Down the rabbit hole

Back in April this year – yep, lockdown time – Bonnie (@unionfibre) posted pics of an adorable little rabbit she was knitting called Bunny Odile designed by Cinthia Vallet (@fromcinthia).

I commented my delight and Bonnie suggested that some natural dyed yarn would be special. Well! What a great idea for lockdown dyeing. I had all the plant materials for rabbity-brown, and I had some lovely single-ply Merino from Wild Earth Yarns that was waiting for just the right project. So, down the rabbit hole I hurried.

I made a batch of dye with flax seed-pods from my garden that gave a lovely light brown and I splotched on some Logwood extract to give nice warm variegations and voilà, perfect rabbity-brown yarn.

As soon as that first skein was dry I cast on Bunny Odile and was transfixed with the process of knitting, in one piece, from the tip of her nose to her cute wee tail, a little lockdown bunny. I knit a pretty pink dress with bobbles to suit her plucky style.

One was not enough. I spent happy days making dyes with the flax seed pods, and Alder cones and walnut husks that I’d gathered at my friend Karen’s farm. I dyed up all the Merino single skeins I had left in various shade of rabbit; brown, beige and honey. I dyed yarn for clothes too, and knit another rabbit and sweater.

Thoughts gnawed at me during lockdown, that while I was happy, safe and secure at a home shared with my beloved, and having time to indulge my creative passions, outside my bubble I knew there were Mums and kids without such safety and security. And so, a little idea formed and percolated away and I’m pleased to share it here.

I’ve made up a number of Home Bunny yarn kits to sell. All the proceeds from these will go to Women’s Refuge to help them provide safe and secure homes for women and kids in need.  I’ll have these for sale at Capital Fibre Fest at Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre Upper Hutt on Saturday 24thOctober. I’ll be there on the Palliser Ridge stand with Kindly Dyer yarns and the bunny yarn kits.

Each bunny yarn kit contains :

~ One 35g mini cake of naturally dyed single ply yarn to knit Bunny Odile

~ Three 20g mini cakes of naturally dyed fingering weight yarns in 3 colours to knit a couple of garments

~ A length of black wool to embroider eyes and nose on your Bunny

The colours for the garments are all from trials or happy surprises in the dye pots and every kit is a different colour combination.

If you don’t already have the pattern for Bunny Odile, it’s available online for purchase here on Ravelry or on PayHip.

You’ll also need 2.0mm double pointed needles or circular needle, and stuffing for the finished bunny.

You can see Cinthia’s other adorable animal designs here on Ravelry.


Constancy

Well, hasn’t 2020 turned out to be a roller coaster! When 2019 ticked over into 2020 COVID-19 wasn’t on my to do list for the new year. But we all had to band together and do it.

To balance out the downhills I’ve had some absolute highlights – being mother-of-the-groom in January, becoming a second-time Nana in June,

and being part of the Palliser Ridge Country Calendar episode that screened last Sunday on TV1 NZ. It is a real privilege to be part of the Palliser Ridge story. I always talk about the good hands who touch the wool on its way from farm to yarn, and Country Calendar offers you the chance to see them in action.

Filming Country Calendar episode 23 Spinning a Yarn

Watching the episode reminded me how grounding nature is – the seasons arrive as expected, a constant cycle in the midst of turmoil. This week I’ve gathered seaweed washed up on the beach for the garden, I’ve weeded, pruned roses and dyed a batch of yarn a beautiful light olive green – spring green. The sure signs of impending spring are all about.  It feels good.  And as I’m writing this I’m enjoying watching the blackbirds flit and swoop about the garden. We have a birdbath and it’s popular – there’s frequently a queue to use it, thought it’s not in the slightest an orderly queue.

The thing is though, no matter the season there is always something to enjoy, and particularly for me, colours that set off my imagination and inspire what I want to try and create in the dye pots. Last year’s winter pruning inspired me to make these colours to partner with the Palliser Ridge rustic brown.

This daisy at a gatepost along the road from our place set me off on a pink and yellow path early last spring

and then my hydrangeas said try this…….

I’m percolating on another idea now, it will take a bit of organising and experimenting to see if i can make it work. For now, here’s a clue……

img_5170



Madder

The urge to re-start blogging has been nagging away in the back of my mind for some time.  I really enjoyed blogging when I lived in Paris, (keirybeesparis) it made me look at Parisian life with thoughtful eyes and even more importantly was the best way to keep me in touch with friends and family at home and stave off the pangs of homesickness. The knitting community here was really developing, Wei Siew @Kiwiyarns was blogging about so many interesting people and yarns and I was itching to return and immerse myself in the local yarn-and-craft community. It is a hugely important part of my life, the connections and friendships fill my heart and I’m thrilled at how this community continues to flourish. (BTW, @kiwiyarns is writing on her blog again too, hooray.)

 

Now, with rāhui we’re ensconced in our bubbles and the need for community is feeling strong. img_6438I’m missing my little mokopuna; for the last year, 3 days every week, my toddler granddaughter has been a chirpy (and all-consuming) “helper” from early morning until evening while Mama and Papa went out to work. But our bubbles are separate and I have time to indulge that urge to start writing and fill the void.

 

I think I want to write about natural dyeing, my garden, wool, knitting and crochet projects, maybe some sewing too if I keep up my newly developing skills, pretty much all the mahi that is keeping me occupied, helping me feel that I’m still being useful somehow and in control of my day. Do let me know if you have a thought about something I could write about.

 

I’ll start with something I’m literally tickled salmon-pink with. Read More