Felted scarf

felted scarfA while back Margaret brought in the felted scarf she had made at a workshop. The colours make a real statement . We sat the scarf on top of Jan’s cream knitted beret and they went together so well. A felted scarf can be a stylish fashion accessory but because it is wool and felted it also offers good protection against chilly winds. Margaret was saying there was some Thai silk felted into it . When you see the scarf in real life there is a bit of sheen which plays in the light.

The whole process of making Thai silk is based on the way we natural dye and how we spin and weave so we can connect to this silk production easily.  Other cultures have been practising yarn arts and crafts for centuries…millennia! It is wonderful how we can now all share those skills and  that knowledge thanks to our cyberconnections. thai silk


Naturally dyed Easter Eggs

Nice little idea for the children, grand children, a dinner party and an easy way to practise natural dyeing before you try it out on your  precious yarn! We have offered a lot of advice about natural dyes so you could use any of those, not just onion skins. Beetroot, red cabbage, tea and coffee would all be easy too.  You could try flowers instead of leaves and fabric instead of eggs. Have fun!

An eye for colour

dyed wool battWho, but Alexis, would know the dyed wool batt next to her electronic spinner is going to turn into a yarn which fits the Pantone 2018 profile? It is no accident Alexis has this keen sense of colour nor can you merely pass it off as talent. It is skill. It is knowledge. It is experience. If Alexis is good with colours and can produce attractive results it is because she has applied herself to knowing all about colour. Not all of her wool is naturally dyed like the pictures here, but she is an expert in natural dyes and uses them a lot. She can match colour and project easily.

dyed wool

natural dyesShe has a journal where she has collated her dyeing with natural colour so she can see exactly what she is going to produce and has a record of it to refer to. Marjorie is another one in the group who keeps careful notes about her dyeing and it’s the reason these two know a lot about dyeing. Jan knows a lot about colour because she has always worked and experimented with it. Alexis has moved away from as many chemicals as she can these days and has a sound knowledge of natural mordants and ways of improving colour without harming yourself or the environment. Her knowledge is helping us all to move onto safer and more sustainable ground because personal health and looking after the environment are important , aren’t they? Alexis will sometimes use rusty nails and bolts to help the uptake of colour but she happily subscribes to natural mordants.

She recommends the following books as valuable sources of information for natural dyes:

Dyes from natural sources – Anne Dyer ( 😀 )

Shetland Dye Book  – Jenni Simmons

Traditional Scottish Dyes – Jean Fraser

Alexis also works with local plants for colour and is particularly fond of eucalyptus:

Eucalyptus Dyes 

Alexis is always a good person to ask about colour and how to match colour because she knows and she knows because she has learned all about it.


Naturally dyed alpaca

dyed alpacaMarina works a lot with alpaca fleece as do a few of the spinners in our group. The natural colours of alpaca make it an attractive fleece to spin but it’s also a fleece which picks up colour well. Top left in the picture is the lavender alpaca Marina dyed at our dyeing workshop last month. Next to that is the dyed wool  she had got from Alexis who just knows how to put colours together and create lovely wool batts. That has been plied with cotton.

alpaca silver dollar gum leaves and green teaAt the front, though, are some naturally dyed , homespun  alpaca skeins. The little ball was dyed with some left over tea! Waste not, want not. We love that inventive approach to life and leftovers. The skein and carded batt  are dyed with the silver dollar gum  leaves which Alexis had brought along for others to try so they’d be encouraged to take up natural dyeing. Marina had mixed in some green tea as well. When you look at the picture of that alpaca fleece drying outside you can see the richness and depth of colour natural dyeing offers. Spectacular.

Crochet adult cocoon

crochet hookcrochet cocoonhandspun wool

cocoon 1

An adult cocoon is a bit like a shrug and a bit like a cardigan and a bit like a blanket. It’s a snuggly wrap around garment. Margaret had her cool crochet hook out and was using her oddment spun wool , her brains and experience to create what looks to be a very stylish, warm cocoon made of lovely colours. She knew the story of each of the wools and for her it was a voyage of discovery too to work with wools she had spun and to know where she had got the fleece and what kind of a mix it was. It’s never just crochet or knitting. There is always a good back story and it is always connected to people. Margaret’s colour choices are very effective so we are looking forward to seeing her finished cocoon. In handspun wool it is going to be very cosy.


Living treasures

winning footwear design 2005
Maria with her winning footwear design. Challenge 2005

Sonya has penned this Inside Seaford Spinners piece for  us. She knows how to shine the light on us.

Maria is one of Seaford Spinners and Weavers living treasures. She is a fount of knowledge, regarding skills, such as wool embroidery, Tunisian knitting, every sort of crochet, knitting, white embroidery, Hardanger, needle tatting, bobbin lace, shadow work, stitch embroidery, pulled thread embroidery, tiny dolls and animals, with a wired base, and whatever else we need to know. In 2007 and 2009 she won the much coveted accolades of Peoples’ Choice and first prize for ‘unusual and wonderful work’ at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival over hundreds of others.

Here is her back-story or provenance which trebles this remarkable woman’s worth on today’s list of precious people!

The day before Germany declared war, my grandmother took me to the shops and bought me a really large mettwurst sausage and a block of white chocolate. Never will I forget that. With the announcement of war there was immediately rationing of most food and I didn’t taste such delicacies again for another eight years. 

I was twelve years old when the bombing of my city (Mannheim) began. I had to leave home with my schoolbag, a small suitcase and my name on a string around my neck. And thus I arrived by train in a small town in northern Germany to live with my married sister. I travelled home for school holidays and then back up north for my schooling.

 The first time I went to school there, we all helped on a farm, digging up potatoes and harvesting flax. We cut the green tops off large parsnips and covered the parsnips first with straw, then with soil, so they could be stored for winter feed for the cows and pigs. The green tops were fed to the animals also.

On one of the holidays back at home our family woke up to hear voices saying “Oh they’re here!” We found that our house had been sliced diagonally off by what were called air mines.  With the explosion we must have blacked out, as we had no memory of what had happened.  These bombs were swift and deadly.  There were broken windows and stuff everywhere. After that, our family had to be very careful when going upstairs or into various rooms where there was no more building left, just a dangerous gap to avoid at all costs.

Another time my mother and I heard a noise and went up to the attic where we found a bundle of brandbombs, luckily not yet ignited. My mother quickly threw the bundle out through the hole where it had come in, otherwise our house would have burned down.  

Back in northern Germany, when I was fourteen, I was sent a letter from Airforce Research (under Herman Goering) informing me I was to go for an interview. There I was told I must start an apprenticeship in Technical Drawing. Whether or not I wanted to!   The first year I was paid 25 marks a month, the second year 35 marks and for the fourth year 45 marks, except that by then I had to go back to Mannheim as my father was ill. Even though I was awarded a wage, I never saw any of it because it was used for the Iron Fund. It was up to my parents to support me through those years

In Mannheim I had to go on with my studies at a trades school. Because there was no technical drawing I was put in the roof-tiling class! First of all I was doing plans and drawings for roads. Then I was allocated to an engineer in a top security room. Only he and I were allowed in there. He did the sketches which I put into drawings of Hitler’s secret bunker in in a location unknown to us.

