Calling All Crafters!

Winter time is the best for getting stuck into those craft projects.  Watching the throw you’re crocheting grow over your lap, or the warm jersey forming from your knitting needles is lovely on a day when you can get cosy.  Perhaps you’re an embroiderer, or quilting is your thing.  No matter what your craft of choice is, these cold winter days just invite settling in somewhere cosy and getting creative.

If you’d like some company while you work on your current project, have you thought of coming to one of the craft sessions in our libraries?

Arapaki Knit & Natter

Arapaki library on Manners Street in the city has weekly lunchtime sessions on Tuesdays at 12:30pm.  Pop in on your lunch break to get away from work for a little bit, and enjoy the company of other craft minded folk.  Perhaps you could borrow this book from their collection to give you some inspiration:

Beginner’s guide to colourwork knitting : 16 projects and techniques to learn to knit with colour / Austin, Ella
“Introduction — Choosing colors — Yarn and tools — Reading charts — Stripes — Slipped stitches — Stranded colourwork — Intarsia — Double knitting — Modular knitting — Entrelac — Techniques. Beginner’s guide to colorwork knitting explains all the techniques and stitches you need to start your journey to knitting with color.” (Catalogue)

Wadestown Library – Community Craft Circle

Or you could pop in to Wadestown library on the third Wednesday of every month at 10:30am for their Community Craft Circle.  Join other crafters in their community space to share conversation, craft tips and crafting supply sources.  It’s always lovely to see a new face.  And perhaps you might like to borrow this book from their collection:

Anyone can crochet amigurumi animals : 15 adorable crochet patterns / Simpson, Kristi
“Whether you’ve been crocheting for years or have never picked up a crochet hook before, this accessible, exciting project guide will show any crafter of any skill level everything you need to know to successfully make adorable amigurumi animals! This crochet project book opens with expert guidance on basic tools and techniques and insightful introductory sections on the basics. Get detailed insight on the background of amigurumi, basic materials, how to read patterns, and other essential tips to know in the preface to the projects. Also included are stitch guides, a comprehensive glossary, a handy abbreviations sheet, and more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Johnsonville Library Sit & Knit

On alternating Sundays at Johnsonville Library at the Waitohi Hub, there’s a fortnightly sewing and craft group for thread-heads of all skill levels and ages. Bring along an existing project, some needles and some yarn, or use our basket of goodies.​ You do need to register for this popular event as there is limited space available, and you can do so here.  Maybe this sewing book from their collection is something that would interest you:

Simple hand sewing : 35 slow stitching and mindful mending projects / Strutt, Laura
“Hand sewing is a great way to practice mindfulness through craft. Laura Strutt has designed these 35 projects specially to develop your hand-sewing skills, but also to help you slow down, enjoy the moment, and appreciate the rewards of your work. Using a number of different techniques including visible mending, sashiko, embroidery, thread doodling, boro, and abstract embroidery, Laura shows you how to incorporate these methods into making something useful, creative, and sustainable. Whichever project you choose, take time to enjoy the process and simply sew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more information on library events and programmes, you can go to: Event Calendar (

New Zealand Music Month at Wellington City Libraries…

It’s New Zealand Music Month we’ve planned a few community performances at both the Johnsonville and Tawa Libraries to help celebrate local music — find links to each event on Facebook below. Nau mai rā tātou katoa – everybody is welcome!

New Zealand Music Month logo - May 2023

Community Performances at Johnsonville Library

Waitohi Kindy Choir – Wednesday 10 May, 3:15pm

Come to the library terraces and enjoy hearing well-known action songs, waiata and rhymes sung by the children attending the Waitohi Kindergarten, accompanied by librarians on guitar and ukulele.

Floyd Marsden and Cian Ye – Friday 12 May, 4pm

Floyd Marsden and Cian Ye take to the library terraces to perform a smooth blend of their original rock/pop songs using instruments and equipment from the HIVE recording studio.

Jack Hooker plays guitar – Saturday 13 May, 11am

Jack is a local composer and acoustic guitarist who will be performing a set of original instrumental acoustic guitar music. Expect intricate fingerpicking, tapping techniques, and open tunings in an expansive style that draws from diverse worldwide influences.

Richard Prowse: ‘Big and Little’ solo double bass and violin – Wednesday 17 May, 3:30pm

Expect to hear a double bass / violin repertoire containing original compositions, a bit of jazz, a little bit of country and a smidgeon of classical.

Swing Club Ukulele Music Group – Wednesday 24 May, 3:30pm

Swing Club Ukulele Music Group is a community group who meet weekly at the Collective Hub in Johnsonville Road. They use music to promote wellbeing amongst their members and their performance group “The Hot Tubs” regularly play at public events. Expect to hear hits old and new so bring your dancing shoes!

SoundsWell Singers Neurological Choir – Wednesday 24 May, 3:30pm

SoundsWell Singers is a singing group for people with neurological conditions including (but not limited to) Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Aphasia post-stroke and early Dementia. It is co-lead by two NZ Registered Music Therapists, with input from a Speech Language Therapist. It has a dual therapeutic focus, looking at both the physical and emotional health of those involved. Come and enjoy some old favs and toe-tapping new songs. You’ll be blown away with this choir’s joy, harmony and fun factor!

Ethan ‘Ziggy’ Morrison guitar performance – Wednesday 31 May, 3:30pm

This set comprises just Ethan and his trusty guitar performing some covers and a few original songs. Expect to hear some Ben Harper, Leonard Cohen, Arctic Monkeys and some originals in there too.

