Friday, May 28, 2010

Colours of May

We have had beautiful autumn days recently but there is a definite chill factor happening.

autumn tree

Flynn and autumn

Making the most of the sun’s warmth before it disappears into the winter miasma.

Baker's Oven from Sherbrooke

The sea is its usual unpredictable self but generally on the blustery side.

Bulls in fog

Foggy morns.

Looking over Po's dairy 1

Cooriemungle vista with added sunshine.

Simpson bush

Bush patterns.

Check out other bloggers who are contributors to the COLOUR OF THE MONTH run by Sue over at LIFE LOOMS LARGE and join in if you wish.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The birds are not sharing

parrots in apple tree

This was the start of it and now the apples are all gone with the crimson rosellas getting much more than their fair share. Probably would help if we netted properly.

Alpaca project – a skirt in the making

Alpaca project - weft thread

Wound onto the bobbin and ready to go. The story of this yarn can be found here. It is the weft yarn, 100% alpaca and hand dyed, while the warp is 100% tough wool and also hand dyed to one of my favourite green shades.

Alpaca project - skirt layer weaving 2

The reason for the tough warp is WEAR. The cloth is going to be used to make a skirt and a cute one at that I hope!

Alpaca project - skirt layer weaving

It is more warp faced than I expected but I like it. The skirt will have two tiers, the next cloth to be woven being a darker shade.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alpaca project

Alpaca project - Georgie's wrap

This wrap has been made by Georgie. It’s extremely soft, thick and luscious. The warp is wool whereas the weft is handspun alpaca.

Alpaca project - Jill's felted length

Experimenting by Jill with alpaca roving. This was intended as a scarf but became too thick with the felting. It morphed into a sash for the waist line.

Alpaca project - Jill's hats

100% alpaca yarn beautifully knitted by Jill (of course). These beanies are incredibly comfortable to wear – soft, light weight and cozy.

Alpaca project - Jill's silk and alpaca scarf

More experimenting by Jill, this time of the weaving type. The yarn used here was alpaca plied with hand spun silk. It is a twill weave with lots of body.

Alpaca project - Jeanette's wrap 1

I generally lust over all the goodies that keep being produced and this is no exception. Dyed and woven by Jeanette Tollerbond. Jeanette used Landscape dyes and commercially spun alpaca yarn. This wrap drapes beautifully.

Alpaca project - Jeanette's wrap 2

And this is similar but different colours – differing shades of red ochre from the Landscape dyes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Red cabbage dye surprise

To be on the safe side I thought I would knit a swatch with some of the natural dyeing I have been doing. I included yarn dyed with red cabbage and also yarn from the Mexican blossom bush.

I thought I should put it through the wash to test wash fastness. I totally expected fading.

red cabbage yarn after washing

I didn’t expect a complete colour change. The lilac colour in the skein turned a cruddy blue colour. Truly amazing. Whereas the green from the Mexican blossom bush was unchanged.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dyeing with red cabbage


I didn’t buy the red cabbage, it appeared in my fridge, the first time I have ever owned one.

“The red cabbage (Brassica oleracea) contains pigments known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins belong to a large group of water-soluble natural pigments responsible for the attractive colors ranging from strawberry red to the blue color of most fruits, flowers, leaves, and some vegetables. Anthocyanins are commercially used as a colorant in acid solutions such as soft drinks. At various H+ concentrations these compounds rearrange their molecular structures giving rise to different colours.”

red cabbage dye pot 1 red dye liquid sample 1

I decided to experiment. Boiling the cabbage gave the liquid the colour above right.

red cabbage dye pot red cabbage dye liquid 1

Into the pot I placed a hank of alpaca, with some silk roving and merino roving. An immediate colour change to ruby red. Mmm, maybe because of the alum mordant.

fibres dyed red cabbage alpaca dyed red cabbage

These are the colours achieved after a number of rinses – left pic from top: merino wool, silk and alpaca. I love the soft natural colours.

A big question mark at the moment is whether the colours will survive a wash or two or more. I’m not too hopeful after the reading I have done. But, nonetheless, it is all a fascinating learning experience.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eco printing and dyeing

silk and silk cotton soaking

This photo looks so luscious and creamy. It is white silk fabric and cream silk/cotton fabric soaking in water in preparation for the dye pot.

silk cotton with blue gum and onion skins

Leaves from a blue gum and red onion skins rescued from the dye pot – all wrapped up tightly and tossed into the remnants of the red onion skin dye pot.

dyed silk_cotton

The marks obtained on the silk/cotton fabric – looks even better in the flesh.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alpaca Project


image Jill's shawl

Remember this. It is now this colour. A blue-purple. Jill wasn’t too thrilled with the results but once it is worn it is quite striking, amazingly so.

Jill's scarf

Prolific Jill has knitted a scarf using bits of handspun and undyed alpaca fibre. The scarf has been knitted on circular needles horizontally. I can’t remember how many stitches she cast on but it was a shite load.

 Jill's cravats

Maybe the Alpaca Project should be called the Jill Project. Here is more of Jill’s knitting. Short length scarves that work really well, like a cravat – knitted from commercially spun alpaca fibre and dyed with Landscape dyes.

Dye colours from left: wheat, kelp, red ochre (removed from dye pot early) and mountain blue.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Port Campbell

This is where I live. So far I have lived here for 53 years. I have never got sick of the place.

Port Campbell from Two Mile Bay 4 

For about the first 30 years I didn’t have to share it with the tourists except during holiday times.

Port Campbell from Two Mile Bay 3

But now it represents dollars to people, many who don’t even live here and a few who do.

Port Campbell from Two Mile Bay

They want to DEVELOP the place so it is more palatable to the visitor -  so their visit is not too difficult.

More walking tracks, more viewing platforms, helicopters for the million dollar view (don’t get me started on this one), multi million dollar information centres, cafes in the National Park, oh, and close anything that is a wee bit dangerous – basically, grabbing as many dollars as possible by any means possible.

It disgusts me. They’re going to ruin it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More colours of April

banksia @ Deakin

A banksia bush

grevillea @ Deakin


lichen 2


footprints in sand


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Colours of April

The middle of autumn.

Unpredictable weather.

Gloriously warm or wild and woolly and everything in between.

Shipwreck coast 2

Huge seas full of white water.

Shipwreck coast 3

Large piles of sea foam.

rainbow over sea 

Intermittent rainbows.

Shipwreck coast 

Dramatic lighting.

Croft's Bay

And just plain sunny.