No need for special guest designers or high-tech fabrics in the 1970s - simple knit one/purl one spelled the message out loud and clear. In the New Zealand Herald 32 years ago, Rita Warmerdam, president of the Cambridge Spinners and Weavers group, modelled a custom-made souvenir jersey commemorating the 1978 World Rowing Championships.

Long-time spinner and weaver Margaret Cairns said Warmerdam, who died a couple of years ago, probably spun the wool and knitted the jersey herself. Warmerdam would have come up with the design, as there were no patterns available.

Cairns moved to Cambridge from Masterton the year before the champs and joined the spinners and weavers group. They took over the shop front of Dalgety and set up a stall selling homemade woollen goods as souvenirs. Cairns remembers spinning yarn for lightweight shawls which were snapped up by foreign visitors.

"We sold to people from all over the world," says Cairns. "And we were there spinning at the same time. We encouraged people to come and have a go."

The club rules were strict. People had to make goods from wool they had spun themselves, no commercial yarn was allowed. Since then the restrictions have loosened up and members do not need the skills of Rumpelstiltskin. The group is now called Creative Fibre and has 3000 members nationwide, with an active 60-strong branch in Cambridge. The branch holds an annual exhibition of its work.

Cairns said there had been a renaissance of the craft with more young people becoming involved and members producing increasingly creative results, particularly using felt.

With the rowing championships back in town this week, Cambridge residents are again taking their support to the streets.

Each shop has been assigned a country and decorated their windows accordingly. New Zealand Art and Craft, where Cairns works, drew Denmark and has decked out their shopfront with red and white Lego.

"It's buzzing. It's vibrant," said Cairns, of the mood of the town this week, which has cranked up a notch from the 1978 championships with entertainment on the shores of Lake Karapiro as well as the action on the water. "There's more excitement in the town this time," she said.