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Manilla’s KTY Kreations

KTY Kreations

It’s a far cry from the finery of women’s lingerie to the can’t-wear-it-out durability of canvas, but Manilla’s Ruth Buckler of KTY Kreations has successfully made the transition of working with the contrasting fabrics over a period of years.

As a rookie 16-year-old, she left her little hometown of Nymboida to live with her grandmother in Sydney where she spent 10 years making lingerie. Now she’s content to manoeuvrelarge sections of heavy materials through her trusty industrial machine to produce shade sail items like tarp covers, PVC blinds, boat covers, marine bimini, sand pit covers – and the list goes on.

“The difference in the twofabrics  is size, weight and time. The lingerie was already cut and ready for sewing together whereas making the shade sails, I have to start right from scratch.”

Probably Ruth’s most unusual assignment to date was making the back curtain for an ex-army ambulance from the 1940s. And biggest – producing 16 x 100-square metre shade sails for feedlots at Weebollabolla Station at Moree, and providing big shade sails for Fiona’s Mini Bus Rentals in Tamworth.

“It’s very rewarding though that I have a lot of return customers. You do a job for someone, then they come back wanting their ride-on mower, motorbike or tractor seats covered.”
She can also step outside the square when it comes to producing unusual items – things like curtains, back door screens, or side curtains with fly screens for horse floats.

Ruth’s love affair with sewing machines dates back to her teens in Sydney with her gran.

“In the mid-1980s, I’d inherited a little money so put it into purchasing a sewing machine, patterns and some material. Gran’s neighbour made lingerie for UnderCover Wear, and asked me if I’d like to help her. I did for 10 years, and loved it.”

Her first “real job” though was as a bundle girl at Whitmont Shirts in Sydney.

“For instance, the machinists would put the collar ontoshirts, then the bundle girls would take them on to another machinist for the next stage of the job.”

That followed a 12-month stint hemming bedding products for Myer and Target before taking on the position of industrial sewing machinist for the ABC Products firm in Sydney.

In 2006, Ruth and her Data Researcher hubby Allan McGrath, whom she met at a singles’ dance night at Baulkham Hills in Sydney, made the move to Manilla where they immediately set up the current business.

Though in a twist of coincidence, Ruth and her sister were both born at Grafton Hospital, and delivered by the late Sir Earle Page, the then serving Prime Minister who also happened to open Manilla Town Hall.

Additional to KTY Kreations’ portfolio is the Impala Classic Cruizers – a fleet of 1960 Chevy, a 1963 Belair and the latest acquisition, a 1964 SS Chevy used in the couple’s wedding car hire business.

“It was really popular, but the drought and Covid have slowed things down. Hopefully it will pick back up again soon.”

Away from the canvas, Ruth has been a Manilla CWA Branch member for the last six years, but jokingly says that her ability to make cakes probably eased her into that membership.

“They found out I could cook good sponges,” she joked.

That ability has led her to wins and placings in cake making at various CWA levels – “one judge even said my mock cream was the best they’d ever tasted – it was my gran’s recipe”.

Down the track, Ruth and Allan hope to continue grey nomading around the country. They’ve already been aboard the Murray River’s Emmylou, fished inthe Gulf, been to Cape York, hot-air ballooned over Mareeba, helicoptered over Carnarvon Gorge and visited Springfield’s (Q) Lava Tubes.

“We really only have WA and the Northern Territory to go,” Ruth said. By Vinnie Todd