Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where's My Medal?

It's a cold, drizzly Sunday morning. I have the heater on, even though it's the end of October--really a perfect day for sitting in the armchair stitching. When I'd made myself a cup of coffee this morning, I looked around for a suitable work in progress to occupy a lazy morning . . . Nothing! All my recent knitting and crochet projects are done! Imagine how tempted I was to cast on something new. But glancing around the room, I did see the last of the finishing tasks. So instead of picking out a delightful skein of something irresistable, I reached for these: I've been weaving in loose ends again. I swear, these things breed while I'm not looking. I'd finished the striped project earlier in the week. All that was left was the matching plain section, but even that seems to have a dozen stray strands in it. Oh well, there's a certain rhythm to the task: thread the needle; slip it through the stitches so the yarn doesn't show on either side; turn; do it again, turn . . . then that final satisfying SNIP!

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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Silky Shopping

My to do list yesterday was extensive and varied. I was in the mood to pick and choose. I'm afraid I may have spent more time checking over the list than actually working on any of the less attractive items. After lunch I glanced down the list one more time. The item that caught my eye--and my heart--was Fabric Store Sale. There's a chore worth investing in! Off I went to North Fitzroy. The traffic was unusually benign. I found a parking spot right away. The Fabric Gods were smiling on me. Once inside the store my major challenge was to keep my head and maintain some degree of focus on my original purposes.
  • 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


Is today the day the permit for my shed-studio will finally be issued? Oh, I hope so!
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.

As far as permit applications go, I gather mine has been relatively straightforward. Even so, it's been a stop-start process with no certainty about the real timeframe. I must admit, it's been difficult to stay on track with my other projects and routines, with this major change tantalisingly just on the horizon. I've been told to expect the permit today. My plans have been checked and approved; the letters to my neighbours have gone out, with no objections being received in the two-week time-frame allowed . . . it should be just a case of the administrative team doing its thing now.
As luck would have it, next week is one of the worst weeks in the year for getting things finalised in Melbourne. Tuesday is a public holiday--for a horse race, no less! And Monday becomes a de facto holiday in a lot of workplaces. After a four day weekend, the next few days don't tend to be all that productive, with lots of dressing up and partying still on the agenda. So I'll be waiting at least until the following week before I can expect anyone to actually turn up with tools and equipment. Then something like this should appear in the blank spot at the back of my yard: . . . oh drat, today's one of those days when blogger insists on turning my pic on it's side! You're going to have to twist your head to the right to get the idea . . .
To get the full extent of my anticipation, enlarge the picture in your mind until it's nearly as big as my kitchen-living space. 4.8 by 3.8 metres to be precise. Now transpose the two windows onto the side wall and substitute a panelled glass door in the front of the building. You can edit out the wheelbarrow and gumboots too. My one surviving silver princess gum tree will continue to grow just to the right of the glass door. I'm going to stop my imaginings now--adding the shelving and other furniture inside and transposing all my textile equipment is next . . . and that's going to be some task! Before that there will be painting and flooring to deal with. But that's all in the future. Maybe today I'll have a permit to go ahead.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Floral Frivolity

Remember my spontaneous sparkle shopping? I got to use some of it yesterday. My friend D has a rather stressful, but uninspiring job in a national call centre. The powers that be try to liven things up with a bit of office fun. So to add to her stress, she has the challenge of coming up with a racewear outfit for Melbourne Cup Day at work. I'm planning to spend the day in the garden, so I whipped up this pretty rosette for her: . . . sequinned tulle, gathered into a circle and doubled over on itself; some matching plastic beads and a big pearl button. It's in the mail as I type. I'm hoping it will cheer up her day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Hat!

