Blue

blog indigo

Blue. Yes everyone we are back to our regular programming. Back to wool, silk and cotton. Back to art, fine craft, and handmade.

The last two weeks have been indigo intensive. It is an outside endeavour that needs to be completed before it gets too cold. This week I attacked the scrap pile, small pieces of fabric that I had been dyed colors I didn’t love, pieces of selvedge edge, and remnants that were awkward shapes and sizes. Into the vat they went and out of the vat they came in shades of blue, green and everything in between (with a little shibori thrown in for good measure!). That is except for the brown piece of silk on the left hand side.

I have yet to figure out what has happened with this piece of silk fabric. It is either dyed in cutch or arbutus and it seems to be resisting the indigo dye. It has been dyed three times more than every other piece shown here and it shows just a mere haze of indigo dyeing. I will have to test this in the future to see if it happens again or if it is one of those strange “one off” dyeing experiences.

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The O’ Canada Collection Is Now Available

As some of you may know, I have a new site up called Handmade in Canada. It is a site of handmade and art pieces, influenced and inspired by Canada, and often made with natural, eco-friendly and Canadian sourced materials.

Over the next few weeks we will be adding shops and galleries to our various collections on Handmade in Canada. Today we launched the O’ Canada Collection.

Our O’Canada Collection celebrates the colors of our flag. The iconic red and white, are accompanied by grays, dark browns and blacks. This is classic Canadian. Our collection will remind you of ….well……everything Canadian (and maybe old school work socks too!).

The O’ Canada Collection is made of natural sheep wool, produced here in Canada and milled in a heritage mill. We believe in using natural products and using Canadian produced raw materials when possible. The yarn for this collection is hand dyed in natural dyes in micro batches with the red color being obtained through dyeing with lac. All items are hand knit and are one of a kind. Each item posted is available for purchase and ready to be shipped. Items can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Items start at $15.00 including tax and shipping within Canada. The pieces make great gifts for friends and family  as they are Canadian made, unbreakable, and ship well.

I hope you will pop over to the new site and check it out. More collections are to come. Also if you have any special requests send us an email, we are always up for creating something new.

For more information please feel free to email us at handmade-canada@outlook.com .

www.handmade-canada.com

by Debra Hunter

Red Deer, Alberta and Pender Island, BC, Canada

leaf red 3x3 square 350dpi stylized 2

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Handmade Yarn Needles

blog wooden yarn needlesTake one dried branch, a rotary tool, and a bit of time, and what do you get? Handmade wooden yarn needles from eco sourced materials. Sourced local, made local, made by hand, and each one is unique. Pretty cool. I’ll be making more of these soon.

www.debra-hunter.com

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Eco Printed Eggs

 

Eco printing is one of the natural dyeing techniques that I quite enjoy. You never quite know what the outcome will be, it is beyond unpredictable, and that is what makes it so fun.

blog eco print egg _4500I usually eco print on silk or cotton, creating scarves or stitched pieces. Generally it is a summer activity as I prefer to work with leaves and flowers gathered in my garden.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that eco printing also worked on eggs. As I had to boil eggs for a school project anyways (and I have a HUGE stash of onion skins saved), so I thought it would be fun to try.

We started with a plain old, white, uncooked egg. Wrapped it in onion skins. Secured it with elastic bands. Then hard boiled the egg just as normal.

Once the egg was cooled we carefully unwrapped the egg and ended up with a beautiful surprise.

blog eco print egg_4554Quite a beautiful and safe way to dye an Easter egg.

 

Looking for something to read? Check out my website at www.debra-hunter.com or the new project I am just starting to grow at www.handmade-canada.com .

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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.

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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

Collecting Dye Stuff

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Yesterday we collected bits for dyeing from our garden. Arbutus bark, fallen eucalyptus leaves and dead headed marigolds. Perhaps the makings for an eco dyed scarf or a “stuff and store” if the recycle depot has a good jar.

Dyeing and Fulling

I am at the tail end of my locally milled wool supply from Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs, Alberta. Trying to eek out as much variety as possible from the last few hundred feet, I spent hours the other day naturally dyeing micro batches of wool yarn.

dried tansy

dried tansy

I started the day tackling the dried tansy that has taken over my desk since about August. I was ambitious in my adventures in collecting tansy out of the ditches in rural Alberta, but I had never though of just how long it takes to clip off every little flower head, and so my desk stayed covered for months.

making tansy dye

making tansy dye

I clipped off some tansy flowers, popped them into the pot to make a natural dye. I achieved a nice soft butter yellow.

soft yellow colored yarn resulted from being dyed in dye made naturally from tansy

soft yellow colored yarn resulted from being dyed in dye made naturally from tansy

In addition to tansy I also dyed the wool yarn in pomegranate, logwood, lac and turmeric dyes. Natural dyes have such earthy tones they almost always go together, so I will be able to knit many combinations from the yarn I dyed.

yarns dyed in (from left): pomegranate, lac, tansy, logwood, lac , turmeric, pomegranate, logwood

yarns dyed in (from left): pomegranate, lac, tansy, logwood, lac , turmeric, pomegranate, logwood

I have also recently decided to experiment with  fulling for a project I have in the back of my mind. Fulling is basically taking a knitted piece and by combining heat, cold and agitation, the fibres start to break down and merge together creating a much more dense piece of knitting.

the knit swatch before fulling

the knit swatch before fulling

After several different variations I eventually found the stitch combination and needle size that will work best for what I am thinking.

the knit swatch after fulling

the knit swatch after fulling – a much more compacted piece

I still have to decide just how much I want the stitches to disappear (how far to take the fulling).

the fulled piece after dyeing

the fulled piece after dyeing

This piece I chose to dye after fulling rather than before. The process is definitely unpredictable and uncontrolled, but that is probably part of the fun.

fulling resulted in a very thick and compact swatch - just what I was looking for

fulling resulted in a very thick and compact swatch – just what I was looking for