Newsletter August 2012.

The following is an account of some of my involvement during 2012

Trip to Australia in August

I visited several of my woolcraft friends throughout the State of NSW
First stop was to Dubbo to see my friend Jo who we became friends through the Aust.Scarf Exchange in 1996. I traveled there by train thus giving me a chance to take in the countryside along the way .During my stay I was present for the biannual exhibition of the local Arts & Craft Centre. It was a chance for me to see some lovely craftwork by the Woodturners, China painters, Patchwork & woolcrafters to name but a few the work was certainly of a very high standard. Before leaving I was lucky enough to spend the morning at the famous Dubbo Zoo.

I then travelled by bus over to Denman in the Hunter Valley to stay with Daphne who I first met in 1998 and during that time have been lucky enough to see each other several times both in NZ & Aust. During my stay with her was able to visit the Tea pot ,Tea Cosy competition in the quaint little town of Morpeth. This is held every year and was certainly interesting to see both Teapots & Cozies, of every shape size, from all over the world.

Next stop was Tamworth ,the Home of Aust Country & Western. Once again I was lucky to stay with friends who I first met also in 1998.The wife is a very talented weaver although this is something I don’t do myself. While there an Exhibition was on of Contemporary Art Work by Nalda Seales from Western Aust. It was called “Drifting in my own land.” All work used native fibres and found objects !!! for production of fibre-textiles. This was something I was very lucky to see as was only on for few days.

I then returned to Sydney to spend the weekend., I went to a Show as well as a Exhibition on Lace from all over the world. while in the same building I found the Lace Study Centre which I will certainly go back to again and spend more time there. I also visited other things I hadn’t seen before of interest.

During my stay in all three places I visited woolcraft groups I had visited before, so it was nice to catch up with people I had met on previous visits.
I returned home having had a very interesting month away catching up and seeing new things.

Hermit Sheep (Horace)

After seeing a newspaper article calling for spinners to spin some of the wool,I became involved. This Hermit sheep had avoided coming with the rest of the mob for at least 6 years,and was starting to have trouble walking so the decision was made to bring him down slowly, so that he could be shorn.

These type of sheep are normally either a wether or a ram. Although the ear marking said it was in fact a ewe, this wouldn’t be known until it was shorn .Early in Dec this was done and Horace as he was then called had a SURPISE in store ,he was in fact a ewe so name was changed to Horrietta.

It was done at a Fun Day in Springfield, I was lucky to be able to spin some of fibre while still warm, once shorn by the blade shearer.I t was certainly a wonderful experience. Once it had all been removed we then had to decide what to do with all the fibre, some 13kilo plus. Selling it for charity in aid of the Search & Rescue Dogs & the Canterbury Westpac Helicopter Trust. And it’s gone to local spinners as well as to different parts of the world. I have been her minder at the Town & Country Day as well as the local Malven A & P show. She now lives on a small farm with one of the musterer’s from Big Ben Station where she was found.
In June a group was started up for her on Ravelry and it’s called New Zealand Hermit Sheep ,and it’s here where you will get more updated news about her. She has already made news in several articles & papers overseas..

Cape Reinga Tour

In April I joined a bus tour which took us over to the North Island ,after an overnight stop in Wellington we next day travelled up to Chateau Tongariro this is one place I had always wanted to visit so was really looking to the visit. It’s in the middle of the North Island &and surround by the Volcanic Mountains although dormant at present. The place was just wonderful and would even be nicer with snow on the ground. We were lucky to have wonderful views of Mt Ruapehu and other mountains along the way. Next day we went up to Auckland ,with stops along the way on shores of Lake Taupo to pickup up pumas. Huka Falls, this is something one must stop to see the force of water. It was then up to Bay of Islands for a 2 night stop this is truly a wonderful part of the world. Next day it was a boat trip out to the Hole in the Rock but due to sea conditions were unable to go through the Rock ,the afternoon was free so a chance to look around Russell. The following day we visited Waitangi where theTreaty was signed, Kerikeri to see the Old Stone Store & famous church before reaching Maunganui known to have the best Fish’N Chips in NZ.( & I can tell you it was the best fish I have ever tasted.)a night was spent in Kaitaia and were told to have an early night as very long day tomorrow.

Next morning we travelled by local bus visiting the Ancient Kauri Kingdom ,it certainly had some wonderful things to see that had been made from using Kauri, the Staircase was truly wonderful It was then onto Te Kao Store which is known for its Ice creams which are said to be the biggest in NZ & the certainly were. It was then onto the Cape with a short break for lunch overlooking one of the many beaches in the North.

