Almost Done

Megan Rug Weaving

 

Megan has been weaving this rug on our large loom for about two years by her reckoning.  She is looking forward to finishing it.  Megan has achieved a very shaggy look by knotting lengths of yarn onto the warp.  This is very time consuming.  Megan plans to use the rug on the floor in her home.

Quilting Raffle

We are holding a raffle to collect money towards the replenishing of our wadding and material stockpile which has recently been diminished by our participation in the Blue Mountains Fire Appeal.  We supplied 20 quilts and assisted in finishing another 15 which, together with many donations from all round the country, were given to all those who lost their homes in the recent fires.  Prizes are shown below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis crazy quilt was a joint project by our Wednesday morning group.  Each person creates a square so apart from the matching centres, they are all unique but still complementary, and combine to create a bright and beautiful quilt.

DSCF5685This pure woollen blanket was made by our Tuesday group.  The wool was handspun by the group and we asked our best knitters to knit the squares and stitch them all together.  What a lovely warm blanket to snuggle under on cold winter evenings.

Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5.

It’s A Wrap

Rachel weaves every day.  She says it’s like a meditation.  Some relaxing music in the background to accompany the back and forth of the shuttle on it’s way to creating an article of splendour.  What a wonderful way to start the day and she completes so many beautiful wraps in the process.  This is one of her latest creations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARachel’s large wool stash gives her plenty of choices for the main colours.  She then selects some complementary handspun art yarns to embellish her work and the result is absolutely gorgeous.

Feral Goats

We had two goat skins hanging on the cottage wall that needed a bit of dressing up,  so Bev designed a very colourful wall hanging to display the fleeces.  The white fleece is from a Cashmere Goat, and the grey is from an Angora Goat, giving mohair fibre.  The vivid background was inspired by the red soil at Cobar.  Bev carded a rather large amount of Merino fleece, dyed it using the microwave dying method using Queen’s food colouring, and felted it onto a piece of hessian.  The possum was then needle felted over the top (can you spot the possum?)Feral Goats Bev's 1.

September 2014 – Rudolf Steiner Spring Fair

The Guild will again return in September this year to the Rudolf Steiner Spring Fair. Over the last few years the members of the Central Coast Handweavers, Spinners and Textile Arts Guild have displayed their crafts, entertained and educated visitors to the fete with their creations, skills and knowledge. Look out here for further details regarding the venue, the date in September and Guild plans.

Mangrove Mountain Country Fair

The Central Coast Handweavers, Spinners and Textile Arts Guild were proud to demonstrate their skills at the 50th Mangrove Mountain Country Fair (19th of October 2013). “The Fair” as its known to locals is one of the longest continually running events in NSW operated by a rural community, for the benefit of the local community in.

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Guild members Bev Smith, her daughter Naomi and Naomi’s family kept their wheels and carders at full pace all day as visitors stopped by to learn about the Guild’s crafts and watch wool and alpaca fleece be turned into beautiful yarn.

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The younger visitors to the fair were particularly interested – perhaps some of them think yarns are something Grandpa tells and clothes come just from the shops. Guild members have again been asked to set up and weave their magic at the 2014 Country Fair, and we hope to see you there!

Don’t call me “Wooly”

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Meet Al Packer – a friendly fellow from Bumble Hill Alpaca Stud who carefully watched over the proceedings when Guild members participated in the Fiftieth Anniversary Mangrove Mountain and Districts Country Fair. Alpaca’s don’t have wool, they have fleece – and the resulting fibre is highly prized by both spinners and clothing makers. Alpaca fleece comes across a wide, natural colour spectrum ranging from white, through many shades of brown to black. The fibre also readily accepts dyeing.

Clothing made from alpaca fleece is known to be warm, durable, light weight, and not scratchy to the skin.

Coreopsis Dyeing

I really enjoy dyeing wool.  I love seeing how the colours will turn out.  It’s always a surprise.  I quite like the idea of using natural dyes, but have always been put off by the toxic mordants, or fixing compounds, required by many of the plant based dyes.  Early one summer, Olive came in to the cottage with a handful of Coreopsis flowers and mentioned that they were great for dyeing AND that they required no mordant.  Perfect!

So off I go to pick a large amount of lovely bright yellow Coreopsis flowers for my dyeing project.  I read somewhere that you need at least a 1:1 ratio of fibre to flowers, and possibly even more, so I used a 50g skein of natural wool that I had already handspun, and weighed 50g of flower heads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI placed my flowers in a saucepan and covered them with water.  Vicki had told me that I should really do this outside, as you can really stink up your kitchen and it’s also possible that some of the plants are toxic, so I would never dye inside if I was remotely unsure about the safety of the plant.  I had no idea what the smell would be like, but threw caution to the wind and fired up the stove top.  Once the concoction was boiling, I took a few careful sniffs and breathed a sigh of relief at the absence of a foul scent.  The smell was a little strong,  but the exhaust fan stopped it reaching any further than the kitchen.  I let the flowers simmer for an hour, then let my flower stew sit until it cooled to let the maximum amount of colour infuse into the dye mix.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce cooled, I strained the flowers out and added the wool.  On to simmer again for another hour.  Regular checking is required of course to make sure that there is enough liquid.  After the hour is up, I put my pan outside to cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pan was left outside overnight to soak up as much dye as possible.  I liked the look of the colour thus far.  I was cautiously optimistic that this would turn out well, and that the colour would not fade too much during rinsing.  I took the plunge and rinsed my skein with cool water until no more dye came out, and laid it out to dry in a shady spot with good air flow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHooray.  I was very pleased with the result.  Now what to do with it…  by Naomi.