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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Princess Anna - BFF

Coming home from Bendigo on the boat (Spirit of Tasmania) I shared with a lovely lady who was coming over to plunder our vintage and market shops.  Anna has a penchant for all things pre-loved and has a couple of Ebay Shops to stock.  (Check out Rubenesk).  Anna was a delight and I lunched with her on her return journey to the boat this last week.  Thanks Anna !  The poor little Honda was packed to the gunwales with lots of fantastic stuff - including a manequin bust strapped into the passenger's seat -  and I believe a successful and enjoyable trip was had.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back from BENDO - TOTT

Well what can I say - it was just FABULOUS and much more betterer than last year. The 133rd Australian Sheep and Wool Show should be called the Wool and Sheep Show as it seemed to me that the woolcraft has about taken over.  We must always pay tribute to the sheep as after all, without their efforts we wouldn't have such stunning fibres to work with!  The BL below was exhausted (counting sheep perhaps ?) and so was I after a whole day at the Bendigo Showgrounds.

Hello to Ewe Too !
Just exhausting being the feature at this year's Bendi !

Last year we were positively falling over Tassies but last weekend, couldn't find any Tassie sheep, but the fleece had some good representation.  Grum only saw one local and that was at the feeding line!

Forton, Epping Forest
Andrew Nicholson, Campbell Town
 Alpacas were out in force too - there is   no doubt that this versatile animal has found a home amoung the gum trees!

With over 300 exhibitors, the woolcraft pavillions were packed with crafters demonstrating, dyeing, batting, weaving, spinning, knitting and displaying their wonderful wares.  The Fashion Parades even stopped the fellas in their tracks.  I cannot believe the creativeness that abounds in fibre.   There was some good tucker too and the sheepdogs were having a ball in the centre arena.

What did I come home with ?      A kilo of beautiful autumn-toned dyed in the fleece Romney x Finn from Lesley Rorke's Wooleebaa Farm that I have already dusted off the spinning wheel to try.  Finn Sheep seem to be the next big thing for niche producers with these long-wool baas producing multiple babies each drop and giving up a fine fleece of around 22 micron.   John and Lucy Edwards from Creswick, Victoria have Finns and Alpacas and John gave me a great overview of Finns in Australia.

I also got some finn x yarn in a lovely russet colourway from Suzi Horne, artist and wool producer.  Her hand painted millspun yarns were gorgeous! 

Shiloh Wool from the Bellarine Penninsula near Geelong had their Silky Wool on offer.  This is spun in New Zealand for them and has been treated by a CSIRO-developed process to stretch and set the fibres, resulting in a fibre that looks and feels like silk.  Available in spun hanks and tops, the hand-painted colours are amazing!  Not online, but you'll find them in the local directories.  I bought 2 skeins of "confetti" which I will weave with Tasmanian Superfine Merino to become a gorgeous scarf.

From Jarob Farm I purchased 500 g of soft millspun corriedale in a caramel colour.  Still with stocks spun at Meskills (now sadly closed) Kyneton Spinning Mill, the ladies were generous with their time and knowledge.

Wooldancer had their artisan hand dyed yarns on display and many other exhibitors were batting, balling and hanking.  EGMTK was hosting the Strauch Family from the USA with their drum carders, ball winders, swifts etc. Otto and Joanne's son was sitting there going like the clappers spinning a lovely yarn on his wheel and loving it too!  The future - yes indeed Otto! I  found a boat shuttle at  Christine's Glenora Weaving and admired the zany art of Conni Togel's Sheep Incognito.   Next I chatted with some Ravelry Guys and Gals who were all so welcoming to a Tassie girl.  I was disappointed that I could not make the dinner or brekkie this year, here's hoping for 2011!  You are all so friendly, helpful and taa for the discount! xxxxx (rowenajo @ ravelry.com)
Then Teresa at  Dairing shared with me!  What an innovative and savvy lot you guys are and so wonderful to talk with.  The range of fibres on offer I could not resist, coming home with some Habu Textiles yarns - the recycled linen, some of the tres unique viscose sizing and a ball of Teresa's own denim cotton.  It was sooo hard to choose - I could have bought the shop! 

Funds depleted, I went round again !  

THANK YOU to everyone who chatted to me.  THANK YOU to everyone who inspired me.  We'll be back again next year...I might even put in an entry for the woolcraft......

Monday, July 12, 2010

Winter 2010 Range Release

Well here are my new scarves for winter!  (See the Slideshow at the right hand side).  Lots of lovely new colours and patterns and some stunning new yarns. There are just a few left from the "Autumn 2010 Collection" so I have included them so they don't get left on the rack....it's sad being being shelved, especially when you are a lovely scarf or wrap  LOL.

