Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Wish.

The Pohutukawa - NZ's Christmas Tree
 I just wanted to take this chance to thank everyone for their support this year.
Times are tough out there - we have seen that in our industry will the closure of the only other Worsted spinning mill besides ourselves in NZ today.
The crucial part of our survival has been the creation of Skeinz.  We launched a little over 18 months ago & the last 6 months we have seen growth beyond our wildest dreams.
We have you to thank for that!

Our very own Holiday Peggy
Over the last few months the shop has been dubbed the Penguin Pit by the staff - something that came out of left field for us.  We are getting really excited as early next year we will be reconciling the amount in the Rescue Fund & hope to have the first big cheque go across to NZ Forest & Bird for the clean up.  Our hope is to grow on the story & to be able to help the threatened Little Blue Penguin here in NZ long term.  So stay posted for future developments & thank you to all of you who took time to knit a jumper to help the cause.

Even Santa heads to the beach when he's here!
So from today we are all taking a break. will still be open, however due to NZ stat holidays deliveries will be delayed, Skeinz the Natural Yarn Store in Napier will reopen on the 9th of January.
So from all of us here - have a Happy & Safe festive season.  For our Northern Hemishere friends, I hope your Christmas' are snowy & white - we on the other hand a praying for sunshine, BBQ's & beaches!
Cheers Maree, Suzanne, Mary & Em

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And Now Tee Shirts Too!

We are super excited today.  During the media mania we were approached by girls clothing designers LittleMissMatched.  They wanted to produce an ethical range of tee's feature the penguins & donate $1US to the Skeinz Penguin Rescue Fund.

Once we saw the design it was love & we couldn't help ourselves getting a few for ourselves.  We have very limited numbers available at but I will post the link when they come available on littlemismatched's site very soon.

Meanwhile enjoy Em, from our Account department, who kindly modelled her own Tee snapped straight from the box moments after their arrival!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glorious Gloria

Just in time for Christmas is Gloria.
Gloria is from the South Auckland (Islands) & is a girl who's loud & proud. She loves hanging with her girls, but also can be frequently seen busting a move with Caesar.  She looks great in bright colours that set off her unique eye make up - being a Yellow Eyed Penguin - Gloria has standards to maintain!
She's a little less expensive than the other flock, but by no means is she cheap!
All proceeds of Glorias jumpers go to the Skeinz Penguin Rescue Fund.
You can buy Gloria from here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peggy & Caesar join Flip at

Wow!  We have been busy getting penguins out to all of you who have ordered after the TV3 News appearance.  Stocks of Flip are now getting very low - so to get prepared to Christmas & the premiere of a certain Penguin animated movie, we have got in stocks of friends for Flip.

Peggy has now arrived - she super sweet & super soft - totally squeezable!
Peggy just loves cuddles!

To keep Peggy company we have found Caesar.  He's an Emperor Penguin with attitude & hates being left out.  He's a little bigger & bolder & has a series of jumpers just for him!  I hear he also likes to dance!

Caesar is a party Penguin, he's loves to get down & boogie!

They are available now - so still stuck on those Christmas gifts?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flip hits the News!

Just when I thought everything had completely died away with the penguin project, TV3 cropped yesterday wanting a follow up story.  Huge ups to them for following the story up & here's hopefully it sparks even more Flip sales & more donations to the fund!
View the story Here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Penguin at the North Pole!

Is this where Santa gets his mail from?
Ian, our beloved Irish master spinner at the mill, who has a sense of humour dryer than a pub without beer, posed the question last week "Why don't Polar Bears eat Penguins?"
Answer: Because penguins live at the South Pole & Polar Bears in the North.
Obvious really... Until now!
An order arrived from a Mrs M.Shanks - North Pole
It transpires that North Pole is a city just outside of Fairbanks Alaska USA & Mrs Shanks ordered one of our Flip Penguins.  Said penguin is now winging his way (or should that be flipping!?) to the North Pole & should be there well in truly in time for Christmas. Just keep him away from Polar Bears!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The First Penguins Head Home

I just thought I would share this, it's wonderful to see the first penguins all cleaned up & heading home!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting Hooked up with Flip!

