Mohair and some (virtual) travel

At the end of last month we had a little study session about mohair. Several members had kindly contributed mohair in various stages of preparation, so everyone received a variety of samples – raw, blended with wool, carded pure, dyed in locks and drum carded.

A sample to try

We talked about the differences between mohair and wool, and how to make the most of mohair’s qualities. Some people found it hard to break the habit of smoothing the yarn when spinning, but they succeeded in the end.


And we looked at the effect of brushing, which was – well – fluffy.


We’ve also had our AGM, which had two highlights. First, it was preceded by an account by John MacGibbon of the cruise he and Liz recently took from Alaska to Vancouver. Scenery! Snow! Glaciers!

Hubbard Glacier

Interestiing and cute things were seen in the little towns – here’s a scene in a shop in Skagway:

No, they weren’t Cabbage Patch dolls – and no, they weren’t for sale!

– and they visited Mushers Camp, where sled dogs are trained and Liz found a friend:

Sled dog puppy

The second highlight was Lynette being presented with Life Membership of our guild. Everyone had kept the secret very well and she was more than a little astonished. A bit overcome too. Marion did the presenting.

From one Life Member to another

(We’re making her work for it though – we elected her president for the coming year!)

Thanks to Lynette for taking the mohair pictures, and to John for the Alaska ones and a really interesting talk! If you’d like to see more of cruising round Alaska take a look at


Making and remembering – a blog of two parts

Would you believe it – this fancy scarf was woven on a rigid heddle loom!

Liz made it on an old 12-inch rigid heddle loom by Tekoteko (Philip Poore’s brand, who also made Pipy wheels). You can see the pattern better in this picture, and better still if you click twice on it to enlarge it as far as it will go.

The fibre is silk and yak, 2-ply, and the pattern is called Brooks Bouquet. If (like many of us) you have an underused rigid heddle loom, and if you would like to try it, just google “weave Brooks Bouquet” and you’ll find instructions and how-to videos.

If she isn’t proud of it, she should be! (Thank you to John MacGibbon for the photos.)

And for the second part of the blog, here is a very special picture –

We have lost both those precious members during 2017. Marie, who died early in the year,  was a life member of our guild, and a former president. And Doug no longer sits quietly during meetings, spinning or finishing off his weaving. We miss them both, with their cheery smiles and friendly chat.

In the picture it’s March 2015, and they are cutting our 45th birthday cake! We had quite a big celebration, enjoyed by present and past members.

I wonder how we’ll celebrate our 50th year in 2020!

That was Quite Some Spin-in!

On the 2nd of September, people from far and near joined us for our annual Spin-in. Here are some of them –

There were many attractions, but nothing could top this one!

He was 10 days old and the smallest one of triplets. He didn’t have a name yet so a prize was offered for the best suggestion. Everybody wanted a cuddle.

The traders had lots of goodies – all sorts of yarns and fibres –

There might be a treasure in here –

and there were definitely some here

Colour everywhere, natural –

and brightly dyed

Here is a display of the creations made by some members who have been learning to work with raw fleece. As always, click the picture to see more detail.


More of our work was modelled in the fashion parade.

A strangely statuesque sheep photobombed a few of the photos – not sure where that came from.

Here is a gallery of the parade –
Click on a little picture to see it full size. Then you can click on one of  the arrows on either side of the photo to move forward or back. To return to this page, click on the little X in the top right corner.


And what about the lamb?

He went home with a full tummy and a new name – Pebbles.

Sorrow – R.I.P. Doug Barrett

The last month or two have been a difficult time for our Guild. You’d need the fingers of both hands to count the illnesses, operations, and painful accidents members have had. At last Wednesday’s meeting two of the casualties had a leg up on a second chair. Get well wishes to all!

But a few days ago, real tragedy struck. Our very special Doug, whose beautiful weaving we last showed you in June, has died after a heart attack.

We loved to have him sitting quietly in a corner, finishing off a rug or spinning miles of yarn on his electric spinner, and sometimes chatting with his wry humour. He would arrive in his elderly ute* (with a bicycle attached to the back in case the ute broke down) often bringing a rug that he’d just finished for us to see. He was ridiculously modest, and never satisfied with what he’d made. He kept out of the way of cameras so this poor photo is almost the only one we’ve got.


