It’s been a good year an we have done well. We’ll just look at the top posts for the year today because it is an interesting mix. We have had 7559 visits to the blog page and 178 followers. Our top five countries are Australia, America, UK, Canada and Belgium but our visitors come from all over the world now.
Our top post for the year is Christine’s crescent shawl from homespun wool. We then have had a lot of interest in the spinning and knitting sites and the site on Australian spinning wheels we recommended. Margaret’s sheep cushion from Better Homes and Gardens has been a winner because she used her own colours and homespun wool. Sonya’s report on Alan came into the top 3 from being posted late in the year. We’ll have to blame that on Clarrie! Christine’s celtic knot scarf she tried out also did exceptionally well. It’s interesting and a good knitting challenge. Visitors to our blog like a challenge knit. Then there was Wendy’s cream poncho which looks just beautiful. Such a classic and it suits her well. Like Instagram it’s mainly knitting but the sheep was crocheted. Part of our success is the fact we can spin our own wool and create something which is very original because we can customise the yarn weight and colour when we want to . Such a nice reward for all our hard work!
Sonya, our roving reporter, has brought us another back story. This one is about Cathy who has been with Seaford Spinners and Weavers a year this June. Her original wheel is now going , thanks to the people in the group, and she has two others. She knew nothing about spinning when she arrived here but look at her go now!
The evolution of Cathy
At primary school (in England) our entire class learned to knit and do canvas work. The boys made a scarf and the girls made a clever little hat out of a square of stocking stitch knitting. We threaded that square onto an Alice hairband and then we learned to do running stitch in order to gather the square into a hat. After the hat and scarf we had to knit mittens to go with them.
The cold English winter must have been a great motivation for these projects!
My Mum had previously taught me to knit. I made a rather irregular scarf with added on and lost stitches.
Dad’s sister would come down from Scotland, with her Aran knitting. She always brought me red wool, and taught me how to do cables, bobbles, basket stitch and sundry other raised stitches.
And so the germination of handwork was embedded in our Cathy at an early age.
Our German cousin used to visit and she did fair-isle. She taught me to change colours with my knitting. I would have been 9 or 10 years old. Our grandma taught me to crochet on a big fat tortoiseshell crochet hook at the age of 11.
I was 14 when we moved over to Australia. The woman who lived across the street from us did crocheting and tatting. Such a lovely lady, she got me into serious yarn crafting.
When I became a teacher, my knitting and crochet was a way of decompressing, after a day in the classroom and enduring an amalgamation of two schools and I knitted through numerous meetings, which kept me sane!
Then I had a baby girl. From the age of 3 , she would tell me what she wished me to knit and what colours she wanted and also what graph design she wanted.
It was at one of my schools that I noticed a spinning wheel high on a shelf in the classroom. I thought I would like to learn how to spin. Every day this spinning wheel would call out to me whilst I was busy teaching French! In 1989 our school amalgamated. All fittings and fixtures were priced and sold, so I bought the wheel which had been beckoning me for some time. I cleaned and dusted and polished it but it remained an ornament until last year.
After Mum died I did quilting from fabrics she had stored away and from my own stash of bits and bobs. Also I got back into doing canvas work, cross stitching and needlepoint embroidery.
When I retired I applied to go on the Onkaparinga Active Ageing consultative committee. One of our roles was to contact all the groups that would or did, offer something for seniors so that we could organise an expo. That’s when I came across the Seaford Spinners and Weavers. I thought, well, I’ve got my spinning wheel, I’ll see if I can join up.
Eventually I got here! Janette helped me with my foot position on the treadle, Christine taught me to spin, Alexis got me going with natural dyeing and Sheila taught me how to felt. As a result of all this, I’ve got back into knitting and crochet. Everyone here has been such an inspiration and I’m loving it all.
And aren’t we loving you, Cathy with all your handiwork, your delicious baking that you bring and , as for your blogging, well we remain quietly hopeful you will put us on the world stage, making Seaford Spinners rich and famous. Also those minutes of our meetings make us giggle and we wait impatiently for the next week’s funniness. Of course we hope you do too!
Sonya has created another roving reporter piece for us on one of our members, Margaret. Yes, Margaret of the amazing fingerless gloves, cocoons and colours. And Margaret who carefully manages our finances each week. We are grateful.