I'm looking forward to a friend's wedding in January--in Queensland, no less! Looking forward in the sense that she's just about family and her wedding is, by definition, a very special event. On the other hand, the thought of making myself beautiful for an afternoon occasion in the middle of a sub-tropical summer is not all that welcome. Getting dressed-up is not on my list of favoured activities. I like to be comfortable and I hate the intense self-consciousness which often comes with special clothes. Here's my solution so far:We're in the middle of Spring Racing madness in Melbourne. The shops are full of finery. When I went to my local craft superstore yesterday afternoon I stopped off in the millinery department. They had just finished a 3-day sale, so the shelves had been well and truly picked over. A clever and considerate somebody had set up a mirror at just the right height. There I was in my jeans, sweatshirt, coloured socks and plastic garden shoes--it was a quick trip for supplies, not a shopping expedition and I hadn't bothered to get changed. I fluffed up my hair with my fingers and tried on various styles of hat. then I looked at the prices. This hat attracted me because of its shape, neutral colour and its sale sticker! $10 and a good bit of imagination later, I am the proud owner of a hat. I've never trimmed a hat before. Nor have I fully planned my outfit, though I do have the beginnings of some ideas. My secret strategy is to use the natural fibres and simple styles I love for every day and add colour, detail and a touch of luxury to bring them up to the occasion. So I now have a hat--starting my planning from the top! My next purchase will be the very best umbrella money can buy. I lived in Queensland for enough years to know that a January afternoon is as likely as not to involve a deluge. I'm toying with the idea of some very fancy gum-boots, but that might be pushing the friendship too far . . .

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Loose Ends

My number one goal for today is to finish some birthday gifts so they can go in the mail today. To do so I need to deal with this:Yep--the dreaded loose ends that need to be finished off at the end of every project. As well as the literal loose ends, I have a bit of paperwork to do; phone calls to make; miscellaneous bits and pieces to tidy up. . . It's always the same story: give me a new challenge to get my teeth into and I'm off, but all the follow-up and sorting to get the task complete is so much harder. Oh well, it's got to be done, so I'll go get my darning needle and try to break the task into some manageable sections. Then at least I can give myself a little cheer as I go along.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rose Frenzy

It seems only yesterday that I weeded the front garden and trimmed back the roses. At that stage they were about to put out new leaves.--all except for the Loraine Lee rose. That one doesn't believe in taking holidays, and flowers all year round. I promised them another weeding and some mulch, but time and the weather have got the better of me. The weeds are growing vigorously again and covering the bare ground where the bark chips should be. But the roses aren't complaining. I've heard people compare roses to cabbages and scorned their exaggeration. Now I'm having second thoughts. This Mr Lincoln rose caught my eye a couple of days ago:
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

Mysterious Mud

Yesterday was a most satisfying day at the Guild. Despite another cold wet day for our Indigo Experiments, the vat was much happier, and so was I. In fact, I think I amused and perhaps even annoyed some of my companions by bouncing around muttering, "happy, happy, happy" to myself! This was my third experience with indigo. If the first highlighted the mystery and the second, the capriciousness of the vat; this was an experience of possibility and hope. Sure, the set-up was awkward, with half a dozen eager humans crowding around a boiler set up in the back entranceway of the hall. Sure, there were moments of anxiety and impatience as we waited and observed each others learning. But throughout the day, the indigo vat did its magic and turned the fibres from white, through yellow-green to that wonderful blue.

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

More, Please!

I'm looking forward to a bonus today. It's the regular day for our weaving group to catch up. Normally we share "show and tell" and talk about various aspects of our weaving: plans, hopes, dilemmas . . . I've been feeling a bit awkward about the fact that I haven't done any weaving this year. But still it's good to see everyone and hear what they've been up to. Last time we caught up D--who has done some fantastic weaving this year--expressed her disappointment at missing the Indigo dyeing workshop. There'd been a mix up with dates and she arrived all ready to go, a week too late. I promised to see what I could do. Then I did what I do best, asked question and made connections. Before the day was out, dear R had volunteered to demonstrate Indigo for us today. My reward is that I get to do an extra day of Indigo dyeing, and using a slightly different preparation method.

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

A Bit of Bling

I was queing up at the fabric counter of a local shop the other day. I'd come with a list and carefully worked my way through it--mostly items for the Community Quilt Project I'm working on. Then I spotted this fabric on the counter. The lady in front of me in the queue had some good purpose for it. She was buying a certain amount, with a matching fabric and thread. As for me, I just wanted it because it was pretty and bright. I got 20cm worth for half the price of a cheap cup of coffee. Since then it's been hanging on the back of my chair. I've dreamed up a million things to do with it and have yet to try one. There'd better be more on that roll if I ever get my act together. Meanwhile just the thought is adding a bit of brightness to my life.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm working on a birthday gift, so I need to be a bit discrete so I don't spoil the surprise, but here's a detail shot:I'm really happy with how the colours are working together . . . and once again I love the distinct structure of the crochet stitches. Now I need to head out and buy just a bit more wool to finish it off.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time Warp

