Tag Archives: milky merino

The gauntlet series

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.


Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Milky merino and eucalyptus turtleneck

I was so excited by my recent winter wardrobe success, that I decided to go again.  So I made another turtleneck using the same pattern from milky merino.  This time, I made it longer than required. I’ve had serious shrinkage with this fabric–whether it was my carelessness or the fabric is yet to be clarified. I expect it was my carelessness… This time I used a red zipper from the stash, which looked pretty amazing on the undyed item, but apparently I took no photos. And either I followed the instructions on the pattern (just for something completely different), or perhaps it was luck, but zipper insertion went smoothly.

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Then I decided to sort out one of my spencers (long sleeved underwear for warmth). It shrank in dyeing as well as being perhaps a little short to begin with. It rides up, the reverse of what clothing worn for warmth should do.  So I added some serious length to it.  I love the dyeing on this garment–details here.  But it just wasn’t working for its intended purpose.

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I went out for a walk and then bundled up.

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The bundles came out of the dye pot looking splendid.

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The spencer came out a very good length and is much more useable.  I did prefer the print before, but this one is pretty lovely too.


Here is the new turtleneck.  I like it!  If anything it is a little loose.


The red zipper works fine.


E Scoparia is in bud, which also works well.


I tried a different folding strategy.  I love the colour and pattern, less sure about the location.  And now I am happily wearing my new top for the rest of the cold weather.




Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

How not to sew knits

Last winter, I believe… I bundled up this milky merino and dyed it.  Actually, I cut and dyed two different garments, and when I stitched the first one, I found the fabric had shrunk in one direction.  I think this was the appalling realisation that led me to put this garment aside for at least a year.

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One weekend a while back, I had a new sense of the possible.  If it has shrunk, waiting won’t make it grow back and I’ll just have to figure out what to do then, I thought.  I measured it against the pattern pieces.  I has indeed shrunk–but I pressed on.  I sat down to sew and that’s when I realised there was another profound sense of foreboding involved in my reluctance to start stitching this together.  Step 2 of Very Easy Vogue 9904 involves setting in an invisible zipper.  Suggesting Vogue’s idea of ‘very easy’ may have as much in common with mine as ‘the Vogue body’ has with my body shape!  I have applied a lot of zippers, albeit intermittently, but not into a knit fabric.  And not with any real pretence to invisibility.  I won’t catalogue all the things that went wrong.  I’ll just sum up by saying that sometimes a sense of foreboding is your subconscious letting you know–ahem, you don’t have the skills for this to go well!

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I set the zipper in by machine the first time and it was truly appalling.  In the end, I did it again by hand.  Decent!  I won’t bore you with all the missteps–in the end I hand stitched the hems as well, and I like them too.  Perhaps I should have dyed the thread, but I quite like the luminous stitches. I used dyed thread for the zipper after all the chat in the comments and so much practice sewing with embroidery thread.

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Speaking of which, right now… no wool garment story could be complete without darning.  Sigh!  I spoke to another friend who has been doing unprecedented levels of darning at her place this morning at Guild.

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In fact–I needed about six darns on this garment. Without washing or wear.

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Never before have I needed to darn prior to completing a garment!  But… I like the garment.  I would prefer it hadn’t required darning!  I’d make this pattern again, and the fit might be smaller than I intended and snugglier than I prefer… but it’s decent.  Even if it ends up being an underlayer, that’s better than staying on the chair where the moths found, it, not being finished!



Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Milky merino: Second effort

I decided to use the scraps from my milky merino to make a singlet for a small friend. One inspiration was the discovery of another E Cinerea nearby on a suburban street.  It is beautiful.


It is covered in new growth, whose leaves are larger and teardop shaped rather than the rounder heart shape that is usual for mature leaves.


I have to say milky merino is a glorious fabric to use for eco-printing.  It takes colour in a most spectacular fashion.  I bundled up one night and unbundled a day or so later.


I love the way the fabric took on a golden creamy colour where it did not absorb a direct print.


Action shot!


I created a pattern from an existing garment and set about cutting and sewing it from the fabric.


The finished garment is sooo cute, and so tiny I need to find a different recipient for it.  I should have recognised the difference in stretch between the garment I measured up and the milky merino…!




Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

Milky Merino: First effort

Last year, I managed (with a little help from cossack design) to acquire some milky merino knit fabric. I have been thinking that if I want to make all my own clothing I will need to learn how to make turtle neck, knit, long sleeved tops for winter and T shirts for summer (though perhaps it will be years before I wear out my current collection of T shirts–and people keep giving them to me)!  I decided to try a pattern I bought some time ago.  Then I managed to trace a pattern from a garment I already have and like to wear and cut one of those from the length of fabric I had as well.


I was feeling positively gleeful about the potential for two garments to emerge from this experiment.  Many other dyers–see examples here, here and here have had beautiful results dyeing this fabric.

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I’m delighted with these results.


I also dyed the little samples that came in the pack, neatly enclosed in my soup ball:




This thread has since been applied to a ‘beloved tree’ banner.


That was all very well.  I sewed my garment together, only to discover that I had succeeded in shrinking the fabric… and more in one direction than the other.  In the end, I gave the garment to a smaller friend and she adjusted it to fit her.  She looks wonderful in it!  Now I am building up my nerve to sew the second turtleneck together and see who that will fit!


Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing