News

Winner of the bag O yarn giveaway and a long probably sometimes drawn out important message.

Winner of the bag O yarn giveaway and a long probably sometimes drawn out important message.

Okay to the very first overdue bit of business the winner of my birthday big bag o yarn giveaway (picked by random number genny as always) is Janet Croon well done my lovely - I know just how thrilled you will be with this so big big loves<3

In person dye session with craft conspiracy (previously cancelled due to my dads death) to be held on the 2nd of December and the video for the dye your own yarn class will be uploaded after that.

Okay so onto something sad and THIS WILL BE A LONG READ (often times boring so bear with me) Over the last few weeks while recovering from my surgery - thank you for all your well wishes - I've been going over my numbers and business and all that fun stuff and have reached a conclusion that Flock and Needle has reached critical mass, there is no more I can do alone and no way I can take on more help as I simply do not make enough from doing this as hard as that is to say.

Along with this realization is another feeling in me of frustration, I am always one to encourage others, I have been happy to share my techniques and processes and even with few my product sources, these are all things I am willing to happily share because dyeing yarn is a joy that everyone who loves yarn and knitting should experience. I have however in recent months noticed some bad feelings in the dyer community, instances of copying others ideas, concepts and even colourways (and the colourways names) have become more and more evident, personally I've always tried to blaze trails, to innovate to add more products you guys might find exciting, but this is getting exhausting for me especially when theres people hot on my heels waiting to see what I am doing for their own ends. Do not get me wrong I welcome anyone into the industry who are just trying to bust in like I did, I want to grab those people with both hands to see their amazing works and rejoice in it as long as its not a direct rip off of some other dyer I'm sorry its just not cricket.

These two issues are my main reasons for what I am about to share - as of January 31st Flock and Needle will cease trading, I will be closing before I am made bitter and angry and frustrated and tired by all of it, Flock and Needle is my third child, the way I built myself  up from the ground and the reason I have some of the most AMAZING friends in the world now. It has opened up a world to me I never knew existed let along belonged to, the fibre tribe is that of some of the most loving and amazing people I have ever met. I would not be the person I am today without this business and I dont want to spoil it for myself.

So there it is, we have an end date, that doesn't mean I will disappear completely I have plans but those will take some time to put into action and I will of course share that once its ready. In the mean time I am working through open orders this coming week and we will have one last pre order session to commence dyeing in January, pre orders will end as of 31st of December and that last dye session will include extra outlanders and beasts to cash out any existing subscriptions we have open so some of you will get some fancy bumper packages in February. In January I will be listing all on stock items that I have here and perhaps a few new bits and pieces you wont have seen before (there may be some yak silk looking at me from its box as we speak) and then thats it I will take a bow and close the curtain on Flock and Needle.

 

It has been an incredibly rough year this year and I want to take a moment to thank you all for your immeasurable support and love and kindness you are all my family and I wouldn't have made it through the year without you all, your wit, your support and love of yarn are just some of the most inspiring things ever to me. 

much much big big love,

Ali xo

P.S. OFC I will be having one LAST big ass sale from now until close and one LAST giveaway so anyone who buys anything between today and December 31st will be entered to win that LAST Flock and Needle big bag o yarn giveaway.

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Update and a bit of a thank you.

Update and a bit of a thank you.

Its been an incredibly stressful couple of weeks, for those of you who dont follow me on social media (if not why not?! just kidding) two weeks ago I got a call from my mother saying my father was very sick and he'd been given realistically 3 days to live - this sounds very dramatic but he had been sick quite some time and this was his third hospital stint since june.

I had to stop what I was doing half way through packing September orders and get a (very very expensive) plane to England. I didnt make it in time and he passed away while I was still 12 hours away. I am sad I didnt get to say goodbye but I got to hold my mums hand through it all and see him off at the funeral (he always wanted a jaguar car - he got taken to the crematorium in one and it made us all laugh cry).

