This past year has been much quieter for me than the past 2 years, but still an interesting one all the same.
I had planned to do the Spinning Certificate course in 2009 but had to postpone it due to my unscheduled trip to Sweden. While I am a very experienced spinner there is always something new to learn, especially new techniques.
The course was divided into the following modules
1 Knowledge of Spinning & Fibre Preparation using different equipment
2 Spinning & plying to a standard
3 Preparing & spinning wool.
We had been given the following wools to use.
- 200 grams of good crossbred (perendale or romney)
- 200 grams of corridale or similar
- 150 grams merino
- 150 grams of short wool (possibly a good quality lambs wool) .
Throughout the course you had to decide which fibre you would use & how best to prepare
for the end result you wanted.
The course took some 3-4 months to complete, it involved a lot of researching & writing as well as spinning. I met many knew challenges along the way. .
I am pleased to say I passed the course.
This is a school holiday programme that’s held during the winter holidays every year. I have shown the children many different wool craft things.I would come on a set day having been booked in advance for any of the following, Learn to Knit, Learn to Spin, Learn wet Felting and a Mother & Daughter Learn to Knit, all went home having learnt something new. Most of the workshops were always fully booked.
Sometime ago a few friends gathered to do this method of dyeing.It was certainly a full-on day; the end results were very pleasing. I have finally got round to using it, pictured is some of what I have made from my share.
Gotland Dyeing Day.
If you read the 2010 Newsletter you will see I did a Natural Dyeing workshop while on the Island.
Pictured is the article I made from using some of the yarn I bought home.
At the time of writing this I have been busy coordinating a Beanie Drive for the Newborns & amp;Preschoolers on the eastside (most earthquake affected part) of Christchurch. They are being made for the Welchild Nurses who visit families in their homes. I too have been busy knitting beanies. I have been blown away with the response from all over the country for this drive.
This year Festival was held in a small seaside village along the Coast to Coromandel, it was a lovely setting . Much smaller this year it was still most enjoyable with lots of fun & laughter. As usual the TRADERS are always popular because one gets a chance to buy from those in the surrounding area where the Festivals are held. I like to attend those that I can because you always learn new things and it’s a chance to met up with people you have met before at previous ones.
A & P Show & South Island Field Days
Once again I was lucky enough to be asked to work on the Southern Alpaca stand for the 3 days of the Canterbury A & P show in Nov & again at the Field Days which are held on the outskirts of Christchurch every 2 years. Southern Alpacas are one of the leading Alpaca studs in the country. Throughout the year they have many overseas visitors working for them on the farm and at these events too. Before they return home I have teach many of them new woolcraft skills like spinning & knitting.
Sitting and spinning each day (alpaca of course) I was told my many visitors to the stand that I was what first attracted them to stop and visit. I helped with other things on the stand including answering a lot of questions from both young and old. Being an alpaca owner myself I have learnt a lot about these popular animals first hand.
The stand always proves very popular with children who are fascinated about the things you can do with the fibre. We always made sure they left with a sample to take home. It was interesting to hear what they thought it felt like
“Feels like cotton wool”
“Looks like candy floss”
“So soft and cuddly”
Many spinners were surprised how easy it looked to spin alpaca and after having a go themselves took their alpaca sample or one of the many other products home to continue.
He is now fully grown and is certainly a BIG boy. I saw him shorn last year and was surprised how quiet he was, not like some, crying and spitting as it was being done.
His cria fleece has been washed, carded & now spun all ready waiting for me to use. So watch future newsletters to see what I make!!!!
Tour de Fleece
I am not quite sure what I am meant to do; a friend who has a team entered enlisted me so along with thousands of others around the world I am participating in the Tour de Fleece. I am trying to spend some 3-4 hours a day spinning. It is a good way to get rid of some of my stash squirreled away in cupboards or in bags in funny places (yes, I admit I am a typical spinner). Check my next newsletter to see what I did with it all in the end.
Throughout the past year I have seen much of the country by doing several bus tours, either a day, weekend or even longer, all have been most enjoyable.
