What’s Happening Thursday

Seeing as I’ve been foot powered for four weeks I’ve been tackling quite a few projects. Here is what is happening today:

blog knit crochet_4367Weaving in ends and blocking knit and crocheted pieces.

blog knit and crochet_4363Prepping cotton pieces and yarn to be scoured, mordanted and dyed.

blog crochet_4375Reworking a crocheted prototype…different hook size and measurements. Sometimes you just “know” you can make an item more functional and better.

blog crochet beads_4372Working beads into crocheted pieces.

blog spin_4386Breaking down yarn scraps to spin……

blog spin_4383….and spinning them. The ball of yarn is growing. Quite frightening to think these scraps would normally just go to the landfill.

blog stiching_4379I have also started another stitched piece. Smaller. Experimental. Naturally dyed (as usual). Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, we’ll just see where it goes.

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Crafted by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com

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Interested in the new project I’m building? Check out Handmade in Canada.

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Tiny and Purple

blog baby hat_4356I thought it would be a nice change to blog about something “nice”.

Last week a mom at my children’s school had a baby girl. I was lucky enough to see the sweet little baby at the grand age of two days old and thought wouldn’t it be fun to crochet a baby hat. As the gift has been delivered I can now post the project.

I  had some purple commercial yarn left in the (shrinking) stash,  a hook handy, and quickly with a search of the internet I had a pattern. Things went swimmingly until I reached the end of the project according to the instructions, looked at the hat and it appeared that the depth from crown to brim was way too short.

My next step was to go through our daughters’ bedroom trying to find a newborn sized doll. I found one, tried on the hat, and it was at least two inches too short. I then decided to search online to get a range of newborn hat measurements, only to find the circumference was fine, the depth was way off. I crocheted a couple more inches and then it looked right. Strangely, as I was finishing the hat one of my daughter’s baby hats appeared (I am guessing it had been in the doll clothes bin), so I was also able to measure the hat against a hat that I knew fit; that gave me confidence that it was the right size.

I could not believe  how quickly this hat was completed. The bulk of it was done while waiting to shoot a session and then while downloading files. I am thinking of making a bigger version for my girls, maybe even a naturally dyed cotton version.

Crocheting was a nice break from knitting up prototypes.

Now it is back to prototypes and samples……eight more to go before Easter break when I hope to take them out to the coast to show.

blog baby hat detail_4349

Crocheting and knitting by Debra Hunter

www.debra-hunter.com

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One More Woolly Post

Just one more woolly post (I promise!) and then I will get back to more varied blogging.

hand knit itemsToday was a day of weaving in ends, choosing buttons, and sewing on buttons. The stack in the picture above was only part of what I tackled. I won’t share how long this whole process took (forever!), the only good thing is it gave me an excuse to avoid reorganizing the studio (tomorrow’s dreaded chore!). I am amazed at how long it can take to choose the “right” black button; I swear I spent over an hour matching black buttons to different projects because all black buttons are not created equal. I still have eight pieces to finish up and then I can shoot the lot in the studio…….well after I reorganize it that is…….I’m avoiding the studio as I have 180 square feet of backdrop to iron. Fun. Not.

blog feb knit spin 2As a reward for the endless weaving of ends I decided to tackle recycled spinning again. I divided up the scraps of yarn.

blog feb knit spin 3Broke it down just a little this time, and mixed up the colors.

blog feb knit spin 4And spun. This time it is spinning much faster, it is less finicky and breaking less. Now the question is, can I have a big ball of this ready to go by Saturday when I take my daughter to knitting group?

www.debra-hunter.com

Recycling for the Wrist

recycled yarn bracelet

recycled yarn bracelet

Last week I shared a post called “Spinning Scraps”. It was a post describing an idea I had of taking small yarn scraps and turning them into recycled and re-useable yarn. In short it involved breaking down the yarn and re-spinning it on a Turkish drop spindle at an incredibly slow pace. It was one of those things that I just had to see if it would work.

Well it did work. The yarn formed on the spindle with all sorts of pretty mixed, naturally dyed colors, and I just had to see if the yarn could actually be turned into something. I decided on a quick project (because I was very impatient to see the results) and created a crocheted bracelet.

recycled yarn bracelet_3853 a

recycled button and wooden beads used as embellishment

To add to the earthiness I incorporated some wooden recycled beads bought at Nu To Yu on Pender Island (British Columbia, Canada). Every time we are on the island I hunt through the bins at the shop looking for treasures to incorporate into my projects. The button, used as a closure, is also one of my finds.

recycled yarn bracelet _3861 a

recycled yarn dyed with marigold, pomegranate, chamomile and lac

This has been a fascinating project. I am going to keep playing with the recycling of yarn, and perhaps try a larger knit or crocheted piece next. It is unpredictable, it is organic, it is eco friendly, and it is a pretty interesting way of working.

www.debra-hunter.com

Woolisaurus – another knitted adventure

Late Sunday night my youngest, most huggy, kissy son came up to me and asked “Mama can you knit me a dinosaur?” I gave my standard “We’ll see.” response and it was left at that. By midnight I was thinking of how sweet he had been and thought why not, how hard can it be (a la “Top Gear”), and so I trekked off to the basement to find some yarn suitable for a dinosaur.

hand knit dinosaur

hand knit dinosaur

Turquoise seemed the right color for a stuffie knitted dinosaur for a preschooler. Not having a pattern I decided to start with the head and see how it went, knitting well past midnight. I figured if it went bad I could just abandon the project and my littlest one would be none the wiser, in fact he would probably have forgotten about his request by morning.

The head went well and I even managed to get a nice curve to it, and of course then I just had to see if the neck would work. By 2 am I had winged it enough to have a recognizable dinosaur head, neck and top of body.

blog woolisaurus_2656In the morning he awoke to see the started project on the kitchen table and the excitement kicked in. This dinosaur was going to be knit….today. Our son ran to get his huge multi-color dinosaur book, plopped himself down next to me, and opened the book of cartoon dinosaurs to be used for reference. After a quick discussion regarding the fact that this dinosaur was never going to be a triceratops (ever), he found a picture of the type of dinosaur his stuffie could be.

Sitting next to me, my son was the foreman. He told me how to knit the tummy, the number of legs the dinosaur needed and how long his tail should be. We did have our creative differences over the tail; I convinced him some trendy yellow stripes would look better than the red and green Christmas colors he wanted. We knit all morning and all afternoon until the dinosaur  was knit, stuffed and assembled. There was NO downtime. Looking a little under dressed we decided he needed a wooly scarf and that was knit this evening while playing (and losing) a game of Ticket to Ride.

We have named our dinosaur Woolisaurus….what else do you name a wooly dinosaur!? He measures 18 inches long and 6.5 inches high, and he has been hugged a lot already.

Being a patternless project, I probably should have written down what I was knitting as I did it, as I have now had more dinosaur requests from our other children. Maybe it is best this dinosaur is one of a kind, maybe that makes him even more special.

( www.thehuntergroup.ca for other knit items…..just not dinosaurs!)

More Knitting Finished

Winter weather definitely has it’s good points, one of them being time spent inside to finish knitting projects that have taken far too long to complete. Just before Christmas I finished this infinity scarf. I originally started it just to get an idea of how much yarn (4.6 oz.) it would take to make one so that I could dye the right amount to knit the “proper” scarf. Let’s just say knitting the sample scarf seemed to take a very long time.

blog knit infinity scarf lopi_0302

Infinity scarf hand knit out of lopi (on location at Castle Mountain, Banff, AB, Canada).

It is very cozy. This is shown wrapped twice, but I quickly discovered that on a -40C day it wraps around three times to really keep the chill out.

blog knit infinity scarf lopi_0306Gray tones are perfect for a piece that I am keeping, however I think the scarf would have been a lot more fun to knit if it had involved bright colors.

blog fingerless mitts_9315The other night I also finished a pair of fingerless mitts that have been in progress for months. This pair consists of wool dyed in marigold and madder.

blog fingerless mitts_9323I was so pleased to finish the mitts. Half way through I decided they were “mine” as I love the patterning. I had tucked them away in the knitting basket for a few months as they weren’t that portable to knit. I knit both mitts at the same time so that they match (plus it is boring to finish one and have to start all over!), so it was quite challenging to carry around eight balls of yarn to work on one set of mitts. I pulled the half finished mitts out last Saturday and took them to the knitting program at our library, and between the time at the library and an evening at home, the mitts were done. Rumor has it I need to make another more masculine set as my oldest son now wants a pair.

