Where do I find the time?

I was at a wonderful birthday picnic today, celebrating my friends turning 7 and 40, respectively.  There was all kinds of interesting chat, of course, and in the midst of it another friend who reads this blog was marvelling at the way things seem to happen at my place, to judge by the blog.  I had to break the news that I write posts at all kinds of odd times and that their sequence isn’t always entirely mapping the way things happen at my place, and that I auto scheduled posts to load every two days while I was on holidays…  I guess I think the way that things really do happen is not quite such a good story!

But just in case…   here’s the story of my Saturday.  We were up early to go to an exercise class.  I was ready in plenty of time so went outside, removed the sock yarn from its eucalypt dye bath, put it to soak in rainwater and hung the soy-soaked-indigo-dyed sock yarn up to dry.  Then there was exercise, a ‘coffee’ (I don’t drink coffee so for me it was yoghurt and hot chocolate).  I knit a few rows on my sock.

Then there was grocery shopping and visiting an upholsterer who had calico flour sacks and hessian sugar sacks on the wall that had come out of old chairs he was refurbishing (I like him already).  Then preparing food and gifts and off to the picnic.  I knit more on my sock there.  Another friend was appliqueing on a pair of jeans which were her gift.  Then home.  Cleaning up and a short pause.  So many ideas in my head! I have a couple of hours to do what I like and so… I have samples of two trees collected yesterday.


Dealing with them requires two empty dye pots but my two are full.


They are the ones the sock yarn came out of at breakfast time. I empty, rinse and refill them. One with my friend’s street tree in case it might be E Nicholii (I live in hope, but not much!!)


The other with leaves from a tree that has intrigued me every time I’ve driven to her house–but yesterday it was in flower and I was running early, so I stopped. Put the heat on them. While dealing with that I’ve remembered the sock yarn.  That bucket isn’t very clean, is it?  Better keep rinsing.


Thank goodness we’ve had rain and the whole place is on rainwater at last. Must deal with the sealing fail on my dye jars.  That requires another free dye pot I don’t have.  Next.


I decide to try to identify the eucalypt. Oh, remember to rinse the sock yarn.


Uploading photos for this post takes a while, so I set about turning saved cardboard into tags to clean it off the desk.


Miraculously I manage to find some of the lovely pre-used string and thread I’ve been saving… some of it with attached safety pins, and that gets reuse too.  It puits me in mind of clearing out my grandfather’s shed after he died.  String saved for re-use, straightened out nails, screws that have been saved from previous applications…


Now these tags can join the ones that are already in the drawer made from last year’s calendar.  Out comes my favourite euc book.  If that tree is in the book it is E Stricklandii, which means I probably should have recognised it.  Mmmm.  A friend comes over.  More chat and then my beloved and said friend head off into the shed.  Rinse the sock yarn.  Put sample cards into the dye pots and turn them down.  One looks promising, the other not so much. Back to the computer, to check out my euc.  These leaves are not glossy… and so on….

Some work on another blog post.  Go to the bin to put the cardboard remains in the recycling only to find my beloved has put some greeting cards in there that surely shouldn’t be so readily disposed of… three new postcards created, one card saved for potential use as a stencil (lovely cut out design).  Check out my files for the last time I identified E Stricklandii.  Clearly I did try it out as a dye plant so there will be a comparison… Re-file craft books and fabrics. Check dye pots. Looking good.


Empty sock yarn rinse water.  Tidy up in the laundy and see those slippers I finished ages ago but haven’t felted.  What the hey?  Put them in the washing machine and get out a timer so I won’t forget they are there (sure sign of overreach but always a good idea with felting).  Put timer in pocket.  Set up India Flint’s suggested fix for hard to seal jars (I think mine suffered from being heated too quickly despite using the lowest heat on the stove, but may as well add insurance).  Now they will be ready when the dye pot comes free.  Or tomorrow, if it comes to that!


Timer rings.  Check slippers.  Not ready yet.  Go to find traced shape of my friend’s foot.


Take drum carder and the vacola jars Dad picked up secondhand out to the shed.  Check dye pots. terminate the less interesting dye pot ready for the jars, pour the dyebath into a bucket.  Put the knitting nancy (french knitting kit) I found at an op shop in the box for delivery to friends who might use this, plus things from the picnic that need to go to their place.  Decide to make another dye jar with the pelargonium petals, since the pelargonium has stopped flowering. I must have been so optimistic when I started gathering them in this jar!


Timer goes.  Slippers look about right. Take them out to cool.


One slipper pair is perfect.  The other, back in for ten minutes.  Finish sorting out those jars of stuff, steep and store goodness.


In they go!


The dried avocado peels from the kitchen finally make it out into dyestuff storage land.


Slippers come out just after our other dinner guest arrives (with dinner! bless her!)  I shape the slippers over chat with crackers and avocado and cheese.  And put a load of the really dirty dyeing stuff on to wash.  I need to keep an eye on the stuff, steep and store jars during the evening.  I am pronounced a nerd with glee…  After main course, one of our guests says she wants to ask a technical question, which is whether I could draft a pattern from a simple vest she has so that she can make one on a ‘trashed and treasured’ theme… Out comes the recycled tissue paper and we give it a go and find a vest pattern that might help with conceptualising construction.


Well, it’s bedtime.  After heating extremely slowly (the dye burners win over the gas stove in the kitchen for slowly heating, clearly) my jars are now a little too hot… I turn them down and leave them to the dye pot timer.  Goodnight!









Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Knitting, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures

11 responses to “Where do I find the time?

  1. Pia

    Phew! Wiping sweat off my brow. I would have been knackered round about after the picnic!


  2. Sabine

    Yes, phew springs to mind! But come to think of it, this is just about the way I spend my Saturdays, too – just doing different things… It’s always less exhausting than it sounds, and at night when I finally stopp doing stuff I’m pleased as Punch looking back at a productive day.


    • I relate to all of those aspects. Sometimes I just try to do too much, as my sweetheart has been known to point out. But I love that sense of productivity and it is delightful to follow my crafty whims for the sake of it sometimes!


  3. Submarine Bells

    Would you like some more jars? I have several big (as in several litre) glass jars that need a new home, and it didn’t occur to me to ask on Friday when you visited.


    • They sound great, I’d love them, thanks. I have lots of jam-suitable jars, but nothing I could put any amount of fabric into… Thanks for a great visit! I’ve been working on samples of trees from round your way, with interesting results from the huge stringybark just to one side of your drive on your neighbour’s nature strip.


  4. Jess

    That is a very busy day! But it sounds like all kinds of fun 🙂


  5. It does sound busy, but I think I recognise the pattern – start something off, leave it aside, prod/stir something else, spin some yarn, knit a few rows…. little by little. I’m envious of your solar dyeing. I don’t think I could achieve that over here, even though it’s sunny today (winter sun).


    • Little by little is certainly the primary mode at my place! I’m not really doing any solar dyeing. I do have some solar mordanting underway… more on that in due course… but the jars are not being stored in the sun. They’re using the process in India Flint’s new book Stuff, Steep and Store, which is really about a long, slow steeping rather than about heat. We sure do get more sun here than in the UK!


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