It wasn’t warm. It wasn’t cold either. Bit of an odd day but it was good to look out over the ocean and inside the club rooms there were so many conversations, discussions and ideas which kept us very cheerful and enthused. It was good to see so much colour.
Show and tell
Janette: a pair of very colourful slippers, a jumper to match in colourful stripes and a ball of spun wool in similar colours.
Margaret: ribbed beanie in mohair dyed with variegated dark red.
Jan (2): 4 spun skeins,1 beautiful white silky fibre made from OPTIM™ fibres , a CSIRO project, 2 natural light grey wool/rabbit, 1 natural light grey 100% alpaca.
Christine: a small shaped scarf crochet in pale mauve.
Cathy :2 spun wool balls 1 dark green Alexis’ tops, 1 grey with coloured flecks made from Alexis’ dyed alpaca fleece.
Marjorie: a jacket in turquoise blue with various coloured short stripes.
Wendy :a beautiful finely spun scarf in pale fawn baby camel/silk in a feather & fan design.
Last week when we went to join the Victor Harbour Spinning group we were given a talk about rare breeds of sheep and how important it was to keep the gene pool strong. We have lost a large number of sheep breeds world wide because some sheep just don’t make money and climate change is making areas unviable for sheep farming. The North Ronaldsay seaweed eating sheep are under threat because of climate change and they are trying to breed them to be grass eating to help their survival but then they won’t be the North Rondaldsay sheep as such. The Manx Loagham sheep date back to the bronze age but no longer have the variety of fleece colours since some colours are not popular. The Rare Breeds Trust keep a current list relevant to Australia. We need to keep the gene pool strong so we can keep our sheep healthy. They are social animals and were probably the first domesticated animals we humans had.
On the other end of the scale Christine was telling us today about spider goats. Professor Randy Lewis, a molecular biologist ,worked out how to get the spider drag line silk gene into goats’ milk so we could have better access to industrial strength silk! The video above tells you about it and you can read more on Business Insider.
As a spinner you can help sheep stay viable by selecting their fleece for spinning. It is also a chance to experiment with new and different fibres being produced so that you build the next bank of knowledge for current fibres on the planet. It then comes down to whether you support the breeds associated with your country or you help support breeds world wide. The talk made us really think about these sorts of issues and how we can play our part to ensuring fleece providing animals continue to be a part of our world but also how we can be alert to the fibre changes which are coming about because we live in the age of technology.
Many brought along their crochet and knitting for Monday’s visit to the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group. Sonya learned how to make a grannie square as we explained in the last post. We realised there were people who want to crochet and who haven’t yet learned how to do it. The basic grannie square in the video teaches you a lot and then it can be used to make jackets, bags, blankets…whatever you like . Once you have mastered that basic square, it is not that hard to go on and do some of the fancier ones featured in this post.
Marina has been making grannie squares for a jacket and so on Monday she was knitting the band. Hers are all made from homespun wool and are the brown and other colours. The brightly coloured ones are Margaret’s. She is trying out different grannie square blocks. The pink one is just lovely and the ones with the flowers in the middle look really good and would give anything a 3D effect. Margaret likes to do the rounds in different colours when she is learning a new block so she can see clearly where to put her crochet stitches. You need that visual contrast when you are learning and the definition of commercial wool. Homespun gives a softer effect.
We had a nice day on Monday because we carpooled and took ourselves down to visit the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group who gave us a very warm welcome. There were spinners from the Adelaide Hills group, Gumeracha and Aldinga groups too. Part of the day was to raise funds for the Fleurieu Cancer Support Foundation and the day can be proud of the funds it raised for that good cause. It was also a chance to remind ourselves that rare breeds in sheep are important and that using their fleece helps keep the gene pool going. We had a lot of information shared with us about that. We had all brought our projects to be getting along with as we worked our way through the day. Sonya wins the prize for the most outstanding achievement in colour cor ordinating her purchases and outfit. How clever! She also learned how to make her first crochet grannie square.
Maria and Wendy both had finely knitted lace scarves today. The fine yarn gives a different effect from thicker yarns. Maria’s is commercial alpaca and knitted in garter stitch with one row of holes. Wendy’s is her own spun camel hair and silk knitted in feather and fan stitch. The fineness of the yarn adds to the elegance of the look. It is important to play with texture to get the desired visual effect.
There are 18 free easyknit lace scarf patterns on allfreeknitting. Try the different patterns with different wool/yarn weights and you will see the difference in effect.
The photos are not as perfect as they could be because people just wanted to feel these scarves. The scarves were never still! They are soft and beautiful to look at and people just want to see what they are like and then because they are so fine they move and people like to feel them in their hands. That tactile experience of yarn is something we should never lose.
