23 February 2008

oh yes. more dyeing.

skein blue 1

For your viewing pleasure, we have 150g of 8ply alpaca blend (50% alpaca, 50% wool). Wound into a very long hank as you can see below, using the entire length of my dining table. Dyed with a range of blues, and one short burst of purple and another equally short burst of rust red. This was an attempt at self striping yarn, so we’ll see what happens.

skeins unwound

The other hank is 100g of 8ply tweedy wool. It was originally a natural beige colour with a fleck of black and sticky out thready bits. (That’s tech talk for the yarn fans amongst you). I wound it into a short skein and mixed the colours into a series of lovely autumnal hues – a combination of murky browns, olive and forest greens, and rusts and oranges – and painted it on in chunky bands.

Here are both all wound up into neat skeins (just like bought ones, as my mum would say).

skeins autumn and blue

Want a closer look?

skein autumn

Of course you do.

skein blue 2

My camera must pick up red because in real life the red is more subtle and the overall impression of this skein is blue with a very occasional ping of red. I have no idea what it will look like knitted up; I’m just having fun trying all sorts of permutations.

skein blue close

I’m definitely improving at the twisting into a storage/display skein. Very professional looking. I can even do it with my eyes shut. (Kidding).

Hey, I ought to name my colourways like the big kids do, shouldn’t I?

Or let you?

Yeah ... have at it.

22 February 2008

rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb with bonus update

sunrise with mist wisps

[Insert text totally unrelated to sunrise shot]. So. This morning I went to an unfamiliar salon and asked for a haircut. The woman was a tad more goth-like than I am generally comfortable with when it comes to people with whom I’m trusting aspects of my appearance. And when she used the words "lovely" and "silver" in the same sentence when referring to my hair I thought hmmm, doesn’t augur well. She then tried to make up lost ground by declaring me to be surely not old enough to have a baby, and when I mentioned that said baby recently turned fourteen, she dropped the scissors on the floor. It was at this point I noticed her hands had a distinct tremble.

Again with the not auguring well, etc.

But! It’s actually a great cut. Of course I may take that back tomorrow when I’m wrestling with the hairdryer and trying to style it myself. I’ll let you know.

Later in the afternoon I removed all yesterday’s newly purchased op shop yarn from the freezer (24 hours in the freezer kills any moths, apparently). I took a photo of the youngest child’s new gap-toothed smile. I collected some undyed sock yarn from the post office. I shrieked at a huntsman on the kitchen window.

I tell you it’s all go around here.

Look. I finally found the glass butter dish I’ve been searching for in op shops for two years now. I knew it would turn up one day. Isn’t it beautiful?


In other news, I’ve been very domestic lately on my days off.

bread rolls

Bread rolls, and nectarine chutney …


… there is nectarine jam too, unphotographed as yet.


Pears from a friend’s tree. Some eaten fresh, others became pear and ginger crumble.

green mitts

And man-sized green fingerless mitts from my hand dyed green yarn. That’s my hand up there, valiantly trying to appear bigger than it is in order to show off the lovely 5 x 1 rib pattern. I had no male model handy. Hahaha. Shut up.

That’s your lot for today. You know I’m spouting all this trivia to break up the dye-obsessive posts, don’t you?

Sueeeus arrives on Monday! (Cue lots of dusting and de-moulding the shower tiles this weekend).

Saturday update: a) the haircut is not quite as spectacular today and b) this morning I cleaned the shower tiles so vigorously that three of them fell off the wall. Oh yeah it's real pretty now.

21 February 2008

Having so.much.fun with this dyeing thing

Can't.stop.dyeing. Anything that stands still for more than a few minutes gets thrown into the dyepot right now.


skeins rainbow

The skein on the left was dyed using the method noted here. The skein on the right was done on the stovetop using the method outlined in this great tutorial, in my new (from the op shop) enamel dye pot.

dye pot op shop score

It doesn’t show up well in the photo, but the pot even has a pouring lip on one side. I was beside myself with glee when I spied this at my local op/charity/thrift shop. And it’s black, so I feel like a proper witch with my very own cauldron. I already own black lace up boots so am cultivating the wild hair now.

The hand painted method give you more control of the placement of colour than the stove top method, but I’m pleased with both skeins. The stove top skein resulted in more muted colours and the dye didn’t penetrate all the way to the centre of the skein, so I either didn’t tie the hank loosely enough, or I was too timid in my gentle stirring. I was terribly afraid the wool would felt if I moved it around too much in the hot water. It’s all part of the learning curve. I think I’ll stick to hand painted dyeing, but wanted to mention the other method here as several commenters bemoaned their lack of a microwave.

