May 17, 2013

Spinning Sunday: new and improved

There is a new shiny in the shop. A single-treadle Ashford Joy that came back with me from the Creative Fibre Festival.

I had such an incredible time at Festival - and most notable was the few snatched moments taken to spend at the Ashford stand. Some companies are just that, a company with a corporate face. Ashford is so very far from that. Richard, Elizabeth, Libby and Kate were all present and even now, as I think about it, they filled their space with personality, excitement, passion and, of course, stock to play with. I am officially a massive fangirl of their philosophy, energy and quality of product. It was incredible the effect that one person being wholly joyful in teaching others about products that was absorbing. I went home and dreamed of drum carders and spinning and weaving. 

More than simply dream, i've been spinning. This last week has been tough. Recovering from what I term 'Market Hangover', my energy has been low, i've been a bit grumpy and impatient. Knitting wasn't cutting it for relaxation. Five days of markets within ten sapped every last ounce of excitement.

And then, on Thursday, I thought 'I'm going to spend the last 45 minutes that the shop is open to spin.'

After 15 minutes, my mood changed. As I added twist to the fibre, all the metaphorical twist and stress was pulled out. Feeding new yarn on to the bobbin removed the tension metre by metre. The simple rhythm that I created between the treadle and draft induced a meditative state. One that, day to day, I struggle to achieve. I'm not good at relaxing. I need to always be doing, making, producing. Doing nothing makes me anxious. Spinning, somehow, is the perfect antidote. 

Don't take this to mean that i'm any good as a spinner. I have very little technical knowledge. How do new spinners learn more? There is always YouTube, of course. But it's not the same as seeing a technique demonstrated in person, and sharing problems with other spinners in order to learn together. 

Which is why we are taking a new approach to Spinning Sunday. Last year we were a bit slack at organising it, and found that once a month wasn't quite regular enough for people to remember to come along.

So, what is the plan? We are going to have Spinning Sunday twice a month. First hooray! One of those two sessions will be a paid, technical wheel spinning session run by the fantastic Sue Schreuder. Sue is a semi-new spinner, but over the past 18 months has excelled and gained a crazy huge amount of know-how. These sessions will have limited numbers and cost a tiny wee $10 a pop. More info will follow soon.

If you are interested in learning to spin, I can highly recommend signing up for Frances' Drop Spindling For Beginners class at Handmade over Queen's Birthday weekend.


We will bring along the Ashford Joy to the Knit Lounge at Handmade if anyone fancies having a play. You're also more than welcome to come and try it in the shop. In the next few weeks we'll add an Ashford double-treadle Traveller to our demo models, as well as a drum carder (I, for one, am SUPER excited about the drum carder). If there is anything at all in the Ashford range you would like us to get in, please let us know. We have a retail price list and some product pamphlets in the shop for you to peruse. 

Funny that spinning has led to possibly my longest post here, ever. I'm just so excited about it, and want to share the love. Join me!

xx Tash

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May 10, 2013

Handmade 2013: our picks in everything else

First up, we want to say a huge congratulations to Caren Wilton for winning the Twice As Nice pass! Hip hip hooray! Also to Janine Boon and Sarah Gray who won spot prizes. Thanks for all your lovely comments - it's so interesting to hear everyone's other craft experiences.

If you missed out - don't fret! We have a second pass to give away next week.

Now, with only 3 short weeks until Handmade, we're pondering the non-yarn class options. 

Recently i've been craving sandwiches. A good, hearty sandwich is always a winner in my book. That and soup. You can squish so many flavour combinations into a simple parcel and just have a great big mouth-party as a result. Ruth Pretty is presenting a Taste Masterclass titled 'The Countess of Sandwich' which sounds pretty intriguing to me. 

Besides the fact it has a fantastic workshop title, Obi One Kimono is top of my stitching list. I love kimono silk fabrics but it can be tricky to figure out the best way to up-cycle them in a way that does justice to the history, provenance and beauty of the fabric. With Sarah Wirth guiding you along, you'll learn how to cut and seam a skirt or other item you fancy. 

(by the way, the more I look at the programme, the more I want to run away and take all the classes. This is such a fantastic line-up!)

Big, chunky, handmade rugs are everywhere. And if you haven't seen them yet, you will soon, I guarantee it. Using recycled materials such as threadbare sheets or t-shirts that haven't been worn for years, they often speak of handicrafts from a couple decades ago. I remember our neighbour having a fantastic one on her lounge floor when I was 8, and wishing I had they skills to make one.

With the Braided Rugs class Jane Wrigglesworth will teach you how to make your very own. The best part: no sewing. I LOVE projects that require no tools except for the materials! You may just see me sneak into this one.

I could go on and on...this was only intended to be one post, but I'm going to extend it into a second. 

In other Handmade 2013 news, i've decided to take on another of those not-so-smart deadlines as i'm prone to do. I'd quite like to have a second Rocky Coast cardigan knit up, as well as my White Pine cardi. White Pine has been in my queue for aaaaages and at long last the yarn has arrived for it. Crazy? Yes? Probably. There's only 20 knitting days until Handmade.


Are you planning to wear something special you made to Handmade? You should! Drooling over each other's finished objects is what we do best. Just don't follow my lead and create silly. ridiculous deadlines for yourselves...

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May 01, 2013

Handmade 2013: Win a Twice As Nice Pass!

As Handmade approaches with great rapidity, i'm thinking more and more about the multi-craft nature of the event. Handmade is wonderful in that it presents a whole range of crafts - from knitting to sewing, cooking to zine-making. 

