Apple Garden Threads

Threads and life.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Beds within borders.

No, this is not a post about sleeping within your own political boundaries - it is about getting old(er) and stiff and having a wonderful husband who accepts a pile of bridge decking when it is offered, resists the temptation to convert it to sheep-yards or firewood, and makes it into frames around garden beds so I don't have to bend over so far to plant or pick vegies.

Now all I have to do is plant them. Pics to come.

Friday, February 02, 2007


One of our bush ballads has lines in it that go:

"Christmas in Australia's hot,
Cold and frosty is what it's not"

I don't remember much more, but endorse the sentiments exactly.

Back when we were clearing anything flammable (read weeds, dry grass, sticks, prunings) from around our house, and keeping everything wet, I popped in a few vegies, to take advantage of the bare spaces and the water we were using so lavishly.

And they grew!

Thanks to heaps of compost, worm castings and devotion, of course - it doesn't just happen, not here, anyway.

The mesh is to keep off the 3 mother hens and their broods, and bags and cardboard boxes are necessary to protect newly planted seeds or seedlings from the sun.

If the goats don't mange to find their way in, we will eat well. As it is they line up at the fence for a green snack when I am weeding - there is not much green outside the fence now. They have pruned all the leaves and berries off the blackberries so high up that we will need to pick from the tray of the ute to get our share.

All this leaves not much time for threads, but I have managed to knit a few little jumpers for babies in Africa.

A very simple pattern, but I couldn't stop myself tweaking just a bit, and knitting the yoke first then picking up from the cast-on to knit down to the bottom in the round on circs. A good no-think pattern for conversation times over a cup of tea, though it is hard in this weather to imagine any baby wearing such a garment!

(The smudge on the table is from a blackberry or two that escaped the ravages of the goats)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mum's Christmas.

Two weeks ago a string of lightning strikes caused bushfires to the north-west of us.

After 2 frantic weeks, cleaning up the garden and patching gaps under the house and in the eaves, we woke up to the fact last night that Christmas is only a few sleeps away!

I have always been strong on the Traditional (ie as Mum did it) Christmas Dinner - no prawns and pavlova for us, we prefer roast chicken with mixed herbs in the stuffing (stuffed under the skin, of course) served with the old-fashioned roast vegies and peas, tomato and onion pie, and gravy.

Dessert is Christmas Pud, Trifle (with walnuts on top) and fruit salad - two-fruits with banana, tinned pineapple and diced apples added, we hadn't heard of kiwi fruit as children, and luxury fruits like cherries were out of the question. All accompanied by Fruit Cup - juices and lemonade with a tang of ginger.

So there is not much decision-making involved, which is good. Presents go in the mail (to the UK only, as others are coming to visit) or under the tree cut from the old pine plantation up the road, and we are ready.

Simple, why the panic we see all around us when shopping in town? Why does every women's magazine have pages of hints on how to de-stress Christmas? Is it "the done thing" to be madly busy at this time of the year? Or are people so busy being busy they have forgotten how to be simple?

It must be the world's greatest paradox that all that tinsel is required to celebrate the birth of the baby born in a stable.

Five weird things about me........

I have been tagged! This hasn't happened since primary school - if you don't count letting your toddlers catch you when playing chasy.

My DD1, Diane, has challenged me to reveal five weirds thing about myself.

Five weird things about me. Hmm.................

Needed help with this one so asked DD2, my teenage live-in conscience.

"Three weirds things about you? Where do I start?

"They are ......Y
U".............. ;-)

On my own inspiration I came up with quite a few......
  1. I prefer reading to watching television (unless it is a really good movie accompanied by a shoulder rub from DD2, whom I forgive for stating her point of view)
  2. I am a passionate spinner, but buy yarn to knit (I tell myself it is to analyse the yarn structure)
  3. I prefer yogurt to icecream - and buy the not-fat one so I can put cream on it.
  4. I won't part with my twin-tub washing machine.
  5. I let my teenage daughter cut my hair.

I am about to pass on the tag to ............?

Watch your blog to find out who.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting here

My "studio" is well in hand - just needs a few walls - and the windows washed.
And a roof might be good - to keep the wind out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The “Wow” factor.

Today the art teacher for whom Margie and I did the felt workshop came to collect the finished wall hangings. And her reaction – “Wow!” – was all we could have hoped for.
She was delighted, and so was I, and pleased with the final effect of the hangings. Mounting them like canvases gave them a superb crispness and finish.

I was happy with my craftsmanship. Happy with the use I made of skills I have learnt over the years I have been felting, and happy with the colours I dyed the wool, happy with the little finishing touches I added like the throwsters silk for the froth on the waves. Happy with the new skills I learnt over the last week, as I made the frames and stretched the felts.

Happy with the way my daughter assisted in the whole exercise – her design and colour skills, her inspiration, her patience with the children, and her valuable help in the woodwork side of making the frames.

But somehow I am happiest of all that I have taken about 80 children on another journey into creativity. Taken their small pieces of felt and cut-out shapes, their designs, their enthusiasm, and welded them into pieces that will, and justifiably, evoke a “Wow” from them at the Exhibition, too.

I can’t wait to see their faces!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Can Sing A Rainbow!

I needed several different colours for a felt making workshop with children at a local school; with not much time for dyeing, I took a gamble on a technique against the rule that says tops must be soaked before putting into the dye and I made up the dye-baths (with plenty of water) and entered the dry tops.
These tops were a carded Corriedale, and very open, which probably helped a lot, but I was thrilled to find the colours were very even after cooling in the dye and rinsing and drying.

The workshop is on making pictures by felting shapes cut from pre-felts onto a background, these pieces will be felted on to a large background of blue (for water) and yellow (for sand) to give a wall-hanging on a sea theme.

The children are grade three and fours, and we are very impressed with the care and inspiration they have shown, and their enthusiasm. These are some of their pieces. Watch this space for the final wall hanging in about 2 weeks.

And, yes, I did use my new studio space to make the pre-felts, even without the end wall – though there were a few exclamations of mild annoyance when the gentle breezes arose and disturbed my carefully laid out wool! Some had to have the cover-cloth laid on as the fibres were laid out. But it was bliss to have plenty of room to slash around in and no carpet to worry about.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Making progress towards a studio.

Several years ago, it seems, I annexed the garage as studio space for my weaving, spinning, and allied activities, as they were expanding into all the living areas of the house.

We had the floor concreted and bought some second-hand windows to install – first priority being to block where the car-entry door had been.

This weekend the window went in, a superb effort by my loving not-a-builder husband. He even found some almost matching cladding, to fill in the gaps till we can reclad the whole shed.

We extended the concrete on one end, to increase the space, and this end still needs to be walled in, but the window is a very definite step forward.

I have a workshop on felting booked for next week, so next project is to dye the 2 kilos of wool needed for that - five grades at local primary school making a wall hanging each, plus their take-home piece.

More about that later.