When you meet Jan 2 you learn quickly she is very easy to talk to and very enthusiastic about alpaca fleece. She loves her alpacas and is a very keen alpaca farmer who has done due diligence and made a point of knowing as much about them and their fleece as she can. She never stops learning and her passion for them is infectious. She loves each and every one of her crias (baby alpacas) and always ensures they are put into caring homes. She is full of joy when a new one is born. Her genuine love of her farm and animals is why she makes friends easily. She talks warmly about what she does and you cannot help but get caught up in it. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story this week.
Jan Mark 2
Mum taught me to knit when I was five! And my father used to crochet finely worked doilies! Mum always liked knitting and later on did quilting. I didn’t start spinning until we bought alpacas. At that time, my husband brought me home a spinning wheel from a second hand shop. It had one bobbin, no lazy kate or anything else. I bought an Ashford book and from that, I taught myself how to spin. I was advised to start on sheep’s wool but after a week I went on to alpaca fleeces. Once I mastered that I made hats and scarves. We’ve won over a hundred prizes for our champion alpacas. Rearing them then training and grooming them for showing, is an art in itself!
I sell my work at the Meadows market. I was invited to the Victor Harbour Spinners to talk about suri alpaca. They were such a nice group that I ended up joining! Then sometime later I was invited to to talk about alpacas to the men’s group at Aldinga. I took two alpacas along with me. When the rain eventually stopped I took them out and showed them to the men. Because alpaca fleece and yarn are used in craft work, the men did an unprecedented thing. They had invited their womenfolk! I learned about the women’s spinning group and sure enough, I joined up with them. So now I alternate with the Victor Harbour Spinners and Seaford Spinners on a Monday and I still go to the Aldinga group which meets every fortnight on a Tuesday.
We are overjoyed to have Jan the second join our group. She has much to teach us and we are eager learners. Thank you in anticipation Jan.
We were having fun. It was all Alexis’ fault. She had been spinning these autumn colours for quite some time. A skein of wool doesn’t just make itself. Monday was the day! She had finally finished and then that beautifully, squishy, colourful skein of wool was calling out to us. It has that real Look At Me quality about it but it was something you wanted to feel as well. Karin ,Wendy and Alexis had some fun using it as a nice cowl. It was cold. The skein of wool looked and served the part. Winter warmth with lovely colours. It was great against Karin’s rust coloured top and then, with Wendy, it stood out nicely with her red , felted tunic top. Colour. It makes you feel well.
We have cropped Wendy’s picture because the camera caught her when she was blinking and we should have retaken the photo. We are not perfect…but we are colourful.
We had a lovely time today. It was full of good ideas, some lovely colours, skills sharing and creative chat and fun. Our members who had sent beanies up to Alice Springs to the Beanie Festival were very impressed with the efficient way unsold beanies were returned and the fact that they had sold as many as they did. They had sold all of their beanies or all but one. Proud moment for all of us.
Show and tell
Karin: a large crotchet blanket worked from corner to corner with multi-colour stripes very effective.
Cathy : beret in spun wool pink/cream – she shared the pattern.
Marina : boot laces made on an inkle loom brown/cream
Hilary : a pair of fingerless mittens in multi-colour acrylic
Sheila’s work in progress were the cute frogs she was making for her grandchildren.
Alexis had just finished plying a beautiful autumn coloured skein.
Crochet mandalas are very popular . It’s the colours peole use and then the visual impact. Great way to use up oddments, spend a happy rainy afternoon or have an on the go project which fills in small amounts of time when you want a break from bigger things. Mandalas look different in home spun wool or yarn. The pattern definition is not as stark and it will look more like a watercolour. Commercial yarn is very even and doesn’t have the texture. You use what you want to create the visual effect which suits your project. They can be framed, used as cushions or bags. They can go on the back of jackets or be grown into blankets or table covers. They are pleasing to the eye and this mandala is a good way to start.