For knitters, I think the best part of the weekend is that you can try out things you've always wanted to have a go at, but needed the gentle push in order to get started. You might fall in love with an entirely new making process, or decide that spinning isn't really your thing. Until you try, you won't really know.

One of my biggest problems is that I want to DO ALL THE THINGS. I want to make, make, make. And play with beautiful colours and fibres and fabrics and immerse myself in the pleasure of creating. Events such as Handmade fill me with so much joy and an overwhelming sense of just how much I love craft. 

Holland Road Yarn Co may well be a yarn shop, but that doesn't mean we're all just knitters. Sewing was my first love, until I discovered that knitting added a new level of portability. I adored weaving on the rare occasion we were able to do it at school, and have seen some incredible examples of fabric woven from the yarns we sell. Now I can also officially say I'm a spinner (more on that in another post). I've also been known to dabble in cross stitch, I can crochet, i've made use of tiger tail and beads to make jewellery, and pretty much anything that involves turning a material of some sort into something new gets me all in a fluster of excitement.




Add in there baking and dyeing yarn and it's a pretty much complete list of my loves. 

'So tell us about the giveaway!' you say...

Right! We have a Twice As Nice pass to giveaway! This pass gives you access to two masterclasses and two lectures. Hooray! A Twice As Nice pass gives you the chance to try out some things, hear a couple of great speakers, and leaves you time to relax with us in the Knit Lounge or head out for a fantastic coffee in our great city. 

How to enter:

Comment on this post - tell us about your many and varied crafty habits, or if you're a one-craft-only kind of person

Entry closes 5pm Wednesday 8 May
Prize drawn 5.05pm Wednesday 8 May

Oh! And we'll do a few spot prizes in this draw too! Three little parcels of surprise Holland Road Yarn Co treats will go to three runners-up who will be advised by email. Hooray!

Small print: Winner will be notified by email. Class selection is subject to availability and the pass may not be shared with another person. 
Winner must make their own way to Wellington if they are not a Wellington resident. Prize will be re-drawn if the winner does not respond by 5pm Friday 10 May

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April 20, 2013

Handmade 2013: our picks in yarn

Can you feel our fizzy fizzy excitement about this year's Handmade programme? It's pretty darn fantastic with some of our all-time favourite people teaching and talking. We'll be busy as bees running the Knit Lounge with our own little exciting things planned, but the aim of the game is to learn some stuff.

Here's a run down of our top yarn picks - of classes that haven't already sold out!

Twice the fun: two-handed stranded knitting

Taught by Morag McKenzie of Vintage Purls

Have you always wanted to get a handle on fair isle knitting using both hands? TAKE THIS CLASS. I cannot impress upon you enough what a fantastic teacher Morag is, and how much you will gain. It is not for the knitting novice, however: this is for experienced knitters.

Absolute Beginner's Crochet Necklace

Taught by Sofia Moers (our very own crochet class teacher!)

If you haven't the time to commit to our two-session set of beginner's crochet classes, give this one a go. Taught by our very own crochet teacher, Sofia, you will walk away knowing the crochet basics. Again, Sofia is an excellent teacher (there's a reason we keep asking her back) who will generously share her expertise with you. 

Ply on the Fly

Taught by Frances Stachl 

Fancy yourself a bit of alright with a drop spindle? Frances will teach how to ply as you go, rather than waiting until the very end of spinning all your fibre. If I had a spare couple of hours up my sleeve I would most certainly be getting along to this class. It's also wonderful that Frances can make it back to Wellington to teach for Handmade weekend now that she is no longer a local (which makes us very sad!)

You can find more information on all of these classes in the Handmade Yarn section of the programme. If you have any questions at all - such as if your skill level is right for a class - just ask us :)

We highly recommend you book as soon as you possibly can. Classes are selling out incredibly quickly this year and being disappointed is always sad. Last year we had occasion to make up this tasty morsel due to Morag's Twice the Fun class selling out:

Next up: our picks from all the rest of the programme!

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April 16, 2013

Man Made: front page!

A couple of weeks ago, Mike happened to be in town at the same time a Hutt News reporter wanted to chat about our Man Made sessions.

Would you believe it, this week who is on the front page of our local paper, but Mike? Our knitting teacher extraordinaire.

 Despite all my skepticism, we now have some brave souls signed up. There is plenty of room for more!

At the same time, I feel remiss in that I haven't yet blogged about Handmade. It's coming up super fast and word is from the organisers that classes are selling like CRAZY. And I mean CRAZY in all caps. I've had more than a few people approach me lately asking for beginner lessons, and, man or woman, there are in fact beginner knitting lessons being held at Handmade

Belinda of Blendy Knits fame is going to be in the Knit Lounge (hosted by us, joyfully once again!) teaching regular beginner sessions for the cheap and cheerful bargain price of $10. Scoot down to the bottom of this page to see details.

I will be doing a much more comprehensive post on our picks for Handmade weekend very very soon. However this completely random and fractured post is brought to you by a fried brain thanks to dyeing a crazy (there's that word again) amount of Knitsch Sock in preparation for the Creative Fibre Festival next weekend. Holland Road Yarn Co will be there as part of the trade market, but there is plenty to see as well as lots of shopping to be done :)

Better take the fried brain off for a glass of wine and some crochet. We have a crazy (I said it again!) amount of stock arriving this week so there will be lots of excited noises coming from this direction as big boxes of yarn are unpacked and distributed amongst shelves. And I promise the next post from me will hold some more sense. 


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