Back to the future for group’s 1978 president

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by Alexia Johnston

Times have changed since Dorothy Cleland first led the Timaru Creative Fibre Group meeting.
It was 1978 and the group had about 80 members on its books.
She has briefly returned to the role of group president, a role its members hold for two months at a time.
“So I read my [first] report to them this morning,” she said on Monday.
The report, written on a typewriter and filed away for 40 years, was something Mrs Cleland had not expected to refer back to – until she came up with the idea of taking the group’s members for a trip down memory lane.
Mrs Cleland first joined the group when her daughter was 2 years old, after realising her dream of wanting to spin wool.
The group, which was founded by the late Noeleen Hall, had about 100 members in its earlier days.
“But that was in the days you used to knit for your children,” she said.
“Most of it was natural colours – natural wool straight from the fleece we spun and then knitted into beautiful garments.”
While she has enjoyed her time in the group, she never imagined she would be back in the president’s seat.
“I thought after 40 years I shouldn’t be back doing the president’s job,” she said with a laugh.
However, it was a role the group was sharing among its members until it was filled permanently.
Last week, the group confirmed it would host an open day next year so the public could view its work.
The open day will feature the theme “Before and After”.
“We are going to ask [members] to recycle something knitted or used [for] ‘before’ .. ‘after’ is an article they are going to produce for our open day as a finished article – whether it be something that is felted or reknitted, rewoven or recrocheted.”