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Monday, 25 May 2009

show your colours - the finishing line

the project is finished, but all participants are supposed to fill in a questionnaire, so here it goes:
1. Did you enjoy the project?
yes, I did, even though sometimes I found it difficult to find the photo(s) and finish a blog entry for each day (that's why I cheated a bit here and there and put one or two days into one...)

2. Have you been more aware of colours in your daily life?
I do see most of the colours in my garden or in my textile anyway - but I found it interesting to look at other people's photos to see what they came up with. it never occured to me to take pix of beige eggs etc.:))

3. Would you enjoy more projects like this, offered by himbeermarmelade.de?
yes, as long as the project doesn't run any longer - my concentration went a bit awry towards the end!

4. If you'd be able to think about other colours - would you keep going even though the project is finished?

I don't think I would enter other pix into this project - but I do upload different photos all the time anyway - of things I like, plants I see etc.

5. Which colour provided you with the highest number of ideas?
answering the other way round would be easier:)) I didn't put up any of the metal colours and not all that much in colours I really don't particularly like, such as beige and browns.... green of course is easy with plants - not so easy with my textiles as I don't wear them often and they aren't as easy to dye as the other colours....

6. Where did you read about the project?

I found the link on Kaybee's blog.

7. Which part of the project did you like least/what would you have done differently?
at first I didn't mind the daily entries - but after a week or so I realised that I felt kind of pressurized into doing entries. I wouldn't mind a very long project - say a whole year - but with only one entry a week (or even a month?:)). other than that it was fine.

8. Which part of the project did you like best?

browsing around other blogs to compare ideas! and finding some really unexpected entries...

9. Show your favourite photo and explain why you've chosen this.

hm, a favourite of my own? or one of the other blogs? I don't want to steal anyone's photo - but I did like the one on sew-mad's blog, where she is in several places in her room at once:))

my own would be this - and I like the mix of colours and the fine lines inside the flowers - and also the memories of the phantastic scent! even though it is a bit blurry....

10. which other topics for photo projects can you think of?
hmm, let's see: the 4 seasons would come to mind, or just certain periods of time, either in people's lives (early years etc.) or during the year (christmas etc.). photos of the area the participants live in - might be interesting to see this in different countries? like: show us the picture of your house, your favourite house, your library, your town park, your local church/cemetery etc. as long as I don't have to organize this:))
so this is really the last entry about "show your colours" - from now on it's going to be about wip, ufos and fos again - and all the other things I tend to "waste" my time on!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

show your colours - all of them

this is the last entry for showing my colours - even though I am a day late.... I skipped the metal ones. deep inside I prefer the living colours in plants or the lively ones in textiles to the hard and lifeless metals anyway. but today it's a firework of all of the colours together, so here are some of my more vivid dye and fibre results of the last few years.
this is the handspun and handdyed result for my "colibri" shrug - half silk and half merino wool.
this used to be the finished shrug - but when I wore it the first time I realised that sleeves this wide are totally impractical for me. I wear the shrug quite a lot - but not in the opera or the theatre! I always work with my hands and sleeves hanging about are just no good. so eventually I took off the lace border, unravelled part of the sleeves on both sides, decreased the width and re-knitted the lace border - two complete pattern sequences less = perfect to wear now. not too wide, but not tight either! the shrug is very cozy and warm, but also light and easy to wear.
I still had a lot of the yarn left over, which is turned into moebius scarves bit by bit. I am down to the last one now, which resulted in three scarves of different lengths and patterns. nice to have in stash for unexpected gifts!
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this was another rather colourful project - due to DS's wish to have a sweater in "all the colours". I didn't dye the fibres though; I bought the top from wollknoll in germany, spun a singles yarn and knitted it - quite large at the time, but by now it fits perfectly. which of course means that I'd better get another one on the needles - by next winter it's probably too small!

