from acrylics back to eucalypt dyed wool


Have a listen to this song while you read…. cos things are a-shifting and a-changing here!

At the moment, most days I feel like someone has come along and turned me upside down but left most of my things the right way up. I feel quite out of sorts and have returned to a life of regular migranes, stiff necks and a really sore lower back. Stress? Nah!!!! Hubby has moved up to town during the week, chasing the ever neccessary dollar so the house here is quiet and weird on weekdays and busy, busy, busy on weekends. Sunday is horrible – by about three in the afternoon, both of us have stopped talking for fear of tears and we just wait, wait till he has to climb back in the car to return to town for Monday morning. And that’s just my version of the story…. Gary is spending all week in an apartment, not surrounded by his own possessions, with no “normality” around him, working strange hours just to make money. This is not the life we choose…

There is, as always, a light at the end of the tunnel, and should everything go to plan, I’ll be up there too, we’ll have a couple of years enjoying the buzz of the city and then be able to return to our dreams. We both just have to breathe gently and together and know that soon we’ll be back to living in the same house and enjoying a slightly different lifestyle which will bring some new and exciting adventures.

So what have I been doing with my time? Well, apart from cleaning and sorting and packing and thinking, I’ve been playing with my eucalyptus dyed wools again….

First I made a couple of things for a monthly swap that a group of girls from the may art retreat have started.

I made some paper with acrylic paint and tissue paper, covered an art spectrum “draw and wash pad” ( I love those pads) and then embellished the front with some freeform knitting and crochet.

The colours don’t seem as vibrant in the photos as “in the real”. Hopefully Jen will be able to use the book.

I’ve wanted to try this “scrumbling” thing for quite some time now. When I first started working at Textile Artistry way back in 2006, we hosted the amazing Prudence Mapstone for a two day workshop. I missed out on attending by a mile, firstly because we had a waiting list as long as my leg and secondly because, way back then I didn’t even know how to hold a crochet hook and I think I’d only just retaught myself to purl! So, I listened with amazement at the stories told after this rather challenging workshop and dreamt about the day I too could attend a Prudence workshop….

Scrumbling really appeals to me because basically there are no rules. As long as you can knit and can crochet, you can scrumble. I always admired those who could just pick up some needles and a ball of yarn and create something quite amazing without following a pattern. Having learnt to knit from my grandmother originally, I learnt the traditional way, by following a pattern (RELIGIOUSLY) and to the point where I still struggle to “read the knitting” rather than the pattern. BUT….

Now I’m truly, rooly scrumbling! I am obviously still learning and am still trying to master the more intricate and challenging stitches but I am having a ball! I find that the small pieces are a perfect way to try something new, and if I make a mistake I can just cast off, or change direction, colour and style and start again! VOILA!

I was told the other day that I’d have a really hard time with a particular stitch….. my response was that I am particularly stubborn and determined and those that know me well know not to tell me that I can’t do something…..

Bullion stitch – first one took three attempts (that’s the one on the right). It’s not easy and I think that you really do need to have your tongue in the right place to get it right!

I worked the bullion stitch into a piece of “block stitch” fabric that I also just taught myself last night. Prudence has some great online patterns which contain clear and easy to understand instructions – they’re on her website (

And then there’s “her”…… (unnamed and unfinished at this point)

It is an absolute joy (for want of another, more expressive word) to be able to make something from scratch. I hand stitched the doll’s calico head and body (when my machine refused to go) and I have hand dyed most of the wools with eucalyptus dyes. She really is an enjoyable “work in progress” and her personality is slowly revealing itself with every new piece of scrumble!

And one last thing….

When I was little, my grandma took me to pretty much every ballet you could go to. I am really ashamed to say that I couldn’t stand it! All those amazing performances wasted on me. I have tried a couple of times in the past years to go back and enjoy, but I never really have got the hang of ballet appreciation…. until now

I’m even more “ashamed” to say that it has taken a REALITY tv show to foster a new appreciation of dance. This performance was absolutely incredible and as Mia Michaels says in her critique, it was the perfect body art, a moving canvas. it was outstanding and I now want to go back to all the ballets that I saw as a little girl and look at them through my older, wiser, more artistic eyes!


edited a bit later….

like a dog with a bone…..

completed bullion and block stitch sampler – I think I’ve got the hang of them now!

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7 Responses to from acrylics back to eucalypt dyed wool

  1. Jill says:

    Gosh what an amazing piece – you have certainly perked my interest – or re-interest in knitting. I haven’t really tried crochet but will now – I love the idea of this free-form style. The paper and embellishment you made are just fabulous – I love the form of the embellished structure on the front – it has great movement.
    Talking of which, the piece of dance was an absolute wonder to watch – and yes, how apt – a moving piece of art – brilliant.
    The doll too is wonderful – her face is just scrumptious (my vocab is letting me down badly today, but that felt right). In spite of what sounds like a truly stressful and difficult time you are in there still creating, good woman! 🙂

  2. woodnymph says:

    I hope, Samm, that life soon returns to normal for you. Meanwhile, I see that you are putting some of your time to good use.


  3. misty says:

    i am thinking of you, knowing that painfulness that comes from missing someone so very much…i am so sorry dear, wishing you could be with Gary all day, everyday! i wish i could hug you..take you out for lunch/dinner…take your mind away from the pain…but it looks like that is just what you are doing…with this amazing work. wow.
    love it! it is turning to fall here, so weird to think about it, since that last time i was in fall was with you. xoxo

  4. Traveller says:

    I know what it’s like to be separated from your partner for work reasons – it’s hard, very hard – but I am sure you will both survive. The important thing is that you have your own work and hobbies to keep you going during the boring weekdays. Hang on in there gal!

  5. Hi Samm,

    Just read your post to the FF yahoo group so thought I’d drop by your blog to say hi! I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Prudence as well…3 days in Montville Qld last year. Isn’t she fabulous! I’m on the far north coast of NSW (my blog is at I’m looking forward to seeing more of creations so have added your blog to my favs.

  6. Kitty says:

    Dear Samm,
    I know exactly how you feel being separated. Concentrate on the arriving back rather than the leaving, thats what I do. And have a look at this amazing blog you can wile away hours just going through her blog links.
    But what ever you do keep blogging!

  7. Kerry says:

    what amazing work – not sure how you do it but it is wonderous!

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