Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A plaid

When I did the sampler I really liked the green and black colours together, so I did a plaid scarf using them. I dyed the wools variegated, which gives more interest but muddies the effect of the plaid. I quite like it, but it might have been better with solid colours.

There is a website called plaidmaker.com, where you put in colours and fiddle around with numbers of threads and it shows you what the plaid would look like! Isn't that cool? And quite addictive.

I got a weaving book for christmas which has tricky lace weaves and other different stitches you can do even with just a rigid heddle like mine, so I am experimenting with that. Most of it is ridiculously time-consuming of course, but interesting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just sitting and melting

It's been a hot week here and we've just been sitting around melting, eating icy poles and keeping ourselves entertained. Number two son got Sims4 for Christmas so me and him have been playing that - we both love making little people and dressing them up. It's like dollhouses.

Number one son has been off camping with some of his friends in the state park about half an hour west of here. There was (rotating) adult supervision - my husband spent a night out there and said it was beautiful. Hot, but not as bad as in town, and nice to be among the trees. Millions of flies though, which sucked. The purpose of the camping trip was for one of my son's friends to make a zombie movie, which is an audition for some performing arts program, I didn't get the full story. Lots of make up and  running away screaming.

And here is my husband breaking in his new Christmas boots. Very stylish.

I'm not sure how much posting I'll be doing on the blog over the rest of the month ... we'll be out and about. And I can't even be in the sewing room at all in this temperature!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

At the beach

We've just had a lovely week at the beach - much needed at this time of year. Canberra is horrible - dry and hot and still and empty and boring. The beach is rainy and busy and noisy and fun. Mind you - when I say busy and noisy I mean in comparison with the rest of the year - we are not talking the south of France here. If I see more than eight people on the beach I think it's crowded. We did lots of swimming and went for lots of walks and watched lots of movies and read lots of books. We played Scrabble, and I won every time. I'm surprised they keep playing.

We had two forty-degree days which I've never experienced there. Usually you get a nice on-shore breeze that keeps the temperature reasonable, but it failed us this time and it was meltingly hot. Luckily the water temperature is still arctic, so we could submerge, get cold, come out, get hot, submerge, get cold ... repeat until beer o'clock. It was only a couple of days, and the change had come in by New Year's Eve, so the sandcastle competition was the traditional cool and drizzly weather.

It didn't stop number two son having a swim though. He is the speck on the far right.

For the first time we are renting out our house for the rest of the summer. Or at least we are trying to - we are going through the very pleasant but utterly unfocussed local real estate agents and they haven't quite got round to advertising it yet. I thought it would be nice to use a local business but it may be a mistake. The whole thing may be a mistake to be honest. We didn't really buy it for rental but we're not going to be down there and it seems foolish to say no to some income at the peak time of the year.

So before we left yesterday we shoved all our stuff into the lockable cupboard and scrubbed the house from top to bottom. Which it needed - in three years we hadn't quite cleaned out the freezer or washed the windows or wiped out the cupboards. So even if we don't see a cent out of it at least we'll have a nice clean beach house.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Using the variegated wool

Lots of weaving and no working going on here, which is rather lovely! We have had some scorching hot days but it doesn't matter because there is nothing we are trying to achieve. Excellent. So I turned the yellow / red / orange into a checkered scarf.

There are three different oranges going on here - one plain orange with white, one yellow and red, and one yellow and red and brown. The plain orange one is probably the least interesting. I really like how they work against the white. It looks a bit like chalk on pavement, or oil pastels. The colour changes work quite well with no great blobs of a single colour (except for the orange that is). I did a symmetrical warp and weft - two stripes of each orange, then a bigger white gap, then two stripes of the next orange. That is, when I remembered, there are a couple of oops patches.

I have an orange jacket that I wear to work sometimes when I get bored of black and charcoal; and this scarf looks perfect with it! I will definitely wear this one too, when it cools down again, if it ever does.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

 We had a lovely quiet Christmas just the four of us together.  I didn't make it to the church service on Christmas Eve  to see my son and his nativity play - I'm afraid it takes more than my son being Joseph to get me inside a church. But he enjoyed it and there was a big turnout.  I am not sure what flavour church it was - hang on I just looked it up - Anglican.  Although I think he said he took mass? that doesn't sound right.  Religion what a nightmare.

 We spent Christmas eating just what we wanted to eat, having chocolate at inappropriate times, and playing with our presents.  It was 32° for most of the day - still 27 when we took the dog for a walk at 8 o'clock at night -  so we weren't very active. I can't seem to upload pictures -I'm doing this on my iPad.  It's a shame because my husband got a new pair of Doc Martens and he wore them all day to break them in - with his shorts - it looked very cute.  Then in the evening we watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople which was a very lovely movie and today we had friends around for brunch and now we are all watching the Doctor Who special. Our own traditions!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Variegated wool dyeing

After having such success with the plain dyes, I've done some variegated dyeing with two or more colours on the same skein. There are a number of ways to do this but the easiest for me is to do a hot dye - where you bring the wool and water up to boiling then add the dye. It means that it strikes immediately, and if you add one colour to one side of the saucepan and another colour to the other than you get a variegated effect without too much blending.

I thought I'd start with ones next to each other on the colour wheel, so that if the dyes blended a lot it would be tonal (good) rather than sludge (bad). I did yellow and red. Here is the pan just after I added the dyes. It doesn't look very fancy at this stage. The red looks a bit crime scene.

Here are the skeins when I hung them up to dry. This photo makes it look like mostly red, but it actually has a lot of orange. One of them has a bit of brown in it as well (I was doing browns at the same time).

And here are some of the finished balls. It looks much better when it's wound up on a ball! There is yellow and orange and pink. I am adjusting to the idea of repeats, and what it means to have colours next to each other or widely separated. It is quite different for weaving than knitting - it might be better actually to have splotchy dots of colour in the saucepan rather than great swathes. I am not sure if that would work though, it might be a bit blendy. I will experiment further! The pale apricot one below is just using a single colour but deliberately with quite a lot of white space.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cotton dyeing again

Nearly a week since my last post - and that is because we have been lurching from social occasion to social occasion like drunk fat flies. I put on some work pants this morning and struggled with a zipper that I swear went up fine last week. Which is lovely, don't get me wrong, but it will be nice to have a quiet Christmas and some peaceful time when the gallivanting is over. First though we had the final day of primary school. You can probably tell that I was making the uniform last to the end of the year, regardless of growth.

It was raining. Orienteering went ahead regardless, and he actually quite enjoyed it, although mostly because they got to jump in puddles. I was late for the after school mum's champagne celebration because I had to take him home first for a hot shower and a change of clothes.

He also wanted me to dye him some t-shirts to wear for the festive season. Which is very nice, and of course I obliged. He picked out some of my fabric as examples of the colours he'd like.

I warned him that I wasn't very good at replicating colours .... and it was true. I missed the green by a country mile, but he says he still likes them, and has worn them, so it must be true! What a good son.