Monday, February 19, 2007

trail mix?

today I returned to Hands Ashford - and this time I could purchase whatever I wanted, no quarantine this time! The little bags in the picture above are neither spices nor trail mix ingredients (I was teasing Holly) but madder, brazil wood, cutch and cochineal (beetles-shhhh) I have had enough of not being able to source coloured organic merino, so have decided to have a go myself. Years ago when I lived on Waiheke I dyed yarn with eucalyptus leaves and lichen, using baking soda, and copper and iron cooking pots as mordants instead of metal salts, I ended up with ranges of pinks, apricots and purples, some of which I still have in baby garments knitted back then - and they are still colourfast. In later years I grew rose madder for pinks, yarrow and coreopsis, and used alum - in tiny quantities, to fix yellows from the coreopsis and yarrow. I am going to experiment with my purchases, as well as walnut shells and onion skins - hopefully I'll end up with a range of subtle elegant, colourfast shades, which I know to be safe. The organic spinners I have spoken to are wary of commercial "organic" dyes, and fair enough, I only need to dye a moderate amount of yarn, they are responsible for a lot more than that.

I purchased some Touchyarns 4ply merino in the "Blackwatch" colourway , it is beautifully soft, and very reasonable at $15 for 100g.I have started on a wee basket stitch cardigan of my own design, I think this stitch pattern should bring out the colours well.

Tomorrow I plan to drive out to Akaroa - a French settlement on the coast an hour from Christchurch, I have a copy of the "Crafty girls road trip"book, new batteries in the camera, and a whole day to myself, I plan to explore the galleries and shops, especially the Paua pearl gallery (blue pearls) but somehow I don't think I'll be buying anything there! The book has a few a few glaring holes: Geoff's Emporium of Dominion rd, and behind the new library in Henderson are legendary, but missing. I would thoroughly recommend the book to anyone planning any travel in NZ, especially those from overseas, it is wonderful to have all of those resources in one place, the author has done a lot of work.

All sounds well at home, Flash has not continued with the demolitions (the fridge didn't fit in the kitchen, so a couple of cupboards had to go...the dishwasher pipe was behind the back of the glassware that had to go) the girls are mucking in well, even cooking dinner and making his lunch for him, however they did lose Frasier for a few moments...I wonder if they checked his favourite hiding place? better not tell him about the local Indian restaurant nearby my's called "A taste of Bengal" hmmmm.