this one was great fun to make. I had planned on making a Harry Potter sweater and left Stefan to decide which motives to make. of course, he loves Dumbledore and Sirius, esp. in dog form. so I started with knitting Dumbledore.... a lot of threads on the back and a lot of yarn winding later - here he is. but - I ran out of suitable yarn for the shaggy dog Sirius, which was supposed to go on the back! I had a nice black-brown-grey alpaca fibre in my stash, that would have made the perfect Sirius dog - but somehow I didn't get around to spin the yarn. so, nearly 2 years later - I suppose the sweater parts need serious (not sirius:)) enlarging on all sides to fit the much taller boy! I have to think about what to do with this - before Stefan is too "old" to wear a sweater with motives like this!! for a while he used to ask me nearly every day, how his sweater was coming along... he hasn't asked for a long time now - I suppose he lost patience with the progress (or rather the lack of it:(()
this finishes the "show your colours" series - I have to admit that closer to the end it became a bit of a struggle to do the entries for this. summer is just not a good time to sit in front of the computer too much! back to my projects - I am waiting for nicer weather to take pix of some finished stuff!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

show your colours - black


I used to knit in black quite a lot - but lately I prefer navy blue for garments for myself - and it's slightly easier on the eyes anyway (while knitting I mean:)). my last finished knitting project in black was a pair of socks - pitch black - but looks more like charcoal due to the flash! the pattern was very simple, but the yarn was mainly merino, some alpaka and silk - very soft, though I am not sure how hardwearing it will be!

of course there are simply no truly black flowers or plants available, even though many catalogues claim this! but our dog Timmy really is black - well, the main part anyway! she used to have a black face too, apart from the nose and a narrow stripe between the eyes - but she is an old lady by now (nearly 13) - no shame in going grey then.... she's still pretty fit though; chasing the postman's car or a visiting cat is not a problem yet!

and to finish the colour series (I won't go hunting for silver, gold and bronze - but I might put in a final show of colour for "bunt" = all colours together) - the contrast between black and light - a new day begins and the sun is finishing off darkness - at least for one day!
going on the hunt for the colour of the day was fun - and it made me look more closely on things all around me. I consider myself lucky for having quite a lot of space in the garden - and also for being able to do all the textile things I like so much!

Monday, 18 May 2009

show your colours - grey


this grey slab is made from concrete - even though we made it ourselves, it looks pretty lifeless, even after many years of lying in the garden. it's in a corner, where we don't walk across it all that often, but still - lichen and moss don't seem interested to "live" here....

the stones in the walls all around us are just the opposite: there isn't a single one without either lichen or moss growing on it and in all the nooks and crannies there are slugs, beetles, spiders etc... a real habitat, even though most of its occupants stay invisible for most of the time!

this is a stand-in: I had planned to show my finished jacket/coat for the colour grey. unfortunately I still haven't finished. I attached both ribs along the front and neck - but I still didn't knit the i-cord at the bottom and the sleeves.... going to try to change this tonight - I'll show the picture as soon as the knitting is finished. for my sake esp. - as by now I am utterly bored by the project and want to start something else! for now though the yarn has to do for my textile "grey".... tomorrow it's black's turn - very difficult to take pictures of this colour!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

show your colours - beige and brown

I don't think there are any beige flowers around - and not too many brown ones either! I know a few herbs that have brown flowers, but beige? anyway, I have something textile to show in beige and brown - a sweater that I made a while back. the only "condition" was something in natural dyes in brown tones. the main colour is dyed with tea, the rest are nz flax, cherry bark, walnut leaves, logwood and a few other plants that I don't remember offhand. the owner was very happy with it and I had to make a second one for a girlfriend! similar colours, different knitting pattern. it's knitted from lambswool, but not handspun.

the other brown "thing" comes from the garden - but it's not a flower:)) I've always had an interest in herbs - and eventually I asked my mother to make a herb witch out of clay for me. this is the result - riding her broomstick in the front garden - only, during summer the roses nearly cover it and just the hat is still visible. well, witches do like to operate hidden from the public eye, don't they?

the week is going to start with hectic - it's well past midnight, but I have to wait for my cake to finish. we got a rather late warning that we are going to have visitors - quite early tomorrow morning. too early to make a cake beforehand! off to the kitchen....

