What a weekend. I’ve just come back from a wonderful three days in the Yarra Valley, attending the Craft Sessions. One of my favourite things about my life in Australia is the wonderful community of makers and crafters I have met, and this weekend was a highlight in that department.
Australian flora is incredible. Is it because I come from Canada, where wildflower season is so short? Or because I spent ten years in Montreal, a gorgeous city with zero colourful flora? Either way, I’m fascinated with native flowers, and I’m not the only one — it seems like every artist here, from landscape painters to textile printers, is inspired by the red, yellow, purple and orange blooms.
I finally learned to do a proper chain stitch in Melissa’s class, but the real takeaway was the ease with which she finds new combinations of textures and colours. I’ve done a fair amount of embroidery before, but always following a pattern, typically all in backstitch. Not very interesting. This was a whole other story.
You know what’s wonderful about a craft retreat? Nobody thinks you’re odd if you pull out your knitting during cocktail hour. A few of us were even knitting between meal courses! There must have been seventy of us stitching away on Saturday night, digging through Felicia‘s stacks of craft books, drinking wine, cozying up to the fire.
Sunday’s workshop was an exercise in chemistry: an introduction to natural dyeing. We created 25 shades of yarn from one dye pot of madder. How gorgeous are these skeins? I see some beautiful dark red yarns in my future…
The best part of the weekend? Learning from this huge group of amazing women, and helping out where I could. Sharing the knowledge we’ve all gathered over the years. Teaching someone how to graft together the two pieces of their lace cowl. This hands-on work brings me so much joy.