What is it about brioche knitting? I can honestly tell you that I do not know. It is all over the internet of knitters. There are designers who are all about the brioche. And there’s more. Like Stephen West’s videos of wildness. Brace yourself if you’re new to Stephen West. If someone had asked me if an over-the-top, camp, intensely colourful aesthetic could grip the imagination of thousands of knitters, I am not sure I would have seen this knitting phenomenon coming. But I love that it is even possible. If you’re curious, follow him on Instagram! But he is not alone–there are calmer, gentler, more quietly coloured brioche patterns and books out there too.
Then brioche started appearing in patterns I was proof reading. One of Kit Couture’s signature designs is a brioche jumper (sweater). I like it very much though I am not convinced it is designed for a person of my shape nor climate. But reading the instructions made me think I needed to try it out with wool to understand. I decided to try a hat to see if I could do it, and helpfully Stephen West has created one, and as a bonus, it uses up small quantities of yarn in a weight I use and spin a lot. I took this to Marion Bay. Oh, Marion Bay!
I didn’t finish it there, but in the end I finished it and improved my understanding a lot. Ta da!
Postscript: after I’d finished this hat and added it to my little stack of beanies, I had a call from a treasure who has some pet sheep. I either spin her sheeps’ fleece, or find people who would like to spin it and gift it on. This time she didn’t want yarn and I couldn’t figure out a return gift, until I suggested beanies. I left the whole beanie stash for her to consider when she dropped off fleeces, and this is the one she chose!
The winter plantings are continuing. Here I am setting out for the neighbourhood tram stop with the trusty bike trailer and a future sheoak grove tucked into a bucket.
They went in one by one, among the plants remaining from council planting, those that survived from my previous efforts, and some succulents another guerilla gardener has put in.
Little but lovely, I hope they will make it!
At the moment they are dwarfed by the platform, shown here as a tram stops.
Then I picked up the rubbish and headed home, watering can and pots ready for refilling!
Pohutukawa (Metrosideros Excelsa; known in Australia as New Zealand Christmas Tree) is a native plant from New Zealand, which is grown in Australia as a street tree, particularly in seaside locations. In New Zealand/Aotearoa I saw it growing right on the beach, gloriously. It is a hardy and beautiful tree. I came past dozens of them on Oaklands Road (a main road in the southern suburbs of Adelaide) yesterday and pulled over. I was immediately approached by some people who were looking for Marion Pool, so I gave some directions while I was there harvesting.
I was keen to try dyeing with the leaves of this tree because I’ve leaf printed with them on wool and found the colour almost purple. These leaf prints are on a strip of cream-coloured woolen blanket.
The leaves are green and glossy on one side and almost white and slightly fluffy on the back. One side printed pale green and the other, deep purply-brown. Or perhaps the purple part is in my imagination. These leaf prints were cooked with a set of eucalyptus prints, so for about 3 hours. It is possible a shorter time would be better for these leaves, though they are tough too.
Searching the web and Ravelry for clues yesterday though all I found were browns. Undeterred, I went ahead with two test dyebaths.
I cooked one with the leaves alone in rainwater and one with leaves, rainwater, and a trusty piece of iron pipe. I cooked them for an hour at a light simmer and left to cool and sit overnight. The olive green (or is it khaki) on alumed wool with leaves alone is interesting, but if there are exciting colours to be coaxed from these leaves, clearly I’ll have to try another method. For now, leaf prints are the best result I have achieved.
Leaves alone in rainwater (left) and leaves, rainwater, and iron pipe (right) with wool; wool + alum; silk; cotton).