Spindles and more

Recently a few of us started learning  the ancient craft of spindle spinning. Our efforts were a bit tentative
and sometimes the drop spindles did what drop spindles do –
but fortunately we had a good coach in Ulla, who even knows how to use different types of spindle.
A couple of weeks later we got brave and invited other members to come upstairs and watch and have a go, still with Ulla’s help, of course
and several did.
Who knows, we may have started something!
Thanks to John MacGibbon for the last two photos.

We’ve also seen some lovely things made by members. This little rug in natural colours was particularly admired –
(The sheep isn’t real – the Wool Shed has quite a flock of these, all fake though a couple of them can be persuaded to baa.)

Show-and-tell was colourful, with a variety of skeins
and an attractive vest –

Here are a couple more pictures from last month – a serious discussion about suitable wool for felting (Another photo by John)

and giving a final polish to a wheel that will be for sale.

We receive quite a few older wheels, either inherited or no longer wanted, as outright gifts to the guild or sometimes to sell on commission. Some are too far gone, and we have to decline them. Often they just need a bit of TLC (this little Ashford Traveller wobbled, and had other minor issues) so we fix them up and find them good homes.



Spin In 2018 – another perspective

We have just had another very successful Spin In at Wairarapa College, with fibreholics coming from near and far.
Planning begins well before the event – do we use the same venue as last year? Well, yes as the Town Hall is still closed pending earthquake strengthening.

What traders did we invite? Tried and true of course. Lib, our lovely secretary took care of that while Trish sorted the venue. One of the things that make our Spin In such a success is the cup of soup at lunch time thanks to Gloria and team. I am sure this is what attracts so many to our event.

In past years we have had a Hands-on Activity which was located on the stage. This year we decided to hold this in the centre of the Hall at Wairarapa College. This proved to be a great idea, those participating didn’t have to climb stairs to the stage and if people wanted just to look they could as they wandered by. This year Janet assisted by Sue, guided us through the steps of making multi-coloured twisted cords where each colour was separate. If people were interested Janet helped them make a tassel. The best tip from the tassel making portion was to hold your tassel over a steaming kettle or pot of water. This puffs up the threads and makes them nice and fluffy.

Sue and Joan WP
There was the usual array of raffle prizes donated by members and traders. Its well worth buying a few.

Raffle table (2)

Ever seen a lamb in nappies?

Lamb (2)

Patrizia brought along one of her lambs. I kid you not, one of our members was cuddling it at the end of the day!
This year we decided to invite Elizabeth and Richard Ashford to speak about the Ashford company. What interesting and dynamic people they both are. I could have listened to them for much longer. Sadly, they needed to return to Ashburton later in the day and had a plane to catch. Before Elizabeth and Richard left they presented Lynette Teahan with the Joy Millar Trophy. This trophy is for any combination of wool and other natural fibre(s).  The item may be spun, felted, knitted, crochet etc. or any combination but must contain some wool. Trish Carver was presented with the William Ackerley Trophy for Best use of Colour.  Congratulations to you both!

Roll on next years Spin In.

Spin-in 2018

As always, it was a lot of fun.

The traders were a serious temptation –

(Yes, of course she bought it!)

There was plenty of colour as well as the naturals. Here are just a few of our wonderful traders –

(You may have recognised Tracy White and Yvonne Monk in the last two photos – a spin-in  wouldn’t be complete without them.)

It was a special treat to have Julie Van der Putten (Puddle and Quilt Works) come all the way from Cambridge.

As always, the Bring-and-buy was popular, with lots of books this time –
and some interesting plants –

Then some sheep arrived outside!
There were two Valais Blacknose rams (the ewes were all otherwise engaged, it being lambing time). The breed, which originated in Switzerland, is still very new to New Zealand – find out more about them here. They are reputed to be extremely friendly. Presumably this would never happen –

But back to the spin-in and the event many of us were eagerly anticipating, the talk by Richard and Elizabeth Ashford, come all the way from Ashburton. Their products are well known to most of us, but not the family’s history. Richard’s father Walter Ashford began selling kitset household items during the 1930s depression, when affordability mattered. We liked the photo of early product testing (yes, that is Richard on the rocking horse) –

There was much more, and we were happy to hear from Elizabeth that their succession planning will ensure continuity of supply in the future, including spare parts.

