Tag Archives: E Cinerea

Bags… you know how this goes!

I had another breakout of bags recently.  You know how it is with me and bags–I start one and make more than you can imagine! Some were made from offcuts, some from eco prints.  An entire pair of RM Williams pants that had made it to the bargain rack at the op shop met their new destiny too.

IMAG4787

Here they are with bag bodies and bag linings in position (mmm–mismatched seams in evidence) and (RM Williams) straps cut and stitched and ready to be stitched on, waiting for another day.

IMAG4788

This one was made from the offcuts of a shirt I made last year, and it found a new home very quickly as such a fabulous print should.  Hence the hurried photo.  A rather striking E Scoparia print went to the same happy home, but my picture of it was so blurred I have decided to spare you.  And here are the rest: a bark cloth print that somehow found its way into my stash second hand and well loved which is also currently covering my ironing board–and–leaf prints on cotton and silk.

2 Comments

Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Needle books

2017-04-03 09.15.11

A while back, I managed to find second hand woolen blankets, many of which were partly felted and sold for the warmth of dogs.  I am in favour of the warmth of dogs, but was delighted to take some home.  A couple have gone to the dye table where they insulate dye vats (today there is an indigo vat wrapped up in wool out there in the chilly morning).  This one, though, was a perfectly good blanket, if a little threadbare and dating back at least to the 1960s.  I can’t fit a whole blanket in any of my dye pots, so I had to take scissors to it in order to dye it, and this seems to have been a high barrier to clear.  Clear it, I now have.

2017-04-04 08.48.01

This piece dyed with E Cinerea leaves, (and a little of something else I don’t remember) has become needle books.  I left the edge stitching in position because I like it, then added my own blanket stitches in plant dyed threads. The string is hand twined silk fabric dyed with madder root.  I learned string making from Basketry SA and applying it to fabric rather than leaves from India Flint. She recently posted a video of stringmaking 101 here.  I know someone will ask, and the video is beautiful: it manages to convey the peacefulness of stringmaking somehow.

2017-04-14 08.51.54

One went to my mother.  She is on her way north for some months of warmth and adventure with my Dad (in Australia we call people such as my folks ‘grey nomads’). When they were over for dinner last week, Mum said she would like to take a project.

2017-04-14 08.51.29

She liked one of the projects I have underway and she soon had a version for herself!  I have a little stack of tins I have been saving to make mending kits.  She chose one, chose a needle book, and then I gifted her an indigo dyed bag to stitch on and some embroidery thread to stitch with, and some needles.  I hope she uses her little kit, but even if it was a passing whim, she will enjoy having it with her.  I’ll be keeping her company in some small way. Another needle book and mending kit went to my daughter when she was passing through recently and turned out not to have amending kit (!!)  The other needle books are destined for mending kits.  Their time is sure to come.

2017-04-14 08.51.04

7 Comments

Filed under Basketry, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Shawl dyeing

Dear and lovely readers, it has been a while.  I’ve been on holidays and blessedly away from the keyboard.  But it hasn’t all been holiday blessedness… I’ve missed you!  And of course, much has happened in our world. It is going to take a fair few posts to catch you up on what has happened in localandbespoke land since last I wrote. But that should be fun, yes? Welcome and thank you to those who followed the blog while it was sleepier than usual! Let’s count our blessings as we roll up our sleeves to face the times we are in with courage and among friends.

2017-01-04-15-29-00

A dear friend came to visit us over the holidays.  I met her in the peace movement in the 1990s and it has been my privilege to have her in my life through many changes in both our lives, since.

2017-01-04-15-29-50

I bought some shawls and scarves from Beautiful Silks last year and have been dyeing them as gifts. I decided she might like one and set about giving it layers of walnut leaf and eucalyptus. I had a fairly major fail on getting good images of it before gifting it away. Summer sun here can be pretty brutal! Pictures aside, my friend loves this big, snuggly piece of merino wool.

2017-01-04-15-29-41

It has gone to live at her beachside home.  She sent a lovely picture of it on her bed in a sunny room, with morning light flooding in and the rich colours of eucalyptus lighting it up in a different way.

