The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft

22Jan/130

We’re back – and Spin Artiste

Welcome one and all, we have started back at work for the year and boy is it hot in the workshop! I am anticipating Autumn and Winter with relish at the moment as the afternoons are so very humid and the workshop has very little breeze moving through it. The irony is that come June I will be bleating about longing for Summer again. I guess I am hard to please ;-)

We have some interesting changes coming up soon and I hope you will see some of the fruits of these before long. As a hint, we should be able to produce much finer reed segments which will increase the versatility of the Dynamic Heddle Loom - everything going to plan, these should be underway in about 8 weeks.

I have been doing CAD design work on a very exciting new product (well to me at least :-) ), however I am pretty confident that others are going to be pretty interested when it materialises.

Over the Summer, Arlene from Spin Artiste did an interview about Majacraft and in the last fortnight posted it on her web site. There are some never before seen pictures of Aura and loom prototypes and she asked some really insightful questions. If you would like to learn a little more about Majacraft and what makes us tick then take time to have a read. My daughter Sophie has a little feature role as well (proud Dad!). Click the image to visit Spin Artiste and read the interview.

Sophie in the Majacraft workshop - Spin Artiste interview

Sophie in the Majacraft workshop - Spin Artiste interview

 

Until next time

Andy

 

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11Sep/120

Dynamic Heddle weaving – Thumbelinaspins “No sew hat”

OK, I am going to show my ignorance here - thankfully, I have since been educated.

I was under the impression for quite a while that hand weaving was pretty much restricted to creating two dimensional pieces. I was very impressed to see these images of weaving completed by Rona Betts (Thumbelinaspins of Ravelry) Mum bought in to show me. The ideas behind this beanie seem very interesting to me  and can see how she has moved the reed segments in her Dynamic Heddle loom to create really interesting effects in the overall shape.

No sew hat - Rona Betts

No sew hat - Rona Betts

I am quite a hat fan as I like being warm and I am becoming limited to the Friar Tuck hairstyle these days so this beanie has really fired my imagination. To me, it looks like it would be possible to weave almost a cone shape piece of cloth by starting with the reeds segments far apart and then moving them in to create the smaller top part of the hat. I would think that it would even be possible to start with the reeds tight, weave in elastic and then move them out wide and slowing back in to create an elasticated rim.

Here is Rona's story in her own words

"Redlands Spinners was having their annual camp at Bribie Island the last weekend of August. I had only just found out a couple of weeks before that I could go. I was given a sheet of paper a week before about what was expected and saw that there was a beanie contest and the beanies were being donated to the seafarers. One of our members who had recently passed away had knitted over 2000 beanies for the seafarers and this was a way to remember her. Since I absolutely knew that I could not knit a beanie in time I thought about what I could do. I had just received my majacraft loom and had warped it up to play with. On it I had some Noro sock yarn in fun colors. So I put two and two together realising that weaving does not take as long for me to do as knitting I went to work and in one evening “presto” I had enough woven for a hat. I did not win a prize for the best beanie but had the best time making it! Love my Majacraft Loom!"

Here are a couple more pictures of the No Sew Hat:

More No sew hat - Rona Betts

More No sew hat - Rona Betts

 

More still No sew hat - Rona Betts

More still No sew hat - Rona Betts

 

I find Majacraft is a great place to work when the opportunities to form connections with people who create amazing things come up - like what Rona has done with her weaving.

Until next time.

Andy

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21Jul/126

An exciting addition to Majacraft!

One of the things I enjoy most about working with Majacraft is people. I have been privileged to meet some incredibly talented and creative people and I confess I get a bit star struck when I think that I have actually met people like Lexi Boeger and Jacey Boggs and what's more, they are just wonderful! We count ourselves very fortunate that they have chosen to use tools we have built to create amazing stuff far beyond what we could imagine or have hoped for. We really value these relationships and are always looking to develop new connections wherever we see opportunities to help creative people and grow fibre art.