Friday, 15 May 2009

show your colours - green/dark green


when visitors come over, they expect to see the stonewalls shown in pretty much every picture taken of "the west of ireland". and sure enough they are everywhere... well, they still are nearly everywhere. unfortunately more and more of them are taken down, either to make larger fields or because it's easier to erect a fence. which is true, it's hard work to build a stone wall (they are usually built without the use of mortar, concrete etc.!) - but on the other hand they do form a special habitat and look so much nicer. and sometimes you wouldn't believe what some people call a fence over here! crooked and wobbly, wires around trees, which are destroyed by this, barbed wire (coated with green plastic, as if that makes it look nicer!) etc...

after a short while lichens settle on the stones and plants grow in every crevice. I esp. like the little ferns, many different varieties with pretty fronds in different shades of green.
this is a mahonia in our garden, loaded with berries. unfortunately the birds like them a lot - so usually they vanish before they ripen to a very pretty blue shade!
another plant that I hadn't seen in germany before is the "New Zealand Holly" (Olearia macrodonta), probably because it isn't fully hardy. but with the mild winters here they form large shrubs with dark leaves, that really do look a bit like holly. the difference shows up easily though as soon as the plant flowers - they have large umbels of white star-shaped flowers, which are quite luminous in the shade, where our plants grow best.
green isn't really my colour in garments - so no textile pictures of anything green from me. but - I do live in the country with the famous 40 shades of green - no need to wear it myself then?:))

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

show your colours - light green

I looked through my stash, but light green was nowhere to be found. lime green - yes, light sage green - ok, but not a real light green! so off to the plants it is. though I am not sure if this doesn't fall into the lime green category as well? moss on a pot outside in the garden - in the sunshine the red stems give a nice contrast to the green tops....


this is a golden hops, humulus lupulus aurea - a real romper that behaves badly in my garden all the time. it produces runners of 6 or 7 metres without problem and turns up in the oddest places, far from its roots and usually in the middle of some other plant! but it does have nice leaves and looks very friendly and optimistic, so I usually give it a bit of freedom, where it doesn't make too much of a mess! every autumn I intend to pick the leaves for dyeing (I read that it produces shades of gold or brown!) - and every time they die off too quickly and I miss the chance.....

last in the row of light greens - is a very nice plant, the lily-of-the-valley. as pretty as it looks - it has bad manners and behaves the same as the hop! ok, maybe the runners aren't quite as long, but it still escapes the flower beds and ends up somewhere else. I could use it for dyeing as well, but I prefer to pick the flowers, because they last well in the vase and give the most heavenly scent!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

show your colours - dark blue/turquoise

I didn't make it back for dark blue yesterday - we were having problems with the mouse, which refused to work for some unknown reason... right now it does work again, but I think we're better off buying a new one any time soon!

anyway, I have a few delphinium flowers in the garden, which are dark blue - but of course it's too early for them right now - so I just make do with dark blue silk "gauntlets" - the pattern is "wines and roses" from a spinoff (06?), the tussah silk is a handspun 2ply, dyed with "musk" from gaywool colours.

turquoise is on today - not a colour that's easy to find in the average garden. but a while ago we did a group project with the "Connacht Textile Crafters" - the topic was bags - so I crocheted a small bag in different shades of turquoise, and felted and embroidered it later. the lining was handpainted turquoise silk. the crochet is tunisian crochet and the bag is slightly felted, but not fully, so the stitches are still visible. the base yarn is dyed with saxon indigo, some of the felt material is naturally dyed too, only the embroidery yarn is commercial cotton.

