About this blog

A blog about the meanderings of a craft designer and hand maker living in a beautiful island at the end of the earth....I'm a weaver addicted to her little Ashford Knitters Loom, a crocheter, knitter, painter, gardener and grandma. Rowena lives in Tasmania - a world apart, not a world away!

Craft is a social activity, shaped by communal resources and motivations. Leonardo Bonanni and Amanda Parkes Virtual guilds : collective intelligence and the future of craft JMC vol 3, no 2 July 2010 pp. 179-190

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Allwrappedup again!

I was just so so pleased to be able to make my donation to St Giles Launceston based on my sales for the two days just gone of Niche allwrappedup for August 2010.  I don't have much disposable - us crafts people work hard and profit little in $$s  (but lots in other benefits) - so it's a great way to share with the kids at St Giles who really need all the love and assistance we as a community can give them!  The staff are singularly magnificent in their care.  I know this from personal experience as two family members have benefited from their help!

So, how did we go ?  Well once again it was an absolute pleasure to be surrounded by such fantastic, happy and friendly designer makers from Tasmania.  We had a great time and apart from a few relatively minor hiccups out of most every one's control, everything went really well.  Saturday especially was busy and throngs filled the space to near capacity more than a couple of times!

To all those who stopped by Rowena to say hello - thanks for making my market stall a happier place and to those who liked my wares enough to purchase, I truly hope you enjoy your scarf for many wears to come!  Thanks for all the encouraging comments, the new ideas and the reinforcement of what I am already doing.  I was also encouraged by the interest in the new Superfine Tasmanian Merino Lambs wool scarves and in the Conara range made from the lustrous Wanstead Park English Leicester yarn!   It seems also that we can sell balls of Barb's lovely handspun - there was much interest.  Perhaps, if I can get guaranteed supply, I may be able to find time to hand dye and ballup the superfine and sell in small lots - wouldn't that be a pip (to quote Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy).

I must get busy now on my trusty AKL as there are three orders to fill and Jude and Felicity and the girls from Eastside Makers Market have encouraged me to part with the readies for a spot at the next market in Bellerive on Hobart's eastern shore next Sunday 5th September 2010. ....and I really need to update Etsy and MadeIt .

...another Niche all wrapped up!  Thanks Selena and to Zoe who looked after us wonderfully at the Academy Gallery venue!   Do hope those who were at the Boatshed venue had just a great a time!

PS...the jacket sold !  Thanks to Lee's mum for the first try-on - it was so wonderful to see the garment modelled by someone whom it suited!  And to Trish who missed out - I'll barter when I get another made.  To Pat who won the battle, do share won't you !  LOL.  Enjoy!

CHECK OUT THE PHOTOS...new page on tab at top of page.  Everyone deserved a spot but thanks to those who were happy for me to take their pic and post to this blog!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's finally finished (the jacket) !

At last - after months of playing with designs, patterns, newspaper cutouts and such, I have finished the jacket / ruana / vest - whatever it is !  And I'm very pleased too!    Meskill's millspun dark grey corriedale woven on my 50cm Ashford Knitter's Loom (2 pieces), fulled to a firm felt fabric, sewn together (scary for a non-sewer!), hook & eye at closure, beautiful moon button trim (thanks Trace!), stream pressed and woo-hoo there it is.  Yay! 

SoewnEarth's Moon Buttons

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Getting ready

Conara in the Darke
 Lots and lots to do....and ran out of black ink in the printer !

I decided to do new labels - sometimes I think I'm more concerned with the marketing than the work itself, but then I remind myself that it's got to look good and that includes good labels!  So I have been playing around with ideas and also working on that "range" concept.  You know, the one that makes you focus on exactly what you are trying to achieve.  I think the labels have helped !!   Rowena now has everyday and hundreds & thousands for commercial wool and synthetics and then conara and pure for the pure wools and the new spun for the handspun and woven!

Here is a lovely silver grey scarf woven from some of the Bendigo Mohair Farm persian lamb and mohair I have had in my stash for positively years!  Barb has had a great time spinning it and the result is gorgeous.  The warp is a (coned) french pure wool with an interesting finish.

And look as this stunning italian Filatura di Crosa Buffo which looks great in an open weave.  I laid it on a kid mohair warp and mixed in some good old Australian Cleakheaton Astra Khan.  The resulting wool and suynthetic mix makes it light and luxurious! This is a fashion statement scarf. 

Some of the 'pure' scarves

The finishing takes longer than it does to make them!  But there they are, all nicely steam pressed, labelled and hanging on the "competed" rack waiting for next Friday morning!    ...or at least about half of them......so I'd better get back to it. 

Launceston, University of Tasmania Academy Gallery, Niche allwrappedup Market for Tasmanian designers and makers.  10am - 4pm Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August 2010.  Supporting St Giles.

The daphne's out

Barbara's spinning

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Niche at Launceston Junction 2010 Regional Arts Festival

Well the advertising has started on TV for the Junction 2010 event.  Launceston sure will be busy if the predictions come up to scratch!  I've done the Facebook thing with the Niche poster etc and have sent details out.

Hope the University Gallery is OK for us.  I'm a bit worried we'll be in a corner and not see the passing crowds.  Hopefully all will be well.

