The idea for Yarnly has been brewing for many years. My nana was an amazing knitter and I have fond memories of her teaching me as a child. She never went anywhere without her needles and dedicated many hours to making beanies and blankets for charity. My mum inherited her talent and knits gorgeous cardigans and jumpers for my niece and nephew today. Unfortunately, I think it skipped a generation, I'll be honest, I have 'attempted' three scarves in my lifetime, still unfinished, sigh. However, I pursued my passions for sewing, pattern making and fashion design and have a deep love for creating beautiful, quality things.
My vision for Yarnly is to bring people together, to share their amazing skills and knowledge passed down through the generations. To design and collaborate with talented creators to knit, crochet and weave NZ wool yarns into stylish accessories and homewares, and to encourage more people to buy more wool products and help support our local wool industry.
Last year I met an amazing group of women, all highly skilled hand knitters. Our core team began designing, sampling, writing original patterns and enjoying time together. Inspired by vintage patterns and traditional heritage techniques, but giving them a modern feel. We have slowly been creating stylish products and are now ready to share and to grow our team.
We live by our values, ensuring we provide fair compensation for our Creators, rates are decided by the team, respecting the time involved to make by hand and we make sustainability the core of our business, from fibre to creation to packaging.
I can't thank these ladies enough for their support, encouragement and guidance throughout this startup phase. We are all excited to share our woolly creations with customers both near and far.
Our Creators Stories
"I live in Carterton in the Wairarapa. On a lifestyle block, not surprisingly, with sheep. My knitting journey started when I was about 10 years old, with my two Grandmothers teaching me to knit, first with a scarf and then dolls clothes. The hobby increased over the years. A Great Aunt showed me Aran knitting techniques and my mother's friend introduced me to homespun wool. My Mother worked in a wool shop, Willie Weavers, for many years too.
I have attended local markets selling baby knitting through to adult garments. People are always keen to have hand knitted garments made from NZ wool, so there is always opportunity to keep the knitting needles "clicking". It has been an amazing experience, to be part of the original Yarnly team. I hope that you really enjoy wearing the garment that I have knitted for you."
"My interest in knitting began as a 5 year old when I spent many weeks home from school with a chest/lung complaint. My Aunt taught me to knit thinking this would occupy me when I was confined to bed. Knitting really appealed and I began making dolls clothes. This progressed to knitting bonnets, booties etc for my youngest sister 7 years my junior. Of course I knitted for my children and grandchildren over the years and in the early 1980's I knitted for a fashion brand that was sold overseas.
Now I have found my really happy place! Knitting for Yarnly is perfect for me. I just love getting involved with new ideas and styles and the sharing of the ideas with my other knitting friends at Yarnly."
"My first memory of knitting is being taught by my step grandmother when I was 8 years of age. I am left handed and my step grandmother was a left handed knitter. When my mother tried to teach me I kept wanting to work in the opposite direction. I enjoy working with the finer wools as they were what I started knitting.
What I love about knitting is the fact that it not only occupies your hands and fulfills your sense of creativity it also challenges your mind for math and memory when you work with a pattern and different combinations of stitches.
I particularly like working with our wonderful New Zealand wools and blends to deliver great stitch definition and make each item I knit look well crafted and detailed.
Being part of the Yarnly team from the beginning has meant that I have been able to use all my knitting and crochet skills and develop them even further through working with individual designs and creating patterns for the other knitters. Working as a team we have been able to share ideas and successes and to develop the skills of the whole team.
It is exciting to see the outcomes of good design, creativity and home crafts in the wonderful items the knitters create."
"When I was 7 years old I asked my mother for some knitting needles and a ball of 4ply fingering wool, though I had no idea what on earth that was. That was 70 years ago and there would barely be a day or evening that I have not been knitting. I can't resist a new yarn and a new pattern. Knitters are nice people, it must be the calmness and serenity that knitting provides."
Jan was the very first knitter to answer my advert, her initial encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue this vision. She could knit anything! A wealth of knitting knowledge and had the most incredible skills. In the 1980's she used to knit for NZ fashion brands and her full length knitted coats graced the catwalks at the Benson & Hedges fashion awards. She knitted many intricate jumpers for the tourist industry and worked for Wool Yarns for many years, her impressive wool collection was stashed behind every sofa and under every bed!
Sadly earlier this year Jan passed away and her loss was deeply felt. Her husband kindly donated her wool to us which we distributed to charity knitting groups throughout the Wairarapa. Jan's wool has been transformed into baby blankets and cardigans for newborn babies in need - she would have been pleased.
This is the first design we developed together, a beautiful large cable wrap, it's one of my absolute favourites and we will continue to knit this in her honour.