Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things happen...

Here I am! doing a rather long strip of card weaving.
I went to the Park for Yeva to have a little free time. I wasn't quick enough and Yeva peed on her leash while I put her harness on my trolley. I tried, not very succesfully, to dry it on the grass and decided to hang it over my trolley til it was dry. Yes, I usually clip it on to the harness, but it was wet .... apparently it slipped off my trolley as I walked. I noticed it further on and turned back, walked the whole bit twice. A lady even stopped to help look for it, but it had disappeared. Good luck to whoever felt, they needed it more than me!

So! .... there I am weaving a leash, which has to be double length,
to allow for easy control of the dog in harness

Here we are! finished!
Yeva is not used to pose for pics - no smile, - she will get the hang of it! :-)
It's such a relief to have a leash again! It's not leather, but actually the tablet woven strip is equally strong. I use rug wool. It washes easily, which is also great for going to  the beach! and is kind on one's hands.
In Lappland in the olden days of dog sleds, they used to weave the dog harnesses from those strips because leather cracks when the temps are freezing but the wool retains it's strength. They also used the strips as decorations for their coats and hoods.

I had enough wool left for an additional normal length dog leash.
It is for sale, if you are interested.
It is 108cm (40 1/2" long)
including swivel clip and handle.
I used to make lots of those leashes in different colours for my shop and used mine for years for my pet dogs. (Cocker Spaniel, Newfundland).
It's a fun way to get a little colour in one's life
and make the dog feel special!

 Only a small progress on my tapestry,  - the weather has been too hot still. I have to be careful not to be sweaty weaving with silk...
On the left is the surf, on the right a river joining the be continued :-)

Best wishes to you all.
til next time :-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Natural dyeing saga

When I cleaned my studio I found a basket full of dried natural dyestuff - marigolds, irises, honey bush, red rose petals and something I could not identify. I thought I might just do one more lot of natural dyeing. I wanted to try out Solar dyeing :-)I started with soaking the dye stuff and then took 3 weeks to get Alum and Copper sulfate. Nobody stocks it. With help from Group mail friends (Yahoo anzweavespin) I got it online from *Virgina Farm Wool Works* (in case someone else is looking for mordant) by mail last week. Here I put the mordanted wool into the jars with dye liquid. The nice red colour (grin) is the onion bag which contains the wool.

Finally, yesterday evening I took all the wool and silk out to dry ready for a 37 degree day today.               I had the glass jars in a hot place at the back of the house standing on gravel and wrapped with black plastic garbage bags, hoping that would provide enough heat. The colours are pale though - and I assume the temperature was not hot anough. The brown silk is an overdye. I dyed it with walnut husks, which are supposed to give a chocolate brown without mordant, and though we had 38 degree days it came out so pale it was not worth keeping it that way and I over dyed with the red rose petals.
Here is the wool with a white silk in the middle to show off the colour. I am so happy I managed a green colour, dark red rose petals with copper sulfate mordant. It does not show up beautifully but it is a lovely soft pea green (on the right top). On the left is the marigold yellow :-) The wool is superfine Merino sliver. (sooo soft!)
Here is the silk, keeping the white silk as comparison.

Here is a better pic of the pale gold silk(top left in the previous picture

And one lot of silk cocoons (empty :-) which did not get quite dry yet.
In the meantime I started the small tapestry for the AuNZTapestry group exhibition. I won't be able to show the completed tapestry until after the exhibitions (travels over Australia and NZ) but hopefully can show some details.

The first tiny *Golden Nugget* mini pumpkins (ideal for just one person!) are forming!
and the first pumpkins *Jarrahdale*. I planted those in the ground between my new mandarin tree and the pinapple guava (both are still small) and the pumpkin plants seem to like it. Bees buzzing around every morning... I hope they will keep growing well :-)
I spun one big skein (100g) of the green silk which I dyed last year. I will use this for weaving, for my new larger tapestry, which I will start when the weather cools down again in autumn. It will have a rain forest theme which is why I will use a lot of green. I'm still working on design details.... :-)
Naked ladies have popped up in 3 places in my garden!  (Big Grin) - in case you don't know: they are called *naked ladies* because in spring they grow heaps of leaves, which then die off during early summer so that there is nothing there and when one least expects it one large stem grows up and those pretty flowers open -- and no leaves in sight
Also in the meantime I have updated my web site. If you have not had a chance to check it out, here is the link to it:  I hope you will like it,

Wishing you all a good week and coming weekend!