Newsletter May 2010
It’s time for another Newsletter, although later than expected. For me 2009 was a rather busy year both in the Woolcraft side of things, this you will read about latter on. Plus many things hadn’t thought I would be doing at the start of the New Year.
In early Feb I spent a few days in Sydney catching up with some of my many Wool friends from throughout the State. I then travelled through to Melbourne by train. I can tell you it was very depressing seeing all the damage that had been done by the Bush Fires, some were still burning. It was not until I met up with fellow spinners in Melbourne that I heard some of the members had lost everything, it was good to hear what they were planning on doing to help out. For me it was nice to put names to faces with whom I had dealings with in the past.
I was very lucky to be taken down to the Geelong Wool Museum by one of the members. This was very well worth the visit seeing how the old wool stores can be turned into a Museum, they had some very interesting exhibits.
Seeing the Ball of Friendship was interesting. together with all the lovely garments that were worn during the Spin In ,as well as on display. I entered in several of the competitions which was fun to do together with attending some of the workshops. Many new friendships were made.
SISTER LINK VISIT
In early March I had a visit from Betty Barry who is a member of our Sister link group in the US, in fact from Indiana. Unfortunately she was only able to spend a few days with me before returning home, having been in NZ to attend one of the Ashford Retreats in Ashburton. It was a chance for me to show her some local sightseeing namely, Akaroa,Willowbank where she saw a real live KIWI ’s and we also attended a Maori Concert. Places of interest around Christchurch were included but were limited. For Betty the highlights were visiting an alpaca farm along with a Black & Coloured sheep farm. Although her bags were already really full ,she still managed to find room to take home some more goodies from both of them. I certainly enjoyed the chance to do this as it was a small way I could repay her Group for what they had done for me when I visited in 2007.It’s certainly made our friendship a lot stronger.
Once again I was able to attend the NZ Creative Fibre in Timaru It was very well attended & the work on display in both the Fashion Parade & Exhibition was of the usual very High Standard of work Many new ideas were collected from the attendees .It was good to catch up with friends that I have made at previous festivals.
75TH JUBILEE ASHFORD DINNER
I was very lucky to be one of the 140 people invited to attend this Special Dinner in Nov. It was a wonderful occasion and a chance to meet people from the factory floor who make the products, through to people who sell or use them like myself. During the evening we were shown a DVD showing us the History of the company from the time it began.
I myself can go back a long time having dealings with the Company I have fond memories of Joy Ashford, when along with Heather would come to Christchurch once a year. They held an Open Day for people to come and see what was new in the fibre & products. Joy was always there to help out when needed, should you have a problem. Many long time workers were given Certificates to mark their long service with the company.
This was a trip I had been planning to do but was brought forward as in June I was asked to go and look after my son, who lives there, following major surgery. As I was not sure just how long I was to be over there, I just had to be patient. Once he was well on the way to recovery it was time for me to spread my wings either by going on day adventures or travelling further a field.
This was the first place I wanted to visit, as this is the home of the Gotland Sheep, they are a rare breed in New Zealand which has approximately 1000, (their fibre was used in the making of the cloaks in Lord of the Rings movies)
Gotland Island a large island in the middle of the Baltic Sea off the east coast of the Swedish mainland. The population is normally some 57,000 people, but swells over the summer period to some 800,000 -1 million people this is normally from mid June to early August. This was when I had planned to go so everything like accommodation and things you planned to do all had to be arranged before arriving.
So I had to plan things well. I arranged to do a day tour of the northern part of the Island and if possible visit the small Island of Faro the home of the Gotland sheep. I found a wonderful tour Guide who owns Nature Tours & he worked out a wonderful tour for me. Although Per said it was certainly something different he enjoyed the chance to do it with me. He certainly went out of his way to show me interesting things. I must admit I gave him some suggestions and he worked around my suggestions.
