The art of alpacas

ron doley wheel alpaca fleeceWhen 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.


Colour your life

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.

Show and tell

show and tell July 15th

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

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.

Resistance is useless

hamster praying

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.

Doing your own thing

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.

Beanies to berets expo

berets to beanie stall

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.

Inwood Smith electric spinner

inwood smith spinnerJan 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.

Show and tell

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.

Dress up your feet

Marina has just learned how to weave round shoe/boot laces and don’t they look great in her boots? She also met Michael up at the Adelaide Hills  Spinning and Weaving group and he had a vintage sock maker which he uses so she bought a pair for herself and her husband , Peter. Hers are featured in the picture with her bootlaces. Alexis informed us that Geelong Wool Museum has a working vintage sock maker. Pretty sure many of us would like a sock maker!! Weaving laces then would be the thing. It requires time and patience to acquire the skill. How impressive would our feet look, though?

Berets to Beanies Exhibition

We had fun at the Beanies to Berets Textile Expo today at Port Noarlunga Arts Centre. This won’t be the only post. Monday will probably bring us more photos! The venue was suited to our needs and it had a good atmosphere. Stall holders and the general public were all interacting comfortably and happily. We’d like to thank Marjorie and Hilary (featured) for setting our stall up so well and for quietly keeping it all under control. We were not short of helpers and the extra bonus was pop ins from club members who couldn’t spend long with us but who came down to lend their support to us and the event. It had a positive community feel about it. The stall holders were all pleased to interact with each other and learn from each other. So much positive encouragement and the visitors to the event were also glad to offer encouragement and praise. One constant comment we had in the morning was we had a good variety of nice things on our stall and they liked our colours. Hilary got the first sale with her fluoro fingerless gloves. They were irresistible.

We have a lot of talented textile people in our area. It is good to give them space and encouragement. People can get to know us, are happy to share ideas and thoughts about textiles and it then becomes a very creative exercise. So much serious learning went on along with the looking and shopping.

Colour your life


Margaret used a  crochet medallion pattern from  a Better Homes and Gardens blanket pattern to make a really colourful and well thought out beret. It looks stylish and cheerful . Such a good idea to find yourself creating your own thing from something you see in a magazine.

There are some nice crochet beret patterns on theSpruceCrafts.

Marjorie knitted some very colourful but seriously functional fingerless gloves. They are designed for bowling. The palm of your hand and fingers are uncovered but the back of your hand is protected from the sun. In Australia this is important. Our sun can be very hot and if you are outside bowling you have to protect your skin properly.

There are some nice fingerless gloves patterns on AllFreeKnitting

Keep calm and knit

knitted stress ballMarina knitted a stress ball. It was quick, easy, colourful and fun. She was using up weaving wool oddments and then  she filled it with the bits and pieces of yarn you always get from yarn arts and crafts. Stuffing toys and balls is a good way to use those tiddly bits. Stitchandundwind has some good stress free patterns including one for stressball buddies. You always need patterns which are short term , quick reward to boost morale when you just want to easily make something.


The You Tube clip will guide you through making a knitted ball:

Show and tell

Show and tell 1st July

Alexis brought in several colourful plaits for the stall but most of them got snapped up by some of the members present today leaving one beautiful red plait…which sold too!
Marina: crocheted  cap made from the left over fibre from Peter’s shepherd coat, a scarf from the same material in progress, a sleeveless vest in a rib pattern multicolour & a multi-coloured stress ball.
Peter: a set of woven hand towels, in rust colour fibre.
Marjorie :a pair of fingerless mittens with no palms and loops for fingers brightly coloured stripes.
Cathy: a ball of spun wool in green/pale yellow (pomegranate dye) & a beanie in natural brown & white spun wool.
Margaret :a beret in bright aqua,blue,yellow,lime green,green, red with a white centre.
Peter is almost finished his weaving,
John is busy weaving boot laces as well as Marina who is weaving round boot laces.

We are famous!