Jan 1 brought along her amigurumi rabbit this week so she could finish it. You know how you get going with projects and somehow you sidestep and get distracted into other things or projects? That. So, Jan 1 decided she would just finish this gorgeously cute little rabbit and she did. We loved watching her sit and create this character . It was so nice to see him finished. As a couple of people pointed out, it is good to do amigurumi because you just have to know double crochet and then you can make all sorts of things. It is like crochet sculpting. It sounds harder than it is.
there are 63 free amigurumi rabbit patterns on diycraftsy.
There are little bigfoot rabbit patterns on amigurumitogo and there are other bigfoot animals to make if you are interested.
Hilary’s sleeveless turtleneck jumper was a show stealer. It was the colour for a start. Alexis , in our group, had dyed the wool and it’s called periwinkle. It’s a beautiful colour. The cable pattern centre front looks like the jumper is ruched so it’s not just an ordinary cable effect. Because it is sleeveless it means you can wear different tops underneath and create different looks when you wear it. Hilary spun the wool and knitted it so it is quite a big project which has had a very happy ending.
Both of these beanies are really interesting and look and feel nice. On the left is Sheila’s long tail beanie. She dyed and spun the wool herself and it really has an interesting look with a well chosen palette of colours. In real life you look at all those colours and are fascinated by them. It is warm and soft. Sheila made the decision to add the turquoise stripes to give the hat a colour lift and we agreed she had done the right thing. That turquoise looks good . All the handspun wool gives it a good texture and it will naturally protect you from the elements.
Wendy’s hat is on the right. It is for really cold days. She had some spun grey wool that she liked but thought it wasn’t a good enough colour by itself to make something. What she did was knit in slivers of hand dyed silk which she had. It has worked out really brilliantly. The hat is warm, soft and the colours are not overstated. Again, a good decision with colour choices.
Jan1 :a skein of spun fibres in pink & cream. Marina: a skein of spun wool that Peter carded last week, orange & browns. Cathy :fleece dyed with geranium flowers and cream of tartar making a soft orange colour. Wendy: Beanie knitted sideways in soft greys with silk turquoise knitted in & a big fluffy pompom. Alexis: a large skein spun from very colourful tops wine, pink and yellow . Navaho plied to keep the colours separate. Margaret :a selection of various granny squares. John :finished woven runner in lots of different colours. Very effective. Jan1 and Maria: with projects in the making. Jan1: finishing off a crocheted rabbit and Maria is busy knitting a beanie.
It was 20 degrees , looked cold, was warm outside and cold inside. Such a weird weather day. We loved our ocean views, our morning tea and our enthusiasm for grannie squares continues. So many good things to look at this week.
*Please note there is no meeting at the club next week. *
We were lucky to have Sandy and Michael with us this week from the Adelaide Hills Spinning group. They are both very accomplished in the sorts of things they achieve with textiles. One of the things Sandy brought along for show and tell was a bag she had made by weaving around a book. Our group is very much about enabling. It is not about cost, expense, the best of…and yet we will use and produce the finest of the fine when we want to. That’s about investment in our skills and creativity. We want anyone to be able to have fun with yarn! Not everyone can afford a loom…but everyone can find a book and a ruler and bits of yarn or strips of old T Shirts.
When Sandy explained book weaving we realised it’s a great way to use oddments but also a great way to do something easily without all the fuss and bother and yet come up with something as nice as Sandy’s bag. It’s a handy size and there is no sewing!! Some of us love sewing…others of us are always looking for the sew free projects and this woven bag is the very thing 🙂
When you come to the spinning group on Monday, you cannot fail to be affected by the beautiful view of the ocean outside and then all the lovely colours inside. Some of the colours are just extraordinary. You then add to that the tactile feel of fleece and fibre. It’s quite a sensory experience which feeds the imagination. We are just going to leave these pictures here so you can look and react and get your own ideas about what you’d change or improve or how you’d love to use these colours.
Marina got the grannie square bug when we were focusing on grannie squares recently. We loved looking at tall the different ones she had made. It’s not hard! They are fun to make, use up scraps of spun wool and then can be a pleasant, achievable challenge which gives you that satisfying feeling of success. Big , long haul projects are so worth it in the end but meanwhile you need something which makes you feel that quick term , short reward happiness . Grannie squares fit the bill. Marina is collecting her grannie squares so she can make herself a jacket and we are looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.
There is a really nice grannie square jacket on the Whoot.
There is a huge range of lovely grannie squares on diycraftsty too. Have fun !
