Steadily harvesting

We’ve been steadily harvesting food from the gardens, mostly tomatoes and zucchini’s but some greens as well, a few more potatoes, a few peas and beans. The first batch of corn has finished up and the second batch is starting to ripen as we speak. We had to buy-in more seedlings as our seed raising efforts came to naught really, we ended up with seedling trays of weeds for the most part. Part of the problem has been that our glass house has simply been too hot for the seeds to germinate, however, Craig’s parents were here last week (more on this later) and discovered that the glass house actually had roof vents. Ian has fixed them so that we can now open and close them at leisure so our next batch of seedlings should be much happier.

We planted some more silverbeet (Heritage Rainbow & NZ favorite), perpetual spinach, sprouting broccoli, cabbage palm (which I’d picked up by mistake meaning to get cauliflower), rocket and leeks. So our winter brassicas are off to a good start, just so long as we can remember to consecutively sew more of them to cover our winter needs.

But now to the craft 🙂

Buffie and I spent a lovely afternoon the other week dyeing some lemon yellow yarn I’d purchased lovely bright colours (pastel’s for Sprocket are a big no-no around these parts).  First we pre-soaked the yarn in cold water with a little soap so that it would absorb the dye more readily.

We used Ashford dyes made up to the instructions and painted them on to the yarn, making sure the dye went right through to the other side.

 Buffie’s rather the creative sort. 

I quite liked the effect of the “bleed” areas and hopped that the yarn would stay with that faded area, it didn’t really work that way though.

In this one there is black and green next to each other, unfortunately the green is REALLY dark and just looks black.

After painting we wrapped the yarn in glad-wrap:

Then we left them out in the hot sun to bake for the rest of the day (this was a little trick I learnt from my friend Rochana, much nicer then all the other boiling and microwave methods I’ve heard of, especially when you can’t use the microwave for food anymore).

After baking I washed out the excess dye and hung the skeins out to dry. It was just amazing to see the yarns spread out and finished like this. Buffie’s spotted one just looked so cool.

Then the final step was to pop the skeins on the swift and wind them back into balls ready to knit. Buffie’s 2 balls (the one on the left was the spots):

And mine:

 

The resulting dye colours were quite a bit darker then we had imagined and we certainly wouldn’t have called the colours “purple” or “turquoise”. We did discover that the “turquoise” and the “purple” when mixed (noted from bleed areas) make a lovely purple colour. I’m going to dye up another couple of balls with the remainder dye to match my first ball (the one on the right) and knit it into a lovely baby’s hoodie from a pattern called Nikau created by my friend Justin Turner (who makes lovely baby patterns) that you can purchase here at her website.

The Nikau

 

Nikau pattern

Nikau pattern

So far I’ve knitted most of the back 🙂

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Not happy with Ashford

I really wanted to get down to some weaving today, discovered that there was no easy way for me to warp up my Rigid heddle loom to do the tea towels I’ve been wanting to do for months, in the craft room, so decided to warp it up in the lounge. It was supposed to be ok, it would take me a few hours and then I’d be out of everyone’s way. That was until I discovered that when the Ashford Book of Ridid Heddle weaving says that you need 8/2 cotton white 150gm, 8/2 cotton navy 20gm for the warp it lies. My warp is 220cm long and I am just about at the end of the first cone of cotton which is a 200gm ball and I’ve only done about 53 or 198 ends I need to do! I need almost 4 balls, and that’s not including the weft thread. I had been a fan of Ashford, but I think it’s just because it’s a brand so close to home. I’m really disappointed with the DVD I got (actually I had to send the first copy back as it didn’t play), it lacked any real information and was more a promotional video then anything else, their cotton isn’t very nice to the touch, but perhaps it will be different when woven up and washed. The rigid heddle book isn’t clear and complete. It misses information about the types of yarn they use and most of them aren’t supplied by Ashford and there is no listing on where or how to get them. 

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! I have no way of getting the cotton thread today or tomorrow, none of the shops that sell Ashford products sell this thread (or at least none of the ones open). I can get onto my usual supplier of Ashford products but then he’s not going to be able to post it till Monday so it could be Tuesday or Wednesday before I get it! So what the blazers do I do with this warp in the mean time? I can’t leave it set up in the lounge room for 3 days as it’s utalising the dinning table – apparently I can, Craig say’s we can work around it and Kain says we don’t need to eat at the table – but that’s not the point! Things just aren’t going my way today. I did attempt to spin some newspaper this morning, which was an interesting experience that I think I’d really enjoy, if I had a spinning wheel with a larger orifice, like the ones for novelty yarn spinning (which I guess this is).

 

Candles

Candles

I was hoping to use this for my candle bundles that Ines and I will be taking to markets, unfortunately she doesn’t like the look so we have to find something else.

And now I’m simply feeling like I’ve spent far too much time in front of my computer today and haven’t actually achieved anything *sigh*

Navajo Plying

I’ve been playing with navajo plying today, plying one of my white singles as a test run. I’d like to use this technique to spin up the wool a dyed a few weeks ago as I only had 1 bobbins worth, I’m hoping there will be enough for a pair of fingerless gloves. The benefits for using navajo plying include:

 

  1. I only have 1 bobbin to work with
  2. No wastage
  3. The colours will stay spread out rather then blend together more
I’m told that this does make for a slightly weaker yarn then if it was a normal 3 ply, but I’m cool with that. My test yarn seems to be strong enough, it’s currently drying after being washed and and whacked.
And pictures:
Close up of Navajo ply you can see some of the loupe like structures in here (I think that’s from where I’ve started new loupes.) One of the things I found with this was that when your yarn is good and strong plying is a dream, if you have week points in the yarn then it’s a real bitch to ply as it breaks and you have to rejoin the yarn – which is kinda messy if you ask me.
Hanging to dry hanging out to dry.
And last but not least, a photo of the 1 completed Craig sock:
Completed sock I’m really rather pleased with myself. I’ve finished the ribbing on the second sock but I’m afraid it’s been almost a week since I’ve picked it up to knit since *bad me* I did take it with me on a few occasions, only to discover that (as usual) I had left the fourth dpn at home! I was really expecting this to be a lot harder then it was to do.
I’ve been making more bread this week also with great results. I’ve turned the fan off in the over, going for a hotter oven with a bowl of water in with it, this gives a MUCH softer crust which is fantastic. I really didn’t like the hard crust on the first batch of bread. I’ve found that my recipe does 2 large loaves and 6 rolls (which I burnt the tops of because I had them way to close to the top of the oven and forgot about them).
I’ve also had my loom out this week and finished off a small section – about half an hour or so worth of weaving, not much, but at least it’s something. I really want this project off the loom so I can start on my dishcloths, but I must finish it, even if it doesn’t motivate me. I’m using short lengths of weft so about ever second turn I have to start a new length, it’s just tedious. The fabric itself will like nice when it’s done though I think.
What else… Craig is busy in the garden when he can get a chance, planting broad beans, garlic and onions, building raised beds and generally getting his hands dirty. The driveways are being poured, the guys have been busy, not as busy as some of us would like and the seem to have a fear of getting damp, but certainly things are progressing and more then halfway finished. I’d say providing it doesn’t pour down rain everyday, they should be completely finished by the end of next week – yay! Earthsong is really starting to look less and less like a building sight and more and more like lush eco-neighbourhood. 

 

Leather Wrist band

Craig was able to tear himself away from his computer today and spend time making a leather wrist band (guaranteed to increase your manliness). The entire peace has been hand cut, decoratively sewn and riveted by him and I think it looks great.

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