Marjorie, our President, Hilary , our secretary ,and Maria, our beloved , skilful, treasured senior member have been helping to promote textile arts and crafts in our southern area because the Beanies to Berets Exhibition is on this coming weekend at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre. There are some real textile skills and artists in our area so we need to make them more visible. Hilary and Marjorie did an interview on an Adelaide radio station to help promote the event and then Maria, Hilary and Marjorie have been in the local press in the Southern Times on p. 9 and the Adelaide Advertiser  last Friday helping to make the community realise we are there and yes, we love our yarn arts and crafts. We shall be running a stall at the exhibition on Saturday and some of us will be displaying beanies and berets in the exhibition. We are looking forward to it. Other members have other yarn things to do on Saturday as well. It is a busy time of year.

Revamping old wool

We have all been there. We have bits of roving and slightly felted fleece which we’ve dyed and we want to use it . It can be fully felted and made into something new. It can also be carded and reworked so that it makes a stunning wool batt. You have random colours and so you have a colour challenge and colour surprises all at once. You can always add silk or sparkle to liven it all up if that suits your purposes. It’s a nice challenge, especially for a day when you are stuck indoors because of the weather. Your stash is revitalised and the ideas will come. 🙂

What are we spinning?


We had some lovely colours this week and these aren’t all of them. We sit and spin or knit or crochet or look at patterns and ideas and we are surrounded by gorgeous colours. Each colour has its appeal and influences your thinking. Top left there was the not quite toffee, not quite apricot which was blended with cream. It will look different again when it is plied, but how evenly and finely is that being spun?Bottom right is a bold purple but what will it be plied with we wonder? Top left is purple plied with a lavender colour but there are gradations on that purple spectrum which catch the eye. The other two are beautiful natural coloured fleece. Will they be plied with the same colour or something  else. The natural colour is restful. Bottom left is Cindy’s basket of carefully combed fleece. She is back to spinning after a very long break and so is easing into it. The soothing colour of the natural fleece and the combing are all relaxing and it’s a nice way to return to something she obviously enjoyed.

Natural dyes

Originally all our dyes were plant based and people had the skills and expertise to know how to make natural dyes which produced vibrant colours for clothing and furnishing. There is artist in Wales, Catherine Lewis, and  you can see how she is contributing to the revival of using native plant dyes which are Welsh:

The Japanese are also reviving their historical knowledge of plant dyes and one of the prime movers behind that is Sachio Yoshioka. The colours he obtains are very striking. The process is careful and methodical and creates a slow living approach because you cannot hurry good plant dyes.

Waste not, want not

We had some lovely oddments projects this week. Part of what we naturally do as a club is ensure nothing we do goes to waste and hoping we keep on top of our stash! Often there are left overs from projects and it’s good to see how people in our group are inspired by the colour creativity of oddments projects.

Cathy made a beanie from her home spun English Leicester. The band is leftover camel hair and silk. The butterscotch colour is actually avocado dyed fleece. The dark stripe is alpaca fleece and the yellow is merino tops. Autumn colours with a nice fluffy pompom.

Janette made a beautiful shawl which doubles as a knee rug. She has used a hair ornament as a clip for the shawl. What a great idea. The colours are cheering for a cold winter’s day and the shawl would keep you lovely and warm.

Alexis has made a beautiful jumper from her oddments. How many colours are in this jumper? It is vibrant . The jumper is soft but would keep the icy cold weather at bay . The colour therapy would be sure to chase away winter blues.


Show and tell

show and tell 24th JuneIt was a frosty 3 degrees in Adelaide this morning and 6 degrees when we started our meeting. By lunch time it was 9 degrees. Alexis was wondering why she had spent the day looking at her beautifully knitted jumper on the show and tell table instead of wearing it to keep warm! It looked beautiful on. So colourful and cheerful like our day. The cold had not dampened our spirits or capacity to share some really good ideas. Our time together was wonderfully woolly and warm.

Show and tell 

Janette : a knitted shawl or knee rug made of left over coloured spun wool.
Alexis : a jumper knitted in left over spun wool very colourful stripes.
Cathy: a beanie in various brown stripes and a fluffy pompom.
Marina: a peeked cap in brown.
John finished woven scarf in red.
Margaret crocheted beanie with matching fingerless gloves in several shades of blue.

The fabric of life

Peter has discovered that weaving has opened up his artistic and creative side. He loves the mental challenge of it and he has learned how to operate his heddle loom really quickly and to a high standard. He is passionate about weaving! His wife , Marina, has a lot of spinning, knitting and crochet skills  and so together they can now be very inventive and creative. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings their his story this week.