 One day when there was an air raid I didn’t go down to the cellar as usual. I just left all my papers and things and ran into a bunker.  I was the only one who did that.  All the others went to the cellar. Of the 120 people in there, 119 were killed instantly and the 120th died the next day.  When I got back to my work, none of my group were alive. I remember it was bitterly cold and I had to work in the one third of my room, that hadn’t been destroyed, which was open to the elements. They lay out the dead in lines, in an open space between some houses. I had to cover the people with big sheets of drawing paper, which had old drawings and copies of plans and such, on them.

With our workplace destroyed, we had to move about 20 kilometres out of Mannheim. One day we felt the ground moving and shaking. Aha, we thought. ‘That’ll be Heidelberg being bombed.’ But no, we learned it was right here in Mannheim. I had to walk back home through the city, dodging fires and firemen hosing them. They let me through but yes I got hosed and was miserably wet. I walked down into bomb craters and up out of them on the other side.  By the time I got home, five kilometres beyond the city, it was dark and cold and late.

Long tail beanie

long tail beanieJan’s long tail beanie caused a bit of a sensation. We loved the colours and textures and yes, you can wrap the tail around your neck to keep it warm! In a cold climate , it’s the perfect thing. We are into autumn but the weather is still around 35C so we weren’t  really thinking of the practical side of it. We were loving the colours and feel of it. It’s a fun hat. Jan’s used oddments of commercial wool and had fun knitting this hat herself. Great stash buster.

There is a good pattern for a long tail hat at knittingonthenet.

The tiny ball of yarn

tiny ball of yarnMaria’s epic ball of yarn is no more. She was telling us it weighed one and a half kilos !! It had been made from all her left over bits of yarn and you can follow the story on the linked post. She has made a knee rug which was really colourful and edged in an interesting crochet post stitch border. Just the very thing to keep the drafts away as you work. She is now making a blanket which is very durable. It doesn’t have the give of the knee blanket. It has an interesting look because the pattern is like little flowers. You treble into one stitch and double crochet the next stitch. It would make a good base cover for a bassinet, a little mat, a seat cover.



crochet blanket or matSince this pattern gives you a strong fabric then it would make good coasters, place mats and bags. Maria and her epic ball of yarn have taught us a lot. She can do the finest of fine work and the most intricate of intricate of work. She can use whatever yarn suits her but she took off on a creative adventure with her variegated ball of yarn made from oddments and has shown us all that you can be creative  and inspired no matter what. You just have to have faith in yourself and your journey.

Show and tell

show and tell Mar 5 It was good to welcome new members Ann & Bill, also welcome back to Andrea & Clarrie.

Many thanks  as well to the members for all the delicious cakes & scones that appeared today.

There is no group next week because of the public holiday for the Adelaide Cup.

Thank you to Marina who does an excellent job of presenting the show and tell items and who keeps us all so cheerful.

 Jan had knitted a long tail beanie in various shades of red including some feather yarn.

Andrea shared 2 pairs of finely knitted socks in pastel colours.

Cathy had spun ball of pastel colour carded fleece.

Hilary had made skein of bright orange carded mixed fibres.

Marina had knitted 2 pairs of his and hers fingerless mittens in multi coloured stripes,had  spun skein of tops from Alexis in blues & aqua,had made a spun ball of pale lavender and shared  2 samples of natural dyeing with silver dollar gum leaves & a small ball of spun wool dyed with tea residue, also a pattern of a sample of crotchet square suitable for a rug.

Bothwell Fibre Festival

Bothwell fibre festival
Bothwell Fibre Festival 2005

The Bothwell International and Highland Fibre Festival  was March 3rd. So many people in this group have participated in this festival over the years. Hilary shared a lovely photo of members of our group at the time looking well pleased and happy with themselves at the festival a while back. Margaret is looking especially delighted and her vest looks impressive.  The garments featured in the photo are so original and worth seeing. Alan brought along his certificate for the longest thread competition to share with us last week. We like challenges, we like supporting Australian initiatives with fibre and we enjoy good connections with local producers of fleece . bothwell spinning AllanWhen Alan was asked why anyone would want to spin that thinly , he replied:

“I spun fine wool to make my daughter a shawl for her wedding day. “

Good answer, Alan. Good answer.

Blog stats

There is no explaining the world. Our biggest number of impressions on Twitter since the last blog stats update in January is the post on the last blog stats update on January 12th. Exactly what you’d expect on a spinners’ and weavers’ Twitter account: well over 200 views on a post about blog stats. Even though that is somewhat bizarre, the rest of the information about our blog stats is extremely positive.

It was a shock to discover WordPress had reset all our stats to 0 at the beginning of this year. We had only started our blog in September 2017. As it turned out, we just ignored it and got on with our dyeing workshop , our carding workshop  which led into natural dyeing and then our oddments projects inspired by Marjorie’s socks . When we felt  a need to cheer up we made more tiny teddies for Sonya’s call to action. We didn’t have time to worry about blog stats because we were too busy being creative, filling our  lives with colour and upskilling ourselves.

@seafordSAWWe have increased our followers on Twitter and we get likes and retweets on there now which is nice. Sheila’s alpaca vest and Marjorie’s oddment socks got over a hundred impressions each. Other tweets which got over 80 or 90 impressions were Maria’s epic ball of yarn, our drum carding workshop, the Teenie Tiny Teddies pattern and then, yes, the blog stats from January got over 200 impressions.

Instagram account

We have strengthened our position on Instagram considerably. The account always goes well and we get likes as soon as the pictures go up. Hilary’s red, green and white spun yarn has done really well as did Margaret’s grey, cable jumper, Marina’s beanie with the epic pom pom, Christine’s baby shawl and Margaret’s spun yarn from Suzie Horn’s bits. All our images get a respectable number of likes but Wendy’s blue fan and feather scarf stood out in the crowd this year and has become one of the top images on our Instagram account. We collect likes every day for images old and new so this year’s “best of” is going to be interesting. Instagram likes big and bold at the moment and things with a sense of fun but it also values the expertise of someone like Wendy.

postsandpages Mar2018We have had over 2000 hits on our blog now and over 90 followers. One of them, yarn and pencil reblogged posts this year and we gained quite a bit of traffic from that via her blog. We thank her for her strong support . We have a number of strong supporters who comment, like and encourage us on a regular basis. We thank them. We have had so many likes this year. It started with the post on banana fibre silk and just hasn’t stopped. Sonya’s porridge post picked up hits very quickly and then Wendy’s cream poncho with the fan and feather scarf and cowl is currently our top post. The information on natural dyeing was quickly very popular and has been valued and the good thing is all our posts are appreciated like our tiny teddies. It is always interesting to see which ones do well. Maria’s epic ball of yarn and her creative project with it has been popular across Twitter, Instagram and on our blog. It is good her sense of humour has appealed to everyone.  You can also see below that the links we provide in our posts are followed up and used. That is really good to know and it’s nice to know people go from our blog to our Instagram account.