Is this last minute nerves ?   Anyway, this time next week the cases will be packed and we'll be ready for a 8.15 am set up, bump-in or drag all the stuff out of the car exercise!   Still excited  lol.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not long now - Niche allwrappedup August 2010

It's coming quicker than ever. August 27 is next week and I just hope we'll be ready.  So much still to do..........

Barb has been spinning for me (as I just don't have time to do it all) so in addition to the brand new  pure  range woven from Tasmanian Superfine Merino Wool and the conara scarves woven with Wanstead Park's sublime english leicester wool, we will have the stunning spun range of accessories handwoven using handspun wool !    Of course there will still be plenty from the hundreds & thousands and everyday scarf and wrap range to tempt buyers.  Hope to see you all there !

A scarf or wrap is an accessory for all the year round - Rowena accessories cater for all weather and fashion occasions!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Much Rain - Mum is knitting a new Wrap With Love !

It's raining again!   The river (South Esk) is rising at the bridge over the river just down the road and I guess outer Longford will be knee deep tomorrow afternoon after the massive 178 mm at Gray last night..  [Is that 7 inches in the old rain measure ??]  Phenominomininal and it's still raining!   

However, our rain is nothing like that in Pakistan, India and China at the moment......the flooding is truly shocking and one cannot imagine what it must be like trying to survive in such circumstances.

My Mum ("GeeGee" aged 94 and still knitting) has just started another  set of  "Wrap With Love" squares to help!

Historical Note : In the great 1929 Launceston Flood, 337mm fell in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th April and by the 7th April it had all arrived in Launceston.  Coupled with rising tides and wind in the wrong direction, Invermay was innundated.  But there was no Trevallyn Dam and no flood levees.

1929 Floods Launceston Photo BOM

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Well I never !! Nundle Woollen Mill

I'm on the search ...I'm sure there have to be more (small/boutique/specialist) Woollen Mills still working in Australia.......and I found one alive and well and flourishing it seems, in Nunde NSW - about an hour's drive south east of Tamworth.    Their on-line shop is great - NWM wool, mohair, alpaca, and commercials like Eki Riva, Lana Gatto, Debbie Bliss as well as some intersting pattern books etc......and they have fibre for spinners and weavers too. ...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Niche Market and Junction 2010

In just three weeks it will be all over again!  Rowena's loom is working feverishly to prepare for the next Niche allwrappedup Market which will be on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th August, 10-4 at two venues (connected by bus Yeah !) as one of the Arts Festival Mixed Bag events supporting Junction 2010: Connecting the future  to be held Thursday 26 August 2010 - Sunday 29 August 2010 in many venues throughout Launceston. 

Junction 2010 is the seventh biennial Regional Arts Australia national conference and is presented in partnership with Tasmanian Regional Arts and the host community Launceston, is set to unleash an explosion of ideas and creativity ".

You will find  20 Niche product stalls featuring Tasmanian Designers and Makers at the Academy Gallery at the Invermay UTAS Campus in amongst the Faces of Launceston – the next generation exhibition by photographic artist Philip Kuruvita (on show at the Gallery 26 August – 15 October.  35 more designers andmakers will be at The Boatshed.    Check out  the Niche Design Blogspot for more info.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meskills Woolworks - end of an era

Do I boast, crack open the bubbly or cry ?   I have the LAST TWO HANKS, yes the last ones EVER from the Meskills Spinning Mill in Kyneton, Victoria.  The demise of this wonderful establishment earlier this year has meant that a host of small wool producers wanting their product spun to finished yarn now have to go elsewhere.  Most I spoke to at Bendigo have sent their bales to New Zealand; a few to Echo Beach Alpacas in South Australia - but the general consensus is that we have lost forever the ability for small niche producers to have their fibres finished locally, in Australia.  How sad it is.

Dairing have rescued one of the Meskills spinning machines and have installed it at their premises in Melbourne as a relict of this bygone era, but the rest has gone for scrap.

The woollen goods business continues to trade out of the premsies in Piper Street Kyneton and last month I purchased the last two hanks available.  Some producers such as Jarob Farm and North East Yarns have enought spun yarn for a couple of years, but for many, the costs associated with, and the quantities required, to send to New Zealand, are just too prohibitive.

On a positive note, the guys from Wolf at the Door at Hepburn Springs, Vic have leased the wonderful 1860s  building, formerly the Kyneton Butter Factory Co-operative, laterly housing the spinning mill operation from Meskills and have just opened The Stockroom.  This gallery and retail space featuring Australian designers and makers is a welcome addition to the vibrant Piper Street precinct.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Beautiful Day for Weaving and Gardening

Confetti Scarf

What a glorious day for weaving - especially when you don't have to go to "the day job" ! I've started working with some of the beautiful yarn I bought back from Bendigo. Here is the Shiloh Silky Wool in shade "Confetti" laid onto a warp of Tasmanian Super Fine Merino Lambs Wool 2/22s. I think the bronson lace variation emphasises the lightness of the yarn and the subtle variations of the hand-painted fibre are not overwhelmed. I'm really pleased with this scarf!

After the recent rain and the endless fogs and  overcast days, it was wonderful to see blue sky and sunshine! Judging by the garden, the depths of winter are not always so bleak. ......

Weeping Flowering Apricot

All my helebores are out and the weeping flowering apricot is a picture - it's wonderful scent welcome in a time when not much else is out.  The daphnes are absolutely loaded too and it won't be long before their heady scent arrives.

Helebores - Tasmanian Winter