I forgot to bring anything work based with me, I couldn't let anyone know personally unless you emailed me to ask what was going on but frankly my mind was not here when i was packing - I didn't even take smart shoes in case i needed to go to a funeral, it wasn't real for me until I arrived there.

Anyway I tried to keep everyone updated as best I could with social media as it was all i had access to. Now I am home and back to work this morning and trying to catch up ASAP, more outlanders will be shipping out by the end of this week along with outstanding dyed to orders and ready to ship items. 

As a thank you for your unending support through this awful time (and because ive been advertising a sale which was out of date on the website as I couldn't change it while overseas oops!) I am running a new coupon code which is THANKYOU15 giving you 15% off any sale over $50AUD. I had so many wonderful supportive messages while I was away and I can not thank you all enough for it, you are an amazing community of people and you all have such bug hearts thank you so much <3

Lastly, an addition to this sale which will run until the 31st of October I will be giving away another big bag o yarn as its my birthday on the 5th of November and I love giving gifts as much as I love receiving them! To be in with a chance of winning this prize (one of my large project bags and at least 6 skeins of my yarn!!) all you have to do is make a purchase between today and the 5th of November - my birthday fyi - and thats it you're in the draw!

This month will be a little different for outlander club and fantastic beasts club as i was away they wont ship until the middle of november. This months yarns will be based on the standing stones of cragh na dun and the wonderful beast will be the swooping evil!

I will also be releasing a new date for the dye class once ive contacted those who will be going to the in person class and worked out a date that best suits them - If you have ordered a dye kit those will ship this week along with the other orders so youll be all set for the video when it gets uploaded date to be confirmed.

Just an FYI on a personal note (yeah more personal notes LOL) I may well be having more stomach surgery in the first week of November - yes surgery for my birthday yay - and it may well slow down orders for that week and the week after however its not all confirmed yet and ill keep you all up to date.

I will wrap this post up really soon but I just wanted to share why my dad died with you as I feel like its pertinent to others. He dies from acute liver and kidney failure from alcoholism. He dies prematurely at 61 and I lived all my life with a functioning alcoholic (two actually but mum never drank to the excess dad did) and it always gave me extrodinary insight among other things, I saw him killing himself 15 years ago but addiction is something its terribly hard to kick and in the last few years he had tried to kick it but he couldnt and it killed him. 

If you know anyone in that situation please please support their family, its such a helpless postion to be in to watch a loved one slowly kill themselves, so please hold their hand, listen to them and please please pass on the name of a support group called ALANON. They are a support group for friends and family of alcoholics and I wish I had known about them sooner as I could have done with their support as a kid and teen.

If you made it this far well done heres a funny picture 

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Dye your own yarn class - 30th Sept!

Dye your own yarn class - 30th Sept!

I am hosting a dye your own yarn class on the 30th of September (10am onward)at craft conspiracy in Grafton for a lucky 8 people (if there is more sign ups than 8 then I will also do a class on the Sunday), please contact me using the contact page here  or via Facebook here

We will be doing a complete beginner class using food dye (I will also bring my professional dyes if you're feeling adventurous free of charge). Please purchase a kit here after confirming with me that there is a space in the class for you OR for is you'd like to do some at home! 

If you would LOVE to learn how to do this but arn't in Grafton I will also be doing a comprehensive youtube video for you to follow along with and this is perfect to do with the kids as its all completely kid friendly and no special equipment needed other than what is provided.

Please find all info on where craft conspiracy is in Grafton on their Facebook page and I am super excited about seeing everyone!

I will also arrange a few more classes and videos in the upcoming months, if there is a technique you've wanted to learn dont hesitate to ask, also if you have ever wanted to speckle dye something please check out my you tube channel as there is a super long two part video on there on exactly how I personally speckle my yarn!

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New stuff and a big ass giveaway!

New stuff and a big ass giveaway!

Phew what a whirlwind few weeks its been. I have been suffering from too many tabs open in my brain over the last few weeks. We moved house just two weeks ago, enrolled mr four into preschool and had Bendigo just last weekend.

