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.

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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.

 

Roadtripping

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.

 

Lovely beanies

 

Both of these beanies are really interesting and look and feel nice. On the left is Sheila’s long tail beanie. She dyed  and spun the wool herself and it really has an interesting look with a well chosen palette of colours. In real life you look at all those colours and are fascinated by them. It is warm and soft. Sheila made the decision to add the turquoise stripes to give the hat a colour lift and we agreed she had done the right thing. That turquoise looks good . All the handspun wool gives it a good texture and it will naturally protect you from the elements.

Wendy’s hat is on the right. It is for really cold days. She had some spun grey wool that she liked but thought it wasn’t a good enough colour by itself to make something. What she did was knit in slivers of hand dyed silk which she had. It has worked out really brilliantly. The hat is warm, soft and the colours are not overstated. Again, a good decision with colour choices.