A long weekend and I’m still not on top of all my marking *sigh*. It’s school report writing season, and while the marking is not in check, the reports are fairly much done from my point of view. With all the school work, not a lot else is getting a look in. Only two more weeks to the end of the (private) school term.
As promised, a picture of the finished Kid Mohair scarf. It is getting a lot of use – I wear it most days because it is so lovely.
I’ve had a lovely collision between my fibre pursuits and teaching – using natural substances to dye wool. My experience of dyeing wool or tencel has involved only synthetic dyes, and the indigo dye pot day my spinning and weaving group was to have last week ended up being postponed until later in the year. But my year 8 Science classes have been studying “Natural Resources” and the textbook even had a wool dyeing practical in it. So I jumped with joy at the prospect of trying some natural dyeing. I modified the practical a bit with some other references and some totally experimental plant substances. The results were quite fantastic. In the picture they are (from left): skeins 1 & 2 – wattle (yes, yes, I’ll identify the species once it flowers…) with copper sulfate mordant; skeins 3-6 – rosehip and hibiscus tea bags (very convenient!) with either alum or vinegar as mordant; skeins 7 & 8 – blackcurrant and lemon peel tea bags with either alum or vinegar as mordant; skein 9 – eucalypt (again, yet to be identified) with alum mordant; skeins 10 & 11 – beetroot (yes, really, that green is from beetroot) with copper sulfate mordant; skein 12 – beetroot with alum mordant (was meant to turn out apricot – the only disappointment of the whole bunch); and skeins 13 & 14 – onion skins and alum mordant (the first one was brown onions, the second was red or Spanish onions). I’ve yet to test how colour fast any of them are.
My biggest news of the past few weeks would be succumbing to buying a spinning wheel. It’s a Sickinger wheel (made in Coffs Harbour) and bought second-hand (or, more likely, third or fourth-hand) from a local woman via eBay. It’s almost exactly the same as my Mother’s spinning wheel (also a Sickinger), with a few minor differences. I’ve been so busy that all I’ve had time to do with it so far is glue some of the mistreated bobbins it came with back together again, and give it a good clean, polish and lubrication. I’m looking forward to those school holidays…
And lastly, I finished the first blue Patonyle sock last night. As this sock was started last October, I now have to work out how to start the second one (this was my first toe-up sock and I didn’t use a pattern) and try and make it match the first one… I’m keen to finish the pair because I love wearing my other four pairs of handknitted socks during winter, one pair at a time, naturally! It has been getting colder, with frequent frosts. But it has been dry – the promised rain this weekend has amounted to little more than drizzle – nothing on Saturday (I even put out two loads of washing to dry as encouragement), 3 mm yesterday, and maybe about another 3 mm today. Not exactly great for the farmers around here.