We have built up our list of countries visiting our blog again because it looked tragic at the beginning of the year when our stats were reset. It now is looking like last year and it probably means people got back to us quickly.















The best news is we are now getting a lot of direct hits from search engines. It means we are becoming more visible and we are providing the sorts of information people want to find. It also means we have improved the search engine optimisation . Our decisions have been good ones. Our Facebook account is also bringing us significant traffic even though the account itself is nowhere near as active as Instagram or Twitter. It’ is acting as a portal to this blog and that’s a good function of our Facebook page. It means people can find us.

So, after two months , we have not only made up the lost ground , we have improved our position and we have had some good interaction with others courtesy of our cyber spinning.



Tea anyone?

crocheted tea cosyMarina crocheted a tea cosy from spun wool she was given.  We all loved it. She had even made a matching mat for the tea pot to stand on. It’s pretty and practical and very original. We loved her using the brown wool for the main part of the cosy. We have often talked about how we all love tea cosies but how impractical they are because they become tea stained. Not with home spun brown wool!! Who’d know? We loved the detachable lid flower too. crocheted tea cosy homespun wool

Beautiful blues

Bendigo Woolen Mills BlueMeryl was spinning some lovely colour on Monday and was surrounded by lovely colour! It is something which is important to Meryl. She chooses colours carefully , she thinks about it for a long time and she likes to get it exactly right. Why not? It means the thought and care produce something which will hold its look and style for a long time. The wool on her wheel is from the Bendigo Woollen Mills.





Art Batt First EditionThe art batt is from First Edition (site currently being upgraded) and is a Merino/Alpaca/Silk mix which is very effective. Meryl has just spun a some midnight blue merino with green silk and it looks really good. The photo last week didn’t do it justice so we are trying to get a better one.  The two soft fibres together work well so this one with the addition of the alpaca will be interesting to see and feel. art batt First Edition

Natural dyeing

natural dyeingWe had a lovely presentation of naturally dyed wool and fleece on our show and tell table this week.  Alexis had dyed some wool with the coreopsis plant and had brought a bottle of  the liquid along so someone else could try it. Marjorie was keen to try that. Coreopsis are hardy perennials which suit our dry summers and they come in different varieties these days and can be grown from seed. The mustard colour is striking and the other thing we noticed was how well all the natural colours go together. Cathy had dyed some Border Leicester Cross with Willow Myrtle ( agonis flexuosa) from the tree in her front garden. it is a fawn colour and looks like a bird’s nest. You don’t get more natural than that!  Marina had tried out turmeric on some light alpaca fleece and that was a lighter yellow than the coreopsis but it was also such a gentle colour.

Marina had found the natural dyeing book at the local library and Maria shared the book Wool Gathering  from the Hamilton Wool and Craft Guild in Victoria. They have a long history of working with fibre. There is so much good information about choosing fleece, spinning, weaving , dyeing and even tanning in that book. Their plant based dyeing includes suggestions of dahlia (gold), parsley (greenish yellow), walnut husks (gold brown) and brown onion skins (orange/deep orange) .

It was good to see all these naturally dyed wools because they not only are lovely colours, they represent sustainable practice. We like to know about everything when it comes to colour.

Viking Combs


This video ended up just out of nowhere yesterday so there was no thought about perfect sound quality etc. etc. Christine was talking to Cathy about Viking Combs because we have been focusing on carding and wool preparation before spinning. Senior members have been trying to get new members to notice the improvement and ease in spinning if the wool is properly prepared. Margaret is often seen walking around teasing the staples apart in her careful, thoughtful way . Teaching by example. Christine has reinforced this relaxed, careful approach by sharing her knowledge on Viking Combs. She is trying to get some with 5 tows of tines but hey will probably be ordered from overseas. In Australia we have a lot of spinners and weavers but the numbers don’t necessarily mean someone can produce things like Viking combs here and guarantee a market fro themselves. it’s a constant dilemma. We then have the problem that if people don’t know about Viking combs, then no, they are not going to want or order them. Knowledge is what makes people understand what they need or the options which are available to them. Maybe we’ll make more videos. If nothing else, with this one you can hear just how much we talk! We never stop talking and it’s all productive conversation. If you want more information about Viking combs we can suggest the following links:

How to use Viking Wool combs

How to use Viking and Wool combs 

Wool carding and combing

Christine left our group yesterday with a box of beautifully combed Polworth fleece nests.

Show and tell

It was a very positive meeting today with prospective new members visiting us and a lovely visit from Clarrie who came to chat and spin with us. Janette brought in some cupcakes too. That was nice.


show and tell Feb 26

Marina shared a mohair/silk & cotton skein in greens, 3 carded batts in mohair/silk, crocheted saddle cover in orange/green & aqua, crocheted tea cosy in dark brown & lt. green with a  removable top and a small amount of alpaca dyed with turmeric.

Marjorie had knitted a beret in light grey patterned with cables & moss stitch.

Alan shared his entry to the Bothwell Spin-in competition for 2011 87m.

Cathy shared skein of spun dark brown wool/alpaca & a few strands of banana fibre silk in blue & a ball of white spun wool dyed with willow myrtle leaves. The result was a  dark fawn colour.

Alexis  had knitted a large chicken hat in grey destined for the Beanie Festival, a beanie in multi coloured stripes & 4- 100gm batts of tops dyed with the flower Coreopsis using  various natural various mordants.

Alan brought in a variety of  small fruits & vegetables as well as some Fig & ginger jam yum!).

Tunisian Crochet

long tail flexible crochet hookChristine was so excited she had her long tail flexible crochet hook ! It will make Tunisian crochet so much easier for her because she won’t have to carry the weight of the project on her fingers, hand and forearm. It also means the long crochet hook doesn’t get stick in things as you are working. Marjorie is already in love with hers and is making a jacket to her own pattern from her own spun wool. It’s good when the market brings us new and useful gadgets!

Tunisian crochet jacket

Cascading colours

Alexis dyed woolPeople are always on the look out for that colour, or a colour or a special colour. Alexis is always good at providing something a bit different or something which you specifically need. She responded to some requests last week that we could see some of her colourways. The table was just a waterfall of colour and the wool just looked superb and made everyone talk about colours, projects and ideas. Colour promotes quality converstions. It just does. Meryl was taken with the greens and was imagining how she would use them and then how she could make them look more effective. Marina was looking for some purply/violet/lavendar color to spin up and ply with her newly dyed lavender alpaca fleece which she was already spinning. That was such a lovely colour feast from Alexis and we thank her.

