I collaborate on projects that tell stories of connection, origin and resilience so that we can begin to mend ourselves, our communities and the earth.
#1year1outfit 2016 Final Outfits Perth – Australia

Welcome to my brand new website!  I now have a dedicated page to welcome newcomers to #1year1outfit, where you can see the rules, find links to participants in your area, and even sign up.

If you needed some motivation to sign up, then look no further! I proudly present the 2016 Master Makers.  First up, Perth, my home town.   These ladies are proof that although this is an individual challenge, that having a supportive team is the key to success.

Doing the challenge for the second year running meant that many of the Perth crew could focus more completely on design as opposed to finding suitable fibre.

Hand knits, weaving, and felting all featured, but the common theme was learning more about local natural dyes and incorporating colour.

Some of the informative background posts you might like to read include:

Sue from Fadanista

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Sue had two parts to her project this year both using locally farmed and produced Merino and Corriedale wool. The first being this machine knit dress featuring beautifully delicate lace circle work.  Sue over dyed the dress with avocado pits to completely melt my heart into a soft pink haze of lusciousness. aaaahhh.

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For the second half of her project, Sue took to refining the felting skills she learnt the previous year to make this fabulous jacket and bag.  As Sue points out, felt is forgiving substrate to work with allowing you to shape, meld and fix things over time.  Hop on over and read all about her projects here.

Megan from Meggipeg

Megan used local wool rovings to make her gorgeous bag and shoes.   She then added some traceable silk to the mix to nuno felt her dress.  Megan was keen to find a way to make her felt more wearable in the Perth climate, and I am pretty sure she achieved that with the addition of the silk, in her own words “every inch of it was planned and designed and made lovingly agonisingly by hand in a process that was exhilarating and difficult and immensely satisfying.”  Megan has all the details on her blog.

Kyra from Once Woven

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Kyra was a first time participant this year, but look at what she did!  Kyra wove her skirt from a local black alpaca (a friend of Zac’s from my outfit last year!) and designed her hand knit jumper to take advantage of her natural dying trials.   She used local dyes from purple carrot, peppermint tree leaves, madder, WA shiraz, avocado, and fennel leaves.    She  comments that the project has motivated her “to (even more) carefully curate the fabric I use for my clothes. I am also making a concerted effort to purchase Australian wool for my projects, where the processing of the yarn is traceable…”

See her full post here.

Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn

Carolyn and her talented hands made the most of this challenge again this year.  Everything in this photo was made by her from local materials, right down to the shoes, bag and beanie. Carolyn used locally hand spun merino to knit herself this cuddly showcase of natural materials and dyes. She used coreopsis, sourgrass, indigo and avocado to get the pops of colour.  I’m not sure about you, but I would be wearing this constantly over winter!  She even designed the dress and beanie herself and is offering the patterns up for free.

The details are here.

Nicki from This is Moonlight

And finally, my coatigan made from West Australian alpaca Roselea.  I completed this project as part of finishing my certificate in 8 shaft hand weaving.   I learnt a lot, and as the weather gets cooler am really looking forward to wearing it on chilly days.  My full post is here.

I will be back soon with more stories from around the globe…

On travelling to strange places

Full title: On travelling to strange places with young children, and a shit load of luggage. 

We just came back from the holiday of a lifetime.  Seriously.  Amazing.  When I was sick we decided that if there was any trip we wanted to do it was this; snow, Japan, with kids.  It seemed like a ridiculous idea to take our kids there so young, and in many ways it still it was ridiculous! But I would do it again in a heartbeat.

japan 2016

Here’s the thing about taking little kids overseas.  They need lots of stuff and you carry it.  We packed one LARGE roll suit case, and one snow board bag, had a backpack each, and we still only had room for one “in snow” outfit and one casual outfit each.  We packed a few spare under things, but that was it.  The pressure to get every piece in that suitcase just right was pretty intense.

Now, take that packing conundrum, and add a baby.  Our friends who joined us for the trip had the same amount of luggage, but Dan aka “the packing ninja”, managed to fit in nappies, a baby tent, food packages and, wait for it, a bumbo seat!  You should see this man in action, and hear the packing tunes that accompany this feat.

