Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I saw an easy tutorial on the Shibori technique at Burdastyle and had to try it. It turned out rather well, though next time I'll be using thinner cotton and a smaller needle as I have a nice set of decorative holes along with the stripes! I also experimented with dripping candle wax on the fabric to form a resist pattern. Doesn't seem to have been thick enough wax to prevent the dye from seeping through, but I haven't tried boiling the wax away yet. The dye is a vinegar and red wine mix.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Knitted Skirt

Work in progress

I love my glittery knitting needles!

I decided to make a knitted skirt after seeing some nice ones around online. I couldn't find a nice pattern so I decided to make my own. I did some quick gauge-calculating, some flipping through my Reader's Digest stitch dictionary, counting stitches and measuring myself to come up with the design. I'm hoping that it will turn out to be a straight, slightly fitted skirt (but still suitably flippy), but since I'm a beginner knitter, its hard to tell! It will be a surprise when I sew the two halves together, hopefully a nice surprise!

Project Mama's Summer Handbag

The skeins, post dye

Wound into balls ready to go

The beginning of the bag

After wrangling with the wool 3 times in the dye bath and it not coming out nicely, I finally had the wool ready to start on the requested bag. I chose a favourite bag pattern from Debbie Stoller's Stitch N Bitch: The Happy Hooker. I'm hoping desperately that I will have just enough wool dyed to finish it!. I have 150g, the pattern asks for 140. I'm to gauge, so it should be fine, but I worry, none-the-less, because its impossible to dye wool exactly the same colour again!

I spy a new birdy...

This little fellow has a very yellow tummy, a long curved beak and very dark coloured back feathers & head... I think its another Olive Backed Sunbird, but the boy this time.


Recycled paper notebook

Red embroidery thread

Front cover. The cover flaps are sewn in to give extra strength to the front & back covers

Notebooks for the un-recognised animal super-hero lurking within us...

My alter-ego: The Squealing Squirrel

5-hole stitched spines with the cotton thread

I've enjoyed making my own notebooks and journals since secondary school. Recently I decided to run a workshop for my students and thought a little practice may be in order. Here are the results of my endeavours.

The recycled paper notebook was made from paper from a Tasmanian lady named Joanna Gair. The cover paper has an autumn leaf sandwiched between two layers of paper. I was saving this piece for something special where its leafy beauty can be seen and appreciated, so the notebook is a perfect way to show it off.

The other notebook covers are watercolour paper (160gsm) with some letraset transfer lettering on the covers left over from my architecture student days. I used crochet cotton to stitch the notebooks. Paper inside is a 120gsm pastel paper so its good for drawing and stapling dye samples to.

A scarf for a friend...

This is a scarf I recently knit as a farewell present for a colleague. Its the same wool/acrylic blend as the hat I crocheted. This scarf uses two closely related brown tones so the colour gradation is quite subtle. Its knit on large needles (10mm) in garter stitch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something else I'm working on...

A sneak peek at a lighting design I'm working on in collaboration with the mr.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dye Batch 005

Recently finished batch of experiments. All were mordanted with Alum.
Left to Right Top Row: Red Rambutan Skins 2nd use on Bamboo, Red Rambutan Skins 2nd use on Cotton, Red Rambutan Skins on Wool, Bougainvillea on Soy, Bougainvillea on Wool, Red Rambutan on Bamboo
Left to Right Bottom Row: Black Tea on Wool, Dried Brown Rambutan Skins on Wool & Soy, Black Tea on Soy, Red Rambutan Skins on Soy

How I keep track of what worked and what didn't, what colours work with what mordants, what colours are obtained from various dyestuffs and times

Cotton swatches in my dye journal

Dressmaking Update

The front pleats

Closeup of the pleats

The ends trail off....

Sneak peek at the 'white dress prototype' in progress. So far, so good. Now for the darts...

Monday, September 7, 2009

White Dresses & Jane Austen

Elizabeth & Jane go for a walk in floral prints

I love the striped cotton dresses! I love Jane's sleeves too.

Elizabeth picks flowers in flowers. The pleating/gathering here at the bust is lovely too.

Elizabeth talks to Mr Darcy in her fabulous puff-sleeved green jacket.

Looking sad wearing subtle checked beige cotton

Polka dots!

The green trim and buttons make a boring dress cute.

Jane and Elizabeth talk to their Father. I love the pattern/trim of the hemlines on their dresses

Daniela Gregis in Selvedge Magazine

This dress by a designer named Daniela Gregis and a recent resurgence in love for all things Jane Austen have inspired a new project. Daniela Gregis' dress appears to be a light white muslin of several layers with the gathering at the neckline. My version will have pleats instead of gathers and be more fitted at the top. So far I've managed the pleats at the front and back of my test version (made from an Ikea bedsheet). Now I need to figure out where to place the darts and how I'm going to do the sleeves and finishing. I like the simplicity of Gregis' dress but I don't think it would look right on me. I'm also considering a neckline more akin to Elizabeth Bennet's dresses than Gregis', something lower and more rounded but less revealing.

I recently re-watched the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice (from which the images are taken) and it was wonderful, so much better than Hollywood's recent effort. I spent a lot of time gazing at the costumes, especially the dresses and short jackets. I was also drawn by the short lace shawls they wear over their dresses when going out. I rather fancy making a little white lace shawl to wear too. I also love the boots they wear in the film with their little buttons and small heels. I'd love to wear all the costumes actually, just as they are, but I'm afraid I'd look rather silly. Sigh...

The orange linen jacket. Note the little buttons & trim

The green velvet jacket

All images of the film are taken from:

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Sophie the sheep models the yellow organic wool hat

details of the yellow hat

leaf-inspired pattern on the sides of the hat

back view of the hat on Sophie the sheep

Sophie the sheep models the brown beanie

closeup of the puff stitches on the sides of the beanie

Sophie models the brown beanie

Two hats I completed recently. The yellow one is my own design, imagined as I was going along, while the brown one is from the book 'Cool Crocheted Hats'. Both were fast to make, only about 3 hours in front of the TV, which, as I was also watching TV, probably equates to 1.5 hours work.

The brown is a wool/acrylic blend which isn't too hot for this tropical weather, while the yellow is an organically dyed 100% wool (yes I know I can make that myself, but it was lovely and I couldn't resist buying it!). I love the yellow colour, but it looks kinda bad next to my skin. It may find its way to another owner in due time. The brown wool is a new favourite though. I usually prefer 'natural' fibres, but this is a really good blend. Time will tell how it ages/wears and washes though. I've already knitted a scarf in it since I made this hat and due to its semi-chunky weight, it knits up nice and quick. I might buy another ball to knit the beloved Mr a hat as he has expressed a liking for mine.