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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!

A Popup Shop and a Project

Our annual town shop is open! If you’re in the Masterton area, we’d love to see you there. We’re open in Queen Street opposite Food for Thought café 9-5 on weekdays and on Saturday mornings, until 10 June.

Members have been busy spinning, knitting, weaving, felting, crocheting … and the lovely display of goodies is attracting plenty of customers. Click on a photo for a closer look.

Our bendy model (known as Mrs French, for reasons lost in the mists of time) gets a bit over-excited sometimes.

And with quite a few members who have only ever spun fibre like this –

or this –


we have turned our attention to this –

More next time!

We’ve been busy

Our workshop in late March was about preparing fleece wool – it’s remarkable how many spinners these days have worked only with ready-carded or combed wool. There was real enthusiasm to find out about fleece and flick-carding. We’ll be doing more of this.

We had a great show-and-tell this month.

This is Helga’s crochet mushroom (or is it a toadstool?) with its very own sheep –

The Ambulance people are very pleased with our comfort dolls, which are a real help to children in difficult circumstances. So we are making more.

The new building at the Wool Shed is well on the way.

See the little doorway on the right? That will lead to a storage area, and some of it will be ours!


There are a couple of new books  in our library:

Yarnitecture – a knitter’s guide to spinning, by Jillian Moreno

The first thing that strikes a reader is the wonderful photographs. Moreno starts from the basics with different fibres and preparations (there’s nothing about preparing it yourself by hand though; she admits the results are glorious but says it’s not her thing). She goes through the spinning process with clear explanations. Then comes the chapter on colour, which is an eye-opener – the effects you can get with combinations of different colours are an inspiration. She discusses knitting with your handspun. and the book closes with a dozen patterns. Highly recommended for its detail, clarity and superb illustrations.

Knitting for the Outdoors – Merino handknits for active kiwis, by Gillian Whalley-Torckler

Tracy has been reading this, and comments that it is not intended for users of handspun; each pattern is written for a specific commercial yarn. She likes the wide variety of patterns, and finds them well illustrated and easy to follow. The author worked with the manufacturers, and there is a list with details of each yarn and its maker’s website. All the yarns are blends of merino with silk and/or synthetics, presumably for durability.

Last of all, some news. Our annual shop in downtown Masterton will open on Monday 22 May and close on Saturday  10 June. As usual it will be in Queen Street, this year in a lovely shop opposite the Food for Thought cafe. (Convenient or what!)
Members have been working hard and there will be wonderful creations to buy.

Cuteness in March

Some of us have been very busy making little Comfort Dolls for the Masterton Branch of the Wellington Free Ambulance, to give to children at unhappy times. Here are some of them :

Comfort dolls

A pile of cute

The pattern is basically a simple rectangle, and the doll takes shape in the finishing. There are any number of “comfort doll” patterns and pictures on the internet – click on Comfort Doll for a PDF file of the one we are using.

In our monthly show-and-tell, there was more cute – we were enchanted by the litle top Helen B spun, knitted and embellished for her one-year-old great granddaughter.

Embellished top

Another cute

Helen didn’t stop there. She needle-felted a minuscule teddy, who now adorns her spinning wheel.

Cutest of all? This picture is just about life-size.

There was something else, not exactly cute but stunning – Hugh had given Jutta some of the amazing yarns he felts from combinations of leftovers. She wove a wall hanging, and presented it to him. Kindness coming back with interest!

Wall hanging

Hugh was delighted with his gift

Lastly, some news for all our friends. Our Spin-in this year will be held on Saturday 2 September, in the Wairarapa College Hall. There will be more spin-in updates later. We’d love to see you there!

Change is afoot!

We knew it was coming

We knew it was coming

But it still took us aback when we returned to the Wool Shed after the long summer break

But it still took us aback when we returned to the Wool Shed after the long summer break

One of our favourite parking places –

One of our favourite parking places –

... gone!

… gone!

The roof will go on soon. We can watch from the windows of our meeting room.

The roof will go on soon. We can watch from the windows of our meeting room.

The space is much needed by the Wool Shed Museum. And we do seem to be managing to find parking.

In other news –

Lynette hosted spinning and a barbecue on Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day,

A quiet moment in a lively gathering

A quiet moment in a lively gathering (photo: Trish Carver)

Partners were included, and even put to work!

Partners were included, and even put to work! (photo, and the next one: Lynette Teahan)

Well, some were working

Well, some were working

Jutta has been busy –

She wove this lovely cushion from some of Helga's handspun

She wove this lovely cushion from some of Helga’s handspun

And a charming little floor rug

And a charming little floor rug

rug2 If only computers could let you feel it - so soft and cosy for feet!

If only computers could let you feel it – so soft and cosy for feet!

We’ve started a series of little workshops once a month –

This time, a challenge to identify the fleece of different sheep breeds. Can you pick the English Leicester in front? (Click the photo to enlarge.)

This time, a challenge to identify the fleece of different sheep breeds. Can you pick the English Leicester near the front? (Click the photo to enlarge.)

There is no excuse for anyone to be bored!