Monday, February 27, 2012

Golden yellow

And here's another dye that does what it says on the box - golden yellow! What a goldeny yellow it is. That's the end of the dyeing for now, I don't do any over winter because I tend to get unpredictable results. It's not winter yet - nowhere near! - but I won't buy any more fabric until the spring. Unless of course, it's really really cheap, because I cannot resist a bargain.

I haven't had much chance to do any sewing lately, with work and school and doing all the family driving. It's probably good to have a rest, I suppose ... and think about other things for a while! Politics has been highly enteraining in Australia at the moment with leadership challenges ... I have a great deal of respect for the current prime minister but I think I'm the only one. At least it looks like she'll get a bit longer in the job.

I can't write any more because number one son is leaning over my shoulder and commenting on what I write. I have already told him to go away but he is still sitting. And not helping at all :(

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Zig zags appearing

The zig zag effect between my shoo flies is taking shape! There are no seams to match ... which is great in some ways but in others it's really hard because you can't tell whether it's aligned or not just from the seam that you're sewing. So I have to pin, which I very very rarely do.

But it's a slow old business as the tedious banality of my life takes up a ridiculous amount of time, considering how little fun it is. Cooking, shopping, driving kids from place to place, cleaning up ... work at least is diverting although there are a couple of really interesting trips I can't make because I'm needed at home (see "tedious banality" above). I think I need to extend my brain in some way but it's proving a challenge finding something that fits into the schedule - I can see why the continuing education courses are stuffed full of retired people! Something to look forward to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I took advantage of the rain storms the other day to put my greens out to be rinsed once more, by Mother Nature. Green both literally and figuratively! (I take my jokes where I can find them, trust me, there's not a lot of hilarity round here at the moment).

Normally I just get the unmixed colours but I bought something called "bright green" with the last batch of dye powders, and here it is. Looks like bright green to me! Dye that does what it says on the box, ain't that something.

This is number two son hacking into the beautiful and treasured newly-dried and ironed green hand-dyes for some dodgy craft project (involving moshlings I think).

This is me trying not to mind.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I hate farmers' markets

Going to the local farmers' markets really gives me the shits. I love the concept of course. Locally grown seasonal fruit and veg direct from the producers. Who can argue with that? I also enjoy eating it - the quality is definitely better - and cooking seasonally. It takes some of the decision-making anguish away (always the most tedious part of cooking).

But the actual experience of shopping at the damn place? Drives me bonkers. Crowded with people moving very slowly and dragging enormous roller shopping trolleys, or dogs, or kids, or mountain bikes. Or all four. Fossicking through marginal stone fruit to put in one of those grotty baskets so you can carefully squash it into your earth-friendly calico bag. None of the scales they use to weigh it lets you see what the weight is, and every price is a suspiciously round figure. Do they round up or down? Who would know.

I'm only going because my husband's not driving yet and he LOVES it. He chats about tomato growing techniques with elderly nonnas who probably learned it on Umbrian slopes under the fascists. He remembers when the avocado people have driven down, if the nectarine man has started his picking, which grower has the best cherries. I cannot even begin to imagine how he finds this stuff out.

So this morning he's patting the dogs and chatting to the neighbours and sipping his freshly squeezed watermelon juice ... I drop the bags, stand on the plums, fall over the dog leads and say terrible things like "two dollars EACH?" and "why are these lemons covered in brown spots?". Over twenty years we have developed an excellent balance of who does what and who should avoid certain activities, and now I remember why.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trimming the flies

I've finished my 100 scrappy shoo fly blocks, and trimmed them all up to a [roughly] equivalent size. This was made much easier by my excellent christmas present from my dad - a rotating cutting board! How cool is this? I'd wanted one for ages for exactly this type of trimming, and it's brilliant. Yay.
I've cut the setting quarter square triangles - ten different fabrics to make the zigzags. I'm just making it up as I go along, but I think I've got it right, and it should look sort of old and scrappy-ish. The maths are slightly doing my head in, but I'm used to that.

Looking forward to the weekend! This drop-off kids / work / pick-up kids / cook / clean / go to bed business really eats into your sewing time ... back to sad reality for me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not nearly enough sewing

I can hear the siren call of the sewing room as I walk past it, with arms full of laundry, or filing, or stagger my way exhausted to bed ... I'm exaggerating terribly of course - it's just the last few days of holiday and there seem to be a million things to do and it's SO hard to get back up to speed! The boys are back at school tomorrow which everyone is really looking forward to. They went and saw the class lists this morning, and they have almost all their friends in the same classes with them, which is lovely.

The one-armed man is managing to beat me at table tennis, even with the injury. How humiliating! This is at our friends' house, but we're thinking this might be a very good idea for us. We can park the cars on the street .... Yesterday was a lovely warm day for a change so we went over for lunch and a swim. And what's good to do after a dip in the pool ... chasing chickens!!!! They were very docile little chooks and the kids completely fell in love.

But we're not getting any - one morning this week my husband opened the curtains downstairs and startled a fox on the pathway with a very dead chicken in its mouth. We haven't asked the neighbours, but the foxes rarely stop at one, so I think someone had a sad morning in the suburbs. And here's a good photo to post on the last day of the holidays!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dyeing quietly

I've been working my way through the white homespun I bought a while back - it's taking a dye really well. I find the fabric I buy wildly variable, even when it is labelled the same and costs the same from the same place. I haven't had any real failures - but some seem to take the colour with more intensity, and there is definitely a big difference when you go to sew them! But the variety is part of the fun I think.

When I folded my dyed fabric I realised that what I used most of are the saturated colours. I thought I might find a preference for yellow, or blue, but it seems that I have equivalent amounts of pale and muddy in every shade. So I'm trying to rebuild the dense colours with oodles of dye and letting it go down the drain (gasp!) rather than keeping on making paler colours. Sometimes I can't help myself though.