Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still spinning

Here are some more balls of the homespun wool that I was working on a few weeks ago. I used the heat of the sun to 'cook' the dye this time, I was attempting to be all ecologically proper by not using the microwave and all that cling wrap. I put the dyed yarn into some recycled vegetable bags from the supermarket, then into a recycled black plastic shopping bag and left it in the sun all day. Well the colour came out paler than the microwaved lot and I have yet to see how permanent it is. The colour is actually not as vibrant as it appears in the photo. There is still a good bit more of the fleece to spin up so it is an ongoing experiment. I've decided to make it up as an adult version of the Baby Surprise jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman which involves 320 stitches on a circular needle. The iregularity of the colour tones won't matter that way. Who knows It might turn out an absolute disaster and have to be pulled out to make a blanket or poncho or something. Good old blankets and ponchos - saver of many knitting disasters.
Can you believe it's the weekend again? And Easter into the bargain. Hope yours is a happy and blessed one and please take care on the roads.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Scroll Saw effort.

Here is my one attempt at making a lacey design on the scroll saw. Our daughter has a romantic soul and I thought she would like it for a gift. It measures about 22cms (8 1/2 inches) and is cut from pine about 1cm thick. I'm afraid I don't have the patience that Joe (the woodworker) has. I had to drill about 32 holes for the saw blade, and fit the blade into each hole (that's 32 times), which was about as many times as I want to do it. Never mind 300 plus as Joe does. Anyway, I was pleased with the result and so was our daughter.
We went, with this same daughter, into Melbourne for the Annual Flower Show at the Exhibition building and surrounding parkland in Carlton (a suburb of Melbourne). It was an absolutely glorious day; you can't beat Autumn in Melbourne. The gardens and various other exhibits were inspiring and I am all fired up to get out and do something about the mess that is our back yard. With the more gentle weather we are having now I have no excuse and another weekend is upon us, so here goes.
Hope you enjoy your weekend. Bye for now until next time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Going home.

Dolly went home at the weekend, along with her two little pals. Here she is in her new dress. I couldn't work out what to do with her hair so just left it plain. Her owner was pleased with her.
Our son has his 44th birthday next week so we drove up to Bright to visit him.
Bright is a pretty little town in the Ovens Valley amid our Victorian Alps. We had our honeymoon there nearly 50 years ago. The whole valley is lovely no matter which way you turn, and before you ask, no I didn't take any photos. Can you believe I forgot to take my camera when we went out?
Just imagine lots of pine trees, oaks, poplars and elms, low density housing with cottage gardens, surrounded by mountains and Aussi bush and you've got it.
Coming back to metropolitan Melbourne, although I love it, was a startling contrast. And leaving our son wasn't easy either - with at least 4 hours of driving we don't get to see him and his lovely partner often.
Gotta go now. Hope your weekend was as delightful as ours. Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Present to Myself.

I've always wanted a pyrography tool with which to decorate wood projects - so this year I bought one for myself. So far I haven't had an awful lot of time to use it so the man of the house turned this platter for me and I made an effort. I confess I copied the flower design from a china plate in my cupboard, and the floral edging is the kind of thing I doodle when I'm on the telephone with a pen in my hand. Have you notice that people doodle the same sort of thing all the time. Some do crossed lines that wind up looking like the Union Jack, another I know draws little gallows with hanging stick men (macabre or what, is therapy indicated?). Mum used to do stars, and moustaches on any magazine photo that happened to get in her way, but I draw flowers and curved lines which become embelished with leaves. The doodles can come in handy sometimes when I want to use them for embroidery.
Anyway, how did I get on to the subject of doodles. Here is my plate. I gave it to our daughter thinking she could use it for cake, but she has put it on her wall for a decoration. Since it's hardly the kind of thing you can put in a dishwasher, that seems a logical thing to do with it.
Newsletter week this week so I'd better get to it. Bye for now until next time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

At last I've had a chance to try out the dying tips I learned a week or two ago. My computer and I have been engaged in hand-to-hand combat for the past three days, so messing about with anything that I actually wanted to do just didn't happen. Anyway, here it is. Its a bit blotchy, because I used the painted method which uses less of the dye product. I like it that way and am actually very pleased with the results. I used the microwave oven instead of boiling the yarn in a dye bath but I don't think I'll do that again as it uses a lot of cling film and new plastic is something I try to avoid. Next time I think I'll use the plastic bag (recycled) and a warm place method. Our Summer has gone, but I think there is enough heat left in the sunshine if I use a black plastic bag and leave it out for about 8 hours.
The two skeins on the right are my handspun, and the other two are a couple of balls of white comercial wool that I found in the op-shop. I was interested to note that the commercial yarn took the dye differently from the homespun. It's not so visible in the photo, but the yellow in the green seemed to come out in little patches, while the homespun is a more even shade. The colour is called Daintree green, by the way; for overseas bloggers, the Daintree is a particularly lovely rainforest part of Queensland in Australia. I haven't the least idea what I'm going to make from the yarn; the spinning and dying was the fun part that I was looking forward to. I still have 6 skeins to colour; by then I might have some ideas. I'm off to grab some needles now to see how it knits up.
Bye for now, until next time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nature doing what she does best.

Back in September I showed you a picture of a pile of logs which was all I had left of my lovely big wattle tree, after a particularly violent storm which blew it down across our driveway. Well I was mistaken. For a few weeks now I have been watching some green shoots sprouting from the roots of the tree, which we hadn't removed from the soil, and sure enough, it is the wattle tree making a determined effort to reproduce itself. The leaves are soft and new but they are definitely the wattle leaves of this tree. Now I am waiting and wondering if it will produce its lovely sunny blossom in late winter. Isn't nature wonderful? I am also marvelling at the Plumbago bush that is growing by our garage. Every year I cut it back drastically to about hip height and hardly anything more than a bundle of stalks and each time it bounces back. I never, never give it water and we have some pretty nasty heat, yet here it is, at least five times larger than it was and a mass of little blue flowers. What a rewarding plant. With that and good old pelargoniums I can always be sure of some cheerful colour about the place.
Hope everyone out there in Blogland is enjoying the best of what nature has to offer. And if you're local, I hope you dodged the weekend storm damage.
Bye for now until next time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Day At The Show

Along with a few other woodworkers, the man of the house and I spent last Sunday at the Berwick Show. We have our own little corner at the end of the shed that houses rabbits (dwarf ones and some huge) and rats (the friendly pet kind). So there we were opposite the lapidary display. We usually have someone working on a lathe, and someone else using a scroll saw. I was one of the someone elses. We cut out little animals to give to the children who come to watch and sometimes there can be quite a queue waiting while we cut a toy for them.
Joe had a display of his work - there's a new little trinket box and he tells me he's working on some horses pulling a carriage. I'm looking forward to seeing them.
I got some hints on dying my handspun, from a lovely spinner from the McLellan Spinners, and finally got to see the Baby Surprise Jacket from the Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. Can't wait to get my needles and try one. Here's a picture of Joe's trinket box.
I'm coming to grips with my new computer - goodness it's different - but today is vaccuuming day so I must be off. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Bye for now, until next time.