Stormy brain cap

This is handspun yarn bought at the Gerringong fibre muster back in August 2016. No identification of the spinner sadly. I bought it for the beautifully subtle mix of stormy colours. It was always going to be a hat, it just took me a while to get to making it.


The rib head band is alpaca that I dyed to coordinate. I sort of made up the pattern, but based on several patterns that I’ve knitted. The horizontal bands of reverse stocking stitch meant it needed more rows to cope with the vertical contraction/elasticity. I did one row of rib dots that didn’t stand out as well as I hoped, so I added ultra subtle winky bling to gently highlight them. It’s more obvious in movement, promise.


I’m really happy with the shape and fit, but it’s hard to get good pictures in the dull winter light. I’m also vain enough and old enough that I’m not keen on full face close ups :-). Ah, really, I’ve never been pleased with photos of me. It’s taken years to be able to mostly relax about having my photo taken. I don’t publish pics of me here, they are pics of my makings (or so I tell myself).



Rejects given pretty new life

This is a tray cloth from the pile of family linens that my mother didn’t want. I wasn’t likely to use it either in this form, but that embroidery is pretty.


I’ve combined it with a length of cotton poplin from a friend’s rejected stash (very narrow, only 88cm wide, old maybe?), broderie lace from another, buttons from another person again. The only physical elements I provided were label and thread. Plus inspiration, pattern and making of course.


The other basket on the back yoke:


A little OTT in the laciness, but I don’t intend to wear it out of the house.


Yes, yes, it’s another night shirt.


Detail at hem. Evoking a side slit gusset, but when I had this thought for placement of the last little flowers, I’d already cut a shirt tail hem curve.


and sleeve flowers, positioned to fall uppermost on the forearm.


Repeatery for linkiness.


Dyeing to match

So far with my dyeing I’ve just been aiming to get pleasing colours. Now I’ve been brave and tried dyeing to matching existing yarn. I’m delighted these worked, though the second lot took two tries.

The varigated prettiness below is handspun wool bought at a fibre fair near Shoalhaven. I really love the colours but it’s just a little too harsh for me to tolerate on my forehead and there is only enough for a hat, or most of one. The brown on the right is soft alpaca, but didn’t match. So I blackened it with food dye to coordinate with the darker shades.


This garment below is a possum/merino cardigan that I spent mumblety lots of money as a present to myself on a trip to NZ. I’ve been sad that I didn’t have a hat that looks good with it. On the same trip, I bought a hank of oatmeal coloured possum/merino yarn. My first attempt to match the teal blue of the cardigan turned out too green, but the second attempt yesterday came out so much closer. Whew. I plan to knit the two together in stripes.


Priestess of the Sun

Remember this object? It was made as a centerpiece for the lattice quilt but I changed my mind and didn’t use it. I found it when clearing out my drawers of clothing and other sewn objects designated for recycling(yes plural, but at least only two, and small ones). I’ve also been clearing out other cupboards and had torn up for rags a favourite nightgown, that had become very tatty, so I needed a replacement.  I’d also been wanting to make something out of a bolt of yellow cotton bought in the Job warehouse clearance. I have lots of that, so I want to see how it wears.


I’ve put all those thoughts together in one garment. I unpicked the black from the sun piece, and sewed it to the front of a simple T shaped gown, the same shape as the worn out gown. I had very current awareness of where the fabric wore out, so I cut the facing deeper for this one.


. .

All sensible and tastefully combining different shades of yellow. As it was coming together though, it was provoking thoughts of saffron robes, hence the silly name. All cut and sewn in one afternoon, though the unpicking was done the day before.


Pinstripe Pinnie

I was mucking about trying to find a less structured pinafore bodice that I was happy with. I’d cut a princess seamed one again and didn’t like the idea.  Ended up with this. The back is a simple rectangle. The front has a horizontal bust dart and a slightly curved centre front seam.


Then I interfaced the top edge with plain linen, faced it with slippery rayon lining satin, added straps, sewn in at the back, buttoned at the front, and a long eight gore skirt. Because of people I hang out with, I realise that if you squint, it looks a bit like a viking apron dress. Or maybe a winter sun dress. It’s really comfortable and I like the drapey fullness. Oh and the fabric is a soft mid weight wool suiting.

.     .     

Of course it will most often be warn with extra warm things, so one just sees a long, slightly flared dress.

The cardigan was knitted for me by a good friend from natural coloured wool bought when staying with other friends in NZ. The hat is fibre from an alpaca kept by an old colleague, spun by a different friend and knitted by me. I love the multiple layers of links and story one can build in custom made clothing.


Repeating for off site pickup as usual


Showcasing a Sample

Here is today’s prepped project clearing achievery. I had decided what I was going to do with this glorious thing and put the bits in a pile, which I was dropping things out of every time I shifted said pile, especially the tassels. Before I lost anything, I thought I’d best put it together.

This is a detail pic of a large fabric sample bought from Redelman Fabrics in Sydney. They sell outrageously high end furnishing fabrics. The prices are pretty outrageous too. Too rich for my wallet, except for the occasional remnant or sample. This piece is big (~65cm square) with a large scale pattern woven in 100% cotton. The huge scale of the pattern and lack of repeats meant it didn’t want to be cut up, or even folded. So I decided to treat it as fabric art.


