Monthly Archives: March 2014

And then I spun some newspaper into yarn and knit a hedgehog.

Apparently, just because I could.  Some time ago I found this link and bookmarked it.  One day this week I went to Green UpGrader again and suddenly I just had to do it.  Soon I went from an ordinary issue of The Guardian to this:


And after a couple of evenings of rustly spinning, this:


I am surprised how much I like it. I may have to do it again.  There was some crocking (dye rubbing off), but since I didn’t dye this, I didn’t feel bad about it either!


Then last night, after a very random but charming conversation on Ravelry where I offered to take suggestions about what to knit with my cassette tape yarn…(cassette tape core spun over natural grey wool or eucalyptus dyed merino)…


I made this:


The pattern is Knit Hedgehogs by Purl Soho.  Friends came over late in the evening to sleep over, go to the airport and leave their dog with us while they are in Melbourne.  There was a lot of hilarity, beginning with ‘What are you doing?!’  Then there were suggestions as to whether it looked like an echidna (or a puffer fish), whether my embroidery improved the likeness (or not), whether it was cute (or suspicious)… Then  there was consultation of the interwebs about whether hedgehogs have ears or tails.  We don’t have hedgehogs in this country and we had to reference Wind in the Willows or Beatrix Potter or some such anglophile literature we’d been exposed to as children for any information about hedgehogs we ever had.  So then there were many showings of cute hedgehogs from the interwebs. I’m not sure what the dog made of it.

In short, I still have a lot of cassette tape yarn left!!


Filed under Knitting, Spinning

Eucalyptus Stricklandii

Eucalyptus Stricklandii is in bloom at the moment.


There are a row of these trees growing along a main road near a friend’s place in the Northern suburbs, and I have admired them each time I’ve visited.  This time I stopped and sampled as well.  I wasn’t the only one. The tree was full of bees, but bees don’t understand about pausing graciously when someone offers to take your picture and make you famous (ahem!) on the web.


There were also fully mature fruit:


And fruit that were nearing maturity:


Buds as well, since this is a eucalypt…


And rather spectacular bark.


Here’s the tree as a whole…


And someone’s tenderly crafted home, fallen to the ground, neatly combining flyscreen wire with vegetation and paper that has been weathered until pliable.


Cocoa and chocolate?  Chestnut and walnut?



Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing

Another giant falls

I went to work yesterday unsuspecting and came home to find that a tree that stood a couple of storeys high and was one of only two really large trees still standing in our street, had been cut down without warning.  Here it is in December.  It stood on a block with a couple of E Citriodoras but I think this one was an E Maculata.


And yesterday afternoon.


I saw two men measuring its girth a couple of weeks ago as I was on my way to work.  I thought at the time that wasn’t a good sign (the definition of “significant tree” turns on the girth of a tree and has been changed in the relatively recent past), but I wasn’t in a position to stop and ask.  I wish now that I’d followed up.  This tree was scheduled for destruction as part of the infrastructure works that have turned our neighbourhood upside down.  But a way was found to complete them without cutting it down.  We thought it had been saved.  The infrastructure works are almost complete and the removal of this tree clearly wasn’t necessary for them.

All this on the same day as our Prime Minister declared too much of our native forest, what little of it remains, is “locked up” in national parks.  Pardon me while I put my head down on my desk.


I called the Council and the tree was cut down by the property owners on whose land it stood.  This is one tree in our neighbourhood not felled by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.  Apparently the Council arborist will call back to explain.  I’ll spare you.


Filed under Eucalypts

A new hat and a couple of tea cosies


The hat knitting is continuing… this one is made from the merino/silk blend I spun on holidays with a band of three ply grey Finn wool.  It’s the Swatchless watch cap by Daniel Yuhas, more or less, but he should be absolved of my knitting crimes.  I’ve already cast on my next hat!


There has been a season of casting on, so this is a tea cosy knit from a singles yarn composed of grey Finn, silk, glitterati, sari silk, and thread scraps from a friend’s handpun, hand dyed inkle loom weaving threads.  Too precious to waste!


I like the sprinkling of shiny colours in among the grey wool.  It made me think I should try this technique again.

I have been inviting people who come round for dinner to take a tea cosy home.  Last night we had the luck to have a visit from one of my beloved’s heroines, who was passing through our town for writers’ week.  I was just thrilled when she decided to take that tea cosy home! Speaking of Writers’ Week, I loved the entrance–lots of branches shaped to form an entrance to the gardens where it is held.  The booth to pick up brochures and ask for direction was similarly glorious, and there was a wonderful design of woven branches behind the stage, too.


I liked that tea cosy so much I decided to knit another right away and finish off the skein!  Here you have it, hot off the needles.  Both tea cosies depart from the excellent Fast and Fun Tea Cozy design by Funhouse Fibers (but I get lazy and just make it up as I go along….)



Filed under Knitting

Leafy quilt back finished!

On the weekend, I finally stitched together the back for a quilt that has been in some kind of progress through most of the last year.
The blocks for the front are finished and I hope I have eco printed enough fabric for a border. A friend who was over on the weekend advised me about the sashing. So… now I need to get started on piecing the front together. Don’t hold your breath! Meanwhile, the saltbush seed I collected while we were on holidays is coming up and so are my vegetable seedlings, and I’m contemplating what to do with the home grown indigo and when I should do it!


Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Thanks for cycling! The bunting.

There is a new segment of cycleway near our place that has been one of the upsides of living beside a major engineering project for most of the last 2 years.  It seems only right to celebrate.  The new segment isn’t terribly long, but is one of those little pieces of path that make a big difference to a cyclist.


I started out with some bike themed fabric.  It was originally intended as a shirt for a small bike loving friend… but he grew quickly into quite a large, keen cyclist and my sewing queue moves slowly sometimes.  Some of the fabric became a bag and the rest was sitting there ready to go.  I decided in the end that worrying about aligning the grain was beside the point for bunting, so relentlessly pieced leftovers together until there was just about nothing left.


Then I moved over into some purple fabric.  It dates back over fifteen years to when there was a shop nearby that sold offcuts from sheet and quilt manufacturing.  I made all kinds of things from those offcuts!  This came in one of the odd shapes that I am sure could be explained by someone who had been to the factory: a square with three squared off corners and one rounded corner.  Soon it was all triangles, some constructed from two smaller triangles.  On went the lettering.


Some more of my vintage bias binding was pressed into action, and pretty soon…


Last night a friend was visiting and she was keen on hanging it, so we had bunting hanging before dinner.
Hopefully it will cheer up weary cyclists (and energetic ones) as they pass.


Filed under Craftivism, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing