Still more bags…

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Once I started, it was hard to stop.  In fact, I have held this post so as not to bore you, dear reader.  I have so many higher priorities, but somehow bags are simple and satisfying and so is using up all those scraps… I found this Marimekko print in an op shop one day going for a song.  I knew it would come in handy and one day I realised that I had a friend whose favourite colours seemed to be orange and pink… and whose beloved mother had cherished Marimekko.  I am guessing she would have especially loved the Marimekko prints of this period.  So I made my friend a shirt.  There was guesswork involved for it to be surprise, but it worked out really well.  And this is the very last of that fabric!

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And here are a pile of the blue and purple scraps.  Parts of recycled garments.  Leftovers from sewing new garments.  The hem of some pants I must have taken up for someone.  Pieces leftover from a quilt made years ago.  Oddments of lovely prints.  Strips of sheeting or quilt covering bought as offcuts.  Out of the stash and out to new homes at last!

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Leftovers from a quilt.  Op shop offcuts.  Parts of a skirt.

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Op shop find.

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Inherited fabrics and sheet offcuts.

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Then I found a piece of patchwork created from many small pieces cut to create quilt blocks.  Clearly I couldn’t bear to waste them and made crazy patchwork .

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I had to fully line these bags to manage all the seams on the inside.

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Batik scraps. The better part of these sarongs was turned into two shirts and a pair of pants.  And another bag…!

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And finally, all that remains of a blue print from so many other bag projects, and at last… a bag using the print that started this bag jag.  It’s the top half of that bag on the right, and a fine strip in the middle as well.  One came wrapped around a birthday present and the other was tied around it as a ribbon.  Perfect.  Finally, I put all the fabrics back in the cupboard and vacuumed the floor (cutting out so many pieces had made rather a shower of threads and fluff),  And hoped that might back of the bag thing for a while.  Or until next time.


Filed under Sewing

Saltbush and friends

Since I’ve had a few questions about saltbush, here’s a little more information for the curious.

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Ruby saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) is my big success story in propagation so far, so most of what I have been planting is ruby saltbush.

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This one is bladder saltbush (Atriplex vesicaria), named for the seed capsules which are like soft blobs with a seed inside!  I love the silver grey leaves and this one grows a little taller than ruby saltbush.  Dad collected seed for me and one of the plants I grew from the seed he gave me is now large enough to be seeding.

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I am not entirely sure what this plant is, but I have succeeded in propagating it a couple of times and now it is seeding freely. It is widely planted or native to the parklands here.   I think it might be Maireana enchylaenoides (wingless blue bush)–or Maireana brevifolia (Short-leaf Bluebush).

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This one is still a mystery!  There’s a lovely guide to plants in parks here, beautifully named Parks for Us All–and the saltbush and similar plants are in the Chenopodiaceae if you scroll down from here.


Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Autumn leaf prints

I went to a wedding in the hills recently… a very pleasantly relaxed and extremely celebratory occasion.  On the way home, I stopped in a small town because… many European trees grow in the Adelaide Hills and it’s wonderful to see.

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And of course, I had hopes and plans.  If you don;t want to look at pictures, stop now.  This is a post of MANY pictures.

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I collected leaves…

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I made bundles…

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I made experiments…

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I tooled around the neighbourhood on my bike collecting tried and true leaves.

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I unwisely tied my bundles with coloured string for the first time ever.  I sorta kinda knew this was stupid but did it anyway and was rewarded with blue lines, most of which happily washed out!

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I applied heat as the sun set…

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And the next day! These images are of fabrics still damp and freshly unwrapped.  Even the flannel rag I had used to create a bit of ‘padding’ on one bundle took dye.

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Oak leaves on silk

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Maple leaves on silk.  So green!  they are still green after washing and ironing.  This silk is from a pantsuit a friend scored for me at an op shop. It is well washed and work raw silk.

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The ever faithful E Cinerea on linen.  A friend gifted me linen offcuts and these are the first that have made their way into the dye pot.  Am I ever blessed with generous friends!

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Maple leaves on linen.

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E Scoparia is awesome yet again on cotton.

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Sheoak from the neighbourhood on linen.   This has so much potential…

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A happy day all round!


Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures

Of shawls and string and celebration

Manja wearing Shawl 2015

The colour affection shawl  I knit a while back finally found the perfect home as a birthday present for a dear friend–here she is in her gloriousness, modelling it.  With the Gleaners in the background for added wonderfulness. I am delighted that she likes the shawl. I can’t think of a better place for it to be than with her while she is working in her very demanding job (and perhaps even playing).  Long may it warm and comfort her.  Happy birthday!!

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In more prosaic news, it’s the season for making string from our daylily leaves. When I strip off the leaves that have died, I make string from them.  I’ve been doing this for a few years now.  I’m not terribly good at it but I love it.

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Comparing this string to that of earlier years, I can see I am improving!  This is much finer, more even, and my technique is better.  The twining (if that is the right word) is better executed.

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I even made myself a little bracelet.  I loved it… but it didn’t last forever, what with being washed and dried and rubbed over guitar strings.  In one way, this is perfect.  I have come to think that there are far too many things that last forever.  The more of them I pull out the council’s mulch the more I respect all that withers and dies and becomes soil again.  So perhaps I will make another of these and then another.


Filed under Basketry, Knitting


It is not too late to add your contribution to India Flint’s Solace project, should you wish to.  Here is further encouragement on India’s blog.  Here is the invitation to the project–which explains it all rather beautifully… and here is SweetPea’s collection of inspirational blog posts about worldwide contributions to the project, should you need inspiration.  SweetPea’s blog is rather spectacular.  I commend it to you.

