Despite the small intrinsic reward in this chore, I still feel as though I deserve a medal. Maybe I can conjure one up for myself using all the stray bits of wool when I'm done. Then again, maybe I'll just indulge myself in starting a new project.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
- The actual sale was for summer knits: all $8 per metre, except a few excluded items. Why is it that my fingers kept picking out fabrics with the "excluded" tag on them? My eyes couldn't tell the difference, but my fingers are too well trained to miss the quality.
- Then I have a wedding to shop for. My original intention was to pick out some bits and pieces of silks in sea colours to patch together trimmings for a skirt. Instead I came home with these:Purple-blues are almost as good for me as ocean blue-greens and these shades will mix and match with my existing wardrobe. The daisy fabric is sheer in the middle of the flowers. I'm planning to use it for a flounce on my skirt. The plain darker blue--on the far right of the pic--is the main skirt fabric. The third fabric is for a top. I haven't quite decided on the pattern for this yet, so I had to buy a bit extra. This is a remnant store, so there's no going back for more. Oh, and that fabric has just a bit of lycra in it. I'm planning to have fun and be comfortable.
I came home on time and on budget. Now the fabrics will sit for a while and be petted as they deserve. Even though I'm using familiar patterns, I think I'll make up a cotton version of each piece before I go ahead and cut the silk.
This morning I'm catching up with my less attractive chores: the kitchen is nearly clean; I have washing in the machine . . . My next task is to clear my big table--at least enough of it to share lunch with my friend R who is coming over later on. Then the floor could do with some attention. Somehow it's easier to tackle those tasks when I can glance accross at my purchases and smile.
Friday, October 29, 2010
It's been ten weeks or so since I got moving on this project, spurred on by the need to provide a home for a friend's daughter. As it turns out, she's likely to be able to stay with those she knows and loves best; but my longer term plans for foster-parenting are still alive.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I snapped it this morning and it's just huge!--and gorgeous. It's the biggest rose in the garden, but there are plenty of lovely blooms to keep it company. As for the weeding, I'll receive my punishment by having to pick my way through vigourously growing roses complete with thorns, but my compensation will be a frenzy of beautiful blooms keeping me company and thanking me for my efforts.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
When I was preparing my bits and pieces in the morning, I picked up this skein at the last minute. You can see it doesn't feature in the pile of yarn I'd prepared before yesterday's blog post. It's a skein of fine cotton, which I'd dip dyed with procion some months ago. There were areas of the deep fuscia-red, areas of a pale pink and a fair bit of undyed white. I wanted to know what would happen if I overdyed it with indigo. After a good long soak in a bucket of warm water with a little detergent, in it went. The first dip gave an unexpected distinction. It was as if the indigo was unable to penetrate the areas which had been dyed with the procion--even where the colour was quite faint. A second dip gave this result: The blue is there, and the original red--but then this muddy grey-brown in several areas between the two. It's dried off overnight and there's no change to the colour. I haven't tried washing it yet. Maybe the muddy brown will rinse out. I hope so! Otherwise, I'll have another indigo puzzle to mull over.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Here's my collection of fibres:
I've got a few samples of wool because that's where I've had least success so far. Hopefully we can do some problem solving. Then there are some cottons--because I know they'll dye beautifully. I've also put in a cotton chennile yarn, left over from something or other. I'll be keen to see how the surface dye interacts with the uneven surface. And just to add a bit more variety, a few procion dyed skeins. I've read about overdyeing indigo and procion, so maybe it's time to have a go. Now I need gloves and old clothes and I'm off!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I've just done my homework and PDT is 18 hours earlier than my time here, so I could have uploaded an image this morning, oh well, now it's time for bed. I'll try again tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The menagerie provided more than the usual entertainment. The antics of a large dog chasing a cheeky cockatoo away from the walnut tree, while a fearless rabbit decides whether or not to push her way out of her enclosure and several chooks take advantage of the diversion to feast on wild bird seed has got to be seen to be believed! Meanwhile, I talked my head off, spun up the last of my unintentionally variegated alpaca and filled up on various home-made treats.
