Show and tell

It wasn’t warm. It wasn’t cold either. Bit of an odd day but it was good to look out over the ocean and inside the club rooms there were so many conversations, discussions and ideas which kept us very cheerful and enthused.  It was good to see so much colour.

Show and tell

Janette: a pair of very colourful slippers, a jumper to match in colourful stripes and a ball of spun wool in similar colours.

Margaret: ribbed beanie in mohair dyed with variegated dark red.

Jan (2): 4 spun skeins,1 beautiful white silky fibre made from OPTIM™ fibres , a CSIRO project, 2 natural light grey wool/rabbit, 1 natural light grey 100% alpaca.

Christine: a small shaped scarf crochet in pale mauve.

Cathy :2 spun wool balls 1 dark green Alexis’ tops, 1 grey with coloured flecks made from Alexis’ dyed alpaca fleece.

Marjorie: a jacket in turquoise blue with various coloured short stripes.

Wendy :a beautiful finely spun scarf in pale fawn baby camel/silk in a feather & fan design.

Peter: latest project on the loom.


All about the genes

Last week when we went to join the Victor Harbour Spinning group we were given a talk about rare breeds of sheep and how important it was to keep the gene pool strong. We have lost a large number of sheep breeds world wide because some sheep just don’t make money  and climate change is making areas unviable for sheep farming. The North Ronaldsay seaweed eating sheep are under threat because of climate change and they are trying to breed them to be grass eating to help their survival but then they won’t be the North Rondaldsay sheep as such. The Manx Loagham sheep date back to the bronze age but no longer have the variety of fleece colours since some colours are not popular. The Rare Breeds Trust keep a current list relevant to Australia. We need to keep the gene pool strong so we can keep our sheep healthy. They are social animals and were probably the first domesticated animals we humans had.

On the other end of the scale Christine was telling us today about spider goats. Professor Randy Lewis, a molecular biologist ,worked out how to get the spider drag line silk gene into goats’ milk so we could have better access to industrial strength silk! The video above tells you about it and you can read more on Business Insider.

As a spinner you can help sheep stay viable by selecting their fleece for spinning. It is also a chance to experiment with new and different fibres being produced so that you build the next bank of knowledge for current fibres on the planet. It then comes down to whether you support the breeds associated with your country or you help support breeds world wide. The talk made us really think about these sorts of issues and how we can play our part to ensuring fleece providing animals continue to be a part of our world but also how we can be alert to the fibre changes which are coming about because we live in the age of technology.


Grannie squares for beginners

Many brought along their crochet and knitting for Monday’s visit to the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group. Sonya learned how to make a grannie square as we explained in the last post. We realised there were people who want to crochet and who haven’t yet learned how to do it. The basic grannie square in the video teaches you a lot and then it can be used to make jackets, bags, blankets…whatever you like . Once you have mastered that basic square, it is not that hard to go on and do some of the fancier ones featured in this post.

Marina has been making grannie squares for a jacket and so on Monday she was knitting the band. Hers are all made from homespun wool and are the brown and other colours. The brightly coloured ones are Margaret’s. She is trying out different grannie square blocks. The pink one is just lovely and the ones with the flowers in the middle look really good and would give anything a 3D effect. Margaret likes to do the rounds in different colours when she is learning a new block so she can see clearly where to put her crochet stitches. You need that visual contrast when you are learning and the definition of commercial wool. Homespun gives a softer effect.

Enjoy the video from Bella Coco.


We had a nice day on Monday because we carpooled and took ourselves down to visit the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group who gave us a very warm welcome. There were spinners from the Adelaide Hills group, Gumeracha and Aldinga groups too. Part of the day was to raise funds for the Fleurieu Cancer Support Foundation and the day can be proud of the funds it raised for that good cause. It was also a chance to remind ourselves that rare breeds in sheep are important and that using their fleece helps keep the gene pool going. We had a lot of information shared with us about that. We had all brought our projects to be getting along with as we worked our way through the day. Sonya wins the prize for the most outstanding achievement in colour cor ordinating her purchases and outfit. How clever! She also learned how to make her first crochet  grannie square.