Saturday, 2 November 2013


that's what our weather is like just now! yesterday I was very lucky - lovely sunshine while I cycled to town to do our weekly shopping. today a typical autumn day: grey, very windy, leaves flying about, heavy showers - and a ray or two of sunshine in between. tomorrow is supposed to be good again - we'll see. gardening hours are few and far between now, even though I'd have plenty to do outside!
we have had enough cool and sunny days to change the colours nicely - my little japanese maple has turned its usual strong red:
 or maybe it just looks that "hot" in front of the evergreen lonicera hedges? its big brother "outside" in the garden (this is in a pot at the front of the house) has barely even turned yellow - and it only turns to light orange anyway. but in contrast to the red leaves that seem to drop all of a sudden in one or two days, the ones from the large tree turn slowly - but come off slowly, too! the sycamores all suffer from black spot disease here, which means that the leaves turn brown and drop off early, but the ash trees are still fairly green! when we have strong winds it feels like sleeping in a tent in my "upstairs" bed - the leaves hit the attic windows and make their own kind of music  - together with the raindrops. very cosy and sleep inducing for me!
the blueberries all look very different now - two of the early fruiting varietes are still totally green, while the ones that carry fruit later are a fiery autumnal red! the colour of the flowers at this time of year seems rather "washed out" in contrast to the leaves; the cimicifuga is all white, the fuchsia only has a pinkish edge. the only two strong coloured flowers just now are the small red dahlia and my one deep purple lupin. the blue lobelias that I planted in the boxes together with fuchsias and pelargoniums are nearly gone - only a small blue spot here and there in the middle of a brown, leafless blotch:( oh yes, and I nearly forgot my fearless sanvitalias. like tiny sunflowers they keep going until the first real frost kills the tops. this flower amazes me: I never do anything with them, apart from watering. no faded flowers to pick off, no cutting back - nothing. and still they have been in full flower since spring! and they'll come back next spring, unless the winter turns really frosty (in which case I'd rescue them into the shed!).
it's not all gardening though, I've been spinning the bag full of baby alpaca for ages, or so it feels. probably because it's natural white - no entertainment with colour changes etc. I will dye the spun yarn, and I am nearly done now. two bobbins full means 2 more skeins after plying, which should be enough for the planned cropped cardigan....
and I finally dug out all the saved dahlia flowers I'd frozen over the last few weeks. I was going to go for a stronger orange, but then decided to put all the merino I had left into the dyebath. lighter in colour, but at least I have enough to do something with it! the red pompoms were very lazy this year, so I had to make do with the blooms of a single small plant. but it was still enough to dye a lighter, more variegated shade on some teeswater top (left) in the leftover bath. I tried cold mordant for the first time - and you can really feel the difference on the fibres: no matting, as soft as they've been before! it's easy to use as well - it's dissolved in warm water and can be used by just putting in the fibres over night or even for a few days - no damage to the fibres and no more heating stuff on the stove! but for this year the only thing I still plan to dye with will be the mahonia berries I found in the freezer. but luckily there's still plenty of dyed fibre in the stash to work with - and it might not be a bad idea to use up some of the finished yarn over winter - to have room for new stuff next spring! happy spinning! or knitting... 


Delighted Hands said...

What a great yard tour! The changing leaves are beautiful. I can't believe what a great orange you got from the dahlia blooms! I have some plain silver alpaca that I have been knitting forever, too-color is a better motivator! lol

Nina said...

I love the oranges from the Dahlias. So soft and pretty! Sometimes I feel the same way when spinning a lot of one colour of yarn. It can seem like you'll never get through the lot of it, even when it doesn't take nearly as much time as it seems.

Leigh said...

I love the orange from the Dahlias too. Such a lovely soft color. I also like that every photo has a bit of that magenta pink in it as well. Also interesting about the cold mordanting.

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - yes, spinning a big bag full of one colour can be pretty boring. and the next bagful of white has just started for me:) not sure what I'll do with the dahlia fibres, maybe I'll blend them with something?

Nina - I like them too, esp. as you can pick the flowers after their best! no waste there... and I thought I might dye the baby alpaca before spinning it, but decided against it - I was worried it might tangle or felt too much!

Leigh - the magenta was accidental for the fibre photos - just a towel I had handy for the pix. but I do like the colour, too! unfortunately brazilwood isn't available anymore, so this red is much more difficult to achieve with natural dyes now!
and the cold mordant is a really helpful development, you can have mordanted fibres/yarns available all the time without any effort at all!

Elke Schwarzer said...

Der rote Ahorn ist wirklich toll.
Ich hatte mal einen mit dunkel violetten Blättern -leider hat ihn irgendein Pilz dahingerafft.
Viele Grüße