So I guess that’s ridiculous point one (ichi) –  there may be a bumbo in your luggage

Now let’s talk Tokyo subway for a second.  It is a fast paced maze of platforms, competing train lines, constant announcements, and the odd elevator if you know where to look.   I consider myself fairly comfortable with Japan’s subway, but this trip took it to another level.  We shuttled children and luggage onto platforms with seconds to spare.  We walked against the flow at pretty much every turn.  And when we found an elevator, it was the most ridiculous game of sardines you’ve ever seen!

Ridiculous point two (Ni) –  elevators may crush you

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To combat the anxiety I knew I would feel doing the luggage subway shuffle on the way home from the snow, we joked that I should write “do not loose own shit”  on my hand.  I’m sorry to say that though I held it together fairly well through the bus ride, shinkasen and two subways (I think I counted 7 elevator crushes), enroute to dinner that evening my shit got lost.

You see, two weeks of holidays with kids means a lot of long days, dinners out, cuddles, tears and meltdowns.  We did our best to plan rests for the kids every third day, but so many new things all the time just wears the little tackers out.  So our strategy?  Give them something familiar, like carrots, cucumber and a whole lot of Frozen.  And for my lost shit, plum wine and sake came up trumps.

Ridiculous number 3 (San) – you may know all the words to Let it Go by the end of the trip

We had some hits and misses with entertaining the kids in Tokyo after a sleepless flight.  Visiting the local temples didn’t keep them engaged long, but I believe a makeshit rock/climbing wall helped ease the boredom.

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(New beanie, details below, me made scarf and coat, and far right pink beanie)

On the other hand, Lego land had them completely entertained but the parents crying for the escape route.  Flashing lights and the constant chatter of announcements drove us all a bit mad.  Except lego sumo.  No one can diss lego sumo.

japan 2016

Perhaps next time we will have to try the rainbow ferris wheel.  Or more enthusiastically search for inner city family havens where the balance is met for everyone.

japan 2016

All that got a whole lot easier when we got to the snow!  The kids stuck out their tongues, made snow angels and threw snow balls in absolute amazement.  Such precious moments seeing their eyes light up the first time they saw it snow. And watching them learn to ski over the following days was just heart breakingly cute.

Ridiculous part no 4 (yon):  Snow is ridiculously fun.

japan 2016

(Beanie)

We went to this beautiful village called Nozawa Onsen, that all the adults had visited in the time before children.  The secret has got out about this place, and you no longer need Japanese to get by, but when you really engage with the town it is still very traditional.  The town is lucky enough to have hot spring water accessible everywhere, so hot that if you leave eggs in the water for long enough they cook! We also soaked our bodies in the warm (sorry scalding water) for a number of seconds : P

Ridiculous number 5 (go):   eating eggs cooked in the local bath house

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When we weren’t bathing ourselves or playing in powder, we walked the village, ate lots of food, saw the local fire festival and chatted to our host.  We were kept warm by a mix of woolly handmades and borrowed gear from friends.  I may have possibly had a little freakout about the cold before we left and made 3 beanies, 2 sets of gloves, 3 merino tops, one pair of thermal pants and a wool skirt for me before we left.

Ridiculous Part 6 (roku) – you may need to create a winter wardrobe you never had!

Today I’ve got the details of the Fibershed little brown beanie my son in wearing in the pics and its twin in blue and yellow which is shown below.

Quick Beanies

Pattern:  A Modern Natural Dyer  Beanie

Fibres: Local Handspun Wool from Bilby Yarns and (blue and yellow) Rescued Wool

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Needles:  Size 5 and 4 circulars 

Tidbits:  These beanies were a nice easy project during the christmas rush.  The blue and yellow beanie was originally dyed in tumeric and then overdyed in indigo over half the skein.  I find it fascinating that none of it is green.

Score: 5/5 a lovely simple pattern to make beanies with on the run.  And the dyeing advice is invaluable.

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So here’s to doing ridiculous things!

 

japan 2016

#1year1outfit The Big Reveal

OneYearOneOutfit

At the start of this year I set myself a ridiculous challenge. I had no idea whether it was achievable, and that was part of the attraction. I promised you that I would make an outfit that was made from local fibre, local labour and local colour, even if that meant wearing a crochet bikini! Following the Fibreshed philosophy was a massive ask given the remoteness of the city I live in.

1y1o reveal 2015

Well, here I am fully clothed in local wool, alpaca, silk and clay, feeling pretty darn chuffed. I learnt to felt, knit, weave, crochet, natural dye, wood fire and handstitch in the making of this outfit. My one skill that I had any experience in (machine sewing) turned out to be completely and utterly useless.

Felting09-DSC_29641y1o weaving1y1o weaving

 

Throughout the year I actively recorded the colours and seasons around me in my visual diary (cough, instagram), and I fell head over heels in love with this city again.  The brightness of the sun, sky and sand, and the sleek black of the swan were my inspiration for the colour palette.  The nuts and flowers of eucalypts created the pattern in my vest and the pom poms in my shoes. The herringbone weave chosen as it looks like patterns in the sand under the waves.  Somehow it seems silly to write this all down, but I really do feel like this outfit is both perfectly me and this land that I grew up on.

1y1o reveal 2015

It’s rough, it’s edgey but underneath it is soft and warm.
1y1o reveal 2015

I wanted to learn about the sustainability of textiles and I thought that working from the ground up would be the best way to do it. I can tell you now, that it was that and so much more. I am privileged to have meet so many wonderful people (and animals) this year, people who care passionately about the environment and textiles and who shared their knowledge with me.

Alpacas
Some of these crazy people even decided to give this challenge a go themselves, and together in Perth we have built a little community.  A little community of local textile discoverers who have made this project feel less overwhelming and who pushed me to make something that at the start of this year I would never have dreamed of.  For those in Perth, we hope to hold a gathering in the new year to celebrate this wonderful Fibreshed in which we live.
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Watch this space for more posts on local garments made by participants far and wide, and for details on doing it all again next year if you are thinking of joining in!

1y1o reveal 2015

Felt top: merino roving and olive oil soap, details here

Zac’s tank:  Alpaca fleece, details here

Herringbone Skirt: handspun wool, sour grass, local clay, merino roving, alpaca mill off cuts, hand reeled silk thread, details here

Necklace: local clay, handspun wool dyed with sour grass and eucalypts

Pom Pom garland: alpaca mill off cuts, handspun wool dyed with sour grass and eucalypt, details here

Neck warmer: merino roving dyed with native indigo, details here

Boots: not made by me, but 10 years old and resoled, re zipped time and again, making them a sustainability stand out in my wardrobe

And another silly pose just cause..
1y1o reveal 2015

#1year1outfit Zac’s Tank Top

Introducing the second completed item of my 100% Western Australian outfit, a snuggly alpaca singlet. The yarn is from Zac, a local alpaca. Zac’s yarn was farmed and milled in Toodjay at the Fiber of the Gods farm.

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Right now I could do a little happy dance!  Yeeeeeessss. I am the boss of the needles.

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Zac’s Tank

Pattern: Quince and Co Togue Pond

Yarn: 220g of Black alpaca 8ply from Zac, farmed and milled by Hazel and Michael at the Fiber of the Gods.  See more about our visit to the farm here.

Needles: I knitted on size 4.5 – 6 needles as per the pattern.

See Also: Other examples on ravelry flower thrower

Tidbits:  I have had quite a bit of trouble getting a knitted garment together this year with little to no experience before starting this challenge.  I built up to this project by making hats and shawls and then dived head long into cables before reassessing and deciding on this pattern.

Despite this pattern being designed for a linen yarn, I decided I could make it work as the hem line was exactly what my outfit needed.  I swatched and sized up a little to be safe.  To stay true to the design I could have lengthened at the waist, but I wanted it to be cropped to go with the skirt I had in mind so stuck with the design length as is.  For someone knitting their very first garment, I was pretty blasé about making changes here and there as I went, most notably making the neckline higher, but I trusted my instinct on the sizing as I went and luckily for me it all worked out in the end!

Lessons:   I could do with a knitting lesson or two!  I am incredibly slow, with this little thing taking me over 2 months.

Also, sewing weekends are incredible fun, delicious and productive. I highly recommend them!

Back with more soon!  Be sure to check out what the other #1year1outfit participants are up to.

flower thrower

#1year1outfit Half Way House

We are 6 months down!   Aaaaaahhhhh, only 6 months to go to make my one Year one Outfit project  and I. Am. Starting.to.Panic.   Just a little. 

