Opus Daily Practice 2017 – Day 2

Day 2 of Opus Daily Practice ( #opusdailypractice ). Pen, brush and ink on paper, and the start of a Cowichan inspired mini-bag. Art and knitting by Debra Hunter ( Handmade in Canada ). http://www.debra-hunter.com http://www.handmade-canada.com . . . Ads belong to WordPress.

via Opus Daily Practice 2017 – Day 2 — Debra Hunter – Canadian photography, art and handmade

Opus Daily Practice 2017 – Day 1

Opus Art Supplies do a really cool thing for the month of February, they run a feature called Opus Daily Practice in which they encourage people to engage daily in a creative pursuit. 28 days of working on your daily practice to refine and engage consistently with your art. Last year I found out about […]

via Opus Daily Practice 2017 – Day 1 — Debra Hunter – Canadian photography, art and handmade

Before and After – Spoon Carving

blog spoon

We are currently in the process of taking out a rather mongrel hedge and replacing it with a fence. The hedge seems to consist of all sorts of different bushes and trees cut to hedge size. Every now and then, as we pull out the hedge 8 feet at a time, we come across a decent sized tree trunk and branches; these have been going into the “save” pile.

Above is a spoon cut from the hedge. It sits on the remainder of the branch it came from. I am eternally fascinated with taking a raw piece of wood and turning it into a functional object. As the wood has a mind of its own, you never quite know what you will get.





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The Handmade in Canada Shop Has Been Updated!

I know my blogging has been a little quiet lately, and one of the reasons is I have been working away. In addition to a busy photography month, I have also been updating my other project, Handmade in Canada. Let’s just say when you dye your own yarn and knit your own items it takes time.

So after weeks and weeks of knitting, the shop has finally been updated. There are a ton of new items and we are pretty excited about sharing them with you. All our items are naturally dyed by hand and made by hand too. If you have a moment check it out.

shop image web


Also at the bottom of the Handmade in Canada site are our social media links. We can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@handmadeincanada), plus you can hit the follow button to follow the blog. I hope you will follow along and see all the cool items we are making.

leaf red 3x3 square 100dpi stylized 2www.handmade-canada.com

Going for a Spin

Sometimes the Classified Ads in the newspaper provide new experiences you don’t expect. Back in the summer my dad came across an ad in the paper, “bags of wool for sale, $20.00”. He knew I had been doing all sorts of knitting projects and thought I might be interested. It did seem interesting. We called up the seller and arranged to buy a bag. She didn’t know much about the wool, she was selling it for her sister who had bought it from a neighbor in rural Alberta. Genuine mystery wool. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to use it, maybe felt it or worse case use it for stuffing……well a lot of stuffing as it was a huge bag the size of a garbage bag stuffed tight.

turkish spindleInitially I used the wool to stuff a few mini crochet toys, this didn’t make a dent in the bag of wool. Then one day in late August I took a trip to a woolen mill and in the shop  Turkish spindles. were being sold. I had watched a few tutorials on-line of spinning with them, so I decided to risk the $25 and buy a spindle and see if it would work with the mystery wool.

dyed fleece With plans to try spinning the mystery wool I started popping bits of fleece in random dye pots as I dyed yarn or fabric. There was no real plan, I just thought it would be more fun to try and spin the wool if it was colored.

spinning on a turkish spindleI will admit it took a little to get the hang of spinning the fleece. The hook on the spindle gave me some trouble. I actually took the good old X-Acto knife to the hook to allow it to grab the yarn better; I may still have to carve out the hook portion a little more. The first tiny ball of yarn took forever, but as I spun more and more it went a lot quicker and easier.

blog spinning 3I spun seven small balls in total, enough to give me a taste of spinning with the spindle.

plying the hand spun yarnThe next step was to ply the yarns together. I was really looking forward to seeing the colors combine. The concept of plying was easy, the only issue is that the hook doesn’t seem to hold the yarn in place very well and keeps slipping off. I tried all sorts of fancy tying, winding and twisting, I even briefly attempted holding the yarn in place with an elastic band (did not work!), but the yarn kept slipping off.

plyed hand spun yarnI am continuing to persevere with the plying. The mixed colors look great and will be so fun to knit up. I am wondering if I need to pick up a separate spindle for plying, perhaps a spindle that has a metal hook instead of a carved wooden hook. I am thinking that may work more successfully with plying such a chunky yarn. Still, I think it has been a fairly successful first time spinning experience with mystery wool.

The other work in progress…….

The last few days have been focused on painting and stitching. Whether I am happy about it or not (because it is an immense amount of hand stitching) the answer to this piece was to start stitching in the foliage in the ditch in front of the grain elevators.

stitching - grain elevatorThis is the piece a few weeks ago. As much as I like minimal with most things, this was simply “not done”.

stitchingSo I decided to start stitching in what would be the ditch in the piece. The brown is actually  cotton embroidery thread naturally hand dyed in cutch and dipped in iron for the dark color. The greens are wool hand dyed in marigold again with an iron dip.

stitchingThis is really time consuming work. Thankfully my husband has found a TV series for us to stream (House of Cards) so that we have something to watch during the hours and hours of stitching.

In the above detail the light brown is cutch on cotton and the yellow is marigold on cotton.

grainelevator in progress feb 23 2014Here is the piece as of today. The foreground is filling in nicely. I think it has finally turned the corner.


Feel free to check out my finished pieces on: