Saturday, 6 October 2007


Just in case you are wondering ……. Yes I am still winding my very fine warp!!! I have only 1 bout of 100 ends to go, so the end is in sight. Yah
Unfortunately my hairpin lace shawl will not be finished for the show, The joining is just not working out properly and I need more time than I have available to me to get it finished sigh. I had hoped to show off a new technique (well not new, but one that hasn’t seen the light of day around here for a very long time.

I think most of my skeins are ready, I just need to find the fibre samples that I have been throwing into a bag I have hanging in my studio with a swing ticket around it giving the relevant information. At least I hope they are all there. I usually spin up all my fibre and then when the show comes around and I decide which ones I will enter I have no fibre samples! At times I have even been reduced to snipping a bit of yarn and un-plying it and taking the twist out of the singles and fluffing it out to serve as my sample!

Anyway I have several skeins of wool, one of very, very fine cashmere, silk and wool blend, silk, mohair, wool from fleece (as opposed to top).

I learned last Tuesday that our judged section at the show is 40+ entries down on last year, which was also down on the year before. It has been harder and harder to get people to help in the organizing and demo-ing. When Moira used to ride and she would go to Agricultural shows I would always go and have a look at the woolcraft section. Our show is the only one that the woolcraft has it’s own section. Usually it is just part of the home crafts section, it there was any at all. Over the years I have pushed and pushed to keep us going. Our section is staged in the wool and sheep pavilion, there is a stage there where there is constant entertainment and we hold a parade of woolcraft, and down on the main floor we demonstrate, and have activities for the children, whether we are teaching them to knit, weave, or felt. The week before we clean this area, we have glass fronted cabinets for the judged entries, which are cleaned. We decorate the stage and around the lower area. We steward for the judges on Tuesday, stage the judged entries in the display cabinets and tidy everything up, and put in other displays on Wednesday. Thursday to Sat night we are there doing demonstrations and the fashion parade. Some years ago the show went to 4 days to include Sunday, but we decided that we would not be there on Sunday. So all our demonstration stuff has to be cleared away on Sat night, then Sunday about 4pm we have to come back and dismantle the display and organize the entries to be picked up, along with any prizes. We organize our own sponsors for 1st prize. This is a very big undertaking for our guild, and even I am getting tired of it, but I do hope the guild doesn’t decide to disband it.

At the moment I am again spinning silk on my Ashford wheel. I also have silk on my Wind wheel (a folding wheel originally made in Tasmania) and my other wheels (yes plural) have nothing on them, I must do something about that.

Spread your Wings and Soar


Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Well the thought of not having anything in our show it now just that. One of our guild members has gotten us in! Just when I thought I was safe, now I have to get things finished gggg I have entered 10 items, not sure that I’ll get them all finished, but am trying. Eight of them are skeins of handspun, one knitted and one hairpin lace.

We had a very good day last Wednesday at our State guild, they provided us with a lovely lunch, and surprise, surprise of course I just had to bring some little souvenirs home :) I bought some little 25g bags of tencel, bamboo, milk latte, about 4 bags of each. I am looking forward to spinning these, but I want to dye them first. I also bought a couple of books for myself and 2 books for the guild.

At the moment Fibre Forum is on in Geelong (large town 20min down the road) this is a large Textile Forum, another one is held interstate around Easter with various regional ones at different times. I usually go to the one in Geelong (it's so close I couldn't not), but this year a friend and I went to a regional one earlier in the year, and there were no workshops I really wanted to do. All of these have week long workshops and the piece de resistance is the traders ;-) ;-). I went out on Monday to the traders. Of course I was naughty and spent money, but then again I save for this all year. I bought about 5 books and ordered some for our guild, and silk yarn for weaving. I have to go back tomorrow to pick up the books and maybe on Saturday - their open day.

Three of us from guild have applied to attend the interstate one next April, the other two have got their workshops back, but I was tardy in sending mine (like it only went in the post this morning!), but I don't think I'll have any trouble in getting my 1st choice, which is millinery. (I am a milliner, and used to have my own business, but haven't worked for about 15yrs) I am getting ready to open an Esty shop as I said in my last post. I hope to have it up by the end of the week or next week. I have photographed the work I have ready, now to set everything up.

