Climb every mountain

To be accurate this is about using the car to get to high up places. On my Wimmera Road Trip to visit Horsham and Natimuk I took advantage of various view points to survey the landscape.

In Ararat there is the One Tree Hill Lookout that offers amazing 360 degree views. It was very hot so it all looked a bit hazy.

To the south are the plains of the Western District.

Looking back  east in the direction I had come from Melbourne is Mt Langi Ghiran and Ararat.

South west is the lower part of the Grampians with Mt Napier and Mt Abrupt.

And north west in the direction of Adelaide is Mt Zero in the Grampians and closer by the Black Range.

After an afternoon in Horsham I headed out to Natimuk where I was to spend the night. In the very late afternoon I ascended Mt Arapiles.

Mitre Rock and Mitre Lake from the Lookout.

From the very top of the mountain you can see far across the Wimmera plains. The track that goes across the face of the mountain is a white ribbon in the shadow. In the centre of the photo are two silos which I have worked out are all that remains of Arapiles Station which was on a line, predominately for wheat trains, going west from Horsham.

Mitre Rock rising about the wheat stubble in the late afternoon light.

Next morning I was up early hoping for a glorious sunrise, but it was not to be. A cool change had blown in during the night and it was overcast in the morning and still very windy.

This did not deter climbers at Mitre Rock, you can see a group on the top of the mound to the right. Others came later to abseil from one of the highest points.

The whole of Mt Arapiles from the lower part of Mitre Rock.

IMG_8131Mount Arapiles is formed from the rock deposits of a huge river, which carved its way through this landscape 420 million years ago. About 20 million years later, magma erupted from beneath the quartzose sandstone and conglomerate sedimentary rock deposits, where it solidified as granite. The heat from this granite eventually turned the sedimentary rocks into hard quartzite. Over time, erosion removed the softer sedimentary rocks surrounding Mount Arapilies, leaving the quartzite formation standing alone.

It was once an island within an ancient sea, and Mitre Rock a sea stack. The rough textured cliff faces show years of wave erosion.

You can see why it has become very popular with climbers. I got giddy just looking up the face of Mitre Rock, trying very hard not to be blown over.



Only four and a half hours drive from my side of Melbourne, the Horsham Regional Art Gallery proved worth the visit. It is located in what I assume is the older section of the Town Hall that has had a squiggle added to the top.

The exhibition I travelled to see last Tuesday consisted of woven works from the Ararat Regional Art Gallery Collection. This gallery decided in the 1970s to collect textile and fibre art and now has the premier collection of such works in Victoria if not Australia.

Works shown in  Enmeshed ranged from the boldly experimental craft revival of the ’70s to recent work in all manner of fibres.

A few of my favourites.

Sara Lindsay, originally from England, is a founding weaver of the Australian Tapestry Workshop. Her tapestry is tightly woven using commercially manufactured gingham cloth.

Elizabeth Djutarra from North East Arnhem land uses traditional weaving techniques in constructing a very large floor mat from dyed and natural pandanus fibre.

Olga de Amaral’s Shield in Three Colours is a monumental piece that hangs from the ceiling and pools on the floor. The woven wool strips are themselves woven and interlaced with he bound rope that directs the eye down and up.

Transparent weaving was used by Mary Beeston, the designer, and Larry Beeston, the weaver. Two pieces are hung almost together and the light from the rear reveals the view outside the kitchen window. The fine linen ground is woven on a four shaft loom with the pattern in a heavier yarn woven at the same time. This piece is worked sideways. A class in this technique was run at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild Summer School this year and I hope it is repeated.

One of four square tapestries in Marcel Marois’ piece  concerning environmental elements that can be both nurturing and destructive. This work Blue represents the air.

Roma Centre was an abstract painter who bought a treadle loom and taught herself to weave in order to take a teaching job. This work is made from a number of panels stitched together and close examination reveals that it is not traditional tapestry but created on a shaft loom with woven textural patterns as well as the tapestry style colour shapes.


Caterpillar tête-à-tête

The Papilla anactus caterpillars on my lemon tree are growing. I count them daily and so far no losses.

This morning these two were enjoying the same leaf.

And this is what happened when I bumped it while taking a close up.

Update:  For those interested these pictures were taken with an iPhone 5 with a clip on Struman macro lens.

Weaving class 2

The second half of dressing the loom was completed on Sunday and finally I got to start weaving.

We learned how to sley the reed, tie the ends onto the front beam, and close the gap with waste yarn. On the way there was a quick lesson on what to do if there are missing ends in the warp including a useful weighting device.

Finally I found out how to fold the loom so that it fits into the car boot.

Should they stay or should they go

Some little caterpillars are eating the new leaves on my lemon tree. It took me a while to identify them as they are an early instar, quite different from the later form.

They are the larva of  Papilla anactus, the dainty swallowtail. A very attractive butterfly. There was one slowly flying through the garden last week, although I didn’t know its name at the time.

The orange and black stripe and the spikes will disappear as they grow, but these are not the only defences.

When disturbed a reddish-orange coloured osmeterium comes out from behind the head and releases a secretion composed of butyric acid and smelling of rotting oranges. It will have this feature through all larval stages.

The caterpillars will grow to about 35mm in length and as they eat the new leaves of the lemon tree I am a bit worried about their appetite. There are only about 10 of them, but my tree is small. For now, they are too interesting and the butterflies too pretty for them to be banished.

Basting – done!

Basting in the kitchen conjures up visions of turkey roasting in the oven. But this is where I do my quilt basting. The two trolleys that make up the island can be turned around to make one long bench.

I then use the board basting method where the backing and top are rolled around two long boards and the wadding floats in the middle. The weight of the rolls keeps everything flat and smooth.

My preference is for thread basting; no pins to undo while quilting and it doesn’t take much longer using a herringbone stitch. I find multiple needles threaded with quite a long thread spaced about a handwidth apart across the top is an efficient way of getting this job done quickly. Just stitch with each needle up to the roll. When all are done, slide the lot forward, flip the wadding over and unroll the backing, replace the wadding and unroll the top. Repeat.

All basted, now on to the quilting of the On Ringo Lake mystery quilt. But if I do take my time thinking about the quilting design there is no worry about safety pins leaving big holes.

The backing fabric was a good find on the discount shelf at Spotlight. Colour is perfect and pattern very cute.


A whole new vocabulary

The Introduction to Weaving course at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria started today. So many new words to learn. The first class was about preparing the warp and dressing the loom.

By the end of the day I had used a warping board to measure out the warp. Taken it off and  chained it after carefully tying the crosses and labelling key parts. Used the raddle to spread it evenly over the width of the finished sampler and wound the warp onto the back roller of the loom under tension.

I also learned how to read a draft and started threading the ends through the heddles on the four frames. I think I will go back in before the next class to finish the threading before I forget how it is done.