After two very short work weeks, we are now well and truly faced with the chilly days of winter. This year, knitting is really coming to the fore - stories abound of knitwear in fashion, the arm knitting craze, how knitting is good for mental health.
I managed to get away for a much needed break over the Easter and ANZAC weekends, to recharge the batteries and think about where to next for the shop. I never usually read the paper, but I cast my eye over the Sunday Star Times on Easter Sunday. To read the following in the Sunday magazine fashion section:
Stuff like this makes me incredibly grumpy. It certainly isn't only 'Nanas' who knit, and you can absolutely knit very fine gauge garments by hand. This is what we're about - teaching people about the new generation of knitting and knitters, demonstrating what a therapeutic and productive outlet handcrafts can be in a modern, fast-paced world.
And it's about time we got ourselves organised with some classes, so here we are: the first class in our Winter season, is for beginner knitters.
Don't burden your grandmother with knitting for you: she has worked hard all her life. Buy her some nice yarn to knit something for herself with; learn how to knit your own beautiful garments. It's rewarding, it connects you with a new community of interesting people, and honestly most of our regular knitters are well below retirement age. Learn how to knit that super bulky scarf you're lusting after at a fraction the price and 150% the enjoyment.
The class will cover casting on, knit, purl, and casting off. Plus anything in between that might intrigue a new knitter. We will provide needles and yarn to get you started, and then we can discuss what you might need to get going on a first project.
Date: Saturday 10 May
1pm - 3.30pm
Holland Road Yarn Company, Upstairs, Grand Arcade, 16 Willis Street
$20 for the session including yarn & needles to get you started. Oh, and tea and coffee and cake!
Bookings can be made online or in-store. Cancellations up to a week in advance will receive a full refund, less than a week 50% refund, cancellations on the day will receive no refund, sorry!
Today we're super super amazingly lucky to be bringing you a guest post by Laura Vincent. I actually remember reading in the paper yeeeeeeearsssss ago about this new 'blogging thing' and Laura was profiled as one to check out. Her blog Hungry and Frozen is guaranteed to make you hungry, and now Laura's picked up the knitting needles. It makes me infinitely happy! It also seemed to make perfect sense to ask Laura about her beginner knitter thoughts. Thanks a million Laura!
I am a new knitter. It's only a month or so since I picked up needles and yarn for the first time. And…I am obsessed. Which surprised me, initially. I am clumsy. Impatient. Big on starting projects, not on finishing them. Distracted easily, also easily downtrodden by small mistakes. Not particularly good at following instructions. Sounds like someone who should never get near knitting needles, yes? And yet. And yet. Despite my personality and physicality suggesting I shouldn't, I have taken to knitting in a big way. There's something so utterly soothing in the quiet, repetitive motion of looping wool here and pulling wool there, it's oddly calming to the brain in a way my brain frankly isn't used to feeling. It's soft and tactile and cosy, it's practical and productive, and it's really, really fun - watching your creation grow before your eyes, choosing colours and patterns, finding your muscular rhythm.
I once, while sick during a school holiday, crocheted a wobbly scarf. That's the closest I've got to the woolly arts, till now. A group of us meet regularly at a pub, each at varying levels of skill and project completion, but at equal levels of friendliness and helpfulness. I was baffled at how quickly I picked it up, considering, I don't know, I still can't ride a bike or drive a car. I'm lucky to have great people who help me out as I go along, and the prospect of communal knitting every Tuesday definitely helps me get through that otherwise all-too-typically bleak day. Seriously, what's with Tuesdays?
The oddly reassuring thing about knitting is that if you screw it up, it's not the end of the world. A dropped stitch can be picked up and disguised. A bumpy edge can be straightened off later. Stitches can be ripped back - not as brutal as it sounds - and started again. Which, showing how fully my love of knitting has escalated, doesn't even bother me because it means I get to knit even more.
My first project is a blanket. It's very simple - just straightforward stitching, no purls (I'm not so good at keeping count, so that will be my next challenge) and I'm now three quarters of the way through it. Not only am I still in love with the act of creating this thing, I'm already starting to look for more projects to begin. Knitting might not be for everyone, but truly, don't discount it just because you've been hopeless at other things, or you think it's out of your reach with complicatedness - if I can get this far, you can too.
All images thanks to Laura, and the above is a screenshot of her wonderful Instagram feed. I couldn't resist.
Each year Handmade gets better and better, and this year was no different. One of the most amazing things is how Handmade brings together a huge range of New Zealand talent to meet in one place. It was such a joy and an honour to be part of such an excellent event that really celebrates the best of our local makers.
Even better was meeting so many people - and catching up with our favourite customers (that would be all of you, of course!).
Seeing as the Knit Lounge at Handmade was packed with knitters and makers all last weekend, we aren't organising any World Wide Knit in Public day events. However Saturday Sit & Knit will be on as usual for your sitting and knitting (or crocheting) pleasure. I feel like we're slowly getting to the point now where so many of us knit in public on a regular basis that it's not a big deal.
When I first started knitting seriously six years ago, knitting in public was unheard of. Thanks to events like WWKiP and Handmade it isn't as unusual now, which is wonderful. We shouldn't be ashamed of our craft and while there is a way to go before it is no longer in the 'nana craft' basket, times and perceptions are certainly changing.
There's heaps for us to catch you up on - loads of new stock and exciting classes in the works. One of these of course is the Beginner Knitting sessions - we invite you to join the club! It's pretty wonderful!
So yesterday this happened:
It was a wee bit exciting and surprising! Those giant knitting needles are in super hot demand - apparently they'll be on Breakfast tomorrow, Friday 31 May!
One of the interesting things about talking to journos about craft comes from them not being crafty themselves. For this story they were obviously looking for the line that handmade is cheaper - it isn't. Take into account your time and it will always work out to 'cost' more than if you buy something off the rack.
But that isn't why we love it so - we love the process, the pleasure of making, the joy of working with beautiful yarn to make something unique. The yarn for a cardigan or jersey usually works out to be the same cost as a reasonable quality commercially made product, with the bonus that you fit it exactly to your size and have exactly the style and colour you fancy.
I believe so strongly that if you are going to invest your valuable leisure time in craft, you should treat yourself to the best quality materials and tools that your budget allow. Hours and hours of knitting with crappy needles and awful yarn doesn't sound like much fun to me.
Anyway, back to the giant needles - they need giant yarn! And here's another 2kg ready to go for the weekend...
Oh, and we've had a few people ask after the yarn I mention in the article - it is Zealana Air, which is 40% brushtail possum, 40% cashmere and 20% mulberry silk. It is simply to die for - and we have plenty in stock. I'll be working to get it online for you as soon as I can, in the meantime feel free to get in touch if you would like more info.
And with perfect timing we've lined up a brand new set of Beginner Knitting classes - taught by the talented Julia Stanfield, the two sessions are 2pm - 4pm Saturday 6 & 13 July. At the end of the two sessions you will be knitting and purling like a pro, just in time to make yourself some cosy winter woollies. You can book quickly and painlessly right here. Hooray!