I just squared it up, bound it in shiny green silk (a friend’s stash gift), gave it hanging loops, and a set of tassels reclaimed from an old moth eaten project (literally, leaving wool hanging about exposed all year is a bad idea).  I think it looks rather lovely, and fills an empty bit of wall nicely.


The hanging rod is cut from one evicted from another room after a rearrangement. I decided to make finials out of a pair of solid brass ball fittings that came off something or other. Can’t remember what. Furniture maybe? I drilled a couple of short lengths of dowel and shaved these down so they fit in the ends of the rod. Hurrah, the brass balls are back in use and I didn’t have to buy new finials.


This shot is trying to show how shiny the silk is, using a torch. It accidentally give the little cherub a halo, which I’m finding amusing. Cherub is hand carved wood and handpainted, a really lovely thing. It demanded to come home with me from somewhere or other in Italy rather a lot of years ago, and is hanging there to occupy an existing hook.


Attempting to show how well the new hanging goes with other things in the room, without showing the ugly room heater or the untidy mantlepiece.



(Repeating for linkyness as I often do.)


Sewing for all sorts of purposes

In this case, a new brewing bag.

I’m working on clearing the decks. My project planning has leapt ahead of my completion rates. I realised I had at least five items cut out or pre dyed, but not progressed. I figure I should actually finish a few before I cut anything else out.

I had cut out a new brew bag on a recent mad day of three consecutive beer brews. I had intended to use it that day until I came up with an alternate plan that didn’t need it and simplified matters, which was welcome. I thought I’d better sew it up anyway while I still knew where the pieces were and what they were for.

The old and the new. The old one is a veteran of nearly 6yrs brewing. It’s still perfectly fine to use. Whiter than usual after a long soak.


The fabric is polyester “swiss voile” curtaining. I happened to pick up a few metres at a stash clearing market, left over from someone else’s curtain manufacture. Yay for not buying new synthetic fabric, and preventing some from going to landfill. Here is the new bag just proving it fits the brewing urn:


and for context, this is the old bag, suspended above the urn to allow the new wort to drain out of the grain. If you are curious, look up BIAB (Brew In A Bag) brewing.

first mash 4-1

Right. Done. Next project.



(and reloading the first pic for the being picked up by other sites-ness)



both machines were set up for fine knits, and I really don’t like changing the needles in the overlocker. I felt the need of some plain skivvies that I was willing to throw in the dryer. I have a few in lovely fine Italian mercerised cotton, but to preserve the smooth finish on those I insist on line drying. The red and the blue fabrics are both very thin cotton knit. Awkward to work with as it sticks to itself, curls up with little provocation and refuses to sit well on grain. The blue came to me free from someone else’s stash, but was in three pieces, had a few holes in and some white marks that I’m assuming might be candle wax. I’m pleased I managed to cut two full shirts from it. The rest has been cut up for rags. The red was bought cheaply from a bolt end shop and was stretched a long way off grain. I worked hard to get it sitting properly, surprised those stripes ended up as straight as they are. Annoyingly there wasn’t quite enough of the red to cut the second pair of sleeves. As is fairly obvious, I didn’t bother ironing them before taking pics.


It’s not only worth sewing these to make use of what would have been waste fabric. I also have trouble finding skivvies to fit the way I like them. If one can find them at all, the neck is too tight and the sleeves too long. They may not be fashionable, but they are useful garments for under heated winter houses.


Now I get to move on to the thing I actually wanted to be working on, after changing the needles in both machines.

Shibori Skivvies

I wanted a few fine wool jumpers in a looser fit and bright cheerful colours. I found some beautiful soft cream knit fabric for very little money about a year ago.

Cut out two skivvies. Run one up. Only one because the patterning plan (as it turned out, not the best plan) was going to work better on flat fabric.


Fold and squish and tie with string.


Dye each different colours


The “reveal”, the most fun part of all.


And end up with these


Actually, I fib a little. The blue one turned out like this to start with. Oh my. Eep.


I didn’t want to look like a strange many breasted creature, so I retied this one. Fewer strings than the red, having just been reminded how easy it is to resist the dye. I didn’t overdye the sleeves, I was happy to retain the spots there.


Thankfully, the second dyeing gave a garment I am willing to be seen in.


I’ve a little more of the fabric. Maybe enough for a third similar garment? If I decide to cut that, or anything out of such stretchy fabric I will try to remember to cut the neck hole smaller.


Jethro Jumper

I’ve been wanting for a while to try a woven fabric placket on a knit shirt. I love henley style shirts but my every attempt to put buttonholes in knit fabric has resulted in disaster. This garment is reasonable proof I think, perhaps not of concept, but of my ability to work this technique.


The main fabric is fine merino wool rib. The same base fabric as the Paua cardigan, but overdyed with crab apple bark as described in this post. The placket fabric is a scrap of silk from a long ago jacket lining. Buttons are shell as usual.

This pic is a better representation of the colour. It’s too dark and stormy today to get a decent pic of it on me. Ah, and I don’t think I wrote it in any of the crab apple dyeing posts, the tree was called Jethro.