Friday, July 31, 2009


Well . . . almost done:This morning I crocheted the last stitch on this blanket. Now I just need to finish it off. There are a few loose ends to be stitched in. And I'm planning a twisted cord fringe for the sides. That's why there are so many long ends of wool hanging off the edges.

A friend of mine is working with bushfire victimes from Healsville and Kinglake, so I've asked her to find a good home for it. I'd like it to bring some hope as well as physical warmth to people who are managing the aftermath of the fires.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The calendar's done it to me again! It's nearly August already and last time I looked, August was a long way off.

Way back in first term I taught a beginner patchwork class at the Neighbourhood House. The plan was to keep it simple, so we made nine-patch quilts. That means all the blocks were made of squares. At the end of the course, the students were keen to learn more, so I promised a follow-up class to teach the basic techniques of working with triangles. I kept an eye out for my sanity and resisted the pressure to do it right away. First I needed time to work out a design and make up a sample. So the triangles course was scheduled for August. At the time, August was ages away. But the last few months have been really messy for me and now it's just about August already. I've had a few polite calls asking for the requirements list for the new class. But my sewing room isn't in a fit state to be used yet. Yesterday I had another look at the sewing room and threw up my hands in despair. Then I scrounged out the things I need to make a sample block and cleared off the kitchen bench:
I found my quilting rulers and rotary cutter--they were under the insurance files on my desk! The cutting mat was in the shelf with my fabrics and I had a selection of fabrics in a "to be sorted" box left over from my last project back in March. I'd found the graph paper and sketched out a design last weekend. Now I have done all the cutting and I've marked and pinned the pieces for the centre star. I think I can have it all done this weekend and mail out a requirements list on Monday. OK, I think that's achievable.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I picked this rose when I got home from my walk yesterday. It's from my Lorraine Lee rose bush and its pretty pink perfection was irresistable.Lorraine Lee is an early flowering rose, but this bush hasn't actually stopped flowering since last season. We're now at the end of July and rose pruning is on the "to do" list. I keep waiting for the roses to finish flowering, but I don't think winter dormancy is on their agenda this year. I guess I'll just have to go out and give them a trim and see what happens.

On the textile front: I finished the camel-wool blend woollen sample yesterday. I'll need to go back and have a look at our requirements lists from previous sessions to see what to do next. I know I have gaps all over the place, but at least I've got one session completed.

. . . and I have a Castle Report: Town Planning gave me ticks on all of their main requirements for an upper storey extension! Now I just need a lot more zeros on the end of my bank balance, and we're away!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Castles in the Air

What's this? It's the manhole in the ceiling of my bathroom. That's the bathroom door you can see on the right hand side of the pic. Strangely enough, that manhole cover is the entrance to a dream. Above that ceiling is a roof cavity. Currently the roof cavity is filled with roof trusses--they hold it up. There's also a layer of insulation up there, plus a spider or two or three and a fair bit of dust. In my dreams there's a textile studio up there.

Last week I took two tentative steps in making the dream a reality. I rang a home extension company: they gave me a very rough and rather large figure as a ball-park cost estimate. Then I spoke to my neighbours: they gave me big smiles and all the encouragement they could. Those smiles are worth a lot! I'll see if I can take the next step this week. The next step is talking to the town planning department at the local Council office. I don't have any definite plans and I don't have the money, but I've been dreaming about this space for so long that I feel I need to at least know if it could enter the realm of reality. If it's a possible thing I can gradually work towards it. If not, I'll have to grieve it and let it go--and think of another way to accommodate the floor loom and workspace of my dreams.

Monday, July 27, 2009


By request . . . this is my cashmere sample for my Spinning folio. I normally try to spare you too many pictures of white yarn, but I am rather proud of my efforts on this one.

I can't take a proper action shot, since I only have two hands and when one is operating the camera, that only leaves one to do the spinning. So this is my left hand holding the fibre and you can see the spun single on its way to my wheel. That's my thumb in the picture to give an idea of size. The background is my purple track pants.

Cashmere is a down fibre--it's the undercoat of the goat--so it's soft and fuzzy and very warm. I prepared the fibre on my hand carders and spun it worsted, controlling the way the fibre joins the single by pinching it between my right thumb and index finger--at least that's what I would have been doing if I hadn't been using that hand to take the shot.