I started learning to spin about 1986. About two years before that, we had bought a ten acre property at Willunga on Range Road West. Four acres of grassland sloping down to natural bush. I needed some way of keeping the grass down and noticed a sign up at a farm gate near our property, advertising kid goats for sale. We bought two females, and named them Honey and Cream. They were lovely animals more cashmere than mohair. I began increasing my goat family. I went to sales and picked up goats, starting with ten and eventually ending up with twenty or so! I tried to keep the population to around ten.
From then, I became involved with the Central Region of the South Australian Mohair Assn. At a Mount Pleasant show I met a woman from Myponga who said if I would like to attend the C.W.A she would teach me how to spin.
Trevor bought my first spinning wheel at Willunga at a shop called Bumble Bee, just up from the Post Office. Trevor said he would assemble it for me, but it was my father who ended up doing that. I learnt to spin first with wool, then on to the mohair. At first I couldn’t countenance eating goat meat! However I got over that and found it was a very acceptable meat. We could get the meat butchered/processed at Gawleys. However later on, we could only get this done at the Kangarilla butchers after we’d had the animals dispatched by the Kangarilla abattoirs.
I learned how to spin quite readily having no trouble spinning mohair, which many people found difficult. We went to various shows with our goats. That’s how I got to know my way around the Hills.
I went to the Noarlunga Tafe and did a course on goat husbandry and a day course on pasture management. At Marleston Tafe I did a course on mohair production and classing mohair.
Somewhere I met Jill King who kept saying I should come along to the Seaford Spinners, which I eventually did. Maria gave me her spare Ashford Traveller, then I got a Ron Doley fold up wheel. I like it as it fits nicely behind the back seat of the car.
At the moment I’m into crocheting. I still do Gallery duty at the Guild and put my garments for sale in there.
Maria and I go to the various retreats and camps such as Weekend Away where we learn new ideas and techniques and of course meet up with friends and make new contacts.
From purchasing two goats, I have gone on to learn how to spin, weave and felt, and I have made many friends along the way.
I’ve been club treasurer at Seaford Spinners since 2006 and funnily enough nobody seems to want me pensioned off! I wonder why?
Margaret I’d give you the Order of Australia for your years of service to our club, going over and above what the job description would suggest and for your flawless and fabulous creations. Long may you thrive and inspire us.
It is good to look at the stats from time to time and see how we are going. This month we have had some changes and they are interesting. We are ever grateful to the 142 follows and the visitors which have allowed us to have 4665 hits to our blog so far. There are people who regularly like our posts and comment and it’s good! In June the popular posts were about winter things. Most visitors come from Australia so that is not surprising at this time of year. Margaret’s sheep cushion was a big hit and Karin’s 10 stitch blanket. Our show and tell is always popular.
In July the posts changed quite a bit but the Australian Spinning Wheels post is , and has remained, a very popular post. Again show and tell is popular and the fingerless gloves have been shown to be something people like as well. People like and respond to our posts on colour and use of colour.
We have had a bit of a change in our countries with a lot of visitors from Turkey this month. That has probably come from our Instagram account. We are also picking up visitors form the Ukraine too and that is probably from Instagram too. We are getting more visitors and they are coming from all over the world. This list is not he complete list. Just the top countries.
Our referrers now includes Pinterest as of this month. That’s a big breakthrough and really pleasing. We have also increased referrals from Google Plus. Anyone with gmail will have a Google Plus account and can share posts and ideas on that. Pinterest has sent us more visitors this month than Instagram so that’s really interesting. It is also good to see the search engines are really working for us now.
Search terms which bring us here are a bit of an odd list but then there are things you’d hope for and expect. All those numbers and letters got someone to our blog? Oh, okay. The fact normal things have got people here is a relief after that. There are a lot of search terms WordPress can’t identify. That is not unusual.
Twitter hasn’t changed much but we are doing okay and holding our own. We are getting plenty of retweets of our things and that is a change now. People like what we do. Twitter has a hard time with sheep and woolly wonders.
Instagram is going really well. Our images are popular, we get comments and engagement and we are liked and respected. Our followers keep coming. The fingerless gloves have been really popular and our things with detail, colour and style. We put up a little video of Sheila’s counting beads for rows and stitches. It got 83 hits. That was an experiment done right! Our followers just like what we do and that’s good.
So it’s been an informative couple of months and all is going well.