Possum fur yarn comes from New Zealand. In Australia the brush tail possum is a protected species. They have lived in New Zealand since the 1800s and have settled so well they become too prolific at times. New Zealand has created a Perino wool which has some very good properties for very cold, damp climates . It’s a mix of possum fur and merino wool.
Margaret was knitting with a yarn which was a mix of possum and alpaca. It was an unusual colour. It had a hardly noticeable brown undertone from the possum fur but the brown was softening the pink colour which was very pretty. It was fine wool and her kitting felt so soft. It would be good for those people who find wool scratchy to wear and certainly the possum/alpaca mix is a good competitor for cashmere!
It was a lovely, sunny 12 degrees Celsius today and our view was spectacular. We had a few visitors who really added to our very animated day. So much to see and so many things to talk about. Everyone was happy and productive.
Show and tell
Our guests, Sandy and Michael from the Adelaide Hills group, brought along some of their projects, to show us. Michael has made a beautiful piece of weaving from a black fleece warp, woven with 3 different colours for a very striking effect which Sandy will make into a sleeveless vest for herself. On Michael’s previous pieces of weaving Sandy has made them into a vest for the weaver. Sandy showed us a bag she had woven from wrapping the warp around a book then weaving the weft in a traditional tabby weave using oddments of spun fleece to form a cylinder which ,with a piece of leather for the base, made a very useful draw string bag, also a sleeveless Fair Isle vest with multiplies of designs from home spun & home dyed fleece .Very effective. Cathy has spun a ball of dark brown fleece & plied it with a lighter multi coloured skein & has made another granny square for the Instagram collection. Marina has made 20 granny squares in various colours with a common brown border ready to make another 80 for a jacket she has in mind…but we didn’t think she would need that many 🙂
Margaret has been an inspiration each week with all the lovely hats, gloves , cowls and socks she makes amongst all the other things she creates! We have been getting Antarctic blasts in Adelaide and the weather has been very chilly this winter. Margaret has reminded us constantly to use all those accessories we make!
She does things in a very fuss free way and starts things and finishes them when she feels like it because she likes to do what she wants. Bottom left are her sock wool socks but everything else is homespun and Margaret likes to keep herself colourful and cheerful in winter. It cheers us up, too, being able to see all those nice patterns and colours.
By the time you make the bath accessories available on YouTube you will feel very swish and clean. They make nice gifts and they are quick and easy. Grandchildren like the little wash dots . You can clean them with them but they will play with them and have fun. Marina crocheted a wash cloth. It looks so pretty but in different colours it could be a dish cloth and home made dish cloths work really well. She also made some bath mitts and they are very handy 🙂 You Tube has fancy wash dots and loofahs for you to try. You need to use acrylic yarn, cotton or bamboo or a mix . Cotton and acrylic work well and cotton and bamboo are good too. You can use things like this to practise new patterns or use up oddments. They are the sorts of projects you can carry around. There is a free pattern for bath mitts on Red Heart and here’s a video for waffle bath mitts. They look good.
We often have conversations about good colour combinations, partly because they are there right in front of our eyes or we have access to images online where we can share good colour combinations. We often look at what we are doing and wonder what other colour will go with that fleece we are spinning. Or like the two wool tops colours , left, sitting next to an e-spinner one week. Karin suddenly realised they matched her mug and that the orange in the mug would be a good additional colour in that mix. A bold choice of colours for that one but often we look for softer colour combinations and they can be hard to get just right. Colour can be determined as much by culture anything. Some cultures favour very bright colour combinations , others like the stone, sand and rust colours.
This video by Justine Leconte looks at a colour wheel and its application and then how you can put it to work in colour choices for textiles.
Our weavers keep us interested and amazed. All those threads turn into something really wonderful and sometimes something very cool like Christine’s sprang woven bag we featured. John and Peter use heddle looms and Marina has learned how to use one so she can help her husband Peter set the loom up when he needs it. John just amazes us with his skills and patterns and inordinate patience.
Top left is Marina’s bag and it looks really great. Peter wove the fabric and Marina sewed the bag and added the handles. The lining makes it, doesn’t it? She was using it to store her grey mohair while she was spinning it but we are sure that bag will be a great fashion accessory with the right outfit.
Top right is Peter’s T Shirt strip woven wall hanging which looks a bit like colourful bubble wrap. It really does have a 3D effect the way it has been woven and the lime green and lavender are popular cool colours at the moment.
John’s scarves were shared on our trading table at the Port Noarlunga Beanies to Berets Exhibition and drew a lot of interest. John picks good colours and then weaves them to good effect. Yesterday’s post featured his oddments weaving and that is looking striking as well.
