Category Archives: Gardening

Hummingbirds, Knitting and Creativity

I love how the creative process gets the mind working and ideas keep popping up, some of which actually turn out to be useful!

I have a new knitting project on the go which I am very excited about. This is my own design and I have been playing around with it for a while. It all started because a friends Mum asked if I could make her a pair of speciality gloves. She needed to have warmth as well as dexterity. I must admit I thought it would be very simple to do! just adapt a glove pattern and we are good to go….well that is mostly true, but I needed to factor in specfic measurements. Well I have made a few proto types and I think we are on our way to designing something worthwhile, more on this soon.

second snowfall Hummingbird at feeder

Now for something quite different, here in South Western B.C  we have a hummingbird that stays all winter. That just amazes me, we have had surprisingly cold weather lately and this little bird will start nesting in February…brrr. The hummingbird is the Anna’s and here is some information about them from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.

annas_hummingbird_glamorThis is the male Anna’s, isn’t he just spectacular! The female Anna’s  has a stout body with short, straight black bill
central iridescent pink throat patch  Some females show several scattered pink feathers on face.  White above and behind eye.

We have a hummingbird feeder ( seen in the above pic,  Anna’s female is on it !) in our garden and have such pleasure from seeing two of these wonderful birds daily. They are quite fiesty and do not allow each other to drink at the same time. By the way the sugar water solution for these birds is one cup of boiling water and 1/4 cup of plain white table sugar. Mix up and allow to cool before placing in your feeder. DO NOT ADD FOOD COLOURING to this….it is not good for them. Also do not change the ratio because you think they may need more sugar, it can be hard on their kidneys and could kill them. The sugar solution should be changed regularly I clean my feeder out once a week in the cool weather and twice a week in the summer. We have the Rufous hummingbird here in the summer more about them later.

Have a lovely day and take time to enjoy the small things 🙂

 

De-Stashing Yarn A Knitted Project

My latests de-stashing project is a knitted cardigan using various odd balls of yarn. I used to buy yarn one ball at a time, I would see something great and think OH! goody what can I make with one ball from this gorgeous colour. Also it was affordable BUT not very economical or smart. Nevertheless I have a few balls to use! so begins my side to side knitted cardigan. I have admired other knitted side to side projects that I have found on Ravelry and thought surely I can do this too ! I have knitted from the top down, making a sweater with Barbara Walker’s helpful guidance. So I felt sure I could use a little help from Debbie Bliss to make my side to side cardigan. This is it so far…


I am surrounded by these colours in my world…the greens of the garden, the blues from flowers, sea and sky and the purples from the flowers in our garden.

Are you inspired by your surroundings ? what have you made ? would you like to share ?

Sheep To Shawl

Summer weather is here and the warmth feels good. The garden is flourishing and I need to keep up with daily watering. Thank goodness we saved the rain water in a barrel from all those rainy days back in the Spring but it is nearly used up. The carrots look as if they might be worth eating soon and the broccoli spears look like leggy cabbage! They were planted a little late so I don’t hold out much for them – we shall see.

I have been washing sheep fleece which is quite time consuming and labour intensive. I purchased two Romney fleeces and have managed to wash and dry them, thanks to the warmer weather. I washed them in an old bath tub set up in the garden. I fill the tub with hot water, add the soap but don’t make any bubbles then add the fleece and gently squish it down under the water making sure not to move it around too much so it doesn’t felt! I found using a toilet plunger works quite well and keeps my hands out of the stinky water! After letting it soak for a couple of hours with the occasional plunge I lift out the fleece and let it drain on a rack; I use an old old baby crib side. Apparently sheep fleece water is good for the roses! When the fleece has stopped dripping, I fill the bath tub with clean hot water and rinse, using the toilet plunger to move the fleece gently in the water. After several rinses until the water comes clean, I spin it in my washing machine.

Drying the fleece in the shade is now all that is required. According to the books I have read, drying a fleece in the full sun makes it brittle as the natural oils have been removed by the washing process. I have plenty of shade in my garden but it did take longer to dry than I thought it would.

Now I am using my Patrick Green Picker. This looks like a medieval torture device with some very evil-looking nails with lots of sharp pointy parts. The picker does what it says, it picks the fleece apart, gets rid of the debris and makes the fleece more fluffy. The next stage is to spin the fleece. A friend has lent me her spinning wheel and I hope to learn how to use it very soon.

It all feels very ‘back to the land’ in a good way. I have a couple of books that I have found useful; “The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book” by Rachel Brown and “Knit to Spin” by Shannon Okey.

All this has kept me busy during the first weeks of summer, combining it with work and family commitments. I hope to enjoy more sunny days outside in the company of friends including a few days at the beach.

I hope you are having a good summer as well, doing whatever you enjoy.

Inspiration

Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world, our garden and the surrounding beauty of Western Canada. We are fortunate to live near the ocean which can be a place of great serenity and chaos. I love colour and texture.

Knitting for me is a kind of meditative therapy that enables me to quiet my mind and explore my creative abilities. No matter what happens creatively, I feel a little magic comes into each design. I make every effort to create earth-friendly items for my shop. I like to use re-purposed, gently loved t-shirts and re-cycled natural and sustainable materials wherever possible in my work.

My favourite yarn is wool of any weight depending on the project. One day I hope to learn to spin and weave.

April

I am currently working on some new designs and hope to have lots to show you in a week or two. I have chosen some lovely felted fabrics and will be using more recycled items as I go along. I plan to keep knitting and felting as well but will make just change purses lined and unlined with minimal embroidery.

So to-day I will leave you with a great quote: The winds of grace are always blowing but you have to raise the sail.

and some garden abundance pictures.

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The Procrastinator Dyer's Diary

A Journal of Observations

rosiepink

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

The Creative's Tribulations

From the perspective of a frustrated creative.

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

lil fish studios

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

Attic24

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

FeltUnited

Uniting the world wide felt community

feltingandfiberstudio

An international collective of felt and fiber artists

dyefeltsool

documenting the process

tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site