tomorrow we start with green - which should be easy to find in our jungle outside!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

show your colours - blue


can anything compete with this blue? ok, I faked a little bit - I managed to find a piece of sky without clouds - but the weather was nice here today, only a little wind, quite warm (at least in the sun) and only a few clouds every now and then!
and the little blue plant from yesterday - is a veronica ssp - google says they are called "speedwell" in english! I saw that google germany changed the symbol for mother's day - and chose pink of all colours:(( well, at least in the bunch of flowers was a bit of orange.... anyway: happy mother's day to all concerned:))

Saturday, 9 May 2009

show your colours - light blue


one of the nices blues around in the garden at this time of the year - the forget-me-not. years ago I used to take off single blossoms, press and dry them and sprinkle (and glue) them over letters I wrote. nowadays with emails - the flowers are allowed to spread all over the garden!

this is a light blue delphinium that always produces huge flower spires - up to 2.8 m tall! unfortunately it's also prone to fall apart in strong winds - and every year I only "realise" this, when they are tumbling all over the place:((
I don't even know the english name for this tiny plant, but they grow wild on the walls here and have lovely blue flowers.

and now for the fibre part -this is a knitfelted bag from naturally dyed wool I made a few years ago - inspired by Bertra Beach at the foot of Croagh Patrick on the west coast of Mayo. the lower part is the green grass and meadow, followed by the sandy beach and the line of sea weeds etc. at the water line. then the water becomes darker until it's nearly black at the horizon - with some green and turquoise spots, where there is a change in depth. the whole main part is knitted with two threads in "fair isle", to make the bag stronger after felting. of course there isn't only light blue in it, but part of the sea and the sky fit - and the rest can stand for blue and dark blue for tomorrow and monday! I also fixed sanded down glass bits and shells from the beach to it - but even though I still like the way the bag looks - it's not the most practical design! I tend to get stuck in shopping trolleys with it or crack a shell here and there when coming to close to a wall etc.... I have had to exchange or fix several of them - so I don't use the bag as often as I'd like. but it's a good talking piece - when I go to the knitting & stitching show in dublin, people comment on the bag at nearly every stall:)
back to the kitchener stitch on my jacket/coat - I am halfway done, but the long row across the middle part takes ages - and I needed a break! I hope to finish it tonight, so that I can start fixing the rib along one side of the front. I won't have enough spun yarn, so it's back to the wheel for one last spinning and plying session!

show your colours - purple

I am late, but I didn't make the "purple" yesterday:(( funny - because it's my favourite colour! I like the dark purples and aubergines most of all - not so much the light lavender tones and pastels. and I do have quite a lot of purple garments, even though most of them are commercially made! don't know why - the only aubergine sweater I ever knitted, was done with dark purple chenille. my sister fell for it big time - and eventually I sent it to her, which must have been a mistake, because she hasn't said "thank you" for it once:(( and of course I didn't take a picture of it either!

so this is one purple hand-made item. I made the bag for our last "secret santa" at the Connacht Textile Crafters. I think the recipient was quite happy with it - at least judging by the ahs and ohs I overheard:)) the yarn is kilcarra tweed, which I knitfelted and later embroidered with threads from Oliver Twists. the small insert for the mobile phone is detachable and can be used without the strap, too.
of course I like purple in flowers as well - here a few examples:

a gloxinia with a very dark purple center - another victim of the dreaded vine weevil:(

the very dark purple buddleia "black knight" - I especially like the contrast of the dark flowers with the orange center! it can be used for dyeing - resulting in a rather acidic yellow!

this is another aquilegia, a. atrata - quite a large variety - and the flowers dye!

