It is the end of autumn and the first day of winter is here in Australia. I feel like I have been hibernating these last couple of weeks. When I look at the photos I'm posting here I realize I have been quite busy! Dyeing is still on the go here despite the cooler weather. Dyeing is part of my everyday living. This last week I spotted a persimmon tree which of course has been there all along but I didn't know it was persimmon tree until it started to fruit. The gardener told me they are not the type that is suitable to eat. Little did he know that this was exactly the type that I want for dyeing! I did some reading about Kakishibu (persimmon dye) on some blogs and in books, but I haven't yet tried dyeing with them. I now have to wait until the summer because Kakishibu needs the sun to help oxidize to bring out the color. The above two links are very good reading so please have a look.
Ayako my sweet Japanese friend also told me that if I hang them in a cool dry place until they ripen they will get sweeter. So that is exactly what I did with some of the persimmons. I think they look beautiful in the plaits.
Because I can't dye with persimmons at the moment. I chopped and shredded them using an old food processor that I keep only for dyeing.
After shredding them I liquidized and storing the pulp in the freezer until next summer when I have enough sunshine to help with the dyeing process. I haven't dyed with persimmon before, so it's an experimental process.
I attended a one-day spinning workshop with a Robyn Heywood at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild. I learned how to spin years ago, but like any other skill, one gets rusty when you don't use it. After a bit of help from Robyn I was on my way to spinning again. Now I have 3 skeins of yarn ready for dyeing.
The yarns in the above photo were spun by Dick, a friend. He loves spinning and often volunteers to spin at the Sheep and Wool shows to promote the spinning guild he belongs to. I dyed them using iron bark Eucalyptus leaves. I just love the rich vivid orange colour I get from Eucalyptus leaves.
The olive green yarns I dyed using ornamental pear leaves that we have an abundance of at the moment. I will be taking another weaving workshop at the end of June. I hope to use some of my hand dyed yarns for my weaving. I haven't got any idea at the moment what they are going to do in the workshop.
Here is the result from a dyed bundle of grape leaves that I did here. I didn't get any leaf imprints but I did get red lines all over the cloth. It's nice to get other colours apart from yellow and orange from Eucalyptus leaves.
I took this photo of my dye station on the back deck of our house. Some of you may have seen it already on FB or Instagram. The pots and buckets seem to multiply themselves lately. I think it's quite a cool photo, don't you agree?
Last weekend we went to West Wyalong (the wild West) to visit some friends. I haven't driven that way before. It took about 7 hours to drive there and I came across some interesting scenes to photograph.
On one stop I came across these tin cans and thought some naughty people left their trash behind, on the second thought, rusty tin cans are good for dyeing! So I brought the three of them home with me!
More rusty objects! This is a steel track from a Centurion military tank! The little Eucalyptus tree has started to sprout right underneath it. What a great combination, rust and Eucalyptus leaves!
Below are some photos of typical Australian countryside. Eucalyptus trees cover the land for miles and miles. I'm very fond of Eucalyptus trees and Australian country scenes. We had a weekend away and I posted some of these photos on Instagram and FB so some of you would have seen them already. Enjoy!
We stopped at a town called Jerilderie where there was a historic museum and the Post Office that was robbed by Ned Kelly, the famous Australian bush ranger, in the late 1880s. Every Australian has heard of Ned Kelly. The old jail in Melbourne where he was hung is now a tourist attraction.
There is a Kurrajong tree here on the campus where I work. The seed pod in the above photo was used in the children book illustrations in books about the Gumnut Babies Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by a famous Australian author, May Gibbs.
What a cute drawing of the gumnut babies batting a cricket ball with a Eucalyptus branch. I'm very fond of these books because I used to read them to my children. These same books now passed down to my grandchildren.
Even though Australia is only just over 200 years old, there is a fascinating history behind this young country. The set of children books Snugglepod and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs were inspired by Kurrajong Pods. The pods have many seeds that look like little babies snuggling together. The imaginative mind of May Gibbs have captured children's imaginations all over the world. The image that stays in my mind since my children were young was this one above of the Gumnut Babies.
Until next time