This might, might, have something to do with the fact that I am a novice at everything. No wait.  I am a stone cold begineer in all the things.  I’m learning to dye, weave, knit and felt – all in one breath. And well, things seem to be moving at a glacial pace when you are learning.

To catch you up since my last post, I need to show you the results of my wool dye tests……druuuuuuumm roll please…

And just because I tested a few other bits and pieces..

So after all those tests, what did I decide to do?  Well.  I took all 900g of handspun and dyed it with bottlebrush leaves.  Now for those of you paying attention you may recall that my first tangled dyeing disaster was with bottlebrush leaves.  I wasn’t happy with the colour, so I went off for a couple of months, tried everything I could get my hands on, and then, you guessed it, decided I liked the colour after all.  We all change our mind every now and then right!?

The dyeing took a whole week by the time I had scoured, dried, dyed and soaked all 900g.

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My knitting is going slowly as I chose a garment with cables, and yep, you guessed it, I’ve never done cables before!  I am at the point where things are starting to make sense so I hope the pace quickens a little.

In order to wear more than a cardigan (or boob tube as it currently stands)) I also want to get my head around weaving and felting.

I have been following along with @theweavingkind’s challenges on Instagram as incentive to read some tutorials on basic hand weaving.   My first hand weaving efforts were made using a small picture frame.  I have much to learn, much to learn..
Weaving startWeaving start

Then this week, I played with the big kids on a real loom at the local weaving, spinning and dyeing group and that was pretty exciting!  I have some basic information to get my head around before the next session and some designing to do, but looming my sample was very exciting!

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I also had a crack at felting at the Toodjay Fiber Festival.  I am excited to be catching up with Sue in the near future who is very close to finish the challenge and has become a ninja felter along the way!

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Finally, I have also been collecting design ideas from nature by taking photos of this beautiful place I live in on instagram. The black swans and floral shapes and colours are just exquisite, my favourite photo so far has to be this one.

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My head is spinning with everything I have learnt, and I feel like more and more of a fiber novice the further I dig!

This challenge would be overwhelming if it weren’t for the support of others joining in.  

–  Did you see Charlottes‘ post on natural dyeing?

–  I hear that Elle has had a bit of a break through in tracking down UK fiber so watch her new blog for more information there.  

– I am loving watching Raquel’s progress on instagram as she has sourced some wool very close to my heart and I cannot wait to see what she does with it, particularly when she keeps producing beautiful images of Peruvian textiles that inspire her and the dye plants she farms. 

–  And I want to welcome Zoe who has just decided to throw her hat in the ring and give this thing a go sourcing UK fibers. 

I would love to know how you are feeling about the challenge?  are you feeling overwhelmed like I am?  Anyone else got more than a boob tube so far? 

I know what DPN means!

After conquering the heartwarmer, I realised I needed to try my hand at a couple of smaller knitting projects before feeling confident enough to knit something for #1year1outfit.  I consulted Ute, who was in a similar position and we decided a hat would be a good project to try.   So we held a mini knit along, and then I got a bit carried away and made three!

jane knitting

Thanks to the teddy models for sitting still during this photo shoot despite the drunk and disorderly arrangement I placed them in. And sorry to their wonderful makers, Nana and AB, for letting such a cool gang of softies get so out of hand.

Jane

The owners of the hats managed to stand still for a couple of colourful indoor shots.

Janes

Jane Richmond Beanies

Pattern: Jane by Jane Richmond

Yarn: Thrifted yarns in what I guessed to be 10 ply wool, plus one pink ball of Noro 10ply from the stash

Ease:  Yes, totally doable for a beginner!

Tidbits:  As with all my knitting projects so far, I had a few false starts.  First I made a few mistakes in the ribbing, then a few in the top.  By the third time I cast on I had worked out the rhythm and it was smooth sailing.

An advantage of being slow was that Ute had already finished hers and kept me up to date with her findings.  As a result, I shortened the brim, and only cast on 75 stitches for a smaller fit for the kidlets.  At first this was a vague hope that reducing in sets of 5 would work with the pattern, turns out that this was true so I guess you could reduce or increase the brim size as you like in lots of 5.

Janes

Lessons: I used knitting help a lot – for using double pointed needles, for the new to me stitches and for weaving the ends in. These plus the instructions were all I needed.