Spread your Wings and Soar


Thursday, 13 September 2007

What Have I Been doing?

I have been back home a week and I still haven’t caught up. I have missed the closing date for our show, so for the first time in many, many years I won’t have anything in the judged section.

I am still winding this very fine warp (2,000+ ends)! And I am now thinking of doing the Star of Bethlehem overshot pattern. Will I or won’t I???? So now I need to sit down and work out my threading, and how much yarn I will need. More math! The trouble is I’m not really sure what I want to do. It is for an Altar cloth, and I am trying to find something appropriate.

I also want to find time by the end of the weekend to photograph the wedding pieces and hats I want to sell on Esty. This means making up a photo booth, and I should also find a model of some sort. Not sure that that will happen for this time at least. I also want to get one of our wedding photos copied as I have bought a beautiful large glass frame. I have also bought a double heart shaped frame, but that is a difficult shape to fit. But these frames are sitting on my work bench in my studio and taking up room there!

I have finished the last strip of my hairpin lace, now to decide how to join them.

The wind has picked up today, and we are promised some rain over the next couple of days. I hope that eventuates. We are still desperate for water.

Spread your Wings and Soar

Sunday, 2 September 2007

……..And 6 Months Later!

I don’t know where this time has gone, but gone it has. We are now heading into Spring. We had some quite good rain in July, but alas not anywhere near enough to break our drought.

I have been spending some time up north with Moira and I fly home this coming Thursday. It has been a very nice, quiet and relaxing break. I still struggle with the weight of my case! Trouble is I am on holiday and what do I like to do on holiday – read! And of course books weigh a ton! I only bought one knitting project – cancer hats for breast cancer victims. I am making a hair pin lace stole from my hand spun variegated silk, in the colours of the inside of a seashell. So that too has come, I’m hoping to get it finished for our show in October. I am halfway through the last strip and now have to decide how I want to join the strips. I have also bought a spindle that I am spinning very bright variegated silk on which will be plied to a similar colourway of “Optim TM” (this is the “silky” merino created by our CSIRO where twisted wool sliver is stretched some 40-50% making each fibre 3-3.5 microns finer. The reduced fibre is then chemically set in this finer form. The result is a fine, lustrous, silk soft and strong fibre. X-rays show that the processed fibre is closer to silk in structure while being stronger and finer that its parent wool. See: if interested)

I left my studio in a total mess. I had certain things I wanted to get done before I left, but …………… The trouble is I keep acquiring things that need to be housed and not getting rid of other things!!!!!! In other words I need a bigger space. Derek suggested I store some things in the ‘tack’ room, but I don’t really want to do that as I like to have everything in my studio where I can see it. Out of sight – out of mind – and I forget I’ve got it! As it is most of my fleeces are out in the caravan and there is even some cones of fine wool. My other big lack of is -- time! I just never seem to get anything done!

At the weekend Moira and I watched all the Harry Potter films, and Tuesday we went to see the latest one (again!). It was fun. Although I enjoy them, after having read all the books I find the films rather scattered and fractured. When I get home I am going to start re-reading all the books or at least listening to them. Moira is reading them now.

I have been naughty and been playing on ebay the last couple of weeks, I bought some cotton yarn, and some back issues of Weavers ( missed out on several auctions of issues I don’t have, Oh well I will gradually acquire them) and The Weaver’s Journal, and a couple of weaving books. Looking forward to the post again! J Now I need to stay off it for awhile. Unfortunately all but one item comes from the US, so postage is nearly as much and in some cases more than the item!!!

I have also been on the Esty site, Well actually I’ve been squandering too much time over there ggggg (managing not to spend anything) I am thinking about creating a store there for my millinery and some jewelry. I’ve been thinking about re-opening my millinery business for a couple of years, but don’t seem to have the enthusiasm or time to do it. Perhaps seeing how things sell here might give me the push. I have several hats and bridal pieces ready to go.

