Tag Archives: knitting

Postcard Home (18th June)

Well it’s been a cold few days to say the least. We’ve had a storm come through over the weekend and not only was it cold, wet and windy, very windy but we even had a few flurries of snow.

I’ve managed to get the chicken coop better wind protected. Chooks can withstand the cold but not the wind and the cold and in order to stay warm they need a draft free coop. Our coop was anything other than draft free. The problem lay at the roof where the corrugated tin met the woodwork. There was not only a gap of several inches at the front but even when that was filled the were gaps with every up and down of the corrugations. As ever water pipe insulation came to the rescue. 2 inch sections stuffed into each and every up along the entire front of the chook house, plus several long pieces cut in half lengthways to fill the gaps down the sides. All of this has to be removable come the Spring when life starts to get warm again.

Sunrise earlier this week. It was actually raining when I took this photo, but the light was amazing because of it.

So what else is there to report?

At the beginning of the week we hosted a cycle tourer. The first we’ve had in Australia. He’s cycling around Australia for the next year but sadly isn’t quite ready for the cost weather. He asked me when it would start to get warmer around here. My reply of September or October came as a surprise to him, as did the concept that it hasn’t actually finished getting colder here yet! He’s now the other side of the Snowy mountains but he’ll be getting rather cold around there. He’s bikepacking which is basically ultra lightweight touring where everything you carry fits into the frame of your bike in bags specially designed for the triangle hole in the frame, plus what you can fit into handlebar bags or saddlebags.

This weekend Liz and Alec came down from Sydney to see us. They stayed at their neighbour’s apartment in Canberra which turned out to be only a few doors up the street from Stuart’s work place! On Saturday they came over for lunch and stayed for some of the afternoon but it was a cold wet afternoon so they didn’t get to see much. Luckily they left before the cloud descended, that meant we were a touch late meeting them in Canberra for an evening meal, but we made it eventually. They also called in on their way home to Sydney on Sunday. Liz has given me one of her spinning wheels which means one I have repaired and service hers, I can have one set up for spinning single ply on, and the other set up for plying. That will make life a little easier. It was great to see them again and I hope they had a safe journey home.

We also managed to make Skype contact with Stuart’s brother, Jon, on Sunday night but not his parents because they are away we think. I even managed to finish his Dad’s socks on Fathers’ Day as well. I’ve just got the ends to sew in and then block them and they are done. Made to size. Handspun, hand dyed from eucalyptus bark and then handmade/knitted. I do so hope they fit (if they don’t, they fit Stuart perfectly 😀 ).

Finally Stuart cooked a delicious Leek, mushroom and bread pudding for evening meal last night!

Sari Silk Yarn

Mum asked me how I’ve been making my own sari silk yarn and what it looks like.

So I thought I would do up a quick blog post whilst I drank my Prana Chai this afternoon and show you how I’ve been making it.

Now the yarn I’ve been making isn’t the heavily rolled one, but the one that looks more like ribbon.  This is how it looks in the blanket.

It’s the mustard and red coloured stuff in the garter (?) stitch area.
So I start with the old sari, obviously.  This one is quite worn, not a glossy silk and matched our autumnal colours so doesn’t stand out considerably which is what we wanted at the time. The next couple of old saris will have slightly brighter colours.

The remains of the sari.

I make scissors cuts in one of the edges, about 3-4cm apart (1.5 inches) apart and then tear the fabric into strips. You need to be careful to keep all the torn fabric in the same direction when you put it down, so I hold onto one end until all of the fabric has been torn.

Then it’s a case of cleaning up what you can without loosing too much fabric. I find the silk strands come away easily, so care is needed. On the right below is the uncleaned silk fabric strands. One the left the cleaned ones. The sewing machine is on the left hence working in that direct is easier. Sadly I have yet to find a way of keeping the loose silk strands so I can use those as well which is a shame because you’ll end up with rather a lot of them!

In true Blue Peter style, here’s some I made earlier. It’s still held on to the sewing machine by the needle and thread, so I could make it longer.

Now I take the new strand and fold the edges in to the middle so that no fraying will occur at the join. I then fold that in half.

It’s hard to show in photos because all it wants to do is unravel. Next I place the quartered strand into the final piece of the strand on the sewing machine.

I then fold the old piece over the new one so that both edges of the old piece get folded inwards encasing the new piece.  I have also found it exceptionally handy if you ensure that the new strand is inside the old one because it passes over the sewing machine fabric grippers much more easily and doesn’t pucker.

I also put a twist in just as the sewing machine meets the middle of the yarn.

Then it is a case of a wide-ish zigzag stitch twisting randomly as you sew until you reach a free inches from the end of that strand. It doesn’t matter if you miss from time to time, nor which way you twist. I often twist and untwist in the same strand. I’ve found zigzag stitch slightly better than a direct straight stitch because it had a touch more give in it, more stretch.

The end result is a pile of sari silk yarn behind the sewing machine. If you are lucky there won’t be too many loose silk strands caught up on the sewing machine and if you are really lucky, your yarn will match your silk and not been too visible!
The final result for me, from that pile was 50metres or 175 feet of sari silk yarn!