A potted history of Marina and Peter


77 year old man learns the art of weaving


As I sit in the  ‘French ‘ corner of Peter and Marina’s home , with the rain falling benignly on the roof, I can best describe it  all as a poem of love, art and creativity. They call their home a workshop. How Peter and Marina met is a story in itself. Both were born in Germany and now here they are in Adelaide after half a lifetime of adventures and misadventures.

Peter says: ‘I describe myself as a man with 2 left hands and Marina as a gal with 2 right hands! Over time, with a lot of patience from Marina I have developed my skills.

We heard about Ron Doley with his fixit skills. When repairing Marina’s grandmother’s spinning wheel to a workable condition, his advice to Marina was “don’t use this wheel, because I’m not offering to ever repair it again. It’s only good for firewood!’ So we keep it as a beautiful piece of furniture and history. But before this, we had found each other and were forming a twosome fostering our interests in craft and wool.

Moving on to their newest era; Peter says : we have made a significant discovery. In researching my family history I found that my great great grandfather’s brother  in Germany was a Master Weaver.  And Marina  knew that her  great grandmother in Germany was a weaver. No doubt both of our ancestors would have used their weaving skills as a source of income. When I found about this I was in the process of writing my memoirs. So when Marina asked me ‘Would you like to try weaving?’ my reply was ‘definitely not!’ I didn’t actually think that with my ‘two left hands’ I would be adept enough.  But then I got thinking, if my ancestor was a weaver perhaps, just perhaps I could be a weaver too.

Marina enticed me and Christine from Seaford Spinners and Weavers  encouraged me.  Christine told us about Bev Bills and her weaving class,    so we decided to go and see for ourselves. We loved what we saw.  Everything was so interesting. Bev took classes. She taught us with patience and skill.  Dear Christine got a loom organized and gave me a lot of instruction and re-assurance. We came by a large loom which was free for the taking. I said to Marina, ‘ all right, if we can fit it in the car we can take it.’ We squeezed it in with centimetres to spare!

Then a very timely thing happened. John who is an expert and experienced weaver joined up at Seaford Spinners and Weavers. He is my mentor, there each week with his loom, ready to give me help and advice.  I’m now forging ahead with my own projects, thanks to my wife and Christine, John,  and Ron Doley.

Onward and upward you two! Marina’s weekly output of ingenious projects is prodigious. We ask her ‘When do you find time to sleep? ‘Their story convinces me of that old proverb ‘No man (or woman) is an island.’ Our social connections, friendships and networks are beyond price.


Spinning the blues

We are never blue when we are spinning but it is always amazing to see the number of variations on blue that we have. We can buy blue to spin or dye our own. We never tire of blue, probably because we spin by the ocean and constantly have that view to inspire us. Working with fibre is healing and relaxing. You just want to get that lovely colour and spin.

Health benefits of yarncrafting

Mental Health Benefits of Slow Yarn


Keep warm

Two different looks by way of winter wear but both so warm and cosy! We loved them both for different reasons and we agreed they both had style. Alexis had spun the wool and knitted the beautiful ocean coloured jumper on the left. It is different and so beautifully made. The ocean colours are a good choice for winter. They are cheering without being overwhelming and this jumper could be dressed up or down and accessorised to give it a number of stylish looks. You could just put it on with jeans , though, and really feel like you are both warm and well dressed.

Marina knitted a zipper waistcoat in wool she had spun from dark fleece. The natural colour changes shades and adds visual interest. The cables are what makes this waistcoat attractive. It is soft, warm and very functional. She made a little scarf to go with it and then made a beaded pin to fasten it. It just looks lovely and has that country feel about it. Handspun wool is warmer than commercial wool and so it is well worth the effort to make garments like these.

Weaving wonders

Peter and John really keep us interested and delighted with all their different weaving patterns and projects. Their work just gets better and better and more and more intricate. This week they brought along different things to share. Using a heddle loom is very good brain and memory training and ultimately it is a rigorous discipline and then a creative joy because there is lots of puzzling involved. The bottom two pictures are what they are currently working on. John’s on the left has variegated colours and is very interesting visually. Peter has variegated colours too and his work is looking good. He has picked up his weaving skills quickly. Top left is John’s blanket and we all loved that. It was the colours and then how soft and blankety it was! The scarves are Peter’s. His wife , Marina, has learned how to make the twisted tassles on the middle one and she knitted pockets to match on the one on the left. We enjoy looking at their work and projects and cannot believe what they can produce by way of fabric.

