2021 – A Welcoming New Start

After several years of ever-changing meeting places, financial uncertainty, and with Covid19 isolation thrown on top, Armidale Spinners and Weavers have had a tough time! Despite that, with the support of a small hard core of members and a dedicated executive team, the club has continued to function, providing opportunities for members to be creative and especially to be able to contribute back to the society in which they live.

While work on the building is STILL (?) incomplete, the Club can now reconvene in renovated rooms under the western end of the western grandstand at the Armidale Showgrounds. With a new year, a new and modernised home, things are lookin’ good for a New Start!

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

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

FESTIVE TIME …  the end of a successful year.

(Posted 17/12/2021)

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, just as was ordered for the club’s annual Christmas luncheon.  Unfortunately the date clashed with a number of other events and some members and/or partners were not able to attend.  None-the-less, a great day was had by all present, spending most of the time on the fore-court to our rooms. It was wonderful to have some members sharing their first Christmas at the club, while on the other hand being graced by the presence of Ian, one of the older members who has been suffering ill-health for some time, and his wife Rene.

The event started informally with drinks and an assortment of nibblies and as more people arrived, the stash of food inside grew.

Lunch was served (well, everyone helped themselves!), and then settled again to enjoy the great selection of tasty treats, followed of course by a variety of sweet courses, tea and coffee (with the occasional wine or beer to add taste?)

After a pleasant few hours the time came for some to leave, but a Christmas gathering photo was called for as a record of a very pleasant year together. (note that despite the best efforts of the cameraman, the two Jans succeeded in only sharing half a face each in said photo!)

But as with event event of this nature, there will always be the “hangers-on” with no-where else to go …… and the chatter continued for some time!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

……………………………….. and may 2022 bring much more craftiness and companionship to the group!! (The first meetings will be Thursday January 13 and Saturday January 15.)

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VALE PAULINE RIGBY

(Posted 12/12/2021)

Sadly we advise that long-time member and club stalwart Pauline Rigby, passed away peacefully last week. After some family tragedies Pauline decided several years back to move to Port Macquarie to be closer to her daughter, but never forgot her friends in Armidale.

Pauline was a master spinner and weaver; indeed she embraced virtually all fibre crafts, and had a unique ability to understand how to blend various colours and textures. She would go where no others dared….but the output was always wonderful!

But importantly, she was always there to share ideas, teach, advise, and even make her home available for club activities.

One highly memorable event from about years ago was a dying day in Pauline’s backyard. Not only was it a very relaxing venue, Pauline kept up the teas and coffees, along with filling the various dying pots she had spread around her back lawn.

Rest in Peace Pauline, and Thank You for your contributions.

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We’re Back!! Time to add colour to a gloomy year!

(posted 3/11/21)

The resilience of members shone through once again and as soon as the latest lockdown was completed, (see post dated 13/09 below) planning started for a BIG end to the year. The normal Thursday and Saturday meetings are back in full swing, and with the last day of October being a 5th Saturday of the month it was decided that a suitable activity would be to resume what was once an (at least?) annual event …….

a dyeing day!

Albeit windy, the sun shone brightly, and the newly painted fore-court to the clubrooms was an ideal venue for the long day of action. And the wind provided the perfect opportunity to show off and test the club’s latest acquisition (courtesy of a NSW Govt. grant), a set of clear roller blinds for the western side of the space.

Everyone quickly got down to work, and an array of beautiful colours and yarns quickly emerged.

While most of the activity involved processes using various coloured dyes in pots, other alternatives were also on display!

Lee tried her hand at artistically layering dye onto the fibre, and then microwaving to “set” the colour……..

(NOTE: The club has a microwave oven dedicated to this work …. it must never be used for food preparation!)

….. and Robyn demonstrated solar dying, starting only with warm water and relying on the sun’s energy to do the rest.

In the meantime, life must go on, and the lunch room had a regular work-out through the day!

