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Magic Crochet Moments with Morris & Sons, and Shop Tour.

In association with my Evolving Aveline Sweater CAL, this week  my story is about the presentation I gave at Morris & Sons last year.  I’ll also give you a tour of their Sydney store and tell you how you could win a Morris & Sons voucher for free yarn! 


Meeting the Morris family and spending time in their store is largely what inspired my Evolving Aveline Sweater, so it’s fitting to share the journey.


shop window of Morris & Sons Sydney store


Here is my most recent pic of the shop window of the Morris & Sons Sydney store – early March I dropped off my Evolving Aveline Sweater prototype to display which you can see to the right end of the window.  Morris & Sons is more than a yarn store though – as you’ll see below it has a huge range of yarn yes, but also has products for  all sorts of crafts including needlework and patchwork.  I think the Morris & Sons ethos is summed up in the little sign at the bottom right there, “All welcome, always”.


Warm and welcoming has been my experience of the Morris family right from when Dedri Uys first introduced me to Joseph and Ruth Morris mid 2023 after the Crochet Guild Australia conference.  This meeting and joyous moments of connection at the conference itself inspired the Pockets of Joy pattern and you can read the blog I wrote about it here.


The other thing to take note of in the above photo is those little words printed on the window: Est 1973.  That’s 51 years in business!!!  Mrs Ruth Morris and her husband Laurie started their first craft store in the Sydney suburb of Dover Heights.  Needlecraft became the focus, “Tapestry Craft” the business name, and framing tapestries a valuable added service.  Tapestry cushion kits are still a speciality, and it was their history with and love of needlecraft that prompted me to make my Pockets of Joy pattern into a pin cushion as a gift for Mrs Morris.

close up of crochet pin cushion pattern

a woman holding a hand made pic cushion gift

Mrs Morris still gives her all to the customers even after half a decade in service of helping people to craft!  The Avalon & Maya yarns came from Morris & Sons, and I like the full circle of gifting it back.  I am full of admiration for anyone growing a business and successfully enduring changing social and financial conditions.  My sincere hats off to Mrs Morris as a lead female figure from the 1970s through to today!


Over the 5 decades in business their craft of focus evolved with the times – through cross stitch and then knitting and eventually (fortuitously for me) crochet.  In 2008 the business name changed to Morris & Sons, emphasising the family history of what had become numerous stores over Sydney and Melbourne.  Soon thereafter they launched their own Morris & Sons range of knitting yarns which includes Empire (a Superfine merino), Avalon (Pima Cotton), Maya (Alpaca) and Estate (a premium wool) in a variety of yarn weights. Incredible!


This is still very much a family business with son Joseph and daughter Tal as key drivers of their 5 stores (Sydney, Newtown and Katoomba, Melbourne, and Richmond).  For those reading from Australia, this makes Morris & Sons a sizeable entity with 2 stores in Victoria and 3 in NSW!


The crazy thing to me was despite their amazing success, before June 2023 I had not heard of them (and I have crafted for quite some time – albeit sporadically before I became crochet obsessed).  But now the Morris & Sons family driven ethos is embracing the online digital international space, including collaborating with various knitting and crochet designers all over the world.


Great news for yarn lovers everywhere!   This sets the background for how I came to be invited to share my journey of becoming a crochet designer at their Sydney store.  After a phone meeting with their creative director Lorraine Cherry-Nguyen, we were all set!



So, the little story I want to share with you this week is about the presentation I gave at the Morris & Sons Sydney store November 2023.  I didn’t blog about it at the time as my whole trip was a bit of a whirlwind.  Now, for last week’s story there was a lot of words, but this week my story is more reliant on pictures – and a video.  Kind of show and tell if you will…


The gist of my presentation was to be about how I came to be a crochet designer, talk about some of the bumps along the way and what goes into publishing crochet patterns.  Morris & Sons generously put on a few drinks and nibbles one Sunday afternoon and we were all set up near the front of the Sydney store. 


I had prepared a series of slides and also packed a collection of garments to display or show in case the slides didn’t work out.  Tech sometimes has a great way of failing at the last hurdle, right? 


But not this time.  Phew!  Lorraine is seen to the right in the photo below, introducing me to the group of customers and she and I are both looking happy because mere moments before, the tech finally decided to complete its purpose in life and display the slides, as long as Lorraine could be my clicker to get through them!


one owman introducing a second woman to a group of people before a presentation

And so, this is how we proceeded, Lorraine helping with the slide sequence as I chatted away.  I am not a natural public speaker and tend to speak a bit too fast but after a few minutes I settled down and managed ok, thankful for the notes I had printed and held in my hands! 


My audience were very attentive which was so lovely.  This pic below is one of my favourites of the many taken.  Once I get going, I am an expressive talker and use my hands a LOT, so it’s amazing that there was one photo like this!  (Trust me, there were many photos with weird expressions and hand movements as well…)

a woman giving a presentation

I shared the ups and downs and learnings of my journey becoming a crochet designer for around 40 minutes and then there were some questions from the audience and milling around chatting, looking at my patterns and a range of swatches of the stitches used.  Morris & Sons have a HUGE range of yarn products and many of my published designs could be made with yarn from their store, so I helped a few ladies pair up yarn with the pattern. 