Show and tell

show and tell June 17thIt may have been blustery and pouring with rain on Monday but inside the club we could watch the weather and the ocean but enjoy the warmth of all our colours and ideas. It was an inspiring , productive day for us. So many lovely things to look at on our show and tell table and the weaving we saw this week was just so impressive.

Jan1: 2 felted bowls made from 2 berets one red the other blue, 3 skeins pale pink plied with silk, dark pink & variegated aqua/purple.
Marina : a small scarf with beads on a long pin to go with a sleeveless vest in dark brown with cable pattern inserts, 2 woven scarves -grey one with knitted pockets at the end, one red with a grey fringe.
Chris :crocheted jumper in natural dark brown & a crocheted beanie in blue mohair which Chris finished that afternoon.
Wendy : a Fair Isle beanies in dark pink with white Fair Isle design.
Cathy : a multi coloured crocheted beanie & a small one in pale aqua/white with flowers &
pompoms, single rib beanie in dark brown alpaca plied with natural Corridale and coloured merino.
Alexis :a beautiful plain knitted man’s jumper in hand dyed wool green/blue tones.
John’s woven knee rug with stripes in black/blue/pink & yellow.
Peter’s & John’s work in progress:


Waste not, want not

We love using up our bits and left overs and we love coming up with different ideas for oddments. We do not like seeing anything go to waste and it is always a good creative adventure. This week Alexis was plying more of the spun wool she had made for her merino tops left overs. She is mixing in a very vibrant green which pulls all the other colours together but creates an interesting visual effect. Cathy had sat down with her bag of left over spun wool bits and started crocheting a hat. Free form crochet meant she could mix the colours in however she felt and it’s a nice, warm, woolly hat with an interesting texture.

Show and tell

show and tell table

Some interesting things on our table this week which were a bit out of the ordinary.

Alexis: a huge beautiful hand knitted & crocheted felted bag large enough for a whole fleece.
Janette: crocheted a knee rug from oddments of various colours.
Marina: a cable patterned beanie knitted sideways in wool/alpaca orange/brown tones.
Jan (1) :pale pink spun skein wool tops.
Wendy: a beautifully finely spun lacy scarf from the dying workshop in a pale mauve colour.
John’s finished woven table runner for his caravan table.
Jan (3):crocheted frills on the bottom of her ¾ shorts. Very effective.
John & Marina with John’s help warp up some inkle looms to make shoe laces.

warping inkle loom

Felted wonders

Alexis’ felted waistcoat created some good conversations about colour, felting technique and wearable felting. Alexis’ felted clothes are wearable because her felted fabric is soft and supple. The grey lining is the bottom of the felted piece. The waistcoat has silk in it as well. It is just lovely.

Janette’s blanket

Janette’s grandchildren are lucky. She makes them really nice blankets which are warm, a decent size, cosy and very cuddly. She knits them up really quickly after she has spun the wool. We loved the colours in this one because they represented the ocean we look at as we sit and spin. These are more the winter ocean colours. The blanket is spun from merino tops in colourways created by Bev Coulter and Kath Loman. Janette said these blankets work well as shawls too.

Clever things

There were some clever ideas this week. Margaret’s blue hat was made of three woven squares she had made and then she crocheted them together and crocheted the top of the hat. It is warm and soft and sits well on her head. Nice cosy warmth for winter.

Twirly scarfMarina made a twirly scarf from her home spun wool. It is so neat and concertinas into a small space so easy to store. It provides a bit of fun for an outfit because she put fluffy pom poms at each end but then it also provides that bit of warmth around the neck.

Show and tell

We were a very energetic, cheerful productive group today despite the wintery weather. Plenty of interesting things to looks at and be inspired by. Lots of lovely colours and some good texture.

show and tell 27may

weaving heddle loomCathy: a fair isle beanie cream/dark brown wool/alpaca/camel hair & silk.
Marina: beret & crochet spiral scarf with fluffy pompoms to match, beret with beads, small triangular scarf and beret to match.
Alexis: beautiful felted vest using some of the silk dress from last week’s item & a novelty shopping bag.
Karin: a pair of beautiful felted boots in Irish green with a flower button.
Janette: a knitted knee rug in wool various colour of blue & grey.
Hilary :2 beanies 1 silk/wool tops from Ashford, 1 bubble stitch wool in autumn colours.
John’s new table runner in progress green design on cream background.

