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.