Scarf Exchange 2014

Gumeracha Handspinners and Weavers of SA will host the 21st Scarf Exchange in 2014.
The Adelaide Hills, the food bowl of South Australia, are famous for their fruit and vegetable crops. Join the Scarf Exchange with Fruit & Vegetables as the theme this year.

Read More

Tallong Apple Day Sheep to Shawl

The Tallong Apple Day Committee, with the warm support of Goulburn Handweavers and Spinners Inc, would like to invite a team from our Guild to participate in a shearing/fleece to garment competition in May.
Tallong Apple Day is a community event held on the first Sunday of May each year, to celebrate community, the local history from the early 19th century and to raise funds for community projects and organisations eg the school and RFS.

Read More

Antartica in Hobart

Marion Wheatland emailed us:
Hi everyone!

I have just returned from Hobart and the opening of the Mawson’s Huts replica museum. What a great experience, to be there for the opening and to rub shoulders with more Antarctic people. As you know, my other passion is Antarctica, the first being wool/fibre/spinning and what a joy it is to be able to combine both of these things while doing something historical and important for others. 

Without hesitation, Louise Whittaker from Coles supermarket, Sandy Bay saw the value of my project and made a generous donation of 6 broccoli boxes full of crushed ice for me to spin on. I made it last as long as I could from 8:30 am till 1:30 pm. It caused quite a stir – people kept coming up and being surprised that it was real snow instead of replica snow.
Carolyn’s little felted penguin also made an impression, as did the husky fibre I turned into yarn (which will return to the hut as a garment: perhaps a moebius scarf.
So now I am the only person in the world to spin yarn at Mawson’s Hut in Antarctica and at the replica hut in Hobart. Waiting for me when I returned home was a quick, hand written congratulations from the Governor-General. Wow.

Silkworms Fed Dyed Mulberry Leaves To Produce Coloured Silk

Fact: Snails fed coloured paper will poop coloured squiggles. Now, silkworms are getting in on the technicolor action: a recent report shows that, after eating mulberry leaves treated with fabric dye, regular larvae will produce fairy-floss-tinted fibres. They’re like biological 3D printers for producing coloured silk.
The findings, published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering journal, point to an effort to find a more sustainable solution to traditional dyeing methods.
Generally, these require lots and lots of water that, in the end, becomes a chemically contaminated toxic hazard, but applying the pigment before consumption requires way less H2O. Out of seven azo dyes tried, Direct Acid fast red gave the most brilliant result — strong enough to give the wiggly little thangs themselves a rosy blush.
It’s pretty crazy to think of silkworm farms turned into terrestrial rainbows, with both coloured leaves (before) and coloured cocoons (after). Perhaps, with enough training, these little living looms can simply weave coloured scarves and clothing for you.

Silkworms Fed Dyed Mulberry Leaves To Produce Coloured SilkGizmodo

Crafting Christmas

As craftswomen and men we are in the unique position of being able to create original and unique items. If you are like me, you have probably inundated your family and friends with all manner of handmade gifts over the years. If you are looking for new victims you might like to think about organisations both here and abroad that welcome handmade items either as donations for people who need clothing or toys or as items for fund raising.

Read More

October Guest Speaker: Flora Friedmann

A few years ago Flora read Jed Pearl’s article The Artesinal Urge in American Craft and found the suitable name for her fibre affliction. She has had the desire/need/drive to make things since she was a little girl. The magic of art is in the making.
What is a basket? – a container, woven, with a handle and/or lid. They were utilitarian but recently basketry has changed. Ancient techniques are used with non traditional materials like plastic bags. Some baskets are purely sculptural pieces. Baskets can start with vine, cane, leaves to make a 3 dimensional shape. No two will be the same unlike mass produced merchandise. Uniqueness creates anxiety in some people. Creative spirits cannot make a mark on the world unless they have made a mark on their materials. It has taken a while for basketry to be accepted as Art and to loose the occupational therapy and utilitarian flavour.

Read More

Norway broadcaster NRK to show 12 hours of knitting, sheep-shearing in ‘slow TV’ broadcast

Hoping to take slow TV to a new level, Norway’s public broadcaster will air 12 hours of knitting from Friday night, complete with needle tips and a how-to on knitting a cover for a Harley Davidson motorbike.
Broadcaster NRK, a veteran in quirky programming, will also feature an attempt to break a world sheep-shearing record currently held by an Australian shearing group…

…Then from midnight, a team of eight will attempt to break the world record for shearing a sheep and making a sweater from its wool.
The current record for the back to back challenge — from the back of a sheep to the back of a person – stands at four hours and 51 minutes, held by the Merriwa Jumbucks from New South Wales.

Norway broadcaster NRK to show 12 hours of knitting, sheep-shearing in ‘slow TV’ broadcastABC News

‘Noisy’ Cramlington library knitters no longer welcome

A knitting group said it was no longer allowed to meet at a library because its needles are “dangerous” and its members are too noisy.
The Knit ‘n’ Natter group met at the library in Cramlington, Northumberland once a week to knit replica anatomical parts for training NHS midwives.
But now the library has moved and the knitters said Northumberland County Council had barred them.
The council said there was not enough room for the large group.
But a spokesman said the women were still welcome if they split into smaller groups.
Since the group began three years ago its 20 to 30 members have knitted thousands of garments for premature and sick babies.
They have also made 1,500 pairs of knitted breasts and are currently knitting wombs for midwives.

‘Noisy’ Cramlington library knitters no longer welcomeBBC News

Bringing an ancient craft into a modern context

An exhibition of 13 felt artists will be on show in the FCA Gallery from 14 August to 12 September 2013. Curated by Anita Larkin, the exhibition explores how felt can be used as an insulation material, allowing the transference or interference, of objects, materials, sound, warmth and of spirit.

Read More

There’s a maximum-security prison in Brazil where male inmates are expert knitters

Brazil’s Arisvaldo de Campos Pires is like any other maximum security penitentiary — inmates’ crimes range from armed robbery to murder, and armed guards patrol almost every inch of the prison. Except there’s one small quirk: many of the facility’s prisoners are becoming professional knitters.
As part of a prison-wide program called the Lotus Flower project, inmates are crocheting high-end clothing in exchange for a modest salary and — the real kicker — reduced prison sentences. The program, which began in 2009 after Brazilian fashion designer Raquel Guimaraes realized she was going to need help scaling up to meet demand for her Doiselles brand, has been wildly successful; over 100 inmates have now participated. And unlikely as it may seem, it’s been a male-only affair. While Guimaraes originally approached the penitentiary with a proposal to train female prisoners to produce clothing, they decided to work the men instead.
The incentives are so good that inmates aren’t merely willing, but are eager to start knitting. For every three days spent knitting, male inmates earn a full-day reduction in their sentences. And they get paid a salary — albeit a modest one — too: the workers earn 75% of minimum wage, a quarter of which is put aside and handed over upon their release.

There’s a maximum-security prison in Brazil where male inmates are expert knittersQuartz