Saturday, July 26, 2014

The End of an Era

Today was our last day at St Marks in Withells Rd; next Saturday we'll be meeting at our new rooms in The Tannery; isn't that exciting?
On Monday the rooms will be open from 1pm till 3pm for anyone who wants to take a look; no spinning as we're not set up for that till later this week, but definitely worth a look if you can.

Heather and her students have been doing some overdyeing

Did I say some?   I meant a lot

And then there was more!

Jan has been knitting, this is a Touch Yarns creation which if viewed by a better photographer is red and orange and has crosses running through it created by the colour changes in it.

Mary Catherine has been busy turning Anna's merino/silk into lovely wee skeins.

This is Joanne's, she's been very busy spinning while watching the Tour de France.  This one is from Heavenly Wools.

Joanne also spun this Heavenly Wools fibre using the long-draw method on her stylus

And she spun these two as well; the front one is 2 plies merino and one of silk hankie and the back is the leftover silk hankie Navajo plied.

You saw the one on the left last week as well; I put it through the wheel again this time to add more ply twist and it's much better.   The second one is probably corriedale; it came off the sales table some time back and was without any label. (Rachelle)

Jan knit and modeled these lovely (and practical) wee cuffs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just One More Week!

Next week will be our last at St Marks in Withells Rd, the following week we'll be in our new premises; very exciting!

Today was a fairly busy day again, a little chilly despite having the heaters on, but lovely when the sun came out for a short time.

Barbara spun this lovely brown corriedale sourced from Margaret Stewart.

Jan knit these window pane slippers; the lining is merino.

Mary Catherine performed her magic with Noro yarn; this pattern is perfect for it!

Rachelle's Merino came out a little underplied, but the colours look lovely.  It's destined to become a shawl.

Joanne spun both of these.   Blue perendale from the Milton Mill and Grey merino/silk from Anna.

Shirley has been making more of her lovely computer dyed socks (the yarn is Opal or similar which is dyed to look like Fair-Isle by a computer system)

I think these were Jan's but they were removed before sharing.

Jan knit these slippers from a different pattern which she'll bring in later.

Various slippers and scarves for donation to schools.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday July 12th and a wee note about the Romney sheep.

First I want to let you know our good news, we're approximately 3-4 weeks away from getting into our new guild rooms at The Tannery!   The carpet goes down this week and the movers are going to be called to get our goods out of storage.

Since it was a fairly quiet day for photo's I've decided to put in a wee piece I wrote about the Romney sheep as well:



The Humble Romney

When I learned to spin I started off with a Romney fleece that I’d had washed and carded at Tai Tapu Wool Carders.   It was an excellent way to learn as the fibres were long enough to be kind to me as I fumbled my way along and tried to get my hands and feet to work together.   My second spin was of a different Romney fleece and that one was turned into a jersey that I still wear.
Once I’d got a handle on spinning though I branched out, I’ve spun Merino, Silk, Corriedale, Dorset, Alpaca and Yak.   I like to try new things, and I like to challenge myself as well.    I’d read about new fibres and want to try them, so I’d get some to try.    Of late though, I’ve been thinking I’d like to go back to my beginnings.
I don’t have a lot of Romney in my stash, mostly it’s Merino, but Merino is not ideal for harder wearing outer garments.    Romney on the other hand can be brilliant for this, but some is also surprisingly soft.    I think that’s one of the things I love about it, there is such a wide range of fibres from the one sheep breed.   It also if spun worsted has a beautiful sheen which makes it ideal for shawls as well.   If dyed it can glow; so why isn’t it more popular?
I think part of the problem is simply that in New Zealand, Merino is pushed so much that it’s mostly what people think of when they hear the word “wool”.   If it’s not Merino then it’s not worth considering.   This is simply not true, most breeds are worth spinning and they all are good for different things.   People also think of Romney as a meat sheep, it certainly makes a nice meal, but really it’s a dual purpose breed, especially when you have a flock that’s been carefully bred for its fleece.   Remember, Merino is also a good meat sheep as it’s low in fat, not something you see in the advertising.
I will be happy in a couple of months when I get my Romney back from Greenacres to spin up, it’s being carded and then gilled and then I’ll spin it and it will become a jersey for someone in my family.  It’ll be warm, look good, feel nice and wear well, what more could you ask for?  If there’s some left over after that then mittens or possibly a warm blanket or shawl, and in the meantime while I’m waiting I’ve got some lovely dyed Romney that will be pulled out as soon as I finish my current project.
I hope that some of you are now reconsidering the Romney in your stash and starting to dream about what it could be with a little attention!

Romney carded with some sparkle, this is going to be a hat as it's lovely and squooshy.

 Our lovely display this week was graced by the following pieces:

Kerry brought in her multi coloured socks; these were knit on a sock machine and while not new they don't show much sign of wear.

Jenny spun this natural brown alpaca, lovely and soft.  Jenny bought this last week.

Jan spun this silk which is absolutely glorious!

Jan also spun this merino from Heavenly Wools, which is lovely.

Jan also spun this Merino of Anna's; so nice and squishy.

Jan (not the same Jan as above) knit this gorgeous cowl from her first handspun that she dyed, I love the variation in colour.
 Next week we'll be at St Marks in Withells Rd; not many more times at either of the church halls; in fact we've finished at Opawa Rd which is sad in some ways as both churches have been such a great support to us.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July's Monthly Meeting

Yesterday's meeting was our monthly themed meeting; the theme this time was "Treasured Textiles".   A range of items were brought to be shown off, from first spun/knitted/woven items through to lovely items bought while on overseas excursions.     Unfortunately I can't remember who owned everything as I didn't have any paper to write it down on, so my apologies for that.    I will note what I do remember though.
There is also some of the work people had completed since our last meeting, which as usual is beautiful work.


An early jumper, quite heavy but beautifully warm


Sandra's first embroidery, unfortunately it's been attacked by silverfish, but a lovely piece of work with many memories

Joanne's spinning, the one on the right was bought for her by her son and then dyed by him.


Meg was given this when she was staying with a family in Europe I believe.   They offered her the choice of jewellery or textiles and she chose textiles.  It's double weave.


This is detail from Rosemary's christening dress, believed to have been made from an old nightie.

Kerry's husband rescued this from his mother's place when it was being cleared out after she passed away.   It's a souvenier tea towel from Queen Victoria's jubilee; the fabric is very fine.

Diane picked this up while overseas as well, it's a water bag


Detail of the water bag's weaving.
Genuine indian weaving from America, also Diane's.
Detail of Diane's last piece which is a salt bag
The salt bag in full; amazing workmanship.

This is a saddle blanket for a horse, never used on a horse though and really well made.

Rosemary's felt teddy

I think this was Eleanor's; it's a tapestry woven in alpaca that she bought while at the Maryland Sheep Festival.


Kerry made herself a glasses case after not being able to find one in the shops.



From back to front; first spinning then dyed; middle is the undyed first spinning and in front is the first dyeing done on commercial yarn.