Supporting Our New Community

We first heard of a neat event at the local university through ABC News and it was filled with just the right amount of warm fuzzy feeling that Ecoyarns had to jump on board. Australian National University (ANU) had called upon its staff and students to knit scarves for its newest students who will begin their university life in one of the coldest campuses in Australia at the moment. Over the last couple of months, knitters and crocheters throughout the campus had picked up their needles and hooks, some for the very first time, and worked tirelessly to make over 110 scarves! The Canberra community rallied around this unique initiative through yarn donation, including some of our Ecoyarns yarn. Some generously contributed their time to teach their craft to those eager to learn to make a scarf for a fellow student.

More than 110 scarves have been completed so far for Monday's event
More than 110 scarves were made for Monday’s event

The scarves will be on display at the Orientation Week Wellbeing Mini-Market Day this coming Monday and new students are encouraged to pick a scarf for themselves. Each scarf comes with a handwritten note from the maker to its new owner, with care instructions and a little personal welcome to ANU. How good is that for building new friendships?

Photo courtesy of ANU
Handwritten note to go with each scarf. Photo courtesy of ANU

As you can already imagine The Knit for New Students Initiative is not just about keeping these newbies warm. It is much, much more than that and that is why we chose this ANU project to be our first sponsorship.

Knitting and crocheting is not just a personal hobby. Normally it keeps us and our loved ones warm, and our homes looking groovy. Then a little event comes along and our sense of camaraderie kicks in and we knit for strangers, be it to wear or just for public viewing and appreciation (think yarn bombing). We sit around with friends and people we hardly know, physically or virtually, and our hands keep making while we chat and form new friendships. Our often mundane lives suddenly get a little pick me up and the warm fuzzy feeling puts a smile on our dial for most of the next day. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s good for our mental health and it’s food for our soul. Our lives are enriched because we care enough to spend the time to create for strangers.

A student common room transforms into a knitting hub. You can almost hear the clicking of the needles.
A student common room transforms into a knitting hub. You can almost hear the clinking of the busy needles.
Meeting up every week to knit together. Photo courtesy of ANU.
Meeting up every week to knit together. Photo courtesy of ANU

So thank you to all those who knitted and crocheted in earnest to create these scarves. We hope you enjoyed our yarn contribution and we will see you on Monday.

Ecoyarns will be posting photos of the event live through our Instagram. Follow along if you’re interested.

Have a warm, snuggly weekend. We’re praying for our first snow on Sunday! Fingers crossed.

Hello Canberra

Ecoyarns has seen several homes in its 9 years. It’s lived in Budgewoi on the Central Coast then up to Newcastle, and now it’s in chilly Canberra, rubbing shoulders with politicians. Well, not quite. But our former Prime Minister knits, so there is a super slim possibility that a politician might be wearing a scarf made from an Ecoyarns yarn! What a funny thought.

A winter morning by the lake
A winter morning by the Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

It’s been a busy few months for us. Richard and I moved our young family to Canberra for personal reasons, and a week later we took over Ecoyarns officially. It was a lot to take on, unpacking our personal belongings and the shop stock simultaneously, while keeping the business running. There was a lot of “what was I thinking?!” kind of moments.

We had an extra pair of hands to help with the move and he flew in from Singapore! Thank you to my brother, Hakiim, for his tireless effort.
We had an extra pair of hands to help with the move and he flew in from Singapore! Thank you to my brother, Hakiim, for his tireless effort.
Sorting yarn outside all day when it was 1 degrees celcius!
Sorting yarn outside all day when it was 1 degrees celcius

I’m happy to say we have overcome the dip and are settling in nicely in our new home and roles. We’re pretty dang proud of ourselves to say the least.

So what does it mean to our customers?

Firstly, we are now shipping orders in 1 to 2 business days. There is nothing stopping us from sending off these lovely yarn and fibres to their new homes pronto.

Office and packing room
Office and packing room

Secondly, most parcels are being dropped off at the Canberra GPO and that means you will get your fluff mail even quicker!

Lastly, we are fully focused on the business. We are going through everything with a fine tooth comb so as to improve your shopping experience. If you notice something not right on the website, email us at support@ecoyarns.com.au. Help us help you shop. We want your online shopping experience with us to be enjoyable.

