Caloundra spinners

BagHilary is currently on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland at Caloundra. She went to meet the local spinners there.  She says they meet in a lovely purpose built building for all types of crafts and even have their own area for dyeing . On the day the group was only a few members present as , like ours , some of their members are away.



spun woolHilary has sent us some show and tell from the group  of the things they are doing. She  managed to finish the batt  she  had started  here before she left. She found their patterns interesting.


What strikes you about the pictures is they use different colours. Ours are very much influenced by the seasons and our environment. Wonder if it is the same there? It is really good to see what other spinning groups are doing and there is always a natural connection between yarn people. We have always enjoyed the company of those who have occasionally dropped in from interstate.caloundra

spun wool



Show and tell

homespun wool and alpaca
Homespun wool and alpaca – Janette

There were some very special pieces there this week. Alexis helped us learn more about silk . There were some good discussions about how you make things look better and more original by using colour and texture.






show and tell 16th July

Show and tell

Anne has finished knitting her cardigan from the homespun wool she has made since she joined our group. We loved the black alpaca plied with the blue merino wool.

Cathy shared the two blocks which she is making for her homespun blanket from Susie Horn’s bag of bits, naturally dyed Border Leicester X ,Marie’s Pfeiffers dark FinnX fleece and the wool batts she made at the carding workshop.

Alexis shared two beautiful felted hats made from one piece of felt and then sewn into the hats complete with silk lining. They are from Tasar silk and wool. We particularly liked the colours and borders.

Janette shared a cake of homespun wool and alpaca in soft greens ,light browns, pale orange and yellow.

show and tell July 16th


Using silk

A number of people in our group use silk. Some use it to put sheen and shimmer in felting. Some use it it add to wool batts to give them a visual lift and some spin silk and ply it with other things. Silk gives a luxury look and a beautiful visual highlight. Alan uses mulberry silk. Cathy uses banana fibre silk. Others use sari silk. There are all sorts of silks available. It pays to use the ones you can find to see what effects you can get. Craftsy gives some good tips for spinning silk.

Benefits of blogging

One of the real benefits of running a group blog is that members of the group can still belong and participate whether they are physically attending the group or not. In our group different people go off for different reasons and so the blog keeps them in touch with us and what we are doing in their absence. We can also stay in touch with them. It’s good to hear from our members. Marina and her husband Peter are currently in New South Wales and Marina has sent us some show and tell for us to see.

sheep shearingOn the way over to NSW  outside Hay they stopped for a meal and found this wonderful photo of our sheep shearing history.





Turkish drop spindleChristine had been helping Marina get better at drop spinning on her new Turkish spindle so she has taken that with her because it was easy to pack and didn’t take up much room. She’s getting in some practice.

Marina's shrug







Marina likes making shrugs. She has knitted a blue one with pink and turquoise highlights and it looks really good.

Homespun knitted hat

Her knitted hat took 100gms of hand spun wool , an hour and ten minutes and size ten needles. A really effective quick knit!


Spinning cotton


cotton for spinningA while back, Hilary brought in a big bag of cotton she had got at one of the open days which have been occurring for different spinning groups in South Australia. Lettie took on the painstaking job of sorting it into even piles so anyone who wanted to purchase some of this cotton at rock bottom prices could do so. Hilary had thought of us while she was out and was simply looking to recoup her costs. It’s a nice feature of our club that we bring things in that other members can benefit from. One of the best gifts is always something which will help people learn. A number of us had never spun cotton. It’s not that easy to get. Some of us wanted the cotton for other things , like Sheila was thinking it might suit her little pots. We could buy an appropriate amount for testing and trying out. Experience is a great teacher . It is going to be good to see what people actually do with their cotton. The video gives some really good tips for spinning cotton.  There are also some clear instructions and patterns on spinning daily.

Fingerless gloves

We’ve decided there can never be enough fingerless gloves in winter. The ideas just keep coming and there is no end to the variety of fingerless gloves we can create. We value them so much we want to create the nicest and most stylish fingerless gloves ever. They are rewarding small projects, use up oddments, offer an opportunity to try out new yarn, yarn combinations and stitches. On top of that , they keep our busy hands warm without hampering our productivity.

fingerless glovesMaria made Margaret a pair of fingerless gloves from dark blue homespun wool. She has then used colourful scraps of other wool to make a pattern. Maria , though, has a refined sense of visual appeal and a good sense of humour. When you roll the gloves together the little ends she has left on the inside  stick out and make the gloves look like sea creatures. It’s a great visual effect from someone who thinks of the visual details in anything she creates.

ribbed fingerless glovesMargaret is knitting some lovely blue double rib gloves from a graph pattern and the slant on the rib gives them a snug and very stylish fit. She is using acrylic to practice the pattern to see how it all looks but it makes these gloves easy care and machine washable.







fingerelss gloveMargaret is also upcycling some yarn she had used to make something else but the moths had got to it and so she has unpicked that project and is reusing the good yarn to make some lovely, colourful knitted fingerless gloves. Fine yarn makes fingerless gloves have a different look from the thicker yarns. They also fit more closely on your hand and provide the warmth without any encumbrance.

