There has been some arm wrestling with my spinning wheel. In due course, resolved with a new drive band, then a shortening of the drive band, and replacement of a tension spring. Until then plying was doing me in every time. This three ply sock yarn was the bitter end. I hated it. Three ply yarn is a lot of work, and you want it to look great and function well when finished. You do NOT want the plying, the final stage, to ruin it. In the end I fixed this situation by putting it through the wheel a second time and adding some twist to even it out.
And… there has been more spinning… the sock yarn is merino lamb and the yarn below is some local lawn mowing wool–not too soft but sure to come in handy for something that does not require next-to-skin softness.
You may have detected that I am not a fan of fossil fuels. Because burning them is driving the intensity of climate crisis and I am in favour of the continuation of life on earth. Anyway–we needed a banner to help us communicate our opposition to fracking in the Pilliga Forest and farmland around Narrabri, in NSW, where First Nations people and other locals have been opposing a gasfield for 10 years already. If you want to know more–check this out.
A LOT of us have written to SANTOS about this issue, me included. The letter that came back was pretty unedifying.
Some people have been putting up stickers. And a bunch of us dropped by to make our point more dramatically. With our banners!
Oh my. Some people, and all the ones I know about are women–have made a LOT of masks. Not me. I stayed out of it for a long while, and masks are still not required in my state, while they are now required in some other states. But eventually–I decided I needed to make some, and I got requests. The first ones were made from offcuts from a friends mother’s stash, and a short of mine that started out as a sarong, spent well over 10 years as a short, and now has ended up as masks and bag linings.
Next, some of the beautiful fabrics I bought in very small quantities in the Nishiki markets in Kyoto. In a different world, a couple of years ago! The ancestral hat elastic (made so it could be boiled!) joined contemporary hat elastic (hand wash only–hmm).
Remainders from a short I made, lined with pre-loved sheeting.
More fabric from Kyoto.
Some more of my shirt… These masks are 3 layers, the centre one made from fine silk.
Fabric left over from my mother-out-law’s frock, and some pretty ladybirds I could not resist… then mostly cut out in the right size fro lining rather than outer layer–uh, oh, user error!
Black linen left over after pants I made years ago (and below, their linings)…
And–some ladybirds. Thanks for the pattern to Craft Passion. She clearly posted mask patterns well before coronavirus came into existence, and has done so much to make them accessible. And if you are not too sure about the science on masks, feel free to go and listen to Coronacast and get the information from experts who know how to communicate. My masks have mostly gone to relatives and friends who live in places where they are required–and some more locally.
Goodness me, it’s been a while, gentle readers. It appears I stopped writing posts some time ago, with some still unfinished. So when this one seems to have been written in a different season–that is because most of it was!
I have had quite an amazing period of exchanges of gifts of late–and I’m struggling to remember when it began. Last week I got a query about whether I would like some bitter mandarins to make marmalade. I said yes! And left limes and lime marmalade in return.
That night I received a gift of onion and potato rolls. Delectable! I already had sourdough rising, so the next day I gifted the same friends a loaf of olive and rosemary bread. Next day, I got a message from someone who wanted to know if I would pick up second hand pots for re-use. They were in self isolation after visiting family, so I left limes and some more marmalade (I think we have made 5 batches of marmalade lately so we have plenty!) As I stepped out of my house to go on this delivery, I saw a little pot with seedling bulbine lilies from a nearby gardener who is excited to find I am a guerilla gardener. I’ve since potted them on, and will plant them around the neighbourhood in due course.
Next, I went to the Farmer’s Market, and had a chat with friends I’ve made quite a few pairs of slippers for. They gifted me a couple of grapefruit and some home-distilled hand sanitiser! That takes the cake, right? That night I scored a ponytail palm in a pot from someone in the local Buy Nothing group. I took them marmalade too, not that they were expecting it! And then the next night I got a call from a friend whose daughter needed a heater in a hurry. I bought this one second hand in the 1990s but hopefully it will do the job. That got hauled away this morning…
And this evening, I took a cowl in a bag around to a friend who had agreed to get it to someone else, who lost their cowl and was missing it terribly. I took mandarins and mandarin marmalade, and after a tour of the garden, walked home with a home grown bok choy and a green oak leaf lettuce.
I bought some ‘climate change scarves’ from Beautiful Silks a while back–items that had been damaged in the hurry and chaos of escaping flood. I am just going to assume that I don’t need to explain that the climate crisis is here already and the world’s most vulnerable people are the first to suffer. But if you would like to know more about how this is resulting in floods in India (where these scarves were made): here you are.
As winter set in I decided to dye one of these scarves for my daughter. First I mended the tear in one end using what I know as tent stitch (because I learned it when I learned how to mend torn canvas tents, as a Girl Guide)! Then I looked at the place where a fringe was doubtless the original intention. At first I thought, well, it is OK as it is. And then, I decided I could twine the warp threads to create the kind of fringe I’d prefer. After all, I know how to make string! I am sure I’m not as dextrous, skilled or fast as the folks who wove this beautiful fabric, but I did create a fringe.
Then it was into the dyepot ready for transformation. I have seen this scarf on her several times since so I am going to pronounce it a success. Eucalyptus has even made my mend look rather lovely.
I have accumulated scraps of knit fabrics that are precious–lovely, but also in some cases, expensive. And you know, I always want to use the last scrap, no matter what the fabric is! Anyway, I had the thought that I could attempt the Fingerless Gloves Master Pattern from Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
Unfortunately, I fell at the first hurdle, enlarging the diagramme provided by 317%. It was during the period when I was not going out, so when I could not arrange this I guessed my way through it. The first one was too small. It had to go to a very petite friend.
Soon, though, I had a workable pattern and found this was a great use for leftover fabric from my run of undergarments.
So, I started turning them out! I used up a long sleeved t shirt and a pair of leggings that a friend had given me to use, once she had worn them out. Perfect linings for two layer gauntlets!
Once my leftovers were gone, I had the thought that some of my long sleeved home made tops that have shrunk too much to be dignified… could be transformed into these.
It was quite liberating to give up those shrunken tops, which I have been wearing under other things, for years in some cases. I kept the hems where I could.
And, that’s not really the last of it! I’ve not taken photos of some, and others I have made more recently. Some have been made more recently still… I pieced some together from smaller parts! But it might be enough for now.
I have been astonished to realise that one of my friends who feels the cold profoundly has forgotten about the part where you wear a close fitting garment against your skin.
As a child, this was the way I was always dressed in winter–with a sleeveless underthing below my other layers. We called this garment a singlet. So I asked my friend whether she was wearing wool against her skin and her eyes popped. I went home and went to the dye pot with some knit silky merino. It dyes like a dream. I sewed the main seams with the overlocker and then hand finished the hems.
Here is the view from the back.
I made it nice and long, the better to keep her warm. She was so astonished by the difference this made, that I got a message asking how long she could wear it without washing it! So I made some more.
These two are both dyed with E Scoparia, but the two trees have very different leaves, as you can see. My friend’s beloved sent me a message to say she loves these so much she had created a gallery and hung them on the wall, and she is wearing them every single day. And feeling so warm!
In this period a clean up in the front room turned up a wool knit singlet bought from a chain store. Now, did a different friend buy it and give it to me to dye? Did I find it in an op shop and save it for later? Neither of us could remember, but here is the outcome (and I yes, gave it to her).