Southern Cross Creations
An Australian Woman's Journal
Journal Archive: March 2003
19 March 2003
Last August I bought some of Cherry's carded batts of Romney wool, colour blended blues with natural colours, I couldn't resist. Here's one of my handspun skeins from that impulse, destined for weaving.
I decided to dye some of my white handspun yarn today. First step: clear a
space on the bench in the laundry where there is plenty of ventilation. That's
because my laundry has only 1-1/2 walls and a tin roof. It's a wonderful space
for dyeing, there's a gas bottle and burner plus a set of stainless steel laundry
trays and ample water at this time. A solar hot water generator on the roof
provides hot water thanks to the recent sunshine. I'm using some new-to-me colours
by Gaywool dyes. The first skeins are cooling in the pot, dyed raspberry, and
tomorrow I shall do two more colours. I'll put up images after the skeins are
10 March 2003
I spin mostly in the evenings, black alpaca is easier to spin in the light of
day. Full light and no breeze, those are the main requirements to spin this
dark, slippery fibre. I like it. I gently tear off strips from the carded batts
that Jerry prepared and elongate them into wispy rovings which spin up beautifully.
I'm amazed that the alpaca holds together so well under such treatment. The
worse thing to happen, besides that sudden breeze that lifts and waves the wispy
roving like the flag on the moon, is when the dog drops her tennis ball into
the middle of the roving pile. One time she stuffed that ball under my treadle,
what a hint.
Back to spinning white wool from a mystery fleece that I couldn't resist at the guild's sale last year. You may notice that I'm spinning barefoot. Lots of spinners do... or maybe it's just spinners in the Tropics? I'll have close to 270 gm (9 oz) when this lot is all spun. My plan is to dye it in three separate colours.
Jerry made a CD drop spindle for me after we found the simple plans online. It's so easy to take along when I'm away from home. I usually take my spinning wheel when I attend craft meetings, but you can't beat the portability of a drop spindle. The two CDs that form the whorl attract Aha! comments about clever uses for throw away CDs. If you want a heavier yarn, you make the whorl heavier by adding more CDs.
9 March 2003
Here's the green tree frog that appeared one evening next to the telephone (as described in February).
I wish we'd taken along the camera yesterday when we drove up to the Community Centre. A large lizard crossed the road in front of us and climbed a tree. He had to be a lace monitor. Quite dark with creamy, yellow spots and bands, he was about 1.5 metres long! I bet he was checking out the chickens next door.
The creek doesn't run year round. Maybe that makes us appreciate it all the more. I can hear it singing in the quiet of the early morning. Some years it roars.
About a week ago we got more than 75mm (3 inches) of rain in 12 hours. We don't usually worry when the creek is too high to cross. This time I kept my eye on the rising water at the crossing as I had promised to drive someone to the hospital for tests. I am so grateful that the rain slackened, the water level at the crossing fell and I could drive our 4WD safely across. I went in a day early just to be sure and spent a couple of nights in Cairns. All went well.
The leaves in the bottom of our favourite swimming hole have been swept away. Back at home, Jerry and I went for a swim, the dog romped along the bank, wanting to join us, but not enough to get wet. Not a sound or sight of another soul. I floated downstream on my back, looking through leafy branches to an indigo sky. Serenity in abundance.
Our home is not screened, as you may have guessed from my comments on the number
of insect visitors we get, like this moth. We do use a mossie net over the bed,
though mossies have not been much of a problem this year.
The colours of the bush around us tend to be subtle, native blossoms are often creamy, the Australian colours of green and gold are everywhere. The occasional spot of bright colour grabs your eye. Like this fungus, growing in leaf litter. About 100mm (4inches) high, it seems to attact flies.
Another native plant that is colourful at this time of year is the small, ground-hugging
grevillea dryandrii, whose blossom clusters are pink, rose, white and gold.
Site updated 25 April 2004