September Open Day

The East Gippsland Wool & Craft Group held its annual Open Day on the usual 2nd Saturday of September. The good company, along with interesting demonstrations and a delicious morning and afternoon tea, complemented the displays of top quality work done by the various members, which combined to make it a first-class event in our calendar. Even the weather conspired to aid us - a perfect spring day, warm and windless so we could have all the doors open and enjoy the sunshine. Perhaps though, if the weather had been a little less than kind, we may have had more visitors – maybe they were all home gardening or at the beach! However, those present had a very enjoyable day.

The displays featured a variety of articles, woven, knitted, crocheted, felted and sewn by members, from recycled materials, our theme for this year’s open day. Other displays featured various wool craft equipment and a table with spindles, skeins and articles made from spindle-spun yarns. Members were engaged in spinning with various brands of spinning wheels and a charkha, while others relaxed with their knitting or crochet and chatted over a cuppa.

A Circle of Spinners was set up to give some idea of what is involved in being part of a Back to Back team, though using a previously shorn fleece. Members of this circle challenged themselves by spinning greasy fleece, spinning at speed and plying from Andean bracelets or a centre-pull ball. Spinning a yarn that is also similar to that of other team members in twists per inch is definitely a challenge, especially when singles from 2 members are plied together. To achieve a consistent effect in the knitted pieces the grist is very important – for the Back to Back a plied yarn equal to a commercial 8-ply is the aim, not easy for some members who are used to spinning lace-weight yarns.

Other members then took the spun yarn and started knitting squares, which were to be sewn together later into a 4-square hat, an original pattern created by a member. Knitting greasy yarn poses a new set of difficulties, especially at speed, so more practice will be needed there as well.

Our raffle, as usual, featured a bag and donated produce. This year the bag was our Wagga-Bag, made as a group project from squares of old woollen fabric embroidered with floral motifs in Quaker stitch, along with other embroidery stitches. The squares were then sewn into a beautiful bag, padded and lined, after the fashion of the old Wagga quilts, which were a thrifty bed covering made by many men and women of earlier times in Australia. A tableful of other prizes, generously donated, made the raffle a star feature of the day.

Our Trading Table was well stocked with all kinds of woolly items, from hats and scarves to adorable sets of little “pram bunnies”, along with the remaining Snow Belles, a group project from a couple of months ago. The Cash for Stash stall featured recycled equipment and books, one member had several of her top-quality English Leicester fleeces for sale, another a trailer full of cottage plants.

Visitors arrived from Warrigul, Wonthaggi and Traralgon, but it would have been nice to have had more. If you are reading this and are interested in a lovely day out, spinning, knitting or otherwise, sharing a love of traditional textile crafts then contact us via the email address and ask to be put on our mailing list. We would love to meet you!