M Broussard

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since Dec 21, 2020
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chicken food preservation fiber arts woodworking homestead
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North Island, New Zealand
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Recent posts by M Broussard

Great start guys! One thing I'd suggest that would help bring the look-and-feel together a bit more is to use a more reduced palette of colours. We love greens and blues, and yellow/orange is a great accent, but there are so many colours in this layout that it makes it hard to do appropriate, non-clashing text-over-background matches.

Here's some suggestions for you! You can also use accent colours to colourise images (e.g. this line drawing of Paul) to make them match the theme better!

The garden colour pallette was pulled from one of the images on the site already, so should provide a reasonable match for some of the existing photos, but the others may also be worth a shot. I've included suggested "Buy Now" button options as the current iteration is a bit harsh and also hard to read -- switching to a bold, sans-serif font should help a bit also!

Jay Angler wrote:I've never tried nalbinding. Do you know if there are any length/shape/width/thickness of the needle parameters you'd suggest for a total newbie?

Does the fabric you will be nalbinding with affect that choice, or the stitch you plan on using?

No shortage of Ivy around my home. I think that would be a better first choice for me than bone. Thank you for the suggestion!

The needle on the bottom is my partner's favorite, and seems to be the most popular shape/size for the newbies he's taught. It's 55mm long. The most important thing is that the eye of the needle is big enough for the yarn you intend to use to comfortably pass through. Doing a bit of smoothing around the eye can go a long way to making this happen. You don't want to make the needle too wide, though, as that can make completing the stitches more difficult (particularly with tighter stitch styles, like York).

For an ivy needle -- make sure to use heartwood. You'll want to find a stem at least 10mm in diameter (but ideally 20mm+). The trunk sections growing up walls or trees are ideal for this purpose. Avoid the areal flowering stalks as they seem to be made of less dense wood in my experience. Split it in quarters, shave off the pith, and use the bit closest to the centre to carve the needle from. Split and carve in the same day. Ivy wood can be very high in water, and this can complicate things, as it will shrink a lot while drying. Ivy is resistant to checking once dry or carved into thin pieces, but if left in the round (or quarter), it will split and split until you don't have a piece bigger than a toothpick if you don't store it perfectly! If you have to pause in your carving, I recommend popping it in the freezer, as this will prevent drying (and checking!) until you're ready to continue.

The pictured needle was carved from a quite substantial hunk of ivy (~90mm in diameter) and so had excellent, sinuous texture. The squirrley grain makes it hard to carve, but it's worth it as the eye is then resistant to tearing out in use. The pictured ivy needle made it through several pairs of socks and two jumpers with no signs of cracking. Straight-grained wood, on the other hand, won't support such a large eye and can be prone to tearing out.

Best of luck!
3 days ago
I'd encourage anyone who's keen to make a nalbinding needle to give it a go! I've made heaps by carving wood and bone. Ivy is actually a great wood to make nalbinding needles from as it's quite strong and resistant to checking. The shiny wooden needle with a large eye is ivy. Most of the rest are gorse or scotch broom. The bone ones are made from deer bone from a hunter friend of mine.

I used a carving knife for the wood ones, and a dremel for the bone ones.

I've made and given away dozens of needles to folks wanting to learn the craft to encourage folks to give it a go.
3 days ago
Here's a first for me -- a mint pack of golden birthday candles. Tons of upcoming birthdays, so will definitely get used; I'd actually been thinking about getting some as I only have large taper candles.
6 days ago
I made a belt out of handspun wool thread. I wove it on a warp-weighted loom (necessetating a tablet-woven starter), and packed the threads densely enough to create a plain weave warp-faced fabric. Attached a vintage buckle from my collection and hey presto -- a belt!

Ends were finished via a rolled hem.
1 week ago
They say one man's trash is another man's treasure!

One thing I love about biking everywhere is that I can stop if I see something neat by the side of the road. I've found some great things over the years -- carpenter's pencils, reflective vests, an F-clamp, a machine belt, circular saw blades, electrical tape, ballbearings, marbles, bungees, you name it. This thread is for photos and discussion of neat things that have been rescued from the side of the road and given a new life (one that isn't being crushed by traffic!)

I'll start the thread off with this neat marble I found on the side of the road while biking to work last week.

What have you found?
1 week ago
Fixing the hook timing on a treadle sewing machine

My reliable treadle Singer started having trouble after sewing through some nylon netting. After an incident where the thread got caught between the needle and bobbin, it wouldn't set any stitches anymore. I discovered that was because, in trying to pull the thread free, I'd badly messed up the hook timing (the point at which the hook grabs the thread from the needle).

To fix it, I opened up the casing, brought the machine to the first set point, and then checked the second set point. This revealed that the hook was miles away from the needle at the second set point. To fix it, I brought the hook forward to where it was just touching the needle at the second set point. After re-assembly, it worked great!

This was a valuable maintenance lesson, and I am now able to relatively easily fix the machine if I sew something that's a bit too holey and get a thread tangle which can then upset the hook timing.
1 week ago
Another ancient Egyptian invention -- an earthen dovecote, used both to raise pigeons and to collect their valuable manure to fertilise the crops grown along the Nile for millennia!

An article on the subject from Earth Architecture.

(photo by Eduardo Jezierski)
1 week ago
I found several sources of flax seed to add to my grex last season for more genetic diversity, and they crossed with the fibre flax. The result is sadly quite short! Could be because the soil in this relatively new garden bed is not very fertile having recently been transitioned from lawn, or perhaps the seed flax traits are dominant. Not sure. Will try to get some more of the heirloom fibre flax seeds and see how we go.
2 weeks ago