Flip modelling Rachels wonderful Crochet PJ
One of the most common emails I received from people about the penguin PJ's has been a request for a crochet pattern.  One of our wonderful regulars Rachel Rayner devised a crocheted version of the jumper & has kindly given me permission to publish it here for your all.  So for all the happy hookers out there, you can now whip up a jumper for your penguins at home or if you would like to help contribute to the fund we will happily accept your jumpers at Skeinz & when we have enough we will add a Crochet option to Flips wardrobe.  I have made a small alteration - as our Flips are quite portly I have just upped the hook size to 5mm to accomodate his round girth!

Using DK (8ply or light worsted) wool with a 5mm hook:
Jumper body
Base: Chain 25
Row 1: Single crochet (sc) into base chain, turn.
Row 2: sc 6, front post single crochet (fpsc) 19, turn.
Row 3: fpsc 19, sc 6, turn.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the piece measures approximately 2.5cm wide, ending on a Row 2.
From a Row 2, without turning, chain 10 (increase made). Turn.
Row 4: sc 10 into your chain. Fpsc 19, sc 6, turn.
Row 5: sc 6, fpsc 29, turn.
Row 6: fpsc 29, sc 6, turn.
Repeat rows 5 and 6 until the piece measures approximately 10cm wide, ending on a Row 6.
Row 7: sc 6, fpsc 19, turn (decrease made).
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the decreased section measures approximately 2.5cm wide, ending on a Row 2.
From a Row 2, without turning, chain 10 (increase made). Turn.
Repeat rows 4 to 6 until the entire piece measures 20cm wide. Bind off.
Neck and Finishing
  • Fold the jumper in half and seam along Base Chain.
  • Now we will add the neck. Starting in the centre back (if your Penguin Jumper has a back), fpsc to flipper hole.
  • Chain 5 (this may vary, depending on your gauge) over the flipper hole. Fpsc over front; chain over second flipper hole and fbsc to centre back. Join to your starting stitch with a slip-stitch.
  • Back post single crochet (bpsc) around. Make three decreases (bpsc; skip one fpsc; bpsc), evenly spaced around.
  • Continue making rounds without decreasing, alternating fpsc and bpsc.
  • When the neck measures about 5cm high, bind off, and thread a piece of elastic through the waist. You’re done!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flip Needs You!

If you give Flip a squeeze he sings!
I have just uploaded the first installment of Flip penguins & separate jumpers for sale to Skeinz.  They would make great gifts for family & friends this Christmas.

Remember 100% off all the money raised through the sale of the jumpers goes back to the penguins via our new Penguin Rescue Fund.  The great people at Forest & Bird (NZ) will be helping out along with the Cape Sanctuary Little Blue Penguin nesting programme.

If you have knitted jumpers & you wish to post them to us, you can send them to:
Skeinz, PO Box 3123 Onekawa, Napier 4142, New Zealand

If you are still wanting to knit a jumper, the pattern is listed in the post entitled 'Penguin Power'

Keep posted I will be releasing a crochet pattern very soon....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meet Flip & Peggy

Peggy (in pink) & Flip (in formal attire) are the new faces of our charitable jumper drive.
Today has been very exciting as the first international jumpers arrived at Skeinz. Five parcels from the US & two from the UK.  It was like Christmas opening them up & seeing the stunning jumpers inside, all made in yarns that are quite exotic to this part of the world!

Some of the recent arrivals.
I have been busy over the past few days gathering information & research about the "where to from here" with the surplus jumpers we have.

First port of call was Lyn from The Penguin Foundation at Phillip Island in Australia.  She was involved with the co-ordination for the jumpers used in the Tasmanian spill in 2002, after which they received 14,000 jumpers!  Her insights were inspiring & so valuable.