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In the meantime, I’ve been taking solace in guerilla planting and native plant propagating. Earth hours are going well. I feel as though I should make some pennants that say ‘salt bush berries’ and ‘kneeling in the dirt’.  I still might.  It certainly is a source of solace in my life in the face of all the planet has to contend with.

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Ruby saltbush has kept coming up.  In fact, I think my success rate has increased as I have become more careless.  I thought over the way it comes up under existing bushes and just gathered up berries straight from the bush and threw them onto the top of the tubes where nothing had germinated along with leaf litter and saltbush leaves and whatnot.  So many seedlings this way!  Pricking these tiddlers out has been working, so I pricked out yet more.  28 more!

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I haven’t had so many of the stash of plastic pots in use for years.  My potting mix is basically compost turned by our chooks, sieved to get out the lumps, so there seems nothing to lose by potting up more.  Garden and kitchen waste goes out to the chooks, and eggs and compost come back. It is a fabulous arrangement.  Last week my Dad gave us masses of his guavas, and there was a separate collection of fallen mushy or rotten fruit for the chooks.  What a sweetheart.

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Meanwhile, it’s seedlings out into the neighbourhood (two different types here)…

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And rubbish from the neighbourhood back home to be dealt with appropriately.  There is less of it each time I go out to the new patch. It might not show, but the patch of planted and mulched earth is growing larger.  Nothing has been lost on this patch yet.  It seems there is not a lot of traffic of people wanting to walk across or dogs keen to dig it up. And we had rain. All good.

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One morning this week I thanked the chap from the council who was watering the council plantings.  We talked about the plant thefts and he thanked me for replanting those that were abandoned.  He asked me if I was the one who had planted the saltbush on this new patch as he had noticed it appear, and warned me that it might all get taken out if Council decided to do something in that spot–but when he had asked, they had no such plans.  I said I was prepared to take the risk. I managed not to explain that I think my time is better spent just planting than asking the council nicely–they haven’t been responsive in the past and quite a few of my plantings are doing well without their permission.  He had also noticed someone was weeding the spot where he was watering, and he explained a few things about why some plantings are thriving and others are not. It seems the council have some knowledgeable and dedicated workers and the contractors are not as diligent.  And I was happy to hear he thought myoporum (boobialla) was a suitable thing to plant in tough contexts–as that is the main focus of my cool weather propagating programme, as you know!


Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Happily spinning along…

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There has been actual spinning going on behind the scenes.  I bought this roving in a destash on Ravelry (along with some other treats…) a while back.  The roving image is taken under mood lighting (which is to say, after dark indoors).

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I think it turned out rather well…it’s corriedale, hand dyed by Hedgehog Fires

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I have also finished a huge skein of eucalyptus dyed local polwarth.

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And just could not resist taking pictures in the garden! One of my grandmothers used to have two huge pots of peanut cactus outside her front porch to match the two frangipani trees that framed her front door, and I am still mighty fond of peanut cactus.  And wool, but you know that already!

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Filed under Natural dyeing, Spinning


We had a gift of limes from a friend…

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And a gift of many mandarins from my parents…

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And in the time honoured tradition there never seemed to be time to turn them into marmalade.  So one night after work I chopped.  Soaking followed.  Then two nights later, we did the cooking part.

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The lime looked especially good!

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And in the end… they were both pretty lovely.

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It is definitely the time of year for it!

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Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Drawstring project bags

These are the bags that really started the party.  Fully lined drawstring project bags.

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Recycled suit linen with E Scoparia print; linen with an Australian designed print; cotton printed with prunus leaves and maple leaves.

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Indigo prints from the indigo dyeing day last year… paler prints went into the linings.

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While I was on indigo prints I used up the last of my own indigo dyed fabrics making this.  And finally, a gratuitous photo of a bee enjoying a street tree in flower taken on my way to a lunch meeting.  Glorious!

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Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

Eucalyptus bark dyepots—the outcome

Well, the outcomes are in– E Scoparia bark on the left and E Poyanthemos bark on the right.

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As I was rinsing my pots a sudden movement caught my eye.

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All those cuttings and seedlings and little trees are doing well, because, we have finally had some lovely rain!

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It’s lovely to see water pooling after the long dry of summer.

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And, a lovely pair of warm socks for the coming winter chilly toes have made their way off the needles!

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They have gone to their happy home already…

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Filed under Dye Plants, Knitting, Natural dyeing

More guerilla planting

This last week there was a big planting and a little one. See that little tree in the middle of all that weediness?

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The little one involved planting four seedling Corymbia Citriodora (lemon scented gum) trees.  Small now–but they will be huge if they grow.  They came up in my propagating area, sometimes accompanied by the saltbush I had planted. In the end I planted them along the tram line.  I don’t like their chances much having had my knees on that ground and my trowel in it looking for something a plant might get roots into.  But they volunteered for the job, so I have obliged them.  I have been making a project of taking plants out and bringing rubbish home.

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This time there was loads of rubbish and a score!  Iron plates I might be able to use to eco print paper.

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And some other rusty bits (on the right above) that have gone into my jars of iron water for dyeing.

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The bigger planting involved nine plants, added into the barren triangle up near the railway crossing where I planted three not so long ago.

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My trusty bike trailer came with two watering cans in it!  Yes, I did feel like I was doing something embarrassing.  But I did it anyway, apologising to these little plants for putting them in a place so ill treated and challenging. 2015-04-04 12.32.14

Then I made another trip to move mulch to the area and give them a chance. 2015-04-04 13.00.02

The haul of rubbish was less than the first time.  This is all I brought home.

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And here I am, a gardener with her newly planted seedlings.

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Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures