2019 – A Year of Opportunity

A reverse chronology – read from bottom up (each entry is dated)

(For up-coming events, please click on “Workshops and Contact” tab above.)



posted (25/11/2019)

Readers from outside our area may be aware that we have been in severe drought for more than 2 years. Farmers especially, but along with them the whole community, have been suffering increasingly in recent months, to the point where water restrictions are now on everyone’s minds. Gardens now tend to be a thing of the past, and everyone is urged to “shower in a bucket” to recycle every precious drop. Added to that, is the stress of water being needed to fight bushfires! Imagine the delight then, when a convoy of around 80 trucks arrived in town last Saturday carrying everything from bottled water to tankers laden to the brim.

We understand this was initiated by the Irish community in Sydney, and most of the drivers and companions had connection to the Emerald Isle. After their long journey North, the truckies were welcomed at the Showgrounds with a luncheon courtesy of Armidale Rotary Club, and a social meeting with many locals. No doubt town was hopping that night?

And of course, as “residents” of the Showground, AS&W were also part of the welcoming party, courtesy of Lee and Robyn who were at the showgrounds working on plans for the renovation of the bar.


A Valued Visitor Learns About Our Craft.

(posted 20/11/19 …. with apologies for the delay)

As reported previously, Adam Marshall has announced a CRIF grant to club members. During his visit he received instruction from Lee and Merryn ……..

… and visited the (soon to be new-look) Bar with Richard to inspect what would be done with the grant money.

The members were naturally delighted to have Adam with them for the morning, and put on a grand display of the Club’s usual activities, including the obligatory tea and cake!

There have been continuing discussions about the modernisation program, and with tenders now called for, there is a hope that work will start early in the new year.



(posted 3/10/2019)

With assistance from Adam Marshall (M.P.) the club has been awarded a grant of $30,000 to upgrade the old bar as a modern clubroom.

Watch this space for more details ………………


Money, Money, Money…….!!

(posted 1/10/2019)

AS&W thank the many supporters who voted enabling us to win a grant of $1000 from The Greater Bank.

Our thanks also go to GNE for accepting our nomination.

The money will assuredly be well-spent ……………..


Mother Nature Makes A Call!

(posted 8/9/2019)

Does anybody recognise this …….

…………….. or perhaps this ….?

This is what happened on Friday when a wind gust hit Armidale. The building is the shed in which much of the the Club’s valuable equipment has been stored while negotiations continue about a permanent clubroom.

Responding to a call from the Showground caretaker, Lee and Robyn spent a couple of hours removing the (heavy and burdensome) “stuff” to another undamaged space to ensure it was safely out of any further weather event.

And here is the remaining cleared space (complete with sun roof?)

And just to prove that Armidale Spinners and Weavers were the only group to feel the wrath here are a couple of shots of the surrounding buildings.

And for the benefit if out-of-towners, please notice the lovely green (!!!) of the oval in front of the grandstands. Drought can be heartless too?


Learn-To-Spin Workshop Date Set

(posted 4/7/2019)

This popular 2-day event will be staged on Saturdays 24th and 31st August, starting at 9:30 am each day.

Merryn will lead the class, with instructions on spinning from both raw fleece and/or fibre tops.

The cost will be $50 for members and $80 for non-members.

Please contact the club executive using the “WORKSHOPS & Contact” tab at the top of this page to enrol if you are interested, or if you want more information.

Further details will be circulated directly to those who sign-on in the weeks leading up to the workshop.

Club Outing To Nundle

(posted 3/7/2019)

Members and partners drove to Nundle last week to visit the Woollen Mills. After an early start at the club-rooms, most of the party assembled at the Goldmine coffee shop for a convivial morning tea and cakes together.

It was only a short walk to the Nundle Woollen Mills where after a look around to start thinking what might be bought, Nick invited everyone to sit comfortably for an entertaining “lesson” on the history of wool processing over many years.

The presentation was very much “hands-on” and relevant to the machinery he was about to demonstrate. He also described the changes in the wool industry over many years, with special reference to the intricacies of sourcing a regular and reliable quality fleece, and having it well scoured.

Turning to the processing plant, the group moved from one vantage point to another, where Nick described each process, demonstrating the difference between hand and machine preparation ….

….. with regular apologies to the club members who he acknowledged probably knew as much as he did about some of the issues!!

