Once Madame La Poste gave me detailed instructions on how to dye your own laces for decorating crazy quilts and so forth. This weekend I decided it was time to have a try and of course I couldn’t immediately lay my hands on the papers she had carefully hand written and given to me which meticulously set out all the processes which needed to be followed. Feeling the need to strike while the iron was hot I forged ahead regardless (probably doing the whole thing in a completely wrong way) and was quite pleased with the result. If you are going to dye your own laces you need to use the shiny looking rayon ones and not nylon lace (which won’t take the dye and which isn’t anywhere near as nice anyway). The fumes can be a bit overpowering so it is best to make sure you have good ventilation when you get out your dye pots, my eyes were streaming by the time I finished. It is interesting experimenting with the colours, I obtained lots of different shades by just starting off with a red, blue and yellow dye and mixing them in small plastic containers to achieve different colours. Wet the laces first and then squeeze them to remove excess water so that they are just moist, and away you go. The colours bleed into each other where they meet but this just adds to the effect and if you use very fine brushes to apply the dyes you can be reasonably accurate in placement – except when a big blob of the wrong colour drops into the middle of an otherwise perfect area of painted lace, of course! After the laces had air dried I soaked them in water to prevent the likelihood of future colour run disasters and then hung them out to dry. I was very pleased with the effect and can’t wait to have another try, this time increasing the number of shades used.
Not wanting to be wasteful I used the remains of the dye to colour some wool scraps and now have a lovely soft mauve shade for wool appliqué projects. Hopefully next week I can make a start, and instead of being too ambitious and setting about making a full sized quilt struck upon the idea of making a needle book or two to hone my skills.
We had a good time in the garden this weekend. Mr Shoestring was burying the cable for the “fountain” and I heard him use some very colourful language while he tried to sort that out. Fortunately I was inside playing with my lace painting so a safe distance away. Finally it was all buried (must remember not to be enthusiastic with my trowel and spade in that part of the garden in future), and he planted his box plants around the edge of the fountain to soften the effect. It is going to look grand, how pleased with the result he is. I put in this spectacular euphorbia – note how it has a red “eye”.
Euphorbias are very rewarding, they thrive in hot dry conditions and once they are established most will send seed around the nearby garden and give you lots of babies. In the back garden where I wanted to start a white garden I put in a lovely white azalea. It is supposed to be scented and I remember once reading a book where the author described an overpowering scent from azaleas. Scent is such a personal thing, I can never detect much perfume in azaleas which are described as being scented and sometimes suspect a fair bit of exaggeration when describing scented plants, in order to make them sound more desirable. The lilies are coming ahead by leaps and bounds and I put in basil and lettuce seedlings also this weekend. I was quite surprised to see people buying tomato plants also, this was traditionally a Labour weekend job so they are getting in early and I hope the warm weather holds so they can enjoy an early crop.
A few of last year's tulips gave a repeat performance this season, though it isn't really cool enough for them in our conditions
A few months ago I picked up this lovely old picture of a World War II land girl from a market and have been pondering what to do with it. I particularly like the fact that this winsome creature manages to look so fetching in her jodhpurs and thick knitted sweater, to be honest I can’t think of many ladies who could carry off this look successfully!
I have also come by these two posters and now am on the hunt for some old picture frames so they can all hang in the sewing room and inspire me as I toil away there with the recalcitrant overlocker and more even tempered sewing machine, putting together some dresses for summer.
Embarrassingly the hexagon fever I have experienced of late has showed no signs of abating. After working away diligently on the one with a garden theme I couldn’t resist the urge to fussy cut some pretty teacups with flowers with them and some hexies to go round them. You can still see the tacking stitches holding the papers in place, they will be eventually removed but not until the quilt nears completion - a very long time in the future I predict. A very pink/blue colour palette and not my usual style at all, but very enjoyable as a break from quilting the never ending tumbling blocks quilt (which I suspect is unquilting itself while my back is turned as progress is glacial now).
All too soon the weekend was over and it was time to get back to work, very mystifying how the clock seems to speed up on Friday nights through to Monday morning! Luckily this working week the week was broken up because Lord and Lady Raglan came to town to celebrate Lord Raglan’s birthday. We took ourselves out and had a slap up feast and a good chin wag. Thank you Lord Raglan for your treating us, and many happy returns.