The more Jans the merrier

textile toysJan 3 is our newest Jan. They are all talented and expert at what they do. Jan 3 is a cheerful, helpful person who has made it easy to get to know her as our newest Jan. We also like what she does. She is very lacy and so brings along crocheted lace, her beautifully knitted homespun lacy tops but she won all our hearts with the gorgeous alpaca she made for one of her grandchildren. She gives her toy animals a real personality. Sonya, our roving reporter , has brought us her story:

Jan  (Mark 3)

 Jan, who has recently joined Seaford Spinners and Weavers has awed us with her exquisite spider-web  fine work.  Where have you been all our collective life, Jan? 

My sister taught me  to spin, about 30 years ago.  She had learned to spin in New Zealand. (What better place, Jan!) For some years I was spinning. However when my life got really busy I gave up. Then when I retired I took it up and have been spinning again.

More recently Marina and I were introduced to each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  As a result of our meeting, here I am.  Nice work, Marina. Networking at its best!

I have been making crocheted squares since I was I was a child. Mum was a seamstress and very ‘crafty’. I also do tatting, which I learnt from the internet !!!

 Jan, you must be the first person on the planet, to have mastered tatting by internet.

I  make safety eyes for toy animals and such, with resin. I have a love-affair with making toys. These eyes  are completely childsafe. I also do needlepoint tapestry. At the moment I’m spinning alpaca, to make an alpaca stool.

I love being here, seeing what people are making and of course I enjoy the social atmosphere. And I’m not far from home, here in Noarlunga. I grew up right near to the Noarlunga School. So I’m a local yokel. And aren’t we pleased you haven’t strayed far from your neighbourhood!

Felted collar

Talk about panache and environmentally friendly to boot! Natural fibres and upcycling have contributed to this spectacular felted collar by Alexis. She had a silk skirt she didn’t want to wear any more. Add fine merino tops, wet felting and voilà – a very chic collar which would dress up any outfit and add some real style. The colours really stand out and are what define this collar, but it’s the intricate designs from the silk , blended in with the felting which make this project so interesting and just so classy. We loved it.

Show and tell

We had a lovely time on Monday because there were so many good things to look at which members had made but there were also things underway which wee inspiring. The use of colour was the best thing.

Marina has crocheted a very long scarf in black/red & white mixed fibres.
Marjorie has crocheted some tops to the felted boots Alexis made, knitted beanie in red/pink wool.
Alexis felted collar made from a silk dress with fine wool tops main colour green.
Cathy a knitted beret for John who supplied the fibres for it, a ball of spun alpaca from some of Alexis dyed fleece plied with hand dyed wool.
Kathy ,our very new spinner, has produced a ball of spun 2ply wool which is excellent.
Maria has finished her baby/lap blanket in Tunisian crochet in small very colourful squares.
Jan(1) has knitted a charity beanie in wine coloured acrylic.
Peter is busy weaving another scarf for him this time.
John has just about finished the strap for his latest bag.


Ten stitch blanket

Margaret has her ten stitch blanket well under control. Margaret likes to experiment with colour and technique. With the ten stitch blanket it’s about technique. Her first way of doing the sides produced a double colour seam. She is now trying another way where you just get a single colour. She has found that she knits that a bit loosely for her liking and will now look at how she can adjust what she is doing so it is tighter. It looks very neat, though . Her blanket is nice and soft and very pliable. The yarn determines how these blankets feel. Hers is all cuddly.

Weaving wonders

We had some nice weaving to look at again this week . John’s woven bag to the left will soon be finished. His red and white American colonial table runner is really impressive and we all loved it. Visually it is a very effective pattern. Peter has started weaving something with tee shirt strips and it looks really lovely and is so soft. Would make a nice mat or bag. Upcycling T Shirts is a great idea for weaving…and the planet. 

Entrelac Tunisian crochet

Entrelac Tnisian crochet blanketWe showed you Maria’s entrelac Tunisian crochet baby blanket and the post has information as to how to do it. This week she had it with her and she has nearly finished it. It is neat and colourful and not too heavy for a little baby and just right for a toddler. It’s a really good oddments project but would be just as effective in spun wool or colours you choose to buy. The advantage is you are just using a normal sized crochet hook so it is an easy carry project.