Some people in the club have used heddle looms and now no longer do but their experience contributes to the pool of knowledge weavers in our club can access. There is no doubt weaving builds memory , mental discipline and neural pathways. Neural pathways become stronger when you repeat things and learning is more effective when there is mental and physical activity together …as in weaving!
We are lucky. Every week we get to see some great projects, works in progress, ideas and colours. Big projects can be very impressive and we celebrate them with a lot of ooohs and aaahs because they really are beautifully made items when the long haul journey is finally complete. There are so many little things each week which can revitalise how we look at our own ideas and projects. It is often the little things which quietly suggest a way of making something your own or better. Sometimes it is the colour or the texture. Maybe the look…
Top left is Wendy’s felted pouch in which she keeps her electric spinning machine battery . It keeps it safe and protected and the pouch looks really nice. It is a good way to use her own felting. Practical and pretty.
In the middle is Jan 1’s beret which she didn’t like so she used her considerable felting skills to turn it into a really lovely bowl which has such an eye catching colour. If you have the skills and you develop those skills you can do what you want! Jan 1 is always teaching us to be bold in our approach and not to worry about things going wrong.
Top right are Hilary’s fingerless gloves. They look like colourful rolls but as soon as you put them on your hands look colourfully elegant. They are , in fact, very flattering to wear and make your hands look attractive. It’s because they fit snugly and then are longer than some fingerless gloves.
Bottom left is Maria’s beanie. It is in her own spun wool. She is making up the pattern for the beanie and the pattern for the stitches. Maria likes to let herself roam freely with her skills sometimes so she allows her confidence and creative develop. She is always teaching us to trust ourselves and our judgement. She can produce very high quality , intricate work and is disciplined in her approach but then she just picks up her hook or her needles and does what she feels like.
Bottom right is Janette’s homespun beanie which made us all smile. We loved the not a pompom, not a tassle…I’ll just be here on top of this beanie. We liked the colours because they were so very cheering on a cold day. It’s a fun hat. Janette often spins the colours of nature and our environment. These are Adelaide summer beach colours…the blue, the heat, the sun. Janette can also make very classic, traditional pieces which people like. Every once in a while she just breaks out and has fun, as we all should.
The weather looked nice but the wind was icy cold today. At least the sun was out which was cheering . Our show and tell table was colourful and interesting and there are still signs of the grannie square bug.
Show and tell
Janette: a ball of spun wool in blue and white. Marina & Peter produced a roll of woven material in purple/green, Marina found a table crochet decoration in pink in wheel design, 3 granny squares mixed colours, 2 shower mitts in cotton & a blue mobius cowl with white pearl beads. Peter: a carded rolag in lime green/orange John: a weaving in progress with many interesting colour combinations.
This pink is so pretty, isn’t it? Maria is crocheting a cushion and had just started it and already it looks so lovely. She is using acrylic. You want to be able to wash cushion covers quickly and easily. The pattern is trebles and then side puff stitch which gives it some good texture.
Instructions for side puff stitch are on new stitch a day. There’s a video to help you learn.
Regular, vertical puff stitch is a handy stitch to know as well. It makes for good texture in anything you are making but it also makes good blankets. If you watch the video below by Rich Textures Crochet you will see the stitch comes into its own if you make a blanket which changes colour.
We produce so many things in a year and we like to. Part of what we do is create things for others like our tiny teddies last year. Jan 1 regularly knits beanies for the homeless in winter because there is a big call for warm hats for them. One of her beanies in progress is featured left.
Recently we were talking about the need for penguin jumpers on Philip Island. The pattern is here and the Penguin Foundation website gives you all the background for the cause.
Kogo accepts hand knitted things all year and highlights any needs as they arise. You can find them on Facebook as well.
Life’s Little Treasures is a site which supports premature babies and it has two lovely knitted bears which are signature bears for the cause.
There is no compulsion for us to knit for others but we always keep each other aware of what community needs there are so we can participate if we want to. Hilary reminded us there is always a need in hospitals for crocheted octopuses for premature babies and the YouTube clip by APcrochet explains how to make them. It’s a good thing for any little baby, actually.
The British crochet magazine, Simply Crochet, is having a Granny Square Day 2019 on Instagram where you post a grannie square and they turn it into a visual blanket. Marina had told us about this and we got all enthusiastic about grannie squares and all the colours and shapes you can make them. We have been posting about it all. We have really enjoyed it. Grannie squares use up oddments and you can never have enough grannie square blankets. They all get used and worn out. People love them. You can use grannie squares for scarves, hats, blankets, jackets, cushions, bags…They can be used to make gloves and toys. They are so versatile and then very helpful when you are yarn bombing 🙂
You can see some of ours at the top of this post and then Hilary shared a lovely photo of a grannie square banner outside of Loxton Library. So pretty.
