Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I've been trying to coax my grandmother's old sewing machine out of retirement but after days of fiddling around I have decided that it is beyond me. Some essential parts are broken and if I knew more about sewing machines I might be able to work around them but as a novice, I fear it may be time to give up and buy a new one.
Not that I haven't had fun trying. I made a bag out of a lovely old apron that I bought from a charity shop and it is now the holding bay for socks awaiting handwashing. And this lovely pin cushion rectangle that should have been a square had I followed the directions properly. I've been trying to improve on my hand sewing too with the result that I now have about four squares of crazy patchwork that I don't know what to do with. Maybe when my new sewing machine arrives I'll have learned enough to make them into some semblance of a quilt.
Its dangerous stuff this sewing. I've kitted myself out with a special quilters' ruler, a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. I was warned to be very careful of the rotary cutter on account of the deadly accuracy of the blade. No-one warned me to be careful of the packaging and I still managed to cut myself - on the box.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009
Summer is fading wrote Phillip Larkin in September 1959. Its fading here too fifty years on. The swallows have made their arrangements and left after a week of checking their plumage on the telephone line outside my window. At the front door this morning the air smells colder than yesterday.
The garden is hanging on to the colours of summer, the french beans and mange tout are refusing to give up hope, still producing enough to turn into soup. Me? I've started wearing cardigans and spinning thicker yarns.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
One of my fellow Pilgrims has a tree in her garden. It's a walnut tree and it sheds many nuts. Now walnut hulls - the fleshy green outside part which decomposes gently into black mush if you leave it alone long enough, makes the most beautiful natural dye. You can imagine my glee when I came home one night last week after a long and tiring day, to find a box at the top of my stairs. I shook the box, the box rattled with a satifying walnut-like rattle. Sheer bliss.
I have commenced my dye experiments with this bounty and so far have discovered that walnuts dye skin a light brown, (bad idea) latex gloves go bright bright yellow, ( much safer ) and alum mordanted white fleece turns a glorious multi-layered dark brown, like a glamorous brunette.
Thank you Elspeth - I'll post photos of the yarn when the sun cooperates.