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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Spinning Bug

I had a serious spinning bug recently, my wool still hasn’t come back from Jumbuck Carding so Rochana gave me a bag of green Romney from Tally-Ho. Buffie laid her eyes on it at declared she loved it, which is lucky ’cause I’m intending on knitting her socks with it 🙂

Green Romney

I’m impressed with my spinning at the moment. I’m starting to turn out a much more even thread with very few slubby bits. I do need to find another method of feeding out the wool though as my RSI likes to flair up in my left hand and when it does I can’t spin, crochet or knit (or squeeze a drink bottle). So anything I can do to lesson that particular motion would be good. (I know have 2 completed bobbins of this wool ready to ply).

A day dyeing

I had a fantastic day today playing with dyes at Rochana’s. We started the morning carding some of the washed fleece and moved onto painting it with Ashford dyes. 

1) Carder + washed fleece (more on the washing method later when I wash a little more ) 

2) We soaked the carded bats for about half an hour in luke warm water until it “bloomed” (I still don’t know what that really means). After soaking we covered the bench in cling wrap and pulled out our mixed Ashford dyes. Using paint brushes we painted strips of colour (teal, green, black and rust) until the entire fleece was painted

3) We wrapped the painted bats up in the cling wrap and placed them outside in the sun to keep warm then put them in the oven on 100 degrees Celsius for several hours.

4) the end result drying 

5) dried bats, as flat as crepes 

6) I pulled the bats into strips and put them back through the carder and they all fluffed right back up

7) I split the roving to make slivers for spinning (*note to self, take photos and show how Rochana taught you to split the bats)

I’ll update with photos of the spun wool in a few days.

Naked Sheep

Fully Clothed:

Clothed Sheep

Undressing:

Getting naked

Naked Sheep:

Naked Sheep

Bag-o-fun:

Bag-o-fun

I helped to shear 24 sheep and as a reward I was given 4 fleeces and the contact number of the sheerer who has coloured fleeces he is happy to give me (yes for free) because apparently he can’t sell coloured fleece!

This is Smudge

Smudge

she is the only blackish sheep of the bunch. From her I have a selection of white, gray and black fleece which will be fantastic for my floor mats I’m going to weave.