Sunburst grannie squares are good to learn to make because they can produce such cheerful blankets, bags, jackets…whatever you like. The video we have chosen for this post shows you how to alter it slightly to make it denser if you want a tighter version. Craft Passion has written a very enthusiastic post about Sunburst Grannie Squares which includes different ways of joining them together. The written instructions from that site are here. You might miss them because there are so many good things to look at on the page. Karin brought a basket full of Sunburst grannie squares to cheer us up this week. We are focusing a bit on grannie squares because they are good things to know how to make and different styles and patterns can help you create some lovely things. It is a good grannie square for oddments and we love our oddments projects.
Sheila: 8 skeins of beautiful white natural spun fibres, & a long beanie in dyed red on grey wool with blue stripes. Karin: a baskets full of sunburst grannie squares, with white borders and multi coloured centres. Cathy: a grannie square using many colours. Margaret: a square 10 stitch blanket using various for the surround . Very neat. Janette: a very colourful beanie knitted sideways in stripes of blue, red & yellow. Hilary: 2 grannies squares one not so square in various colour oddments. John’s: new weaving project yet to be decided but we like the colours.
Backstrap weaving has been around in different cultures for a long time. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s fun. Christine had found her back strap weaving loom and brought it along to show Sheila, in particular, but the rest of us like this little loom. It looked doable! It’s transportable, takes up little room and so would be good for travelling. Great kids project too where they could build something for themselves and use it.
The basics are here on mayaweavings and there’s a nice video by Laverne Waddington which gives you an idea of how it all works. Christine’s is a very compact loom so you don’t need as much space as you can see in these instructional sites.
There’s a lot of fun to be had when yarn is woven into your life. It can keep you in stitches and you will most definitely be hooked. For us the wheels keep turning and we often rib each other a lot but not with anything too pointed.
So many yarn jokes to be had! Bendigoin Victoria is the home of the first yarn bombed tram. Such fun. There are plenty of yarn puns on Pinterest.Knitlikegrannie has some good yarn memes too. Then there are some good knitting cartoons on Pinterest as well.
There’s no such thing as too much yarn so we hope you have enjoyed the purls of wisdom.
We know. We know they are not squares and that a hexagon square doesn’t exist. Google understands hexagon grannie squares so it must be all right. Hexagon blanket motifs?? Hexagon blanket medallions? Hexagon blanket shapes? No. Hexagon grannie squares. We know what we mean and so do you 🙂 This is Alexis’ grannie square blanket and it is in finer , commercial wool so it could double as a shawl. So cheerful, bright and such a great oddments project. We are having a bit of a focus on grannie squares this month. It pays to revisit the oldies but goodies to get a new look at them with fresh eyes and colours. It is certainly blanket weather here at the moment and something as cheerful as this hexagon blanket would keep your spirits up.
Marina has made more than one ten stitch blanket after Karin taught us last year how to do this. She had spun wool left over and was wondering if she could make a ten stitch blanket jacket. it became a thinking challenge and a construction challenge. It has turned out so well. It is warm, soft and thick and looks so nice in those colours. What a creative achievement.
We had a lovely time on Monday because the sun was shining and it actually reached 18 degrees. We survived the day without the heater on. So many lovely things to look at to inspire us.
Show and tell
Alexis brought along pattern books for us to have and some marjoram seedlings. She also brought long her hexagon grannie square blanket in different colours and outlined in black.
Marina : Stunning ten stitch blanket jacket from her own spun wool in predominantly autumn colours; call f spun wool in greys purples and tans, 3 grannie squares in autumn colours in her own spun wool
Cathy: cake of dark alpaca plied with naturally dyed English Leicester and various bits of coloured merino tops, cake of pomegranate dyed English Leicester plied with green merino tops and god sparkle.
Christine: sprang woven little bag in bright, cheerful colours.
John is working on a weaving sampler to test out patterns and yarn weights so he can see the difference in the fabric.
Peter is working on a lavender and lime green wall hanging made form T shirt yarn and wool.
Alan is still away but shared some photos with us of one of the places he is staying at on his road trip back to Adelaide:
Christine brought along her sprang woven bag today to show us. She loved it and we loved it. We loved the colours and then we loved the texture and look of it. It was good to see something she had finished in her sprang weaving because we could see what a visual impact it had and then we could see how nice that little bag was. It’s a good skill to have and then not so hard to manage as a heddle loom. We can now properly visualise the possibilities of sprang weaving.
