Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Australia post is going to do pretty well out of us this month, because the mittens will soon join a pile of warm pretty things which has been building up at my house ready to send up to my friends in Queensland. Then it will be D's turn to open up her package and enjoy the gifts and challenges I've packed up for her.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Reality check: the red stipe is there, but it's subtle and irregular and interesting. I like it, but I'm not about to team it with a red top. Not just yet anyway. I have no shortage of black t-shirts, though, so all I needed was a little touch of red to carry the theme through. Enter the button box. I've been picking over it lately for inspiration and adornment. I found one--just one--cute little red apple button. Not quite enough to make a statement on it's own, but with the back up of a couple of larger buttons and the addition of a funky pin, it turned into this: I wore it yesterday and was happy: new trousers, black t-shirt, little red apple pin. It was just what I needed for a day when I had to present myself in public with a bit of extra get up and go. And being a pin, I haven't commited the t-shirt to the touch of red. Yesterday, an apple, today . . . who knows? I'm not planning to head out for a while, so I'm happy in my old tracksuit. Just right for cleaning up after a crazy weekend.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The current state of affairs is this:
My neighbour came and opened a window in my wall so we could inspect the damage. You can see a neat hole in the timber stud and the pipes passing through that same stud. In fact there are two neat holes. The slightly lower one being from the previous set of shelves in that same location. I guess I was lucky that time.
You can also see a join in the pipe to the left of the stud. That join is new. It was the object of much attention and effort on my part yesterday. Basically the damaged section of pipe was cut out and replaced it. I learned a lot about plumbing. I learned a lot about my capacity to work under pressure. I learned a lot about my neighbour's skill, experience and generosity. By the time D returned from his lunch engagement, I'd been to the hardware store, bought the necessary parts and made several attempts at making the necessary joins. I'd managed one water-tight connection, but was unable to make the connection back to the remainder of the plumbing because of the location of the stud. D cut the pipes to different length to move the join to a better location and then completed the job for me. He's even promised to come back in a few days and close up the wall once things have had a chance to dry out.
To get the full picture of my situation, you have to superimpose this plumbing scenario onto an incomplete batch of procion dyeing, with skeins in various stages of rinsing and a drying rack full of fabrics, yarns and my weekly wash. Add to that several fleeces, waiting in the bathtub for my attention and the fact that it's a long, long time since the bathroom got a proper clean. Oh, and I'm in the middle of a mouse plague, having trapped three small mice and one monster mouse in the kitchen over the weekend. And I'm supposed to be avoiding too much stress for the sake of my mental health!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
W had to go. She's off on holidays tomorrow, and apart from sympathy, there's not much she can do to help me now. Just as she drove off the neighbours started to surface. I swallowed my pride, knocked on the door and shared my story. D from next door is a handy handy man. He's promised to come over when he's had a coffee and something to eat and see what he can do. Meanwhile, I'm blogging--to get it off my chest. Next I'll make a few calls to secure myself a bed for tonight. After that, I guess I'll gather my courage and assemble another cupboard. I'm working on the principle that one way or another the bathroom will reach some semblance of order. It may be a while.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
This morning was the first test of my new regime. This is black t-shirt dress-up number two: 16 different tiny blue buttons. I originally planned to range them all neatly around the neckline, but by the time I got to half way I rebelled and scattered the rest in a zig-zag pattern. I stitched for an hour solid: black thread on black fabric.
No eye-strain, no locking . . . seeing is not only believing, it's relieving!
