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.

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



Keeping Busy

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

I thought I would share a quick little update of what I am working on this week.

The computer has me busy retouching portrait orders including the lovely little newborn pictured above. Some of you may also read my other blog, and have already seen a post showing off this little one.

I also shared on that blog the story behind the painting “Orville’s Barn”. This is another of my quick paintings, this time on a very small scale with it being only 6 inches by 6 inches. Painting was a pleasant way to spend Saturday evening.

Crocheting has taken an amusing turn. First it was a miniature snowy owl, now it is a rather crazed looking beaver………with a hat and scarf ( of course!). The little guy is made out of locally milled yarn and naturally dyed in cutch and lac. The next crazy critter on the hook is a bear. One wonders when the crochet critter madness will end!

There are also three new items on the knitting needles, two for the home and one to wear, I will share the finished products soon. I love the patterns that can be created with stranded knitting. The possibilities are endless.

It is also time to start working on another fibre art piece……or finish a half started one.

There are a lot of creative things happening this week.

Photography, art and handmades by Debra Hunter



I’ve been wanting to do some indigo dyeing for quite some time. I was always waiting for the perfect time and the perfect project. As the months (or maybe more than a year!) passed I realized that the perfect time or project was never going to happen. Instead of simply shelving the idea I chose to tackle indigo dyeing on the busiest possible week ever.

In between shooting, editing, knitting, volunteering and school field trips (including swimming with three different classes in the span of two days) this is what happened……..

yarn waiting to dye

yarn waiting to dye

I prepped some wool yarn, cotton yarn, cotton threads of various thicknesses and some cotton fabrics. Some of the yarn was dyed previously in tansy to create a yellow to over-dye with hopes of achieving green.

into the indigo dye vat

into the indigo dye vat

Into the vat all the materials went. The tansy wool yarn was immersed for about 10 minutes, while everything else stayed in for about 30 minutes.

And then the fun began…..

yarn just pulled out of the dye bath

yarn just pulled out of the dye bath

The yarn only starts to truly change color as it emerges from the dye bath and is exposed to the air. It starts out green…..

indigo dyeingthen turns an aqua color………

indigo dyeingand finally blue.

Luckily Mark came home from work just in time to take these pictures as the yarn was being pulled out of the dye bath.

dyeing on the front lawn

I ended up with quite a variety of blue items which will be a lot of fun to work with over the coming weeks. It is nice to add a new range of colors into my knitting and stitching.

dyed wool yarn

dyed wool yarn


This is wool yarn. The yarn on the left entered the dye bath as natural white, while the yarn on the right had been dyed previously in tansy.

cotton yarnThis is cotton yarn dyed in segments to get color variations. What a disaster this was to get untangled after dyeing and washing. I had preplanned the segments, rather than just a random dyeing, perhaps I need to figure out a better game plan for next time.

indigo scarf detail

indigo scarf detail

Just for fun I dyed a gauze scarf that I had hemmed up earlier. This is a detail. It looks beautiful when it is worn. I think this one will remain “mine”. A perfect scarf to wear while walking a rocky beach lined with driftwood.


The Making of the Buttons

Yesterday I shared an image of some handmade wooden buttons, so today I thought I would show how they came to be.

I had actually dabbled with making wooden buttons about a year and a half ago, but as it had pretty much ended in disaster I put the project to the side and had pretty much forgotten about it. A few days ago my three year old came up to me a whacked me with a stick, and instead of the usual telling off I responded with “Hey, my button stick. Where did you find that?”. So with a whack of a stick I was back attempting making buttons.

stick and tools

The stick was a pruning from one of our many trees in our yard, probably elm or  crab apple, maybe apricot. In my previous attempt I had stripped off some of the bark which was handy. One of my biggest mistakes last time was the wood was too green, so time solved my first issue. I lined up a different saw this time (the other issue last time was the wrong saw) and EVENTUALLY a miter box, thanks to my dad. My husband had put mine “somewhere” …..we have “his & hers” tool issues in our home to the point that my parents bought me my own drill for Christmas (which is safely stowed …A.K.A. “hidden”…..under my desk).

slices of wood

From here I sliced the stick into small disks a bit thicker than a commercial button as I wanted a rustic looking button for embellishing some of my “Coffee Sweaters”.

sanding the button


Next was a bit of sanding.

drilling holesdrilling holes

Then drilling the holes with a rotary tool.

Hand Made ButtonsFinally……buttons!

It seems quite simple when I look at the steps but it sure didn’t go that quickly.

 wood buttons

They do look wonderful on the “Coffee Sweaters”.

Coffee Sweaters made of  naturally hand dyed and hand knit locally produce wool.

Coffee Sweaters made of naturally hand dyed and hand knit locally produce wool.

Another batch is off to a local store, Sunworks, in Red Deer, Alberta. You can find them on the counter in the Coconut Room.

Time to get knitting and dyeing again!

Art , photography, illustration and fibre wearables and useables
by Debra Hunter
Hunter Photographics & Studio H

other blogs at:

Buy Local, Sell Local, Source Local

It has been a very busy week. It seems that this week all my different creative worlds collided. This week saw the completion of the book illustrations for “Straw Hat, Rubber Boots and a Cat” by Katherine Weisse. The week also saw the completion of a photography job for Central Alberta Economic Partnership (C.A.E.P.). On top of all that one of my fibre projects found a new local home.

coffee sweater

coffee sweater

A little while ago I put up a post called “Busy, Busy, Busy”. The project I was working on were my “Coffee Sweaters”, little sleeves to keep your hands cool while drinking a cup of take out coffee. The “Coffee Sweaters” are made of 100% wool that I hand dye in micro batches with natural dyes. I then hand knit each little “Coffee Sweater” trying to make each one unique.

coffee sweaters

This week my “Coffee Sweaters” found a new home in an amazing shop called Sunworks, in Red Deer, Alberta. If you are ever in Red Deer it is definitely worth checking out this store, it has an amazing selection of housewares, books, cards, gifts, local art work, a café and a gallery. It is one of those places that you can easily spend an hour just looking at some very tempting things. I am a big believer in the “Buy Local” movement, but it is also great to “Sell Local”.

Sunworks, Red Deer, Alberta

Sunworks, Red Deer, Alberta

In keeping with the “local” theme, I had an exciting delivery arrive today, a shipment of yarn from Custom Woolen Mills (Carstairs, Alberta). What makes this shipment so exciting is that I can buy wool from a mill that is less than 100 miles from home. Wool milled in my own province, not Asia. This is exciting. I really like the option of being able to source my materials locally. I think there is a lot of value in that.


The last few days have been spent dyeing, dyeing, dyeing and knitting, knitting, knitting. I can hardly wait until I have knit up my stash of dyed yarns so that I can start dyeing and knitting my locally sourced wool yarn.

knitting in the round

I will be having updated “Coffee Sweaters” as I knit them posted on my other blog and on my website . The  “Coffee Sweaters” are available at Sunworks or you can purchase them from me directly. My sites will also have book purchase links for “Straw Hat, Rubber Boots and a Cat” in the very near future.