We had some really good weaving ideas this week. Top is the woven phone pouch Peter made and his wife, Marina, sewed it all together. He also has a matching one for his glasses. In was done on an inkle loom. Bottom left is the dog collar Marina made on her inkle loom and it looks so good and is such a good idea. She has to make another one for the other family dog! So good to be able to make the things you actually need. The dog collar is on top of a lovely woven pillow made from upcycled tablecloths and sheets. In real life it looks really nice and would be a great addition to any chair. Upcycling old clothing and manchester is a great way to get bags , cushions and mats and they are stylish items. Woven fabric has a cool look about it. It is strong and durable too. Bottom right is the tabletop sprang loom John made for Christine out of upcycled wood. We like to make use of everything and we all have stashes of bits which can be upcycled into something we need. The tabletop loom means Christine can sit comfortably to do her sprang weaving. The bonus is we can see better what she is doing and so it raises our level of interest and involvement in what Christine is doing. Living proof you can just use what is around you to make lovely things.
Janette’s charcoal berets were a bit different this week. The colours for a start. The charcoal colour is unusual for a beret. That was mixed with a soft grey and then there was a hint of lavender throughout. Just a hint. The resultant effect made the berets something a bit special. They were soft and would be warm to wear. A nice colour change for a winter outfit. Janette had spun this merino colourway herself . The berets looked good!
Jan 3 has a number of grandchildren who have inspired her to make the cutest soft toys. These amigurumi giraffes are no exception. The pink one has something magical about it and the standard colour one has such a friendly face. It’s good when the new lives coming into the world help you to become more creative because you are motivated in such a genuine way. We loves having giraffe friends to visit on Monday and we are sure they will be well loved. Jan 3 used her own handspun yarn to make them.
The weather looked nice but it was cold and then it got a bit warm and then a bit cold! We were far more even in our approach to the day and had a really positive time with each other.
Show and Tell
Sheila: found 5 beanies some of them were produced
while touring through Tasmania.A denim coloured beret, 1 purple, 2 natural dark brown
and a long natural fawn one with pompom. Cathy: has dyed some more fleece this time with some small purple flowers (Mexican/Chilean Potato Bush) that didn’t give any colour so she put some avocado skins and kernels in with the flowers and got a lovely golden colour. Janette: 2 berets in dark brown with blue & purple flecks. Marina: a dog collar woven in a small inkle loom and a cushion cover woven on Peter’s loom from strips of sheets & table clothes.
Jan3: made some gorgeous giraffes from her own spun wool.
We are so lucky to be surrounded each week by lovely colours. It has also been our observation that different spinning groups favour different colours. Wonder if it is the location or people? Margaret’s striped socks are cheerful and fun. Hilary’s fingerless gloves are such a riotous pick me up of colour for a dull, wet day. Alexis mixed grey alpaca fleece with merino and got two different wool batts which reflect different colour moods. All these colours make us think. What stripes would you have? Which wool batt do you prefer and if you had to make a pair of gloves in outrageously bold colours, what would you choose? Colour impacts your mood but it engages your brain. Have fun with it.
Christine brought along this lovely green , handspun wool last week and was doing some celtic crochet. We loved the look of it. So interesting and then Christine worked out that no matter which side you looked at it , it looked good. Margaret was suitably inspired, borrowed the book and came back this week with a lavender cowl which suited her so well and the pattern and colour were very fetching. We loved it. We like trying out new things but there is no pressure to be clever. We do it by using our own enthusiasm for something . That kind of positivity tends to rub off.
It’s great when we get something new and different to look at and try to work out. Sprang weaving is like braiding on a loom and has a very long history and they have found examples of it from the Bronze age! When Christine brought in her colourful , pastel sprang weaving we were all intrigued. Also impressed with her skills levels. Christine likes to learn new techniques because they challenge her and give her variety and then choices in her creativity.
Kristin Hughes has a very helpful blog where she explains thing sin more detail if you want to follow this up. She also has this very good YouTube video:
It was a brisk 13 degrees today at the beach front. We kept ourselves happy and warm with all the lovely colours and interesting things to look at.
Margaret : was wearing a crotchet cowl which had a very
unusual design in pale purple. Cathy: had dyed some fleece with a collection of soursobs, cape
honeysuckle flowers & onion skins with a couple of avocado
pips to act as a mordant, a beautiful colour of golden yellow,
also a ball of spun wool with a dark brown alpaca plied with many lighter colours. Sonya: a lovely pair of soft socks in yellow with dark flecks mixed in. Hilary : a small knitted frog with pattern & a small bowl project started months ago finished off by her daughter, Deb, who visited us today. Christine : is weaving on a frame to make a Sprang weaving when finished the
tightly woven strands are opened out to show various patterns. Cindy : showed us some knitted prem baby beanies in many designs, small quilts for
small cots & a huge knitted knee rug in stripes of various left over yarn colours
looking really attractive with the ends left showing as ties.