I had the most amazing trip to the sheep and wool show in Bendigo and I will do everything I can to be back there again next year! If you came to visit, thank you so much, it was amazing to see you meet you and have a chat with you all, put faces to names all over and catch up with some dear dear friends. It was a damn long trip, seven days all up 4 of which I spent travelling so it wasnt for the faint hearted among us. I of course had a lovely time selling my wares and catching up with all the wonderful friends I have within the industry but the show itself actually did something extra for me - it renewed my enthusiasm for what I do, the rigors of moving combined with show prep had me asking myself what it was all for a few times in the month leading up to the event, but once there, meeting so many enthusiastic people brought my creativity and enthusiasm for my work alive again. So thank you all for that!

Anyway, to business! I have updated and overhauled the ENTIRE website, listing all of the yarn and bags I bought home (of which there was quite some amount!), hopefully making them easier to search through with new options. 

I have two new Aran weight yarns, a lovely alpaca silk blend in some rich tones 

and some lovely merino bamboo in lighter semisolid shades.

 

These are perfect for the current climates and are really lush to feel - of course you all know I am a bit of a yarn snob (its not me its my SKIN!) so these are soft and squishy and if you wanted some underwear made out of them it wouldn't be out of the realms of possibility. 

I also have a brand new DK weight base, its quite a light DK, especially compared to my usual squishy DK, it has 250m to the 100gram hank so you could get away with a sport weight pattern, making this a pretty versatile base. I had lots and lots of fun coming up with the new colourways for these skeins and I hope you like them too, my favourite is Sweet peas.

 

All these new babies are in the store <3

************ P.S. - WHAT YOU ALL CAME FOR - All sales made between today (22/7 and 5/8) will be automatically entered into one of my awesome bag of yarn giveaways! This is open world wide and the prize is quite large and worth in excess of $250, it always includes a large project bag and at least 8 skeins of yarn chosen for the winner by me! The winner will be announced on the 7th of August. ****************

Love ya all,

Ali xo

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The road to Bendigo

The road to Bendigo

 

This year is special for me at flock and needle as I will be making the 1000km journey to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show on the 14th of July, this is the biggest event of its kind in Australia and the FIRST one of any kind I will be doing! 

To concentrate on that as its a lot of work the store will be closed for the next month or so, all outstanding orders will be filled by saturday this week and then I will be head down bum up doing Bendigo prep! I am aiming to have a few new blends and colourways on offer along with new bags and new fabrics (some designed BY HAND by a special someone in my life and will be amazing!). I am aiming to take as much stock as humanly possible with me but anything left will be available the following week for everyone else to get their grabby hands on!

I am terribly excited to see all the people who will be coming to the show and to catch up with some of my wonderful fibre friends so make sure to stop by to see me and my beautiful bff Niki from shepherdess as she will be paper bagging it right next to me!

There is also a second (and not so good) reason the store is shut for this coming month, as if Bendigo wasnt a good enough reason, as some of you know our home was put on the market by our landlord well over a year ago and was recently sold, we have been given 30 days notice to leave, as it stands with our towns rental market being ridiculous at the moment we are going to be effectively homeless as of the 26th of June, obviously we can stay with family and things but its not a great situation for me businesswise, this is of course something I will keep you all updated on and to say this is causing me stress and sleepless nights is an understatement.

ANYWAY! If you are coming to Bendigo this year I will see you there and if you're not WHY NOT?! Be sure to add a trip to your bucket list if you're Australian I'm told its amazing. Post Bendigo we have a bunch of new products coming including a long awaited new Beast, a new winter warmer collection on Aran weight blends and COTTON - which I've been asked for time and again by people so you win I'm doing it!

I will try to keep everyone updated on the usual social media channels but until then, much love,

Ali xo

 

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Destash items now added!

Destash items now added!

