The art of alpacas

ron doley wheel alpaca fleeceWhen 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.

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Beanies to berets expo

berets to beanie stall

This is a good picture of the other end of our stall at the Beanies to Berets Expo at Port Noarlunga Arts Centre last week. You can see Hilary’s lovely felted jacket and John’s weaving which created so much interest and he did make sales and help a lot of people with their weaving skills. You can also see our banner which was woven by club members a few years ago. Sea and sand. We spin by the sea and love it.

Show and tell

There were a lot of us there on Monday and we were in full voice and at full volume. The Port Noarlunga Beanies to Berets textile expo had cheered us up. Our stall had done well, Jan 2 had had her alpaca stall, with her live alpacas , which went well and Janette had her stall which had gone well too. The whole event was positive and Hilary summed it up well:

Our Textile Expo on Saturday was considered a big success we sold several
items, had lots of interest & fun talking & exchanging idea with other stall holders
as well as customers & with quite a few of members helping out either behind the
stall or just coming to see. A big thank you to John who arrived at 10am and stayed all day chatting and explaining the merits of weaving to anyone who listened, also to Alexis who provided the much needed dummies for draping garments on& Jan who was
there early straight from her sick bed. A thank you to one and all.

Show and tell

Maria :white beanie in a pattern Maria has made up.
Marjorie : very colourful socks
Chris: 2 skeins 1, green Polwarth, 1 purple Alpaca.
John :sporting a vest knitted by Chris a long time ago given to one of our
members to make into a toy but too good to cut up and it was just waiting
for the right person to come along to wear it.

We are famous!

Marjorie, our President, Hilary , our secretary ,and Maria, our beloved , skilful, treasured senior member have been helping to promote textile arts and crafts in our southern area because the Beanies to Berets Exhibition is on this coming weekend at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre. There are some real textile skills and artists in our area so we need to make them more visible. Hilary and Marjorie did an interview on an Adelaide radio station to help promote the event and then Maria, Hilary and Marjorie have been in the local press in the Southern Times on p. 9 and the Adelaide Advertiser  last Friday helping to make the community realise we are there and yes, we love our yarn arts and crafts. We shall be running a stall at the exhibition on Saturday and some of us will be displaying beanies and berets in the exhibition. We are looking forward to it. Other members have other yarn things to do on Saturday as well. It is a busy time of year.