Elizabeth had one more job to do: she judged our two annual competitions. Here she is showing her choice for the Hugh Ackerley trophy for best use of colour, Trish’s much-admired rug –

And here is Lynette being announced as winner of the Joy Millar trophy for the best item made from wool and any other natural fibre –

Elizabeth seemed a little reluctant to take Lynette’s exquisite scarf off, and why is Richard on his knees?

A huge thankyou is owed to everyone who worked so hard to make the day a success!

More about the Spin-in, and …

First of all, we hope everyone’s calendar has a great big ring around Saturday the first of September – the Wairarapa Spin-in! Here are some of the goodies: are they to eat or to wear?

Just for some more temptation (and to make your wallet cringe) here is a list of the traders who will be there:
Earth Palette Dyes (Lynn Evans)
Caveland Fibres (Shona Harris)
Inspire Fibres (Tracy White)
Kaihi Wools (Sue Grayson)
Kane Carding (Sara and Neil Thorburn)
Little Wool Company (Anna Gratton)
Puddle and Quilt Works (Julie Van der Putten)
Raydene (Yvonne and Don Monk)
Rewa Rewa (Patrizia Vieno)
Waione Wool Carding (Lyn Watson and Steve Clarkson)
Wairarapa Felters

But that’s not all … Richard and Elizabeth Ashford are coming to talk to us! And they’ve asked for a screen to project onto, so what will they show us? Oh, the suspense!

Might there be some cute sheep too? Cross your fingers for nice weather.

And of course there will be the usual mouthwatering food and  soup (BYO lunch though). For everything else you need to know (time, place and how to get there, cost etc) click here  or click on WAIRARAPA SPIN-IN 2018 in the menu at the top of the page.

Now something special – at a Tuesday evening meeting last month, two young members were prizewinners:
Janine and Simona spun and knitted the cushions, and crocheted the rug. We are very proud of their achievement!

This month there were some lovely things at show-and-tell (click on one to see it bigger):

That’s it for now – see you at the Spin-in!

This and that

Our Spin-in will be on 1 September…
There will be the usual soup, yummy food, raffles, hands-on activities, and of course traders with wonderfully tempting goodies. This year we’ll have special guest speakers Richard and Elizabeth Ashford – we hear they just might have some new products to show us!

Need more details, like exactly how to get to Wairarapa College, where to park, and so forth? You’ll find all that here, as well as a downloadable copy of the poster you can print out and share..


Our Pop-up shop is now closed, and we’re very pleased with how well it went. Of course our work is still available in the shop at the Wool Shed. Here are a couple of glimpses.



We admired these creations in June – click on one if you’d like to admire it too.

See you at the Spin-in?

Making things with harakeke

Back in April (and I’m sorry it has taken so long to write about it) we had one of our most popular educational sessions ever. Caroline Smith came over the hill from Wellington to teach us how to make flowers and other items from harakeke – New Zealand flax. For people in other countries, harakeke (pronounced hah-rah-keh-keh) is absolutely not linen flax, linum usitatissimum. It’s phormium tenax, a very different kind of plant (actually a kind of lily).

Māori, first inhabitants of New Zealand, learned to make clothing, baskets, cordage and other useful and beautiful things from the fibres of those long strap-like leaves. Nowadays harakeke can be used in traditional and modern ways.

Caroline was generous with her time, and the Tuesday evening group had the first chance to enjoy this new (to us) craft (thanks to Margaret B for the photo).
On Wednesday things got really busy. There were samples for us to admire, and even aspire to
and no shortage of eager students.
The teacher was inspiring, the students were hard-working and attentive.
Soon little containers were taking shape –
and flowers.Bracelets were a particular favourite:
The possibilities are almost endless. We hope to do more with harakeke, one of these days.


In the shop

Look at the lovely things our members have made! All for sale, for just another two weeks, at 154 Queen Street Masterton. For a closer look, just click on a photo.

Oh, the handsome Mecchia spinning wheel in the window has sold – sorry!