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

Happy!

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!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Celebrating Wool Week 2014


Once the fibre has arrived it get a good carding
To celebrate wool week 2014 we have launched our new Silver Lining fine micron Rare Breed Merino.  A ultra fine 17 micron Merino made from small coloured flocks that are dotted around the more isolated parts of New Zealand & it's outlying islands.
From carding it's then spun & off it goes for a sauna
These are the flocks that genetic's forgot.  So pure that they have adapted over generations to their own unique environments to produce a fibre that is not only fine, but beautifully coloured & unique to New Zealand.
Once it has finished it's sauna, it's time to get wound & ready
Usually these fleeces just get blended back with the larger Merino clip, but we are delighted to have liberated them & to have spun them into a truly special yarn.

All set & ready for your needles and hooks
Silver Lining has been blended into 4 natural shades & we have over dyed one of those naturals to produce an earthy palette of 5 sumptuous colours.  Usually merino this fine never finds itself into hand knitting yarn.  I have already completed a sample project with it & I can honestly say I am seriously smitten.

Just a joy to knit - so soft that even the most sensitive of people could wear it against the skin.
So if the gray weather is getting you down, have a look at the Silver Lining that we are offering you & at the same time Celebrate with us Wool Week, as we are a proud partner of the Campaign for Wool NZ.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fresh New Look!

A much more vibrant homepage!
For the last several months & have been quietly working on a freshen up for the skeinz.com site.  In five years we have seen huge growth & it was time to have a site that looked a little fresher & was populated with images of yarns made onsite.

The design & development team at Zeald (Thank you so much Bruno & Eve for all your help) have done a great job in making the site. I still have a bit of work to do tweaking some links, improving some of the product photography & propagating some pages.  We have decided to go live and work on all of these elements so 'in the moment' so to speak so we don't disrupt your ability to shop & get your Skeinz yarn fix.

there's still more to come, we will be adding a rotating Gallery Image & we are working on a new Skeinz rewards programme. So watch this space....