Spread Your Wings and Soar


Sunday, 11 March 2007

I didn’t mean to be so long in posting another entry to my blog, but would you believe I couldn’t remember my sign in name grrrrrrr I had it written on a piece of paper and couldn’t find it anywhere!!!!! It took me about a week to realize I couldn’t find it and then several days trying to remember it. It also meant I couldn’t get on my UK Guild Computer design blog. Needless to say I have now emailed it to myself and I have it in several word docs that I keep email addresses and such in.

Of course the month has gone fast. Thank you to the people who have taken the time to leave comments. This is a way new learning curve for me. As is using a MP3 player. Derek has just bought me one a Sandisk Sansa, I have managed to down load Syne Mitchell’s Weave Cast, which I am enjoying very much. I am also down loading Fibre Cast and Pixie Purls, they sound interesting.

I have set up my dye table (an old door on trestle legs) again to do some dyeing I wanted to try out. I spent last Monday dyeing. I bought a lovely fine Merino fleece a few weeks ago from one of our ladies at guild. I have been combing (using dog combs – 3 held in a small vice) this fleece lock by lock over the last week or two, I really don’t like carding unless I want to blend colours or fibre. And then I do it under sufferance ggggg. The first lot I set out and random dyed like I would roving. Rolled it up in cling wrap and microwaved for about 6 mins. The next two lots I did a cram method into old canning jars. I put a layer of damp fleece in the bottom of the jar spritzed it with water heavily laced with white vinegar and with a face mask on (hate those things, but they are important to ware) sprinkled “Landscape” dye powder on, then another layer of fleece and did it all over again with another colour. Once I had crammed all I could I covered the top of the jar with cling film and microwaved it for about 5 or 6 mins. Microwave dyeing is wonderful. I ended up with about 80gms/2.8oz of fleece crammed into the jar which is about 17.7cm/7” high by about 10cm/4” dia. I did 2 colourways, one in various blues and the other in what I call Royal Autumn, it turned out quite stunning I think, it was exciting and quite unexpected – moss greens, deep rose, touches of pale sandstone, and more.

The first photo is my random dyeing – set up ready to dye.

The dyed fibre.

The same dyed fibre re-combed

My crammed fibre after cooking

and again ready to be washed

dried, waiting to be re-combed

My Royal Autumn little puffs dried and ready to be combed again

Here they are re-combed

A new bead shop has opened up near by and I went for a visit on my way home from work on Friday and bought some more beads. These included 3 glass starfish in blues, some matching glass beads, a string of small freshwater pearls in a smoky blue and another in blue. I have put them all together, plus 2 strands of very tiny white pearls, all the strands are wrapped together. I am really very pleased with it.
Here are some photos of it, please note my antique linen cloth under it. gggg

I have been asked to stand as president of our Spinners and Weavers Guild again. I was president the one before our current one. I think it is too quick, although a couple of other girls suggested I should stand last year. I took over as secretary in December and our last one had to step down suddenly due to the fires and drought situation here, as they live quite a distance away and have a large farm. So that is something I am thinking about at the moment, our AGM is at the end of April.

Spread your Wings and Soar


Friday, 9 February 2007

Thankyou for everyone’s kind words both here and privately.

I have fallen in Love – head over heels – in love!!!! And what is the object of my affection? Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. It is lovely, it is well photographed, well written. It is full of inspiration for any textile artist or anyone who delights in a little luxury. Although not a frequent knitter of lace, (heck I keep away from knitting lace as much as possible, I do plain knitting, aran knitting, some colour work – but not lace ggg) out of the 36 patterns in the book there are only 2 that are not screaming for me to knit. I also found the information that Jane Sowerby presented on the history of lace very interesting and also very readable, making this book not just a pattern book but a reference one as well, and a great addition to the coffee table. It is a delight just to browse through the on location photos, the details of the scarves and stoles are detailed enough to see the actual knitted pattern. Then there is a section on how to understand lace and lace design, and charts, how to block, knit on a border design your own shawl/scarf. All in all this is a very inspiring book and not just another lace knitting book. It is a book I will treasure for many, many years to come.