Top of the South
Having travelled to the West Coast of the South Island many many times, I have never travelled by road before over both the Upper & Lower Buller Gorges. The scenery here was truly breathtaking. We travelled to Karamea , which is as far as one can go by road on the Coast.
This is a quaint place to visit with many interesting things to do. It’s better known as either the start or finish of the popular Heaphy Track. After an overnight stopover we travelled home via Punakaiki ( Rock Formations ) this is a place well worth stopping for, HIGH TIDE is the best time .We then continued onto the Otira Gorge which links the West Coast with Canterbury., The Gorge was a blaze of RED from the Rata which was in full bloom, I had never seen it like this.
In June I did a day trip to this popular tourist spot, it was my first time up to the Hermitage since the 1960’s. Due to a very recent fall of snow it sure looked like a picture postcard, for once this very famous mountain was clear, this doesn’t always happen. We had many photo stops along the way. It was certainly a trip I shall remember for along time.
My next trip was to be an 8 day trip from Christchurch round the East Cape, flying to Auckland with the rest of the tour by coach. My friend and I had been booked into a hotel for the night to make it easier the following morning getting to the airport.
Things didn’t go as planned, instead we were woken at 5-41 am by our beds rocking first sideways and then up & down. It was a 7.4 earthquake! With no power, no phones and being very frosty we were all very cold. I think we all went into shock, it was a nervous wait to see what had taken place in the city. Somebody had small radio so were getting reports that things were bad.
The Tour Guide arrived some 1 ½ hours later and took us home. My house looked fine but it was a different story inside, things were everywhere, TV on the ground and many things off shelves some of which were broken.
We did leave the following day by air before catching the bus, everything that had been planned we were able to do. The only thing that let us down was the weather it rained for almost the full time we were away. We visited Rotorua, Waihau ( this is the are where the movie “Boy “ was filmed)Hicks Bay, Gisborne, Napier & Wellington.
We crossed the Cook Strait by ferry and headed down the East Coast of the South Island, only to be turned back on the outskirts of Blenheim due to a road blockage which would take days to clear. This meant we had to travel through the Lewis Pass putting an extra 1 1/2hours onto our journey home.
I would love to do it again, and hopefully have better weather next time.
The picture is of me having an ice cream break in Waihau at the shop that is featured in the movie Boy.
Royal Mystery Weekend
This trip was planned for Waitangi Weekend, my friend and I booked this trip to get away from the Earthquakes which we were still having. We were not sure just what it would contain.
We started off by being picked up in a Rolls Royce and I can tell you we certainly had the people in the street wagging their tongues, I never thought I would ever have a chance of doing this. After a short 15mins drive south we joined the coach, and travelled onto the Plains Museum on the outskirts of Ashburton.
Here we had a chance to have a ride on a steam train and railcar, both of which are not used these days except for charter trips. It brought back many memories for me. After having a later morning tea it was back on the bus, headed back the way we had come in the morning, before turning inland and having a chance to see some of the damage done in the September earthquake, to paddocks, fences and roads. We turned West at the Main Road, towards the Southern Alps, through Arthurs Pass into Kumara
It was not until reaching Kumara had we any idea just where we might be heading was it to be Hokitika for our overnight stop YES we were right.!!!
That evening had been told to dress up fit for a Queen. After travelling a short distance by coach we reached the hall where our meal had been prepared by a local group as a Fundraiser. It was a SHOCK for many as it was a Medieval Meal which meant NO CUTLERY was provided to eat amd this even included soup ( not an easy thing to do I can tell you) Among the other surprises ,everybody had a chance to eat the HUHU bug I did & they tasted like peanut butter.
Next day were given a couple of things to do in the morning, I choose to take the Paddle Boat down the Creek to Lake Mahinapua. It was a very pleasant trip of 2 hours. Later that day we travelled home via the Pass.
It was a very pleasant trip, certainly full of plenty of surprises, and I for ONE will not forget the Royal Mystery Weekend.