And now we spin and weave

Image: Educator Hotspot

Sonya, our roving reporter, has brought us more stories about what people in our group used to do. Lifelong learning means you learn and develop a lot of skills and so you are always growing and are always current, as they say. You create your own relevance because you have the experience to be able to do that. We all do it now through spinning and weaving. Over to Sonya:

Update for Maria who was  seconded for war work in wartime Germany.

Maria assures us that all the events in her previous report, took place during her apprenticeship!!!  What an amazing time it was for you, dear Maria!

Jan

I  used to love watching and learning from my Mum while she was doing her craft work. All her sewing, knitting, tapestry, embroidery, crochet etc, I learnt like that. That’s how I learned how to crochet granny squares, as a young thing. I guess Mum was a lot like me- quiet, reserved and a good listener. What a treasure of a mother you had, Jan. And they say a good apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

John

I used to own an aeroplane, a motorbike and some 2nd hand cars. However I sold them all because I didn’t have room to store them!  I learnt how to fly the plane but didn’t have time to fly it ! I was flat out running my own motor car repair business.

John you’re still flat out coaching our weavers, repairing our spinning wheels, making improved parts for them and inventing ingenious parts and pieces to restore problem or ancient looms and wheels. Every spinning and weaving group should have a Mr Fixit like you. We are indeed fortunate to have you in our  midst.

Sonya

I used to teach at  Tauhara  school on the edge of the town of Taupo, which is on the edge of the beautiful Lake Taupo NZ. When we walked around the school playground it sounded as if we were walking on top of a huge empty tank. Boom Boom every step we took.  On hot February afternoons  I remember taking my class of little tackers out into the bracken fern  scrub, finding a spot with some  shade and no steam coming out of the ground. And there I would read or tell them stories.  After several years all the floors of the classrooms rotted away with the warm moist steam from the ground below. It was a strange and wonderful place!

The more Jans the merrier

textile toysJan 3 is our newest Jan. They are all talented and expert at what they do. Jan 3 is a cheerful, helpful person who has made it easy to get to know her as our newest Jan. We also like what she does. She is very lacy and so brings along crocheted lace, her beautifully knitted homespun lacy tops but she won all our hearts with the gorgeous alpaca she made for one of her grandchildren. She gives her toy animals a real personality. Sonya, our roving reporter , has brought us her story:

Jan  (Mark 3)

 Jan, who has recently joined Seaford Spinners and Weavers has awed us with her exquisite spider-web  fine work.  Where have you been all our collective life, Jan? 

My sister taught me  to spin, about 30 years ago.  She had learned to spin in New Zealand. (What better place, Jan!) For some years I was spinning. However when my life got really busy I gave up. Then when I retired I took it up and have been spinning again.

More recently Marina and I were introduced to each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  As a result of our meeting, here I am.  Nice work, Marina. Networking at its best!

I have been making crocheted squares since I was I was a child. Mum was a seamstress and very ‘crafty’. I also do tatting, which I learnt from the internet !!!

 Jan, you must be the first person on the planet, to have mastered tatting by internet.

I  make safety eyes for toy animals and such, with resin. I have a love-affair with making toys. These eyes  are completely childsafe. I also do needlepoint tapestry. At the moment I’m spinning alpaca, to make an alpaca stool.

I love being here, seeing what people are making and of course I enjoy the social atmosphere. And I’m not far from home, here in Noarlunga. I grew up right near to the Noarlunga School. So I’m a local yokel. And aren’t we pleased you haven’t strayed far from your neighbourhood!

All about Karin

It’s easy to learn from Karin. She has a unique sense of humour which makes you laugh and then anything you are trying to learn becomes easy because you can see the funny side of what is not going right. She has helped many of us achieve her 10 stitch blanket featured in the images above . She has done that with a lot of patience and tolerance peppered with the funny things she says. We become fearless and just do it. Sonya, our roving reporter, is bringing you Karin’s story this week and it’s great to see how much her travels and linguistic skills have played such a big part in her love of yarn:

All About  Karin  (well, nearly all…)

I have to admit, it was hard to prize information from our Karin. Lithe of body, young in looks, and clothed with a mantle of modesty, she had me digging to find out anything about her!