Alpaca fleece

alpaca jacketMarina’s husband , Peter,  has carded a lot of alpaca fleece for her since they got the new carder last year. This has kept Marina busy spinning and knitting. With the dark alpaca fleece she has made herself a jacket. Should the alpaca stretch , it will be a long jacket which she can ear with leggings. Peter has a lovely , new , zippered vest  in the light alpaca. The rib pattern Marina has chosen should guard against too much stretch. As Susie Horn, and anyone else who knows about fleece will tell you, it is a constant learning curve. You never know it all.




alpaca vestMarina has learned that sometimes you need to card the alpaca fleece with some wool to help prevent the stretch, or you need to look at how you knit it up. She has also learned that it’s good to spin all the fleece and then pick out the skeins you are going to use for your knitting. The light alpaca looks great with a zipper and the dark alpaca looks really good with the wooden buttons. Needless to say, Peter and Marina are going to be very warm and cosy this winter! The natiral colours of the fleece are very attractive.

Carding workshop

carding workshopIt’s not every day you have the opportunity to make a public spectacle of yourself. The carding workshop provided the perfect setting for Cathy to demonstrate her epic lack of skills as she learnt the ways of drum carding. As the only one new to carding there was a lot to learn. Enter Christine , the saviour of newbies . Her warm chuckle and immediate , practical help – ” Are you aware you are turning the handle the wrong way? ” “If you pull the wool back it will clump, can you see?” Ah! The light dawned. The laughter melted the errors into strengths and the life of a new carder began. Margaret quietly checked in with Cathy later to make sure all was going well and the others just popped in to see if all was in order. Our group knows you get it wrong when you have no idea what you are doing. They laugh and talk you through it. Cathy’s orange cloud of alpaca , wool and banana fibre silk looked worthy by the end of it because of the personable support.  Everyone was learning. Marjorie had set up a workshop where everyone had the chance to improve their skills, share their knowledge and participate in upskilling. Nothing gets done without constant talk in our group. Alan had popped over to help calibrate Hilary’s carder so the teeth were connecting properly. Marjorie was good at reminding us about cleaning carders and getting the wool opened up and airy before you card. Jan said it was easy to use newspaper plastic wrap to put on the drums because it was conveniently the right size. Everyone had an idea or two to share. Hilary keeps herself carding by using audio books or music. Peter, Marina’s husband, the head family carder, came along later and produced a lovely mohair batt in soft green for Marina. Hilary had kindly brought packets of mohair which we could purchase at rock bottom prices so we had something fun to play with if we wanted to. Everyone is open to learning in this club and knows there is always something to learn. Margaret was producing gorgeous opalescent batts. Hilary’s were ocean green and Marjorie made some lovely brown batts from her wool. When experts are happy to work alongside new people then everyone gains. Like our dyeing workshop,  it was just good to do. It wasn’t  compulsory and others were free to look and listen…and maybe laugh… but all in the spirit of learning. When there’s a focus you concentrate the conversations so the immersion learning can take effect. We all enjoyed our carding workshop because it is never a case of too many cooks spoil the broth. We subscribe to the notion that many hands make light work.

Show and tell

show and tell19Feb

Margaret felted scarf cut from a circle to form a snake scarf, dark wine coloured with small pieces of silk felted into the scarf.

Meryl  shared a large spun ball of First Edition tops in various shades of blue.

Jan  had made a skein of spun tops dyed with red/sarsaparilla, a white knitted beret in feather& fan pattern, a white hat knitted in various patterns.

Cathy shared a needle felted picture using some of her felting and spun wool odds & ends.

Marina  had knitted 2 Alpaca jackets – one with buttons in dark brown the other fawn with a zip opening both knitted in a rib pattern.

Hilary  had spun 3 skeins of spun wool green mixed with mohair, cheese tops Navajo plied & dyed with opal/Astor, pale mauve which was the residue dye from the opal/Astor mix, a white spun ball of wool an entry in the Bothwell spinning longest thread in competition 2005.

Sonya has been given a selection of knitting needles to give away.

To the right of the picture are our efforts at the carding workshop.


That’s no how you make porridge!


Only our resident reporter, Sonya, could link porridge and spinning. Here is another delightful piece from her:

Like methods of hanging washing on the line, the making and serving of porridge is marvellously varied. I allude to washing as I simply cannot walk past our clothesline without correcting my husband’s pegging out. We all have our systems, techniques, and eccentricities when it comes to both of these activities. But for today, let me share with you the porridge making quirks of the Seaford Spinners and Weavers.
Take Cathy for instance. She hasn’t made porridge since her daughter was a child, 25 years ago. However she has a definite prescription, with its musts and must nots still intact after a quarter of a century of non-use. The oats must be steel cut. Quick oats must not be used. Porridge must be cooked with half water and half milk. Near the end of cooking, and no microwaving of course, add a few sultanas and a little honey. Then there is her ultimate must. A circlet of thin cream should always decorate the plate of porridge. Yum yum Cathy, you’d better start up again after the decades of inertia! Cathy has redeemed her reputation by providing her Flapjack recipe, which is a great way to have one’s oat-quota. Good for inner health, and all that… She brought a plate of them to Spinners yesterday and we all declared them nutritious and delicious.
Cathy’s Flapjacks
3c oats(regular or quick)
1c s.r. flour
¾ c brown sugar
1 Tbs honey
1c almond meal
125g melted butter
1 egg
Mix all together and pat into lamington tin
Cook 20 mins @ 180C

Maria and Marina in their full blown German-ness use oats entirely as muesli. None of that slop known as porridge for our Fräulein. Maria toasts up her oats with a little bit of sugar, a kilo at a time in a large pan, stirring all the time to make sure the oats don’t scorch. When it cools she adds almonds, sultanas and currants etc. For her morning meal she scoops up a cup of this delight and pours boiling water over it. Yoghurt or fresh fruit can be served with it.
Alan, our token male, is a sachet man. Couldn’t be more easy and quicker than that. Open the porridge sachet, add water,cook and eat. He needs speed and efficiency to enable him time to pursue his unique craft. No time for being a creative porridge person. He is our all-time needle felter. As a breeder and shower of his standard poodles, Alan has perfected the art of making doggie pictures and/or 3D figures, of his and other peoples’ favourite pooches. All with needle felting. Sometimes actually using the hair of the dog in question. Also he does cats in the same way. A true artist, is our Alan.
Wendy has the right idea. Her husband makes the porridge! He uses Uncle Toby’s oats, cooking them with half milk and half water. And of course a dash of salt, in the traditional Scottish way, of Wendy’s ancestors. They’d be proud of you Wendy but I’m not sure they’d have put honey or strawberries or slices of banana on their oats, as you do !
Marj is another husband only porridge person. Its good to see some representation of men-in –the-kitchen, all thanks to Marj and Wendy and Alan. However the division of labour is still rather entrenched according to this survey!
Annette has done a complete stall on the matter of porridge. She is a Weet-bix stalwart. Well one can be forgiven for that if one could spin and knit as beautifully as our Annette.
Hilary is a porridge lover, making it with half milk and half water a pinch of salt and into the microwave for exactly 7 minutes. She likes it fairly thick and sturdy, pouring it on to prunes , adding a knob of butter with yoghurt and honey on top. I’d call that Porridge with the Works, Hilary! She says her father always ate his, with a knob of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper (!), and no sweeteners.
My father had his ways, too Hilary. He was a salt and butter porridge maker (which he always called burgoo) with a big veto on stirring it, He cooked it gently and allowed a smooth watery gel, to form around the oats. Rather nice actually. And he always had to have golden syrup on top.
Pam has definite notions on how to cook and dress her porridge. None of this quick and easy stuff for her. She uses only steel cut oats which must be cooked gently ,on the stove of course, and for a special treat she sprinkles demerara sugar on top. Yes, she says it MUST be demerara.

