Fibre Focus on Silk

I was thrilled to see that our first Fibre Focus was to be silk.
My place was booked for two workshops and the motel arrangements made. I knew it would be good.
The dust storms had abated but the leftover was all along the Pacific Highway on my way from Coramba to Sydney. The tonnes of red dirt were amazing and as I came closer to the city it seemed the fallout was thicker and the cars definitely more shrouded in the red reminder.

The next morning was the beginning of Fibre Focus. I had elected to participate in two spinning workshops with Priscilla Lowry from New Zealand. We attended our workshops in the upstairs room at Woodstock. I had never been there before and found it a marvellous venue. No squishing and squeezing trying to fit enough wheels, equipment and people into the space. Another course was running in the downstairs rooms back at the Guild – Liz Gemmell tutoring Shibori Dyeing silk.
Our workshop was spinning fancy yarns with silk. There were silk fibres enough to make your head spin and our wheels worked hard all day. We used top, hankies, cocoon strippings, throwsters waste, tussah and mulberry as well as bobble silk. We made many yarns and finished with a load of differently spun samples each.
Saturday saw a large number of people attend the Guild where all morning demos were happening – silk dying, braids, weaving (both tapestry and rigid heddle) and Priscilla was giving ideas on ways to incorporate silk into your textile art.
The afternoon brought the traders to the downstairs hall and the public and our members spent up on supplies. (Don’t worry – I did my bit to stimulate the economy!) It was really great to have access to fibres and products we don’t have available every day.
A quick Guild meeting followed at which the key speaker was Priscilla Lowry. Through manuscripts she showed us how knitting has been an integral part of history – the Madonna has been featured knitting-in-the-round frequently.
Sunday was back to workshops and spinning. This time we were spinning high loft yarns for knitting. Priscilla also gave us insight into designing knitwear. At the end of the day we each had a huge skein in varying thicknesses of tussah, bleached tussah and mulberry silk. I plan to dye mine and use it in a woven scarf. It may be successful or disastrous . . . but it will be a reminder of a fantastic Fibre Forum.
Meanwhile back at the Guild – there was still one workshop to run, Silk Paper Making, on the Monday. I had to head for home so did not get to see the results of that workshop. I am sure it would have been just as much fun and learning as the other parts of our Fibre Forum 2009.
I would like to thank Fliss for all her hard work and time that went into making the event a huge success. Fliss goes well and truly beyond the call of duty to ensure these events run well. I hope the Guild hosts another Focus in the future – hopefully it will grow from strength to strength.
I know I returned home with more knowledge and stash than when I left and had also enjoyed the company of Guild members whom I am happy to say I have struck friendships with through Guild activities.
What a unique and magnificent group we have.
Barbara Roberts
Grafton Fibre Group

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