While the members stayed on the mezzanine floor, Nick then went down to the work floor and ran  each machine one at a time to show its action, speed and capacity.

And then he finished up with a description of the dying process, and a short advert break about the mill’s products …. Especially Nundle Socks!!

And to bring a pleasant end to the outing, everyone then adjourned to the coffee shop or the local pub for a convivial meal together, before heading back up the hill to home.

Thank you Nick and the Nundle Woollen Mill for an entertaining and informative day out.

A Project to Provide Some Warmth to the Homeless People of Armidale.

posted 25/6/2019 … but refer also to previous post dated 16/5/2019)

The Club’s latest community project, to provide clothing and coverings for the homeless of Armidale to help them cope with the winter chills, came to a very successful conclusion last week with an informal presentation to representatives of St. Vincent de Paul Society at the AS&W clubrooms. 

Over recent weeks members have been making everything from gloves to scarves, jumpers to blankets, and assembled a great collection of 113 items. 

Needless to say, the contribution was much appreciated by the St. Vincent volunteers who have promised to ensure each item finds a suitable person or family to reside with, and who will benefit greatly from these items. 

The full story, including a pic of the gathering can be found in last week’s Online Express at: https://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/6233775/spinners-and-weavers-just-keep-on-giving/?cs=471


(posted 24/6/2019)

The club was recently asked to visit to the Drummond  Park  Pre-school and to share some fibre crafts with the littlies.

Not quite knowing what to expect, Lee and Robyn fronted up with an assortment of spinning wheels, fleeces and fibres of different types and colours, and were met by an enthusiastic bunch of 15 – 20 little ones and their three teachers/carers.

Lee started out in the role of “teacher”, explaining to the children what Robyn was doing on the wheel.  The kids listened and watched politely at first, but soon became involved and asked lots of questions.

Our ladies were quite impressed, and it became clear that most of them really DID understand what was going on at the workface of the wheel. And they noticed the finer detail too, like the two wheels having different numbers of pedals!

There was plenty of “feely-feely, touchy-touchy” activity, but the biggest problem Robyn had was with one little fella who kept on wanting to put his fingers into the spokes of the wheel as it turned …… most of the club’s spinners would well know that experience?

The kids loved the different textures and colours and hopefully they each learned a little more about fibres and textiles.

A teacher explained that felting was sometimes one of their activities, so there would be opportunities for the class to follow up from this visit.   And just to help with maintaining an ongoing interest, a bag of goodies was left with the teachers for them to use as they wish in future classes.

We have heard since from parents and grandparents that the children took home lots of stories about their experiences with the ladies!

The music of Willie Nelson says it all?

(posted 01/6/2019)

Yes, Spinners and Weavers are on the move again.

Partly in response to attempts by the club to make the bar more winter-friendly, the Showground Trust has offered the club temporary residence in the area generally known as the Show Office, at the western end of the western grandstand.

There are 3 rooms, but with connecting windows (!!) and doors, so that members will still be able to communicate, even if sitting in another space. And with large external windows for light, and only one door to let drafts in, meetings should be quite comfortable?

According to those who know about these matters, there is a chance that funding for a “proper” refurbishment of the bar should be forthcoming soon, so don’t get too used to this arrangement – hopefully springtime will see the club back in a comfortable “permanent” home!



(posted 29/5/2019)

The final weekend of Autumn proved to be an excellent time to hold a club weaving workshop for beginners. Despite a “hold” having been put on modifications to the rooms in an attempt to keep winter chills at bay, Mother Nature did her bit by providing 2 warm and windless days.

Under the expert guidance of Margaret Small as Tutor and with help from Robyn and Lee, seven eager participants started winding warps early Saturday morning, and by mid-afternoon on Sunday were able to admire each others’ near-completed projects.

At times on their own, sometimes with one-on-one tuition, and at other times in small groups, each weaver was able to progress comfortably at their own pace, but all with the same end result in mind. And of course there was plenty of time for camaraderie and chatter in meal breaks!

The selection of warp and weft, along with different weaving styles provided a colorful demonstration of what even beginner weavers can achieve in a relatively short time.

The club and students alike all thank Margret for her contributions.


Successful Project Completion!!

(posted 16/5/2019)

As the name implies, the Armidale Spinners and Weavers group engages in a variety of spinning and weaving techniques, but members also knit, crochet, felt, dye …….. and the list goes on.  Indeed most of the members are simply passionate about all fibre crafts, and a visitor to their clubrooms will likely find most of these activities in play at some level or other.

