Monthly Archives: February 2020

Opening the dye jars!

I’ve had jars of dye and thread or fabric sitting about outside and on bookshelves for years here–they have been created using India Flint’s Stuff, Steep and Store method. And I’ve been interested to see that I can let them be for years! A stitching friend was keen to start a stitch journal and so I thought I might contribute and made her a parcel… beginning by opening a pile of jars. Some put by in 2014!

For once I took the effort to make sure I could line up labels with contents… and hopefully my friend’s stitch journal will bring her joy. She’s a wonderful sewer and thinker and feminist and all-round, an upwelling of glorious energy and action.

Needless to say all this dyeing excitement led to more jars…. I love this method. I don’t come across jars big enough to use it on huge quantities, but I am blessed with small batch amounts of some dyes, such as flowers, that work really well with this method and I can process seven at a time, saving energy and drama. And it’s pretty!

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A trip to the composters

This is an image of my Dad’s trailer. When my parents return from their annual journey as “Grey Nomads” across the wide brown land, they always have a lot to do to get their garden into its usual neat and tidy state. That leads to a trip to the waste transfer station some years, and this year it led to a trip to a commercial composter. They asked if I wanted anything and of course, if I wanted to some along. So this is my Dad’s fine handiwork. He knows how to knot and I live in awe, without having enough practice in my life to be able to really learn his skills. I believe this is what he calls “the truckies’ knot”.

Naturally I was participating in an efficient trip to the composter (that’s how my family roll), so I was untying the load and unloading the cuttings on arrival and then loading up and… the long and short of it is, not many photos. The scale of this place is rather amazing, and the equipment they use to tumble and grade the compost is impressive.

Here is the display of all the grades of compost they sell, outside the office. A load of compost for me, a few bags of potting mix created onsite, some pea straw and some organic seeds and we were back on the road toward home! A most interesting place.

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Bias binding

For years, I’ve been making bias binding from old ties. I can’t believe I still have ties left to transform, but there it is. Step 1. Unpick them. It’s always a bit of a revelation to see how glorious the sewing lavished on some ties is, and how fine the fabric of the inner layers, while others are interfaced with paper or cardboard and held together with the minimum number of stitches and a bit of a whispered prayer. There’s a metaphor for something or other…

By the magic of a little gizmo called a bias binding maker, I end up with this! And then I had a go at binding the inside of a waistband. You know, like on some of my clothes that came from a shop! Well. Let it be said this waistband was not my finest sewing hour, though it will do the job. So here is the single, moodily lit (by which I mean DARK) photo of that waistband in process, looking quite good. For a few minutes 🙂

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A sock spurt, at last!

There has been a long period with little sock knitting. My life has changed so much that the places I had found in my life to knit socks seemed to have vanished. And in all honesty, there has also been hand stitching, social media, and so forth in some of those crevices. But–things have changed! I think it was partly just asking myself why socks had stalled, and realising that I still want to be knitting socks and perhaps I’m a better person when I do!

I delved into the stash and found that I had some Noro sock yarn! There is a lot I don’t like… the fact that the only shop I can go to in person that stocks it never has a lot of choice; the knots; the fact that it’s not plied; the yarn miles; and of course, the nylon! BUT what I fun knit Noro always is. Wild colour stretches that I would never dream up. These socks actually went to the same delightful person as the Grouse coloured pair and I think they will bring her great cheer in cold winters.

Here they are gracing her table moments after I’ve grafted the second toe!! And churned out in no time flat. And with the *cough* insertion of a small amount of handspun to eke out the last of the ball! Greeted with a grin and profound surprise…

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For the love of trees

Dear readers, I’ve been absent for a long while again. I think like many people I know, most things felt just too trivial to post about over quite a period this summer as our country felt the impacts of climate change through widespread severe drought, low rainfall, above average temeratures, and then–overwhelming bushfire. I wrote this post at the end of December with a broken heart and evidently didn’t post it. Here it is now.

Queensland Kauri (Agathis Robusta)

The current period in this dear land brings to mind fiddling while Rome burns. Instead of violin playing, we have governments authorising new oil, gas and coal mining over the protests of First Nations, scientists and activists while so much of this continent is on fire.

River red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in the foreground with a view over a misty winter Belair National Park in the background.

As summer really begins here, with temperature records already broken several times (in our city, 46C) I am like most people I know–worrying for those who have already lost so much; thinking of those living now in fear; full of gratitude and awe for those fighting the fires. We have friends who have already defended their homes, others watching and waiting and ready to leave, still others evacuated from catastrophic fire danger zones. My friends are grieving one of those who has died, someone I did not personally know. Other friends are grieving the loss of landscapes in which they spent years of backbreaking bush regeneration work.

Eucalyptus Nicholii with multiple trunks.

In a time of such heartbreak, I offer the love of trees.

White trunked Eucalyptus Camaldulensis against a blue sky.
An unknown eucalypt with many dead limbs.
Another Eucalyptus camaldulensis…
And a final E Camaldulensis in the grounds of the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide.

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