Knitting by Debra Hunter
Studio H
Red Deer, AB and Pender Island, BC (Canada)

www.thehuntergroup.ca

 

Libraries Are More Than Books

blog booksThis weekend we discovered libraries are more than just books. Earlier in the week when I was at the Red Deer Public Library main branch I noticed a poster for “Kids Knit (and grown-ups too!)”, I casually mentioned it to my 10 year old daughter and she was really keen on going. It seemed like a great thing to try, after all to a knitter a one hour time slot for knitting, on a cold afternoon, in a quiet spot, sounds pretty awesome.

blog library knittingWell in fact it WAS pretty awesome. Two long tables of grandmas, moms and kids; a great turnout for a blustery day. Knitters from novice to experienced. I enjoyed the knitting part while my daughter really enjoyed the socializing part. She is really skilled at making new friends and having a chat.

blog knitting fingerless mittsI finally had a chance to work on a pair of fingerless mitts that I am actually going to keep for myself. They are dyed in marigold and madder with lots of stranded knitting. After the library knitting session all that is left are the thumbs and weaving in ends.

The library program runs twice a month, so there are 5 more sessions left, and it is drop-in. It is definitely worth checking out. My daughter is already talking about “next time”……evidently we are also stopping for a snack and a coffee next time we go……..a girl’s afternoon out!

Busy Hands

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Knitting and crochet today. The knit piece is naturally dyed in chamomile , lac, madder and logwood. Bolder colors and bolder patterns. By Christmas Eve I had no knit items left so I knew it was time to get busy again. My “to do” list is long and ambitious, but I am looking forward to trying some new things. Long dark nights are perfect for staying in and knitting.

Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl…..Done!

(Please click on the above images to view full size.)

You may have noticed my blogging has been a little less frequent recently. Part of the reason is purely being busy. The last month has been filled with interesting photo restorations, sorting out the cabin (ongoing!), a plumbing issue on the coast (solved by our neighbour Mike!), sorting out a new vehicle after the accident, and a LOT of knitting.

Above are pictures of the latest order which will be on its way to the Whyte Museum Shop in Banff tomorrow. This time a few new items like Coffee Mug Sweaters and Coffee Press Sweaters are included in the order. I will share a few images in the coming days as the pieces are full of stranded knitting fun.

 

www.thehuntergroup.ca

Hand-knit items for gifts and for the home.

Knitting and dyeing by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta & Pender Island, BC, Canada

Shooting Newly Finished Knit Items

 studio shootingLast night I spent a bit of time down in the studio shooting product shots of my most recent naturally dyed hand knit items. I am putting together promo booklets for a couple of local businesses. Last year I did the promo booklets a bit later in the year which left me knitting furiously to fill the orders in time for Christmas shopping. A shot of all the patterns together can be seen HERE on my other blog. I haven’t provided all the details of the items yet as I am hoping to finally get the shop on my website up and running first and then share the items on the blogs. Of course building a shop takes time and also has a “learning curve” according to the support guy at Shaw, so perhaps a task for next week or the week after  once the promo booklets are done and out.

 wood button lac dyed yarnThe latest batch are following my theme of locally produced wool that I dye in natural dyes by hand in micro batches. In the picture above the red tones are achieved by dyeing in lac and the purple is logwood.

blog pomegranate and madder dyes

Hand cut wooden buttons are being featured more and more; they add to the rustic “log cabin” feel of the knitting. This piece has been dyed in pomegranate, marigold and madder, while the piece just to the left has been dyed in cutch.

blog cowichan inspiration

A few pieces also explore inspiration from the Cowichan style of knitting. I love the black, white and gray combination. If you have every been to the coast, this style of knitting will remind you of forest, rocks, moss, fog and sea. Can you tell my mind seems to be constantly living at the coast at the moment?

Once the promo books are done I can finish up the piece I am working on with my first ever hand spun yarn. I think you will find it to be quite interesting.

 

 

Art, photography and handmades by Debra Hunter

Hunter Photographics / Studio H

Red Deer, Alberta and Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada

www.thehuntergroup.ca

Blogs:

www.debrahunter.wordpress.com

www.htheblog.wordpress.com

www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com