Karin’s corner to corner crochet blanket was a stunner. It was warm and blankety but it also had a soft movement to it. It is all handspun wool and the colour combination is very effective. Calming and easy on the eye. We featured Christine’s Intergalactic Blanket a while back. That was also corner to corner with graph crochet incorporated into the design. Karen’s stripes are soothing and work well for using up wool oddments and leftovers from bigger projects. Sometimes too, with spinning, you will only have enough fleece and/or fibre to make one cake of yarn so that can suit a blanket project like this too. It’s not hard, but there is a method to it. We are sharing one YouTube video if you want to master corner to corner, but there are plenty of others to choose from if this one does not suit you.
We had some good clever ideas on display at our meeting this week. Christine had some weaving with her which had knitting needles across it. It had no warp threads. Thagt was intriguing. It is very clever weaving which makes a mesh suitable for bags or beach tops. The colours she had chosen look very summery . This method of weaving creates a very soft, pliable fabric.
Marina had a lovely pair of bootlaces which she had woven on her inkleloom. Again the colours were very effective. She dips the ends in glue so the laces don’t fray.
Wendy had some stunning colours sitting in front of her. Silk which had been hand dyed by Alexis. Wendy plans to strip slivers of this silk and knit it in with her hand spun wool. We cannot wait to see this because it is going to look gorgeous we are sure and we want to know what she is going to make with it.
We like to try new things and something a bit different. It keeps the brain learning but provides creative challenges too. As soon as you create a new pathway for yourself you set yourself up to be problem solving but absorbing yourself in the creative process. We have a group which will help smooth out stumbling blocks in creativity so that our time is spent ensuring our ideas are successful.
When you meet Jan 2 you learn quickly she is very easy to talk to and very enthusiastic about alpaca fleece. She loves her alpacas and is a very keen alpaca farmer who has done due diligence and made a point of knowing as much about them and their fleece as she can. She never stops learning and her passion for them is infectious. She loves each and every one of her crias (baby alpacas) and always ensures they are put into caring homes. She is full of joy when a new one is born. Her genuine love of her farm and animals is why she makes friends easily. She talks warmly about what she does and you cannot help but get caught up in it. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story this week.
Jan Mark 2
Mum taught me to knit when I was five! And my father used to crochet finely worked doilies! Mum always liked knitting and later on did quilting. I didn’t start spinning until we bought alpacas. At that time, my husband brought me home a spinning wheel from a second hand shop. It had one bobbin, no lazy kate or anything else. I bought an Ashford book and from that, I taught myself how to spin. I was advised to start on sheep’s wool but after a week I went on to alpaca fleeces. Once I mastered that I made hats and scarves. We’ve won over a hundred prizes for our champion alpacas. Rearing them then training and grooming them for showing, is an art in itself!
I sell my work at the Meadows market. I was invited to the Victor Harbour Spinners to talk about suri alpaca. They were such a nice group that I ended up joining! Then sometime later I was invited to to talk about alpacas to the men’s group at Aldinga. I took two alpacas along with me. When the rain eventually stopped I took them out and showed them to the men. Because alpaca fleece and yarn are used in craft work, the men did an unprecedented thing. They had invited their womenfolk! I learned about the women’s spinning group and sure enough, I joined up with them. So now I alternate with the Victor Harbour Spinners and Seaford Spinners on a Monday and I still go to the Aldinga group which meets every fortnight on a Tuesday.
We are overjoyed to have Jan the second join our group. She has much to teach us and we are eager learners. Thank you in anticipation Jan.
We were having fun. It was all Alexis’ fault. She had been spinning these autumn colours for quite some time. A skein of wool doesn’t just make itself. Monday was the day! She had finally finished and then that beautifully, squishy, colourful skein of wool was calling out to us. It has that real Look At Me quality about it but it was something you wanted to feel as well. Karin ,Wendy and Alexis had some fun using it as a nice cowl. It was cold. The skein of wool looked and served the part. Winter warmth with lovely colours. It was great against Karin’s rust coloured top and then, with Wendy, it stood out nicely with her red , felted tunic top. Colour. It makes you feel well.
We have cropped Wendy’s picture because the camera caught her when she was blinking and we should have retaken the photo. We are not perfect…but we are colourful.
We had a lovely time today. It was full of good ideas, some lovely colours, skills sharing and creative chat and fun. Our members who had sent beanies up to Alice Springs to the Beanie Festival were very impressed with the efficient way unsold beanies were returned and the fact that they had sold as many as they did. They had sold all of their beanies or all but one. Proud moment for all of us.
