It was a most wonderful day yesterday. The market was packed, the purchases fast and furious, and many, many crinkly paper bags full of wool went walking out the door, carried by very happy owners.
My own purchases amounted to three bags full. I am still grinning with pleasure.
Let me introduce these lovelies:
First up, Anna Gratton‘s Little Wool Co. yarns.
These are two yummy 200g skeins of 100% pure NZ wool (Corriedale) yarn in the 4 ply weight, in a colourway called “Midnight Sky”. I wanted it as soon as I saw it because it’s going to be my second attempt at the Southern Skies shawl. I have realised that super twist yarn is perhaps not the best for this shawl when combined with my tension (my first attempt came out pitifully small), so I’m going to use this ‘normal spin’ instead, combined with bigger needles. Plus, I think the variegation of dark blue/purple, brown and green is going to make fantastic visual interest in this pi shawl, with the swirling colours going round and round.
This is also Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. 100% pure wool, this time in Saffron. It’s actually an even richer yellow than this photo suggests – more like an egg yolk colour. I love it, and it is going to become the Rosebud shawl. I love yellow roses, and I think this colour will be perfect for it.
More 4 ply 100% pure wool from Anna Gratton, this is a natural colour wool, the Silver colourway. There are no definite plans for it, but I think a shawl in natural colour would be perfect at some point.
Next up, Maniototo Wool!
You won’t believe how long I had to wait to get this photo! Mary’s stall was crowded with enthusiastic shoppers – I have still managed to get someone’s hand of holding a skein in this pic… despite trying to respect people’s privacy by not taking pictures of them shopping. It was quite funny to see a dozen arms reaching into those hanging display units the first time I went past. It would have made an amazing picture. I am just so happy that her yarn is being recognised. It is really great stuff. This picture was taken at around 11am, and already the stocks were looking low.
So what did I get from her?
Mary has both aran weight and DK weight yarn. This lot is DK weight, and after seeing the darling little sweater she had knitted in this barn red colourway, I have decided to do the same for my baby nephew. I reckon he’ll look so cute in it! These are two 100g hanks (about 400m in total), so I think there will be enough yarn, as long as I knit it this winter! I think I need to emphasise here how light this yarn is – compared to many wool yarns, this wool is like meringue, it’s incredibly lofty, and very suitable for little ones due to its light weight and lack of scratch.
Talking some more to Mary, I realise just how much effort has gone into getting this yarn right. She told me that the first spin she did of this wool was rejected because it did not reflect the quality of the wool – it was too dense and ropey. So she turned to a boutique New Zealand mill, Wild Earth Yarns, with the request that she “wanted the wool to be spun so that the crimp of the fleece is matched by the twist of the spinning.” The deep experience of the mill owner really shows through in the resulting yarn.
I also had to get one of her aran weight variegated skeins…
This one is called Random Tussock. Lush!
Mary also makes a beautiful wool wash. It has a refreshing eucalyptus scent (made with real essential oils, not synthetic chemical smell), and I was very happy to obtain another bottle from her.
Then I spied Spinning A Yarn!
Some of you will already know that Jessicah has passed the Spinning a Yarn business to her equally talented sister. Her sister (I rather rudely forgot to ask her name) has started a website for Spinning a Yarn and I have to say, it is very cool. LOVE the way she has displayed those yarns oh so temptingly! (The original etsy site contains the remainder of Jessicah’s work). The idea is to have a new collection of colourways every season, so what you see above is this season’s offering – which will change again in a few months’ time.
I fell instantly in love with this golden merino/silk creation, Winter Sweet:
I couldn’t quite capture the colour correctly in this photo. It truly is a gold. The website pic is more accurate. These are two 100g skeins in the 4 ply weight (800m total), destined to become a beautiful shawl at some point.
Spinning a Yarn, like all the stalls at the market, was heaving with customers and I had to try to take photos in between hands… here’s one of my out-takes. It made me smile to see so much enthusiasm.
Of course, a visit to the Wonders of Wool market is never complete without a stop at Holland Road Yarn Co.’s stall. I wanted to see the new season’s colours and replenish my stash of Knitsch:
The orange is Easy as Stone, the greys are the “Isobar” kit (more about that in a minute) and the top pinks are more Gwyneth. I seem to be incapable of not having that colourway in my stash…
I have to say that our yarnies are an incredibly talented lot when it comes to creative packaging and presentation. Look at how the kit for Isobar came:
Four 50g skeins of yarn were packaged in a cellophane bag, with pattern, and put into a small-sized blank pizza box. Love it! There was plenty of this kit when I wandered over, and if you would like to have one, it is now available on the website.
By this time, this shopper’s energy levels were flagging just a bit. All that colour and sensory stimulation had my poor little brain spazzing. I was also conscious that one young boy was getting bored (although he was extremely good and did not complain the whole time I was there, which I was very grateful to him for).
I made one more stop. This is Happy-go-knitty‘s colourful stall:
Helene did not disappoint, and I was extremely happy to come away with:
From left, a self-striping in blues alpaca/merino sock yarn, destined for the older boy. Deep blue BFL random dyed, another merino/alpaca sock in soft raspberry/tangerine colours, a very lovely red semi-solid BFL and last but not least, the colourway I especially wanted to acquire - a self-striping grey and pink BFL. Super excited I managed to get the last skein!!!
The deep blue and raspberry/tangerine yarns were not technically purchased – they are destined to become samples for one of Helene’s upcoming yarn clubs. I feel very honoured that she has approached me to use my Orange Roughy fingerless gloves pattern for the next club. The samples are being knitted to decide which yarn would be better for the club. This is a very thoughtful approach I feel, from the viewpoint of a designer. Helene wants me to be comfortable that the yarn she uses for the club does show the pattern to its best potential – hence my involvement.
So that was about it for me. I did also purchase some awesome DPN rosewood needles from 2 Minute Needles. I had a small discussion with them about where the wood came from. The sisters who run 2 Minute Needles have gone to tremendous efforts to ascertain that the source of the wood for their needles is sustainable, and this made me feel comfortable about the purchase.
I was also very pleased that I did not exceed my budget for this market. Having worked very hard for the past month, my bank account is healthy enough to sustain this purchase. :-) And I was very pleased to invest some of it into New Zealand’s knitting and wool industry.
There were other stalls at the market that I did not get time to visit, and also, I had run out of budget funds by this stage… a hand-spinning stall with some beautiful hanks of natural coloured yarn (some of it looked like black alpaca, and was very tempting), Robyn Egge Yarns (I think they must have come down from Auckland), Yarnz (ooh, that Noro looked so pretty…!), and several others.
The next market is in August. Time to start saving for that, and in the meantime, knit some of this lovely yarn!