this is a small viola, black molly, which happily self-seeds all over my garden and pots, which is a good thing as the flowers can be picked for dyeing - they give anything between a smokey blue to a minty green, which I really like! a pity, that the flowers are so small, but they freeze well and they do flower from spring to autumn, so plenty to pick, if you can bear it!
so, this is purple - light blue will follow later! right now I have to take my chance outside as the sun has come out and the garden is calling (more like screaming!)....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

show your colours - rosy and pink

it's quite late already - the day for rose coloured items is nearly over and the pink is creeping up! so I'll put both of them together - with good reason. first of all many flowers have shades of both in one blossom - and also I'll skip the textile area here - as I said, I am not a "pastel" person and I don't have too many pinks either (one cone of extremely vivid pink cotton does come to mind - but I haven't done anything with it yet:))
so - flowers it is:
here are some of the masses of clematis flowers that cover an old iron gate at the back of our garden just now (in fact, all of the pix here show plants that flower right now!). I like the flowers - but I also like the fluffy seed heads they form later in the year!

those are apple blossoms - shortly before they open and turn into white - the tree is aptly named "everest" - though it could be called "avalanche" just as well! at this time of the year (if the rain will ever stop...) it turns into one white fluff of flowers and when the sun warms the air, bees and bumble bees are swarming around it.

this is an aquilegia that I grew from seeds just last spring. it was a mixture of colours and shapes and all of them turned out nicely. one small packet of seeds and at least 15 new plants for my garden:)

this is a - sedum? I am not sure, but it grows in my stone trough, stays very low and flowers for a long time in spring - with very cute flowers in everyting from nearly white to hot pink.

the next candidate is a good example for rosy and pink in one plant - a scented pelargonium - extremely tough, with nice flowers and a gorgeous scent! what else can one ask from a single plant? it survived outside all winter and is already growing and flowering away again.

this is one of my favourite plants - a camellia. unfortunately they tend to be attacked by vine weevils and I have to buy new plants every now and then:(( they seem to be extremely tasty - well, what can one expect from a relation of the tea plant?
so, this is it for two days - maybe I'll manage to put together the coat I am still knitting - that would be something I could show in grey - or maybe silver, if I stretch it a bit! I am not sure if I'll manage to attach the lower part to the top tonight - a lot of kitchener stitch, which is not exactly my favourite thing to do....

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

show your colours - dark red

as I said before - I don't have any red or dark red flowers out in the garden right now - but we do have quite a few trees and shrubs with red leaves! just as an example, the one below is a purple plum - which has quite dark leaves that go lighter after a while in the sun... which we don't have much of right now - so the leaves are still safe:)
unfortunately I don't have much in the way of dark red yarn either! though I like the red fibres I found in my stash - but they come from a colour sample bag by wollknoll in germany. only small amounts - and those didn't even turn out right in the picture. the red on top isn't as garish and the one to the left isn't as purple! but the weather is so bad outside, that there was no chance of taking nicer pix today:((

the one part of my stash, where I have quite a lot of red - is the bead stash! I don't usually collect huge amounts of materials, which I don't often use - but with beads I find that it is far easier to store a lot of choice and dig it out when needed. they don't take up much space and in my experience you rarely find the ones you want, if you do need them urgently!

tomorrow we are off to rosy and pink colours- which is far easier at least where flowers are concerned. the stash is a different matter - I am just not someone who wears rose colours and even pink is a rare colour for me! I'll see what I can find... if all else fails - I'll just show you a nice rosy piglet:)

Monday, 4 May 2009

Show your colours - red

red wasn't a colour I could find easily outside today - grey would have been easier as it was drizzly and muggy all day! luckily my stash contained a few reds. the picture above shows some wools I dyed with brazilwood on alum - the round bag in the background is made from the same yarn, but felted afterwards (and embroidered).
the pix below shows some bought wool fibres I use for felting - with the flash the upper strong red could be called orange, too!




this was the only remotely red bit I found in the garden (yesterday!) - an old leaf, still hanging on the shrub from last year...

but when I made my lunch it occured to me that the obvious choice for red would be - tomatoes of course! hmm, delicious - dark rye bread with sour cream, tomatoes and fresh cress - yummeeh!



