Dannevirke: Plenty of life left in a dying industry

By Christine McKay

Add a comment
Elaine Davey with her sister Islay Gallagher and friend Dorothy Kitner.
Elaine Davey with her sister Islay Gallagher and friend Dorothy Kitner.

A passion for yarn and flax had eager spinners and weavers taking part in a dying art in Dannevirke last Saturday.

Dannevirke Spinners and Weavers Club held their annual natural dye day giving members and visitors a unique experience not often available as they boiled natural vegetation dyes in old coppers.

And although there was a copper of deadly nightshade on the boil, the only dying was of yarns brought along by keen crafters.

Sarah Thorburn, of Kane Carding,  with some of the colourful crossbred wool she had on sale.
Sarah Thorburn, of Kane Carding, with some of the colourful crossbred wool she had on sale.

"We had an 8am start getting our pots boiling, with everything from lemon leaves, buddlia, deadly nightshade, onion, rhubarb, convolvulus and beech," Elaine Webber said.

Shirley Clayton, 90, still spins and was happy to give advice on how to prepare yarn for the coppers.

Meanwhile, the Dannevirke club's oldest member Pat Hewitt was busy stirring the boiling coppers making sure dye from silver dollar leaves was evenly spread through before bags of wool were immersed.

"Watch out or you'll singe yourself," onlookers chorused. But Pat is an experienced dye day helper and the only hazard was a little smoke in her eyes.

Pat Hewitt stirs the copper containing silver dollar leaves at the Dannevirke Spinners and Weavers dye day on Saturday.
Pat Hewitt stirs the copper containing silver dollar leaves at the Dannevirke Spinners and Weavers dye day on Saturday.

Traci Wheeler, Huatahi Albert and Ataneta Paewai were dying flax, a first for them.

"It's all experimental," Ataneta said as the flax went into the walnut brew.

Huatahi Albert  and Ataneta Paewai were attempting to dye flax with walnut skins.
Huatahi Albert and Ataneta Paewai were attempting to dye flax with walnut skins.

It takes a while for flax to take the dye, but days later the trio were happy with the outcome.

With the yarns in the coppers and pots it was time for yarns of a different kind over a cuppa and a sumptuous morning tea. Australian visitors Elaine Davey from Sydney and Dorothy Kitner from Queensland could not believe the spread.

"You don't get this sort of thing in Australia," said Elaine, who was visiting her Dannevirke sister Islay Gallagher. This was Dorothy's first trip to New Zealand.

"I'm enjoying a spot of rain," she said.

Fortunately the worst of the rain held off until all the yarn had been retrieved from the boiling cauldrons.

- Hawkes Bay Today

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 23 May 2017 12:24:00 Processing Time: 1039ms