Saturday, March 23, 2019

Scratchy brown alpaca

I kept going with the green that I used with the green and blue in the last scarf - it is 30% angora and 70% acrylic. So I thought I would dye it - knowing that most of it won't take a dye. I used red dye, and ended up with brown, which I expected.

I hadn't expected that the core would be green but all the wraparound fuzzy bits would be red, although if I'd thought about it for two seconds I probably could have figured it out. The yarn used to tied the skein up was white, so that's the colour of the red dye on its own. 

I put it together in a sort of herringbone. There are four green, four brown, on the warp, and two green, two brown on the weft. So it is kind of a squished herringbone. It looks quite pretty, but it is unfortunately super scratchy. The wool on the ball feels quite soft, but the woven cloth is coarse and itchy. I still have some of the alpaca left but I might need to weave it together with something really soft to minimise the feel of it. 

And yes Pam I did do quite a bit of actual purchasing in my damp outlet shopping! A couple of shirts, a pair of jeans, a jumper and a lovely handbag. Actually it's a man bag but so practical ... can be worn across the body and big enough to take an A4 folder. I don't have a lot of time for prissy lady bags, although at least this man bag is a lovely cobalt blue. It was expensive but all my plastic Jakarta handbags are finally wearing out, so I thought it was time to get a non-plastic one. Like a proper grown up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Shopping in the rain

Not much going on here - I was feeling a bit unwell yesterday so stayed home and slept - back to work today and that is about the degree of excitement for the week. Number two son is doing a stand up comedy competition today that he has expressly forbidden us to attend ... and number one son is buried in preparation for test week that starts next Friday.

He had to be in Sydney on Sunday for the day so instead of just popping him on the bus like usual I volunteered to drive him - leave at 6.30 to get there by 10, and leave again about 3.30 to be home by 7. It's easy driving usually but Sunday it was PELTING DOWN with rain. Absolute torrents until we get about an hour from home, then it stops, because it never rains in Canberra, even when we need it.

Anyway the reason I volunteered was because he had to be in Alexandria, which mostly a light industrial area and has heaps of proper factory outlet stores. So I walked very damply from shop to shop with occasional cafe stops, and had a lovely day. There was no-one else about because the weather was so atrocious and many of the roads were flooded, which suited me fine. Contemplative bargain shopping, the best sort.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

More green and blue

I had a bit of the green and blue left over, so rather than put it back in the cupboard I put it on the warp straight away, and went and found another remotely-similar yarn to use it with. It is green, but that is possibly the only similarity.

It is an alpaca / acrylic blend from Ice, and is a bit fluffy, and a bit scratchy, and quite yellow-green. I thought it might be too fluffy for the warp but it was fine. Perhaps it helped just having it in stripes, along with the blue and green nice wool.

I did all alpaca on the weft. It is fine, but I'm not sure if the colours really go together well. I like the blue and green on their own better. The one below looks a bit too brown - the photo above is more realistic with colours.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

A long weekend with an extra day

It was the Canberra Day long weekend, so I did the traditionally Canberra thing and left town for the beach. They have fireworks for Canberra Day (Skyfire) but they have to have it the week after the long weekend because nobody is around to see it .... strange but true. So the traffic to and from the beach is appalling, but I got around it by taking an extra day off work, going down on Sunday morning and back Tuesday afternoon. This also gave me an extra day at home to ferry the children to their various social and other engagements.

Monday was overcast but I still had a lovely swim, and did some sewing. There was a little cloud just sitting over our beach. It didn't seem to deter anyone. This is a black and white filter on the photo - isn't it artistic? I thought you might all be a bit sick of boring photos of my beach by now. But it is so pretty I really can't help myself.

This is Tuesday, which was glorious. And incredibly peaceful because everyone had gone home or was back at work or school.... except for lots of happy retired people walking their dogs, or going for bike rides. I heard a burst of noise from one place I was walking past and there was a posse of retired people arriving at each other's house for coffee. Life Goals.

These photos have filters on them as well, although the sea was pretty close to that colour. Just beautiful.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Green and blue

I finally used a blue and green I dyed ages ago with food colouring. It is the 50/50 wool acrylic again, so it gives a nice mottled, almost pastel, feel to it.  This is deliberate dyeing - I tried to get the colours of the spring drive back from the coast. Most of the year it is yellow on the ground and grey in the sky, but in spring the ground is actually green, and the sky is actually blue. Sky-blue.

It is two of each on the warp and one of each on the weft, and so blends all together. The colours on their own are quite different. This is a winner in terms of drape and softness - I can never tell from the ball. On a ball it was quite unyielding, but woven up it's much softer. Weird. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

There and back again

I was in Perth for the first half of this week - fly all day Monday to do a day's work on Tuesday then fly all day Wednesday to get back home again. I like Perth and I don't mind travelling for work but it is an awfully long way. And then when I turned my phone on after landing it comes up with this:

It was really HOT with a really hot dry wind. Normally I'd go for a long walk to shake off the plane cramps but not this time! I wandered round a shopping centre for a while. That is fun too. So no dyeing, weaving, cooking or even reading to report. I watched two movies on the way over - The Wife, which I had very high expectations of and it lived up to them! Fabulous - and A Simple Favor which I had no expectations of at all, and it was very good. A bit silly but an excellent plane movie. On the way back I watched The Favourite and loved it! I had to google it for historical accuracy of course, but putting all that aside it was highly enjoyable.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Not at all proper dyeing

So I bought some cream fine cotton yarn to dye with my fibre reactive Procion dyes that I've been using for years on cotton fabric.

There is a right way to do this, and I do know what it is. You should put the balls into skeins, wash them to remove the residue, soak them in soda ash, apply the dye, batch for twenty four hours, rinse, dry, and wind into balls.

You should not just take the paper labels off and stuff them into plastic cups half full of dye and soda ash. You should not leave them in that dye for two weeks while you go down the beach. You should not then try and rinse them out, without success, so leave them a tub of water while you go to Cambodia for a week. You should not then try to dry them in a towel, realise they're never going to dry, and leave them on a plastic plate outside for a week while you go to Hobart. This will not work well.

I was aiming for a ball that was half dyed and half not, with perhaps a difference between the outer and inner of the balls. I actually dyed them all navy blue. I was hoping for an indigo look. Here is one half way through - like a used tampon from a very unwell giant.

But I wove with it, because why not. And the purple got less as I went into the balls, and even less after I'd washed it. It is light and summery, and strangely randomly blue, and I actually quite like it.