Sunday, May 31, 2009


I haven't done much by way of dyeing lately. I'd even put the dye pots away. But tidying up brought to light a few skeins of yarn which just begged to be overdyed. These three were dyed in the same pot: From left to right:
  • grey wool,
  • red-orange wool
  • hand-spun alpaca

I used Landscape Plum. I rarely just use one colour, but I basically just wanted to cover the colour that was there. I can't say they take up any less room than they did before, but I like them a bit better.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Borrowing Brightness

Yesterday wasn't a good day for me, and this morning I'm feeling particularly uninspired. So I've decided to borrow some brightness for my blog from another day. I photographed this dahlia flower last May:
There's enough colour and light in that flower to brighten a few dark days.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ball Bands

Ball bands: those vital little scraps of paper packed with useful information. Yarn composition, metreage, colour, dyelot, recommended tension, washing instructions . . . it's all there. How to read a ball band is part of my Knitting 101 class. After that lesson, this little bit of paper becomes a treasured posession. And rightly so. But now that I'm cleaning up, I'm finding dozens of them. I'm trying to decide whether to toss them out or make something of them. Just now I'm leaning towards the idea of using them in some creative way. After all, they don't really take up much room.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Dog's Life

Packing up the house is still high on my agenda. The dogs are starting to wonder what's going on. But they're still spending a lot of their time asleep on their cushions in my sunny north window.

These cushions are among my simplest and best-used textile creations. They're getting grotty with use and will need to be replaced sometime soon, but I'll wait until everything else is settled before attempting that. The dogs will apreciate the comfort of their familiar smells when their world is going topsy-turvy.

As for me, I'm plying up a couple of skeins of white hand-spun this morning. It's a task that's not even on the priority list, but I too am feeling unsettled and need something familiar to hang on to. Later on I'll have to do some more packing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm supposed to be in ruthless mode . . . I've got a quote for new flooring. It's expensive, but I think it's what I need. I have to have the house sorted and ready to be "moved" in a few weeks. There are half packed boxes in every room. So when I look at a shelf like this, a little voice says, "You don't need it. It's not efficient. Clear it away!" But it's only a little voice, and there's another voice that says, "These scraps of fibre are precious. I love these jars. Efficiency be darned!" These are scraps of silk, hand-spun and hand-dyed wool and other treasures which I've been saving to spin into some novelty yarns. All my little offcuts go into these glass jars. Fortunately this shelf is attached to the wall. I don't have to do a thing to it for the floors to go ahead. So I've decided to declare it exempt from the efficiency drive. I'm not going to touch it. But I'd better get on and pack another box of books before lunch or I'll be no further towards my goal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What is White?

The cottons I dyed last week are still floating around the house. The workshop was postponed and I've been distracted by other priorities, so they haven't even been ironed yet. Another task on the "to do" list is to learn more about my camera and how it handles colour. This morning I've brought those two unfinished projects together in a simple experiment.

Here are two pics of my hand-dyed cottons taken within a few seconds of each other:
  • same fabrics
  • same light
  • same camera

The only difference is the corner of white paper in the second pic.

I wanted to see how much difference there would be in the colours. The camera has a feature called "white balance". It was something to do with the way the camera "sees" colour. I think it's as if the camera is looking to answer the question, "what is white?" so it can display the other colours properly. So, I've learned to make it easy by providing a bit of white in the picture for reference. I'm going to have to find some creative ways to do that in my textile shots. Or maybe I can read the camera manual and see if I can get the camera to "remember" white while it takes another shot. I think I read something about that in the book, but I'd much rather play with colours than read manuals! Hmmmmmm . . . .

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stash! What Stash?

I'm seriously working towards having my floors replaced. The thought of having shiny new floors is fantastic. But the challenge is going to be moving every single item of furniture in my house. If you've seen my house, you'll know that's a challenge and a half. Not that I have lots of furniture, but I have lots of textile stuff and a lot of it is, shall we say, random. I've started calling in friends for help.
My friend Meg came over yesterday to help me get started. I handed her the big basket from next to my armchair and asked her to empty it and take it away. Here's the result:

I didn't think of that basket as a wool stash--do I know the meaning of the word denial! It was supposed to be a place for current projects: just what I needed within easy reach of where I sit and knit. So now I know I need to find storage for all that yarn. Believe it or not, that's a step forward. Until yesterday the bottom of that basket was a black hole. I'm not sure how many black holes I still have to find. I do know that the man from the flooring shop is going to be here in an hour and a half to give me a quote.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home Made