There is a nice free pattern by Kathy North for double rib fingerless gloves on Ravelry .

Mother and baby beanies

mother beanie.jpg
Mother beanie

Maria has a really nice way of doing things. Mother and baby hats are not new but Maria’s little dog hats for mother and baby are heart melting. Maria allows herself to let go and just create. She’s take and idea and give it a new twist with a sense of gentle fun. Her beanies  are made from her home spun wool and that is what makes a real difference. Gift of the heart. The colours are gentle and charming. They make you think of a winter’s day with snow and that winter sky but there is a real cosiness about them and a warmth you can see because of the little dogs. It is just brilliant the baby hat has teenie dogs on it.

baby beanie
Baby beanie with puppies

There is a pattern for mother and baby beanies on allfreeknitting. There are some nice little graph patterns for animals which you could knit into a hat on Pinterest.

Fingerless gloves

pink fingerless glovesYes! We are still making them and they are becoming even more interesting and inventive. Our mission is to make the most eye catching fingerless gloves this winter , apparently , and it is informative, inspiring and fun. We can’t live without our fingerless gloves. We need good movement in our fingers and we need warm hands so they are perfect. They can use up oddments and they can make us think very creatively. Pam has been knitting two pairs at the moment. Her first is dappled pinks and the look and feel of them are like homespun yarn even though they are commercial yarn. She has made them for a friend on a farm who needs to keep her hands stylishly warm. We loved them.

magic marvel fingerless glovesPam has also been using Spotlight’s Marvel Magic yarn to make a pair of faux Fair Isle fingerless gloves. All the fun and colour of Fair Isle without having to work out  the patterns. Pam has high level skills. She can knit and crochet what she wants. Sometimes , though, you just want to look good without the effort. Pam also is very keen to try anything which comes out commercially to road test its capabilities. She knows a lot about things which are available in our stores because experience is a great teacher and her knowledge bank is invaluable. We loved the bright, cheerful look of these fingerless gloves. They are very eye catching and enough to dispel the blues on a cold winter’s day.

Show and tell

show and tell July 9th

It was so cold this week . It was cheering to see all these beautiful things.

Alexis brought along some dyed plaits , some of which had been especially requested. She explained how she got the colours.

Alexis shared a pink silk felted jacket which she had purchased at the craft fair at Port Noarlunga. It was a made by a lady called Jill from Victor Harbour. It is silk on the outside , hot pink on the inside and really very attractive.

Alexis also brought along an emerald green cape she had made from wool which had silk through it because we had been talking about how to use silk last week. The buttons on it she had purchased .

Pam shared a pair of pink mittens made from commercial wool which actually had the look at feel of homespun wool.

So much colour therapy this week.

Woollie Wonders

projects june 2018There  were so many projects to take  in last week. Wendy was knitting a beautiful beret in lovely , squishy oatmeal coloured wool. Alan was spinning mulberry silk which he’ll ply with alpaca. Maria had finished and was wearing her loved striped Opal wool gloves where the yarn is designed to make the pattern as you knit. Hilary was racing to finish knitting her lovely natural brown alpaca fleece fingerless gloves which were so soft and looked nice. So much went on last week. Alexis brought in a big tub of dyed wool batts in gorgeous colours which kept calling out to us. Her colourways and colour choices are always striking and make you want to think creatively.

Woven pots

woven potsWe never know what Sheila is going to come up with next with her woven pots. This week there was a purple one with feathers and the bottom of it was so well thought out and looked like there was a mouth there. It’s a transformer pot!! At any magical moment it is going to turn into one of our purple emu outback buddies. These woven pots have been  very popular on Instagram and probably because they appeal to the imagination…

pot bottoms


Creating a reef

coral woolThe left of the room was into recreating an ocean reef  for us with its colours. Alexis had all the stunning colours of coral next to her electronic spinner and as she spun them she was changing the seascape. Rich corals, sunlit corals and dark corals. It was extraordinary how the colours changed as she spun.

spun coral colours


colourful blanketKarin had her wool minder, which we were sure was going to start walking and talking to us , and had the bright, brilliant colours of tropical fish in her  crochet blanket.

