Natural Star is launching a four hat collection at Midwinter Woolfeast 2018!
These lovely designs are typical of her classic contemporary style, highly knittable and very wearable. Us woolfeasters will be the first to get our hands on the patterns and finding yarn won't be a problem of course, as Natural Star is also a very talented dyer, exercising the same self-control with the dye pot as she does with design.
There are many other gorgeous designs in the Natural Star catalogue.
I was drawn to the Square Tassel Hat pattern because it has beginner simplicity and that is part of its charm. So cute, always fashionable and perfect for displaying an unusual skein of hand-dyed yarn. It's DK weight, so keep that in mind when you wander around Woolfeast and see a very special skein that perhaps needs a simple plain shape to show off its colourway. A quick and satisfying project for when you need some stress free knitting.
Today I've been perusing the Maniototo Wool website to find my top picks.
I was instantly attracted to the new 'Rough Ridge' a soft, undyed yarn that is 80% Merino Cross and 20% natural coloured Polwarth. Each skein has a naturally unique colour distribution, which would make it really interesting to knit up.
These two beauties are from the Geraldine colour range, I can see them working so well together. They are called Shades of Denim and Matai and come in Aran style and DK weights on the Maniototo woollen spun base.
Here's another colour pairing I really fancied in the Luxury Lambswool range, a DK weight super soft and smooth worsted spun yarn. These colours are called Wineberry and Sage - another colourwork combo waiting to happen.
The Happy-Go-Knitty website is packed full of glorious colour, luxurious bases and fab accessories. It's tough to choose but here are my top picks from all the Happy-Go-Knitty fabulousness.
I love everything about this shawl kit. The luxury base (Sikkim yarn: singlespun 15% yak/20% silk/65% superwash merino); the warm colours which are perfectly coordinated; and the interesting stitch patterns in the shawl which work perfectly with the high contrast colours. This would be the sort of present you buy for yourself because you deserve it.
I've been admiring these Jul Designs shawl pins for a long time. The mystical looking Cormorant and adorable alpacas. are my current faves. The cormorant reminds me of a Bill Hammond painting, don't you think?
I love the minimalist design of these polka dot buttons and these leather pedestal buttons. It's often very hard to find the perfect statement button for a handmade garment but both these designs would be so versatile.
Today I've visited Christchurch's very own Kiwiyarn-a to choose my top picks from all the beautiful yarn bases, colourways and accessories available on the website.
These two lovelies are both 'one of a kind' colours and my eye was drawn straight to this combination, I think they work so well together. The other thing that grabbed my attention was the blend - 80% merino, 10% mulberry silk, 10% nylon. I'm a sucker for a wee bit of silk in my yarn, not too much, but just enough to boost the shine. I also like the 10% nylon in this blend which obviously makes it great for sock knitting, (it's 4ply weight), but that added strength will be useful generally too.
Here's another colour combination that moves me, this time it's a dove soft grey and a sprinkling of baby pink, because sometimes you're just in the mood for something super gentle and comforting to work on. These colours are called Grey #6 and Polka Dots and they're on a 100% Wool DK base. I was raised on DK weight yarns and I still love them. DK is such a useful weight, not too thick but still quick to knit up, perfect for garments.
The biggest Mega Prize Pack ever could be yours!
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog telling us what you love. The winner will be chosen at random (using a random number generator) from the commenters. The winner has to attend Midwinter Woolfeast 2018 to collect their prize, this is because we want the winner to be someone who is supporting the event by attending.
The winner will be announced on the Facebook Midwinter Woolfeast 2018 event page at 6pm on Friday 15th. The winner must claim the prize by commenting on the post announcing the winner by 8pm the same day or else it will be re-drawn and a new winner will be announced, so watch the Facebook event page at 6pm Friday 15th June 2018.
All the prizes were kindly donated by the traders at Midwinter Woolfeast 2018. Come along to the event and say hi, they are all New Zealand owned creative small businesses and appreciate your support.
Vintage Purls is celebrating her 10th year in business this year and this is no surprise to me. The shop is always well stocked with goodies, the customer service is excellent and the VP hand-dyed yarn doesn't just have the wow factor of stunning colours, it's also incredibly versatile and wearable. The website is also very easy to navigate and I have had a browse to choose my top picks...
As always I'm going to start with yarn and if this VP Superstar Sport doesn't inspire you to start a colourwork project I don't know what will. Superstar Sport is 70% N.Z. Polwarth, 20% Tussah Silk, 10% N.Z. Black Merino. Wow, lustre, softness, lightness and a wee bit of heather. There's not much to beat that fibre blend, and of course, NZ made. Sportweight yarns are so versatile too, fine enough for stranded colourwork, baby clothes, lightweight garments, shawls etc but also much faster to work up than 4ply/fingering.
I was happy to see VP had expanded the range of gifts since I last perused the website and I couldn't scroll past these cushion covers. A bear and a lion in knit hats - surely every sofa needs one!
The Vintage Purls range keeps growing with exciting and useful new products, but thankfully the excellent quality and service remains the same. I'll always be a sucker for the VP hand dyed yarn, especially the Superstar ranges because the fibre blend is amongst the best out there, the colours sing to me and best of all, they are repeatable (a rare find in hand-dyed yarn).
Perhaps one of the most exciting yarny businesses to explode on to the scene in recent years is The Yarn Queen, so I thought I'd have a little fun and present to you my personal top picks from their beautiful, easy-to-navigate website. Read on dear crafters...
Of course, I want to start with yarn and these two grabbed my attention instantly. I have a split personality when it comes to colour. The subtle grey/blue of the Anzula Squishy on the left makes my heart melt. It's a super soft blend of Superwash Merino, Cashmere and Nylon with a springy twist. A totally luxurious blend with a surprising splash of practicality. Then there is the slap in the face, party on a tropical island colour bomb sock yarn on the right from Hedgehog Fibres. It makes you happy just to look at it!
This dual needle/hook dualgauge not only looks classy, it also has a little stitch gauge measurement section, super useful. You can't go wrong with one of these in your notions bag. Another little tool that grabbed my attention are these wool needles by Knitpro. These are new to me, don't they look fantastically easy to thread?! Ingenious!
Of course I couldn't scroll past this crafty bitch cardigan clip and matching pendant by Jubly-Umph. I find that attitude with your crafting is essential and these accessories have attitude by the bucket-load.
Check out all the other amazing things at The Yarn Queen, make a note of your favourites and add them to your woolfeast shopping list because The Yarn Queen will be there loud and proud!
Something I love about the beautiful hand dyed shades of Maniototo Wool yarns, is their inspiration from the region where the wool is grown. This is beautifully illustrated on the website product page, which gives us photos of the colours next to images of local scenes from the Maniototo area in Central Otago.
Here is a snapshot of some of the colours shown on the website. As they are naturally inspired, they all coordinate effortlessly with each other making the crafter's choice easier. I'm really feeling the Duckpond Blue with Dark Greywacke, or Mountain Haze Violet with Tussock.
It's also great to have DK and Aran weights in a luxury hand dyed yarn, these are crying out to be a cardigan for me :) Maniototo Wool are bringing a large selection of yarns to Summer Woolfeast 2017, so if you're keen to buy for that special garment you've been planning, head over to the Maniototo stand which can be found at the back left corner of the central aisle in the larger hall. Maniototo are also bringing 'Pick n mix' 50g cakes of woollen spun DK, made up specially for Woolfeast, so that you can try out a smaller quantity or buy for that multicoloured project. Now that's a great opportunity!
Although I have visited Ashfords Craft Shop many times and have admired Knitcola patterns and kits, I hadn't come across Knitcola hand dyed yarns in the same array as at Midwinter Woolfeast 2017. It was there that I first took in the beautifully sophisticated colour palette; so I was delighted to welcome Knitcola to the team of wonderful sponsors that make Woolfeast possible. I know I wasn't the only one who recognised the quality of the dying on the Knitcola stand as I overheard many admiring comments; so I'm sure I'm not alone in my excitement to see what Knitcola has on offer at Summer Woolfeast. The Knitcola stand will be in the same place as at Midwinter Woolfeast 2017, in the back corner of the Lounge room, (the hall with the carpeted floor). Make sure you take the time to pay it a visit and see for yourself.
These are my picks from the current collection of colours on the Knitcola website.
Any of these would go beautifully together or stand alone, multi-toned but not garish.
I'd like to talk about things other than yarn, 'but what else is there!?!' I hear you cry. It can be difficult to pull our eyes away from the pretty colours, but I'd like to direct your attention towards the wonderful world of 'stuff that goes with yarn'. My favourite treasure trove is Holland Road Yarn Company, and the things that are attracting my magpie gaze at the moment are...
So there's only one thing to do. Put the kettle on, get your comfy fat pants on, and have a leisurely peruse of all the glorious things to accessorise your stash at the Holland Road Yarn Company.