Jan favours Uncle Toby and makes her version with quickness and efficiency. She pours milk on to the oats, and cooks them in the microwave for 2 minutes. A heat, eat and enjoy job, leaving her plenty of time to pursue her utterly divine creations of yarns,felt,dyes and gorgeous garments.

Sheila has the gentle touch for her formula. Cover 1/3 cup of rolled oats or quick oats with just enough water and microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then let it stand for 1 minute. Put milk and honey on top. Sweet stuff , Sheila.
Christine adds a unique touch to her porridge. 1/3 cup of oats and just enough water to make it thick, stirring so it doesn’t stick. Then she serves it up with a topping of a slice of buttered toast cut into small squares. Well, as Kath and Kim would say, “its dufferent”, Christine. Very dufferent. Psst! I must try it sometime.
Janette has her recipe for Easi Oats. Soak rolled oats in water overnight. Cook, stirring. Serve with cold milk. Here’s determination for you: Janette used to add salt when cooking, with a sprinkle of sugar on top. It took her a long time enjoy her porridge without these two things, but it is better for health reasons and now she enjoys her sugarless, saltless porridge. Onya girl!
Joanne, our newest member, says her reason for not making porridge is that nobody in the family likes it. (Ah, but they will, after reading our blog, Joanne!) Instead she has shared her never fail breakfast eggs recipe. Saute sliced mushrooms in 1 Tbs of butter. Add 2 beaten eggs to the mushies and stir/cook for a minute or so.Then add salt /pepper and enjoy!
Margaret makes a no nonsense porridge. “Throw water and rolled oats into a pan and cook. Sometimes I add fruit and bananas during or after cooking. “ Such a minimalist except when it comes to making incredibly clever and beautiful items for our show and tell, each week !
Alexis thinks we might enjoy this recipe from her old recipe book from the North-East of Scotland. She says (and I wish you could hear her unadulterated Scottish burr) “My grandparents and parents always used fresh oatmeal and added only salt. NEVER sugar or honey. They would have been horrified to see that added. I still add only salt to mine which I make every morning. I use quick oats ½ a cup to one cup of water (with a little salt of course). Simmer for about 10 minutes and eat with cold milk. “I still use a wooden spurtle to stir the porridge.” Alexis says their farm dogs were fed entirely on oatmeal and milk. Absolutely no meat. Good old veggo doggies! Also she told us about her grandfather who was in The Gordon Highlanders contingent during WW 1. The soldiers had part payment of their wages in oatmeal, which they would store in their sporran. Then when an opportunity arose they could pour boiling water over it (ouch! Not over the sporran) to make a sustaining meal. Farm workers in the same way, were partly paid in oatmeal, back in the day.

Here’s an excerpt from “A Taste Of Scotland” which Alexis has brought along:
” ‘Chief of Scotia’s food’ as Robbie Burns described it, is eaten all over Scotland and indeed many parts of the world. There are many traditions to porridge-making and porridge eating; for instance, it must be always be stirred when cooking, with the right hand, clockwise. The stirring is done with a straight wooden stick, like a wooden spoon with the spoon part cut off, known in various parts of Scotland as a spurtle or a theevil. Porridge is always spoken of as ‘they’, and an old custom demands that ‘they’ are eaten standing up. It is usually made with oatmeal, but in Caithness, Orkney, and Shetland bere-meal (a kind of barley) is often used. Porridge has various names in different parts of the country: Gaelic brochan in the Highlands; milgruel (Shetland) and tartan-purry is thin porridge made with the liquor in which kail has been cooked. Traditionally porridge was eaten from a birch-wood bowl with a horn spoon. It is served with cold milk or cream, sugar or more often salt, and as with all foods the fresher and better the oatmeal, the better the porridge. Many Scotsmen like a glass of porter, stout or beer with it.


Recipe for one person.
¼ cup medium oatmeal
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Boil the water in a saucepan, and when bubbling, add the oatmeal in a constant stream with the left hand stirring all the time , with the right hand. When it is boiling regularly, pull to the side of the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Serve piping hot in cold soup plates, and dip each spoonful into individual bowls of cold milk or cream, before eating. This is the method which has been used for centuries. Porridge served in Scotland is much thinner than in Ireland or England. Also the large flake oatmeal used in other countries is nothing like as good as the medium-size variety in Scotland.”
Which goes to show that we are diverse as individuals, creators and porridge makers. What about you? Send us a note and we’ll publish your version.


Frogging in style

cotton jacketSheila is frogging (rip it ! rip it!) a cotton jacket she no longer wants because the cotton is a great colour and in very good condition. She is going to make little mice with it for fundraising. Repurposing good quality yarn is a solid , sustainable practice. It can be fun unravelling something and then making the balls of yarn which will turn into something new and exciting. Or making an epic yarn ball like Maria. We are not yarn snobs. We’ll use anything and we’ll reuse things if it suits our purpose. It depends on what we want to do, what we feel like.  Unpicking a preloved item , which has served its purpose,  to put it to new use means the fibre isn’t wasted. We are not always about spinning kilometres of new yarn because there are all sorts of good practices associated with someone who loves fibre. Not wasting anything is very much a part of who we are. Can’t wait to see Sheila’s little lavender mice! She may even be making some tiny teddies. There are some crochet mice patterns on Pinterest .

Colour is everything

Colour plays a big part in our conversation and projects. It can completely change the look of something or it can stimulate the creativity. it’s a great thing to play with.

colours from natureJanette’s palette is inspired by nature and her colours are then interesting and different and ones you wold not necessarily think of. He blanket drew everyone’s attention. They wanted to look at it , feel it and wear it! The power of colour. The cake of wool is forest colours and makes you think of being in a lovely forest somewhere.






colourwaysMarina loves vibrant colour but works just as easily with natural fleece colours. The vibrant pieces have such life and energy and the muted colours are soothing.








colourwayHilary spun a great skein of wool and put together colour in a very effective way to produce a unique colourway. Underneath Alex’ moss stitch scarf is just peeking into the picture with its strong but not overwhelming colours. A colour statement.

