Sunday, July 29, 2018

At last, a compost bin

We have what I like to call a compost heap in our back yard, though in fact it's just organic landfill. I knew that just chucking banana peels and old cabbage leaves into the designated spot wasn't likely to produce the stuff that keen gardeners love so much. But I thought it would be better than putting them into the rubbish bin where there really will be added to landfill.

At last we have a "proper" composting system. A bin, with a lid, ventilation holes at the side and a sliding door (for retrieving the finished product) at the bottom. Woohoo! no more discarded fruit peels going mouldy from all the rain, no more wasps and no more feeling embarrassed when the man with the mower comes around...

Sunday, July 22, 2018

My reversible Tamarack jacket

At the risk of going full-on Chinese grandma, I give you...

the reversible linen, cotton and bamboo Tamarack!

Linen side out. It's looking paunch, but only because I wanted to show you the big sewn-on snap buttons ok?

Some pocket detail, with sashiko-inspired hand stitching

Back view - to show some quilting detail


  • linen from The Fabric Store (colour Marsala)
  • cotton chambray from The Fabric Store (also used for the binding)
  • bamboo quilt batting (140gsm) from Spotlight
So the only synthetic component would be the (lots and lots of) polyester thread.

  • Made it reversible by binding all edges and replacing the welt pockets with patch pockets 
  • Made a straight size 12 instead of a 10 as I was using 2 layers of batting. 

  • Should have stayed with the size 10 and kept the shorter length of my test garment (a couple of inches shorter). This size is fine but it is voluminous.
  • Should have known to remove bulk from the seams. As it is, the underarms seams take up too much room to allow me to wear a big jumper underneath.
  • Did not consider that I would get bearding! On the linen side, bits of the batting work themselves to the surface of the garment and it looks like pilling (I pulled it all off before taking these photos). This only started happening when I had worn it a couple of times.

Cotton side out, the back view

    Cotton side out. I used a classic chambray, which gives me a double
    -denim look if I wear it with my jeans (so I don't)
    and pocket details for this side out

    Sunday, July 01, 2018

    It's a bit soggy

    Yes I know it's winter and I shouldn't expect anything different, but - I am getting pretty tired of it raining all the time. It would be nice to have just a few more days of clear, sunny days interspersed among the days and weeks of showers, drizzle and downpours.

    I've been waiting for like 4 weeks to pre-wash and line dry the bamboo quilt batting that I bought to make my "real" Tamarack jacket from, as well as the burnt red linen that I'll use for the top layer. (I decided on a mid blue chambray for the inside layer, and that I'll do patch pockets instead of welt pockets because then I can make it completely reversible!)

    In more upbeat news, I am taking a week off over the school holidays, so I'll have more chances to do the aforementioned pre-washing and drying, plus cutting, quilting and construction. (If you're a quilter and the idea of line drying bamboo batting sounds like a really bad idea please tell me!) I may even finish it before the end of winter.

    And in even more exciting news, I am planning a trip to Hong Kong to see the relatives at the end of the year. The last time I was there was maybe 30 years ago - so I expect it will be even more crowded than it was then. But hopefully there will be more and better public loos than I remember...