Show and tell
Karin: a large crotchet blanket worked from corner to corner with multi-colour stripes very effective. Cathy : beret in spun wool pink/cream – she shared the pattern. Marina : boot laces made on an inkle loom brown/cream Hilary : a pair of fingerless mittens in multi-colour acrylic Sheila’s work in progress were the cute frogs she was making for her grandchildren.
Alexis had just finished plying a beautiful autumn coloured skein.
Crochet mandalas are very popular . It’s the colours peole use and then the visual impact. Great way to use up oddments, spend a happy rainy afternoon or have an on the go project which fills in small amounts of time when you want a break from bigger things. Mandalas look different in home spun wool or yarn. The pattern definition is not as stark and it will look more like a watercolour. Commercial yarn is very even and doesn’t have the texture. You use what you want to create the visual effect which suits your project. They can be framed, used as cushions or bags. They can go on the back of jackets or be grown into blankets or table covers. They are pleasing to the eye and this mandala is a good way to start.
We have been spinning all right and we cannot resist. It’s the colours, the fibres, the wheels, the feel of fleece , tops and roving. It’s the fact we can create beautiful things from lumps of beautiful fibres. We can comb them, card them, make wool batts, dye them. It’s a visual and tactile adventure. Every week we bring along our wheels and we can spin whatever we want to spin. We can see what other people are doing and just have all this colour and fibre input. We can see the process. We can enjoy looking at and feeling the fibre. Then we can do what Marjorie has done : turn out some lovely, colourful socks or a classic style Tunisian crochet jacket. We can’t help spinning, nor do we want to.
Maria never fails to teach us each week and to encourage us with our creativity. She had a beautifully knitted white beanie with her this week which she could have sold on the spot. It was so white and so soft. It was also striking and different. As it turns out , Maria has made up the knitting pattern herself and used her own stitch and just done what was in her heart and mind. She teaches us a lot about trusting our own judgement and just breaking free once in a while to let our own ideas take shape. Meanwhile she is knitting a beanie in spun wool. Same pattern and it looks totally different. It looks cobwebby and shows the difference between commercial and spun wool. Maria was teaching us about visual effect and how to change things so we can create visual interest.
This is a good picture of the other end of our stall at the Beanies to Berets Expo at Port Noarlunga Arts Centre last week. You can see Hilary’s lovely felted jacket and John’s weaving which created so much interest and he did make sales and help a lot of people with their weaving skills. You can also see our banner which was woven by club members a few years ago. Sea and sand. We spin by the sea and love it.
Jan 2 spins alpaca. Why wouldn’t she? She has an alpaca farm. She often does some very fine knitting and so her yarn is frequently spun finely for that purpose. On Monday she brought along her Australian made Inwood Smith electric spinner which was eye catching. It sits the opposite way from most spinners and takes up very little room lengthwise and the battery pack is small. They haven’t been made since 2015 and so now it is hard to get parts unless you use somewhere like Wooldancer. That site has the complete spinner featured with its sidewings for plying. Jan said she found that a bit annoying and that they could get in the way. The rest of the spinner is very well thought out and designed and is clearly labelled so you know what the parts do. The electrical jacks are placed neatly too so the wires are easy to manage. It is a pity they are no longer made since they offer something different again in electric spinners and some people might feel more comfortable with the layout.
There were a lot of us there on Monday and we were in full voice and at full volume. The Port Noarlunga Beanies to Berets textile expo had cheered us up. Our stall had done well, Jan 2 had had her alpaca stall, with her live alpacas , which went well and Janette had her stall which had gone well too. The whole event was positive and Hilary summed it up well:
Our Textile Expo on Saturday was considered a big success we sold several items, had lots of interest & fun talking & exchanging idea with other stall holders as well as customers & with quite a few of members helping out either behind the stall or just coming to see. A big thank you to John who arrived at 10am and stayed all day chatting and explaining the merits of weaving to anyone who listened, also to Alexis who provided the much needed dummies for draping garments on& Jan who was there early straight from her sick bed. A thank you to one and all.
Show and tell
Maria :white beanie in a pattern Maria has made up. Marjorie : very colourful socks Chris: 2 skeins 1, green Polwarth, 1 purple Alpaca. John :sporting a vest knitted by Chris a long time ago given to one of our
members to make into a toy but too good to cut up and it was just waiting
for the right person to come along to wear it.
Made in America with Norwegian, German, Polish, and Irish DNA! I enjoy knitting, crochet, yarn dyeing, cross stitch, bullet journaling, books, baking, cooking, cats, dogs, dirt track racing, sprint cars, 101, NASCAR, MTJ19, and the color purple!