Here's a macro shot of the sprouting walnut tree:
You can see how deliciously green everything is in the background. I took a few more photos on my way to and from the farm. I've worked out a strategy to make sure I do eventually get to my destination. I allow myself only one scenic stop on each leg of the journey. My strategy for controlling my fibre intake didn't work quite so well. I came home with 100 g of luscious red kid mohair. It wasn't on the shopping list and I don't have a definite purpose for it, but I won't even try to sound repentant!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
L had written out the recipe for me along with a few tips and warnings. She said it was "easy" with a few quirks because of the high sugar content. The good news is that I managed to avoid all the anticipated difficulties for this particular recipe--thanks L for the warnings! The not so good news is that I managed to develop some new difficulties. The main one being that the cake rose over the sides of the cake pan. I caught this problem early and popped a lamington tray in the bottom of the oven to catch the drips. As time went on the drips turned into blobs--to be honest they closely resembled very dark cow pats. I still hoped to redeem the cake. It was not to be. When I went to turn it out, the sides remained stubbornly attached to the cake tin, despite my attempts to loosen the edges with a knife. The bottom of the cake came out ok.
I don't give up easily. After some phone consultation with L, I mixed up a large quantity of butter cream icing and tried to cut and paste the odd shaped cake pieces into some sort of regular shape. What can I say . . . I'm not very experienced with icing. I did stick the cake pieces together, but the result was still quite bumpy and every now and then a blob of cake would succumb to the forces of gravity--what with the weight of all that icing--and split off to land back on the plate. After the second chocolate landslide, I decided to call it a day. I was out of time. Another phone consultation assured me that there are some lovely ice-cream cakes in the freezer section at the local shops.
I quickly cleaned up the various wrecks of chocolate and stashed them in the fridge. Off to pick up uncle R and explain the situation while we drove to the shops. Then to S's house to present her with a pretty pink icecream cake with muti-coloured sprinkles on top. She loved it.
I took this photo of the chocolate remnants this morning. It's out of focus. I think that's appropriate! I've googled "chocolate trifle" and added custard and cherries in syrup to my shopping list. I already have dark chocolate and cream for the icing that was supposed to go on this cake. There's a delicious choc-cherry trifle somewhere in my future. And I had chocolate crumbs with my coffee for breakfast. When it comes to chocolate, there's always some good news.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Meanwhile my creative task for this morning is to make a chocolate cake for a not-so-little girl who is 8 today. Her uncle R vowed and declared that my friend L's chocolate cake is the only one worth having. Would you believe I have all the ingredients, except chocolate! Off to the shops, and then I'd better get to work. I'm told this cake takes an hour or so to cook, then it needs to cool before I can add the icing. I wonder whether I can find myself a little more get up and go while I'm out. . . hmmm, did some-one say, "chocolate"?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The other apple is putting out lots of lovely leaves. I think they're going to make it. And I just love the colours in this blossom.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Yesterday I was feeling rather aimless and decided to spend a few hours spinning alpaca, just because it was there. I was surprised to find that despite being carded commercially, there was a distinct colour change as I worked my way through the fibre. You can see the first colour in the roll of fibre on the left of the pic. The first 50 grams or so were this light silver-grey colour. The remaining fibre is at the top and right of the pic. It's definitely a darker brown. What you can't really see is the gradual shift between the two shades. After getting over my surprise, I'll have to decide how to use the colour change. And I have yet to see what colour will come through the remaining hundred grams or so. I'm tempted to make the most of the contrast, rather than try to disguise it. For now, I'm just going to keep spinning and see what happens.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Here's what we came up with:
- slubby cotton wrapped around a core
- mohair boucle
- silver lurex bullion
. . . no that's not three yarns: all those techniques went into the one. We worked in pairs for this exercise. M and I chose white/neutrals and with a silver touch. M and M, the other team, worked in strong pinks and greens. With exactly the same basic structure, the effect was very different. I'd like to repeat the exercise on a few more commercial yarns and see what I can learn. On the other hand, spinning by hand does have some different constraints . . . and all those special techniques are intensely time consuming. Still, it's always good to extend and learn some more.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Yesterday I couldn't wait to welcome them back. I was barely in time for class, so I couldn't line up for my traditional coffee and chocolate muffin. I did just poke my head in the door and take a delicious sniff and call out a quick hello to the familiar staff. After the workshop they were packing up for the day and we had time for a quick chat. It's been a stressful and uncertain time for the owners. Some of the staff have had to find other work. They're an artisan business, so yes, it's personal. Most of the interior has been rebuilt--an out of control car in a room that size does a lot of damage. Happily, the atmosphere has been rebuilt too. I'm looking forward to re-establishing my Filous habits.
Meanwhile, the spinning workshop was really worthwhile, and worth a post of its own. But now the sun is shining and I have a list of chores to tackle.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
This particular blossom was growing against a high picket fence. As I stepped forward to pluck it--just one--there was a sudden loud, deep barking from behind the fence. That dog was not willing to have his territory approached by a random flower-picker! I must say, I jumped back very quickly, but not before I had secured my prize. Those who know me best know that I don't cope well with sudden noises. It's as if my natural startle reflex is amplified by several orders of magnitude. My friend R thought it was hilarious and I let him laugh. I had my wisteria and was willing to pay for it. I carefully placed the flowers in a safe place on the car dashboard and drove home--it's a good half hour. As time went on I felt my eyes starting to itch, then my nose and lips . . . A sniffle or two alerted me to the fact that the beautiful scent of the wisteria was perhaps not so welcome to my immune system. I don't give up easily. I placed the blossom in water in a little vase on the kitchen window sill, took some antihistamines and went to bed.
This morning the beautiful scent and colours greeted me when I woke. So did the hayfever! I made myself a coffee; placed the flowers in a suitable position with just a bit of indirect light; set my camera to its macro settting and took a few shots. The clicking of the shutter was accompanied by frequent sniffles. Don't call me a slow learner--this was a case of being willing to suffer the consequences. Now I have a few nice shots and it's time for common sense to prevail. Wisteria blossoms and I are not destined for a long term relationship.
Friday, October 8, 2010
The prize winners were: Aviva Hannah, Michael Carolan and Justin Davis. Congratulations! Details on the Sydney Rd, Brunswick traders' website soon. Now, I want to make sure I get a good look at the winning entries this weekend, before everyone packs up next week.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Here's the purple wool top--on the right--with some dyed silk. I'm thinking this is a better combination.I didn't want the contrast with the purple to distract from the subtle variations in the greens. . . . Note to self: take a photo of the green skein when it's done, before you hand it over.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
I plied off 100g of coloured tops and had the pleasure of handing a skein to my friend M when we met for coffee afterwards. Then I started on some lovely merino fleece which has been in my cupboard for too long. Leaving the bag in the sun for a couple of hours was part of my motivation for moving the group outside. I'm still not sure whether I'll spin it in the grease or wash it first.
This leaf caught my eye as we were packing up. I've included it just because I liked it.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The multiplication problem I've been experiencing with this collection of yarns continues. One large cushion cover, a scarf and most of a hat done since I finished the blanket and there are still a fair few balls of yarn in the box. Oh well, I'm not complaining, it's nice to have some accessories to mix and match, and it's just the right time of year for a bit of light woolly goodness.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Before you start questioning my taste, be reassured, I'm not going to make the jumper that's on the cover. What caught my eye was the list of features:
- pattern design.
Inside there's lots of design hints including a detailed guide to adjusting patterns to fit your particular measurements. And a section on updating "outmoded garments". I think this is going to become a favourite reference for me.
I decided to have my cake and eat it too: I proceeded to the cafe as planned and enjoyed a coffee and chocolate muffin while beginning to explore my new book.