We spent a delightful Garden Day at his home in January.



In the last few weeks he had been making a very special rug for the Guild, which will be displayed at future events. We marked his passing at our Spin-in yesterday, and three of his fellow weavers carried it in and set it up on the stage for all to admire.

We’ll miss him, as will the Upper Hutt Guild; he belonged there too. Out sincere sympathy goes out to Mary and the family.

And what about the Spin-in? How did that go? We’ll show you soon. Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures of Doug and his work.

Doug happy to see the MacGibbon cat enjoying his weaving at a garden day in January 2016

Diamond rug winning the “Best Use of Colour” trophy at our 2016 spin-in

Crazy paving in wool

*For our North American readers, a ute in New Zealand is what you’d call a pickup.

Spin-in – it’s nearly here!

The biggest event of our year is on Saturday 2nd September – the Wairarapa Spin-in. Traders, hands-on activities, a fashion parade, our famous soup at lunchtime, and lots of friendly fibrecrafters from near and far to enjoy it with. Here’s a photo from last year

A feast of craft and colour

Our traders this year include (in no particular order)

Two Minute Needles
Yarnz (Nanette Cormack)
Little Wool Company (Anna Gratton)
Rewa Rewa (Patrizia Vieno)
Kane Carding
Wairarapa Felters
Raydene (Yvonne & John Monk)
Sheena’s Socks ‘n’ Wool
Earth Palette Dyes
Caveland Fibre (Shona Harris)

(There is no ATM close to the venue, so come prepared in case you might just possibly want to buy something!)

The fun is from 10am to 3pm in the Wairarapa College Hall, 83 Pownall St, Masterton. Admission $5, includes morning and afternoon tea and that soup – please byo mug.

Here are the details of how to get there and park, and a poster you can print.
How to find us
Parking and access
Poster – a printable version

We’d love to see you  there!

Looking ahead – and back

Our spin-in is on Saturday 2nd of September!

Our annual spin-in is the big highlight of our year. Crowds from close by and further away enjoy shopping, food, a fashion parade, activities, food, raffles, and did I mention food?

We’re holding it in the same place as last year. There doesn’t seem to have been any progress with earthquake-strengthening the Masterton Town Hall, but Wairarapa College is an excellent venue and we are happy to be going back there.

Do come if you are nearby! Here are the details:

Poster – a printable version

How to find us

Parking and access

Meanwhile, Lorraine and Tracy have completed the spinning stage of our start-with-raw-fleece project. Like the other participants they are thrilled with the colours. What will these lovely yarns become, I wonder? We’ll find out when the finished items are displayed at the spin-in!

Jutta has been learning the very ancient craft of tablet-weaving. It’s so ancient that sets of tablets, one with weaving still in progress, were found in the Viking ship-burial at Oseberg in Norway, dating from 834AD.

And here are some of the colourful things on our show-and-tell table this month.

Lovely things and a very welcome visitor

At the show and tell this month, everyone’s attention was caught by Doug’s stunning wall hanging, which won the Irma Levick trophy for weaving.

Each element has significance – notice the dove of peace in the top left, and the little koru at the base setting it in New Zealand. The photograph doesn’t do it justice. You can’t even see the little beads which add to the effect.

The Cherry Hopkins trophy was won by one of Josie’s two charming children’s sweaters, and note also the lovely skeins by Margaret and the vest which Jutta made with many difficulties for her husband to wear in his workshop. He insists on saving it for best, and who can blame him!

And yesterday who should walk in the door but Stacey Craig and her family! They live in Oklahoma, but back in 2011 they spent a year in Masterton. Glenn, a doctor, worked at the local hospital, Twins Beth and Katy were fascinated by spinning wheels and received one for Christmas.  And Stacey –  well, Stacey became a guild member and a spinner! She even wrote a little book on what they all learned about sheep and wool and spinning!

Here are two pages of Stacey’s beautifully-illustrated book – do click on it to see it properly! – on the right, she is being presented with a rug we all made when they left. She’s the one in the bright pink top.

It was wonderful to see them all again, and even more wonderful to hear that they are looking into the possibility of moving to New Zealand! Meanwhile, they all, and a young friend travelling with them, enjoyed a shearing demonstration at the Wool Shed.

We hope we’ll see a lot more of you soon!