Spring has begun and the milder weather is here and so the big move at Woolybutt is underway with winter yarns making way for the lighter more summery yarns and cottons. Lots of exciting things have been happening in the past few weeks. A new haberdashery supplier from America has started and there are lots of interesting bits and pieces being added to stock. Woolybutt now stocks wire garment blockers which are ideal for lacy and cashmere garments that require damping down, blocking and drying before wearing. These blockers are very reasonably priced. Wool winders have also arrived which are really handy things to have if you buy yarn that is skeined. There are also a number of “sheep themed” bits and pieces. The mugs sold out quickly but more are on their way and there are some great “sheep” tape measures as well as “sheep” shape stitch markers – great little gifts for the knitter who has nearly everything! Woolybutt now stocks three brands of “tape” yarn. There is Katia: both Triana (the very open lacy yarn) and Ondas which is denser and more like Rico’s Can Can which we also stock. As of yesterday there were only three balls of Panda’s Sashay left in the shop. Sashay is similar to Can Can and Ondas in texture but there is about half as much on the ball and hence the price is half that of the others. Unfortunately stocks Australia wide are gone and no more will be available until after September 19th. All of these yarns knit up into lovely scarves and as I said in last months Newsletter, they make great gifts if you can bring yourself to give them away! I have two myself and one customer told me yesterday that she now has six and has knitted more than that for family and friends. In Woolybutt’s front window is a T-shirt with a Can Can trim to show people that one doesn’t just have to knit scarves from this yarn. To make the trim I picked up only three stitches (not the usual 7) and knitted until I had enough to go around the neck of the shirt. I then simply hand stitched the trim to the neck of the shirt using a simple running stitch in the colour of the shirt. Note that the “normal” number of cast on stitches is 7 for a scarf but you can make a thicker or thinner frill by varying the number of cast-on stitches! Later this coming week we should have the new colours of Panda’s Cotton Blend in-store together with the new book (as featured in this month’s Women’s Weekly). This is a really good yarn because being a “blend” it doesn’t drop as much as a pure cotton garment, although I must admit to allowing for ‘drop’ and knitting the garment slightly shorter when using cotton. Thinking about cotton made me realise that I have a 40 year old cotton jumper! It was knitted when 10ply cottons were available. It is pretty plain with a v-neck and a central cable but it is one of those great garments to shrug on when the cool changes rock in after a heatwave. Which brings me to another matter. I must admit to knitting garments that I expect to last, as a consequence I have never had any qualms about spending money on good quality yarn because I don’t intend to throw it out in two years. I have two other jumpers one of which was knitted in 1979 and the second in 1985 and I wear them every winter. They’re both machine washable pure wool and are still brilliant. Unfortunately the mohairs of that era bit the dust years ago, mohair just plain wears out eventually but we’re still talking 7 – 8 years of life! Cashmere is another story. Cashmere will ball and shed particularly early on. It is also a moth magnet! Never put anything containing cashmere away dirty, not a good idea for any garment but diabolical for cashmere and cashmere blends. Next winter it will resemble lace! Use cedar chips or lavendar bags and put it with the cashmere and moths will give it a wide berth. Do the same with shop bought extra fine wool garments as moths love wrapping their little jaws around that fine fibre. If you do find moth holes repair them with sewing cotton not wool. It is easier to colour match sewing cotton (and even black has ‘shades’) and sewing cotton is fine enough to blend better. Current projects: *finishing a jumper for the granddaughter in the new London yarn from Patons, blue with muti-coloured flecks which she chose! *nearly finished kntting a toy possum from the Panda Aussie Kit Animals – very cute. *started some funky socks from a German sock wool kit to test the pattern as a customer said it “didn’t work”. Great excuse to knit some socks! Happy knitting…….