Our in-house technical expert, Richard aka Mr Ecoyarns; From fixing web servers to setting up complicated ball winders, he's the man!
Our in-house technical expert, Richard aka Mr Ecoyarns; From fixing web servers to setting up complicated ball winders, he’s the man!

Happy crafting!

Fresh new Ecoyarns

We have a huge announcement here in Ecoyarns. Ecoyarns has changed owners. Vivian has sold the business to myself, Salihan, and my husband, Richard.

Vivian started Ecoyarns when she was desperately looking for organic and environmentally friendly yarn in Australia 10 years ago. When she couldn’t find any, she hunted the world and brought in some of the loveliest yarn and fibre to sell in her brand new shop. She even started her own line of yarn, EcoOrganic Cotton.

Fast forward to today, Vivian’s medical career has taken off and she needed to pass the baton of Ecoyarns to someone else, so she can focus on her family while managing the rigorous demands of being a doctor. We are more than thrilled to carry on her work at Ecoyarns and wish her the very best!

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Founder of Ecoyarns, Vivian Tng

Richard and I have worked with Vivian for a number of years, helping her with several different aspects of Ecoyarns. So we know a lot of the ins and outs of her business already. Handing over the reigns was much easier than anticipated with Vivian making herself available to any ongoing questions. Rest assured that it is business as usual at Ecoyarns.

We are determined to bring lots of energy and enthusiasm into this business. We have a big challenge ahead of us to bring Ecoyarns up to a high standard but we are eager to make Ecoyarns better than ever. It is a fresh new Ecoyarns.

September Spring and all the growing things

My garden is growing, it must be spring.

None of the carrot seeds came up but all the broad beans started to shoot. The peas are getting some help from the native bees and the slugs and snails are determined to stop me from growing zucchinis and cucumbers. We shall try again and put in more plants to the veggie patch. This year will be the second year for me to try planting some cotton, I just need to control those pests that eat the seedlings!!

IMG_1408 The yellow flowers are from the baby buk choy and the grass like greens in the right of the photo are leeks. I think the snails and slugs do not like these plants.

Back to knitting…….

I have a bad case of startitis.

You know, that feeling that you need to start something new…….. even though you made a promise to yourself that you would finish those 3 projects before starting another one? The feeling that almost makes you feel hungry at 11pm at night and you want to wind up a new skein of super luscious hand dyed yarn goodness, but the family has gone to bed and you cannot use the ball winder because it squeaks?

Yup, I see it, you know that feeling too. I have had it all week.

I finally succumbed and wound up a new skein of super soft hand dyed yarn that has been in my stash for over 2 years. Oh it finally is becoming SOMETHING.

I picked a shawlette pattern. This one actually : Prairie by Janel Laidman.

I really really hope it will keep my attention until the my next bout of startitis.

Or maybe I should go clean the linen cupboard instead?

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I finished a pair of socks last week : they are really simple and YUP thats my hand spun yarn. My deliciously warm toes are very happy.

Thanks to my completed socks, I am inspired to offer a special on Spinning Fibres. All customers who checkout with over $25.00 worth of spinning fibre, will receive an Organic Cotton tote bag worth $12.00. This deal is on from 20th September to 5th October.

THIS LINK takes you to the spinning fibres page.

And last, but not least, here is another picture of a beautiful Newcastle sunset.

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Winter evenings

Winter Evenings are truly beautiful here in Newcastle Australia.

Newcastle at dusk Winter 2014
Newcastle at dusk Winter 2014

 

Europe was wonderful. Except I had my handbag stolen in Torino, Italy. It caused all sorts of problems and those issues are just getting sorted now. ( 1 month after my return!) So, all the wonderful pictures on my camera, which I had not downloaded are now gone forever. Can you put a price on these intangible things like memories?

I thought I had an impressive collection of pictures of old doors and door knockers, amongst other photos of locations and people….. but its all gone. In a flash. POOF! No more. Its terribly sad.

Anyhow, I did take some photos while I was in Singapore.

Bamboo bicycles
Bamboo bicycles
Delicious Nonya special cakes and desserts from Bengawan Solo
Delicious Nonya special cakes and desserts from Bengawan Solo
Giant Trees found at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, a spectacular architectural and ecological marvel.
Giant Trees found at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, a spectacular architectural and ecological marvel.

