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Monday, August 26, 2013

Spinners and Weavers at the Wool Shed

Packing up the caravan, we headed off to the Wairarapa for the weekend.  As usual, I packed my knitting, and my hand stitching, just in case I had some spare time.  But no handcrafts were done all weekend, although I spent quite some time with my nose stuck in my very interesting library book – I could hardly bear to put it down, wondering “who done it?”. 

We visited  the “Wool Shed” museum in Masterton, which is housed in in two relocated pioneer wool sheds and tells of sheep farming in New Zealand. The first sheep flocks were brought over from Sydney. Australia, and driven around the rugged coast from Wellington to the Wairarapa coast, and currently there are about 35 million sheep in New Zealand.  We were given a sheep shearing demonstration, with the shearer deftly removing two fleeces with seemingly little effort at all.  It must take a lot of skill and years of practice to make it seem so easy, I think

P8250050 The fleece is almost off

The local Spinners and Weavers group meet regularly at the museum and the ladies were only too happy to show us what they were doing.  They all stated that spinning is a very soothing pastime, and they really enjoy their craft.

P8250082 Showing us how to spin
A couple of  looms were set up around the museum, and one had a notice stating: “Project in progress, do not touch”.  This smaller one  invited visitors to “Have a Go!”. 

P8250070 Have a go at weaving

P8250112 Woven scarves on display

Remember those woollen cloaks from the Lord of the Rings films?  The Wool Shed museum has one on display.  The special fabric used to make the Magic Elven cloaks was woven locally in New Zealand by Stansborough Fibres. They grow their own unique naturally grey wool at their farm just north of Wellington. These rare and unusual grey Stansborough Gotland sheep, are the only flock of their kind in the world and produce fibre which is strong, soft and lustrous.

P8250068 Elven cloak on display

Barry with Greybeard, one of the Gotland sheep

So if you want to know all there is about sheep, shearing and wool fleeces, this is the place to go.  We found it very interesting indeed.

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