We reached the Far North and it’s here one can post a letter to oneself in the mailbox ( this is the most popular mail box in NZ because of the location) Then it’s time to walk down to the Famous Lighthouse to see the Meeting of the Waters (Tasman Sea & Pacific Ocean ) truly a wonderful sight to see. I myself noticed big changes since my last visit some 45years ago..More exciting things were to be done on way home, one of these was stopping at the Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes, I was one of a number that went down these very big Dunes on a toboggan .It was sure a thrilling experience and something I will never forget doing, then it was onto the famous drive down 90 Mile Beach and this can only be done at low tide. Once this was done and picking up the coach again we had another 2hrs to travel for a 2night stop at Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour This had been a very long day but a most interesting one.

Next day we did a 3 hour cruise on the Hokianga Harbour visiting the Mangunga Mission House before turning to Opononi which was made famous by Opo the dolpin in the mid 60’s.The rest of the day was free so gave one a chance to look around , this I did taking lots of photos too.T hat evening we had entertainment by the local school children..

The following day we were visited Tane Mahuta NZ’s largest kauri tree and given the story all about it by local Maori, the last stop before reaching Auckland was the Kauri Museum. After spending the following morning seeing some of the local sights we flew back home having spent a wonderful 10days away .

‘Over all it was rather quiet year this was due to me having health problems on my return from Aust, thank goodness it was nothing major but did knock me around somewhat!!!! We are still having earthquakes .although much smaller these days. For the people of Christchurch our lives have changed forever, just like our city ,in fact still being told of buildings that have to come down. I have taken every opportunity I can to go into town to take photos of the damage before some of the buildings have gone forever. Either on foot or on one of the Special Bus tours (these have certainly given us a better idea of what has been lost!!!!.

Newsletter July 2011.

This past year has been much quieter for me than the past 2 years, but still an interesting one all the same.


Spinning Certificate

I had planned to do the Spinning Certificate course in 2009 but had to postpone it due to my unscheduled trip to Sweden. While I am a very experienced spinner there is always something new to learn, especially new techniques.

The course was divided into the following modules
1 Knowledge of Spinning & Fibre Preparation using different equipment
2 Spinning & plying to a standard
3 Preparing & spinning wool.

We had been given the following wools to use.
– 200 grams of good crossbred (perendale or romney)
– 200 grams of corridale or similar
– 150 grams merino
– 150 grams of short wool (possibly a good quality lambs wool) .

Throughout the course you had to decide which fibre you would use & how best to prepare
for the end result you wanted.

The course took some 3-4 months to complete, it involved a lot of researching & writing as well as spinning. I met many knew challenges along the way. .

I am pleased to say I passed the course.

Kids Fest

This is a school holiday programme that’s held during the winter holidays every year. I have shown the children many different wool craft things.I would come on a set day having been booked in advance for any of the following, Learn to Knit, Learn to Spin, Learn wet Felting and a Mother & Daughter Learn to Knit, all went home having learnt something new. Most of the workshops were always fully booked.

Dartmoor Dyeing

Sometime ago a few friends gathered to do this method of dyeing.It was certainly a full-on day; the end results were very pleasing. I have finally got round to using it, pictured is some of what I have made from my share.

Gotland Dyeing Day.

If you read the 2010 Newsletter you will see I did a Natural Dyeing workshop while on the Island.
Pictured is the article I made from using some of the yarn I bought home.

Beanie Drive

At the time of writing this I have been busy coordinating a Beanie Drive for the Newborns and Preschoolers on the eastside (most earthquake affected part) of Christchurch. They are being made for the Welchild Nurses who visit families in their homes. I too have been busy knitting beanies. I have been blown away with the response from all over the country for this drive. just under 2000 beanies along with many other woollen articles were made to keep more preschoolers in Chch warm


This year Festival was held in a small seaside village along the Coast to Coromandel, it was a lovely setting . Much smaller this year it was still most enjoyable with lots of fun & laughter. As usual the TRADERS are always popular because one gets a chance to buy from those in the surrounding area where the Festivals are held. I like to attend those that I can because you always learn new things and it’s a chance to met up with people you have met before at previous ones.


He is now fully grown and is certainly a BIG boy. I saw him shorn last year and was surprised how quiet he was, not like some, crying and spitting as it was being done.
His cria fleece has been washed, carded & now spun all ready waiting for me to use. So watch future newsletters to see what I make!!!!

