The Upper Hutt Spinners and Weavers are just one of the groups featured in Heritage Month this September. Their group is celebrating 40 years of spinning and weaving and recently had a demonstration in the local shopping mall. My only wool related craft is knitting (from time to time) and I was interested to go along to see what it is all about.
First I talked to a lady doing carding. Now, I do know that the raw wool is carded (teased out) before being plyed, but I didn’t realise that there was a mechanical way to do this, I thought it was brushed out by hand. The fleece being carded is alpaca, and is wonderfully soft. This lady knows all about machine embroidery and is keen to start taking classes, so I intend to catch up with her shortly about this. Perhaps I should mention that I have an embroidery module for my sewing machine that I have never used, and didn’t know how to get started. So it must be fate, or maybe good luck, that I went along to this demonstration.
What’s next? Of course, it’s spinning. There were several different spinning wheels on show, and I didn’t realise that there was so much variation in design. This one is a mini spinning wheel and the wool being spun is corriedale.
There were a couple of small table looms set up, and one young visitor was really keen to have a go. She was doing very well too for such a young child and was carefully listening to instructions.
Another lady was doing Tunisian crotchet, which I had never seen before. It looked like knitting on a crotchet hook. She was making a strap for her bag, after first weaving the body of the bag.
Another example of Tunisian crotchet was this beautiful white rug, which took three years to make, I was told.
The Spinners and Weavers also have a small display in the local library, together with a good selection of books relating to these crafts for people to borrow.
All this wool everywhere on show is making me think of getting my own knitting needles clacking again – I know I have something almost finished in my knitting bag. And once that is finally finished, I could start something new, couldn’t I?