Community Performances at Tawa Library

Gemma Nash and Marianne Wren Violin Duo – Monday 8 May, 3:30pm

Enjoy a musical conversation between violins. Expect to hear some classics played in a fun and vibrant way, incorporating both dualling violins and some guitar accompaniment.

Wellington Red Hackle Junior Pipers – Thursday 11 May, 4pm

Listen to junior members of this Tawa-based pipe band bring their unique and distinctive bagpipe sounds to the library!

Sue’s Classical Mash-up – Tuesday 16 May, 3:30pm

Classical Mash-up is a fusion of well-known and not so well-known classical pieces and Sue’s own musical response to them playing keyboard or guitar, or sometimes both!

Richard Prowse: ‘Big and Little’ solo double bass and violin – Saturday 20 May, 11am

Expect to hear a double bass / violin repertoire containing original compositions, a bit of jazz, a little bit of country, and a smidgeon of classical.

Prog Folk with Pat – Tuesday 23 May, 3:30pm

Hear a combo of original numbers and covers of electric folk/prog tunes from the 1960s and ’70s. Featuring acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, and assorted wind instruments.

Hoot ‘N’ Annies brass street band – Saturday 27 May, 11am

The Hoot ‘N’ Annies are an all-female brass street band playing funky tunes in a New Orleans style.

Vinyl Arrives at Waitohi!

Exciting things have been happening of late at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub, with this week heralding the arrival of part of the libraries’ vinyl collection at their branch. They have been working hard behind the scenes to present this collection, a majority of which has been in storage since the closure of the Central Library.

The idea of having a vinyl collection at Waitohi came about as a result of their recently established Vinyl Club, which meets on the last Saturday of each month. Vinyl Club is a place to share and appreciate music on wax and is open to all. Unfortunately, they have had to postpone meetings for the last few months in light of COVID-19 alert level changes, however they hope to resume meeting when Wellington returns to Level 1.
For further details, keep an eye on our Events Calendar.

The vinyl collection at Waitohi comprises approximately 300 records of varying genres, from Jazz to Hip Hop to local music from Wellington and around New Zealand. The collection is located on the Lower Ground at Waitohi in front of Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, which hosts their Vinyl Club sessions. Records may be taken out for $1 each for a loan period of 7 days and are issued in retro bespoke turquoise sleeves for style and ease of carriage!

Thanks to Sam from Opium Eater who generously agreed to model with one of our Vinyl satchels…

One Year of the HIVE

THE HIVEOne year ago we opened our first makerspace, The HIVE, in Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. It has been a very interesting and very busy year, even with all the interruptions that we have had.  In this post I will try and take you through a few of the things we have learnt, some of the cool things that have been made, and where we are going for the future.

First a few fun stats for all of you. In the last year:

  • 3500+ people have visited the HIVE
  • We have done 529 individual 3D Print jobs. This equates to over 40kg of filament (or 4 big bags of potatoes)
  • 139 full sheets of laser cutting, plus another ~100 jobs completed on offcuts.
  • 300 bookings for Tūhura HIVE Studio

We have also had a drop in use of our sewing machines, CAD machines, Looms and 3D Scanner.

What have we learnt this past year? I am going to give you three out of the hundreds things we have learnt.  We have learnt how to arrange models so that they will 3D Print nicely, and that getting them to print nicely is only half of the battle! We also need to print them in such a way that the rafting and support structures are easy to remove.  On a personal note, I have also learnt that 3D printers are very simple to rebuild!

Another learning, Laser cutters will be more popular than you think. We really underestimated how many people would want to try their hand at cutting, and then go on to bigger and better projects. The cutter we have is a domestic one and has really been put through its paces and then some.

The final of the big three, trial and error is king. The best way of learning how to do something new is to try, and if it goes a little wrong, that is okay!! We have lost count of the number of times we have had things go wonky when we are trying to learn new machines, new techniques, using new materials, or software, but we always end up learning far more from those errors than if it went perfectly first time. We even have a “Shelf of Failure” in the HIVE that shows a few of the pieces that have failed in the line of duty, plus we have a few of the more spectacular failed models in the display case.

Now onto the fun stuff! Cool things we have made.

Saturn V Rockets

The first is a Saturn V rocket. I am very proud of this. It was started during the first COVID level 2 that we had and finished during the second. It took roughly a week to print (including the failures!), and then 3 days of painting. Believe it or not, it isn’t quite finished. I am planning on making a display shelf for it. Watch this space.

ClockThe second is our clock. Not much story behind it really; we needed a clock, so I made one. The mechanism came from spotlight, and the face and numbers were laser cut in our laser cutter.

The third cool thing, is a sausage roll. We were asked if we could make a 3D printed sausage roll. Believe it or not, no such thing existed, so what did we do? Went up toSausage roll the café, purchased one, 3D scanned it (then ate it), then printed it and had it painted. We created timelapse of the whole thing here.

Where to for the future?
Well, I am happy to announce that we have a new laser cutter. It arrived in March and is a semi-industrial machine. This year I would like for us to really start using all our robotics and coding equipment to the fullest.  We have a suite of Arduino and BBCmicro bits that are rearing to go, we just have to get confident with them. The final things are getting our 3D modelling software up to scratch and having a bit more wood working happening. But these are long term goals.

Anyway, thank you for reading this brain dump of the last year. I look forward to seeing you in the HIVE at some point soon!!