But apart from the opportunities to share craft knowledge and ideas in a social atmosphere, the Club also uses their skills to assist others.

Last year members contributed many metres of knitted or crochet scarves to the Taree Police “White Ribbon Initiative” to make the world’s longest scarf as part of a campaign against domestic violence, and this year’s community project was set to make beanies for oncology patients and for premature bubs at the Armidale Hospital.

A wide variety of sizes, patterns and colours resulted in a highly successful collection of over 70 items. (see bottom of this page for some examples).

On Wednesday the club President Lee Daniel met with Hamish Yeates, the Director of Nursing at the Armidale and New England Hospital to present boxes of goods to the oncology and maternity wards.

Hamish commented on the relevance and value of these goods to patients in the Armidale community, and accepted them with gratitude.


A Project to make a variety of items for the Homeless people of Armidale.







Weaving Workshop Announced!

(posted 11/4/19)

A Beginner 4-Shaft Weaving Workshop will be held on the weekend of May 25 &.26

Please see Workshop & Contacts page for more detail.


Nambucca Valley Craft Camp at Stuart’s Point.

(posted 30/3/2019)

A number of AS&W members accompanied by car loads of looms, spinning wheels and fibre (as well as driving partners!) made the trip down the mountain to experience the joys of a crafty weekend with like-minded friends from around the State. The local group (Nambucca Valley?) had everything in readiness, and after a brief registration process, the ladies were well and truly into chit-chat, displaying and explaining a large variety of projects, and of course inspecting the goods on sale from traders!

There were 7 or 8 craft groups represented from Newcastle to the North Coast, and inland to places like Armidale, along with a wide variety of individuals and family groups.

The hall was versatile, and there was plenty of space for the traders.



…. and while the village had all mod cons for the local residents, the holiday makers and the fishermen, there were still signs of the past ….!

After the long drive down, some of the Armidale mob needed a short break for a coffee …. but then they were into the fun bigtime.


And even Mother Nature got into the swing of things……. with Vine weaving on the sand dunes. Some of these warps were longer than 20 metres!

Saturday saw more of the same ….. but with different activities!

First you do this – then that …. easy peasy!

At day’s end some needed to contemplate, while others just needed a drink!

Sunny Sunday morning was a time to finish various projects, to ask all those final questions, and say farewell to new-found friends.

And even the locals came to say goodbye and invite us back next year.





(posted 20/3/2019)

Because of the ongoing drought, it seems unlikely that Armidale will this year experience the usual gloriously coloured autumn leaf displays around much of the district.

However, with their usual well planned and entertaining progamme of art, craft and animal displays, ring events,  sideshows and traders of various types (including food and drink!), the Armidale Show Society got the season off to a great start with “The Show”.  

Spinners and Weavers added to the colour in their own way, with this being the first opportunity in several years to present their crafts in an open day environment, for all-comers  to be amazed and intrigued by the wonders of the array of fibre crafts on display. And of course it was also the first chance to publicly open up their (hopefully) new permanent club rooms, albeit still light-on with the required modifications.

The room is opened and displays prepared…..
Visitors are greeted by our community projects.

(see articles below and on previous pages for detail of community projects and clubrooms)

Lee, Margaret and Kim try things out while waiting for the crowds…

Very 1st customer is a visitor from Dorrigo Plateau Fibre Arts Group!


One has to wonder what Lee said to so upset this gentleman before he even entered the club’s rooms??

Robyn was ever willing to hold visitor’s hand and show them how to spin.

Ian and Bronwyn were kept busy demonstrating some different spinning styles……

…… while Margaret gave weaving advice to visitors (and entertaining others!)

MEANWHILE – – – over in the show pavilion was an impressive array of items and garments submitted for judging. The club plays a part in continuing the Spinning & Weaving section each year, and acts as a link between the fibre crafts and other sheep and fibre sections of the show by giving demonstrations.  Everyone was delighted to see the support given from non-club members, and even from groups outside of Armidale. 

There were some beautiful pieces of work in the various craft sections, and the Club congratulates all who were successful in the judging.


A great show – thanks to the Show Society and members who gave freely of their time.