Sunday, 3 May 2009

Show your colours - orange

this time I've turned it around - first the fibre colours, followed by garden colours. I dug out a few "oranges" from my stash - very different, but of course some people might argue that one is nearly red and the other one more yellow. the trouble with showing colours can be that they look different in a picture and in reality! I consistently have troubles with green yarns or fibres, esp. when the green goes into the olive-khaki range. I could of course fiddle around in photoshop, but I don't want to do that - it takes a lot of time and from magazine pictures I know that you can change mucky food pictures to enticing meals:))


those yarns are either wool, wool/silk or wool/angora - the balls in the middle are dyed with gaywool colours, the yellow skein on the right is the second bath from yellow cosmos - and the oranges on the left are dyed with red dahlia flowers (samples dyed by D. Fischer). the skein on top wasn't dyed by me - so I don't know what was involved....

this of course is one of my favourite oranges in the garden - the flowering berberis again. with the reddish leaves it really does look fiery - and the bees love it!


still a berberis - close up they look like little bells, when they aren't fully opened yet. the shrubs are in full bloom now - lots of orange fireballs dotted around the garden:)

with the late daffs the orange is cooled a lot by the white outer flower petals - the contrast makes them look like a fried egg sunny side up from afar!
there will come many more orange flowers later in the year - I think of coreopsis, cosmos sulphureus, tagetes, dahlias of course - and a very "hot" contestant - the huge canna flowers! maybe there is some truth in the saying that the colours turn hotter with the weather? but - no flowers without some help - off to the garden I go (pricking out seedlings - a terrible job = decision between life and death for all those tiny plants!)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Show your colours - yellow


today the colour is yellow! there's no shortage of this during spring in ireland. there is the ubiquitious gorze (which flowers on and off during most months of the year...) - which I used for dyeing again yesterday. every spring I do acupuncture for my fingertips, by picking a potful of gorze flowers.... I really like the yellow it gives on wool and silk; though not as strong as the flowers themselves, but a nice lemony colour nonetheless. the astonishing thing about this is that the dried or frozen flowers or those, which have been standing around for a few hours, don't give this bright yellow! they do still dye - but the result is a golden yellow, very different from this! btw, the yarn on the left is the lace yarn from Wollpoldi in germany, the ball (well, what's left of it in the pic, sorry:)) is teeswater top - both on 10 % alum mordant.

of course most dye plants give a yellow, so here are a few more from my stash. the strong yellow on top is wool/silk with dyer's chamomile, the others are from yellow cosmos, heather and onions - but all 2nd or 3rd dips, where the colours loose the intensity a bit - and become very soft and easy to use with other colours. there are plenty more in my stash - those are just some that I could grab from the top.
as I said, there are plenty of yellow spring flowers, apart from the gorze. another plant that grows pretty much everywhere is the yellow primrose, with pastel yellow flowers and a darker yellow center...
this is not a wild plant, it's a corydalis lutea, with finely divided leaves and nice, trumpetlike flowers - that grows well in the shade here.
I left out obvious choices - I am sure someone came up with dandelion! or the yellow rubber gloves I use for dyeing... or the yellow duster... there must be plenty of household things in yellow, because it is a cheery colour. take the dishwashing liquid, the neon yellow text marker etc. but I am going to concentrate on garden and stash - if I can find the required colour:))
and no, I am not colour blind - I know this isn't yellow. it's a rather depressing khaki-olive green - on wool and soy silk. mordanted with 10 % alum as well (and treated with iron vinegar afterwards; it was even uglier when it came out of the dyebath first!) - and dyed with the previously described rhamnus frangula berries gone mouldy. the green is a bit better in reality - but not all that much! esp. not when compared with the lovely dusty blue I dyed with the fresh berries! I thought at first about overdyeing it, maybe with madder. but very likely the colour will muddy up even more - so khaki it is! maybe it's a good choice for the Laminaria shawl from knitty? seaweed can look this ugly:))
back to the garden until the rain comes in....
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