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As the Woolcraft representative on the executive of the Australian Sheep Breeders Association, Chrystene is the conduit to the wide world of all things Woolcraft including hundreds of passionate knitters, spinners, felters, weavers, crocheters, embroiderers and designers of ultra-funky ‘wearable art’.
Chrystene’s small team of hardworking volunteers coordinate more than 300 exhibitors in 58 class classes involving four national guilds, several schools and a hundred Woolcraft traders and demonstrators.
The Australian Woolcraft competition at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show has now grown to attract international representatives and a loyal, very vocal band of fans who congregate on the knitters social media mecca Ravelry, a site that boasts more than 1.3 million members.
During the year prior to the Sheep Show Chrystene works with many members of the Handweavers & Spinners Guild to prepare garments to showcase the fibre from the Feature Breed of that year’s show. This year creations using wool from heritage breeds will be on display.
“I can’t remember who taught me to knit; as a lefthander it must not have been easy for my mother, who I presume it was. It fostered my love of wool and natural fibres,” Chrystene says.
She first joined the Handweavers & Spinners Guild in 1971 and says her love of wool and textiles has grown along with her love of gardening, painting and wholistic living. She was enjoying the antics of small herd of cashmere goats while working with their fibre when she decided to undertake a Diploma in Studio Arts (Textiles) at RMIT.
It was there she was introduced to Sheep Show and Woolcraft committee members seeking a someone special for an important role; overseeing the much-loved Kids Corner where hundreds of future Woolcrafters have learnt to spin a wheel and felt like an expert.
“Teaching children and many adult showgoers to have a love and appreciation for wool, the magic fibre that it is, is very rewarding,” Chrystene says.
Content courtesy of the 2011 Women of Wool