Then it was photo time with a bunch of happy snaps with those who wished to grab a pic, and it was so great to chat one on one!  Some ladies told me how inspiring it was to hear my story and about my work and I found it equally inspiring to see the effect my crochet creations had to motivate them to pick up a hook and go for it!


compostie image of crochet swatches and women lookling at them

A couple of attendees were keen to try some of my samples on and then I did a wardrobe change as well, popping my award-winning Blue Willow Dress on (a rare outing as I have not published a pattern for this dress).


composite image of people having photos taken together

This last composite image below kind of sums up how the event began and ended.  On the right is the last photo of the day.  This little girl convinced her family to bring her to the store to see the presentation.  Sadly, they arrived just after we had finished but we had a brief chat and she showed me the crochet bag she had made (very skillfully I might add).  I love that crochet is loved by young and old alike, and you never know, this little girl might be the next big name in crochet! 


On the left is a photo taken early on in my presentation – the image in the iPhone is the baby jacket I made for a friend that kick started my designing addiction.  …And to pre-empt your next question, YES, Morris & Sons staff made a video of my talk for their YouTube channel!  You can watch it just below this pic.

compostie image of a video being recorded and a womand standing next to a young girl


How About a Yarn Tour…

The other thing I spoke about in last week’s blog was yarn tourism.  I have been fortunate to have visited 3 of the 5 Morris & Sons stores - the one at Collins Street Arcade in Melbourne CBD, the mini at Newtown and the flagship store in Sydney – all highly tourist-worthy if you happen to be travelling to Sydney or Melbourne!  In all of them, the staff I experienced were knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to help. 

I wish I could have had the time to train out to the Katoomba store in the Blue Mountains as well, but maybe in the future I might spend a day out that way - Blue Mountains scenery combined with yarn sounds great, right?


Here is a quick tour of their Sydney store (you’re welcome…), then after the tour let’s talk how you could win some free yarn!


The Sydney Morris & Sons store is at 50 York Street, right in the centre of the CBD and perched (literally) above the train lines.  The building rumbles when a train zooms by underneath, which I found thrilling (though I admit it could probably be a bit disconcerting for some).  This heritage building has massive limestone foundation blocks and chunky wooden beams across the ceiling of the store – it’s a stunning lofty space with gleaming white paint, shiny honey-coloured wooden floors and rainbow upon rainbow of yarn just about everywhere you look!


To get there, take the train to the city and get off at Town Hall station.  Walk through the Queen Victoria Building heading north, then it’s a 2-minute walk up York Street to Morris & Sons.


There are 2 steps to enter the shop and on your left is the short wall of sock yarns seen in the left image below.   Further back is a solid wall of exotic delicious skeins of Manos de Uruguay.  At the end of the low sock yarn wall is this “last chance yarn basket” table shown in the right image below – all the pretty colours in the background are Manos del Uruguay goodies!  The table is also used for yarn sampling, knitting and crochet classes, serving food and drink during events or of course just perusing those books seen on display behind it.

composite image of yarn in a yarn shop

This next pic looks from the table towards the right front section of the shop where the Rowan products live (huge range) with the service counter further in the background.  Those baskets look good from every angle…

2 yarn baskets on a table in a craft store

Now I said Morris & Sons had a huge Rowan range and here is just a sliver of it.  Below on the right is much of their Rowan Felted Tweed dk which inspired my Evolving Aveline Sweater.  On the left below is a snippet of a whole island of other Rowan yarns, and behind that is Rowan cotton yarns and Rowan pattern magazines.  I should probably say pattern books – they are elaborate and very stylish, sought after publications!

walls of yarn on display in a shop

The soft flecks in the Felted Tweed dk drew me to this yarn for the Aveline.  The design I was working on at the time was the Shelley Sweater, also a top-down crochet jumper.  The Shelley is a crop design well suited to topping a summer dress though, and the back neck is not full coverage.  I wanted to build on my top-down garment repertoire but since the Felted Tweed is a super warm yarn, I wanted to come up with a way to include a full coverage back neck that was fully integrated – meaning no obvious short rows or different stitches.


I had an idea for the solution, and after 4 goes at the shaping of it, success!!  …which meant my Evolving Aveline Sweater came to life!  A warm jumper with no chills at the back of your neck.  Here it is in RFT dk colours French Mustard 216 and Black  211.


images of a handmade yellow and black crochet v neck jumper

Getting back to the tour:  the Morris & Sons store narrows through the middle section.  Below you can see a huge range of 2 & 4 ply Morris & Sons branded yarns on the left and the service counter on the right.  Such gorgeous colours! 