2017-01-04-15-31-01

What a treat to be able to share these colours and images and touches of what is local and lovely to me, with people who live in other beautiful places, with other trees and other views. It’s one glorious opportunity to share the love in a tactile way. I hope it will give her joy when times are good and comfort when it’s chilly and times are less kind.  She is a woman of courage, persistence and such an awesome intelligence and wit! Long may she be surrounded by love and good company (and the odd snug woolly item)…

2017-01-04-15-36-12

10 Comments

Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Transformations: Towel to pot holders

There was just a strip of towel left from my previous effort in towel transformations.  One day I was looking at our very sad pot holders (we call them pot grabbers here!) and it occurred to me that we could have some new ones. Pretty soon I had two layers cobbled together from my towel ends.

2016-02-25 09.44.41

The old ones were made the same way and in the end I washed them and re-covered them. This one obviously had a moment in the flame, and a hard life!

2016-02-25 09.46.40

The first one got a new cover stitched by machine and hand finished with some embroidery thread that was a really good match!

2016-02-25 11.12.23

Done!

2016-02-25 17.58.17

The next one got a new cover with E Cinerea prints. You can see what an improvement it would be…

2016-02-25 18.12.12

Then finally, in a week focused on finishing things… and after my beloved asked if we would ever get them back…. I covered the final pot grabber.

2016-03-14 15.10.54

I know it’s traditional to have a loop or a ring on a pot holder’s corner.  Last time I sewed on curtain rings.  This time I have faced the reality.  We are slatterns who just throw the pot grabbers into the cupboard with the saucepans.  We have no hook for them and clearly we’re not bothered by its absence.  So here they are, done at last!

2016-03-14 15.10.37

 

8 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing

Experiments with E Cinerea

2016-01-24 16.25.58

It all began with a trip to the Adelaide Hills to visit a friend who had just moved into a new house one weekend.  On the way, I saw a massive E Cinerea with a huge variety of leaf types and sizes.  On the way back, we made a brief stop to harvest a few of the leaves overhanging a car park.

2016-01-24 16.26.17

That evening, we went to my parents’ for dinner, and I asked my father if he had any metal disks.  He helpfully offered quite a range of recycled washers and then asked a lot of questions.  I underestimated his interest in understanding what I’m doing and how he could help me out!  This led him to suggest bottle tops (up there for thinking!  Why didn’t I have that thought? Surely I have heard this idea before…).  He also offered me clamps.  He really felt that bulldog clips (my suggestion) might not be strong enough.  He had a collection of tired old clamps he didn’t want, so I chose some and headed home with all kinds of ideas.

2016-01-26 13.24.58

There was ironing and folding and general faffing, until I crammed all I could into the pot.  The pot, it must be said, is not designed for G clamps in large sizes and numbers.

2016-01-26 13.50.18

I like the results a lot, though when you try any approach new to you, there is always a lot to experiment with. Perhaps the bulldog clips would actually be better?

2016-01-28 19.50.05

In this piece the holes in the piece of metal I used have allowed the dye bath in to create dots…

2016-01-28 19.49.54

I tried some silk…

2016-01-28 19.51.13

And I love these strips, inspired by Jude Hill’s indigo moons. Only different.  I found myself wondering what shape I would really like to create, and answering with the thought that the shape of a leaf is very difficult to improve upon.  I love leaves so much.  The second round hit the dye bath in double quick time!

2016-01-28 19.51.37

 

22 Comments

Filed under Dye Plants, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Workwear for a suburban guerilla gardener

2015-10-27 18.50.54

Some months ago I had an idea.  I thought I would embroider my gardening shirt, or one of them. Once I had the idea, I couldn’t let it go.

2015-10-27 17.54.22

I had my beloved’s gift of Japanese indigo dyed thread and it felt so perfect for the job…

2015-10-27 18.50.34

But when I spoke with a friend about it she gently suggested that investing so much time and effort in something on the verge of falling apart might not be wise use.  She is a wise woman and gentleness is her way.

2015-10-27 17.44.02

I began thinking of the fabrics I already had, offcuts of linen, canvas and stout cottons.  It occurred to me that I had a Merchant and Mills pattern (The Top #64) that struck me as pieced, and that called for quite stout fabrics.  I thought over a kind comment here on the blog about using more than one type of fabric as a potential feature rather than a problem (thankyou!).  I started dyeing more fabric.

2015-11-06 14.51.31

And so two sets of offcuts from different generous friends found their way into various dyepots.

2015-11-06 14.52.18

I found that I didn’t have pieces big enough for the pattern pieces anyway–even with front and back each being made up of 4 different pieces of fabric, some parts of this garment were still pieced together from smaller segments.

