The fabric of life

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

A potted history of Marina and Peter


77 year old man learns the art of weaving


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Spinning the blues

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

Health benefits of yarncrafting

Mental Health Benefits of Slow Yarn


Waste not, want not

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

Visual effects with fibre

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