 

Since our return from Europe I have completed 1 pair of socks, started on another 2 pairs and am working on a laceweight cardigan.

What projects have you done this winter?

 

 

 

 

 

May sale and Closure notice

How about a quick 1 week sale starting 26th April?
Use code MAYflower for 10% off all items with FREE SHIPPING for orders over $80 for this week of the sale.

Excludes all Ashford Items, which will be disabled temporarily for this week.

Our normal shipping rates are $10 per order or free shipping for all orders over $150.00.

Make the most of this week’s sale.

We are away from the 16th of May to the 13th of June. All orders placed during this time will be dispatched after our return. We will be available by email if there are any enquiries.

Blue Mountains in Autumn

We had a quick 3 day visit to the Blue Mountains this weekend. It never ceases to surprise me that so close to Sydney is such a wonderful place for great food, great examples of early architecture, incredible scenery, stunning vistas and an abundance of wildlife.

We visited Katoomba, Leura and went on a few bushwalks in the Blackheath area. see pictures below.

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I have a fondness for mushrooms.

Mountain Mushrooms
Mountain Mushrooms

 

Not to mention a definite nose for more wooly goodness.

The House of Wool at Blackheath.

Yarns purchased included Louisa Harding Grace Wool/Silk, Debbie Bliss Andes and Heirloom Easy Care. There were lots of hand dyed yarns by local dyers and spinning wheels and fibre available. Until I visited, I had forgotten that they carry out very own EcoOrganic Cotton, which they currently have on sale.

I am making Fingerless Gloves and a beret to match. More pictures in the next post.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wow! its almost Christmas. It must be a sign of my age that I feel the years passing faster and faster.

Congratulations to Susan S who has won our November draw of one SOAK Box. She gets to pick her colour! Lucky 🙂

We will be posting  items up to this Friday, and all parcels after Wednesday are automatically upgraded to Express Post at no extra charge. We will be closed from the 21st December to the 6th January 2014. But will be operating over the December 2013 to January 2014 school holidays. We will post on non public holiday weekdays.

I will be trying to complete 2 pairs of socks in fingering weight on 2.25mm needles and trying to replicate Katniss Everdeen’s cowl in Super Bulky weight on 10 – 15mm needles. “Broomstick handles” I overheard by husband muttering.

Here is the lustworthy cowl I am trying to replicate. LINK

I think I will use the Herringbone stitch for the body of the cowl and will have to investigate how to make the collar stand up without too much weight.

Birthday specials

Our family has several birthdays in November and to celebrate, we have discounts off several items in the shop. Do have a browse.

All yellow yarns in the collection will be discounted as Topaz is the November gemstone and thus the colour of the month.

An a special Giveaway of one SOAK box for 1 lucky winner that completes checkout this month.

Happy browsing!

Recently completed projects and blocking comment.

I have been busy at work since we came back from Canada and havent really thought about blogging until now.

Whilst away, I made 4 hats which I gave away to my cousins, who LOVED them, using THIS pattern NANTES hat.

That link goes to Ravelry, which is a wonderful community of fibre lovers who craft their way daily through lots of words and yarns. By far the best part of it all is browsing through the wonderful world of Yarn P 0 rn. (I tried to brea k it up to avoid spam filters, sorry.) I have been known to get lost in pages and pages of colourful pictures of yarns of all sorts and thinking about buying ALL THE THINGS!!! Not to mention the vast repository of patterns you can browse to download or purchase online or in a book. Pattern pages often link to completed projects by other Ravellers who often leave helpful comments about their project and their modifications.

I do love using RAVELRY. It is free to join, so come and be part of this worldwide craft community.

Other projects I have made include the Dreambird;  (pattern here), a few hemp washcloths; (Pattern in last post), a pair of socks from the Knitteratti Janel Laidman. I love her socks!

Dreambird

Hemp washer

Sylvan

I am going to confess that I feel very guilty that I do not block all my items. I refuse to block socks, or garter stitch items, but will consider blocking garments or shawls. Yes it is pure bias on my part, but I like my justification is that to block seems to remove the stretchiness in garter stitch and it seems such a waste to block out the springy stretchy garment for “professional” results. and cant your foot block the sock very nicely in its shoe?

What do you think? do you block socks? or garter stitch items?