I have done a little thinking the last few days and have decided to declutter a little and get rid of some of the things that dont bring me joy (like Emily Gilmore but I will keep my dining chairs i think). So there is a new section on the website called destash and there is some of the things I had in my stash, some dyed by me and some by some of my favourite dyers, there is also some of my hand spun yarn and a lot of lovely fabrics to choose from.

 

All items are sold as seen and all sales are final, these are all loved items from my stash but I know I will not use them and have no projects planned for them and would love for them all to go to new homes.

There is also some fabric scrap bags to be had each bag is made from my own bag scraps and are full of fun colourways in different sizes randing from 5x5 to fat quaters.

Find them all here

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Mothers day giveaway and grab bags!

Mothers day giveaway and grab bags!

It suddenly occurred to me this week it was mothers day very very soon (May 14th for those not in the know) and I personally would like yarn for mothers day - a huge step up from last years oven gloves.

With that in mind, every purchase made between today and the 7th of may will be entered into the draw to win one of my awesome tardis bags in a LARGE size filed with my yarns.

This competition is open world wide and I love running these competitions because someone somewhere gets an amazing surprise.

I am also offering some mothers day grab bags for purchase - each grab bag is $150 and has 5 skeins of yarn in a choice of either DK or fingering weight with a medium project bag, each bag has a value in excess of $200 and the price tag is $250. These grab bags will be shipped on the 6th of May so they should arrive in time to gift. Overseas customers please note customs is complete crapshoot at the moment but I am more than happy to provide picture and description of gift if it does get held up.

Find these grabby hands bags here 

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VERY IMPORTANT INFO FOR OUTLANDER CLUB MEMBERS

Please read if you are an outlander club member

The following only applies to outlander club members, if you are not a member please disregard this email.


I am cancelling all clubs at this time. I can no longer keep up with the amount of orders I have for outlander or service the postage demands (most of my outlander fans are overseas and last month I spent $975 in postage - that is not your fault it is my poor planning). This club in the last two months has caused three break downs nine sleepless nights ant three panic attacks. It isn't fun anymore for me to say the least so I am taking action to save my sanity and to save my business frankly, yesterday I almost threw in the towel and thankfully a very good friend talked me down from that ledge.

So what does this mean for you if you're signed up? One of three things, depending on how many months you have left I will offer you either to keep going with the rest of your months in one package (I will probably do this with people with less than three months left in case you are not offered this), a partial refund minus months you have already received or a store credit so you can choose any of my other products to the value.
  • If you have 1 or 2 months left on your plan you are welcome to continue with faith and one more yarn coming in may. If you would just prefer a refund for those 1 or two months please let me know.
  • If you have 3 or more months left on your subscription you have one of two options, a partial (or full refund if you have only just signed up) paid at $30 AUD per month left on your plan, OR a store credit in the amount of $34 per month left on your plan. If you need help with amounts this will come out to please contact me and I can let you know on a case by case basis.

This is not a decision I have taken lightly but I need to do it for my sanity. All the past colourways will be available in the store and on the regular dye schedule, possibly some of the newer colourways will also be added.

The issue is mine and I have managed the clubs badly, I just never expected over 100 subscriptions in one go and I should have had a limit in place but it was too late to take it back so here we are.


I am sorry to disappoint everyone I know some of you really really love these clubs and I will try to continue to come up with associated colourways regularly but right now my creativity is gone and I am struggling to keep my head above water. I am hoping this step will lift the fog and relieve some stress to get the ideas flowing again.

Those of you signed up to fantastic beasts please be aware that those will continue to be sent as normal but no new sign ups will be taken longer than one month at this time.
Contact via the website. or to flockandneedle@gmail.com 
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A quick note about dispatch times and processing times.

A quick note about dispatch times and processing times.

Due to unusually high and extremely surprisingly high volumes of orders received since the beginning of February, I have to extend my dispatching times at the moment. Its not something I like doing as I try to get things out as fast as possible but while doing last months outlander clubs I almost lost my mind a little bit, I had an amazing 85 orders for dougall which doesn't sound like many to a large business but this is just me in my home dyeing three skeins at a time.