Colours create a mood, a feeling and a set of thoughts. They are important because they are how you connect with others. Colours matter.

Bothwell Spinning and Fibre Festival

The Bothwell Spinning and Fibre Festival is now an international event held in the southern highlands of Tasmania celebrating all things to do with fibre, spinning  and weaving. As a group we have been wondering whether to participate in the longest fibre challenge and how we might go about that. We have a number of people who are expert and superfine fibre spinning and so they would have a good challenge, and, as always, the new ones would be carried high on the wave of discovery learning. One of the biggest fears of spinning finely is you will break the fibre. Forward is forward , though, and Christine’s commonsense advice rings clear. She tells you not to worry if the fibre breaks. To just spin and to spin as thinly as you can and then , if it breaks , you just find the end and start again. Face the fear and do it anyway. Christine is telling you not to operate from a sense of failure but to work with the feedback you get on your wheel and from your fibre and to have faith in yourself to conquer it. The good spinners in this group have no fear and will tell you there are techniques you can learn to spin finely.  They spin and trouble shoot so we  have experienced , confident spinners who could help everyone participate in the Bothwell Spinning Challenge . It is a part of the history of our club.

Bothwell Challenge 1993Sonya wrote about how Clarrie, a former member we caught up with at Christmas , who won it and who could rank highly. This week Alexis brought along some photos from the 1993 spinin where she and her team won the podium position of 3rd which is something to be proud of and demonstrates the level of skill we have in our group. The group loved seeing these photos and the team members who were in them. It created so much chatter, interest and comment. That brought us back to the conversations as to how we might participate in the longest thread competition.

You can find out about the Bothwell Festival on their Facebook page and their website.

Epic ball of yarn

oddments ball of yarnMaria is highly skilled. She can create the most intricate crochet items , can knit  demanding patterns  and spins when she wants to. She is someone in our group who works quietly and if you ask her, she will tell you quite clearly she is concentrating. She is very personable and has a playful sense of humour , though, and allows herself to just let go to  see what happens. That is what you learn from her if you want to aspire to be as good as she is. Every once in a while she lets creativity take over but always with a sense of fun. She loved knitting tiny teddies for Sonya’s daughter’s call to action and each of the little bears had a strong personality. This week she arrived with an epic ball of yarn. Just about as big as a football(soccer ball). She said it was her variegated yarn.


variegated yarnMaria was joining in on the oddments fun we have been having this year and taking it to a new level. She has joined all her oddment wool pieces together and made this huge ball of variegated yarn which has a life and personality of its own. She has then decided crocheting was the way to go. She doesn’t know what she is crocheting . She just is. She is letting the yarn take over and trusting her skills to produce something good. When asked about the knots in the wool she replied she will probably put flowers on them or something . She didn’t know. She was just letting it happen.  That was a good lesson from one of our senior members. Sometimes you just have to have fun and sometimes you just have to let go and give yourself the freedom to trust yourself and create.

Welcome, Joanne

Ron Doley wheel

Joanne arrived at the end of last year with a Ron Doley wheel which we got going during the session so she could see she had a good wheel which would work. Besides, there can never be enough yarn, so Joanne needed to start spinning right away. She took the wheel up to Ron Doley, of the Hills Spinners and Weavers Guild,  and he repaired it all beautifully.







Ron Doley wheel

This man has built some of the best wheels in Australia because they are so well made and so functional. He cares very much about the quality of his wheels and helps people to keep his wheels in good condition. Joanne could come back to us this week with her beautifully restored wheel and actually get some good spinning done. She was making a lovely strawberries and cream yarn so we are looking forward to seeing what she does with it.  If you belong to Facebook,  Joanne has put more of the story about her wheel on our public  Facebook Group page. You can see her first spun wool there and it  looks good.

spun wool

Get your leaves out!

silver dollar gum leaf dyesNatural dyeing stretches across history and culture. It is totally sustainable and environmentally friendly.  It’s a journey. Alexis walked in yesterday with a beautiful display of silver dollar gum leaf dyeing which she had done to support her invitation to us to try out this way of dyeing. Those new to this had an anchor on which to hang their learning. The longer you slow cook the skeins , the richer and deeper the colour becomes. The darker colours come from about an hour of slow cooking. In the end it’s about having faith in the journey and checking your skeins and pot so you see for yourself how it is progressing.





silver dollar gum leaves
Cathy’s Border LeicesterX dyed with silver dollar gum leaves

You leave it to cool over night and then rinse it out. Silver gum leaves smells beautiful as they cook and they leave a wonderful perfume in the wool. Natural dyes will bring an array of striking colours to your repertoire of yarn colours.

Carding an art batt

Next week is our carding workshop . Some of us need to learn to walk before we can run, but no harm in looking! Sometimes it is good to look at what you can achieve if you make the effort to learn the skills. The people in this group have different ways of preparing their fibre and sometimes they buy it ready to spin. Carding adds choices and if you can make art batts it adds colour and interest. Some spinners prefer to hand card or comb because it it relaxing and unhurried. Art batts are easier on a drum carder but you need to think about how you are going to do it and that is what this video is about.

Natural dyes

silver dollar gum leavesWe had done our cold dye workshop on the 19th and that was enjoyable for everyone who was there and created a real sense of success for those new to dyeing. Alexis walked in this week with two big bags of silver dollar gum leaves and spoke a little about natural dyes. It altered the conversations and set up a challenge. One of the best gifts you can give someone is the gift of learning. From natural dyes you can learn a lot about culture, history , civilisations and plants. Natural dyes have been used through the ages, there is an art to it and it requires time and thought. You get better results if you don’t hurry and if you immerse yourself in the process. Any dyeing has a calming effect because you are working with fibre and colour in a methodical way. Natural dyes are sustainable, ecologically and environmentally friendly and so really worth considering . As well as the gum leaves, Alexis brought along references to some really good web sites to consult so that you are more in control of the process:

silver dollar gum leavesThe Woolery has a lot of information about which plants to use for particular colours and it is set out clearly.

Motherearth News has good information about plant based mordants.

The gardeningknowhow blog has excellent information about which plants to use for which colours.

You can look at this little video on natural dyes and dyeing too from woodland plants to see how valuable this information and knowledge is to archeologists. Yarn arts are not just busy work.

Wool winding

wool winder

We all love our wool winders and enjoy bringing along the cakes of yarn we have wound on them. There is nothing wrong with a ball of wool. Nothing, but wool winding is fun and you have to find ways and means of allowing yourself to enjoy the spinning process. Sheila had dyed fleece at the dyeing workshop so that had to be spun. After that she was winding it into cakes of usable yarn and , as she was organising the wool winding, with the help of her lovely grand daughter,  she had a chance to think out what she was was going to be doing with all this lovely new yarn. We look forward to seeing what Sheila creates with her new colourway!