While most of the action centred on various types, thickness and colour of fibres, Lorenne added interest by dyeing a pair of socks she had already knitted from handspun raw sheep’s wool.

All up, a great day was had by all, and everyone should be mightily proud of their efforts – we look forward to seeing some completed items made from these fibres in coming weeks.

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A Crafty Catastrophe? – Covid 19

(Posted 13/09/21)

After several years of uncertainty regarding clubrooms and then the onset of Covid 19, AS&W had settled nicely into a rule-obeying routine for several months (see posts below) when Armidale was unceremoniously thrown into complete lockdown early in August. This resulted in immediate closure and the cancellation of all planned activities, and while certainly not on the scale of many communities across the nation, it was a mini-catastrophe for the club.

Despite this setback, the club and its members continues to flourish – after all, there are NO rules prohibiting one from pursuing craft work in the privacy of one’s home?? The executive has kept track of what has happened, various members have kept in contact by some means or other, and it is pleasing to see the volume of work that has continued. THIS post is but a small presentation of the output that we know of and will hopefully be the basis of discussions in the future? May the interest continue … (and the latest word is that the club will reopen later this week?)

Within days of the outbreak, the club’s secretary fronted up for a test, and expecting a delay, took some craft work with her. Five hours later, and with several bobbins of spun fibre, she was tested (and then waited 5 more days for the result!) Fortunately all was clear and as you will see below, she, like many others continued throughout the following weeks to produce goods and item for either members of the family, the different charities the club supports, or simply by way of experimentation.

ANNA obviously dabbled with several different activities. ………………

…. while Tracy spent time making a KNITTED dude doll for her son’s fledgling business (W.E. FABRICATE). She wrote “fortunately there wasn’t enough space for all of it 😂  He’s colour blind but can see lime green. Go figure.” to distinguish lime green) to promote his new business venture.

With a promotional material like that, the business must surely succeed?

AND, she also crocheted a stunning cowl collar!

ENID has obviously been very busy too, but we only have a single composite image – a rough estimate is that there might be about 20 articles, a mix at least of knitting and sewing?

And just like any good scientist should do, NATALIE has been experimenting with different skills. She has written “I’ve been learning the Honeycomb weaving pattern, learnt how to do embroidery (this was for my Mum’s birthday) and I’m currently knitting bride and groom triceratops for my cousin who is getting married in October (this is the groom, but you can’t see his bow tie very well!)”. NOW we all know what a male triceratops looks like.

August/September is always a very busy time for LEE out in the paddock, and Covid stops no ewe from lambing! Consequently she has been very busy grand-mothering all of those cute little variegated coloured lambs. And to stop them roaming and to keep them all safe, Lee and Paul have embarked on a major re-fencing of their property! Consequently, Lee has been too exhausted most evenings to tackle anything really challenging – but she has not been totally unproductive as seen by the pics below!!

Most members know that Judy Coombs’s absence from the club recently has been a result of a bad fall. Unfortunately that event led to the need for her and Peter to move into town, and so lockdown has been a time of preparation, packing, and sometimes mild panic, with no time for craft skills (Peter is an artist, and many of Judy’s fibre craft talents have been displayed in these pages in the past.) None-the-less, images have been obtained of their old home, packing, and removal of “stuff” to the Uralla tip. Please note carefully Judy’s spinning wheel is packed carefully with Peter’s fishing rods, NOT on the trailer heading for the dump! We hope to see her back at the club soon.

HAMIDEH has been busy working from home, and trying also to apply for an Australian visa and a new job. She has had little time to spend on matters crafty …. but she does continue with her knitting, and to add to our pages has contributed images from family members in Iran – including a pic of her Dad’s latest vineyard harvest!

Incidentally, should you see Hamideh in town, please stop for a chat. Lockdown has been very difficult by depriving her of meeting with English speaking colleagues and/or friends, and PRACTICE is the best way for her to improve her spoken English in preparation for the tests that will come as part of the visa application. We can all help??

