Monthly Archives: October 2020

The madder harvest

This year I went wild and dug a lot of the madder patch.

There was the soaking, rinsing, weighing (TWO KILOGRAMS, just quietly) and picking over. There was potting up some plants in case others want some.

There was mordanting (with alum).

There was the grinding up.

Then the heating begins. I am proud to say that for once I did not boil my dye vat. Really, the list of my dyeing crimes is too extensive to list! So I rate this a bit of a triumph.

I must say, that despite the amount of root, and the amount of dyeing (and the difficulty of getting a picture that captures it properly)… there was not actually a lot of red. Grey yarn became terra cotta (not that you can tell in the image), there is a lot of lovely orange, there is fabric that is various orange shades. Red silk embroidery thread and some red fleece. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t quite what I hoped for, either. It may be that it is time for some more research! If more experienced folks have insight to offer, do feel free! This year I really tried for long, slow heating, and came closer to achieving it than previously. But still…

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The Purple waistcoat project

Dear friends asked me whether I would be prepared to make their son a waistcoat for his birthday. After some efforts to access a paper pattern second hand, I used the free pattern from mesewcrazy.

I managed to cut the main pattern pieces from a pair of jeans of the right colour. Then I chose some silk I was given for the lining. It was given to me by a friend whose friend had destashed this and other fabrics.

I found buttons that were just right at The Adelaide Remakery.

This waistcoat is an ode to the recipient’s favourite anime character.

The main pattern pieces incorporate seams from the original jeans they were made from. They look quite good, I think.

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Socks!

There has not been a complete cessation of sock knitting. These little numbers came about because a friend who had attempted knitting her first sock had declared that she was not able to finish. Her arthritis just would not allow her to do it. She gave me the wool and the needles. I decided I’d knit her some socks from what she had chosen (a Patons ombre sock yarn).

As regular readers will realise, I’m not much for matching and these don’t quite match–but not too shabby by my standards! They kept me company through some epic online conferences run through Zoom, in particular.

There is just a little left for mending when the time comes. I’ve already had reports of them going camping and hiking and hopefully they will be treasured and worn a lot.

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Guerilla planting and weeding…

The last of autumn’s ruby saltbush went out into the world. I had in mind a spot where I would plant it, but rail infrastructure crews were busy right there. So I changed my mind.

I put some rooted but not potted Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes into the creekbed while I was out. They are likely to do better there than potted on at this time of year, I decided. Then it was veldt grass out (a more knowledgeable person has identified one of the awful weeds of our neighbourhood for me!) and ruby saltbush in, along a fence line where I have been progressively planting saltbush and nature has been progressively creating soil as more leaves are trapped in place and break down into new earth. Perfect.

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Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures