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Welcome to Esther's Blog

The World According to Esther

New Zealand Workshops & Majacraft Camp!

 I am SO excited to announce that I have been asked to teach at the 2014 Majacraft Magic camp in NEW ZEALAND!! I’m not sure excited actually covers how I’m feeling about this trip!!

It’s not a secret that I love my Majacraft Aura. I have the new Majacraft blending board and hackle on the way.  My Dynamic Heddle loom is my new best friend.  And, I love all the folks at Majacraft. They are an innovative company run by amazing people.  And now, we’re heading to New Zealand! This is a trip I have wanted to take my entire life!!    AND to be able to hang out and teach with some amazing friends, with the folks at Majacraft ..   well,  is just the icing on a very yummy cupcake!!   ..

SO..  here’s the plan…  (some is still tentative) …
We are working on booking 2 workshops on the South Island..  each will be one day events.  Times and exact workshops have not yet been decided.. but it’s looking like   Feb 15-  Dunedin,     Feb 22-  Ashburton

THEN .. we’ll head up north for the 2014 Majacraft Magic camp!!  It’s the weekend of Feb 28-March 2!  There’s an AMAZING line up for this weekend!!  I’m so thrilled to teach and give a lecture among this group of teachers! It’s going to be a spectacular weekend!!!

Here’s the info they’ve passed to me that they have so far–

It will be held at the excellent venue used in the past – Keswick Conference Centre on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

We have a great line up of international and local tutors for you covering a diverse range of classes. This is a wonderful opportunity to extend your knowledge of fibre techniques.

We aim to allow you to take as many different classes as you want to, however we would like you to rank your choices to ensure that you will get to the ones that you most want to participate in.

The price for the weekend (Friday 12.30pm to Sunday 3.00pm), including two night’s accommodation, all meals, morning and afternoon teas, happy hour, lectures, workshops, and some materials, is $320 per person.

We require a non-refundable deposit of $60 by 30th September to secure your place, with payment in full due by 20th January.

However, payment may also be made by instalment with a deposit of $60 due by 30th September.
2nd payment of $130 by 30th November
3rd payment of $130 by 30th January.

 There is also the option of not staying on site but attending the workshops and lectures. The price for this is $285 and includes everything as above, with the exception of bed and breakfasts.

Our bank account details for internet banking are –
Tauranga Centre
Account name – Majacraft Ltd.
Account number – 030435 0524647 01
Alternatively we can take visa, mastercard or bankcard.


Angela Daish
Nalbinding – also known as knotless netting is an ancient technique virtually unknown among needle workers today. The technique probably dates at least to the late Iron Age (circa 500-1B.C).Variations of this technique have been practiced for centuries in such diverse areas as Egypt, France, Sweden, Syria, Denmark, Africa, Peru and New Guinea.
Nalbinding is worked with a single flat needle (Nal) with a large eye and it is produced by working short lengths of yarn from left to right through the previous loops. The size of your thumb dictates the size of your stitches.
As each length of yarn is finished a new piece is spliced onto it.
In this class we will learn some of the stitches and start you on the way to creating a garment the ancient way. I can see many possibilities for its use combined with techniques we already know.
Materials required – bring some even yarn like tekapo, or homespun thick and even, preferably not too dark for starters, or a thick single. Needles will be supplied

Donni Grant
Weaving Habu Style
Participants will need:
A rigid heddle loom pre-warped with black smooth plied yarn – preferably 4,6 or 8ply – but BLACK please. Please ensure you have at the least 1 metre of warp on your loom
You can also bring: Any hand spun, fibre, add-ins (like sequins, ribbon) you may want to experiment with (don’t bring too much. Weight approx. 100, 200gms.

Please note – we need you to have your loom warped and ready to go before your course commences as we can then focus on trying different weaving ideas and techniques without having to spend time warping the looms.
Majacraft will have a number of looms available for using in the class, but if you have a rigid heddle loom please bring it with you.
Course content:
We will begin with looking at samples of traditional style weavings, and explore how, by using some unusual yarns, coupled with “Saori” techniques*, your weaving can take on a whole new look.