I've actually finished this sample now--it's had its little wash after being plied and is hanging in the bathroom waiting to be labelled and put away. Today's task is a camel-wool blend. I've got that carded and waiting to be spun. I only need to spin it to a medium thickness, though--not fine like the cashmere, so it won't be as demanding.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I spent a few hours at the Quilt and Craft Show yesterday evening. Neither my feet nor my budget were in great shape, so I mostly looked at quilts. As well as the usual annual quilt show, there was an exhibit of historical quilts. I think this one was from the 1930's: Talk about patience and economy! The quilt was large--maybe double bed size--and entirely pieced from these tiny hexagons. You can see from the shape of the stitching that it was paper pieced in the English method. That means each hexagon was cut out of fabric then folded and basted around a slightly smaller hexagon of stiff paper. Each of these little hexagons were then hand stitched to each other. You can see the tiny, slightly irregular oversewing stitches in the picture. The heart-breaking detail for me was seeing the places where the maker had carefully stitched together two tiny scraps to get enough material to cover a hexagon only slightly larger than the end of your index finger.

You can also see where some of the fabrics have deteriorated. Apparently the iron mordant used in some of the dyes accelerates the breakdown of the cotton fibres. If you're thinking the colours are a little dull, you can mentally add a few degrees of colour--particularly yellow--since this is the colour that is lost first from the dyes.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


There's no shortage of knitting needles at my house. But when my friend V tipped me off about a bargain at the local supermarket, I went along to have a look. I came home with these:
Eight sets of knitting needles. Each set consists of six sizes: 4mm to 7mm. Cost? $1 per set. They will be perfect as a class set for beginner knitters. All the sizes they're likely to need are there. And with six sizes I can demonstrate and teach about tension squares (swatches) without students having to buy a whole bunch of needles they're not going to use. Then they can go ahead and buy nice needles in the sizes they'll need. For now they're all sitting on my big table. I haven't worked out where to store them--the perennial problem of space--but I'm still pretty proud of my bargain buy, so that's ok.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm still enjoying memories and pictures from the Wool Show. This woman was looking after one of the stalls and knitting away happily:
When I snapped her, I asked whether it would be ok to put the picture on my blog. I showed her the first picture I had taken. Her response was, "just as well I was behaving myself!". That's when I snapped this cheeky grin. Her daughter was proud to tell me that at 93 years of age, she may well have been the oldest woman at the show. If I'm in that sort of shape when I'm 93 I will be a happy woman.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Look What's Inside

Inside a rosehip:
That's a seriously fruity fruit we have there. No wonder they were so heavy. I'm not too sure about the anatomy of what's inside. Horticulture, any-one?


I'm still making the effort to walk most mornings, though yesterday it was lunchtime before I managed to get out the door.

I came home with these: Rosehips! I don't normally think of roses as fruiting plants, but there they are. And to compensate for these grey cold days, they are so warmly coloured.

I don't know if my walk will happen this morning. It's been raining steadily for the past half hour, though I can see a bit of blue sky coming across. As for spinning, I've been working on a fine cashmere yarn for my folio. Spinning it feels like some sort of fairytale challenge: it's as if I'm spinning in miniature, but with my own hands--which feel enormous compared to the fine, light fibre. And like a fairytale challenge, the task seems to go on and on! 25g of fibre doesn't sound like much, but it is a LOT of very fine spinning. The only magic I have to look forward to is the yarn itself. I have several more hours of spinning before I'll get to enjoy that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Just one more pic from the Fashion Parade:

This marveous felted wrap . . . I'm sorry, I don't have any details. All I can tell you is that it's felted and its WOW!

Apart from the colour, it's the drape and texture of this piece that impress me most. It seems that felting is getting more and more popular and more and more subtle. There's one day set aside for felting in our Spinning course. My first reaction was, "why a day of felting, when there's so much to learn about spinning?", but now I'm looking forward to getting just a taste of this versatile craft.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fashion Parade

One of the highlights of the Wool show for me is the Woolcraft Fashion Parade. This year I made sure I was there early enough to get a seat near the front.