Visual effects with fibre

How you use colour and yarn will make a difference. Yarns look different when you utilise different techniques to create a project. A colourway will look quite different if it is felted or woven from how it will look if it is knitted or crocheted. It pays to build your skills. It increases your choices in how you can manipulate visual effects as you are working. Marina’s husband, Peter, had carded her some wool batts which she spun. He wove a scarf with pockets for her and she knitted a beanie with the very same wool. It looks quite different  visually in its impact . The two  techniques have favoured different emphasis on colour. Pays to experiment!

Colourful socks

knitted socksOne pair of Margaret’s socks was made from the woodland colourway yarn she bought up at Littlehampton when we went there for Equipment Day in November last year. The other three pairs are made from three different yarns because she didn’t have enough of each to make one pair of socks. Did it matter ? Not at all. It became an oddments challenge where she had to think about which yarn to put where on her socks and which colours would go well together. We loved all these socks. They were colourful, cheerful, beautifully made and just the very thing to keep you warm on a cold day. You cannot beat knitted socks.

Show and tell

show and tell 13th MaySo many beautiful things this week. So much colour, skill and inspiration. Enjoy!

Alexis brought in a lovely selection of dyed tops for us to admire and buy.

Christine finished her large kit blanket  which was so very spectacular and colourful.

Jan 1 shared 2 skeins of spun wool/silk, 1 turquoise, 1 blue.

Hilary Beret with icord top with flower beads in dark red.

Marina 2 beanies 1 crocheted in dark purple decorated with 3 fancy buttons, & a beanie to match Peter’s scarf he has woven for her.

Peter woven scarf to match his shepherd’s coat

Jan 3, a piece of lacy crochet suitable as an edging in ecru.

Margaret’s several pairs of socks she has been knitting over the last few weeks,

John finished piece of weaving for a bag, and his finished beautiful table runner.

Cathy had a piece of tatting she made when she was a teenager under a neighbour’s tutelage.

John  also brought in some of his beautiful beading, necklaces and a tapestry.

wool tops



Waste not, want not

We like our leftovers and oddments. We enjoy finding ways to use them and combine them. Our “bits” often provide us with a creative challenge and they always involve us with colour. Alexis was using up all the merino tops bits she had left over from spinning and dyeing. She had carded them into richly coloured , interesting wool batts. The phone image doesn’t do the colours justice. The next part of the creative adventure is spinning the colours and then seeing how different it all looks. The finished wool will then look different again depending upon what other colours you combine it with and whether you crochet, knit, felt or weave it. The oddments always provide a challenge which makes you think and use all your skills.

Beanies to berets exhibition at textile expo

beanies_to_beretsImage : Onkaparinga city

This exhibition and expo is held in Port Noarlunga, one of the lovely beach areas south of Adelaide. The 2019 Beanies to Berets exhibition will run from 5 July 2019 – 29 July 2019. The Textile Expo is to be held on Saturday 6 July 2019, 10am – 4pm and fleece will be available there too. Details are on the Onkaparinga council website. It is an opportunity to create and celebrate wearable headwear and for stall holders to have an opportunity to sell their textile based products.


Eastern Tile Blanket

Eastern Tile BlanketChristine has sent through a picture of the Eastern Tile blanket which she has been working on. We are going to be so excited to see this in real like. It is just superb and the amount of patience and work in this is obvious. Beautiful colours and a stunning blanket. It was a kit pattern and so worth doing.

Crescent scarf

Sonya is knitting a lovely crescent scarf which has nice spring colours. It won’t  particulalry be for the really cold winter days but it will be a nice it to wear to keep warm on those early spring days where the weather can be a bit brisk. Crescent scarves can be made to any size and become shawls if you want them to be that big. It is worth mastering the technique if you want something where you can vary your project according to your needs.

