One of our local historical groups, Rylstone & District Historical Society (who, by the way are also our landlords as they own the Bridge View Inn which houses our shop, Convent and Chapel Wool Shop), are holding a significant display at the Rylstone Memorial Hall this week.
‘Stitches in Time’ focuses on the World War I quilt that was made by local residents as part of the war effort and is now housed in the Canberra War Memorial. Gemma and I were asked to participate by holding sock knitting demonstrations throughout the exhibition which lasts for a week.
Tonight was the opening night and attracted a great crowd which seemed well-engaged. We’ll see how the week goes but look forward to meeting and chatting with visitors. Our little area has been set up using our period cane chairs and some vintage crafting tools including my Edwardian swift, tortoise shell needles and vintage military war period knitting books that were offered to us, not to mention Gemma’s lovely crochet accessories. We have lots of sitting and knitting over the next week. I wonder how many socks we’ll get through!?!
This week G and I took ourselves exploring, with a purpose. Our hand knits have been selling well in the shop. If anything, a little too well, and we are struggling to keep up with demand, particularly as we also try to finish off our items for the local Shows. One of our customers suggested we check out a rural sock factory – one that makes socks on original old machinery. Given they are local (rural NSW), use Australian wool and it is such an artisan craft, we decided it was worth a trip to see for ourselves. G is an accomplished sock knitter but socks take ages to knit if we were to try and knit them ourselves for the shop.
So, off to Crookwell we set off early yesterday morning. From Kandos, there are no main roads and highways so it was always going to be a scenic drive and one not worth rushing. We joke about the lack of traffic lights in our lives now – Mudgee doesn’t even have a traffic light, but were amused to strike two for roadworks (saves on lollipop men). It was saddening to see how much new roadkill lay on the road but we also saw kangaroos, rabbits and even an emu along the way.
Tuena, an historic old gold mining town I hadn’t heard of before, provided a quick detour, and seemed like a great destination for an overnight stay to do a bit more exploration. But mainly we pushed towards Crookwell, making it there in heaps of time for us to relax over burgers with the works at the bistro attached to a local pub.
The trip to Lindner Socks was definitely worth it. Situated comfortably in the main street is a charming little sock shop which is also home in the back room to a sock factory that uses old fashioned equipment to machine knit. Andrew gave us a tour of the factory and explained how the socks were made, the fibres used and the types of socks available. His mother, Gisela, sorted out the business end of things and provided us with all we needed to place our first order, which will be very soon. If you’re interested in seeing more, a Sydney Weekender clip is on YouTube with Mike Whitney visiting the factory.
Crookwell is a lovely town and would be great for a weekend stay. We found it amusing that despite coming from Sydney, we already talk about towns like Crookwell as being “big” now that our comparison is Kandos and Rylstone.
We decided to take an even more scenic route home, which really meant taking a longer route, and instead of circling back via Bathurst went to Taralga, Oberon and then through Rydal to Wallerawang and Portland. It was a great day of discovering (alas not having time to explore) some great little towns and villages and seeing how many wonderful rural locations are still surviving and even thriving. The churches themselves are worthy of a special trip, with some being surprisingly grand and other charmingly austere. Many times we had to pinch ourselves to believe that we were now really living the dream out in the country and not just on a weekend excursion returning back to the city and jobs.
Anyway, after a long but rewarding day on the road and nearly 600k, we arrived back home to pets and gardens. Expect to see Lindner socks in our shop and on our feet very soon.
Here’s Gemma pictures of our trip on Facebook. The photos of the churches and windows are particularly beautiful.