Once winter seemed to have set in, I put my last plantings in the ground around the neighbourhood. Everything that was sprouted from seed in spring and summer has now been planted out.
There have been some losses as the Council or its contractors have been cutting down trees which have died sue to a soil borne fungus. Undergrowth often gets taken out in the complexity of removing entire tress. But they have also been planting more trees that are a decent size when they go in. And then (I am guessing) one of my neighbours dug out my most successful weaving sedge, undoubtedly with different ideas about how to manage water flow through the neighbourhood after the flood. Even more recently, someone decided to take out two huge thriving wattles that I liked very much, presumably as a way of dealing with the gentleman who had been storing things behind them, sorting through them and then leaving behind what he didn’t want or need. I’d picked up the discarded items a few times, but evidently not enough for someone… or there was other trouble going on from someone’s point of view!
Some things are really thriving and this year I have direct seeded saltbush into some parts of the neighbourhood where ground cover is low, while in others, saltbush is being itself and spreading itself around freely. Thank goodness.
Some of last year’s sheoaks have survived a more widespread than usual weed spraying programme and their understorey of saltbush and other tough native plants is growing too.
In this very challenging spot I planted some random plants given to me by various people and this hibiscus has been flowering for months. Understorey boobialla, some eucalypts and a feijoa tree are still growing too. Life just keeps growing up.
Dear friends, it has been a long while! I’ve been travelling and I have a lot to write about. I’ve had a big change in my paid work too, and it will mean I have more mental space and physical time for making and blogging, I hope. In the meantime, here is an update on the state of the tuffsock spinning project.
This post is part of the Tuff Socks Naturally project, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion on this blog or on the blog of the fabulous Rebecca at Needle and Spindle or on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.
A little while back, a new vendor came to my Guild meeting. She brought braids of many different breeds, including some that are not readily available in Australia and many that are endangered. Well. Buying imported wool is not a decision I am going to try to defend. But I was so curious to try Southdown–and the Suffolk was entirely different to the local Kangaroo Island Suffolk I have been spinning. And I can only say that after all these years spinning I still have periods in which I think ‘preparing fibre that has been grown with no thought at all for a handspinner is not worth the effort!’ and others when I think: ‘local fleece is the only fleece I should ever spin!’ If you want consistency, my friends, go and read another blog, because you’re not going to find it here! I took these two braids home.
The Suffolk and silk blend spun up like a dream and I would not have guessed this was the same breed as the local Suffolk. Variability within breeds is only to be expected, but clearly the local sheep has been bred for meat, with its fleece being made into carpet if anything. Perhaps the UK Suffolk is still being bred for fleece quality. There may well be such Suffolks in Australia, if I knew where to find them. On the other hand, machine processing and the addition of silk have made the UK Suffolk less springy and bouncy than the local breed, which may mean it will be less durable at the same time as it is unequivocally finer and longer in staple.
The Southdown was also lovely to spin. So now I have two new experiment yarns in the tuffsock department, ready to knit. or perhaps to dye…
Dear readers, if you are local–this workshop might interest you! It would be lovely to see you if you’re able… and Susan is a lovely host.
Make a zippered box pouch
Saturday and Sunday 25 and 26 August, 10am-4pm each day
At the Aldinga Arts Eco-Village with Mary Heath from Local and Bespoke www.localandbespoke.com
Come along and make a zippered pouch from plant dyed, woollen fabric. We will also dye more woollen fabric and thread to take home for your next project.
|What to bring:
· Your lunch
· Treats to share
· plant dyed fabrics to create a pouch OR use the plant dyed, upcycled woollen blanket provided (no extra cost)
· your sewing machine in good order or hand sewing tools – your choice (sewing machine service is not on offer at this workshop)
· thread to sew your bag
|What will be supplied:
· coffee, tea (all sorts), cocoa and milk
· plant dyed, upcycled woollen blanket to use for your bag
· upcycled woollen blanket to dye for future projects
· plant dyes
Saturday and Sunday 25 and 26 August, 10am-4pm each day
12 Dianella Walk, Aldinga Arts EcoVillage, Aldinga SA 5173
$120 per person (up to 10 participants; fee due by 3 August to secure your place)
It all began with a visit with friends, who took us for a trip through part of Tasmania, months ago. We went to a country market and right beside it was Wafu Works. What a place! Full of all kinds of Japanese paper, textiles and tools. I ended up with some thread an sashiko needles, and bought a kit to make a rice bag with some gift money… Indigo dyed fabrics on the outside, a red lining and a drawstring cord.
I was so intrigued. I learned a new stitch and a cunning construction. I loved the vintage fabrics. You know what happened next, right? I paired the leftover fabric with some of my own indigo dyeing, and cut up a mauve linen shirt I remember buying about 16 years ago for the lining, and pieced the scraps together…
In the end I made three, and I’m now itching to make more…