Janette was was busy spinning the seashore …the sand, the rocks, the cliff face. Her spun wool reflected the colours you see as you walk along the shore and seafront. Janette is very good at recreating yarn which makes you think of places in nature.

Colour is everything. It brings out memories, ideas, moods. The psychological properties of colours are well documented. We are lucky to do colour therapy every week. seashore wool

Merino jumper

merino jumperMeryl has knitted a beautiful jumper from Bendigo Woollen Mills wool batts with silk in it. The colour is a deep rosé with darker flecks and the silk. It has a richer colour than the photo suggests.  It is so soft and the knitting is incredibly even. The pattern itself is interesting because it gives the jumper a bit of a formal look and so it’s a jumper which could be used for a business occasion. With the right scarf and jacket it would be a perfect formal jumper. it would go just as well with more casual clothes too for a classic country look. Meryl spun all the wool and then knitted it. These things take time but are so worth the effort! The new owner will have a beautiful classic knit to wear.

Alpaca shrug

alpaca shrugSheila was spinning the alpaca for her shrug for a long time. She then was crocheting it and that took a long time too. As she says, you can’t rush creativity. Sheila is like t he rest of us , though. We have big projects on the go but we like to do other things as well because it keeps you fresh and interested. We loved Sheila’s shrug when we first saw it a while ago. It was a big achievement to get it finished . It is soft, warm, drapes well and perfect for changeable weather where you need layers. It’s just beautiful and we loved how it looked.

sheila's shrug1

Show and tell

show and tell 2nd JulyIf the table was looking quiet it was because we have made so many beanies, berets, hats and mittens. There have been beanie festivals and exhibitions, open days and the cold weather to think about. We are also involved in big projects like blankets, shrugs and pullovers which take time. There is no sense of anything standing still because our attention to process and colour has been highlighted lately and we are all busy….and cold!

Beth brought along a Schacht drop spindle , also a large silk batt suitable for filling a silk quilt. It will be interesting to see what Beth makes with it. We had fun talking about that silk and how much there was and what you could do with it.  

Cathy 2 balls of spun  wool, 1 dyed with onion & avocado skins the colour of burnt orange, the other a mixture of dark browns & orange.

The good news is we have opted to participate in Odd Socks Day in October:

The members had a lively discussion about the Odd Sock Charity. Just in case there is any confusion ,or to confuse you even more, you don’t have to wear odd socks on the day but you can if you want to. The members were asked to make something that involves our craft to donate for the silent auction to be held on the 8th October 2018. The money raised from the auction we will donate to the charity. Alexis has volunteered to organise the whole auction and will explain the procedure nearer to the time.

Fine spinning


The advantage of having senior members in our group is that they know so much, have done so much and have some awesome skills . Luckily for us they share them freely and love to see that they can have a good impact on  our yarn passion. We are lucky we have some really good fine yarn spinners in the group because they encourage us to have a reason to spin finely and to persist.

fair isle mittensMargaret brought along these knitted mittens which she had entered in a country show a while back. They are so inspiring and impressive. The wool she spun for them is about a millimetre wide for the single ply and then she had plied two together and said it knitted up as a four ply wool. The colours give her mittens a bit of a medieval look and so they are very striking. The skills involved in these mittens are inspirational and we are so glad Margaret brought these along to share at our meeting. The wind was very cold today so her hands were stylishly warm!fair isle pattern

Woollie wonders

our projectsWe were all busy last week with our projects. It’s winter. It’s a good time to bring out all those woollie ideas and to give them life. Christine was knitting some straight needle socks from a book of patterns. She was using some lovely hand spun alpaca which was so soft and had good colours. There’s a free pattern for some straight needle socks on Holy’s Stuff.  Bill was spinning alpaca fleece and that was incredibly soft. Maybe destined to be socks or a woven scarf? Hilary’s bright wool batt she’d carded was very eye catching and certainly was in stark contrast to the winter colours we had outside. It was good to see something so cheerful and colourful. Pam was knitting Christmas Wristlets in beautiful pinks. They are going to look good. There are plenty of wristlet patterns  on Pinterest.

Creativity can’t be rushed.

woven potsSheila is quite clear about the fact that creativity can’t be rushed. It’s an almost mystical, meditative process whereby you follow a journey and arrive at the energy output of implementing your ideas. There is a lot of thinking, musing, considering and then there is the input from others for you to take in. As a group we love watching people create and we offer ideas as we think of them. We help each other think of all the angles and so anyone who is creating gets plenty of extra to add to their own thoughts. The creative process has four steps:


  1. Preparation
  2. Incubation
  3. Illumination
  4. Implementation

We come along with our things and ideas and incubate them during a session but it is often other people in the group who share our enthusiasm for what we are doing who will illuminate us and bring us to that moment when we know we have the perfect idea to implement and then it’s a hive of activity and hard work.

felted wall hangingBeth was looking at the felted pieces she has made and was using stitching to enhance what she had done. She wants to make a wall hanging and hers was a thoughtful, meditative process. She was unhurried and unperturbed. She was just allowing the ideas to develop and grow. It is going to be good to see how the wall hanging turns out, because with Beth, this could go anywhere special.

