Thursday, February 21, 2019

This is lovely yarn

It turns out you really do get what you pay for when it comes to wool. This is some Misti Alpaca variegated laceweight that I bought from an actual wool shop in Canberra, and a beautiful silk merino blend that I got from Ice. The silk merino isn't quite as gold as I thought it would be, but still pretty. And the alpaca is beautiful. I wasn't sure how they would be on the warp, because they both have a bit of fluff, but it worked well. 

I did stripes on the warp and alternated one row of each on the weft. It is very soft and light and lovely.

And I still have some of each left over!!! I will have to think of a project for them - perhaps not the two colours together again because I think the gold drained some of the prettiness out of the variegated one. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Shoe polish, and ancient history

On Sunday I polished five pairs of my black shoes. This doesn't happen very often, so I took a photo as proof. They are not very shiny because I really can't be bothered buffing and buffing, but much cleaner than they were.

And this was the cloth that was used to buff them up with. A t-shirt. An old concert t-shirt - Hunters and Collectors 1993 New Zealand tour. Hunters and Collectors are an Australian band, and my husband is a massive fan (I'd never heard of them before I met him) so he went to the Wellington concert of course, back in 1993, and bought the t-shirt.

So I dug out the old photos because I knew that this favourite t-shirt made several appearances. Here we are on holiday in May 1993 - we went back to Brisbane to see his family. I am wearing a Crowded House t-shirt (although I have never been to one of their concerts, so god knows where I got it from) and a super trendy rock-with-a-hole-in-it necklace. And can you see why my boys have red hair? They had no chance of any other colour, poor things.

Both these photos are on the Sunshine Coast where we went for a day trip with his parents. I am now also wearing highly fashionable John Lennon sunglasses. Look at us, so young and bouncy... 

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Back in November I dyed some skeins I found already tied up in the cupboard. Blue and black, because I had some in those colours still in balls, so I thought I would use them all together. And I did! And it is lovely, even if a bit mottled. There are blue stripes, and black stripes, and one that has a tiny bit of turquoise. Not an artistic decision, a logistical one based on what was in the drawer.

I put it on a 10 dpi heddle, and it was lovely to weave and made a nice soft scarf. It's still a bit scratchy compared to some of the blends that I'm working with - it's 100% wool which is good in some ways but not as soft as some of the more expensive wools, or when you put a bit of quality acrylic with it. Or mohair, or silk, or alpaca or one of those lovely things.

It lost a bit of colour when I wet finished it, but honestly, about the same as the commercially dyed skeins. I haven't had one single scarf not lose colour with a warm hand wash, no matter where the yarn came from. It makes me feel better about my home dyeing.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Like a substitute teacher at clown school

Which is how number two son described me when I asked him to take photos of me in the new shirt I'd made. In his defence, I had said "could you take photos of me in this terrible shirt I made, it looks ridiculous". I would like to think that if I'd said "could you take photos of me in this wonderful new shirt I made, I'm so proud of myself" he would not have made that comment. But you don't know. Teenagers can be cruel.

So the concept was sound - a loose, cotton shirt in a fairly neutral print that I could wear with jeans as a step up from  t-shirt. But it looks stupid, like a weird kimono / pyjama top. The cotton is a lovely heavy soft fabric, but was way too solid for this type of oversized shirt.

I even made it all totally properly - hand-stitched the yoke facing, pleats and plackets on the cuffs, the whole enchilada. I'm going to put it through the washer and dryer a few times to see if it softens up at all. There might be a dressing on the fabric that makes it stiff ... but I'm guessing not. I'm guessing it's just one of those disasters that seemed like a good idea at the time. Never mind, I quite enjoyed making it, between swims.

Practising my modelling poses or showing off my cuff pleats? You decide.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Beautiful beach weekend

It had been too long away from the beach for me, so I went down last weekend on my own and had a wonderful time. A massive storm came through Friday night with great cracks of lightning, torrential rain and hail; no damage done and quite spectacular. And then the rest of the weekend was just beautiful. There was a huge swell on Saturday - perhaps from the storm? I don't really know how waves work - so I got a couple of excellent swims with my boogy board. Caught some big waves ... or big for our little beach, which doesn't really get big waves. There were a few people on the beach but not heaps.

I sewed a bit, read a bit, watched Russian Doll on Netflix which I enjoyed a lot. Number two son had watched it and said it was quite "adult" (!!!! drugs and sex mostly, not entirely appropriate for a fourteen year old but what are you going to do) He got suckered in and had to binge watch all eight episodes, and so did I. 

This is a sunset shot. We don't usually get the sky reflected in the water quite as perfectly. It was very pretty.

And much much nicer than Canberra yesterday which had horrible winds and a hideous dust storm. There is normally a city behind that red haze. The winds blew over several large trees, and the red dust was on everything. Worse air quality than Beijing apparently! Back to lovely blue skies today, although the outdoor furniture is a bit grimy.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Linen wool blend

I can't actually remember why I bought this from Ice, I suspect it was on serious sale. And it didn't look at all attractive on the website, or even in the ball, but it wove up just beautifully.

It is very fine, so I set it reasonably close, and it turned out light and soft, but still with a bit of heft. The little random flecks are nice, and give it a bit of interest. It is 60% wool, 25% viscose, 12% linen and 3% polyester. It is quite likely that the coloured flecks are the polyester.

It was very soothing just to make something from all one type of wool, and see how it weaves up on its own. I am not sure what else I would put it with? Something soft, definitely. I still have four balls left, so plenty of room for experimentation.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The new enthusiasm

I've mentioned before that number two son has all-encompassing enthusiasms. They can last for weeks or months or years, there can be several at a time, and they always seem to involve considerable on-line shopping. And we are never quite sure what it's going to be. Thomas the Tank Engine was probably foreseeable for a four year old boy, and Doctor Who for a seven year old boy, but the Great Washi Tape explosion came out of a clear blue sky, as has the latest one. Succulents.

Yep, he's started indoor gardening. This is the top of the chest of drawers in his room. Did you know you can buy succulents on-line? I was not aware of this until they started arriving in the mail. There are little cutting nurseries on the outside table from plants we had in the garden.

He has also cadged cuttings from elderly neighbours when he's walking the dog, and bought them at farmer's markets. Somewhere there is a carnivorous plant. We are absolutely encouraging this hobby, especially because you can leave succulents for weeks at a time without watering, and some of them are very pretty.

I have been including the boys less and less on this blog as they get older, which is the right thing to do I think, but honestly they do quite as many interesting and strange things as teenagers as they did when they were toddlers. Number two son makes himself a large iced coffee every morning, puts it in a cup with a straw and carries it to school. Every morning. Strange....