Make your own blending board.  We will show you how to make a simple blending board and we will provide all the necessary materials and tools. Material cost is extra.
You will learn how to use your board to good effect in Esther’s fibre preparation class.

Pat Old
Spinning a Taonga – spinning muka from harakeke flax on a spinning wheel.
Harakeke is a very special plant with many uses. The fibre (muka) is traditionally extracted and rolled on the leg to make cloaks that show the incredible skill and dexterity of the artists that created them.
In this class you will extract the muka from a blade of flax, then create a strick from which you can spin a yarn
The class will be in two time slots.
A – Demonstration and presentation followed by extracting the muka and laying it to dry.
B – Next day gathering up the fibre to create the strick, dressing the distaff and spinning
Flax will be supplied.

Esther Rodgers
Wild Fibergetting creative with your fibre prep (no skills needed)
In this class we card batts, rolags and create pulled roving from a hackle! We’ll look at layering and blending colours. We’ll talk about the function of drum carders and how to create texture- while still maintaining the well-being of the machine. We’ll figure out how to card batts to produce specific kinds of yarns, as well as layering texture for felters. We will card rolags on a blending board and we will talk about combing fibre from a hackle and how to pull roving. Students should bring any fibres they’d like to card or comb. There will be drum carders, hackles and blending boards provided for students to use.  However if you have your own tools (especially drum carders) please bring them.

Creative Spinning to Weave  (advanced beginner)
Want to take your weaving to new textural levels? Try adding some of these creatively spun yarns that have a mega punch! In this class we will focus on spinning techniques that create textural impact when woven. We will work on twists (in singles and plied), core-spinning on wire and elastic cores, multiple kinds of coils/cocoons/crescents, lock-spinning and tail-spinning. Woven examples with textural yarns will be provided for discussion and examination.
Students should be familiar with basic creative spinning techniques (core-spinning, plying with thread) They should bring a spinning wheel, extra bobbins, 1 ball size 10 cotton crochet thread and/or 1 ball/cone of brushed kid mohair yarn, fibres and any additional locks the student would like to work with.

Frances Stachl
Learning to spin with a drop spindle.
Learn to spin on this ancient and portable tool. The drop spindle is the precursor to the spinning wheel- and a good companion tool to have in your spinner’s bag of tricks. Bring your own spindle or Frances’ beautiful hand turned ones will be available for purchase. Frances believes that spindle spinning can enhance and neaten your technique on a wheel.

Colour for Control Freaks.
This class looks at different ways of dividing and preparing fibre so each spinner achieves their own personal colour nirvana.
The methods explored will be related to knitting shawls in class – but they are easily transferable to other knit items. It is all about deciding what finished result you would like, and directing the fibre towards that end.
Embrace your inner control freak- in this class she will have excellent company!
Students can bring their own fibre (space dyed roving) or purchase in class. Some materials provided free.
Suitable for all spinners.

Catherine Watson
Ferrari Felting – There will be a choice of several projects.  Materials extra at a small price per kit.  Come and have fun with this new technique.

Pippa Willison
Dyeing in your cupboard.
I love natural food, I bake bread and avoid artificial colours and sweeteners. But just lately my shopping trolley is filling up with florescent cordials, tandoori pastes, saffron and blue icing. I have been using all these cheap, easily available non toxic things to dye my handspun yarn. They are colourfast and easy to blend. The best results have been with raw yarn.
Materials – Please bring some wool to dye, beiges, greys and variegated colours look awesome as well as white and something bright from the pantry to play with. We will supply a range of dyes.

Brigid McAllister –Spinner, yoga instructor, massage therapist and healer, Brigid will introduce 30 minute yoga sessions in the early mornings.

Andy and RobWheel WOF all weekend. Bring your wheel along and let us give it a check and tune up.

Lectures –
Friday eveningBrigid McAllister –Brigid will show us how to do a 10 minute “spinners massage”.  You know how tense we can get around the shoulders after a big spinning session? Here is an opportunity to be able to help each other.
Saturday eveningDonni Grant – Colour For the Adventurous.
Sunday afternoonEsther Rodgers – Art in Yarn.