How to sum up the fashion parade? There is such a range of styles, ideas and intentions. Maybe this pic will tell you what I want you to know:
I took this while we were waiting for things to get underway. It's my row of spectators. From zebra-skin tights to felted bag--and everything in between! That's the Fashion Parade.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Test Driving

I was thrilled to see several traders with drop spindles for sale at the wool show. I tested as many of them as I could. They all looked great, but I wanted to buy one that would be a joy to use. The only one that was irresistable in my hands was this banksia drop spindle by Ron West. It was the lightest one he had left of this type: 35g. The balance and weight distribution on the shaft are both very good. When I started it spinning, it didn't want to stop--and neither did I. As a bonus, the whorl is made from a banksia nut and it's just fascinating.It seems that several of the wood turners making drop spindles are in the product development phase--still learning and interacting with spinners to see what works well. So I did have a lot of fun trying things out and discussing possibilities.
I also had a chance to thank Maureen Shepherd for the beautiful Finn-cashmere tops I bought from her last year. They pretty well go everywhere with me in my drop spindle bag and I'm about 3/4 of the way through spinning 100g. They are giving me so much pleasure. Find out more about Finn sheep here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Journey Planner

This morning I feel as though I've been hit by a train. I'm exhausted, my legs ache and I don't want to do much at all. But since it was the Bendigo train that hit me, there's a smile on my face and my mind is happily rolling over the things I saw and the treasures I brought home with me.

But first, my journey planner:
Going to the wool show on the train means at least five hours of travel. I did that sum on Friday night as I was setting the alarm to wake me in time to make it to the station. So, before I did anything else, I made provision for five hours of fibre-loving travel.

First I packed my favourite drop spindle with the Finn-cashmere tops I'm currently spinning on it. That was perfect for my first class seat on the way up in the morning. Then I packed this Alpaca-wool-mohair yarn and a pair of knitting needles. The yarn is hand-spun, semi-woollen, so it's nice and fluffy and quite soft. you can see there's lots of variation and interest in the yarn itself, so it was just the thing for the journey home. The roomier first class seats were booked out and I was too tired to concentrate much. So a garter stitch scarf filled my hands and mind beautifully while we talked over our day and got to know our fellow passengers a little.

We shared a carriage with a fantastic sock-knitter: interlacing cables in a wonderful red!--and a family who were cooperating on a project made from their Bendigo treasures: he was flicking out the dyed English Leicester fleece while she twisted it in her fingers and incorporated it straight into a crochet piece. Meanwhile the little boy "helped":) I wasn't even the only knitter on the suburban train which took me home!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Big Day Out!

I've just walked in the door after my big day out at the Bendigo show. I left home just about twelve hours ago. It feels as though I have weeks worth of blog-posts in my bags and even more in my head! Too tired to do much now, but I had to at least mention the excitement before I feed my dogs and crash.


One more day of walking to tick off! The dogs are now at the stage of anticipating their outing and looking out for any clues that I might be about to put on my walking shoes. They are so good for my motivation. How could I refuse those joyous woofs and wagging tails!
As for take-home beauty, I picked this sprig of lavender:

I must say, it didn't look like anything special until I got it home and subjected it to the macro treatment. I'm testing the limits of the macro lens--and so far, I'm pretty happy.

No walk today. I'm off to the Wool Show at Bendigo. I need to walk out of the house before 7 am. I'm rarely out of my bedroom by 7 am these days, so it's a bit of an effort, but it should be a great day.

Note to self: I don't need any more fleeces! Oooh, well, . . . maybe just one?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Day, Another Bit of Beauty

Day 2 of walking with the dogs yesterday. If I keep it up for another week, I hope to have some sort of routine going. In the meantime, here's my tangible reward from yesterday's walk. I think it's some sort of hibiscus. Though what any self-respecting hibiscus is doing blooming prolifically in the middle of a Melbourne winter, I don't know. Its colour and texture remind me of the hand-dyed cotton I posted a couple of days ago.

The technical difficulties of taking this photo with my compact digital reminds me that I have a multi-page manual to read. I wanted to use the macro manual focus setting, but to do that I would have had to find the settings for aperture etc. I looked around, but no luck. I'm sure the manual clearly shows where the setting are. Oh well, I'll get there eventually.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One Step at a Time

I started walking with the dogs again yesterday. I hadn't been walking for months--and it shows! The dogs took no time at all to get back into the rhythm of walking. I'm afraid it's going to take me a little while, but it will be worth it.

One of the great benefits of my regular walks around the neighbourhood is the chance to observe everyday beauty. Most of the gardens around here are nothing special, but there are plenty of lovely details which I can appreciate up close when I'm moving along the footpath at a walking pace rather than driving by on the road.

