June 11, 2013

Spinning Sunday: technical sessions

Don't let the word 'technical' scare you off!

Are you new or semi-new to spinning? Do you have a mental list of things you would like to learn in order to improve your technique? Yes? Me too! I can do the absolute basics but I have lots of questions and would love some guidance.

Which is why Sue is coming along to teach us spinning tips and tricks! You can book right here

Spinning! It's a whole load of fun.

Spinning Sunday is a great way to meet other spinners in a super relaxed environment. From experience I know that as a new-ish spinner, spinning in public can be a bit scary. We're going to make this as welcoming as we possibly can! Come along, learn some things, and have that magic lightbulb moment of 'oh! that's how it works!' 

Come on - get excited about spinning with us!

Each session is only $10. Why only $10? Because we really want to make this accesible to everyone. $10 is a commitment to come, and you'll absolutely walk away with more than $10 worth of new knowledge. 


all Sundays, 1pm - 3pm

16 June
14 July
11 August
15 September

What to bring:

- BYO wheel (if you talk to us first we can arrange a wheel for you to borrow for the session)
- An extra bobbin

And it's super easy to book in online

Session one, 16 June

Spinning for plying. 

How thick do I need to make my singles, how much twist should I put in to get the type of yarn that I want. 

How to spin a reference yarn with the plying information you need in it that you can use to check as you go.  (So you don’t get a surprise when merino goes pouf!).

Sessions 2 - 4:
We'll talk about what you would like to learn in the first session, and add a session plan here after 16 June.

P.S - coming along to all four sessions will earn you a super special Holland Road Yarn Co brownie badge. 

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June 02, 2013

Handmade 2013: day one

Day one of Handmade was super duper awesomely amazing! We're here all ready to go for day 2, pumped full of coffee and excited about hanging out with everyone. 

Here's a few highlights:

Belinda created a new group of keen knitters 

Our knit lounge was filled with knitters and crocheters...

Today we'll be spinning and drum carding and eating chocolate and drinking coffee. If you're around, feel free to come down and join in the fun - and you can still book classes for today. We had a great time at Pecha Kucha last night - for just $10 you can hear a bunch of great people talk about what they love.

If you aren't in Wellington - I hope you are having a lovely crafty weekend. 

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May 28, 2013

Handmade 2013: plots and plans

There's a whole heaps of activities you can join in on at the Knit Lounge at Handmade this Queen's Birthday weekend. We'll be bringing along loads of yarn, needles, and treats to play with. You'll find us along with half the shop's stock on the third floor of Te Papa - just follow the signs. And don't worry - the shop will also be open if you're in town for the weekend and feel like a leisurely squish and fondle.

The Ashford Joy spinning wheel will be there for you to try...

As will an Ashford SampleIt Loom...

And our wee instax camera - wear something you've knit and we'll add you to the Wall of Fame...

Also, the super popular giant knitting needles will be back! 

Add in the chance to make super speedy pom poms to create a swathe of pom pom garlands & it'll look like yarn exploded all over the third floor of Te Papa.

On Saturday we're having a Ravelry and Twitter meet-up from 1pm - 3pm with free Ravelry badges. Sunday sees us spinning away from 1pm - 3pm - bring along your wheel or spindle for some fun with fibre. If you fancy hearing yours truly speak for 6 minutes about craft stuff then head along to the Pecha Kucha sessions - an absolute bargain of a fun time for only $10. 

See you this weekend! It's going to be an absolute blast!

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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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