Some other resources I found useful were these tutorials on dyeing here, here, and here. For Australian readers, bulk food dye can be purchased online here while undyed yarns (including sock yarn, yay!) are available here.

The skein on the left went to Perth last week in a parcel along with these …

apple cosies

The skein on the right is on my desk where I can rub it over my naked body and inhale its sheepy goodness admire it while waiting for my Olde Worlde Internette to load.

I have more skeins dyed and ready to show off, but I have to go get dressed and do some work now.

Until next time, yarn porn fans gentle readers.

In other news, Son #3 wore the cape and crown at school this morning. Sigh … nine years old.

13 February 2008


This morning at 9.00am, I sat in the warmth of my car outside the children's school. I ate a breakfast bar (recipe from Nigella), watched the cockies play in the gum trees, and listened.

It felt really, really good.

Today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We, the Parliament of Australia, respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered, as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.


10 February 2008


So. Sarah tagged me with a meme that has seen me shut away in here for hours, perusing my archives. Having sooo much fun. I used to talk more and knit less on this blog, didn’t I?

Anyway, the rules:

Link to your five favourite posts from your blog.
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about.
Link 4 must be about something you love
Link 5 can be about anything you choose.

1. Family. How to choose just one post? There was the first birth story, in which I had to assume a porn name and dodge boot scooters in between contractions; that was fun. Also, I can’t forget the second child’s birth story. And here’s that innocent wee babe some time later. My, how the innocent have fallen. There was no third birth story on the blog, because third children are always forgotten and neglected, poor waifs. However it is his birthday in ten days, as he reminds me each morning, so perhaps I’ll finally write his birth story. It was a tad more dramatic than the others which is possibly why it’s still in my head, not en blogge.

2. Friends. My friend L. (I do have other friends, I’m merely trying to be brief after breaking the rules totally in #1).

3. Me. You could read my 100 things about me over there on my sidebar. There’s also this. For those of you who clicked on that link and are totally bemused, here’s the explanation of goodbye and gobblers.

4. Something I love.
Hmmm, I love falling asleep at going to the opera and getting drunk at hearing fine orchestras (and owning unusual dogs). I like words and cultural differences. I also quite like singing.

5. Anything I choose. Well, I can’t go past the penis post, now can I? (Bet you all clicked on that one).

Bonus post: remember last week when I posted the how to dye yarn info and said it was my very first tutorial?

I lied.

I’m supposed to tag five people but I’m reluctant as usual. If you want to do this meme, please be my guest.


7 February 2008

More pictures and slightly more words - updated with winner!

More laundry.

class 3 pencil cases
Pencil cases knitted by Son #3’s class last year and doled out to four or five mothers to sew up, add a calico lining and a button. This was my lot. A prize to the first person to guess correctly which one is my child’s.

Update: we have a winner! Frogdancer guessed correctly, 12 minutes before the next correct entry from Tut-tut, that Son #3's pencil case is top left. All oranges and reds. Froggie, please email me your details and I'll send you a prize. What, I have no idea. I'll think of something.

(Bonus points go to Stomper and Ilse for their creative comments!).

pipy spinning wheel
The most generous gift ever. And totally out of the blue. She nearly left it on my doorstep but thought she’d better ring first to see if a) I was home [yep] and b) if I wanted it [is the pope Catholic?]. Quite amazing really, because one of my two new year’s resolutions this year was [Re]Learn to Spin. The other was More Hammock Time (hasn’t happened yet …)

Thank you, thank you dear Shula, she’s beautiful. I hope I can do her justice.

Oh, for those wondering, she’s a Pipy. Scroll right down.

rain lanterns
Happy Chinese New Year.

Go on, make a resolution. You know you should.

6 February 2008

simple pleasures

I'm low on words this week. So some recent pics from my days.

Dawn, the other morning. Mist in the valley.


The passionfruit vine is heading for the shed roof.


Stewed apples and plums for breakfast.


3 February 2008

making my day


I took this picture of my cranberry scented candle and immediately decided that my blog needed to be duck egg blue and bloodplum red once again. So, gone is the pea green and I’m very happy to be back with my favourite colours.

I also took the picture because I find it hard to blog without a photo.

Anyway, we interrupt this week of dye-happy posts to do what everybody in the blogosphere has been doing this week, and bestow those You Make my Day awards. I was trying to avoid this, not because I’m ungrateful, but because deciding on a mere ten blogs that make my day, out of the huge number of blogs I read these days, is an impossible task.

