After 20 years of getting her hands dirty studying and teaching earth sciences as an academic at Macquarie University, Diane Hart fell in love with the raw beauty of spinning.

The Courtlands Village resident first learnt how to knit on the knee of her father when she was four years old, but it wasn’t until she retired that she discovered the joy of spinning wool.

“Spinning is mathematical to a certain extent,” Diane said.

“A  lot of it relies on the  circumference of the wheel and the number of pedals you use, so it appeals  to a person with a fairly mathematical mind, as well being a rather pretty and interesting thing to do.”

Diane was a classical pianist and taught music before returning to university after having children and falling in love with earth sciences.

She did her doctorate on the Pilliga Scrub, and spent years up there with her students getting her hands dirty.

It’s that connection with the earth and raw materials that attracted Diane to spinning.

“It’s the realisation that you’re producing something from raw material nobody else has,” she said.

Diane demonstrated her spinning skills at the Courtland Village Hobbies Expo this year, and brought along the beautiful garments she knitted and crocheted from the yarn she spun and dyed herself.

She is involved in spinning groups around Sydney, and attends  camps where like-minded spinners go away for a few days to spin and chat.

Diane also travels to fairs and events around the State to do spinning demonstrations.

“I find the drop spindle in particular attracts people, usually because it’s something very simple and it’s easy to see how fibres are made, as it’s not as fast as the wheel,” she said.

“Spinning is very relaxing – I’ve been known to fall asleep. You watch the wheel go around and know women have done this for hundreds of years, ever since they first plucked sheep’s wool from a bush, rolled it on their thigh and made a piece of fibre out ot it,” Diane said.