Monthly Archives: January 2018

Handspun socks in use 3

We visited a friend recently and of course, I was knitting away as we chatted.  I explained about the tuff socks naturally project and she brought out her entire sock drawer in which there were quite a few pairs knit by my own hands, some of which I don’t remember knitting!  There was just one hand spun pair, and they were quite recent.  Here they are finished in mid 2017.  They look very lightly worn indeed though she assures me she has been wearing them.  No signs of wear at all on this as-yet-young pair of tough knits.  Hopefully that speaks to the qualities of a suffolk/mohair/silk blend…

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Needlebooks

While I was on holiday, I finished sewing a batch of needle books made from scraps of blanket dyed with various plants.  Now they are waiting to become part of mending kits!

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Melbourne

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We spent Christmas with my beloved’s family and my daughter in Melbourne.  We were in Melbourne, so yarn bombs were to be expected, but this one on a major city street was a serious commitment, with lace and cables and a a lot of pom poms, offering the colours of the rainbow.  maybe it was someone’s statement on the whole same sex marriage debate our country has all too recently been having?

I did not expect to be surrounded by dye plants!  There were dye eucalypts all round where we were staying: E Cinerea, E Sideroxylon, and even more exciting, E Polyanthemos! Also, rhagodia in fruit.

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Even more exciting still, Indigofera Australis, and a lot of it.  I just had no way to dye with any of it in the time we were there.  I just had to be content with admiration.

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More spinning

 

…some more fat yarns spun from the fleece of a sheep called Lentil, which have now gone to their new home with a friend who likes to knit fat yarns. Plus some yarn that had been dyed in a very weak vat of indigo or woad at some time in the past, now a soft green with some help from soursobs (oxalis), a common weed here.

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Madder dyeing

There was a very exciting moment in the garden last week.  I was digging out madder roots hoping to create enough space to plant Japanese indigo seedlings (as you do).  I found a substantial chrysalis and moved it out of harm’s way.  Then a bit later, a movement caught my eye, and a large moth was emerging from the chrysalis right before my eyes.  What a privilege! Naturally I wasn’t going to waste the madder root.  I had some wool cold mordanting in a bucket, so I processed the roots and created a vat.  While I was at it, I did the same with the carrot tops from our farmers’ market.

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I ended up with quite a red colour from the first madder bath and two orange shades from the exhaust baths, as well as a nice yellow from the carrot tops.

Plus, the joy of watching the moth emerge.  I think it might be a native hawk moth. Back in this post, I found I rather wonderful caterpillar in the madder, and I have found them several times since.  I’ve also seen similar chrysalises (?) in the garden.  Pisstkitty,  a generous and regular reader thought it might be a native hawk moth, Hippotion scrofa, the Coprosma hawk moth.  I thought she was right then, and I think this is the moth form of the same creature.  Glorious.

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Filed under Dye Plants, Natural dyeing