There's a note on my computer screen warning me that image uploads will be disabled for two hours from 5.00pm PDT Wednesday October 20, due to maintenance. Please excuse my ignorance . . . I can't quite work out when 5.00pm PDT is for me here in Melbourne. I'm guessing it' a US timezone . . . "Pacific Something Time", maybe . . . and I'm guessing there's a website somewhere that will tell me how that translates to Eastern Daylight-saving Time in Australia. But I'd rather get on with my crochet cushion-cover than worry about time zones. Eventually I'll just have a go with an image and see what happens. Either that or eventually the warning will disappear, and I'll know the maintenance window has passed. Meanwhile, I'm here and the yarn is here and it's OK.

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


I've been meaning to re-purpose this mohair for a while. It randomly made its way to the top of the pile this morning. A few minutes of tugging and winding were enough for me. The ultra-hairiness of the yarn is both the attraction and the difficulty, but it does make a fun photo: If I can get it back into a ball ready to work on, I'm thinking it might become a cushion cover.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Home Day

I took a slow day at home yesterday. The weather was wintry and my energy levels were low. My one outing was to pick up some cardboard boxes to house some of my textile stuff:I had vague thoughts of organising and packing, but they remained merely good intentions. A bit of crochet, a bit of reading, a bit of spinning and dyeing and the day was over. I think I've managed to store up enough energy to last through today's commitments.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walnut Tree

When I'd finished dealing with the wall to wall chocolate in my kitchen yesterday morning, I packed up the car and headed up to the Yarra Valley. The forecast was for snow down to 500 metres--so much for our promising Spring weather. The reality was less severe: cloudy with frequent showers and the occasional burst of sunshine. My destination: the Ixchel Fibre Farm's monthly spin-in, hosted by the warm and colourful Charly.

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

Chocolate Adventures

So my plan was to use my friend L's chocolate cake recipes to make a birthday cake for S. Just as well I hadn't told her of my plans . . . I'd hate to disappoint a newly 8-year old, especially on her birthday.

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

Crochet Structure

One of the things I like about crochet is the way it can be used to build a definite structure. I've been stitching away at another cushion cover, using up the incredible multiplying teal yarn. I made a neat little envelope to enclose the cushion insert, but then I wanted an extra flap to secure the opening. Not a problem: I stitched one row into the front loop only to make a fold line, then kept on as normal. As you can see, this one is nearly finished. I believe I'm actually getting through the balls of yarn as well. I'm not sure if I dare to count how many I have left.

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

Apple Blossom

Do you remember the great tree extraction of a few weeks ago. I've just gone back to find the link and it's six weeks already, wow! At the time we wondered whether the trees would survive being transplanted just as they were waking from their winter rest. I have a happy update. The little nectarine is fruiting--just a little, but fruiting nonetheless. And here's just one of many blossoms on the first of the apple trees:
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

Colour Surprise

I bought this carded alpaca fibre at last year's Bendigo show. I didn't have any particular purpose in mind for it. And I haven't done much with it in the ensuing 15 months or so. It came to light on the weekend when I was pulling out various bits and pieces in preparation for the spinning workshop. I left it on the table.

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


I took this photo from the pier at Williamstown on Friday evening last week. As the evening light fell on the water, I was disappointed not to have my camera with me, but reassured myself that there would be other evenings and the water wasn't going anywhere in a hurry. There didn't seem to be much point taking the sort of shot I wanted with my phone camera. Despite my attempts at calm self-talk I found it hard to settle to the reality of no photos. I ended up taking out my phone and just having a go. This little red boat in particular caught my eye. I'd like to play with the colour gradations from the sky through to the shadowy water. That won't be today. My weekend chores are still undone and they're not going to go away until I put some energy into them. Perhaps I can hold this quiet scene in my mind as an anchor point through the day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Analyse This

Saturday's spinning workshop at the Guild was another take on novelty yarns. We spent the morning analysing and re-creating a commercial yarn. It was fascinating. What initially appeared to be a fairly ordinary slubby yarn with a bit of contrast, turned out to consist of three strands, each involving special techniques. After pulling our sample to pieces, analysing the structure and fibre content of each component, we put together our own version.

