Sunday, 27 September 2009

September 2009

We welcomed visitors from the Executive of the Knitters' Guild of NSW: Carolynn Murtagh [president], Fay Elsworthy and Eleanor Goldfinch; Marie from Lush Yarns; and guests Meredith, Shirley and Helen. We hope we will be seeing you again soon.

  • There are proposed changes to the fee structure for membership to the Guild. The current structure stands at anyone having a phone number starting with 8 or 9 pays city rates; everyone else pays country rates. Input is requested from all members as to what they consider to be a fair system. You can reply to the Secretary at this address: PO Box 460 Epping NSW or on the website. Members are encouraged to have their say.
  • A list of the changes to the constitution will appear in the next newsletter. They can also be viewed at our meetings. Please speak to Merrin. We are waiting on details from the Department of Fair Trading before the changes can be finalised. They will not affect the general day to day running of the Guild.
  • We still require many more hints and tips for the Guild anniversary book, please see Merrin .
  • There are still places available for the Guild camp in October, three days of eating, sleeping and knitting plus some great workshops. Look at your newsletter for further details.

We received a letter from Sally Olgivie to thank our group for its donation to the Winterwarm Project. 191 items were collected in Sydney this year. The organisers of the Rosehill Craft show paid for these items to be transported to Melbourne from where they will be shipped to the children in Afghanistan.

The Love Lawson Fair will be held Saturday 14th November, 9am-3pm. This year it does not clash with our meeting. We will be having a stall to show people what we do and interest them in knitting and crochet. Please see Merrin if you would like to help.

Rubi and Lana knitting shop has moved to Berry on the south coast.

Fairfield City Museum is holding a textile exhibition from 29th September to 11th October at the Horsley Drive Fairfield.

17th October - all day sock workshop, 10am-4pm. Blaxland Neighbourhood Centre/Library. Please bring your own lunch. Morning tea is provided and the workshop is free. You will learn how to knit in the round including invisible cast on, knitting tubes with two circulars or dpns or magic loop or straight needles, turning a flap heel and grafting a toe (kitchener stitch). You will need to bring some 8 ply yarn, needles of your choice, a wool sewing needle, scissors, lunch and a sense of adventure. If you are a non-member and would like to attend, please contact the blog author at

Next month afternoon tea roster: Claire, Dorothy, Desley and Judy.

The raffle was won by Suzanne.

After the formal meeting, Fay Elsworthy gave an interesting talk on judging at shows and the Guild achievement certificates. Thank you Fay, your talk so was interesting and informative; we all enjoyed it very much, Here is some of what she told us:

Did you know that the word clue is derived from the word clew which means a ball of yarn?

If your item makes it to the showcase, even if it has not won a prize at least it was not discarded. If you want to be a judge you should have experience in entering things in a show. Fay encouraged everyone to enter our local shows to get that experience and to keep our craft alive. Many judges will write a comment on your entry. This is not to criticise but to encourage you to look at different techniques and/or to join the Guild. Judges may take an observer who wishes to learn to be a judge; that person must have successfully completed the achievement certificates.

Judges and entrants will receive the Show Schedule weeks before the show. Read it and become familiar with it.

The RAS is different to country shows, in that there are two knitting judges and a crochet judge. There are usually two stewards to assist with the judging, they remove all entered items that are not to schedule before the judging starts. The RAS will not allow entries made more than 2 years ago, or entries that that have been worn or that have been washed.

You can wet block an item but you may not use any detergent product on the garment. This is why it is very important for both entrants and judges to read the schedule carefully.

Sometimes at a smaller show the head steward will allow you to move an item if you think that it should have been entered in another category but this will not happen at the RAS. When judging at the RAS the steward will bring one class at a time for judging. Items are looked at inside and out and divided into three piles: probable, possible and reject. The judges then go through the possible and probable piles again to recheck. Then finally the judges go through the probable items one more time. What will stand out will be the tension and the finishing off. The judges have no time limit and will take their time because careful judging is important. Personal preferences in colour and style must be left aside. If judges consider that nothing entered is worthy of a first then no first prize needs to be awarded. Judges are looking for something that you could not purchase but doesn't look home made. Handmade NOT homemade.

What are judges looking for?
  • the item is in the right category
  • the techniques* used such as: picking up stitches, shoulder shaping (hint: use a three needle bind off)are suitable and well done
  • the seams are checked at the neck, sides and sleeves. All loose threads must be darned in.
  • whether the material used is suitable for the pattern and that the trimmings used are suitable; this is particularly so in baby garments.
  • evenness of tension
  • buttonholes and button bands are checked for evenness
  • The judges are always looking for something different, the WOW factor.
*Techniques such as: picking up stitches, shoulder shaping (hint: use a three needle bind off), seaming (use mattress stitch and match all patterns), blocking

Block all your pieces before assembling the garment, spray with water and pin the pieces, never iron them, and then leave them to dry naturally. This will make the stitch definition much better.
dealing with ends
Make sure that you sew or weave in all your threads or Russian splice when knitting to avoid more threads.
entering an original design
If you are entering an original design then you must enter your graph and all design workings with the garment. Do not modify someone else's pattern a call it your own.

Finally always attach a label with your entry.

Cost $7.50 each for Certificate I and Certificate II and $15 for Certificate III, this covers the photocopying and postage. Merrin has a sheet with all the details . You can ring or write to Fay with a cheque or money order and the certificate syllabus will be sent to you. A certificate and a pass level (pass, credit, distinction) are awarded at the end of each syllabus.
Stage I - Tension ladders and squares using different yarn weights and needle sizes. One garment is completed and the techniques covered include short row shaping, picking up stitches and casting on and off.
Stage II - more research required at this level. Samples are required but it is not as structured as stage one. A pair of socks or gloves will be completed.
Stage III - History research, you can do all techniques or just one in the categories of Aran, Fair Isle, Gansey, Traditional or Shetland Lace.