While I had shingles earlier in the year I spent a lot of time doing very little, sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time too unwell to do much. There were weeks when it was hard to choose what to watch and I couldn’t knit. Subtitles were too much. I had so much trouble planning that I didn’t see one kind friend who offered because I couldn’t imagine being able to do any of the things we usually do together (or something!). But eventually I remembered I had sashiko samplers I had bought in Japan, and I turned out to be capable of following the dotted line.
I also braided my sashiko threads with some kind (online) help from India Flint.
It’s quite inexpert sashiko but I found it very satisfying and spent hours and hours stitching this way without having to plan or decide on colours or anything. Eventually I realised that I had bought two cushion cover blanks, not just random samplers. So I decided I may as well turn them into cushions. The op shop provided as always:
(Eeek! Not my thing)–covers stripped off and contents washed, I have two cushion stuffers without any new plastic being created. Polyester fibrefill is not good stuff–and this is my current solution to having more of it come into existence on my account. I’ve given up making cushions stuffed with fabric scraps as I did in the past because it just couldn’t be plainer that there are industrial scale amounts of this material already in existence and headed for landfill. This is a small diversion. And yes, wash them in their covers or in a guppyfriend if you have one or in a bag to keep plastic waste out of the sewerage system.
A little bit of simple stitching and–
Remember that destashed sock yarn I wrote about a while back? Well, here are the second pair… in a colourway called ‘Champlain sunset’. I admit, not my personal favourite colours. But I have a friend I knew would love them. And for those who care, this picture shows the colours much better than the one in the last image below.
Here they are at my beloved’s parents’ home.
Here we are on the ferry on the Brisbane River, off to #stopadani.
And the ferry again, outside this time. (I am sure people take photos of their socks-in-progress on the ferry all the time).
And here they are, done! Ouch!
In the quiet times that did appear at home in December, there was some spinning. I found some small packs of dyed silk top from years ago and blended them with alpaca(left) and wool (right).
There was some random eucalyptus-dyed wool mis-filed. Now yarn. And there was some spinning of natural fibres that had been previously carded. I’ve tried for a little inventory of the stash of unspun fibres and there is a lot of raw fleece in my shed, with more having arrived this week. So stand by for tales of wool being shared and fibre processing!
The last few months have included some travel for various reasons. I think it’s obvious that air travel raises my carbon footprint and should be avoided when possible. But perhaps I’ve already mentioned that my life is full of contradictions? I’m trying to do what I can, when I can. When I went to Brisbane I was lucky enough to be able to buy vegetables and fruit at the local farmers’ market. It was luck! I had no idea it would be close to where I was staying. I’d selected accommodation so I’d have less traveling each day I was there, and so I could travel by ferry when I needed public transport. In another spot of luck, I’d been saving my peelings and pits in the fridge for a few days trying to figure out whether my only option was to put them in the bin, when I realised I was walking distance from New Farm community garden.
I was convinced a community garden would have a composting system I could sneak my scraps into, but imagine my delight to discover a community composting hub! I went back a couple of times because it’s mango season and there I was making cold rolls for dinner and eating a mango every day. And because the community garden was brilliant. My other travelling with less waste discovery was in Melbourne, where the lovely out-laws took us to Coburg Farmer’s market. There was live music, there was delicious food–and there was a no single use policy on cups, plates and utensils. So there was a serious washing station with clearly explained steps, and lots of people large and small using it.
My other big carbon footprint management strategy is to protest when travelling whenever possible. Brisbane is the heart of opposition to the Adani coal mine–which is a bad idea on so many fronts–Indigenous owners oppose it, we already know we need to keep existing reserves of coal in the ground to have a hope of keeping climate change to tragic rather than catastrophic levels, the water this mine will take is shocking, coal will be shipped out right by the Great Barrier Reef–you know what I’m saying. I’m saying Stop Adani!
It’s also good to see what people in other places do–I caught up with an activist I met over 20 years ago and we talked up using music in protest (and did some singing, of course). And it was fun being deputised by my beloved and her parents to be the one going out to save the world while they stayed home providing loving care and being unable to get out much, respectively. They needed to check that I would make sure I came home again.
I managed to come home both times–and there were some very funny stories of members of the family opposing Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war, and being arrested during the Premiership of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, when the right to assemble and the right to march were themselves the things people were protesting to achieve, because they were criminalised by Joh.
And in closing… some photos of fabulous Brisbane wildlife!
My last guerilla gardening act of the year was to go for a walk in the neighbourhood and scatter the seeds that had not made it into my spring plantings. Maybe they won’t grow but at least they have the chance, and I’m keeping my saved seed turning over.
The seedlings are doing well. Hard to believe the one on the left will become a huge tree and the one on the right will become a spreading prostrate wattle!
In the dye garden, everything has been doing well. We’ve had only one really punishing day of 42C so far this summer –so things are looking good for now. The daylilies have bloomed beautifully.
The Japanese Indigo came up well, and now the task is to keep it alive through summer. This time I planted some in pots to see if it does any better than in beside the vegetables. The tiny marigolds in the centre picture are flowering now, and a friend from the Guild has given me some dye marigolds that grow to two metres. They have managed the vegie beds so far! The madder, on the right, is rampant.
The kangaroo paws have done well. The birch trees are barely holding on because brushtail possums are eating their leaves so enthusiastically. The tansy is big enough for me to use it this year.
Our Eucalyptus Scoparia has suffered from the possums even more than the birches! But it is still alive and we are trying our third strategy for keeping the possums at bay. I have enough woad to create woad vats this summer! And I’ve saved seed from the dark hollyhocks.
And–this year I’ve seen skinks and geckos but also this wonderful creature! Something is working well in our backyard.
I have a pile of projects that need to be finished. But this week I finished someone else’s project. My mother-out-law has entered a stage of life where pain and confusion are her almost-constant companions. She let me know that she had a denim skirt cut out in the chest of drawers. Twice. I talked it over with my beloved and we decided that I would offer to finish it for her.
She was delighted! Happily the skirt was not denim but perhaps chambray. I couldn’t immediately follow the way she had cut it out but decided in the end that she had adjusted the pattern (and it worked very well, by the way).
There was some ribbon apparently intended as the interfacing for the waistband. I was really not sure it was appropriate, but since it was her choice, I adjusted the width of the waistband to fit and went with it.
The feature pockets were a must! I figured them out in the end after some initial puzzlement. Sometimes you just have to follow the instructions and trust them and wait for the penny to drop (for understanding to arrive).
Once the skirt was all but complete, it was an overnight hang prior to hemming as the skirt was cut on the bias. I have not encountered her strategy of weighting the hem with pegs before! A second try-on was out of the question on the day so we chose another skirt with a length she liked and similar fullness, and I matched the hem to it and machine sewed it in hopes of being able to complete the skirt.
I didn’t actually manage to hang it straight to take this picture–and although pronouncing herself delighted she did not try it on. But–whether she ever wears it might not be the main thing as we accompany her through this stage of her life.