We are wanting to make sure that here at Skeinz we are able to take the surplus jumpers and have them utilized within the spirit & generosity to which they are intended.  Lyn had the same challenge in 2002 & the model she used is one we have chosen to adopt.

As no more penguin jumpers are required for the Rena effected penguins in Tauranga our focus has shifted to how we can use the jumpers to generate cash, to then donate back to the people working at the grass roots of the disaster.

Using the Penguin Foundation model - Skeinz is setting up a special charitable trust.  Then using the power of our webstore & all of you, we have sourced from a local supplier scale sized little blue penguin toys to place in the jumpers & we will be selling these at with all the proceeds of the jumper being funneled back into the charitable trust.  This has been so successful in Australia that The Penguin Foundation has recently donated $35,000 AUD back to a new penguin research centre, plus other research for penguins through Victoria University (Australia) for penguin clean up.

So the next challenge has been finding the best way to get donations directly back to the penguins & effected shorebirds of this disaster.  As the local & national government bodies are pursuing costs against Rena's insurers, I have been researching other angles to make sure we can filter the funds directly & effectively.

NZ Forest & Bird is a NGO that has been protecting the bird life of NZ from generations.  They are one of the most well respected environmental groups here in NZ & have fabric of paid & volunteer workers across the country.  They have a special Bay Of Plenty Shorebird fund, which has been helping nesting shorebirds that fall in the effected area.  So all monies donated to this fund go back the the birds, especially the penguins harmed by the Rena.
We have also been looking for a Little Blue Penguin specific cause - and we have approached another charitable trust who have been working with a nesting programme for the little blues.  Details there are still to be confirmed & I will update when the come to hand.

Your comments have also helped us in feeling we are on the right track with this - so thank you for all your feedback.  If haven't yet started a jumper, but feel happy about knitting one for it to be sold towards this cause, please by all means send them to us.  For the crocheters out there a pattern has been published on Ravelry - I just need to contact the author for permission to publish. 

Once we have all the details in place, the birds in stock, we will place them on for sale.  All jumpers which have come with personal notes & cards, these will be passed onto as well.  Many of you have also popped your email details - I will do my very best to email you all back in way of thanks.
Take care & I will be in touch again very soon - oh & Flip (the bird we have ordered initially) has his very own authentic little blue penguin sound - it's sooooo adorable!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back in Jumperland.

A seriously fabulous jumper & a small selection in the background of what has arrived today.
I have snuck into work to check progress & post a wee update. My 1st official day back is tomorrow, but I just wanted to see what has cropped up over the long weekend.

As this event has gone quite viral I just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.
We were asked by a third party to gather knitters to knit a small number of these jumpers for the wildlife teams, to have on hand for the birds that were effected.  They had a family member working in the rescue centre & the request was genuine.

This was a technique successfully employed during the Tasmanian oil spill & the jumpers are now part of the Tasmanian oil response kits.  I was asked to help with collect a few dozen jumpers together, but the power of modern media has spread this request around the globe - for me it has been a surreal experience.  As someone who has knitted jumpers for this cause & the feeling of goodwill you experience in doing so.  I have spent much of my holiday away making sure I am able to manage the response we have received.  As I have replied to you all, the response has been overwhelming - my email count has now surpassed 2000 & still climbing.

Firstly I have had a request from an Australian Wildlife team wanting to take the surplus jumpers to add to their Oil Response kits.  I have also had requests from people wanting us to auction some jumpers to help raise funds for the penguins & for the clean up effort.  Once all the jumpers have come in, the Skeinz team will be making a Post Penguin Jumper plan to make sure that all these will go to places where they are needed & can directly help the various efforts within the spirit to which they were intended.

In local media it has been reported that the jumpers are not being required after all. I have been asked whether I am bothered about the fact that no birds at this stage have worn the jumpers & honestly I can say no, I'm not bothered in the least.  In fact I am relieved.  I see this entire event as nothing but a triumph in the human spirit - that thousands of you from all around the world have wanted to spare some of your time to help.  It's an out pouring of love & kindness which I think we can all be proud & thankful.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Updates whilst in hiding...

Just when I thought I could hide on holiday - I thought I would let you all know a few things..

1) Napier has a 4 day long weekend this weekend, so no updates from the store about progress, but I am back in on Tuesday, so I will get some pictures & have more info then.

2) The Wildlife Rescue Centre do not require any more jumpers, but if you have completed one, send it as we have another rescue centre who has requested the surplus once the crisis has abated.

3) My inbox has practically imploding - I have received over 600 emails in the last 3 days.  I am answering all of them personally - just please be patient as I am actually on a family holiday for another 3 days, so I am at the mercy of my very dear friend who is letting me chain myself to his computer for hours on end each day to try & stay on top of them all.

4) I have been fielding calls from a lot of international media - this morning we featured on Good Morning America!!!  If you are from an international media agency - Thank you for all your positive coverage.  For those wanting interviews, just remember - if you want something for Monday shows - with any luck we would have won the Rugby World Cup on Sunday - So I can not assure you how compus mentus I might be!

In the meantime - thank you again for the out pouring of love & messages of support.  When I return from holiday I will be putting together a care package for the team in Tauranga passing on all your messages.

In the meantime - in this rugby obsessed nation... Go Wales! And long live the almighty All Blacks!

Monday, October 17, 2011

We have Critical Mass

As reported earlier we do have crital mass of jumpers - but don't worry if you have just completed yours - still send it in to us as we will keep stocks available for the Wildlife Rescue Team to draw from if required.  The link for the video on tonights TV3 news in here.

It's Raining Jumpers

Jumper anyone?
I have just arrived home briefly & called into Skeinz to see all the jumpers for myself.
This is a sample of the deluge we have received over the last couple of days.  It is really precious & so over whelming.  I got nabbed whilst there & ended up being interviewed by TV3 News - I will post the link once the interview has aired tonight.

The TV3 Cameraman getting some set up shots for tonights news
Thank you again to all who have knitted - it truly is amazing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jolly Jumpers

Ok - I have a confession to make. My wee penguin project has gone a wee bit, well, viral.  This is great - ideal you might say, and it is, but what I didn't factor was how, viral & what a wonderful amount of support we have received for the cause.  My problem is, I have taken off on holiday the day after things exploded.  So apologies if I may seem a little detached in some of my correspondence, as I am answering emails & enquiries on the fly whilst out of town away from all my usual comforts & technologies of home.

Whilst I do have 5 minutes net time I thought I would post a few images of jumpers we have had post about via Ravelry.  Also over 100 have been received at Skeinz today alone - I hope to post a  picture of them soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The response to our call for penguin jumpers has been overwhelming to say the the least.

Here is a quick update. So far we have enough commitment to cover the numbers we need for the initial group of birds.

If you have started - complete your jumper & send it in, but don't start anymore until we can assess how many we have arriving & how many more birds get affected over the next week.

Keep up your great support!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Penguin Power

Thanks to Charlie - a Skeinz regular for knitting up this jumper & supplying the picture.
As you may be aware the oil spill & potential disastrous effects to wildlife & environment off the coast of Tauranga is frightening.  A small number of little blue penguins have already been caught in the oil spilled to date with growing fears that more will be effected. Skeinz has been asked to help with the penguin relief by knitting small Penguin PJ’s to help protect the birds & prevent them from preening their feather & ingesting the toxic oil. 

If you can help out by knitting a penguin jumper – send them to Skeinz at 5 Husheer Place, PO Box 3123, Onekawa, Napier 4142

These have come into the shop today
Penguin Jumper in 8ply  - Must be 100% Wool Yarn1 pair 3.25mm , 1 pair of 3.75mm needles , 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular
Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times.  Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
Continue until work measures 15 cms.
Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
Leave on needle.
Make second side the same.
Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.
Cast off.
Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). Flat elastic OK.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Too much yarn - too little time!