I've chosen this rosehip as today's pic:
It's from my own front garden--the "rhapsody in blue" roses need a trim--but I hadn't noticed it until I came home from my walk. I'll look forward to more inspiring scraps of beauty in days to come as I get back into my walking routine--one step at a time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why is it So?

This is one of several last minute dyeing experiments from last week's batch of procion dyes. As far as I'm concerned it's the best. I love the angular variations in colour--they remind me of crystals.

This is the stage that comes in every dyeing day, when time, energy, fabric and dye solution are nearly all depleted. But somehow I can never stop until I have used the very last bit all of them. I was out of white cotton homespun and nearly out of dyes, but I raided my box of plain coloured cottons and crammed whatever I could find into the nearly empty jars of dye solution. In this case the fabric was jacaranda blue and the last bit of dye was a cool red. I didn't add soda ash to fix the colour until the next day--I'd run out of that well before.

What I really want to know is how to reproduce this textured effect. I've only achieved it in the one jar and I did about the same thing in each of them. I guess it's just the ratio of fabric to dye liquid that determines how the colour travels through the fabric. I'm guessing there was less liquid in this jar. I suppose I'll just have to accept it as serendipity, unless I have the patience to do a controlled experiment with different quantities of dyes. So there you have it, my favourite, uncontrolled experiment!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Good news story coming up!

I bought my first pair of knee-high boots last winter. In case you're wondering, I just turned 45, so, yes, they were a long time coming. The only way I managed to get knee-high boots to fit me after all these years is that some clever, thoughtful designer put a gusset of strong neoprene in the calf area. My calves are substantial. Whether you put it down to cycling or genetics, most boots just don't have a hope of fitting over my lower leg.

I love these boots. They are comfortable and warm. I feel strong striding around in them. So you can imagine how I felt when I dropped the cordless drill and put a hole in the leather upper. It wasn't a huge hole--only about a centimetre across--and none of the leather was missing, but it was right at the base of my big toe and it went right through to the inside.

I won't go into the details of how I managed to drop a cordless drill on my foot. Yes, my foot was inside the boot at the time. No, I wasn't working with the drill while wearing my favourite boots, but remember, I've been using the word, "chaos" a lot lately. And yes, it did hurt a bit, but my major concern was for that boot.

I didn't have much hope of getting it fixed. The shoe repair man at the local shopping centre said he could put a patch on the inside, but that would rub against my foot. I had creative ideas about patching and decorating the boot on the outside, but it's a really clumsy spot and I don't really have the experience or equipment for stitching leather. I desperately asked around to see if anyone knew of a real bootmaker. D, from the Neighbourhood House suggested a place just in the next suburb, so yesterday I went to explore.

It's a stand alone shop-front and residence on Bell St, Coburg. It doesn't even seem to have a name. The door was closed and there were half a dozen conflicting hand-printed notices hanging in the window. The clearest one said, "Opening hours 10-1/2; 3/-5.30. I'm still not quite sure what that means. The door was closed and one of the signs said OPEN. But there was a phone number also written in black felt-tip pen. I pulled out my mobile phone and called the number. An old-man's voice with an accent--Eastern European?-- answered and said, "wait there", so I did. Well, he looks as though he should have retired long ago, but I'm so glad he hasn't. His assessment was that he could put a patch of fine leather between the lining and the outer leather! Time-frame? Lunchtime. Cost? $10! When I sounded excited and impressed--how could I help sounding excited and impressed?--he just said, "that's my job". I handed over my $10. He carefully wrote "paid" on a bit of masking tape and stuck it to the bottom of the boot and off I went. Two hours later I was back and my boot was mended. There it is in the photo looking almost as good as new.

I'm going to wear those boots today. While I'm wearing them I'm going to think grateful thoughts for the little old man and his skill. I'm going to hope that he lives a long and happy life--and keeps his funny little shop open for many years to come!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Over the Top is Good

What can I say . . . a gift of strong black rubber gloves with sunflower print cuffs, embellished with 3-D sunflowers and a bumble bee button! Can you hear me smiling? They were intended for my dyeing exploits, but I'm tempted to use them in the kitchen. I'm already having fun when I play with my dyes. And usually I'm sensible enough to change into old clothes. Washing up is different story altogether, so I'm hoping that the addition of some over the top prettiness will make a difference.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Double Weave Progress

Most of yesterday's weaving class was focused on the Double Weave project. Here's how mine looked at the end of the day:

You can't really see that it's a double weave while it's on the loom like this, but believe me, there's another layer of weaving underneath!