Sheila has been working on her pots. She has developed some great little bottoms for them along the way and others have engaged with her because they like what she is doing  and each finished pot has its own personality and colourway. woven pot bottoms

Red, red wine


Today’s song is brought to you by Jan and Alexis and the beautifully rich red wine colours they used to create their projects. The phone camera just could not do the colours justice. The iPad did better.

show and tell 25th June


Alexis had knitted two Shetland shawls from fine German wool. The colours were rich burgundy and claret and we just loved what she had done and her skill in producing these two shawls. One was about a metre square and the other was a round shawl. They were just superb and the colours were so attractive. As it happened , Jan  had felted one of her lovely brooches which complemented  the shawls really well. Her colours were more rosé and claret and the glittery centre set the colours off well. Rich winter colours. felted brooch

shetland shawls

Fingerless gloves


Fingereless gloves merino wool

We won’t be giving up fingerless gloves any time soon. It is freezing in Adelaide. We need  our fingerless gloves so we can keep working in the cold. Karin had dyed some of her hand spun merino wool at a dyeing workshop. She now has a lovely pair of soft gloves in opalescent colours.  Hilary’s fingerless gloves were fun and we loved the owl motif on the back. They , too, are hand spun wool and would delight any child and encourage them to keep their hands warm. Finger less gloves, as well as being practical , are a great way to use oddments and small amounts of wool. You can have so much fun with hem and practice new stitches if you want to. There are plenty of free patterns for you to try on tipnut.

fingereless gloves

Woven winter warmth


woven shrugAlexis was such a good sport. We wanted this photo because we loved her outfit and we loved that woven shrug/jacket. Alexis told us she had had it for a very long time. Living proof that wool is durable and sustainable and, if you know how to care for it, you have a classic garment or item forever.








Stirling ScotlandAlexis  had spun the wool and a lady in Stirling in Scotland had woven it for her. It’s beautiful and perfect for winter because it adds style and warmth. The draped look is very flattering and so you can wear something like this and not look like a Yeti because you are cold.

Show and tell

show and tell 25th June

Cathy 3 balls of spun wool 2 mixed colours in merino plied with Finn X, 1 dark brown FinnX from Michelle Pfeiffer.

Jan felted flower in dark red tones.

Alexis 2 beautiful shawls in commercial wool from Germany mainly red with multi- coloured high lights 1 square design & 1 round.

Hilary a pair of fingerless mittens with an owl motif & bright pink cuffs.


Field Mouse Slippers

Field Mouse slippersWe all loved the little mouse slippers Pam was making. They would make any child’s feet warm and cute. The Field Mouse Baby Booties is a free pattern by Olivia Kent on Ravelry.

Field Mouse Slippers

Colour your world

crochet necklace

It was so colourful this week at show and tell and the conversations generated were just as colourful. Hilary had found a lovely crochet neckless at one of the recent open days and we liked the ocean colours and the sheen on the yarn which was used. Alexis reminded us that it was all the rage to wear trendy crochet spiral earrings in the 70s and we all loved ourselves for looking so cool. The video is there if you want to learn how to crochet spirals and make crochet earrings. These days the spirals are generally used to make baby octopuses for  premature babies because that light touch of the twirls helps to sensitise them and makes them thrive.


colourful skeinMarjorie had spun a skein of Brenda Coulter’s colourway which Brenda though she hadn’t got quite right. Marjorie proved her wrong and we all loved the colour pop in this spun yarn. Looking forward to seeing what Marjorie creates with it.


dyed cottonHilary also had found some dyed cotton at one of the open days and she brought it along so we could purchase it at a small price. Some needed the cotton for their projects. Others had the opportunity of getting some cotton at a small cost so they could try spinning it before they made any kind of a major outlay on cotton. It’s not that easy to come by in Adelaide.

We love colour. It gives us ideas, makes us enthusiastic and helps us to think creatively.