In a twist to the tradition of my recent Saturday Cafe pics, today's photo food is handmade. Here's last night's dinner: lasagna made from scratch:

If you've never made lasagna from scratch, here are the basic steps:

  • Start with flour and eggs. We were lucky enough to have real eggs from my friend's farm.
  • Make up the pasta dough and put it to rest in an airtight container.
  • While the fresh made egg pasta is resting, make the white sauce.
  • The bolognese sauce needs to be made ahead, since it needs quite a while to simmer nicely.
  • Put your biggest pot on to boil with plenty water to cook the lasagna in.
  • Roll out the lasagna sheets using a pasta machine
  • The lasagna sheets need to be cooked one at a time in the boiling water, before being placed layer by layer in the baking dish--that's where the big towel next to the stove comes in. The lasagna is hot and wet when it comes out of the pot. This step is the trickiest one.
  • Alternate layers of pasta with layers of your different sauces. Plenty of parmesan and mozzarella too of course. The lasagna sheets should be put down in alternating directions at right angles to each other.
  • Finish it off with white sauce topped with a layer of pasta.
  • Dot with butter and put it in a moderate oven until it's golden brown on top.
  • Depending on your situation and personality, you can spend the next half hour frantically cleaning up the mess, or putting your feet up, looking forward to a great meal.

You can imagine, all those steps took a fair bit of time and effort. My friend W had made the bolognese sauce before I arrived, and R helped with the lasagna sheets. W was the one to clean up all the floury mess, while I had a break. Even so it was more than three hours work. Lots of fun, though. And to prove that it's really true, here's a shot of my beautiful assistant handling one of the lasagna sheets as it came out of the pot of boiling water.

"How did I manage all that on a Saturday?", you ask! Well, as it turns out, May this year has five Saturdays, so yesterday was a bonus day: no class and no market.

Ta Da!

A friend of mine from Weaving class came over for her second spinning lesson yesterday morning. Last time she learned the basics on a drop spindle and then had a go at my wheel. This time she'd borrowed a wheel from the Guild and was ready to go. Here she is with her first skein of hand-spun yarn:

"Flushed with success!" is the expression that comes to mind. I think I was nearly as pleased as she was. I love to teach and she picked it up so quickly.

Technicalities: The wheel is a sweet little Alice upright, double band drive. The fleece is a Romney-Border Leicester-English Leicester cross from Lucinvale in South Australia. She's spun it in the grease. In fact, I encouraged her to spin straight from the fleece without even combing it first, since I believe that developing a rhythm of work is the key. After all, as spinners we spend the rest of our lives refining our technique, but that first day of, "look, I can spin!" is magic.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Industrial Revolution

I love the simplicity of most of my textile work. I love the feeling of getting back to basics. What I'm working with are among the most basic machines. The industrialisation of textile production was one of the truly revolutionary aspects of the industrial revolution. Textile workers rioted and attacked the new textile mills in desparation at losing their livelihood. I'm not a great historian, but I like to keep in mind how fundamental the production of textiles is to any society.

I am regularly reminded that my textile tools are simple machines. Nothing reminds me more quickly than when a squeak develops in my spinning wheel. The sound of metal on metal cuts through the peace of my morning. So here's a pic of one of my favourites:
It's a can of penetrating oil and it really works. This stuff is especially helpful for the tiny little hinges that are hidden in the back of the treadles on my wheel. And just for a bonus, the can is a perfect example of a triad of primary colours--red, blue, yellow--that's fundamental too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hands at Work

Elaine rang yesterday. She's one of the tutors in the Spinning Certificate. She rings me every month to see how I'm doing. Having tutors like that is a great feature of the course. Today's pic is in honour of the wonderful women at the Guild.
Unfortunately my response to the question, "how is the spinning?" last night was, "sadly neglected". I've been seriously distracted by hassles with my Insurance company. But the call makes me more motivated to catch up and get on with it. After all, I'd rather be spinning!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Colour of Mud

Remember playing with paints as a child? Remember being bitterly dissapointed when mixing yellow with blue gave you a yucky muddy colour instead of the lovely bright green you had in mind? This is the dark side of colour mixing.

This bucket is full of the rinsing water from my last colour runs. The towel is the one I've used to clean up spills.
Red plus blue plus yellow makes BLACK! That's the theory. In real life you don't get a lovely dark glossy black though. It's usually an imperfect muddy black because the proportions of the primary colours aren't quite right. So what?
  • The good news is that if you want a subtle shadowy effect, you can get it by mixing colours that are not pure primaries--that's why the green in the your paint pot turned out muddy all those years ago.
  • The bad news is that you need to be careful in combining colours. What looks like a lovely contrast can turn into a muddy mess once the different colours are mixed together.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Rose is a Rose

There's something about a rose . . . this one is living in a pot on my kitchen windowsill, waiting to be planted in my front garden. It may have to wait a while since the garden is over-run with weeds and long grass just now. Meanwhile it's rewarding me with flowers like this one: It's a tiny thing. This pic is about twice life size. The colour also seems to be twice life size.

In terms of my textile work, I am reminded that natural doesn't have to mean subtle. Bright punchy colours here I come!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gears Make Things Go

One of the things I love about spinning in public places like the market, is the way children are fascinated by my spinning wheel. Some want to know where Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger--that's actually a difficult question since there are no sharp points on my wheel. Some want to touch the wool or smell it. Others are fascinated by the mechanics. I can see their eyes darting as I spin, analysing what makes things go.

I find it easy to explain the mechanics of the spinning wheel by comparing it to a bicycle. After all, I have pedals, a chain of sorts and wheels that go around and around. I even have gears! These wooden whorls on my spinning wheel work just like gears on a bike:
If I use the smallest whorl, the spindle goes around very fast when I push the pedals around with my feet. That's great for fine spinning where I want lots of twist. If I use one of the middle whorls, I get a middling sort of a speed. If I put the drive band on the biggest whorl, the spindle goes around slowly. I only get a small amount of twist in my yarn for every turn of the pedals. Just like on my bike, I can keep a nice steady rhythm going with my feet and choose the gear ratio that best suits the territory I'm in. It's all there right in front of me on my wheel. And it makes so much sense.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cultures and Colours

A friend took me out to lunch in Chinatown yesterday. Since I didn't get a Saturday Cafe shot this weekend, here's a Chinese Restaurant shot instead:I don't think the walls of this place were painted hot pink last time I was there. The colours certainly had me thinking. Jade green, red and gold are colours I associate with Chinese decor. They were evident, as I'd expected. As I looked around at various items, I saw a fair bit of this pink and orange-red colour combination. I'll have to have a play with it some time and see whether I can get comfortable with it. Or perhaps happily uncomfortable would be a better goal.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My View of the Skyline

It was a grey cold day to be sitting outdoors yesterday. Now I know why stallholders seem to have a uniform of woolly hats and waterproof jackets! Most of my sky-gazing was a futile attempt to predict which of the many clouds above us were likely to send down showers of rain. But I took this pic towards the end of the day:
The blue of this facade is one of my favourite colours and the yellow-orange of the sign makes a pefect complementary colour scheme.

I didn't get a Saturday cafe shot. I had a couple of great latte's, but I couldn't get away from the stall, so they were in cardboard cups.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Today's Market

Last month's market was about exploration. Today was about persistence and building relationship. The forecast was for cloudy weather with scattered showers--maximum 15. Here's how my stall looked for the best part of the first hour: I put on and took off the plastic cover several times. Note to self: I must get a more substantial plastic sheet. It did get better, but we spent a lot of time looking at the sky and wondering whether it was time to retreat. The market isn't really big enough to be found if we shelter in the church, though it's nice to have the option.

There were four stalls today. Isha, who coordinates the market couldn't make it and there was a new stall-holder, plus the three of us who were new last month. Lots of friendly chatter and more interest from passers-by than last time. We also had an enquiry from a potential stall-holder. As for me, the joy of showing a child how the spinning wheel works and listening to a woman from Argentina tell me about her mother's spinning goes a long way. Even so, I'm going to have to make some smaller, more "marketable" items before next month.

Stage 1--Success

Here's how my hand-dyed cottons look this morning:I've given them an initial rinse and answered my first and most important question. The dyes are great! I've achieved strong, consistent colour in all my samples. They're no apparent difference between the fabrics I rinsed out yesterday evening and the ones I left overnight. That answers my second question--whether they need extra time to react. They don't. Now I get a chance to play. It won't be today because I have the Northcote Makers' Market starting in a few hours. But I can relax about having the dyes I need for next week's workshop.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Here's the Colour

The cottons haven't made it to the sink yet. They're still "batching" and since it's a coldish day, I'll give them a good while, maybe even overnight.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of my lab:
And here's one lot of colour:
Since then I've added a second piece of fabric to each jar. I have another set of primary colours in plastic bags.
I'm using my oldest dyes. I've got a date of 21 November 2005 written on the jars. So they would have every right to have lost some of their reactivity. I have another set of primary colours that I bought a couple of years ago. If the result from this batch is disappointing, I'll try those next. Since I'm really just testing the dyes at this stage, I haven't done any colour mixing. Stay tuned for some results.
By the way, for once in my life I didn't manage to spill anything, so I took a bit of each colour and smeared it onto the bamboo test piece. I waited for 10 minutes before wiping it off. There's no colour left on the sample. That's the happiest negative result I've had for a while--unless I find that the dyes have lost all their reactivity, which I doubt.


I didn't get to do the cotton dyeing yesterday. Somehow I just didn't have it in me after not enough sleep the night before.

What I did manage to do was stop off at a flooring showroom on my way to my afternoon appointment. I'm looking at replacing my carpet with something more suited to my lifestyle. Light coloured carpet hasn't got a chance against me and my dogs and my textiles!
Would you believe this is bamboo?

I'm considering bamboo flooring. It's apparently quite hard-wearing and I like the fact that it's a renewable resource. The big question is, "what's going to happen when I spill my dyes on it". I don't intend to spill my dyes, but realistically, it's going to happen.

I found a friendly salesman who was happy to let me bring home a sample and see what happens. So this piece of of bamboo flooring is going to be on my workbench for the next couple of weeks. I'll make sure it gets a good spattering of whatever I'm working with. If it still looks good after that, I'll be convinced.

Of course, the major challenge then will be getting myself sorted to have the floors replaced. The thought of packing everything up is horrifying. One of the attractions of the bamboo is that it comes pre-sealed, so I could have one room done at a time. Then again the state of my carpet is horrifying, so I guess it will be worth it in the end. Meanwhile I'm amused that bamboo is also one of the new yarns I've started to use recently. It's a beautiful glossy fibre with a lovely drape.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They're off and Knitting!

I'm just home from teaching beginner knitting at CCCK. The exciting thing is, they're off and knitting! I'd hoped to have seven students pretty confident with a knit stitch by the end of the evening. Instead they'd gobbled that up, learned to cast on and were having a good go at both knit and purl. Now for a week of practising at home, while their scarves get longer and longer. Next week we'll problem-solve and/or congratulate and learn to cast off.

Here's the Kitchen Sink

I've often joked when packing for a trip to the Guild that I have everything but the kitchen sink. Today I'm featuring that vital item.

Here is the kitchen sink: If you know me and my housekeeping habits, you will be surprised to see it so clear and clean. I may as well admit, it only looks like this when I'm about to do a batch of dyeing. It's procion dyes today in preparation for the Hand Dye workshop at the Neighbourhood House next week. I always like to be extra sure that I have everything in order before a class. So a dummy run at home is the order of the day. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to do some dyeing for myself and try out some new ideas. I'm always too tied up with what the students are doing during a workshop to have much of a go myself.

Soon the kitchen will be awash with coloured cottons . . . and then I'll have to get all that put away so I can eat again. I dream of a dedicated studio area with it's own big double laundry tubs, but that's not going to happen for a while yet. For the time being it's the good old kitchen sink.

Woollen Spinning

This roll of fluff is a rolag of wool. A rolag is the beginning point for woollen spinning. Woollen spinning is the topic for my Spinning Certificate homework this month. In contrast to the worsted spinning I've been featuring in the last few weeks, woollen spinning is all about making the fibres jumble up in random directions. The aim is to trap as much air as possible between the fibres. The result is a light fluffy yarn. You could think of it as the spinning equivalent of a souffle!
Like making a souffle, it's a fair bit of work to get the preparation right, and then it's all too easy to lose that precious lightness and end up with a disappointing flatness. But in both cases a successful result is delicious, luxurious and oooohhh so worth the effort!
At this stage I think the key for me is just more practice. The technique is remarkably different from the way I normally spin and I need to develop a light hand. I'm told the key is to relax! Relaxing never has been one of my great strengths--and concentrating on relaxing is one of those tantalising oxymorons! But I'm going to have another go today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Work in Progress