Well, I am very excited to share that we have made a new connection with somebody in an area we have not been able to reach before - weaving. I first heard about this person being invited to tutor at an upcoming camp and after reading the brief profile thought to myself, "this is a person we HAVE to reach out to". After several conversations, she excitedly agreed to try our new loom and so a super secret box was jetted off. This took place several months ago and we have been receiving some very valuable feedback and seeing some amazing new possibilities for weaving. When I have been looking through the photos of work she has produced on the loom, I am just blown away and to be honest, am living a little vicariously when I can say "I touched the loom that took part in making that!".

So who is this mystery person? Well I am very proud to announce that Donyale Grant of Moggy and Me has decided to join with us in our weaving project. Here is a just a tiny sample of what she has been creating in the last couple of months.

Testing...

You can read all about Donyale on her website Moggy and Me and if you are interested in seeing photos of her weaving work - as well as some sneaky previews of the Majacraft loom, then check out her Flickr pages.

Donyale is currently at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool festival in Victoria demonstrating the new loom as well as displaying and selling some of her work.

I am very excited about this new partnership and am very grateful to Donyale for agreeing to go on this journey with us. I can't wait to see what we can create together in the future!

Until next time

Andy

5Apr/111

Majacraft Magic Camp 2011

WOW! What a fantastic time we had at our recent Majacraft Magic Camp. As we have done previously, we held it at Keswick Conference Centre right on the lake side at Rotorua.  The weekend was very busy, starting on the Friday morning and continuing until Sunday afternoon.  The comments we have had since include – “the best camp I have ever been to”, “I had a wonderful time” and many more equally enthusiastic.

We were very fortunate to have a great line up of tutors who were unstinting with their time and expertise.

Heather Dunn who talked and demonstrated Fabulous Fleece.

Mandie Chandler enlightened many with her innovative ways with a carder for her Walk on the Wild Side batts.

Carding during Mandie Chandler's class

Carding during Mandie Chandler's class

Flore Vallery Radot who lent some Parisienne flair with her beautiful yarns.

Flore teaching during her class

Flore teaching during her class

Jessicah Win, taking her first workshop(! ) and showing the many ways you can spin space dyed fibre to get different results.

Heather Kearins showed us not to be afraid of rabbits!

Genny Stevens, who encouraged us to cut up our knitting – Eek Steek.

Beth and Kevin Hansen who gave us a talk in the evening about spinners and sailors, as well as showing us their lovely little e-spinner.

Kevin Hansen of Hansen Crafts

Kevin Hansen of Hansen Crafts

Leilani Rickard showed us the use of flax and wool from a modern Maori perspective.

Keswick fed us very well and often, we had a happy hour each evening, and we had lovely walks in the morning before starting classes. A thoroughly enjoyable time for everyone.  A specially big thanks must go to my sisters, Anita Thorpe and Pam Collier who spent their weekend in the kitchen doing our dishes, setting tables and serving up food.  It was much appreciated.

Thank you to all who attended and especially to our  wonderful tutors, we couldn’t have done it without youJ

Here are some photos taken at the camp – you can see how much fun it was!

Experimenting during Mandie Chandlers carding class

Experimenting during Mandie Chandlers carding class

During the weekend, Owen made a small trip out to a local conservation trust, Wingspan, that is saving New Zealand's endangered falcons. Here are some photos from the afternoon visit.

Travis Light and a New Zealand falcon

Travis Light and a New Zealand falcon

New Zealand falcon

New Zealand falcon

Glynis

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11Feb/111

Is this a royal endorsement?

Hello again!

Look what we received earlier this week. I know it is not a royal endorsement but ... wow!

The Duchess of Cornwall using a Majacraft Little Gem

The Duchess of Cornwall using a Majacraft Little Gem

I wonder if she would be available for a promotional tour? :-) If you wish to read the full article on the UK's Daily Mail web site, then visit here

Until next time

Andy

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23Sep/100

Tokyo!

Very long time no write!

We have been crazy busy at Majacraft for the last couple of months and it has been a very exciting time. Things are just about under control again so I have finally had an opportunity to post again. Amongst other things that have been going on, Glynis (Mum) and I went to the Tokyo spinning party. It was a wonderful experience for me and we had a great time. Yuka, Vincent, Tae, Reiko and Katie were very gracious and generous hosts for us both and to be honest, we would have struggled without their help.