Tour de Fleece

I am not quite sure what I am meant to do; a friend who has a team entered enlisted me so along with thousands of others around the world I am participating in the Tour de Fleece. I am trying to spend some 3-4 hours a day spinning. It is a good way to get rid of some of my stash squirreled away in cupboards or in bags in funny places (yes, I admit I am a typical spinner). Check my next newsletter to see what I did with it all in the end.

Trips within NZ

Throughout the past year I have seen much of the country by doing several bus tours, either a day, weekend or even longer, all have been most enjoyable.

Top of the South

Having travelled to the West Coast of the South Island many many times, I have never travelled by road before over both the Upper & Lower Buller Gorges. The scenery here was truly breathtaking. We travelled to Karamea , which is as far as one can go by road on the Coast.

This is a quaint place to visit with many interesting things to do. It’s better known as either the start or finish of the popular Heaphy Track. After an overnight stopover we travelled home via Punakaiki ( Rock Formations ) this is a place well worth stopping for, HIGH TIDE is the best time .We then continued onto the Otira Gorge which links the West Coast with Canterbury., The Gorge was a blaze of RED from the Rata which was in full bloom, I had never seen it like this.

Mt Cook

In June I did a day trip to this popular tourist spot, it was my first time up to the Hermitage since the 1960’s.  Due to a very recent fall of snow it sure looked like a picture postcard, for once this very famous mountain was clear, this doesn’t always happen. We had many photo stops along the way. It was certainly a trip I shall remember for along time.

East Cape

My next trip was to be an 8 day trip from Christchurch round the East Cape, flying to Auckland with the rest of the tour by coach. My friend and I had been booked into a hotel for the night to make it easier the following morning getting to the airport.

Things didn’t go as planned, instead we were woken at 5-41 am by our beds rocking first sideways and then up & down. It was a 7.4 earthquake! With no power, no phones and being very frosty we were all very cold. I think we all went into shock, it was a nervous wait to see what had taken place in the city. Somebody had small radio so were getting reports that things were bad.

The Tour Guide arrived some 1 ½ hours later and took us home. My house looked fine but it was a different story inside, things were everywhere, TV on the ground and many things off shelves some of which were broken.

We did leave the following day by air before catching the bus, everything that had been planned we were able to do. The only thing that let us down was the weather it rained for almost the full time we were away. We visited Rotorua, Waihau ( this is the are where the movie “Boy “ was filmed)Hicks Bay, Gisborne, Napier & Wellington.

We crossed the Cook Strait by ferry and headed down the East Coast of the South Island, only to be turned back on the outskirts of Blenheim due to a road blockage which would take days to clear. This meant we had to travel through the Lewis Pass putting an extra 1 1/2hours onto our journey home.

I would love to do it again, and hopefully have better weather next time.
The picture is of me having an ice cream break in Waihau at the shop that is featured in the movie Boy.

Royal Mystery Weekend

This trip was planned for Waitangi Weekend, my friend and I booked this trip to get away from the Earthquakes which we were still having. We were not sure just what it would contain.

We started off by being picked up in a Rolls Royce and I can tell you we certainly had the people in the street wagging their tongues, I never thought I would ever have a chance of doing this. After a short 15mins drive south we joined the coach, and travelled onto the Plains Museum on the outskirts of Ashburton.

Here we had a chance to have a ride on a steam train and railcar, both of which are not used these days except for charter trips. It brought back many memories for me. After having a later morning tea it was back on the bus, headed back the way we had come in the morning, before turning inland and having a chance to see some of the damage done in the September earthquake, to paddocks, fences and roads. We turned West at the Main Road, towards the Southern Alps, through Arthurs Pass into Kumara.

It was not until reaching Kumara had we any idea just where we might be heading was it to be Hokitika for our overnight stop YES we were right.!!!

That evening had been told to dress up fit for a Queen. After travelling a short distance by coach we reached the hall where our meal had been prepared by a local group as a Fundraiser. It was a SHOCK for many as it was a Medieval Meal which meant NO CUTLERY was provided to eat amd this even included soup ( not an easy thing to do I can tell you) Among the other surprises ,everybody had a chance to eat the HUHU bug I did & they tasted like peanut butter.

Next day were given a couple of things to do in the morning, I choose to take the Paddle Boat down the Creek to Lake Mahinapua. It was a very pleasant trip of 2 hours. Later that day we travelled home via the Pass.

It was a very pleasant trip, certainly full of plenty of surprises, and I for ONE will not forget the Royal Mystery Weekend.

For any further information or questions you would like to ask me please feel free to email me