Friday, June 25, 2010
A few evenings ago I picked over my button collection. It's amazing what a wealth of memories that jar holds! I separated out groups of buttons I thought I could use to dress up some of my black t-shirts. Yesterday morning, while I was chatting on the phone to my friend D, I sewed on the mother of pearl set :Various sizes, with a few silver buttons thrown in for variety; arranged in a random-ish asymmetrical v-shape. I happily wore that t-shirt yesterday afternoon and didn't feel at all ordinary in it. I have set of blue buttons to try next. Meanwhile, I have yet to fully liberate my house from the Procion dye invasion. I've managed to empty three of the jars, so the end is in sight. And I'll have to write a quick post on the Quilters at Sussex blog to report on progress with the raffle quilt.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Next month Charly will be at the Bendigo show, but there will be another Spin In in August. I'm hoping to be there. Meanwhile I have 50g of beautiful bunny fluff from the silver-haired Dash to work with and folder full of photos to enjoy.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Theoretically procion dyes lose their reactivity after 5 hours or so of being combined with soda ash solution, but I've found that they often maintain a bit of life well beyond that point. In this case there's no real risk of failure. Any degree of blue, pink or pale purple will be a nice contrast to the more intense colour of the rest of this skein. Even white would be ok. And I can always re-dye part of the skein if I don't like the result. I've got a lovely day of outings planned, so I'm not going to rinse it now. I'll just leave it for another day and wait for the surprise.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Just to complicate matters, the friend and her doona cover are in South East Queensland and I'm in Melbourne. After several phone consultations with her Mum, we decided to replace the whole back. That means dyeing a piece to match. It was so badly torn that ripping out a piece to send me as a sample was easy. It arrived in the mail yesterday. Meanwhile, I'd been searching for a suitable piece of cotton fabric. The store where I bought the original piece no longer stocks sheeting width cotton in the dress department where craft fabrics are kept. The assistants there suggested I try furnishings. They have sheeting fabric, but it's poly-cotton, not what I want for dyeing. "What about homewares? They might have a large cotton sheet you could use". No, homewares don't have 100% cotton sheets other than in a top-of-the-range sheet set which was beyond my budget.
I tried my dye suppliers, who sent me a lovely sample of sheeting width cotton, but then went off the air for several days last week. I have procion dyes mixed up right now ready to use, so the delay was just frustrating. In desperation yesterday I tried one of my favourite quilting stores. They had a bleached calico which looks ok. I brought it home last night and put it straight into the washing machine to wash out the sizing. This morning it's in the dye bath. I added the colour in several batches to give the interesting texture I'm after. The timer's just gone off to remind me to add the soda ash solution which will help to set the dye. By this evening I should have the job done. It will take quite a bit of rinsing, since it's such a large piece. Then it will go into the mail, back to Queensland to be stitched into the back of the restored doona cover. Woah, I bet that dog has no idea how much trouble he caused!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Here are two buckets which I'd already used for a couple of t-shirts. Scarlet on the right, fuscia on the left. I draped a skein of cotton between the two to see how it would dye.
I rinsed this skein out this morning and it's very pale, in a pretty delicate way. It's currently in the sink, as are various t-shirts in various stages of rinsing. Sometime soon I'll have to reclaim a bit more of my house and do some cleaning, but there's still plenty of colour in jars to keep me going for a while.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Dimmeys is all about a bargain! Dimmeys closing down sale means bargain upon bargain. I have all the leftover dyes from the weekend to use up, so I was looking for suitable cotton items to use for samples. I couldn't find anything much in white, but there was a rack of solid colour t-shirts and singlet tops: originally $9.99--75% off. I picked up a few. Well, I picked up quite few. I'm going to have a go at overdyeing them. I might even try some bleach. At less than $3 each, there's not much to lose.
First step--always--is washing. I don't usually use washing powder for pre-washing, but since these have been sitting around on clearance racks being handled by hundred's of people, I decided to err on the side of caution. It doesn't matter if the colour strips back a little and I'll give them a double rinse to make sure all the washing chemicals are gone. Pinks and purples in one load; blues in the next load. I won't have to wait for them to dry before I tackle them with the colour, so it won't be long before I can start to see what I can come up with. Meanwhile, there's lots of clearing up to do. I'd like to put the dyeing materials away in enough order that they'll be ready to go for my next workshop in a couple of months time. And I'm thinking I'll store some of the dye solutions in the fridge for a while to take the pressure off myself. They'll last longer that way and I won't have to be in such a rush to use them up. But to do that I have to make room in the fridge . . .