However, I can avoid it no longer because some very lovely bloggers gave me a You Make my Day award. KT and kt, thank you! You made my day. And then, before I could respond, Shula, Ashley, Betty Bluebell, Daysgoby and Sooz all gave me one too. Now I’m embarrassed. And will quickly nominate my ten and shuffle away, blushing furiously. Thank you, all of you.

The instructions to this award say you must give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland.


You all know many of my regulars, my little circle of ongoing conversations. I’ve linked to them at various times over the past few years, so here I introduce to you some other blogs I may not have mentioned before. They’re an eclectic bunch. And each of them makes my day when I read them.

Sue over at fiveandtwo is a regular read. An op shopper extraordinaire, mother of five, fabulous photographer and amazing craftswoman. She lives in a rural town a couple of hours away. I hope to meet her one day.

b i g and l i t t l e. Another fabulous photographer and mother of four. Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. Living close to nature, homeschooling and enjoying mothering a baby girl after three boys. I live vicariously here.

Lene at dances with wool is the most incredible knitter in the blogosphere in my opinion, and I read a lot of knitting blogs. She also lives in the arctic circle which makes her extremely far away and exotic.

Kris from garden variety lives in Tassie, juggles a career, two rather gorgeous daughters and a fabulous garden. She writes honest, thought provoking posts that make me nod along sagely, wishing I could articulate my thoughts in such an erudite manner. Heck, I wish I just had articulate thoughts most days.

Honeyflake is a new-to-me blog. Recently I branched out and found a whole lot of new blogs, many of which are on Typepad, lots of white space, American women, great photos and lots of crafts. Many of them seem to be called Erin. Or Eren. Most of them are gorgeous and make me want to switch to Typepad (but I’m a tightarse, I won’t pay). You all know them I’m sure. This one isn’t called Erin (I don’t think, as I said, I’m new there) but I like her style more than most. Pretty photos. (There’s that theme again).

Siri is my knitting guru. She churns out a pair of socks every couple of days, homeschools her two boys in remote Montana which looks so like my 1982 home in northern Idaho that it makes me homesick for a home I only had for a year, fills her blog with pictures of knitting and nature and I adore her. She doesn’t know me from a bar of soap. I worship from afar.

Carson at needle's edge. She’s Australian, a sensational knitter, beautiful photographer and she makes me laugh. She also puts George Michael songs in my head but I forgive her.

Victoria’s blog dear meagan will make you feel all homespun and warm and good inside. Another rural mother of five, Victoria makes quirky art and goes to the op shop. I think her husband’s a priest or something. She’ll correct me in the comments if I’ve stuffed up totally and offended. She’s really young so she thinks 1970s and 80s stuff is cool. She didn’t have to live through it. You’ll like her.

Liz from Quiet in the Stacks just makes me laugh out loud. A librarian with a husband and dog. Sounds hilarious right? Right. She has pretty hair too.

Melissa over at tiny happy (a blog I still occasionally confuse with Amy’s happythings because I am vague like that and look, I just gave you two for the price of one because happythings makes my day too) is a New Zealander just recently moved to Norway. She’s a marvellous craftswoman, has two littles and did I mention she lives in Norway? Norway! I’d like to have a cup of tea at her place and gaze out at the fjord. Yes, a fjord outside her window! Looks cold though.

And finally, a bonus for you. I’ve told you before to read firstperson thirdcat and really you should, you know. She doesn’t do beautiful photography very often but I like her nonetheless. She writes like an angel and she now has a beagle puppy. You should also go wish her Happy Birthday, because it will be in ten minutes time when I finally post this.

(God, I just re-read that and it sounds like thirdcat's photography is ghastly. It isn't. What I meant was she doesn't do any kind of photography very often. She writes). It's now past midnight here so she's officially 39. Go do your stuff, people.

(Whew, that took hours).

2 February 2008

It's addictive, this hand dyeing business

Totally addictive. Last night I was awake at 3.00 am pondering the effect that would result from painting skeins of yarn lengthwise, rather than in horizontal bands.

I haven't tried it yet. Does anyone know what it would look like? I'm considering unwinding a ball of commercially dyed sock yarn into a skein, to try and see how those clever self patterning designs work. That's how deep I'm in. Sad huh?

In the meantime, I went for solid colour.

green yarn

These skeins were wound from three balls of a rather ghastly beige 12 ply worsted from the op shop.

Son #2 and I dyed them, using the method described here. I love their delicious mossy greenness. To me they’re reminiscent of Tolkien’s forests; all rich and velvety to the touch and oh so luxuriously green.


Some of the yarn was knitted up into this elfin baby hat, part of a commission from a friend.


The rest of it is on the way to becoming a pair of fingerless mitts for the boy who participated in the dyeing with such enthusiasm and delight.