ROBYN has adopted a rigorous daily routine to ensure she keeps up practice on a variety of “machines”, while slowly reducing the stash on shelves and in cupboards! And she too has had to look after some of her fibred and feathered friends! The collage explains itself………?

JOCELYN’s emphasis has been on cot coverings and throws …. she provided several images of progress and the final products look great.

In her free lockdown time, KIM has been exploring the realms of different felting techniques, and is proud to have learned the art of making “silk paper . (image at right)

But that is not all – she has completed a long and ornate and cobweb scarf, and several other felted panels each of which will presumably be turned into something similar to the wall hanging shown below (also one of Kim’s creations.)

And last, but in no way least, is this assortment of rugs and scarves from JAN P.

SO, Mr Covid, despite the havoc you have spread, you definitely have NOT damaged the spirit of AS&W.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN INKLING….?

(posted 18/8/21)

Everyone knows the club meets every Thursday and on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. But of course every now and then there is a FIFTH Saturday in a month! On those days, the club often tries to do something a little different, and so on the last Saturday of May there was a special workshop on Weaving with an Inkle Loom.

Expert Tutor for the event was our own Lynn Stoker from Glen Innes. Lynn presented a well planned, highly interesting and entertaining program for the day, beginning with how to draw up a pattern and select the appropriate fibres and colours, learning how to warp the loom and create a shed, and with each pupil eventually producing individual items by the end of the afternoon.

The club had recently acquired a number of looms, and Lynn handed out blank pattern sheets but participants were expected to bring all of the other necessities ………fibre, scissors, pens, much patience, and of course the mandatory coffee cup and mobile phone!

The day proved to be a great success, both craft-wise and socially.

And while not all projects were completed on the day, a week later there was an abundance of items to display.

Congratulations on a great effort, and many thanks to Lynn for her input.

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OUR BIGGEST MORNING TEA

(posted 29/05/210)

Last week the club joined many others to raise funds for the Cancer Council by holding a “Biggest Morning Tea”.

With a good turnout of members and a great selection of cakes, cupcakes, biscuits and slices, a great time was had by all – people DID eventually get back to their crafts, but not until over $250 had been collected for this very worthy cause!

THANK YOU MARGARET, AND TO ALL THE DONORS.

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

(posted 8/5/21)

Fibre crafts and friendship are the basis of our club, but we are part of a larger community and appreciate the help and support we get regularly from a variety of sectors.  Each member has their own “specialty” craft, always with considerable cross-fertilisation of ideas, but underlying it all is a theme of helping others, or “giving back to community”.

On Thursday, 6th May, Armidale Spinners & Weavers hosted a morning tea
with the purpose of “handing over” handmade items for those in need in our community. Many items were made including beanies, gloves, scarves, children’s knitwear, sewn blankets of various sizes and trauma teddies.

Our invited guests were Margaret from The St Vincent de Paul
Welfare group, Bec from NSW Ambulance Service and Ellen from the Armidale
Women’s & Children’s Shelter.

Margaret commented that there were many needy people of all ages in
our area and that the recipients would be very grateful.

Bec explained that the very sick children they attended were
usually anxious of the unknown, and that when the medics were able to
give the child a trauma teddy it greatly assisted in calming them.

Ellen said that the shelter and emergency housing had full occupancy and quite often families arrived in just the clothes on their backs. Ellen also mentioned that the infant clothing in particular would be most welcome.

Ellen also presented us with a Certificate of Appreciation.

It was a lovely, heart warming morning. Many thanks go to all the
members who kindly and continually give up their time to make the much
needed items we donate as a club.

A SHOW WITHIN A VIRTUAL SHOW

(posted 4/4/21 – with apologies for the delay in posting.)

Fearing Covid restrictions would inhibit activities, the Armidale Show Society chose to hold the 2021 event “virtually”. While most sideshows and some food stalls operated, there were only limited animal related and ring events, and very few of the normal arts and craft sections opened for judging. The pavilions remained closed to the public, and none of the work of the artisans of Armidale and surrounds could be viewed in real life.

