I have this blanket. It doesn’t have a family history of emotional attachment; I found it in an op shop. I can’t say what made me bring it home, it’s quite a strong shade of orange which isn’t entirely lovely. It’s not in good repair. It has fade lines from being left out in the sun too long on a washing line. Some of its stitching had come undone when I brought it home. Moths (well, moth larvae) had nibbled on it before it came to my house.
In a way, it is even more odd that I feel driven to mend this thing. The holes are small enough they they will not lead to unravelling or any serious consequence. I want to mend them anyway. My beloved offered me a robust critique of this project one night recently, and there wasn’t a thing she said, that I didn’t accept. Yet, I started mending it in 2015. I notice in that post I think the blanket is rather lovely! Apparently I have been less sure of its loveliness recently… but no less attached to it.
These holidays, I sat the sewing kit on my bed and mended a few more holes each day until I had a big evening session and finally mended all the little holes the moths left. Things I’ve noticed: how lovely it is working with the silk embroidery thread from Beautiful Silks, and in colours I’ve dyed with plants. That I have settled on the number of strands I like using best. That my sense of how to use thread, and how to work with colour, has changed. How comfortable I feel with these odd little grids in mismatched colours sprinkled over my blanket. How confident I feel that this blanket and I will spend many more years together, and maybe in that time, there will be more mends, or simply more stitching. So I guess the reality is that this blanket from the op shop now does hold emotional resonance of some kind, even if it’s hard to say exactly what or why. It’s a blanket, after all. I don’t really feel like there has to be an accounting for these things. Though I like its warmth very much when the season calls for it.
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…
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!
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.