It's been threaded up as block weave and this exercise is mainly to demonstrate the arrangement of the blocks in a kinetic design. In the next exercise I will separate the coloured blocks with strips of the darker colour on the top of the weaving. The back will be the reverse. The instructions after that are "play"! We have a spare week before our next class, but I also have the Summer and Winter block weave to complete, so I'd better keep track of my time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Puzzle Continued

I asked our weaving teacher today about the puzzling scarf. Her suggestion is that it's probably made from two different yarns, even if they are both merino yarns. The puckering is definitely in the weft threads. So it's not like seersucker where different tensions are applied to sections of the warp. The areas which have shrunk down do have a felted appearance and there's a thread carried over between strips of weft which you can see at the selvedges--sorry, I didn't catch that in the pic.

I'm just going to go back and add the makers name to the tags on this morning's blog. Could I get lucky and hear from her?

Weaving Puzzle

Here's a puzzle from the Scarf Festival.

I love this textured scarf: I tried to imagine how it was made and looked for more information on the swing tag: The only technique I can think of that would produce that sort of puckering involves using different yarns in the weft. If one yarn shrinks significantly when washed--or fulled--and the other doesn't, then the areas that don't shrink would be gathered in. The swing tag only tells me "superfine merino wool". That leaves me with a few possibilities to puzzle over:
  • was the same wool spun in different ways in the different strips of weft?
  • is there another fibre involved that hasn't been listed?
  • or is there a technique that fulls and shrinks some areas while leaving othere areas untouched?
It's not quite keeping me awake at night, but I am intrigued. Suggestions please!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Colour Table

I can't believe the dyes from last month's workshop have lasted so well! I usually try to use up any leftover dyes within a week, but that was just impossible with everything else that was happening. They've been sitting in a box on the bathroom floor and thankfully the weather has been unusually cool, so they still have some reactivity left in them.

I unexpectedly had the day at home yesterday, so out came the dye pots.

I mixed up the colours combinations yesterday and added fabric to each bag. I only added the soda ash fixative this morning, though. I've read that adding the fixative later gives a better variation in colour, since the dyes get to travel through the fabric before they react with the fibres. Besides, I didn't really have much energy yesterday and I'd run out of Soda Ash solution.

Rinsing will have to be a task for another day. I can leave the fabrics in bags as long as I like and it won't affect the result now. I guess I will need to clear the table at some stage, though. And if I don't tidy up a bit in the bathroom, any night-time visits there will be extremely hazardous!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ilka White

Weaver and Textile Designer, Ilka White's work was featured at the Geelong Wool Museum as part of the Scarf Festival. This piece particularly caught my eye:I don't know how to begin to describe Ilka's work. Have a look here for more.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Double Weave Progress

I did get the threading finished for my double weave project yesterday morning. Yay! Once I got started on it, things went relatively smoothly and it was all done by lunch-time. I'll tackle the denting today and then I will be ready to go on Saturday.

I photographed this double cloth scarf at the Scarf Festival showcase on the weekend. I'm sorry I didn't note the name of the maker. I've tried to catch some of the layering in the pic. The point of double weave is that the whole piece is woven in layers on the loom at the same time. The layers interact in different ways throughout the piece. So in this red and blue scarf you can see separate layers of red and blue at the edges, but in the middle, the blue has been woven through the red layer to appear on the surface.

I'll let you know more once I've had a go myself. It's been fun imagining the possibilities as I thread up my loom.

Today's tasks:

  • denting the double weave project
  • woollen spinning my alpaca sample for my folio
  • teaching a friend to make risotto
  • unpacking a bit more--even if it's only half a box
  • relaxing a little!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Autumn Navaho Yarn

Both the calendar and the weather have definitely passed Autumn. It's the first week of July and we're getting maximum temperatures in the mid-teens. The First Editions tops I spun up on Sunday are warmer, though:

I'm happy with the way the colours have remained distinct in my spinning. If you're interested in the technique, look carefully in the middle of the skein. You can see how the spun single is folded back on itself to make a 3-ply yarn.

Today's task is to thread at least some of the warp for my double weave project. We have class again on Saturday and I'm already behind with my Summer and Winter block weave. The threading is fine and fiddly, so best done in natural light. I'll try to make it a priority this morning.