I am aiming to have all castle leoch orders and pixie orders shipped by the 26th of march, along with anything that has been ordered and is currently awaiting dispatch.

I get a lot of emails regarding international shipping times which is something entirely out of my control and often due to the volume of orders i send I get a few returned by customs here or there, or they just get kept for weeks at a time for what seems to be no reason.

General international shipping times to mainland USA and Canada are 6 to 22 WORKING DAYS this also does not include any time it spends in customs which i know is a total jip and it feels like a cop out from them and I hate it but it is what it is, however my average shipping time seems to be around 14 working days from dispatch. The notable exception to everything I've just written is dearest canada, Canada I love you but I hate your customs and your postal service, I advise all Canadians to either pay for tracking or be prepared for a wait, I have had packages tied up in canada customs for 12 weeks more than once in the last 6 months.

I've also had a couple of people this week really angry that they haven't received orders that have been returned to me from customs, I am always happy to resend at no extra cost or refund those people, there is no need to get mad or assume you have lost your money when shopping with me and I'm kind of sad people would think that to be honest.

New customers to flock and needle might not be aware but I am a sole trader, I process 50+ orders a week (yes a WEEK holy smokes guys) alone while also taking care of my four year old. I am not making excuses for how slow I've been recently but I've had family obligations to also take care of and surgeries and all sorts. So this coming week is all about catching up for me (while also nursing a wonderful cold from international travel) and also TAKING A STEP BACK, while on holiday in Thailand I found myself answering emails regarding international shipping at 6am and trying my best to chase packages while I didn't even have a laptop to do it on. My holiday stressed me out because I was in my head back here trying to sort stuff out. That isn't health for me and Im going to be planning time this week so I am not answering emails immediately and having some down time from everything.

If youve managed to read this far well done your medal is in the mail!

I know many of you will be the most amazing understanding tribe ever and thats why I love you all, everyone just gets me and I really appreciate it.

Much love

Ali

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What a wild ride.

What a wild ride.

In one week my baby, well my second baby, turns two. Flock and Needle will be two years old on the third of march. IT HAS BEEN AMAZING!

I have met amazing wonderful people, made lifelong friends, learnt more about myself and about the profession I love than I could ever learn in a classroom. The fibre community is an amazing place, full of amazingly warm and knowledgeable people only too happy to share that knowledge and welcome people in. I consider myself lucky to be part of that community and love to give back as much as Ii possibly can.

With that in mind I have devised a couple of giveaways, the free ones to enter are both via social media, you can enter both you just need to follow me on facebook and instagram and like and share the giveaway post, so head on over to those sites to enter for free, the prizes are both the same a pyramid bag with a skein of sock yarn. Thats open world wide so feel free to get your entry on anywhere!

My other giveaway is of course a big ass bag of yarn for one special winner making a purchase during the sale period, I am giving away one of my large wedge bags packed full of yarn (around 8 skeins of yarn) that prize has a value of around $300 and I always do my best to stalk the winner so they get yarn they love! The requirements to be in this prize draw are simple - make any purchase - so anything you've had your eye now is an excellent time to grab it since i will also be 20% off!!

Flock and Needles second year was fast and furious, we went from strength to strength again and again and I have every one of you guys to thank for that success, every kind comment, every picture like, every purchase makes my tiny heart sing, theres been times I've been overwhelmed by support this year and I cannot thank you guys enough for it. My little family owes you a lot not least for helping my sanity and for giving me purpose above being a mum and wife - we all need to feed our soul with something.

Here is to another fast and furious year of amazingness, I am looking forward to seeing some of you at Bendigo sheep and wool show this year (especially my bezzy mate Niki who by the way has been one of my most amazing supports and is just one of the most beautiful people ever) and again at the retreat in october where I will hopefully do two classes this year!

Much love and kisses,

Ali xox

 

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