Archive for July, 2014

2014 back to back winners

The Back to back Wool Challenge turned 20 this year and for the past 20 years, Wendy Dennis of Polwarth yarns at Tarndie, has been organising the International Back to Back Wool Challenge from Warncoort in Victoria. The Challenge is to hand shear a sheep, spin the wool and knit a sweater in 8 hours, from the back of the sheep to the back of the shearer.  The Challenge, as it currently stands, started in 1994 but there is history of similar contests dating back to 1811.

The Groenewoud team from the Netherlands, Germany and the UK completed the Challenge this year in five and a half  hours. Second and third place were taken by two teams from NSW. The Groenewoud team included the world’s fastest knitter, Miriam Tegels who made a Guinness Book of Records time of 118 stitches in one minute in 2006. That is pretty fast.

Teams consist of a blade shearer, a sheep and seven handspinners and knitters. Nominated time keepers, assessors and coordinators monitor each team competing at their own wool related venue. All teams follow the identical Challenge rules and pattern for an adult size jumper exactly as they are written. The Challenge has always been linked to raising funds for cancer research and to promote the value of wool.

In 2004 the Australian team from Victoria, the Merriwa Jumbucks, set an unbeaten Guiness Book of Records time of 4 hours, 51 minutes and 14 seconds and also raised $15,000 for cancer research. Makes me want to go and hug a sheep or at least finish some WIPs…at 32 stitches a minute.


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The Bendigo Sheep & Wool Show is tomorrow! This is another great opportunity to re-stock your stash and touch lots of beautiful yarns. For more up-to-date news visit their Facebook page where the latest is that there is a record number of trade stalls this year and the fashion parades will be twice daily. There will be a Kids Korner as well as sheepdog trials, shearing demonstrations, cooking demonstrations and somewhere to sit down and get lunch.

The Wool show is open from 9am, Friday 18 July to 5pm Sunday 20 July, 2014 at the Bendigo Showgrounds, Cnr Holmes Rd and Havilah Rd, Bendigo. A Shuttle bus service will run between the Showgrounds, motels and the railway station. You can use your Myki for the train trip and view the train timetable here.


In addition to all the woolly goodness happening at the Showgrounds, you can also visit the Nanny & Ewe Muster  at the North Bendigo Bowls Club. The Muster is a collaboration between Janet Knoop (Nanny) of Nanny’s Spin on Things and Mandie Chandler (Ewe) of Ewe Give Me The Knits! The Muster is located just 600 metres from the main gates of the Showgrounds at the round-about on Fenton Road. It will open on 18-20 July on Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-4pm and Sunday 9am-12 Noon. They have a large creative space that you can use to get a bit of knitting time in while you watch a demonstration or have a cuppa.

Finally, a yarnophile’s visit to Bendigo would not be complete without a visit to the Bendigo Woolen Mills. According to their Facebook page, this is their biggest weekend of the year and they have restocked the well-trodden boards of the Bargain Room in preparation. The Bendigo Woollen Mills is located at 4 Lansell Street, Bendigo.


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Yarns from Dyed-By-Hands yarns 

A quick post to recap on the Guild’s annual Yarn & Craft Market in May (scroll down for previous posts about the market). The market was in the Coburg Town Hall this year which is a bigger venue so all the stalls could spread out, and shoppers didn’t have to get the elbows out to look at everything. There were some really beautiful yarns for sale and it was great to meet small producers and their yarns.


Nolas-wrap   Ixchel-yarns

Left: A lovely shawl from the stall of Guild member Nola.
Right: View from the Ixchel Angora Fibre & Yarns stall.


Stall holders that were new this year included Little Dipper yarns and Sparrow Yarns. The Guild is already planning for next years Yarn & Craft Market so if you have not participated before and would like to have a stall in 2015 let us know.


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