My friend D sent me this pic of an embroidery she's working on:The excitement for me is that she's using some of the hand-spun embroidery threads I made for her. The leaves and blossoms are my hand-spun, hand-dyed silk. The brown of the gum blossom is a commercial silk thread. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole piece.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Woman in a Mini-skirt

I have yet to properly unpack the box I prepared for the Olive Grove. It's on the must do list. Meanwhile this piece is sitting on my couch. It's a wire jewelry tree. I call it Woman in a Mini Skirt. It's a prototype. A bit of fun, and hard on my fingers to make--working with wire always is hard on my fingers--but I'd like to do more with it. Maybe the benefit of not clearing up is the inspiration of having a few selected pieces hanging around to talk to me for a while.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Meet the Artist

The wallpaper installation at North is by Sadie Chandler. Here's another view to keep you smiling.

Walking around the Looms

We continued on our Damask in weaving class yesterday. Most of us have finished the first exercise and are now working on our own designs. We looked at the structure of satin weaves in our theory session and then it was time to walk around the looms.

"Walking around the looms" is a regular ritual and is accompanied by a degree of angst on the part of the students. Our teacher leads the group to each loom in turn and comments on the weaving. She finds and corrects mistakes and occasionally gives a much treasured compliment. This pic captures some of the intensity of the moment, You have to picture another nine students clustered around the loom to get the full effect. And remember that what is on the loom is the result of several weeks of work. On some dreadful occasions a fatal error is discovered and then Gerlinde calls for the scissors! Yesterday there was more than the usual ration of compliments and no scissors--we had a pretty good day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Grey Day, Hot Decor

Today's Saturday Cafe shot is North, Rathdowne St Carlton:
It was great to enjoy a coffee here after weaving class. While it was cold outside, the decor was better than warm. As a bonus I got to enjoy a friend's holiday photos and stories.
I'm in the process of finding out about the artist--the wall is entirely hand drawn in what looks like a broad tipped Nikko pen.

Good Morning World

I woke late this morning. I have to be out the door in half an hour to get to my weaving class. So I was thinking of all the things I need to organise and pack as I opened the curtains. Then I stopped in my tracks. Here's why:

It's a moist misty grey Melbourne morning and my Silver Princess (Eucalyptus caesia) is covered in raindrops.

I grabbed the camera and went out in my bare feet to get the shot. Now I need to get my coffee and breakfast and pack for class before I head out the door, but so what! It's a beautiful world out there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fleece, Fleece and More Fleece

Uh Oh! I think it's multiplying! The fleece, that is. This is a pic of a corner of my table:The rest of the table has other things on it: paperwork, dyed tops, tools of various kinds and even a little bit of free space.

This pile is the small bags of fleece I've bought for my Certificate Spinning course. We've been learning different spinning techniques in each class. Each technique is best done with a different fleece type. Starting next class we're going to be looking at different fibres--that means fibres other than wool. So I've got two different types of alpaca and some mohair as well.

My first challenge is to keep it all straight in my head. I'm learning to identify the different fleece types, but for now I'm also making sure that I label each bag. My next challenge is to wash it all. The wool needs to be scoured to get rid of the lanolin as well as any dirt--and you can see there's a lot of dirt in some of the fleeces. The alpaca is best washed with shampoo or wool wash, since it doesn't have any grease, but it has lots of dust in it. And I need to be absolutely brutal with the mohair--apparently the dishwashing detergent I use for my wool won't budge the "greasy goat" residue that is in this fibre. It may be a luxury fibre after it's prepared, but until then I've been told to wash it in "handy andy" or "white king"--stuff I'd normally associate with cleaning the bathroom!

So, today while I get on with the damask weaving, I'll be doing some washing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Music to Spin By

I haven't featured any of my equipment for spinning and weaving for quite a while now. Today I have an unexpected one . . . my sound system:I was sitting spinning this morning, thinking about what I'd like to write about in this post and there it was!

I nearly always have music in the background while I'm working at my wheel or at my loom. Usually it's just what I want. Sometimes the rhythm of the music and the rhythm of my spinning don't match. That gets really interesting: frustrating or amusing according to my mood. A couple of days ago I was plying some wool. My feet where working a steady 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3 rhythm. Then a march came on the radio. The band was pumping out a forceful 1, 2, 3, 4! It took me a few moments to work out why I was getting all out of synch with my spinning. Even then I didn't turn off the radio. I just counted out loud until the march was over and tolerated the occasional glitch.