Knitting has had great publicity in HB this Winter
I can't believe it's been since the beginning of July since I last posted - naughty Maree!
The Winter at Skeinz has been crazy busy.  Yarn has been flying everywhere.  We were heavily involved with Knit August Nights (It's compulsory as I organise it!) & at the forefront of the Creative Napier & Napier Inner City Marketing Tree Cosy installation. 

Suzanne & Mary doing a final check before the Knitters Market in August
I am pleased to say all went very well & were a tremendous amount of fun.  So now that the nation is gripped by rugby fever we though instead of taking a breath we would make ourselves even busier & launch our first GrabOne Promotion.  This has been epic!  728 lucky people snapped up GrabOne coupons to redeem with us here at Skeinz.  So you can imagine that for the last two weeks we have all been frantic picking & packing orders to get out to you for your Spring time knitting.

Ian Kelly in his element doing a mill tour during KAN:2
I am hoping over the next few weeks we can catch our breath & start looking forward to the new goodies planned for later this year & the new year.  There is a new Summer yarn in the pipeline & a new machine washable yarn which as been dyed (the yarn is just waiting to be 'caked' out the back - the colours are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G) plus a few other Skeinz Original yarn that didn't quite make it through balling for the Spring Sale.

To much fibre, too little time!
We are also supporting alongside with the Hawkes Bay Ravelry Knitters a Spring Knitting 'Drop-In' knitting clinic.  So if you are in Napier on the 29th of October at East Pier Brasserie on Hardinge Road Ahuriri & are wanting to drop in for a knit or want help sharpening up a skill or even picking up the needles for the first time, contact Jennie & she'll get you registered.  There's a small fee ($10) to help cover venue costs & morning tea.  In the meantime - knit on & Go the All Blacks!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Magical Moondance

The first four colour moods from Moondance

Skeinz is please to launch, just in time for the clutches of a NZ Winter, Moondance.  It's our first traditional style tweed effect.  A lush blend of wool, wool effect & acrylic, Moondance is spun to the classic Aran weight, or 10ply, making it ideal for those traditional cabled patterns or a fast knit for children & adults alike. 

Moondance being balled.
The colours are inspired by the moods of the Irish coast, deep, rich, broody yet warm. Moondance knits up comfortably on a 4.5 - 5mm needle & is machine washable for easy care.  Available now from Skeinz - & with any luck I will find time to knit up a little Moondance magic for myself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting Worked Up!

Persian Poppies colour workshop from KAN 2010
Skeinz is proud to be support Knit August Nights again this year.  Held in our home town of Napier, KAN:2 is a knitters retreat weekend & a series of fibre workshops.  If you think you wish to escape the Winter blues you can register to attend the retreat in its entirety, however this year you are also able to attend individual workshops.
Getting to grips with socks

There are 10 workshops covering a variety of topics:  Design, pattern interpretation, colour, spindle spinning, project troubleshooting & even steeking.  We are accepting workshop registrations at Skeinz in Husheer Place or you can visit the website & register there.

The Knitters Market on Sunday 9 til noon.
Also as part of KAN:2 is the Sunday Knitters Market.  Last year we were swamped with knitters & yarn lovers, all coming to soak up the delicious yarns on offer.  Many of the traders are online retailers, so the market is a rare chance to touch, fondle & meet the people behind these beautiful yarns.  Skeinz too is there in force & we always save some extra end of season specials to tempt you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

August Adoption

Christine from Creative Napier with our 'Tree Anenome'
At Skeinz we are very proud to be supporting a special Napier Community fibre art installation.  Along with Creative Napier & Napier Inner City Marketing we are endeavouring to have the 99 trees that line Emerson Street (the heart of the Napier CBD) adopted by knitters, crocheters & other fibre artists.  Once adopted, we need the new tree parents to create a unique 'Tree Cosy' for their new tree child.

Christine (from Creative Napier) & I have already made our 'Tree Anenome' & I have also made another 'Autumnal Cosy' which is on display at the Skeinz shop.

