Monthly Archives: June 2020

Moko Trews and Baby Shoes

The lovely Marion from Beautiful Silks sent me two sets of blanks for “moko trews”–trousers for the grandbub. One layer in cotton (the lining) and one in silky merino (the outer).

They were just so glorious! I dyed the outers and set about constructing them. It took a little while and then they were just SO cute!

Into the very slow mail service they went. Weeks passed. At the time, this was not surprising.

Australia Post says they were delivered and left in a safe place, but apparently not, because they have utterly vanished. And so, my friends, has a second parcel.

I made some more baby shoes–graded up in size, insulated for warmth, and hand embroidered, with nice stout soles. Let’s overlook their defects…

I very much hope that these two parcels ended up with people who could use these items so lovingly made and involving such a kind gift to me… and not just in someone’s bin by the side of a road. I wish they could at least have left my cards to the dear ones that I have now not seen in person for months, whose comfort I’ve been trying to raise in times of challenge. But I guess I’ll never know.


Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Other things

Dear readers, here is a little post I wrote and overlooked weeks ago, while I try to create some new posts 🙂

This is just a little round up of things at my house in the last few weeks, that aren’t especially crafty. I pruned the lime tree. Also the nectarine and the peach, but they are not fruiting! I used the sugar I had and made marmalade. Then later my parents were shopping and brought me more so I made a second batch!

I got a crisis call for support from someone new to town who needed seeds. Into the post!

Our suburb is showing the love and solidarity with rainbows. So I made this. The last two triangles are made from a friend’s dead jeans, given to me for reuse!

I opted out of the toilet paper drama in this country for the most part, with a reused squirt bottle and some dead t shirts. Thanks to the friends who posted about this and inspired me.

The slow conversion of indigo dyed fabric to hankies continues and was massively assisted by new ‘fine’ needles and a service of my sewing machine.

I mail ordered prepaid postage satchels when it became clear that I wouldn’t be seeing some people for a long while. I could not resist this Australia Post postcard. Although it depicts the biggest open cut mine in the hemisphere (apologies if some other horrible project has since overtaken it)–it has been made to look like a work of art. Many years ago I went there (Kalgoorlie, WA) with a friend on our way to Perth. I had not really understood what the SuperPit was even though I’d known many open pit mines, and when my friend asked where we used to live–I had to point into the hole that had swallowed the entire town, many other mines, the house we used to live in, and so much more…

Finally, success with (dwarf) dyer’s coreopsis!

And there you have my little photographic round-up…


Filed under Natural dyeing

Leafy Crazy Quilt

Some time ago, I realised that many of my plant dyed cottons and linens were becoming a quilt top. This may have been, ah, a few years ago. It wasn’t the plan initially, but sometimes things come together in such a way that even if I had an initial plan when I began patching fabric together, I discard it and follow the lead of the project (or perhaps it’s my own imagination).


A bit later it appeared that my learnings about indigo dyeing with old clothing, discarded worn tablecloths and such were headed in the same direction and might be becoming a quilt back.


I have decided that we don’t need more seriously warm quilts in this city.  We live in a place that is warm most of the year round.  We have quilts with polyester batting that are too warm to use except on the very coldest nights.  Thin quilts, and the last one I made with a batting made of a worn out cotton flannelette sheet are getting more use and allow layering. And–I have a back catalogue of worn out t shirts that are up to 24 years old.  You ask how I know this. Some of them are for events I was part of organising in the 1990s.


This particular t shirt and several others got a makeover about the time I began this blog, in which I re-cut the side seams, armholes and sleeves so that they were not quite so loose (the 1990s were a time of oversized t shirts, and I liked it!) Many are raggedy and worn through.  Others were gifts or free in contexts where I felt unable to refuse.  And I can only wear so many t-shirts gardening and in bed!


So–they are the batting. I cut out the sleeves and added them to the rag collection, and cut off hems and necklines. Then the awkward process of figuring out how to control a batting made of uneven rectangles (more or less) made from stretch fabric.  What could possibly go wrong? In the end there was a festival of pinning them to the back and then a palaver of stitching them down.

Eventually the indigo patchwork was completely covered with t shirts…

There was the binding creating stage… and then the binding application stage.

And yes, I quilted after applying the binding. Not sure that’s the approved order of things. Don’t look to me for quilting advice! I find this part to be a process of arm wrestling a big item through the sewing machine over and over again, while executing kilometres of stitching and rethreading the bobbin and oiling the bobbin casing, a lot.

Why yes, that is a kangaroo paw print. By this stage I knew who I wanted to give the quilt to. I checked with them ever so gently because, I do not wish to give a quilt like this to people who might not like it. The last thing I want is for someone to feel burdened by the gloriously strange thing this is, compared to a regular quilt. For some people, this is an amazing thing. For others, it might feel quite different.

It is made up of flour sacks, offcuts, calico, linen clothing that has been dismantled and repurposed. There are tablecloths, trousers, shirts, bits, bobs, scraps, remainders and offcuts. It contains a pocket and some darts as well as the places where hems and seams used to be.

The indigo dyed backing contains patches that have been dyed plain, some that have been tied or clamped first, some that have been plant dyed and overdyed with indigo.

It is covered with stitching that is trapping the t shirt batting in place, and another layer of stitches scribbling all the layers together.

It records quite a few eucalypts–favourites like E Cinerea and E Scoparia, lesser used lovelies like E Cladocalyx and E Sideroxylon. There is evidence of iron and copper (which I wrap bundles around). Plus experiments with tamarisk and shoak, walnut leaves and kangaroo paw flowers, agonis flexuosa and all manner of other plants besides. There are some tannin mordant experiments as well as plenty of soy. There are even some fold and clamp patches as well as many that were rolled and bundled.

It has gone to fine friends. I hope theirs will be a happy home far into the future, and this quilt might be some small part of that happiness.


Filed under Natural dyeing

Grandbub socks

I began these bootees some time ago and did not manage to finish them before they became redundant. Finally I ripped them out and responded to a call for hand knit socks.

And here they are: Rye Light by Tin Can Knits in some glorious sock yarn that was a gift from my sweetheart so long ago I am not sure what it is any more. And for scale–with my hand.


Filed under Knitting

Bike Bag

My friend requested a replacement for his much loved bike bag. I was happy to oblige! One day the bag arrived in a post pack with two pairs of black moleskins/jeans, the sleeve from a high vis shirt complete with the reflective strip, and some added fabrics for good measure.

I set to work drafting a pattern from the original and applying my wits to reverse engineering it. The strap goes all the way around the bag. Zipper on top, zip pocket on the side. I found two zips that I thought could do the job from the stash, ripped the sleeve and scavenged the reflective strip, and cut the jeans up ready to go. I’m quite proud of that pocket, which uses things I’ve learned about how to create a welt pocket.

The top zipper is pretty stout too.

And there you have it, ready for the road. Or ready to post back, as the case may be!


Filed under Sewing