Fingerless gloves

fingerelss glovesWe are fans of fingerless gloves. You can keep your hands warm but not hamper yourself in all the arty, crafty, yarny things you want to do. It is a good way to use up oddment wool too. Margaret had made a beautiful pair of crochet gloves in lovely colours and Cathy had used the wool she had dyed at the dyeing workshop to make herself a cheerful pink pair of gloves. Hilary had used handspun wool to make some lovely fingerless gloves in a soft blue-grey colour with a Scandinavian star on the back of each glove. We really liked the colours.  In colder climates you need longer cuffs to keep the cold off your fore arms. They don’t take long to make and are a great asset in the cooler weather. There is a knitted pair on video here.fingerless glovesfingerelss gloves

Felting fantasy

felted fairy houseBeth is a new member of our group who has brought some high level felting and creative skills with her. We love seeing what she has imagined and produced because her work is very imaginative as well as extremely well executed. Her fairy house would delight anyone and is very appealing. Her scarves and shawls are beautifully made. She likes to use silk to give that edge in the finish of anything she creates.

felted scarfquilted bag

The felted scarf with pearl buttons is beautifully made and would be warm and stylish. Sheila’s lovely quilted bag for her daughter fits in nicely behind another one of Beth’s scarves. The colours are carefully blended in so the effect really is that of fabric.

Pansy scarf


crochet pansiesMargaret is making a crochet scarf with pansies on it. The pansies look real and the colours she has chosen are so lovely.  The green she has chosen with the splashes of pansy colour is going to look really good. For your information, pansy comes from the French word pensée which means thought so pansies are pensées – thoughts. This scarf is going to lift any winter outfit. There are lots of YouTube videos of howto crochet different pansies . They are in different languages so if you can turn the sound off and watch if you don’t understand that language.

Show and tell

show and tell June 18

***A reminder that all the beanies and berets need to be handed in this Friday 22nd June to the Port Noarlunga Institute between 10am-4pm, and on Saturday 23rd June at the Guild Building Mile End between 2pm-3pm. It’s a good idea to take a copy of the registration form & also a photo of the beanies and berets you are sending in just for your own record.***

Show and Tell

Marina knitted a beanie in grey garter stitch pattern

Janette shared a homespun, knitted beanie and 2 books to give away

Marjorie had made a skein of spun wool from Brenda’s collection

Beth had felted silk scarf with beads, 3 felted collars with buttons & a silk square design and the other a random multi coloured pattern, & the 3rd one a white large wool felted square. She also shared a wool felted fairy houses & toad stools.

Karin shared awoven scarf made on the scarf loom in two tone browns stripes.

Cathy had knitted a pair of fingerless mittens made from dyed pink wool.

Sheila had made 3 small brightly coloured woven baskets & a beautiful patchwork bag as a present for her daughter.

Hilary had knitted a pair of fingerless mittens with a flower motif, a crotcheted necklace bought at the Milang Market, & some hand dyed cotton small rolags.


We do like to be beside the seaside

Christies Beach sailing clubWe like spinning there too and there is no doubt about it. The energy levels had a noticeable life yesterday because we were finally back with our ocean views where we could weather  and people watch as we were spinning. The sea air, the view and the sense of freedom make us feel very creative. We had fun and there was so much life and inspiration which you’ll see over coming posts.






electronic spinnerChristine was so excited to be back in the sailing club she colour co ordinated her dress (top left) to Alexis’ cascades of Pantone 2018 ultra violet  hand dyed wool batts. Then there was Alexis’ Pantone 2017 fresh green lunch box and her lovely Schiaparelli pink jumper. We were in fine form and the colour and productive conversations were uplifting. We did not stop talking.

Blog stats

Just a little look at the blog stats for May  and then our other accounts because it’s all good. The world likes Alan’s and Sheila’s weaving and Margaret’s sheep. There has also been a good ongoing reaction to our chicken challenge and to the fair isle and colourful things we produce. Marjorie’s soft coloured, one ply crochet blanket has been a winner too as have been socks! Instagram loves colourful socks so Karin’s Ice Yarn socks were very popular.

may postsThe sheep cushion was very well received and very popular. There is a continued interest in our oddments and upcycling projects. The chicken challenge has been a heart warmer and our hats are always welcome. Most of our posts do really well and get a positive response.

referrers may




The WordPress Reader continues to be of great support to our blog and we get interest and followers from there. We are increasingly being found via search engines and that is good news since it means we are becoming more independent and forging a reputation in our own right. We still have the same spread of countries and order of countries so nothing much has changed there. At least we are stable in that respect.

Twitter May18

Twitter doesn’t change much. Our posts generate a reasonable amount of views and we are slowly building a follower base. Woollie things are taking time on Twitter. The weaving was of most interest in recent times.

Instagram June 18

Instagram always has a warm, enthusiastic welcome for our things. It likes the colour and ideas. it has been loving our chickens and hats, but it values the gentler colours of things like Marjorie’s blanket too. Colour work is important on Instagram at the moment as are things like Hilary’s chicken which had such a strong personality. Instagram liked Janette’s chicken for that reason too but all our chickens have been popular and whatever we put up is valued. Weaving seems to be the thing at the moment so sharing woven items has been timely.