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

Welcome Friends

Filous' Patisserie is back!I arrived at the Guild for the last Spinning Workshop of the year to be greeted by the familiar smells of the French Patisserie around the corner. It's almost a year since they were taken out by a stray driver. I've missed them! So much so that a couple of times I've slipped a "get well soon" note under the doorway of the building.

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

Natural Justice

I stole this wisteria flower yesterday evening. I was strolling back to my car in a side street of Williamstown: evening light, quiet and still. There were several houses with huge spreading wisteria vines and I decided they could spare me one.

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

Sydney Rd, Thanks!

The Window Frames Exhibition in Sydney Rd, Brunswick wraps up on Monday. Today the results of the judging were released. I received a special mention. That makes me happy.
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

Not Quite Right

I promised to post a picture of the green yarn I plied up yesterday. As it turns it, it's not quite right--or at least not the way I intended it to be. This is actually two skeins: a two ply and a navaho ply. Here's the story . . . On Sunday, when I'd finished plying, I went on to spin some merino. I wanted it to be very fine--suitable for lace--so I used the smallest whorl on my spinning wheel. That means that I get lots of twist for every time I pedal the wheel. I mustn't have been quite focussed when I got home, because I didn't change the setting and sat down to spin the rest of the green. It wasn't until I went to ply it last night that I noticed that it was too tightly spun. There are lots of creative ways I could have solved the problem, but I didn't feel like doing anything creative. I just plied it up to balance the yarn as it was. You can see in the centre of the pic that one of the strands is smaller and tighter than the other. I had a bit of that tightly spun single left, so I navaho plied it to use it up. Now I need to find a good use for some overspun navaho plied yarn--it's a bit like very pretty fancy string! Hmmm, maybe a bag strap or something would be good.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Colour Capture

I finished spinning the sea green colours for my friend M last night. Now I just have to do the plying. I ended up mixing a variety of green-blue tops for the second single, rather than using the dark purple I'd chosen originally.

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

More Eggs Please

This image is by Karen Zhao, age 8! I love it. I picked it up as an avantcard at a cafe on the weekend. It's part of their Emerging Artists series of cards. I love the vitality and character of the picture. More than that, I love the fact that some-one somewhere loves and respects this young artist enough to put her work out there in this way. That's my inspiration for today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunny Day

It was a beautiful spring day yesterday, and I savoured the sunshine in the park with the Sunday Spinners. We meet monthly at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild--usually in the hall--but it didn't take much convincing to get the group to move outside. There's a tiny little park just across the lane. Apart from a few minor inconveniences, like having to move our chairs every now and again, and again, and again! to follow the shade; and visits from the local dogs who thought it was their duty to mark our belongings, it was a relaxed and easy day.

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

Detail Delight

I don't generally enjoy shopping for clothes. But recently I've found a factory outlet where I have a fighting chance of finding some styles that both fit me and make me smile. As a bonus, it's about five minutes drive from my house. Yesterday was the footy grand final replay--convincingly won by the black and white team. As far as I'm concerned, grand final afternoon is the perfect time to go shopping. Here's my take on black and white: This sweet little cuff detail is on a pair of three-quarter pants from TS. So many aspects come together to make it a happy buy for me. Cuff details are lots of fun and don't draw attention to any of my various figure issues. I'm not very tall, though, so usually I need to shorten any full-length pants I buy. Three-quarter length avoids this chore. So I can enjoy the clever style and not have to worry about spoiling it to make the length right. I did buy another pair of full-length black pants with buttons at the cuff. I'm going to have to shorten them a little, but I think I can do that by adding a tuck above the cuff. Now my challenge is to do those few alterations in the next few days, so my new clothes can go straight into my wardrobe and bypass the pile of things to do in my sewing room.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This and That

I finished the Lattice Lace scarf yesterday morning. I just kept knitting until I'd used up the second ball, even though I maybe could have stopped a little sooner. I like to have quite a bit of length in my scarves to give me different options when I wear them. I'm also trying to avoid having lots of leftover bits of yarn to deal with. I immediately started a hat in the same yarn, teamed with a teal wool-lycra, also leftover from the recent blanket.

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

Lucky Find

I went down to Coburg a couple of days ago. The to do list was rather uninspiring: a script from the chemist and food for my dogs. I promised myself a coffee to brighten the prospect. Then on impulse I dropped in to a little Opp Shop around the corner. For the price of a chocolate muffin I picked up this beauty:

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:

  • techniques,
  • stitches,
  • fashion,
  • 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.