Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From the place of the merino....

A trip to Central otago for a few days break and a bit of stash enhancement. The yarns are all Touch yarns.
A boucle mohair yarn and some fine kid mohair. Plus some quirky sheep buttons from the Merino shop in Tarras.
Very hot day, all the merinos were sheltering under trees and bushes. Looking forward to getting their summer haircuts.

Came home to a big package of 5 kilos worth of merino and mohair 4ply yarn, so dyed these last night
for our shop. I'm always torn as to whether I should wind into balls or sell as skeins. Skeins win for showing off the colours but I do sell some of the 100% wool yarns in 200g wound balls.
Compared to the straight wool I've been dyeing recently, the mohair blend just sucks up the dye so quickly. a bit like dyeing superwash wool.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


A Textile craft Co-Operative in Oamaru.
After two years of planning and discussion "The Oamaru Textile Exchange" was finally created. The word exchange was chosen as part of our title as the late 1800's building is known as the Sumpter Exchange after the founder of the local spinning mill here in Oamaru. Our wool connections are even more tangible than this, as in the building behind us is a current wool store piled with raw wool bales. So we experience parfum de sheep every day. Our small textile craft co-operative is housed downstairs whilst upstairs lives several old hattersley looms.
This is our street scape, a line of victorian whitestone buildings, restored or undergoing restoration. We officially opened in October 2007 and were up and running in time for the yearly victorian celebrations in November.
the textile Exchange houses a retail area and workshop space so we artisans can work at our various crafts in public view. This is a popular tourist area attracting mostly overseas visitors.
Not a very good interior shot, will do some more later to add to this blog. On site at various times of the day or week are people wearing and making victorian clothes on fully functioning old sewing machines, spinners, knitters and weavers. We also sell hand embroidery, yarns, handspinning fibre, clothing, hats, scarves, patchwork etc.
Photos of the working Hattersley loom owned by the Mcleans. Originally used on the west Coast of NZ by a commercial weaver, followed by Lawrence and finally housed upstairs here in Oamaru. Built in Yorkshire, they are historic looms associated with the scottish cottage tweed industry.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Affraid of colour?

You may perhaps have already noticed that I’m not too scared of splashing a colour or two about in my work. I admit that most of my projects involve more than half a dozen different colours, shades, tones etc. In fact I enjoy the challenges of using lots of differentBalls of dyed yarn in my work.Do I do any natural and single coloured projects? Actually yes, although often these are for other people at their request.I’ve done a number of different garments in black for instance. Right as I speak there is a black alpaca jacket sleeve sitting on my knitting needles as well as a natural brownAlpaca yarn in the process of being knitted into a hat. Over this last year I’ve woven several natural coloured scarves and wraps, crocheted a black shawl and knitted a short coat in brown. See suri scarf below in previous blog. I do like fibre in its natural, living colours, I’m a handspinner and therefore collector of fleece. I admit quite a few of them are white (grubby white as they wait to be washed), and destined for the dyepot.I just find the colourful stuff so appealing to do and photograph.

Above is a tapestry crocheted tote bag in my hand dyed yarns. This form of crochet is worked tightly, usually with a hook smaller than the recommended size for weight of yarn. It utilizes only the double crochet (single crochet) stitch and the fabric emulates a woven fabric so it is often not recognized as crochet. Two (or can be more) threads are used at the same time to create the pattern carrying the colours along the top of the stitches, this adds to the firmness of the fabric. For more info on this style of crochet and instructions see http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/. I made this bag at the end of 2007 out of a predominantly alpaca yarn. I don’t always line these bags because the fabric can be very sturdy, and non stretchy particularly if worked in cotton or linen.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Curlicues to finish.

Well an evening spent crocheting 14 curlicues in the same yarn as the scarf and voila! One finished scarf.
makes a change from twisting a fringe. I'm already weaving the next one. Will do a few with crochet borders to carry on the theme.
Really hot today so we had a barbecue in the evening. Its been a great week weatherwise, lots of sunshine and warmth. One more day left before we go back to the daily grind of the workplace.