Our blog has nearly 4000 hits now and we have 127 followers so it is all positive and all things to make us happy. We are half way through June and it will be interesting to see how things change.

Fair Isle Friday

#fairislefriday is an Instagram hashtag which you can take a look at if you are on Instagram. You see some great things. Fair Isle is a bit more than   two colour work. There is a whole heritage which goes with it and traditional patterns. Fair Isle is a tiny island between Orkney and Shetland . The video shows you a Shetland knitter with her leather belt and how she goes about knitting Fair Isle pieces.

Hazel Tindall, who grew up in the Shetlands keeps her website up to date with Fair Isle patterns and information. You can find some simple Fair Isle patterns to play with on tricksyknitter.  There is a YouTube video  you can look at showing you how to knit a Fair Isle Tam/beanie/hat.


Woollie Wonders


Sometimes it is  good to look back at all the creativity , colour and class and just celebrate. This is a section of some of the things we have made recently.

A bit of weaving


woven scarfNot a bit, really. A lot. A lot of work and care goes into anything woven. Alan’s scarf has been woven on a scarf loom with hand spun, hand dyed wool and the colours and colourway are just so gentle and effective. Very natural looking and a good scarf to dress up an outfit when there is a bit of a cool breeze.



woven potsSheila’s little woven pots turned out so well. We blogged about them when she started making them and the finished product shows just how much time and effort when in to get a good finish.

The video shows you how to make a woven scarf without all the equipment. You just need a table, yarn and scissors. If you try it out you will see whether you like weaving or not if you haven’t tried it before.

The Australian Wool and Sheep Show


The Australian Wool and Sheep Show is on in Bendigo in Victoria 20th, 21st and 22nd July 2018. It’s one of the biggest fibre events in Australia. Some people call it Splendigo or Spendigo. There is plenty to see and do and there are plenty of gorgeous things on sale . The video by Fiberific will give you an idea of what you can see and then you can peruse the sheepshow website which gives you plenty of information about this year’s event.

Odd Socks Day


Odd socks dayIn Australia , Odd Socks Day is October 5th this year and it has been an ongoing initiative by GROW to raise money to help people fight the stigma surrounding mental illness so they get the help they need:

“It is estimated that the overall cost of unmanaged or mismanaged mental health in the Australian workplace is approximately $11billion a year.4 More than 6 million working days are lost per year as a result of one mental illness alone. For every $1 invested in mental health initiatives, there’s an average return on investment (ROI) of $2.30. And only around 35 per cent of affected Australians actively access services for mental health problems.

People with a mental illness want the same basic things as everyone else:

  • A home – somewhere decent to live
  • A job or something meaningful to do – a reason to get up in the morning
  • A life worth living – friends and loved ones to share with
  • To feel safe
  • Hope”


Other countries have Odd Socks Day to support things like anti-bullying campaigns or Downs Syndrome people. Odd socks is an easy way to fund raise because you just have to wear odd socks.

We had a little bit of an informal discussion about it the other week. We were wondering if we wanted to support it and how. We are positive towards fund raising initiatives and like to do our bit to help. The matter came up because we are very much socks people. We love our socks and we have some great sock knitters in the group. It was just appealing to us and something which would fit in with who we are. The post is here so we have the links if we want to follow it through for October. The resources for this year will be uploaded to the Odd Socks Day site soon.


Show and tell

show and tell 4th JuneWe survived another week away from our home base but he bowling club has been welcoming and helpful and not a bad place to be except their renovations make it a bit of a challenge. We are hoping we can be spinning by the sea at our next meeting on 18th June. The moving around has given us a fresh look at ourselves and each other and a chance to use our skills to meet the challenges placed before us. We have learned we are cohesive , co operative and flexible!

This week’s show and tell had some lovely items to admire and discuss:

Wendy shared a beautiful finely spun wool scarf in feather & fan pattern white with a stripe of pale blue & the triangle scarf with the frilled edges in Brenda’s autumn colour plait Navaho plied.

 Alan shared a long scarf made on the scarf loom from hand spun, hand dyed & hand woven in greens & reds multi colours & a needle felted face of a Scottish breed of cat.

Marjorie shared a skein of spun wool from one of Brenda’s plaits.

Sheila had made 2 small woven pots ideal for small items.

Hilary had knitted a beret in turquoise wool with a cable pattern crown.



