One of the things that made blogging less attractive this year was that there were periods of being conscious that we in South Australia had a long period of pandemic luck and consequently, freedom to do things–that was not being shared by loved ones and strangers very close to home–let alone by people in the rest of the world. This is a sock in progress, the first time I went out to a cafe after many months.
Here it is again, on a bus after a long time of no public transport. Unlike all those who lost work in this period, I was offered a few weeks of work, and I see from the trousers in this picture that I am on my way to work rather than being my usual scruffy self.
This is the day I walked the grandbub to sleep in the pram, and then sat in the park for two hours while she slept. That’s how precious the naps of the grandbub are, my friends! My beloved is such a treasure that she responded to a call after some considerable time in which I enjoyed the park, basked in having had any role in the nap at all, and admired the sleeping sweetheart, the trees and the birds… and brought my knitting to me so that I didn’t need to move the bub.
Here they are, ready to be an early birthday present for someone who treasures her handknit socks. They are the latest in the scrap socks odyssey, and happily the recipient likes them. And for those who like details… here are some!
The “DIY baby shoes that are too cute to pass up” pattern from Spoonflower is just as good as its name. My daughter is so keen, this is my second attempt to grade it up a little to fit growing little feet. Also, she loved this fabric so much, this is #2!
This attempt was a better fit (despite them looking so little alike, *cough*), so here is another pair, made from pre-loved jeans fabric.
I did a little embroidery, and raided the stash of leather scraps and samples for two more different-coloured soles!
Progress shot of the hardest part, getting them right-side-out.
Out in the thyme patch.
In the sand pit! (this pair came to an early and appalling end, but they did their job, protecting precious little feet)…. the denim pair are clear favourites at the moment. I have been highly entertained to hear my daughter refer to them as “the Van Goghs”!
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.
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).
I made another pair of soft shoes, with leather scrap soles from the stash, and a nice old pair of tracksuit pants providing insulation. I guess-graded up the Spoonflower pattern to the growing foot of the grandbub…
These seemed to be some kind of sample–each labeled with a colour, like a paint swatch card! I figured the bub wouldn’t care. The outers are little scraps from a hand printed table runner I bought at Oxfam and converted to a beautiful bag. Now the final scraps have gone to a lovely use too.
Here is the second pair, created entirely from leftover yarn, for the son of a friend. And here is the #tuffsock version recently finished and sent on its way to a happy new home where I thought it would be welcomed in all its wonky glory…
I used to be amazed to realise that other folks could tell the difference between madder and eucalypt dyes just by looking from them. I have recently realised that now I can too (or, at least sometimes).