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
These came in at 40% off, with cute bottons to make me smile, a flat enough heel to satisfy the more sensible part of me and a zip on the other side to make them easy to take on and off. I call that a happy combination. Now I'm off to the hardware store to buy a couple of last minute supplies and then to the Guild for my dyeing workshop. But first I have to pack the car and that's going to be quite a feat. I have so many bits and pieces for this workshop. Oh and if you look at the background to this morning's pic, you'll notice that I didn't get as far as cleaning up yesterday.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Today I'm using up the last of the dyes I mixed up on the weekend and putting everything away. At least that's the plan. I'm also knitting up one of the skeins I dip-dyed on the weekend. It's interesting to see how the colours distribute across the knitting. I'm finding myself watching every row, waiting to see how the colours will come out. I'll see how far I get with that knitting project before the weekend. It doesn't have to be finished to be a good demonstration for my workshop. In fact, being able to compare the yarn in the ball with the knitted fabric could be quite interesting.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
V had a small quilt top ready to baste. She's the one who originally sent me the basting wall idea. Now it was her turn to try it out.
It worked! In less than five minutes she had a quilt ready to go. Now V will have a chance to try out her new free-motion quilting set up without the hassle of having pins in the way. And I had the prompt I needed to take down the quilt which has been hanging on that wall for months now and has made no progress in that time. I don't know if having it draped over a chair will make it any more likely that I work on it, but we'll see.
As for my conscience: I cast on a new cowl in the evening. By then it was really time to sit in the armchair and try to wind down before bed. I had no trouble at all justifying a simple project.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Very simple--stocking stitch all the way, which when I'm knitting in the round means just a plain knit stitch over and over and over. The way it drapes around the neck means that you can see a great deal of the reverse as well. It's soft and warm. I'm looking forward to wearing it.
Apologies for the pic being on my delapidated manequin. I did try taking it on my --delapidated:)--self, but I had to use the flash which on my not-so clean mirrors resulted in all sorts of smoky, blurred effects, but no decent view of the actual cowl.
Now today I have more rinsing to do; dyes to use up and a great need of a general tidy up. I'm tempted to cast on something else to take the place of the purple cowl in its simplicity and warm fuzziness, but I really should do some more swatches for my folio first. Hmmm, I think I'll make a coffee while I wrestle with my conscience on that point.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Meanwhile, I had to work out the proportions of dye solution to use for the tiny 5g samples I had planned. Usually I dye 50g hanks or at least a fat quarter of fabric. I'm still figuring out the best way to handle the small quantities. I'm also planning to have a play with a dye thickener. My brain wasn't working very effectively yesterday, so all my calculations were slow and had to be checked and double checked. I'm hoping I'll be a bit brighter today. Maybe I needed to get some colour in the room to get my neurones firing along the right paths.
Friday, June 4, 2010
- 200g of undyed wool tops, because I didn't have any left, which is pretty much as bad as not having any chocolate in the house!
- a cone of wool-acrylic blend, because it was on the clearance shelf and its warm glow was irresistable. I can tell you many ways that I might use it--and probably will--but the truth is that it talked to me and I had to bring it home.
My plan is to dye some cotton samples today. I managed to clear at least half of my big table yesterday. A bit more effort this morning should see it usable. Today and tomorrow my calendar is quite open. Sunday's a busy day, but then there's a bit of space early next week. That should give me enough time to do the tedious rinsing that goes with procion dyeing and still have time to enjoy my colours and put things in order ready for next weekend. As I say, that's the plan. Now to execute it I need to start by sorting out the kitchen.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I made these chokers a few weeks ago and photographed them individually. Yesterday I was looking for a more promotional shot: I'm pretty pleased with how they look laid out on my timber table. This is my second attempt at this particular view. The first was in crisp focus--complete with a large dog hair highlighted just at the front of the pic. I gave the table a wipe down and tried again. It's amazing how starkly obvious just one little hair can be when it's been picked up by a macro lens! Oh well, I did consider registering the name "Hair of the Dog" for my textile art, but I decided it would be open to too much interpretation.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
What to do when you can't find what you want in the shops? Create:
The purple mohair on the circular needles is left over from an impulse buy at Bendigo a few years ago. It's about to become a cowl. Black t-shirt plus purple cowl should add up to a warm smile. The two bundles of yarn above are bits of hand-dyed alpaca left-overs. I think they'll become little wrist bands.
My next plan is to add some threads and beads to a couple of the plain t-shirts. That won't be today. Meanwhile if I see any colours in the shops I'll be rushing to have a look.