Local history

Wall hanging Onkaparinga EstuaryYesterday Marjorie alerted us to the fact our club has a wall hanging of the Onkaparinga Estuary  hanging prominently in the Noarlunga Library. This was made by every member of the group at the time in 1986.


commemorative plaqueThe Noarlunga Library has a catalogue reference to it. The estuary is a very important landmark and geographical place in our area about 10 minutes by car from the library and about 20 minutes by car from our club meeting room.



onkparinga estuary

The wall hanging is beautifully made and the colours well chosen. It has obviously been properly cared for too. There is a plaque at the top of the stairs commemorating it. The wall hanging sits on the wall of the main stair well at the front of the library.

Needle felted cat

needle felted cat

Alan has oodles of patience. You need it to needle felt. It has been interesting to watch him develop this needle felted cat from an image on his phone. He had made it into a paper template and has since been patiently needle felting it. Alan wins awards and so is worth watching and it’s the level of care and accuracy which make the difference. He  has even felted in the little dimples where the whiskers are going to go. He is thinking about what he will use for the whiskers since that will be an important artistic choice. It is astounding you can make images like this just using little needs and bits of wool. As a work in progress this is looking good. We are looking forward to seeing the finished cat.


Show and tell

marina's hat
We loved Marina’s hat

As you can see , from the pictures below,  our efforts at dyeing were very successful.  Now comes the problem of what to make from these items and we all look forward to seeing what our members come up with, not forgetting  we have scheduled the  carding workshop on  19th February which will bring more dilemmas on what to make!

Margaret has finished her jumper in natural coloured grey wool & mohair                     

Jan brought along tops dyed aqua, yellow & aqua/yellow mix at last week’s workshop

dyed woolCathy shared a ball of spun wool dyed with red that has dried to various shades of pink, a skein of sock wool dyed with blue & aqua both dyed at the workshop

Sheila’s grey alpaca  was dyed with aqua and a skein of wool  was dyed with aqua &  then there were various coloured small balls

Marina shared a beanie in stripes with a very large pompom & 2 balls blue/white alpaca

dyed wool 1Marina finished off a very colourful hat in crotchet during our session

Alexis  shared a  his scarf knitted in moss stitch striped with aqua/red/blue & brown and a hers cowl to match. Both knitted in one ply. 

Hilary  had a skein of wool dyed in the ball with aqua/salmon gum & a small amount of dyed fleece in aqua/violet,

Marjorie added a few more teddies to join Sonya’s community.


Teenie Tiny Teddies

Tiny bearThere was a request for the pattern for these tiny bears which Cathy made as part of Sonya’s call to action for buddy bears. They stand about 11cm tall.  They can be made easily in an hour, use up your scrap yarn and fit easily into a little pocket.  The pattern:

3.25 needles
4 ply yarn

Four pieces:

The body and head
The two legs
One piece for both arms

Body :

Cast on 16 stitches
Knit 22-26 rows depending on how long you want the body.
Cast off

Legs – make two

Cast on 8 stitches
Knit 6 rows
Cast off


Cast on 18 stithces
Knit 6 rows
Cast off

For the arms and legs roll the pieces and stitch.
On the arms leave a long thread at one end.
Sew the body seam which is then in the middle at the back.
Sew across the top of the head and sew the ear shapes across the corners

Stuff head and body. Stuff the head first, thread the arms through and then stuff the body.
Make a hole with pencil or scissors in the knitting where arms will go. Thread the arm piece through the the body by pulling on the thread with a thick, strong  sewing needle and easing it through.
Sew the legs in place and close all seams at the bottom of the bear.
Make a little scarf.

If you want little coloured shoes then pick up side stitches and add a couple of rows of colour onto the side of the legs before you roll them or put on a row of double crochet along the edge.

We never stop spinning

We never stop spinning and we never stop talking. Spinning and talking … that is us. It’s how we connect and develop our ideas and skills. It is how we improve projects and create projects. We spin by the sea and talk and talk. bobbins spinning

Colour your life

spun woolJan is very confident in bold use of colour and creating skeins of variegated colours and then projects which make good use of  those bold colour choices. We are lucky , that within our group, we have people who are very confident with colour choices and combinations. Everyone gets to benefit. The confident ones get the rewards for their choices because we love them and they make us think of what we can do with those colours.

varigated pinkThose less confident with colour are constantly exposed to people who care about colour, who understand how it plays out and who can competently combine colours. Colour is our focus and what makes us come alive. Jan brought along the pink colour mix to show us how she created the variegated pink yarn. All of this helps. It reinforces the colour sensitivity of the good ones and enlightens those who are less confident. In the end, colour is what makes or breaks a project.

Oddment projects

colourful socksMarjorie has finished her oddment socks and we all loved them. They are colourful, fun, warm and cheerful. On top of that she has used up some of  her oddments left over from spinning. She also inspired Marina to pick up her hook, find her oddments and start a lovely, colourful crochet vest.We all end up with oddments and it’s good to have some ideas as to how to use these oddment balls of yarn effectively. fraser0810 on Pinterest has 53 other ideas as to how you can easily use up your oddment yarns.

knitted colourful sockscrochet colourful vest

Dyeing Day

Dyeing Day 29th January

On Sunday Adelaide was doing a great job of being Vanuatu. It had been very hot and steamy. Saturday had been very hot too. At one stage we thought dyeing day was not going to happen because of the heat. Monday morning found us with a lovely breeze down at the beach front and even though it was a battle getting the tarpaulins under the tables to protect the decking, it was a good mental and physical challenge. It was great having fresh air!  The decking outside was idyllic for the dyeing workshop.The view was superb and we had a wonderful time on Monday. It was easy and relaxing. Those new to it could just join in the conversation because it was, as usual, all about the sharing knowledge and expertise through conversation. It was doing and discovering, asking questions, looking at what others were doing and learning all the time. It was the talk which progressed the ideas and the focus on colour which enabled the creativity . Those new to the process could join in very easily and produce dyed wool which looked the part. Those accustomed to the process could help each other get the best out of the colours, the mixing and the effects. Some members of the group sat inside and were spinning because that is what they wanted to do. They had something interesting to look at and could hear all the chatter. No one in this group is required to participate in something they don’t want to. You are free to develop your own learning path but if you want to learn then everyone will lift you up so that you can achieve at a competent level. Dyeing Day was comfortable, fun, interesting and very colourful. We love colour.

Show and tell

knitted socks from oddmentsSo much to look at this week and it was all inspiring!

Marjorie had finished her socks from her oddments.

Marina crocheted a jacket in cotton using all her odd balls.