I learnt to knit at school and my Oma, who was actually Italian, in spite of her title, taught me about knitting. I was about eight or nine, as far as I can remember. In fact everyone in my family who showed any signs of getting bored was taught to knit, including my uncle! However, for a long time my knitting got me nowhere because school and studies took over.

When I went to Southern Africa, I worked as a research assistant, dealing with the Namibian Herero tribe, a tall very proud tribe. Although they don’t wear their magnificent clothes for every day life, whenever there is a meeting or occasion of any formality, on go the traditional costumes. And those hats! The women walk so straight and tall, probably as a result of carrying  considerable loads on their heads. They had a phonetic language but not a written one. We worked in consultation with these people to create a written language. They wanted first of all to have the Bible written and translated in their own language.  The African women were knitters! Their mothers and ancestors were no doubt taught to knit by the former German colonists. So these women inspired me to take up knitting again.

Then I went to live in England and New Zealand. But it was only when I came to Australia eight years ago that I started knitting again. I wanted a new challenge. So I took up spinning and revived my interest in knitting. I’ve taught our group here, how to knit shortened rows within a ten stitch pattern achieving a clever triangular corner. I never thought I would be teaching others how to do such things!

With Karin’s skills, creeping out from under her modesty mantle, one can only suspect that this interesting soul has a deal more to teach us. Watch this space…

PS With a great show of courage and skill, Karin has mastered the somewhat terrifying opening and locking of the club room door, with a series of button pressing, coding and sequencing. Not for the faint hearted!

You can find out about the Herero people on Wikipedia.

Herero Women

Our intrepid adventurer

beret hilaryHilary has travelled widely and brings that keen sense of adventure to her spinning. She comfortably works with fluorescent and ultra bright colours and can combine them very successfully. She understands the magic of yarn and can make some very whimsical items which are very appealing and then she’ll suddenly blow us away with something like her stunning full length jacket which we all loved. Sonya , our roving reporter , is bringing us her story this week:

 

 

 

 

Hilary Our hero and Historian.

We’ve lived in Seaford since 1972.  (I detect some stability here!)

Mum always used to knit for me and I sewed for Mum. (And I detect some notable generosity here.) My friend introduced me to spinning. At that time Eunice was asked to start up a group for women in the area. My friend found out about Eunice who had a group meeting at her home. We went there, with Eunice insisting that as we were beginners at spinning, we should start off by using a drop spindle!! (Let me assure you dear readers that the ancient art of using a spindle is not for the faint hearted, clumsy, or like me, the slow to learn.)

Eunice was very arty and crafty. As a weaver, she used the materials around and available.  E.g. for dyeing she used whatever plants or leaves she thought might be worth a try.  We had all sorts of workshops- dyeing, weaving, and felting. We explored the elements of making things with all sorts of fibres, such as wool, alpaca, silk etc. All this was done at her own home but even then it was known as the Seaford Spinners. The first place the group moved into when our numbers grew, was a church hall.

I bought a wheel which was a copy of the standard Ashford and I’ve never really stopped spinning since then.

When we were in Saudi Arabia in 1983-87 I took my wheel and fleece with me. I couldn’t buy any fleece there, so I used to ask anyone coming back from being on leave to bring fleeces and wool and other bits and pieces. In those times visitors were not allowed in Saudi, but we, with our work visas were allowed to come and go. At the end of the four years I sold my wheel and some fleece to an American woman whom I taught to spin. I had a break for about 15 years while we were travelling. (Lucky things!) Then I re-joined Seaford Spinners while they were occupying the bowling club at the top of the hill leading down to the Port Noarlunga village. (With the world’s most magnificent view, I reckon). When we had to vacate from there, we moved down the hill to the sunny little CWA hall. We eventually outgrew that venue and thanks to Clarrie whose son was the Commodore of the Yacht Club, we are here to this day. (With another magnificent view of the sea, which nearly laps at our verandah!)

What Hilary hasn’t talked about are the many years she has carried a load of responsibilities in the Seaford Spinners. She has worked tirelessly and unobtrusively at organizing workshops, bus outings, opening and closing the rooms, club celebrations, Christmas festivities, writing up the minutes, running meetings, and all those things that “someone needs to do something about”.  In spite of all this, Hilary is a regular contributor to our Show and Tell table, with works of wonderful colours and beautiful craftsmanship.