We visited the Langhammerars limestone formations these had to be seen to believed, together with many other interesting things.I t was really GREAT seeing the two different types of Gotland sheep up real close and how they are farmed. Before leaving the Island we visited Faro Church, this was built about 1324 it’s the only church on Gotland that has been rebuilt radically so it has completely lost its original medieval character.
I can tell you there was so much history I could have spent a lot longer looking around .We then went outside to look for the Grave of the actor Ingmar Bergman. I was there a few days short of his 2nd anniversary, his funeral was the biggest ever held in Gotland.
Items were gathered from her garden for us to use during the day, many of the items could not be found in NZ. I can tell you it was a very full-on day & I learnt many new things. They do things differently to what we do in NZ. Loved the machine she used to remove the water (excess ) from yarn. I finished the day with a wonderful array of colours Ticka has a shop on her property and you can either buy direct or online. During the time I was there she had many people come to buy things .I can tell you I just had to buy some of her wonderful dyed cotton skeins, along with some other interesting things. Many thanks to both Ticka & Atelji for a most wonderful day.
During the next 2 days on the island I spent the time looking at some of the many sights in the Old Town of Visby. There is certainly a lot to see, mainly a lot of ruins going back to the 12th Century, Medieval times. Just to walk around the very high wall that protects the Old Town takes some 3-4 hours, yes I did this but in stages so didn’t notice the time it took.
Getting to and from the Mainland I travelled by boat from Oskarshamm, it takes some 3hours and was a most interesting trip. They have a special place on the boat for people travelling with dogs, although some took them for walks around the boat. I then I had another 3 hours on a train to get home but not until the next day as had missed the one for that day.
Although because of the time I went it was rather a costly few days it was well worth the visit. So glad I went when I had the chance.
While here I stayed with a spinner who I had been in contact with for the past 2 years. I would go exploring during the day while Ingrid & her husband were at work and in the evenings Ingrid would show me many interesting things. It was interesting to see her many different wheels. I was lucky during my stay to visit the Bohus Exhibition, it had been extended for another week and because of this. I was able to see it .Once again I had to travel by bus for some 2 hours to the town of Uddevalla where the Exhibition was being held in the local museum.
This knitting was very popular in the 1930’s,women were able to knit garments to support their struggling families. Garments were made for many famous people like Eartha Kitt & Inrgid Bergman.This is very fine fairisle knitting. Today they are sold either as finished articles or in kits, so you can choose the garment you would like to make and do it yourself. This is certainly the cheaper way to go but still very expensive. I myself hadn’t heard of this kind of knitting beforehand, so found it most interesting to see these wonderful garments up close. I have since seen a girl knitting from one of the kits, it was good to see the other side of the article too.
I also did many other tourist things during my stay. Ingrid arranged for me to met some of the local spinners which was nice, good to see what they were doing.Many thanks to both Ingrid & husband for putting me up during my stay.
I visited several knitting cafe’s several times in both Malmo and Kristainsted during my stay. It was certainly interesting to see just what they were making. I Noticed they really love BRIGHT colours and do a lot of fairisle. One of the groups was held in a knitting shop called Helylle, so I can tell you it was very tempting seeing all the yarns & patterns ( I bought some although they are in Swedish and I now have to get them translated ) As a result of visiting these groups have made many new friends who I am sharing ideas with.These groups are very popular now throughout the world.
MOST EXCITING NEWS
At the last micron testing it was 17.6 although I believe this will change. I have watched him grow over the past 12 months and visit him regularly at the farm where he is living on the outskirts of Christchurch. He has been wethered and was shorn for the first time in late Nov. I am keen to get his fibre processed so I can use it myself and send some to my many fibre friends around the world.
From this you will have seen that I was correct 2009 was a rather busy year for me but I had a chance to do many things. I also visited the town of Odense in Denmark this is the town better known because of Hans Christian Anderson, for a few days. Must not forget the pleasant few days in Olso doing many interesting sightseeing things with family members, like going to the Viking Museum as have just found out some of my roots come from Norway.
I wonder what 2010 will bring? Do keep checking back to see what I have been up to.