A Day in the Wairarapa Region

One of the wonderful things about the internet for me is connecting with like-minded people. It’s opened up a whole new world when it comes to my yarn and fibre hobbies of knitting and spinning. I discovered Ravelry and then discovered so many knowledgeable people who know so much about spinning wheels. One in particular is Mary Knox who is the creator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website. I contacted Mary a couple of years ago when I bought my Little Peggy spinning wheel. Being a complete novice, I had no idea about it and whether it was complete. Mary gave me so much information and really helped me identify bits and pieces on my wheel. Since then I have kept in contact with Mary and she’s provided me with bits of paperwork that relate to other wheels I’ve acquired.

When Mary knew I was cruising around New Zealand and would be spending a day in Wellington we hatched a plan whereby we could meet up. As there was no suitable train available for me to travel to her hometown, Mary and and her husband Fred very kindly picked me up from Wellington where the ship docked. It was so exciting to finally meet Mary and her husband. Fred very kindly sat in the back of their car while Mary and I spent the next 1½ hours chatting on the drive to the beautiful Wairarapa region.

Welling-Sth-Wairarapa-mapWe arrived at The Wool Shed in Masterton where the Wairarapa Spinners & Weavers Guild were having their Wednesday meeting.

Wool Shed 18How opportune that I should be in the area on the same day! I loved being amongst all those lovely spinners and knitters.

Wool Shed 14Wool Shed 15The surrounds they meet in are just stunning. It really was like stepping back in time. The Wool Shed is two authentic wool sheds trucked in from real farms, full of new and historic shearing equipment and sheep farm gear. There are also displays describing the history of sheep farming and its importance to New Zealand, samples of wool types and wool end-products, spinning and weaving demonstrations, the story of shearing – its beginnings and how it became an international sport, shearing demonstrations in the historic wool shed and a shop with its wide range of wool garments and souvenirs.

Wool Shed 19Wool Shed 01Don’t these sheep look like the real deal?

Wool Shed 03Different types of wool.

Wool Shed 35It’s fantastic see the history of The Wool Shed retained and used by the community at the same time.

I loved looking at the spinning wheels on display and particularly the mystery wheel.

Wool Shed 09Wool Shed 07Wool Shed 06I even managed to snap a couple of photos of the Guild’s storage cupboard with all those lovely wheels 🙂

Wool Shed 25And I couldn’t resist looking in the shop at the goods sold by the Wairarapa Spinners Guild. I bought this cute little crocheted wool sheep as a memento of my visit.

Crocheted Sheep 04Wool Shed 10Lunch was spent at a nearby cafe within walking distance and then it was back to The Wool Shed for a bit more knitting before we set off for Paua World near Mary’s home. I managed to buy some more souvenirs. I love the paua shell; no two pieces are the same and the colours are magnificent. We also dropped into a local yarn shop and I bought a ball of Opal sock yarn (couldn’t help myself!)

Opan Sock YarnAt Mary and Fred’s home we had a cuppa and muffins and Mary showed me her spinning wheels. I wanted to pack them in my suitcase and bring them home! Particularly the miniature Rappard Wee Peggy wheel. It is just so unique.

DSC07381DSC07383Wool Shed 27Wool Shed 28And then it was back in the car and the 1½ hours drive back to the docks to board my ship for its journey onto Akaroa and Christchurch.

What a simply magical day with such kind New Zealand hospitality. I love this country so much. It’s my second visit there in the last nine years and I’ve just re-booked myself on the same cruise departing Brisbane in October 2016; that’s how much I’m keen to get back plus I enjoy the cruising experience. It’s also good to have something to look forward to don’t you think?

NZ Cruise mapAnd I might add as I boarded the ship everyone was talking about how wet and windy it was in Wellington. Not in Masterton it wasn’t 🙂 The rain held off and it certainly wasn’t cold. I was truly blessed.

Thank you so much Mary and Fred. And thank you so much Mary for your CD book ‘New Zealand Spinning Wheels and their Makers’.

Here’s a photo of Mary (right) and me (left).

Melanie Mary 01This was a trip and a day I’ll treasure and remember forever.

Until next time…




Pottery Yarn Bowls

Wellington is one of the cities that I’ll be spending a day in during my cruise around New Zealand in April. I am very fortunate as I’ll be met at the pier and taken to a local spinners guild to spend the day as well as some other sightseeing. One place that my hosts have mentioned is Pauaworld at Masterton. New Zealand has obviously replenished its supplies of paua sheel as I thought I’d bought it all in 2006 when I did a three week coach trip through both islands. 🙂 I absolutely adore the paua shell! How can you not love all those shades of blue and green.

Paua shell 1-tileThe two people who are so kindly driving me around Wellington are Mary and Fred. I first spoke to Mary (via the internet) a couple of years ago when I bought a Little Peggy spinning wheel. I was very much a novice and had no idea of wheels at all. Mary kindly answered all my questions and sent me some information leaflets which I have since loaded onto my site for all to see.

Mary is also the administrator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website which is a detailed history of New Zealand wheels and their makers. Mary also looked after the Australian spinning wheels website but this has now been handed over to an Aussie to manage.

Now I’ve been trying to work out what to take as a token of my appreciation so I thought why not ask Mary if there’s anything she’d like me to bring from Brisbane. I’m so glad I did as she mentioned she’d love one of the pottery yarn bowls made by Kimberly from Earth & Stone Creations. I emailed Kimberly and discovered she didn’t live too far from my place. Kimberly has an Etsy shop too. So yesterday I drove to Kimberly’s home and picked up a yarn bowl for Mary and one for me too!

Yarn bowls 01Aren’t they so beautiful!! Mine is the green one.

Yarn bowls 04And I’ll give Mary the orange one. They sit on little padded feet so they won’t scratch your tiled floors.

Yarn bowls 02Another little gift I will give Mary is one of the Country Drawstring Bags that I’ve just made. I picked up this acrylic for only $2 a ball from Lincraft and it’s so perfect for this project. You don’t really want an expensive wool for a bag but rather an acrylic that can handle the rough wear and tear and washing.

Drawstring bag Autumn 01I love these little bags. In fact, I’m making another Autumn one for me too.

Drawstring bag Autumn 05I think this will be the perfect little holder for Mary’s yarn bowl don’t you?

Drawstring bag Autumn 03

Another bit of good news from this story is that while I was at Kimberly’s home I instantly thought how well her pottery and earrings would sell at our Open Day in June so I contacted our Convenor who has now contacted Kimberly. So it’s a win-win for everyone; Mary and I get our yarn bowls; Kimberly finds a new outlet to sell her wares; and the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Open Day Convenor finds another wonderful quality trader!!

It’s time for me to now have a cuppa, read the paper and do some knitting. I’ve been up since 6am washing the car before the sun came out. As it’s a new car I want to try and wash it regularly. I wonder how long the early morning rises on a weekend will last!!

Until next time…