Chris shared a  round baby blanket in blue& yellow with a crocheted border.

show and tell Cathy had knitted  a cowl in her art yarn pink/white & blue and spun a ball of Susie Horn’s bits in green plied with dark Finn/Romney/Corriedale X from Marie Pfeiffer’s fleece. 

Hilary & Maria made some small teddies for Sonya &  and Hilary presented a skein of wool/mohair mix.

show and tell 29th JanJanette a ball of spun wool brown/white.

Sheila 9 carded batts in blues & violets.

Jan  had been very creative and shared 4 skeins turquoise/purple mix, purple, turquoise & red with variegated pinks, 7 berets, 1 white with a cable band & button decoration, 1 pink felted feather & fan pattern, 1 dark blue knitted in singles, 1  two tone blue, 1 orange, green & brown tones, 1 variegated pinks knitted in singles & 1 child’s beanie knitted in short row sections.


Fleece feast

Susie Horn’s bags of dyed bits featured well in the fleece feast last week. She knows a lot about sheep and dyeing and runs a farm at Meadows. Her colours are unique and recogfleece feastnisable. Alpaca yarn featured well last week too as we like to spin it.  Alexis had presented her lovely flamingo pink wool and soft pink wool in a custom wool bowl made by a friend who does pottery. Cathy spun some art yarn at the group last week from Susie Horn’s bag of bits and some dark Finn X from Marie Pfeiffer’s sheep. Marina had spun some dark alpaca and plied it with the lovely colours from her bag of dyed bits . Sheila had spun the grey alpaca to make her vest. Margaret had two colourful balls of wool spun from her bags of Susie Horn’s bits. There can never be enough yarn and just look at it. Home spun yarn has character.

Alpaca vest

alpaca vestSheila’s alpaca vest caused a bit of sensation on Monday and people wanted to try it on. It was so cool, so interesting and so soft. The good news is we found out it was a vest/ shrug which was flattering to everyone who wore it. They felt happy and comfortable in it too. Sheila has been spinning the alpaca for this vest for quite a long time and each week her feet were going madly on her spinning wheel trying to get all the skeins done that she needed for this crochet vest. We loved the flower motif on the back. That makes it so special and very attractive.The colour means it will mix and match with any outfit. This vest is not finished yet. It will be longer. We are looking forward to seeing this    finished garment. alpaca yarn

Colourful socks

knitted socksMarjorie has yet to put the heels into her latest WIP (work in progress). She also has a head start on Odd Socks Day. She is making a point of putting her spun wool oddments to good use by making lovely, thick colourful socks. These ones are interesting because there is the geometric pattern knitted up in garter stitch. They will make warm, comfortable , durable socks and  beperfect for inside boots or sneakers. What do you do with your oddments?

Very orange

orange battHilary had carded a very vibrant orange batt with bits of silver sparkle , some deep red fibre  and some yellow. You can see how beautifully it spins up and it makes jam too! This was Hilary doing a preview trailer for a coming workshop once we get the dyeing one done. She was quietly trying to show those of us who are new to all of this that you can get some really special and stunning effects if you know how to mix colours and fibres as you card. The colour was striking so it will be nice to see what Hilary is going to do with this. orange batt

Feather and fan scarf

blue feather and fan scarfWendy’s new feather and fan scarf has a completely different look from her cream feather and fan scarf. She is showing us just how versatile this pattern is. This scarf is made from her own spun wool which she spun on her manual wheel so she’d have better control over how the yarn  looked. Looks beautiful to us. Those blues are just lovely. The instructions for knitting the feather and fan pattern are on the Cream ensemble post.

Knitted sheep

knitted sheepChristine’s knitted sheep stole our hearts. He is just so cute. The sheep was a knitting kit which she had received for Christmas. Christine was saying just how much stuffing he took. Must have been a very hungry sheep. He is gorgeous. There are some lovely , free knitted and crochet sheep patterns on SweetLiving if you feel like making yourself a sheep. knitted sheep

Show and tell

showandtellJan22Janette had knitted a large size cardigan in dark brown with colourful stripes.

Marina shared a large plastic bag made from plastic bag yarn (plarn) and  a tablet case made from the same material. Both items were crocheted. She also shared a ball spun wool from a mixed dyed fleece plied with brown alpaca,.

Christine  had knitted a cute sheep made from a kit which was a gift at Christmas,

Alexis  had made 2 balls of spun wool & 1 ball of pale pink alpaca spun from a gift at Christmas which she presented in a special bowl for knitters which her friend had made.

Marjorie shared a pair of socks still in progress.

Margaret had spun wool from Sue Horne’s random dyed fleece.

crocheted shrug
Sheila’s crocheted vest. WIP.

Sheila  had spun 2 skeins of  alpaca, some of which has been made into a vest which is another work in progress.

Marina & Peter gave a couple of safety clips from the bike race as a give away.

Woolly goodness

woolly goodnessOur show and tell table last week was laden with woolly goodness. We love spinning and we love crating projects projects. It’s really good when others appreciate and value them too. The spun wool had such interesting colours, the tiny teddies are still coming in because we love making them. Margaret was knitting her lavender cowl with the wool she got from her Secret Santa present. We had such fun with Christine’s crescent shawl because we were trying it on and styling it. It felt beautiful but we discovered there were so many ways to wear it. Woolly goodness brings us to life and makes us very enthusiastic and motivated. That show and tell table was such good medicine.

Banana Fibre Silk

banana silkBanana fibre is totally sustainable and  environmentally friendly. Fabric made from banana fibre and banana fibre silk is gaining in popularity as we increase our awareness of how to produce sustainable clothing. Cathy had spun some banana fibre silk into her art yarn and it gives it a sheen . It is a silk substitute and has been in other cultures for quite some time. We weren’t sure about banana fibre and how it was made. Christine , our fibre expert, pointed us in the right direction by sharing the link to the fibretofashion site which is a very handy site to know if you want to know about fibre! The link explains the history of banana fibre and cultural uses because it is both a strong , reliable fibre and one which can be decorative as well. The video gives you an insight as to how it is converted from banana plant to fibre.

The great plarn adventure

plastic yarnPam and Sheila were having a whale of a time on Monday with their plarn (plastic yarn) adventures. They were having a lot of fun and creating a lot of interest but they were very particular in how they went about it. Their plan was to make plarn bags and we worked out through their process that experience is everything. They had no intention of failing and they had no intention of making a bag which was just okay. They followed the instructions carefully and double checked with each other. They accepted any input from the group graciously. They cut the plastic very precisely and then road tested each piece and each colour and road tested different sized crochet hooks and hook styles. Nothing was left to chance and so, even though they were having a lovely time, their approach was very scientific. They worked out that some hooks gave a rough look. Some plastic was easier to crochet and gave a better look than other plastic. This all took time and patience but, in the end, it came together successfully, so much so, that Sheila’s hook actually colour co ordinated with her chosen plarn. That’s dedication!