There are two nice crescent patterns on Ravelry worth having a look at :

The Easy Garter Stitch Crescent Shawl  by Shirle Bedient and Terribly Simple versatile crescent shawl/scarf by Caitlin ffrench


Anti bullying initiatives

beanies not meaniesThere are two anti bullying beanie initiatives which we are aware of. Lion Brand yarns has the #hatnothate programme going where the beanies are predominantly blue and you can follow the hashtag on Instagram and see some really great beanies. In Australia we have the purple beanies for the #beaniesnotmeanies programme . Both programmes are designed to promote friendlier, balanced relationships between people, to bring an awareness  as to what bullying is and to help stamp it out. You can find out about both the programmes on these links and get free patterns to help get you started:



Breathing space

wool and alpacaWe are out of our usual venue for a couple of weeks while upgrades go on. The bowling club has kindly taken us in and it’s a very relaxing space for us all. Some of us were spinning. Others brought along knitting or crocheting, or,  as in Sheila’s case, a  big bag of stuff to sort. We appear to have allowed ourselves an opportunity to breathe a bit and organise our ideas and approach in this time away from our usual club rooms. It’s like a creative holiday.

Sheila had a big bag of cakes and skeins pf yarn which she had spun and dyed. She spent her time sorting through it to see what she had and we got a chance to look at some lovely spun wool and alpaca. There were nice natural and dyed colours.

Our lives get get overly busy at times and it is important to take your time to look through your stash and yarns so you can go forward more confidently. Life is life and it can take over and then you can find yourself with stuff and half finished things and not know which way to go. To free yourself up you have to take a leaf out of Sheila’s book. She has been really bsuy but she is the first one to tell you that creativity cannot be hurried . She will also tell you to take your time and enjoy what you are doing. She used our group time to look through what she had done and sort it out. She would have got ideas from others and would have been thinking out her own ideas as well. We work together in a very connected way. Her plan is to make beanies. You cannot think that out unless you know what your stash looks like and you have a clear picture of what is available to you. First things first and forward is forward even if it does seem to be taking a while to get there.

Entrelac Tunisian crochet

entrelac Tunisian crochetMaria is always teaching us something. She has so many skills and such experience she can always guide us in a very positive way. So many of us have got going with our 10 stitch knitted blanket which Karin taught us last year. Maria is watching us bring in our examples and she can see how we are progressing. Not everyone knits, though, and not everyone wants to go round and round and round and do those mitred corners you really have to master.

This week, Maria turned up with her 10 stitch blanket. She has taken this idea down a new path in our heads and creative imaginations. For a start you use a normal size crochet hook. For seconds it would be a great way to use up all those odd balls of yarn you have which might be beautifully spun wool but you don’t have enough to make one big thing. Maria’s blanket has started with one square and is built up more or less corner to corner. She is changing colours so she can make a clear distinction between the rows and squares. She wants her colours bold because this blanket is for a child. So she is teaching us to take an idea and grow it: look at all the options and take a tip out of Margaret’s book and change those colours so you can see your pattern changes more easily.

entrelacs.jpgEntrelac is used in paintings and sculptures and you will recognise the sort of patterns which are entrelacs. They are interwoven, often things like leaves and vines and the pattern constantly intertwines with its elements.

The video shows you how to make a Tunisian crochet entrelac scarf.

Show and tell


We were at the bowling club today as our usual seaside venue works through its upgrades. We were welcomed and well looked after and it was a big, airy venue. It was nice to be sitting at big , round tables. We had plenty of space to spread out! We were also able to welcome a new member , Kathy, who did very well on her spinning today. We kept it simple because of the venue change but it was a hugely productive and creative day for everyone and we shared so many ideas.

Janette brought in some good reads for anyone who wanted to take them home. 

Jan 1 brought in 2 spun skeins both with silk in them – one in orange and one in bluey-purple.

John has just about finished his red and white table runner in an American colonial pattern but it is still on the loom. 

Peter is weaving a lovely scarf for Marina from wool batts he carded and she spun. 

Sonya’s quinces ,fresh basil and long chillies were welcome.


So many hats

We never get sick of making hats and we never tire of looking at them. Now the weather is cooler the hats are coming out again. We see so many hats but each one has a style and personality so it is always fun to see them. In our opinion there can never be too many hats. You need them for different moods, weather conditions and jsut to cheer you up. We have differnt beanie fests which come up at this time of the year too so we like to make hats for those and some of the group make hats for charity as well. We like to support those groups who ask for hats for people who need them. This week’s hats were no exception. It was good to look at them and each one had a different appeal.