Just to show that I have knitted at least one lace item, here is a photo of a stole I knitted last year from the XRX book on scarves, another great book.

And this photo is one of free knitting, not quite traditional lace, but ……

This is my sample of weaving crocheting from my UKOnline guild crochet workshop.

Another of my babies

Spread your wings and SOAR


Saturday, 3 February 2007

I have probably spent too much time at the computer these last couple of weeks playing with paint programs, for the UK Online Guild workshop for January on Computer designing. It has been a lot of fun to take a photo and play in these programs, even switching from one program to another, to use the different effects each has. There are several web based programs, some that you can download free and of course we have Paint shop Pro, and Photoshop. These are just a couple of effects with the one photo. This is the oriainal photo I started with.

Then I:
liquefied it in Adobe Photoshop

After a few more effects I then used the mosaic antique effect

and then the weave effect

and then I liquified it again

This has been so much fun, I'm not sure what or how I am going to use these in my designing. I can see end products in patchwork, tapestry weaving, dyeing, maybe even some batik or gutta resist on silk. And even just printing up the photos. The change of colours after the first liquify came about when I used the foil effect.

My weaving is going slowly, my knitted neck warmer is also going slowly, this is my second one. I am now doing some crochet weaving as this months’ UK Online guild workshop is on Crochet, including – this week – weaving, then Tunisian, I decided to order myself a loom for this: (I hope this will hotshoe) broomstick and Hairpin lace. I have done a little bit of this before, so this should be an interesting workshop. Other workshops for the year include Summer and Winter weaving, fleece challenge – Bowmont, may not be able to take part as there may not be enough fleece, spindle spinning, I think this would be a challenge over the internet! Hedgerow dyeing, spinning yarn for embroidery, nalbinding, advanced twill weaving, and a stash exchange at Christmas time. This is a very informative guild to belong to, and you also receive their Journal monthly.

It is going to be in the mid to high 30sC/80s-90sF over the next couple of days. I HATE the heat! I may quietly melt. We are in the middle of a very severe drought, the worst in all our history! We are not allowed to water our garden with fresh water, so we are recycling all our used water. All our laundry and downstairs bathroom is going into an old bath under our back decking and we pump that out on to the garden using our normal hoses. It takes a bit of running around and slows down our washing somewhat. Derek has put soaker hoses on the kitchen outlet and the downstairs shower. Unfortunately we can’t do much with our upstairs bathroom as it runs in the wall and floor/ceiling cavities. But Derek is looking to see what he can do. Anyway I try and do our laundry when it is going to be very hot. (I do do it regulary at other times gggg)

Here are my babies


and Samson

Spread your wings and SOAR

Thursday, 1 February 2007

The opening Post of On Gossamer Wings

Wow I did it!

I have finally organized a blog for myself ggg This is going to be real fun keeping this up dated. I hope you will all bear with me, as I travel along this road. Where is this blog heading? where am I heading? Let's travel that road together.

I'd better tell you a little more about myself from what is in my profile. Besides my two Siamese "babies" have two dogs - a Pomeranian and a Kelpie - Kim and Sox, they all run our home. I have an aviary with some native birds; we have chooks and two of our daughters' horses - a Shetland pony and a palomino with whom she used to do show jumping.

In 1991 I began an advanced certificate in studio textiles, this is where I learnt to weave. When Moira was about 6 she wanted to learn to spin, so that is when I first learnt to spin as well. Until I went to college, I ran a bridal and special occasion millinery business from home, I also made silk flower bouquets and arrangements. I had to close the business while I was at college as I didn't have time for it, and I've never reopened it.

My crafts, my spinning, weaving, knitting take up a lot of my time, they are what I 'do'. But the question "who am I" is more important. Being wife and mother is a nurturing role and that is a role I extend to all of our earth and the people whom I meet on this road. I am also a spiritual person, I believe we are called to do ordinary things extraordinarily well. I know I very often fail at this, but it is something I strive to do.

Spread your Wings and SOAR