Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gettin' Ma Hippy on - Dyeing in Muscat

There might be some knitting going on here in Oman that needs the odd bit of colour....  I just might have picked up some of Chris Robertson's white hand spun from my Canberra stash....

The original hand spun

I want a nice brown.  I could spin the dark fleece that also came home with me or I could dye some of the white.  I want it now! Time to dye!!!!!!!!!!!

What to use...what to use....  I know!  To the kitchen!

Black lentils[1]::
1kg black (beluga) lentils covered with water and soaked overnight (all I have to do now is think what to do with many, many soaked black lentils.

The original amount was just a little mound in the steel bowl

I strained the water from the lentils and placed it in a smallish saucepan – there was less than a litre of liquid left and I wanted darkish wool.

The murky browny blurg

I dampened the wool and placed it in the dye stuff, raised the temperature to boiling and simmered for 1 hour.  Since there was not very much liquid I left the lid on the pot throughout this stage and made sure that the wool was covered. I also stirred it regularly and occasionally turned it over. 

I left the wool in the pot to cool,  then rinsed out the liquid and left it to dry.

Before and after.  The photograph really doesn't do it justice

The result is a gingery milk-chocolate colour that matches bits of the cat and apparently tastes quite good.  Now to sort out the next culinary dye adventure.

It's Button coloured and will be kept out of her reach....
 The next step is to learn to spin with an Omani drop spindle, although I've not seen them actually dropping them only sitting and using a short draw. Although this probably has more to do with the fact they're spinning goat and camel hair rather than wool.  The lady in the centre has a spindle and is teasing out the fibres prior to spinning.

From "fleece" to yarn to ropes
Three ladies at the Muscat Festival February 2013

The spindle itself is made completely of wood and is top weighted.  I've never played with a top weighted spindle before, so this should be interesting.......

An Omani spindle.  Wish me luck!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Tis Done Diddly Done Done!

Yes, it's done.  Finished. Completed. Printed. Submitted.  I've even got a pen to prove it.

One letter of acknowledgement and an ANU pen
The final three months just don't bear talking about.  They were full of long days at the computer, occasional visits to the gym, book-club once a month and not a whole lot more.  David would drag me out when he was sick of me and make me have fresh air.  I feel that I really should be able to remember some things that we did, but right now the brain is somewhere halfway between Canberra and Muscat.  If anyone sees it could they give it a kick and tell it to get over here?

The last three weeks were in Canberra at Michelle's place (that would be the incredible, amazing, well-travelled and unbelievably generous Michelle) while she was in London having a marvellous time.  David played the tourist and I lived and breathed thesis. I could not possibly have made it through those weeks without the help and support of a small army of friends who kept me fed and entertained.

Part of the entertainment team.

Most importantly, the thesis would not have been finished but for some very special people dropping everything and being there for me when I most needed it. In particular Leslie, Kiriel, Brooke and Miesje (all of who ditched family and friends to spend days and nights with me) and Libby who baked and decorated up some Easter goodies that were amazing!!!  Six came home to Muscat with me and David, Rufus and George got to enjoy them as well.

Libby's Thesis Completion Easter Biscuits
The final night was loooonng.  Brooke finished re-jigging the discography. Leslie mopped up the Katrina after her brain completely refused to boot up and even admit what the thesis was about.  Kiriel was formatting, formatting, formatting.  The night ended at 7:30am when the formatting checks were done.  Into the car and off to the printer.

This is what 9:00am looked like after no sleep (well for Kiriel anyway) and two very delicious egg and bacon rolls

 After a few little heart attacks (what do you mean you printed it in black and white?????  I'm sorry, the Chairperson of your panel is in a meeting at the other end of the University and won't be back until have to submit at 3:30?...Oh...just a minute...The printer left out how many colour illustrations?????) the 400 page baby was submitted.  On an odd note, it weighed just about the same as Rufus when he arrived in my life.............
.....and here it is in all its temporary binding glory! 
I arrived home to visits from Rufus, George, Mum and Dad (but that's another story) and now I'm a little trashed.  It has taken me until this week to pick up a book of any kind and I still am completely incapable of multi tasking in any useful form.  Soon I'll have to think of how to develop my own daily schedule with no must-do's, for the first time that I can actually remember.  Wish me luck and watch this space!