monday the 22nd, I am in there in the morning & Suzanne will be manning the afternoon until 3pm. We reopen again Wednesday the 7th of January.
Just 5 minutes away from the Yarn Kitchen is the beach - Merry Christmas
Last dispatches for skeinz.com before Christmas will be that Monday (assuming your payments have processed and cleared.) You can make orders whilst the shop is closed and these will be checked and dispatched in two batches across the festive break. If you are going to be away, be sure you let us know in the comment section, as we can hold your order and wait to dispatch it upon your return to ensure safe delivery.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Twinkle Twinkle....

The two projects knitted by Robynne - Newborn & 6 month sizes.
I arrived this morning and Robynne, one of our amazing Skeinz Shop marvels, had just completed a little cardigan in the new Stirling Alpaca yarn.  It was seriously swoon worthy.  I made sure I quickly snapped it up and photographed to be able to share it with you all.

The Stirling Range - from soft to dramatic

I know I have blogged about this yarn already but I am seriously smitten with it. Stirling is an Alpaca yarn with just the merest whiff of silver thread, adding a slight twinkle to the finished fabric.  The Alpaca has a soft halo when knitted so the overall effect is soft, warm and very, very beautiful.  The yarn is also somewhat of an all rounder.  It is spun as a sport weight (5ply), but because of that Alpaca halo in testing Stirling has performed in patterns ranging from fingerling (4ply) weight all the way through to Light Worsted (DK/8ply).

Stirling Carmine - my personal favourite.
Robynne's samples are made for babies as it is soft and special enough to be worn by infants, but I could also see this yarn is a lightweight cardigans and boleros or knit your favorite wrap/shawl & left the silver add extra luxury to your finished project.  the colours have been designed to suit the very small, soft and subtle to the more dramatic evening options.  I especially love the Carmine & Charcoal - they both really make the silver thread pop & well... Twinkle!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Season of Giving

Just a teaser of what is in the parcel.
I have had so much fun this last week scouring around the mill in this little hidden corners, dusty cupboards and in secret stashes for all sorts of fibrelicious goodies.  It's amazing what you can find.
What is the point of this exercise I hear you ask?
Our first yarn 'Teaser'

It is to put together an amazing prize bundle for a lucky Skeinz customer who shops with us between December 1st and January 18th.  To get into the draw for this prize, all you have to do is spend $50 at skeinz.com and you are automatically in the draw.  Easy.
This is a gem from the 'trial file' - never before been available.
I have tried to make sure that all the yarn in the parcel is enough to complete a small project all the way up to a garment lot for an adult.  There are all thicknesses, colours and fibres.  From the finest Merino, to lush alpaca and mohair.  Make sure you like our Facebook page to get teasers of what to expect in the parcel over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Festive Prepping

Passion Flower in my garden - I just get so inspired by the colours!
It's a month until Christmas.  Sorry to remind you. Here in Napier, that means a month until we take a break, not only for Christmas, but a Summer holiday as well.  Many Kiwi's can't even think of picking up the needles over the Summer months, but for me it's a relaxing lazy time where I clean up UFO's, or get stuck into a project that needs a calm mind to complete.

Mohair brushed this past week - quite festive colours
I know many are in the thick of whipping up a few projects for gifts and loved ones.  There are some wonderful patterns out there for gifts.  For me my personal favourites are fingerless mitts & cowls.  Both a quick, easy and jolly useful for the recipient.

New Stirling - Pure alpaca with a whiff of Silver effect
To add a little sparkle to your festive knitting you should check out our new Alpaca yarn called Stirling.  It's a soft lush alpaca with just a whiff of silver accent yarn.  I tested this yarn months ago and have been anxiously waiting it's arrival.  As well as the added sparkle, it's a sport/light DK weight yarn.  On testing it knitted happily from 22 to 28sts per 10cm.  There are many patterns now out there for lighter weight cardigans and wraps at around 24sts per 10cm and Stirling would be perfect.

My sample knitted back in April - I have been itching for this yarn to arrive.
I test knitted a swatch in the stitch pattern from Martina Behm's Naiada (the project I was working on at the time) & it looked beautiful, but with 122m per ball, that would mean you could knit something like Louisa Hardings Victorian Mitts with just one ball (a personal fave of mine).

The most recent Ever After Cowl I have knitted in Silver Lining
The Ever After cowl I have posted on Ravelry for Free would look amazing in the Stirling and would only take two balls.  It's such a quick project, a great one for last minute gifts.  You could also match it up with the gauntlets to make a set if you so desired.

Ever After Gauntlets - the fastest gift knit
If you have babies to knit for, the yarn would make a good alternative in the DK patterns (especially the Peter Gregory or UKHKA leaflets) as the garments will knit to gauge, but not feel as 'weighty' as a  regular DK.  We also have the yarn in Powder Blue & Rosehip, Sorbet & Carmine for Unisex options.

Available now online - Skeinz Gift Vouchers
Remember we can post your yarn overseas - the deadlines are on the Skeinz home page.  If you are posting from NZ to abroad additional charges may apply.  We also have fresh stock of our popular Skeinz Gift Vouchers & if you are one of the lucky ones, there may be a few Skeinz Christmas Mystery packs left.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Contentious Lemon

The resurrection of Merino Soft Baby Lemon
You can never accuse us of not being a democratic society here at The Yarn Kitchen.  Part of my role is to compile the ranges and colour trends for future yarns & monitor the existing stable of colours.  It's a tough job because you are always swayed by personal preferences, colours and shades you love and those that you, well honestly, just loathe.

The classic 'Baby Triangle'- Baby Lemon, with Baby Pink and Baby Blue
When it comes to 4ply Merino baby yarn, the obvious choices of white, pink & blue have to be in the range, and our shades of these colours have altered subtly over the years to accurately reflect as closely as we can the shades available in mainstream baby clothing - you want your hand knits to match of course.  Other colours in the range are a mix of classic colours, like the nautical red and navy, black for "Silver Fern" babies and blush, gold, lime and babychinno for those wanting something a little more modern. So when the Skeinz Shop team of Em & Robynne came to me about baby reintroducing a baby lemon to the range, I started feeling green.
An example of the correct application of  'Lemon'
Baby Lemon has been and gone at three times in the years I have been here and after it's last quiet discontinuation, I was hoping to keep it confined to the yarn shade graveyard.  Em and Robynne had other ideas.  I am now only very sporadically in the shop, so couldn't discount their assertions that Skeinz Shop customers were demanding it - Really? Baby Lemon?  Are you sure?

See to my mind if you are going to have a yellow in a range you go for Gold!
So last week Baby Lemon was resurrected and found it's way back onto the shelf and online.  The gauntlet has been thrown - or the lemon squeezed - and  Em and Robynne are set to change my sour view of all things Lemon.  Now it's not yellow I am against - I love yellow & we have Merino Soft Gold in the range, because if you are going to have a yellow in a range, go for gold, I just purse my lips at the lemon.

So what do you think - have the girls thrown me a lemon, or do I need to suck it up and add some sugar and make some lemonade?