Making rolags

Rolags can be made with hand carders or a blending board. You can card different colours and fibres to make custom yarns or you can just stick with the one fleece . Why use a rolag? In the end it makes it easier for you to spin well. Grace Shalom has some good tips for rolags. Christine, in our group,  can make rolags really quickly and efficiently and they always turn out well. Practice! It’s a skill. The more you do it , the better you will get and it is a good way to use hand carders and will encourage you to use them properly. Susan Jewell , in the video, goes through the process very methodically so you can pick it up.

We have hats

our hatsAdelaide winter started on 1st June and it has been getting progressively colder. Goes without saying we have thought more and more about hats. That and the Beanie Festival Beanie Festival in Alice Springs and the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre  beanie exhibition. 

Top left are Jan’es lovely berets. The colours are striking and we commented about how well made they were. Top right is Marjorie’s hat based on one of the hats from the film Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. Great colours and an interesting beanie. Bottom left are Hilary’s lovely , colourful hats. They were warm, squishy, cheerful and different. They looked so good. The other week Cathy had chopped 20cm off one of her jumpers and reknitted the band so it was a jumper she could now wear happily. She used the leftovers to make the fair isle beanie bottom right. Why waste yarn?

Make a shrug


blue rectangle shrugYou can make a shrug from any square or rectangle and Marina is getting really good at her crochet shrugs. She spun the wool for this one and it’s a colourway Alexis created and it’s just beautiful. It is warm, not too heavy, fits and sits well and we all liked it. Lion Brand has a free pattern for the Golden Honey Shrug and there are tips to complete a rectangular shrug here. Shrugs a lovely way to keep warm in winter.

Turkish spindle


Turkish spindle
Christine’s drop spinning

Christine never lets us forget our drop spinning. She is a great believer that it will help you master spinning on a wheel because you understand the process better. Drop spinning is also highly portable and very relaxing (when you get past the dropping it on the floor phase. )She’s been bringing along all her spindles but concentrating on her Turkish spindle just lately. Living proof that if you are doing something cool then curiosity will get the better of the onlookers and they will just want to have a go. Some of us are keen to get better at drop spinning so Christine’s conversational, patient lessons are really helpful to us and they get us enthusiastic. This week we were trying the Turkish spindles and then learning how to wind the yarn onto it to make it neat. Bill got good at it really quickly and could see the enjoyment.


Turkish spindle
Butterfly spindle made in Adelaide



Cathy found the butterfly spindle without the hook much better for her to do drop spinning than a regular drop spindle. Turkish spindles can be better balanced in your hands. Marina was excited because she knew she’d be able to take spinning with her on her upcoming road trip and so was trying to learn how to make her spun yarn look better.

One of our fleece suppliers in Meadows, Susie Horn , says you never stop learning when it comes to spinning and fleece. She is so right.

10 stitch knitted blanket

10 stitch blanketKarin brought along her 10 stitch blanket to knit. She is stash busting and allowing the blanket to grow intuitively and so the colours are added as she knits. It’s very neat, soft, squishy and looks good. The colours are all toning in well together.


10 stitch blanketHers is reversible so there is a ridge on one side and it’s flat on the other. YouTube has videos to show you how to do the mitred corners and how to knit it without the ridge. It is a great project for using oddments and produces a lovely blanket which has a stylish look. There’s a free pattern on Ravelry  by Frankie Brown.

Woven fibre basket

woven basketsSheila was doing clever things again in the spirit of our oddments projects. She had a basket full of fibre and bits she wanted to use and was spending her time looking at what would go with what and what effects she could get if she used them to make little baskets. Many of us joined in and looked through her stash of bits and bobs getting our own ideas. That’s how you do it. You get an idea, work on it and others will join in because they are curious. She had natural yarns and fibres and then sparky yarns and all sorts of colours and textures. It is painstaking work and Sheila enjoys that kind of challenge to her patience. She also enjoys looking at what she can achieve by upcycling and repurposing. Allowing yourself to be creative with a basket of bits is cfar more satisfying than stashing them in the cupboard. We all enjoyed watching what she was doing and we liked the look of the little baskets. The one she was making was for a friend but the others will go elsewhere. Instructables has a tutorial on how to make yarn baskets.

Show and tell

show and tell 28th May

We couldn’t really have Show and Tell this week because there was kitchen refurbishment going on at our temporary venue and even though we could spin and chat it was really hard to have a meeting. We did have Look and View around the lovely big table and lots of good conversations were had there. There was so much to admire and so many beautiful things.

Sheila had finished her lovely autumn colour frilly scarf.

Marjorie had made a beanie in the style of the one the actresses wore in the movie, Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. Also shared a book on carding & blending with her voucher from the Guild.

Jan had made 2 berets one in red, one in blue.

Cathy had knitted a Fair Isle beanie, and made the first crotcheted square of her blanket.