2015-11-06 14.52.32

And now, here it is.  Embroidered with dye plants of the neighbourhood and the names of plants I have been propagating and planting.

2015-11-06 15.16.08

And a few other phrases of note.  There may be more yet to come!  And now you know how I came by so many scraps that I needed to Make patchwork as I went…

2015-11-06 15.16.21

20 Comments

Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

Bundle of beautification

I am still thinking about the difference between my toleration of ugly but functional things–and observing friends and companions at Tin Can Bay who instead, make everything within reach more beautiful. I have a perfectly functional merino underlayer that is a fairly ordinary shade of mauve, and as I wear it every week at this time of year, I have had it in contemplation.  I finally decided that the time had come, only to find a little ladder.  That was quickly mended with logwood dyed thread.  This picture gives a fair sense of the colour of the garment.

2015-07-21 07.52.25

I have mended this top quite a bit due to the monster season of m*th activity a year or two back.  The darns are in various colours, some quite tasteful.  These ones are still pale blue and pale purple, as they were after early washfastness testing in 2013.  I dyed these threads with plum pine.

2015-07-21 07.52.42

Others are a lot more random!

2015-07-21 07.52.30

Having darned over breakfast, I set out to plant boobialla and saltbush, with a plan about collecting dyestuffs.

2015-07-21 08.04.31

I feel sorry fr these plants going into such sad looking land…

2015-07-21 08.36.39

But I have not lost a single plant in this patch and if they all grow it will make such a difference.  Those that went in a few months ago are much bigger already.  Someone stopped as I planted and said ‘You are such a good public person!’

2015-07-21 08.37.16

Plants in, weeding done, I headed out to this E Scoparia.  It’s a beauty with particularly slender leaves. The people whose fence it overhangs don’t like it tickling their hair as they pass and resent it hanging over their fence.  So hard to understand!  I selectively cut to minimise their struggle with it when I want to use this plant. I make it shorter over the footpath and then trim the lowest hanging parts over their fence.

2015-07-21 08.45.20

Home again, home again!

2015-07-21 08.52.00

The tree is in flower, but the flowers are small.  Love those pliable red stems.

2015-07-21 08.52.48

I settled on a pot full of dried E Cinerea leaves.  This rainwater tank finally has rain in it again.

2015-07-21 08.54.50

Then for the bundling part…  I always think I’ll be neater this time, and then make the usual scruffy bundle.

2015-07-21 09.08.43

Some time later, the leaves have  had  a head start and in goes the bundle.

2015-07-21 15.45.33

Well, I think this is an improvement!  Here is the front.  The logwood didn’t really survive the dye pot very well, which works. The eucalyptus dyed threads have stayed their previous colours, but now blend in. The indigo dyed thread is still blue!

2015-07-24 09.37.35

And this is the back.  No regrets from me!

2015-07-24 09.37.47

22 Comments

Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Whimsically cabled socks

Socks take a little while to knit.  Maybe 20 hours or more of knitting for a pair in 4 ply (fingering).  To be honest, I’m not sure.  Needless to say, I don’t sit down and time myself knitting them. I don’t knit them on a whim, they way I do hats, which just sit about waiting for the right head to come by.  I want them to be well received and they need to fit in more senses than one.  So, a little while back, there was a tracing of the foot.  Then I checked the preferences of the intended recipient, ordered BFL/silk sock yarn, and dyed it with eucalyptus.  To get a good strong colour, I dyed the 100g of yarn in four dye baths.  These socks have travelled, because in those hours of knitting, socks-in-the-making are my constant companions, which is one of the lovely things about them.  I enjoy the knitting, and I enjoy holding the intended recipient in my mind for the time the knitting takes. Here is the first sock, and that week’s reading for theory reading group.

2015-06-12 09.26.58

They came with me to hospital to visit a complicated relative who had a near death experience, twice (she is still alive).  They may not have brought her comfort but they brought me comfort.  The second hospital visit was so dim I did something quite inappropriate and had to rip back a bit.  They have been to some high level meetings.  They came to a very informal meeting with a workmate which was interrupted by another knitter (otherwise, a total stranger) who was beside herself to see socks being knit right there in front of her eyes.  My workmate is a generous man who didn’t flinch!  I have walked along knitting them from my bag.  They have been fondled lovingly by the odd stranger.  I was getting to the heel of the second sock when I went to Sydney.  Here we are in a cafe reading political theory (with relish).

