Local yarn stores are havens. They hold more than just yarn, tools and notions: they hold opportunities, conversations and community.
Sunspun invites community into their shop by hosting a range of events including: craft clinics, workshops, yarn tasting and social knitting. While her staff are very knowledgeable and able to share skills, Virginia of Sunspun has also begun to invite in guest teachers, like Aleks Byrd (UK) this August and me in September.
Virginia and I planned a weekend of workshops, what I call a “stackable retreat” because local knitters can choose to attend one or more workshops and a social event, and there’s enough going on to entice knitters to travel from other locations- and we did have knitters from Adelaide, Brisbane and Aubury, as well as Melbourne and other parts of Victoria.
We began with an afternoon/ evening of Brioche. Brioche knitting has become super popular in the last couple of years, popularised by Stephen West, Nancy Marchant and Lesley Anne Robinson (I can’t recommend Lesley’s book highly enough btw. You can find it here on Amazon: Brioche Knitting for Beginners and Beyond). Brioche Knitting can be tricky for some knitters, as the ‘sl1yo’ is actually a mistake when knitting rib and it’s a matter of re-training your muscle memory to “allow” this to go unchecked.
Saturday we started with socks. Again, sock knitting has had a huge uptick in interest in the last couple of years. I totally understand why: it’s a one skein wonder, portable, useful, and short time commitment. There’s also lots of soothing stockinette broken up by some crunchier elements: heel and toe shaping. More flavour can be added with different colour and stitch combinations….there’s a lot to love about sock knitting (despite this fact I only have one sock knitting pattern currently available on Ravelry: Gaudi Socks. And a book recommendation? I’ve give you two: Sockupied [Amazon] and 52 Weeks of Socks [Amazon]).
Saturday arvo we took things up a notch and learnt about colour dominance, catching floats and steeking in my Full on Fair Isle class. I love this class- there are so many “secret vegetables” – building block skills that will unlock new levels of knitting capabilities. The most exciting point in the class is where we slice open our knitting!! Here’s some footage!
Aand what books do I recommend for colourwork knitting? I always bring Deborah Newton’s Finishing School (Amazon) to my Full on Fair Isle classes as it has a few pages on steeking inside. I also really like how colour dominance is explained in Melissa Leapman’s Mastering Colour Knitting book (yup. I got mine on Amazon) too, and I generally bring that along too. We also ooo-ed and aaah-ed over Mary Wallin, Kate Davies and Dee Hardwicke Fair Isle books stocked at Sunspun. I recommend browsing their collection of books in store or online.
To wrap up the weekend we had a social-style event Saturday night. We worked our way through a flight of yarns I selected from the range at Sunspun while we snacked on chips and cheese and sipped non-alcoholic wine and cider. Very wholesome!
I hope to return soon to this haven in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, to share more skills and laughs with this community. But not too soon- I have to knit up some of the souvenir skeins I purchased!
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