Monthly Archives: March 2014

My First Indigo & Rust & Shibori Experience


00thumbI stepped out of my Comfort Zone and into the world of Indigo Dyeing, Shibori, and Iron Rust dyeing. Big thank you to Joy, I was on the verge of withdrawing my participation before her gentle encouragement gave me the inspiration to have a go! The nine of us were brilliantly supported by Helen who cooked us delicious lunches and dinners and spread out tea breaks so we could get on with our endeavours. (and in between all of that Helen produced 2 beautiful paintings). Calli (Jane Callendar) led us through the techniques that make for successful dyeing, stitching, clamping;  gave us background information to Indigo and how it works; set up 3 indigo vats, an Iron Rust vat and a Tea vat; and ensured a safe working environment. Given that we all began with plain pieces of cloth the variety of the samples was amazing, highlighting the endless possibilities Shibori offers. Check out Calli’s website, get your hands on some product and dye away with your own Indigo vat, or Iron Rust vat, it is very rewarding.

Steele’s Island was the venue – a brilliant choice – scenery, privacy, comfort, space. The workshop was under the umbrella of the HandWeavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild of Tasmania, and again, Joy worked tirelessly to set it up, mother it through the weekend and have it all stowed away in time on the exit day. Belonging to this Guild offers so many opportunities to extend your own craft, I recommend membership.

What Do You Do All Day?


People know we are ‘retired’ and often ask us if we get bored! What do you do all day? they ask. Our days go by in a blur sometimes, there is never a dull moment, but it is often difficult to answer that question. One just gets on with the task at hand, whatever it may be. So I have blogged a re-cap of This Day.

We have an alpaca – Zoe – who succumbs to Rye Grass Staggers this time each year, so every morning around this time of the year I select a mate for her and let everyone but those two out of the night pen and into the east paddock. This means they can see each other all day which in turn means Zoe and her mate for the day, (Tessa today), fret less. I give Zoe an oral drench of brewers yeast, a B1 tablet and treats of lucerne cubes and year old hay. I also give out corn stalks and foliage, apples and pears occasionally thru the day.

This is Zoe who suffers Rye Grass Staggers annuallyBit of breakfast, then I planted out some Leatherwood trees to give some added high foliage and nectar in the Native Garden area. The bird life in our garden has increased markedly since we took out half the English garden that was here and replaced it with mainly indigenous Tasmanian flora.


Next, with Brian’s expertise, we turned an old and incomplete loom, 4 egg poacher handles, electric tie cables and an occy strap into an Art yarn loom.

03_loomartyarnI was just about to play with that when, 5 ton of wood arrived!

04_5tonwoodpileSo naturally, we stacked the wood! And I would like you to notice how NEAT the stack is.

05_5tonwoodstackbrian06_5tonwoodstackvaleriThen we took a tea break.

07_teabreakDuring which time I played SOME of my word game turns and made some ‘leaf’ looms for a project happening soon.

08_leaflooom 09_scrabblebreakBack out to the garden to harvest some berries from an Elderflower – intention – boil them up and see if I can use them to dye alpaca fibre.

10_berryharvestNext – need some time out – take an apple from the tree and down to the riverbank for a peaceful crunch and munch.

12_applebreak 13_riverbreakUp to the studio to wash out some black alpaca yarn I made yesterday,

15_yarntimethen back to the paddock to invite the alpacas to return and join Zoe and Tessa in the night yard around the house.

16_alpacasbackand after all that I think it is time to take a lesson from our cats Raggamuffin and Penny

find a cosy chair in the afternoon sunshine and RELAX, after all, we are RETIRED!