Score:  4/5  the kids love their new hats and I love the pattern for its flexibility and ease of use for a beginner

Now by my estimation, as the third hat took me 6 hours from cast on, my #1year1outfit knit project will take me at least 60 hours.   Better get cracking..

jane knitting

Heartwarming

Heartwarmer

Knit, knit, must learn to knit!  I have been stuck on my Miette cardigan for over 6 months now for a couple of reasons, firstly being that I am such a novice that I am scared of making mistakes as I don’t know how to go backwards without unraveling and second being that I am unsure as to whether it will still work for me as it is so figure hugging.

Heartwarmer

Anyway, Ute posted a photo of a project she was started on instagram and I decided it was just the circuit breaker I needed.  The pattern is a nice transition from scarves, only 1 new stitch type to learn and chunky yarn that I had in my stash waiting to be used.

Heartwarmer

Heartwarmer

Pattern: Bless your heartwarmer (I even put my project up on Ravelry as thisismoonlight.  Woah.)

Yarn:  Spud and Chloe, 2 balls

Needles:  Size 9 circular

Ease:  Stitched up in under 6 hours

See Also: Kristi’s Gretel version for Stylo and watch out for Ute’s adult sized version

Tidbits: I am so excited to have found success I went on to unravel this project and make another one for her cousin (size 12 circulars for the chunkier yarn), and her teddy got the spare yarn!  I used a button to fasten the wrap as I felt the pink was pretty girly already.

Lessons: I was using safety pins for my stitch markers and placing them on the stitch as opposed to in between, as a result the back was all wibbly wobbly and I started again.  Lesson learnt.  Guess no one thinks to tell beginners the really simple stuff.  Stitch markers go in between stitches.  Man some embarrassing lessons the last couple of posts.  Keeping it real.

Also, does anyone have any hints for making the transition to a new ball of yarn less obvious? those few stitches on the front are really bothering me!

Score:  4/5 It’s pink.  She loves it.  Onwards and upwards – next up is a hat that Ute suggested, and then I am going to have to decide what to do with the yarn set aside for the Miette.  Any cardigan/sweater suggestions that you think might suit me are most welcome.  Wish me luck!

Heartwarmer

Heartwarmer

#1year1outfit – Fibreshed and Eco Dyeing Adventures

Fantastic news!  Our project is now an official affiliate of the Fibershed project, with our very own logo!

OneYearOneOutfit

If you make a garment that meets the Fibershed requirements as part of this project, then you get to celebrate by using this logo.  I just request that you contact me if you do, so I can do a wonderful wrap up.  As this project encompasses a broader approach to sustainability, feel free to use the #1year1outfit logo for other discussion or garments. If you missed the #1year1outfit introduction, see it here.

In other news, February is natural dyeing month, I have an interview coming up for you next week but I wanted to start by showing you my first tentative steps into the world of natural dyes!

To make my very first ecodye project I used the approach taught to me by Jane Flower at a workshop held at the end of last year.  Jane’s approach is to avoid the use of mordants and to use native plants.  She uses mostly silk or wool to produce the most unique garments (ooooh…. aaaaahhh):

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

In our workshop we died silk scarves using resists.  We boiled 2 two pots (one eucalyptus and one peppermint tree), I chose the peppermint as I don’t often wear oranges and grey is more practical for my wardrobe.  Here is a little picture story of the class:

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Ecodyeing Workshop

Can you spot mine on the drying rack? If not, you are going to have to wait…. mean, aren’t I!

After the course, a friend and I had a go at the bundling technique at home with a pretty mediocre result, but on a recent camping trip in the Jarrah Forrests south of Perth, I had more success and made my first garment : )

I had some thrifted wool with me and tried two different pots, the first of leaf litter:

Camp Dye Scarf

Camp Dye Scarf

and the second using some sap encased bark that I found fallen off a tree:

Camp Dye Scarf

ecodyeing scarf

We were camping in celebration of my husbands birthday so I knitted him a scarf right there in the bush. Note that this photo was taken back home with materials for my next dye project at the ready.

ecodye scarf

Sorry for the phone photos for these two – our camera had a little swim in the river : )
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If you follow me on Instagram you might have spotted that I have also be trying out some solar dyeing, so I promise a round of those results some time soon too.   This week the Perth gang are headed to meet some Alpaca’s so the project is really moving along!