Instead, those sections that DID proceed held judging behind closed doors, photographing and videoing items, and then presenting an on-line Virtual Show. (for results and pics see “http://www.armidaleshow.org.au/the-2021-armidale-show-virtual-pavilion.html” .

Members entered the only Section directly relevant to AS&W – Knitting and Crochet. (see below)

However, since the Show coincided with a scheduled meeting day, the Club opened its rooms for a display of items and activities, with demonstrations of the individual crafts, and a small number of items for sale.

A variety of members sat in for a few hours here and there over the two days. Being one of the few showground resident groups to be open, and with little in the way of other similar activities, there was a steady stream of interested onlookers, passers-by and visitors dropping in to see what the club had to offer, and in some cases to learn more about these crafts!

And most importantly for the Club, Sheila Logan and Ian Lockrey were both successful with their entries in the Knitting and Crochet Classes. Ian was awarded a blue ribbon for his Tunisian Entrelac cushion, and Sheila scored three firsts and an encouragement award on her way to being declared Reserve Grand Champion. Well Done!!!

A most successful weekend and valuable Public Relations exercise for the club as it recovers from the relative homelessness of the past few years?

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THE GALA OPENING

(posted 01/02/21)

What better way to celebrate the opening of the new facilities than to have an Aussie Barbie?? Invitations were issued to current, ex-, (and even a few prospective?) members, and to people representing the various bodies that had made it all possible, to share the pleasant surroundings of the new clubrooms along with an informal and relaxing meal.

Lee welcomed everyone, thanking members for their patience over recent years, but mostly she addressed the part played by the Armidale Show Trust and the State Government in enabling the renovation project. In particular she thanked Steve Mepham, Chairman of the Armidale Showground Trust (technically the Club’s landlord?), and local Member of Parliament Adam Marshall for the roles they and their organisations played in securing funds for the work. (Also see previous posts dated 3/10/19 and 20/11/19 on page headed “2019 – Year of Opportunity” for some of the fluctuating history of our project!)

Before departing on the next leg of a busy Saturday schedule, Adam was shown around the rooms and inspected some of the items prepared by members for community distribution. When it was suggested that a “Trauma Teddy” might be a useful friend to have during parliamentary sittings, Adam agreed, but also commented that at times a boxing glove might be more appropriate!

AND THEN THE FUN BEGAN!! …………. with the rooms formally opened, the regular Saturday group members took over for an afternoon of craft, camaraderie and chat. The club is now well and truly back in business, and any prospective new members are invited to visit at any time to see what pursuits might be to their liking. (see “Workshops and Contact” page above for more information.)

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Guyra L & P Covidsafe Festival

(posted 29/01/21)

An important part of the Club’s activity has long been to contribute to the Armidale and regional community. (One need only scan previous posts to this website to see those contributions.)

The Guyra community were unable to hold their annual Lamb and Potato festival this year, so opted for a less commercial and perhaps more community oriented 1-day event at the showground. AS&W were asked to attend, and a quick whip around assembled a live display/demonstration of craft skills, along with some products and items for a market-style stall.

The day was a great success for Guyra, and also for the Club. Interest in the crafts was high, and some sales reaped valuable commission for the club’s coffers. Above all, the interaction with people from all around New England, the camaraderie amongst members, and the contribution to the overall success of the Festival made the trip up the pinch well worthwhile!

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A NEW HOME – AT LAST!!

(24/01/21)

After a long wait, permission was given for the Club to start moving some of its equipment into the newly renovated meeting room. A hectic few hours saw the cupboards and contents, banners and other decorations all placed provisionally for members to make comment on, and within a few days the first meeting of a few members was held in these pleasant surroundings.

Unfortunately the floor covering has not yet been laid in either the kitchen or the storage area, but judging by the enthusiasm of the first few attendees, that will not dampen the enthusiasm of anyone one little bit! What a success (and a relief??) that was??