Monday, July 6, 2009


My friend S and I drove out to Geelong yesterday afternoon for the Scarf Festival. I've taken a few pictures of scarves that intrigued me which I'll post in coming days. The pleasant surprise for the afternoon, though, was the waterfront at dusk. As for spinning, I got through 100g of one of the First Editions merino blends. I stripped the tops down to keep the colours as distinct as I could, and this morning I've navaho plied it. Right now the yarn is soaking in a bucket of warm water to set the twist. It was a case of wanting to do a bit of spinning just for the joy of it after a fairly intense session on Saturday working with Angora, Cashmere and Camel fibre.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


It's a while since I posted a Saturday Cafe shot. Today it's Brunetti: my first experience of Melbourne Cafe. At times I feel as though this place has become a caricature of itself, but there you go: coffee, coffee, coffee . . .
. . . and lots of amazing pastries and gorgeous people . . . and me sitting there with a friend, catching up and watching it all happening around us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Floor at Last

I've been promising to post a picture of my new floor and there's always been some good reason not to. The main reason being that I haven't got things sorted yet. Three weeks after moving back in, I'm starting to doubt whether I'll ever really have things sorted. My usual messes are starting to be superimposed on the packing and unpacking chaos. I did a bit of a tidy up yesterday for the benefit of a spinning student and a friend who is coming to stay. So I've seized the moment and taken a photo of my front room this morning.

I think the floor looks good. It's solid underfoot, since it's stuck down to the concrete slab. And it is easy, easy, easy to clean. It is a bit cold for me in comparison with the carpet, but I'm more than happy with the trade off. My spinning student got off to a good start.

My next challenge is to make space in the sewing room for a spare bed for my friend to sleep in. I've hardly done any unpacking in this room, so I'm afraid it's going to be a bit make do. Note to self: this is not the time to contemplate the significance of all the boxes of fabric in here! The plan is to just stack them up and pull out the bed. There! Now I have my instructions in writing. I'd better get on with it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Around the House

It's a strange thing packing up and unpacking a houseful of stuff. Things that I've had for years are somehow becoming more visible as I try to settle on where they should go. This hood for example:It's made from felted, hand-dyed wool and lined with velvet. The story goes like this:

I knitted myself a hooded jacket--in my early knitting days. When it was ready, I found it was too itchy to wear--OK, I've learned a bit about wool since then. In my frustration I decided to turn it into felt, since I loved the colour and didn't want it to be entirely wasted. I used some of the felt for a teddy bear and there's some left in my collection. I've thought of making a bag out of it, but it hasn't happened yet. The hood was irresistable, though. Lining it with velvet solved the itchiness problem, but what to do with a thick felt velvet-lined hood in a smaller than average size? It would be perfect as a party hat for an eskimo girl! So there it is. It sits well on my paper-mache manequin head.

This morning I rescued it from the spot on the floor in the hallway where it ended up a week or three ago. I guess I just need to find a shelf to display it on, but really it's one of many things that might call for a shelf of their own, and there are only so many shelves in the house. It's made its way onto the table now, so I could photograph it, so I'll see where it goes from here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Had to Have It

I dropped in at the Yarn Barn on my way to a meeting last week. I wanted to pick up a bit more of the alpaca yarns I'm using in my "bushfire blanket". So, I picked up what I needed and paid for it. Then this caught my eye: It's a slubby linen yarn plied with several strands of blue cotton. I like it. It was on sale. I bought it. Fair enough . . .

. . . but I actually bought this much:
Ummmm . . . that's a lot of yarn. So, I now have one more cone of yarn adorning my shelves. I can't say I'm sorry, because I'm not. It will be great for texture in my weaving. I think I'll also try overdyeing some of it, since the white linen will take up colour differently from the blue cotton. And it looks good just sitting there anyway.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meet the Washing Machine

I've featured various textile tools in this blog in the past. I wouldn't particularly have thought of my washing machine as a textile tool, but really it's a very important one. When my washing machine died recently I was in the middle of washing the sizing out of several metres of white homespun ready for a dyeing day. Then when I went to choose a new machine, I found that the features I need to deal with my dyeing and spinning are more advanced than what I would need just to do laundry for myself.

Here's what I ended up with:I've never had a front-loader before. Let's face it, I've never had a new washing machine before! But I can dial up a deep rinse option on this one--good for washing out dyes--and I can set the spin speed as low as I like--good for spinning out my wool without felting it. I can also set the water temperature. So I think I've covered all my bases. And it does also wash clothes:).