I must get back to the damask weaving today. That's one exercise for which I really have to turn off the music. It requires too much concentration. I'm just past the half way mark and class is on Saturday. That means the house will be fairly quiet for the next couple of days.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Green Again

I think I've just about got the green out of my system for a little while. I finished spinning the second of these two bobbins this morning: This colour blend is inspired by my first calendar photo-collage--the one with the koala in it. The first is a mix of different greens ranging from the palest of pale, through blue-green, aqua to the olive green. The second bobbin is the solid olive colour. When I ply the two together, I expect the olive will predominate. I'm hoping the other greens will provide some good highlights and variations. I won't know until I try it--I expect that will be later today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lace is Space

I took this shot of iron lace in Rathdowne St Carlton recently: . . . and the tree.I'm noticing how in both cases the effect depends on light passing through the spaces: natural or man-made.

I've been spinning some lovely fine worsted yarns lately. Worsted yarns are smooth and tightly spun--perfect for lace knitting. And of course, I've been spinning lots of different greens. So I'm challenging myself to think about knitting some tree-lace. I'm not quite sure how that will work, but that's the excitement of the challenge--I'll have a go at finding out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's a Small World

The internet is a marvelous thing! I checked my messages on Saturday and found a query from a weaver in South Carolina, USA. She wants to learn to weave damask and found my blog while searching. Can I help?

Being asked to explain what I'm doing is such a stimulus for me. At this stage my damask weaving is like following a recipe. I'm still reading the steps one by one. It almost feels like magic when a picture starts to emerge. But I'm taking this as a challenge to understand and communicate what I'm doing.

While I was at the Guild on Saturday I found this book in the library:
I started reading it last night. It's translated from Swedish and so far there's lots of history and geography and not much how to. Weaving class is on again this Saturday, so I'll pick Gerlinde's brains.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coffee and Cake

After a full day of spinning class yesterday, I was well and truly ready for a nice coffee. Nice coffee . . . and cake. Nice coffee, cake . . . and company! My friends from the Experimental Spinning Group finish an hour earlier than my class. They had just about finished their coffees when I left the Guild. I rang my friend Meg and she met me at Rathdowne St.

Coffee and cake at the Paragon Cafe is a bit of a tradition for us. Here's part of their decor:. . . and their coffee and cake is about as good. Flourless lemon cake and icecream is just what I needed to clear my mind and relax after a good day of learning.

Woollen spinning was our topic yesterday. I have 50 g of lovely fluffy carded corriedale to spin up at home. I don't know if I'll get to that today. It's going to take a while just to unpack all my stuff from yesterday's class. I did manage to acquire a little more fleece as well . . . requirements for our next class. At least that's my excuse!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And the Kitchen Sink

I'm supposed to be packing the car ready to head to class, but as I was gathering up all my stuff, I couldn't resist posting this pic:There's a coffee waiting for me on the stove top and I have to get changed before I go out, so that's it for this morning!

Green, Green, Green

I turned the page on my calendar after posting yesterday and found . . . more green!

I had some white wool spun up all ready for the dye pot, so I decided on an immediate response. After lunch I blended up some colours while I got on with some spinning. This morning I have this to show:I spent the morning working on the damask pick up design--I'm just past half way now--so it was great to have some spontaneity to cheer up my afternoon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Olive Grove . . . No

I've just spoken to the people at the Olive Grove Studio. They decided not to take my work. The feedback I got was that the articles would be too expensive for the clientele which they attract. They could appreciate the amount of work which goes into my handspinning and dyeing, but the bottom line is, they don't think it would sell.

I'm disappointed, of course, but at least I know now. I'll have to have a think about it and see if there's anything I can do differently. Ideally I need to find people who like what I'm doing and are willing and able to pay for the time, effort and skill involved.

Bush Green

I bought a calendar in the clearance sales earlier this year. I didn't really need another calendar, but I wanted the photo-collage illustrations as a colour blending challenge. They're all Australian colours and, in Steve Parish's characteristic style, the colours are a bit larger than life. I've still got some grey merino tops which I thought would be useful for this page, but I've been playing with the January picture for months now, so I've decided to move on. Here is my latest colour blend before I turn the page:
If you're interested in the technicalities: I've mixed five different greens for a marle single and then plied that with another green. It's a fairly fine worsted yarn, with a good amount of twist. I'm looking forward to knitting this one, because I think the marle effect will be very effective in capturing the texture. I'll have to come back and play with the grey-blue and the smooth surface of the water another time.