Weaving Woollen Wonders
Updated: May 3, 2019
Images by Clear Skies Creative
To hear Tessa Dimond talk of the wonders of wool is to believe the once unsurpassed natural fibre of Australia, is surely set to make a comeback.
Tessa, owner and creator of online wool homewares store Cotton & Confetti, has called St George in south east Queensland home for more than a decade. Tessa balances Cotton & Confetti with her work as a trainee agronomist, looking after irrigation and dry land properties in the Balonne and Maranoa districts, while completing her postgraduate Certificate in Agricultural Science through the University of Queensland.
It was during her early childhood spent in Goondiwindi, that Tessa’s Grandmother first taught her to crochet. That education that began with a simple granny square has now evolved into an online business- producing handmade wool blankets, homewares and snoods.
ABOVE: Tessa Dimond at work making a chunky blanket.
Tessa’s family eventually made the move to the Sunshine Coast, but when coast life didn’t stick for Tessa she packed up and headed to St George where she had secured a summer job grape picking. The industrious Tessa would go on to work as the St George council Visitor Services Officer, cotton bug checker, and for local business Jones Air.
“There is lots of things I love about living in the bush; I love coming home after a holiday; I love knowing people in the street; I love the community spirit and everyone getting together to help, I love working somewhere different everyday; I love having a simple life, although is hectic at planting, harvest, cotton season."
“I love having the same friends for 10 years and knowing they will always be around; I love the river in St George where a lot of weekends are spent on the jet ski; I love how it is such a small town, but there is an event in the area every weekend to go to.”
Tessa started crocheting again in St George, when the completion of her business degree left more time to create blankets, booties and beanies. These were gifts created to welcome friend’s babies to the world, and Cotton & Confetti grew from there. While Tessa describes crochet as a simple craft, she further developed her skills with online patterns and Youtube tutorials. By Christmas of 2015 Tess had enough products to join Handmade St George, in opening a pop up shop for the busy Christmas period.
Handmade St George is local organization, that gives local craftspeople a platform to sell their wares. The Christmas Pop Up store was so popular that a permanent Handmade St George store opened in March of 2016 where Tessa still sells items alongside her online store Cotton & Confetti. One of Tessa’s favourite parts of creating her chunky blankets and snoods is lightly spinning the wool.
“It feels so delicious to run through your hands, it is quite cool when I unravel it out of a bump of unspun wool, and glides smoothly through my hands.”
ABOVE: Tessa with one of the chunky knit blankets from unpin wool she has become known for, find your own here.
“I love working with the chunky unspun wool because it comes together so fast, its lovely and light and warm all at once, like a cloud,” Tessa reflects. Tessa noticed the chunky knitting on Instagram, which has since become her signature style, and fell in love with the luxury of the giant rugs.The wool proved difficult to source, Tessa finding that a majority of the fibres available in craft stores was a mix of acrylic and wool.
Wanting to work with 100% wool Tessa spent a great deal of time scrolling through websites and trialing out unspun wool on a spinning wheel. Tessa has two sources for her unspun wool, one quite a rustic wool with flecks through it which almost looks like its straight from the back of a sheep. “It even smells deliciously woolly, I have had lots of people fall in love with the rustic look of these colours.”
Unspun wool for chunky knitting and crocheting is quite expensive in Australia with limited colours available here, so Tessa sources wool online from various wool mill suppliers in New South Wales and Victoria and then spins the wool herself to make the blankets and accessories more sturdy. Tessa aims to sell the unspun wool on Cotton & Confetti in the future, for creators to use in their own work and gain access to cotton roving or unspun cotton from the local St George district.
Tessa chooses colours which she loves, the thought being that if she likes it and is passionate about what she is making, then that is what is best for Cotton & confetti.“I have had a lot of people trying to suggest things to make that will sell well, and I quickly decided if I don’t enjoy it then I wont make it. I don’t want to stop enjoying the process of creating. The blankets and snoods I make I have completely created myself, with my own patterns. I love how simple they are.”
Incorporating the community into what she does is important to Tessa; through her work, in organizing the Golden Acres ball and even teaching several classes through CARE Balonne with students aged five to 70, finding that a lot of people who maybe learned to knit and crochet when they were younger are keen to learn the basics again or learn to read new patterns.
While life can be quite hectic for Tessa, with work starting at 4am, getting home at dark and trying to fit community commitments, university study and Cotton & Confetti in as well, this creative, young lass wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can find Cotton & Confetti on Facebook here.
The online store here.
Follow Cotton & Confetti on Instagram here.