(posted 16/2/2019)

2018 was an uncertain year for the club as all activities were moved to (very hastily modified and generally inadequate) accommodation in the old Showgrounds Bar. This was graciously accepted by members as an unfortunate necessity, but they still looked forward to returning to their old home as soon as possible.  However, as the year progressed it became apparent that the “old” rooms would no longer be available, and a search for a future home started.

In an attempt to make the Bar more habitable one warm spring day, a way was found to open one end of the building – the better light and improved ambiance of that single act showed that perhaps this place DID hold prospects for the future, and planning began.


The Executive has had extensive discussions and negotiations with higher powers, and it now seems likely that this facility will eventually become the permanent home of the Club.  Quotes have been obtained to install a ceiling and to rebuild the temporary walls to include windows for light and air, and sealed panels to exclude the winter draughts  – and the Showground Trust has recently approved the lodging grant applications to fund part of the work. 

This, then, is the light at the end of the tunnel, as well as at the end of the room!!

No matter what, the move will need much input from the Club. Internal fitting and decorating may not be covered by grants, and working bees and additional fund raising will be necessary.   Some of this might seem daunting, but the Executive is looking at all avenues to make it a positive move, with opportunities to both increase the comfort for members and their gear, and to engage more with neighbours and the surrounding (outdoor) areas on pleasant days.

A number of activities (workshops, open days etc.) were curtailed in 2018 because of limited facilities, but planning can soon begin to re-establish the role of the Club in the diverse Armidale craft community, so that it can continue to promote its crafts while contributing to other groups around the town and indeed across the State.    (please remember the current project to make beanies for the hospital .. see post below).

As a first step to cementing the future, some of the Club’s furniture was recently moved into the small kitchen area in the Bar.  Despite virtually no changes or improvements to the structure, a bit of cleaning-up together with neatness and whiteness has already made a major difference?


Members (and visitors) are invited to inspect these new facilities at their leisure.  (details of opening times are in the “Home” page).


(posted 3/2/2019)

Members regularly bring to meetings  items of special interest for comment by others. First cab off the rank for 2019 was Sue Davies with her knitted circular lace shawl in a shell pattern.  The fibre was spun at the club, but the project was mostly completed at home.


Well done Sue!!






(posted 31/1/2019)

Once again the club was asked to support to the Volunteers who regularly maintain this historic homestead, and to provide some alternate entertainment with their crafts.

The pleasant setting in gardens  beside the grand old home, along with music by the Armidale Pipe Band and a selection of fine food and coffee accompanied by a minstrel trio, aIl set the scene for a pleasant day.

IMG_5407  IMG_5406

The only downside was the HEAT. .. Unfortunately there was very little breeze and credit must go those club members who stuck to the task for much of the day.


Lee persevered with her new carder, eventually dscn0166

got it all tuned up and as the day  ended had an

array of batts for her next project.




A successful day for the Club and for Saumarez


If you would like to know more about Saumarez House, please follow this link. https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/saumarez-homestead/



HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! (and may it bring crafty ideas)

(posted 13/01/2019)

Despite the hardships of last year, mainly to do with cramped and environmentally unfriendly accommodation and uncertainty for the future, the Club continued to function well with much fun and friendship along with high quality craft output.

And of course the Club’s activities as part of the wider community were exemplified by, for example, involvement with Australia Day festivities at Saumarez, the impressive list of entries to the Armidale show, and the contribution to the Manning Police initiated “Biggest White Ribbon Challenge.

Negotiations continue towards resolving the accommodation issues, and it is hoped that this year will see a more “user friendly” environment for regular meetings and for workshops, displays, etc..

The executive has already met to lay plans for the future, and included there-in is recognition of the desire to remain a truly community based club, and one which actively promotes a range of fibre and fabric crafts.  (Watch the “Workshops” page for all the news!).

First cab off the rank for the year is a project to contribute to a pool of hats (beanies) for the oncology ward and its patients, and for premmie and newborn babies … even for still-borns ….. so that ALL littlies can be kept warm and comfortable.



There is always a demand for such items in Armidale and elsewhere, particularly for cancer patients (adults as well as kids) who can endure months of discomfort, and a small change in wardrobe might brighten each day?

Members have been encouraged to use whatever bits ‘n pieces they have in their stash to quickly knit up or crochet a few items. There is no limitation on colour, fibre or design, but for those who want, Lee and Robyn can provide simple patterns.

And of course any non-members are also invited to join in for this important activity!