Judith Schonkala enourages others to join Kurrajong Handspun Crafts to calm their mind

Judith Schonkala of Kurrajong Handspun Crafts with her Hawkesbury Show award-winning white fleece (bottom left). Picture: Sarah Falson

Judith Schonkala of Kurrajong Handspun Crafts with her Hawkesbury Show award-winning white fleece (bottom left). Picture: Sarah Falson

Kurmond resident Judith Schonkala has been a member of the Kurrajong Handspun Crafts group since its inception - way back in 1975 - and says the thing she likes about hand-spinning is that it makes everything seem calmer.

"I was in my 20s then and I'm 76 now," she said. "People who spin and knit love the calmness. You feel so calm when you're doing it and you meet a lot of like-minded people."

The group is mostly made up of older ladies but they are looking for new members and will teach the craft to anyone who joins. You don't even have to know how to knit to become a member of Kurrajong Handspun Crafts.

"My daughter started doing it when she was three and she ended up being a textile artist and a textile high school teacher," Mrs Schonkala said.

"We dye the wool and make felt. We also hold workshops and people love that. It's a step away from the problems of real life.

"It's a great hobby, very calming and relaxing."

The group has "an endless supply" of spinning wheels that have been donated, and they sell them on "as cheaply as we can".

Mrs Schonkala lives by herself since her husband passed away 12 years ago. She owns a small farm and tends to it herself.

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"I've got seven acres to look after on my own, and a two-storey house," she said.

"After the drought I downsized."

She said she was "shocked" that the fleece from one of her sheep won a blue ribbon at the 2022 Hawkesbury Show.

"I've won first prizes before but I was glad I was keeping up with the general standard," Mrs Schonkala said.

She encourages anyone - even older men - to come and join the group, which meets on Tuesday nights at the North Richmond Community Centre.

"More men should take up spinning so they've got something to do with their time," she said.

"We encourage anyone to come - males, females, children and grandparents. Anyone can pick it up."