2015-06-29 16.27.06

In front of a sculpture at a university in Sydney where I attended part of a conference where my beloved did a wonderful job of presenting.

2015-06-29 14.14.56

In a hotel room with a banksia cone.

2015-06-30 09.55.45

Waiting for a bus outside central railway station in Sydney.  Ask not what the other people waiting thought of my photographing a sock.  There is a lot going on outside Central at night and no one blinked.

2015-06-29 20.57.55

Almost done at Coogee Beach.

2015-06-30 15.49.27

Maybe you wanted to see Coogee beach?  Glorious!

2015-06-30 15.47.39

Toe grafted and ends darned in, in the Sydney airport.

2015-06-30 18.35.39

Here they are in better light after a nice steam press!

2015-07-01 09.55.08

I hope that they will be snug and long lasting… (non knitters: that is a reinforcing heel stitch you see there).

2015-07-01 09.55.38

And I hope that the whimsy of these cables will tickle India‘s fancy the way it tickles mine!  This design was suggested by one of my nearest and dearest, who first told me about India’s work years before I first saw it.  He was the first to have a whimsically cabled pair of socks made by me… and now there are two such pairs!  It is an absolute delight to be able to turn the generosity back toward someone who has been so exceedingly generous to me.

2015-07-01 09.55.25

4 Comments

Filed under Eucalypts, Knitting, Natural dyeing

Eco-printed scarves

I was rifling through some of the wool and silk items that I packed away protectively during summer, (when clothes m*ths are breeding) and realised I still have three scarf blanks that were given to me by friends. One is a wool gauze, I think.

2015-06-22 12.11.24

One is probably silk scrim.

2015-06-22 12.11.42

And the other looks like a finer grade of still quite open-weave silk.

2015-06-22 12.11.08

I had an idea for how they might find happy homes, and after some days of wishing but not finding time…

2015-06-22 12.56.01

These leaves were collected in the neighbourhood as they fell from trees lining a driveway.  And of course, eucalyptus!  One pot had a madder exhaust in it, because madder is never really exhausted as far as I can tell.

2015-06-22 13.04.21

Out they came…

2015-06-23 07.56.41

The silk scrim will need another dye bath, I think. The other two made me very happy–and this is good, because I planned for them to be part of my daughter’s birthday present.  I tried a different folding and wrapping strategy on the wool and love the way it came out.  The tie resist marks were great–

2015-07-01 09.36.15

There are leafy parts and abstract parts, parts that are burgundy or grey-black and others that are more orange.

2015-07-01 09.37.16

I tend to get more muted colours on silk, and this was no exception.  Still lovely, and just as important in this case, different.

2015-07-01 09.39.34

I hope she will like them both.  She lives in a colder part of the country and she does love a good scarf.

2015-07-01 09.40.13

And now… they have been folded, wrapped, tied with hand made string and placed in the post!

2015-07-01 09.37.48

19 Comments

Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Himeji Gardens in autumn

I love the Himeji Japanese gardens, which are in the parklands that surround our city, on the southern side.

2015-05-30 09.53.35

I was passing on my way home from something, in the daytime, by myself (no passengers to convince)–so I pulled over and went in to see what I could see.

2015-05-30 09.46.11

The gingkos had turned yellow and begun to drop their leaves.

2015-05-30 09.44.29

The maples were in various stages of colouring and falling.

2015-05-30 09.49.26

The camellias had begun to flower (the same is true at home).

2015-05-30 09.50.00

The water features were as glorious as ever.  I managed to glean a few dead daylily leaves which made lovely string.

2015-05-30 16.51.16

I collected fallen leaves and the odd twig that had come down in the wind.  At home, I added prunus leaves from trees in the neighbourhood and some dried eucalyptus leaves… and rolled experimental bundles too.

2015-05-30 17.05.01

I love the maple prints on linen.

2015-06-01 08.57.23

The prunus leaves came out pretty too–and in some places I did get gingko leaf resist prints.  If you look carefully!

2015-06-01 08.58.02

This bundle was an experiment–maple/prunus/eucalypt on some gifted silk fabric.

2015-06-01 08.57.33

I tried woad leaves (and japanese indigo leaves and the odd soursob leaf for good measure) but clearly I’ll have to try that again!  The fabric is wet here and by the time it dried there was almost nothing to see.  On the other hand… the woad is leafing up, and my woad seed is germinating!

2015-06-01 08.59.31

 

11 Comments

Filed under Dye Plants, Leaf prints