Marina  shared a jacket in blue moss stitch, a large thick red rug and a bag of dyed wool bought off the net.

Hilary had created 5 beanies of various colours and patterns.

Karin made a beautiful pair of socks in charcoal with a snowflake design around the cuff.

And our new member, Beth, shared  a stunning pair of  long felted boots in grey wool with deep rubber soles.

What a visual feast and inspiration it all was.

Purple patches

Ashford electric wheelThere were plenty of shades of purple at spinning last week. Hilary’s wheel was flying as she was spinning her lovely purply shades. Anne had filled another bobbin with her purple and lavender which she is plying with black to knit a cardigan. Christine toned in with her lavender dress and her purply red drop spinning. Purple and its shades is are rich colours which make you want to create. purple tops

Mobius cowl

mobius cowlMarjorie brought along her mobius cowl for show and tell this week. She had spun the wool so the colours are unusual and a really colour good combination. A mobius cowl sits nicely at the neckline and adds warmth and interest to an outfit. It can also fit over your head to protect you from wind and rain. Spun fleece has a certain amount of waterproofing capability which is good in winter weather.

There is a free pattern on Ravelry  for an Easy Mobius Cowl by Haley Waxberg and you could double the amount of stitches to make a longer one or you could use different sorts of yarn to get different effects. The main thing is to have a good , reliable classic pattern to start with.

Crochet peaked cap

crochet newsboy peaked cap

Marjorie knows how to make things so that they sit properly and fit properly. That is as much an art as a skill. This newsboy style peaked cap is made from her own spun wool and the thing which was interesting about this cap was no matter where she sat it on her head, it looked good and fitted properly. It’s a classic, stylish cap and the photo does not do it justice. We loved the natural colours of her spun wool.

The video gives you a peaked cap pattern to try. You can find more information about that pattern here on The Crochet Crowd site.

Celtic knot scarf


celtic knot loop scarfChristine had spun some white alpaca and then knitted it into a woven knot scarf which was both impressive and effective. It’s a very clever design. There is a free pattern on Ravelry for a Celtic knot looped scarf if you want to try it . It gives ideas of how you can use that technique to advantage. We have also included the video of a Celtic knot bracelet you can try if you prefer to crochet. You could also make it long enough to make a necklace.

Celebrating craftsmanship

skinny scarf in home spun wool
Lettie’s skinny scarf in her homespun wool

Or is that craftspersonship? Lettie is one of our senior members who is still going strong and we have a lot to learn from her since she has been such a big contributor to yarn arts and crafts in South Australia. Sonya, our roving reporter,  is bringing you her story:

Lettie’s life. (Well some of it!)

I can’t recall just how, but I met up with Eunice and that began my entry into the world of woolly wonder. We used to meet at Eunice’s house, where I reckon we spent as much time wandering around her garden admiring her plants, as we did spinning.  Subsequently the Seaford Spinners and Weavers was established, with a few different venues, since those days.

I was associated with the Gallery at Mile End, for some years. I was one of the two ‘approvers’ who vetted articles to be put on sale. (And believe me, you have to be a special knitter/spinner/weaver to reach that lofty status!)

 She continues: A couple of times I and others went to Bothwell. And good times they were! Clarrie, Jean, Marge and Alexis were all part of the fun and games. I can’t recall just what, but we did certain things that startled everybody there!  (For information about the Spinin and Spinout festivals held in Bothwell, Google will tell you.)

Over the years I specialized in fine spinning and won a few prizes. Then I got really into felting. I liked to make delicate little baby shoes.  (Yes, Lettie, they were absolutely exquisite little creations. As always you are so modest about your work.) Also I have enjoyed dyeing, using a variety of natural dyes as well as commercial ones. Anything from beetroot to silver dollar leaves. You can never quite predict what colours you might end up with. I started my spinning life with an Ashton upright wheel but now I have a smaller one.  

Lovely stuff , Lettie, and remember that old spinners never fade away, they only spin and dye!

Kumihimo braiding


row counterKumihimo is a Japanese braiding technique which can be used to make some very complicated and visually appealing cords when you develop good skills. We had a conversation about it because Sheila had made herself a really clever stitch and row counter by using beads and ribbon. It was a go anywhere counter and nothing would disrupt the counting because you slide the beads down one at a time and they are locked in place. We were thinking the ribbon might wear out. It was Pam who got her phone out and showed us about Kumihimo braiding. As it happens , Sheila does have a Kumihimo disk and may well make herself a cord in the fullness of time. It was really good to find out about this braiding technique because it does add another option when you want to make your own things.  Sheila’s row counter really impressed us because we like home made gadgets and this is very functional.