If you think you'd  like to adopt a tree, contact Skeinz, we have adoption papers available.  The installation will be up from August 13th - 28th - so if you are attending Knit August Nights for out of town you will be able to see your tree child & cosy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Autumn Harvest

As the weather has cooled here in Hawkes Bay & New Zealand in general, yarn sales have certainly spiked.  So too has our stock.  I am finally able to announce the full compliment of Harvest yarn is now available.  The first handful of colours we have had have been selling furiously & I have no doubt that the final five colours will be equally as popular.
Harvest - a multi fibre DK
Harvest is a deliciously soft yarn, with a lovely drapey handle.  The colours all reflect the warmth & richness of Harvest time & are designed to also compliment each other, making them ideal for Fair Aisle projects & bold colour work. Luscious throws & cushions would look amazing in Harvest!

The first four colours have sold so well that the powers that be have decided to add Harvest to the core range - fibre permitting.  proof that you can't have too much of a good thing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Seeing Red

We have had some beautiful yarn come in this past week & many of them have been a red of one shade & another.  I couldn't help myself & had to make a small display of this versatile & variable colour.  With everything from Alexander Roase Mohair from $2.50 a ball through to the new Red Rocket at $3.50 a ball, there is something for red lovers anywhere.

My Personal favourite is the new Harvest colour, Geranium - a soft red marl, just delicious!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Powerful Prism

A Powerful Pyramid of Prism
I have been loading, rearranging & unpacking madly today to get our new arrival out onto the shelves.

Introducing Prism - Premium Certified Organic NZ Wool DK

This is organic yarn that is meant to be fun!  Vibrant colours that make anyone smile, Prism is great for all projects, childrens, adults, for the home, for gifts.  These colours would make Mick from Time Team race out & start another signature bright stripe jumper!

Best of all is the price.  Prism make organic affordable.  Just $4.50 a 50gm ball!  It is a limited edition yarn, so make sure you're in quick!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Colour PLUS!

The factory at the moment is manic!  Even thought the temperatures are frequently breaching 30+ degrees C here & knitting is the last thing on most people minds, the factory is running red hot getting all the Winter indent orders out for our clients & for Skeinz.

One of the new ranges for Skeinz this Winter is Prism.  Think organic merino DK but really bright, vibrant, classical colours.  The first three shades have been balled off, with more to come.  Here's a few pic's to whet your appetite - enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Swatch Test

The swatch on the right has been washed in my old machine.
I have quickly knitted up a swatch of the Hawkes Bay Series & done a wash test.
As some of the yarn in the blend is machine washable I wanted to see what happened when I threw the swatch in the wash.  I put it in my very antiquated machine on a gentle cycle & I have to say I like the result.  It has softened the swatch considerably & did not shrink at all.  Now I personally recommend hand washing all hand knitted garments, even the MW ones, but for the sake of curiosity we now know what happens.  I would think it would continue to softly felt up with continuous washes, but a worthwhile experiment none the less.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Taking inspiration from home...

It's great how we are able to fiddle & faddle with various yarns & fibres & create beautiful yarns to love.  During our Spring clean some yarn & fibre was found & the cleaver spinners & dyers have created a worsted weight (12ply) yarn in colours that reflect the region where we are based, Hawkes Bay.

I have listed the yarn as non machine wash, but in actual fact it is two thirds MW yarn with one third non machine wash. So if you have one of those super flash washers that can do a gentle hand wash cycle, then this yarn should be fine.

Best of all is the skein size & price: 200gm (284m) for just $10

The first colour is called ‘Blossom Festival’ after the iconic Hasting Blssom Festival held here every Spring. Its a playful mix of pinks, lemons, mauves, cream - just like the orchards of Hastings in Spring.

The second colour is ‘Ahuriri’ after the seaside village in Napier where I live - we have just 13 skeins of this colourway, so get in quick.

Lastly is ‘Puketapu’, a village inland from Taradale which is a mixture of farming, horticulture, artisans & vineyards, a great place to visit on a lazy Summer afternoon drive. We have just 7 skeinz of Puketapu.