This winter I am very happy to have more of the wonderful Wanstead Park English Leicester yarn represented in the collection - all items with this fabulous Tasmanaina wool in them are from my Conara range.  Likewise the partnering of Darke Doings Fine Tassie Merino with the sumptuous Noro yarns and other luxury fibres.

NEW NEW NEW are the pure Tasmanian Fine Merino scarves and wraps.  19 micon fine Tassie merino has been millspun in Roberts Tasmania's Japanese partner's mill into lustrous and lofty 2/16s yarn which is as light as thistledown. I am delighted to be able to offer truly Tasmanian garments and accessories to you.  Thanks to Eric and Roberts' Tasmanian Merino label!

Over the next few weeks I wil load selections from Winter 2010  range into my Madeit and Etsy Stores and of course, all and more will be available at my stall at the Junction 2010 Niche Market at the end of August!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Tasmanian Abroad...Again!

.......Getting excited now...count-down 6 sleeps then on the boat and off to the 133rd Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo on July 16 to 18.  From the website  Bendigo Baas  The AUSTRALIAN SHEEP & WOOL SHOW (THE SHEEP SHOW) is the biggest show of its kind in the world. For three days in July, Bendigo becomes the epicenter of woolen fashion, fine food and beautiful fibre.

This will be the fourth year we have been, and I have been saving $$s madly and can hardly wait to get in the mind-blowing Woolcraft pavillions where miles of vendors offer everything from buttons and findings to finished garments.  Many many stalls with glorious handspun and/or hand dyed hanks of silk, cotton, wool, alpaca and every other fibre under the sun.  The fashion parades are just stunning and the Woolcraft competition venues bring you back to earth with a jolt when you see the marvellous talent on display.

The significant other will head straight for the ones on four legs to watch the judging, shearing comps and to catch up on any f&a's from Tassie who are there - and there will be a few I am sure!  I love the fleeces on display and of course who can resist the sheepdog trials.

But the best will be buying buying buying...I hope to be able to purchase some very special yarns to weave weave weave.

The Ravelry lot will be there but I will miss the Friday meet as the Spirit won't get me there in time to make it up to Bendi for Brekkie.

Border Leicester is the feature breed this year. 

Pics and highlights next week !

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spinning K !

I'm off to Kaye and Will's for lunch Sunday - haven't seen them for ages so that will be lovely.  I will take some good Pino G to share.

Guess what ?...Kaye's got herself a spinning wheel and is learning to make fibre.  How wonderful!!!  I can't wait to see what she's up to.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Niche allwrapped up for St Giles

Just received notification from the organisers that Rowena is once again accepted for the Nicheallwrapped up Market to be held end of August.....  Yippee!

This event was astounding for me at the May venue and if I only can make half as many people happy with their scarves and wraps it will be wonderful!

This time we'll be part of the Junction 2010 event  http://www.junction2010.com.au/  which will be a fantastic spotlight on Launceston's Arts community and hopefully having Niche as part of the activities will not only raise profiles, encourage people to invest with the local artisans but bring lots of traffic past Niche stalls and raise heaps for Gt Giles !

......weaving...weaving....weaving......absolutely gorgeous Tassie 19 micron fine merino wool into fashion statements........glitzy bling scarves for everyday.........warm warm natural corriedale and Tassie english leicester wool snugglies for the coldest of winters...handspun and handwoven one-offs..........busy...busy...busy.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Scarf ~ Noro in the Darke

Thought you might like to see the makings of this lovely scarf using my Ashford Knitters Loom (AKL).  I used a weft of Darke Doings superfine millspun Tasmanian merino on a warp of the beautiful Japanese Noro Taiyo in autumn tones. It was woven on the AKL using a 7.5 dpi heddle and the warped length of 2300mm gave a finished length of just over 1800 mm.  Width finished is 170mm.  I used 3/4 ball of the Noro and about 70g of the merino - equivalent to about an 8ply.

This is the Noro Taiyo Yarn - colour No 9

Cotton, Silk, Wool and a tiny bit acrylic.  Yummy !

The warp tied on

.......and  rolled onto the back beam.  I use A3 paper to make sure the warp threads are even and there are no bumps.  Helps stop slipping as well!

Looking sideon with the heddle in the rest position, you can see how the shed opens up.

And so we start to weave.  In this scarf, I used a leno twist pattern.  There are ten shots of plain weave in between each leno sequence.

Close-up of leno twist

The scarf was finished with a simple twisted fringe.

Finished product !