We arrived late Tuesday evening and took a bus to our hotel at Shinjuku. For the next day or so we had an opportunity to look around. We took the obligatory trip to Akihabara (Electric Town) as well as visiting the park at Shinjuku and the Mori Art Museum.

Shinjuku Park

Shinjuku Park

Akihabara in a typhoon

Akihabara in a typhoon

On the day we visited Akihabara, there was torrential rain. The water was deep in the street and very heavy. Our friends later told us that it was not just a rain shower but in fact a typhoon!

Tokyo from the Mori Art Museum building

Tokyo from the Mori Art Museum building

Our dealer, Yuka Aoshima of Kakara Woolworks invited us to visit  her home at Saitama and we shared a fantastic meal with Yuka, Vincent, Tae and Reiko at an All-You-Can-Eat pizza restaurant.

Dinner with Tae, Yuka, Vincent, Andrew, Glynis

Dinner with Tae, Yuka, Vincent, Andrew, Glynis

On Saturday we set up the stand with Reiko, Tae and Katie. Yuka is very pregnant and coming to the show would not have been practical. The days of the show were quite long when the temperature was much warmer than what we were accustomed to after coming from the New Zealand Winter. We met many special friends and were able to teach many people to spin on the Majacraft spinning wheels. As I mentioned earlier, Tae, Reiko and Katie were wonderful and a lot of fun to work with.

Glynis, Tae and Reiko on the Kakara stand

Glynis, Tae and Reiko on the Kakara stand

Among the many people we met, Tatsuya Jota who is the grandson of the inventor of Saori Weaving spent a little time talking with us. You can see his web site here www.jota28.com

Tatsuya and Glynis

Tatsuya and Glynis

On our last day in Japan, we got up very early to visit the fish market at Tsukiji where Tuna (and every other fish imaginable). It was altogether an amazing experience. The final icing on the cake was a trip on a high speed train (not the Shinkansen - I love trains!) to the airport. I know this post sounds full of superlatives but it really was as good as I have made it sound. The people we met and spent time with made a great trip so much better. Thank you Yuka, Tae, Reiko and Katie.

Until next time

Andy

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16Apr/102

They are on their way!

Maryland is approaching, the big reveal is coming and the new wheels are being packed and shipped to dealers from today! After a huge effort (this is why there haven't been any blog posts for the last couple of weeks), we are nearing the end of this huge project - or is it just the beginning? The testing we carry out on each wheel before packing has been very encouraging as they are performing even better than we had hoped for. So, the big question, are you going to Maryland? :-)

Boxes of secret wheels

Boxes of secret wheels

I have so many more tasks to do, ads, manuals, videos, more blog posts, photography (actually this is Rob's department, he is a great photographer) and I am going to need to get back to it. Until next time...

Andy

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20Jan/100

We’re Back…

And so another year has started today. A month off has gone very quickly in retrospect. Wheels are going out the door and we are busy making plans and schemes ready for lots of fibrey goodness in the upcoming year! I sincerely hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year

Ahhhh, my old desk...

Ahhhh, my old desk...

Our Camp is approaching fast and I am getting excited about the visit to Wellington and the opportunity to meet Lexi/Pluckyfluff. I think it is going to be very cool to her come visit wee New Zealand. If you are on the fence about coming along, I would recommend it highly - but move quickly.

Andy

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28Dec/090

NZ Christmas

My aplogies on no major Majacraft news for you today. My family and I had a lovely Christmas day which was very nice and relaxed. We had a French toast breakfast and fruit lunch. In the afternoon we got a water slide out for the children, mowed a strip of grass on the hillside and had an awesome hour playing in the water. Here are a couple of pics of the fun.

Ashley on the water slide

Ashley on the water slide

Sophie on the water slide - just missed

Sophie on the water slide - just missed

I hope your Christmas' have been wonderful too this year and you have a safe and happy new year.

Andy

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22Dec/094

You know what this is…

It might look like a Rose but no. The first one is ready to go! Off to the lucky recipient tomorrow.

Not a Rose

Not a Rose

Andy

For the treasure hunters, there have only been 2 hidden clues so far - nothing in photos OK :-)

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