If you've been watching my Facebook page, or picking up my tweets, visiting my Etsy store or just checking up on my homepage and web store, you'll have noticed a few changes.
Symphony in 19-21 Micron felting wool
Most exciting is the increased range of wools available now!
You can now buy any of my shades in:
Haunui Handcraft Wool. I am just loving working with this natural coloured halfbred tops! It's beautiful to spin, felts with ease and has a gorgeous hint of lustre. It comes from a specialised handcraft bred flock in South Canterbury , and is a real joy to work with.
Dark Grey Haunui Handcraft tops in Harvest Home.
This tops comes in four base shades, and can be overdyed to any of my listed colours. I'm just working through the shades at the moment and listing them as examples in the shop - you can order directly from the menus or request a custom order for any shade not listed. If I think it's not going to work out (some shades take dyes differently from others) I will be in touch with you to discuss options! If you're unsure, I can help you choose.
I'm working my way through spinning samples of the undyed fibre at the moment - what a lovely, lofty yarn it gives! I've spun it quite fine, then Navajo plied it to get a stable, round yarn which I would rate as worsted weight. Easy spinning while watching TV! See examples on the Haunui page.
Aria in felting sliver
Last, but definitely not least, is the 19-21 micron merino felting sliver. This is a carded and double-gilled preparation. It's very fine and dense, but does contain short fibres and a varying amount of vegetable matter. It can be spun, and gives a lovely soft and lofty yarn with a definite slight texture, but is not as easy to spin as the combed fibre.
This fibre is in limited supply; when what I have is gone, I may decide not to get any more processed. It will be replaced with carded and combed 21 micron merino in the near future; this will be suitable for spinning or fine felting.
Most fun is the Shade of the Week - I've now decided that you can buy up to 500gr of the homepage featured shade at $1 discount per 100gr - just a special show of my appreciation for those of you who buy direct from either my website or the Etsy store. So if you want to take advantage of this offer, buy direct from the homepage box, not from the store (which doesn't give the discount). Shades will change on Friday or Saturday every week.
Most useful is that I've changed the layout of the Buy Now section (again). My intention was to make it easier to view and buy from the shop, with multiple thumbnails that you can click on to view a larger image. I've also made the shopping cart a bit more functional so you can add items and return to shopping more easily! Item quantities can be changed in the shopping cart, while fibre type and colour can be selected from the dropdown menus in the "Add to Cart" box.
It's all about me....
"Mexican Cantina" - project in progress.
And off-site, I've been really enjoying saving favourite items and web finds on Pinterest. What a great way to keep track of those things we always look at and think "I must remember to come back and look at that!"
Today I added to my stash on Ravelry, and started a new project listing - a super-stash-busting jacket I've dubbed "Mexican Cantina" because of its loud and obnoxious colours! Joined together in a rather drunken chorus, they become surprisingly tuneful. And it takes all night to finish a row at the moment (slight exaggeration). I'm keeping track of the design, so it might end up as a published pattern sometime.
A fabulous weekend retreat!
Well, what a wonderful weekend at the Unwind Fibre Retreat in Dunedin. Great to see so many Kiwi knitters, spinners and of course the other traders! Top marks to Morag from Vintage Purls in Dunedin for her organisational skills. Most of these ladies were members of the online Ravelry community. If you haven't been, go and have a look (I'm KatyPi). Ravelry's great resource for crafters!
These two young ladies spent most of the weekend with needles in hand, knitting up a storm! Some very inventive little owls were produced for the Owls and Hearts competition.
The knitter's social corner was often packed full, although at times the general exodus to the workshops left it eerily empty!
I took part in the bookbinding workshop given by Stella Lange - amazing that we all got a book made, including glueing the covers, in the three hour workshop time. All the workshops were well-attended, with participants obviously having come away with new skills and ideas.
Traders from all over the country offered yarns, patterns, knitting accessories and various fibres, from homely wool to exotic silk and llama blends.
The very skilled and talented Sourkraut (Frances Stachl) had brought her exquisite spindles, jewellery and knitting accessories - my favourite being the wooden acorn full of stitch markers!
Little Radiator of Dunedin had her witty tees and badges, many of which were sported at the event by the lucky new owners!
I was unable to resist the temptation to buy a set of Hiyahiya interchangeable needles from Vintage Purls, but can report that I now have two sets of them happily in use on various projects.
Why I hate New Zealand Post: the "RD charges" episode.
Although I already have a big grievance against NZ Post for making it so expensive to ship large, light items around the country (hey, a parcel of fibre may be big, but the minute you put something on top of it, it gets a lot smaller!), that they have now put an extra $2.40 onto tracked items that are delivered to RD boxes really gets up my nose - particularly as larger parcels cannot be sent untracked!
So, unfortunately, for more than 600gr I will now have to charge the extra $2.40 to anyone on RD. I'm sorry to have to do this, but I just can't cover that cost.
The great New Zealand fibre shortage.
You may be aware that with the closure of first the Lincoln carding establishment, then the Qualityarns mill at Milton, there are very few options for getting wool professionally processed. The only remaining large industrial mill is reluctant to process anything smaller than one tonne of wool, quite out of the question for me.
Over the last six months I have been researching and buying wool, only to find that I couldn't get it carded. Luckily a new carder has started up in Christchurch with much smaller minimum runs. At the moment they are not able to comb their sliver, but have a gill set up so I am able to offer carded and gilled wool.
This sliver is much finer, with a range of 19-21 microns. It does have a small amount of noil and vegetable matter. The first batch of 9kg has a bit more, so I am offering this for felting only, at a cheaper price. I have spun some so I know it spins well, drafting easily, and could be hand-combed if you wished.
The carders are in the process of setting up a comb, so within the next couple of months I will also be offering carded and combed 21 micron wool, which will be my standard from now on.
I would be interested to know how users feel about the finer wool - it has a much softer hand, and will spin up quite a lot finer than 23 micron. I will consider getting more 23 micron later in the year if there is a demand.
Meanwhile I have a broken colour range of the 23 micron merino and a small amount of dyed Corriedale, so feel free to contact me for availability. I'll get the online shop reset as soon as I'm able to.
Kate is a semi-retired photographer and craft dyer who lives in Southland, New Zealand.