If you keep walking towards the back left, the Morris & Sons 8 & 10 ply yarns wrap around that large alcove.  “Yarns” doesn’t describe the Morris & Sons range fully enough though…. They have Maya (baby alpaca), Empire (superfine merino), Estate (washable wool) and  Avalon (pima cotton) yarns – with many of these available in 2, 4, 8, 10, 12 and sometimes even 14ply!  That’s crazy good!

a mannequin in a yarn shop

Yarn is not the only focus though.  In the back right of the above image is the cross-stitch materials, patchwork supplies and fabric cutting table and then on the right-hand wall is the Schoppel product range or wools and cottons!  I love Schoppel, brilliant stuff – high quality – and with a sense of humour.  They put tags on the balls warning you that “knitting is addictive!”  Lol.  I am sure they mean crochet too….


Here is that large alcove I spoke of with the higher ply (chunkier) yarns from Morris & Sons.  The photo speaks for itself – LOTS on offer here, and you can’t even see the wall of yarn that wraps back to the left just outside of shot!


display walls of yarn in a craft store

This part of the shop (back left wall) is where you’ll find the Empire 8ply if you’re after that for the Evolving Aveline Sweater.  This photo below shows the Size 1 tester sample using Morris & Sons Empire 8ply in colours Indigo 822 & Olive 816 – love the lustrous colour of this yarn, the stitch definition and its so soft against the skin!

a woman wearing a blue and green crochet sweater

The last port of call in the tour is where you pay for all those yarny delights and other craft goodies that accidentally (or fully intentionally) slipped into your shopping basket…. Check out the service counter, there is still more to keep you browsing here too!


In the shelving in the front of the service counter you can see this stunning tapestry cushion that Mrs Morris has made and kits for you to do the same.  Beautiful and meticulous!

a tapestry cushion on a shelf

Then the wall behind the counter….  Crochet hooks, knitting needles and tools, notions, more tapestry kits, sewing and cross stich needles, scissors, the list goes on….  And on!


a display wall of knitting and crochet tools for yarn crafts

There really is so much packed in!  The Sydney store is huge, and full of goodies.  The Katoomba and Newtown mini stores are cosier, but similarly packed top the brim.  Apart from lots to browse and covet, Morris & Sons also offers classes for knitting and crochet, as well as yarn tasting, newsletters which often include special offers, easy online shopping with worldwide shipping - and when I went in any store, the staff (even those who didn’t know I am a designer) were friendly and helpful!


Just to be clear, I am not getting paid to write this blog, I am simply sharing my experience of Morris & Sons with you.  I think it’s quite incredible what one family have achieved, all around the nucleus of Mrs Morris.  They are small in that they employ a select, close-knit group of staff who run the 5 stores and honour the family core of their business, but they are also large enough to (literally) serve a world of customers.  I am impressed with their product range, customer focus and fierce passion for craft! 



I am also grateful that Morris & Sons are generously providing a $150 yarn voucher that YOU could win as a prize draw this week in association with the Evolving Aveline Sweater Crochet-A-Long! 


The winner will be chosen by random selection via the process described below. The winner will liaise directly with Morris & Sons to select AUD$150 worth of yarn.  Amazing, right!?  Click here to go Morris & Sons website to have a look at their range of yarn.




To be eligible for the prize draw to win $150 of free yarn from Morris & Sons:


Before midnight AEST Thursday 23rd May 2024:


·       Purchase the Evolving Aveline Sweater pattern from Ravelry. This provides 1 entry (your Ravelry name).

This means anyone who has bought the pattern automatically goes in the draw with 1 entry.  

For an additional 10 entries do all of the following: 

·       post a WIP pic on Instagram &/or Facebook of your Evolving Aveline project

·       include your Ravelry account name (this is needed so I can add 10 more entries to your Ravelry name), and

·       tag & follow Peppergoose on the relevant platform.



For an additional 20 entries you need to be using Rowan Felted Tweed dk or Morris & Sons Empire 8ply for your Evolving Aveline project (or a suitable substitute yarn that’s available from Morris & Sons) and do all of the following:

·       post a WIP pic of your Evolving Aveline project on IG &/or FB, 

·       name the yarn you are using, 

·       include your Ravelry account name (this is needed so I can add 20 more entries to your Ravelry name) and

·       tag & follow both Morris & Sons and Peppergoose. (If you don't tag Peppergoose then I can't see it, so make sure you do that, or your entry won't count).


This means if you haven’t already purchased the Evolving Aveline Sweater pattern you still have this week to do it and post your WIP pic on socials and optimise your chances to win!


I will allocate numbers to all your entries via an excel spreadsheet then use a random number generator to select the winner.  I will contact the winner through their Ravelry email associated with their pattern purchase, then announce on socials.


Lastly and most importantly, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the Morris family and Morris & Sons creative director Lorraine for their generosity, yarn support, and collaboration with my Evolving Aveline Sweater CAL!  It was exploring your store and discovering your Rowan Felted Tweed dk stock that eventuated in this seater design! 


As always, you can browse Peppergoose patterns on Ravelry here.  Thank you so much  for your being here!  Don’t miss my third and final story next week by subscribing here


Happy stitching!


Susannah (Peppergoose )

logo of a goose wearing a red scarf


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