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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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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40 pounds for $8 – part 2

apples

After reading yesterday’s post about the apples we bought in British Columbia, I imagine everyone is sitting at the edge of their seats wondering “Just what did you do with 40 pounds of apples?” After all 40 pounds is one or two apples. Now we could have just eaten them raw, but when you get such a deal it seems the perfect opportunity to experiment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other evening I decided that dried apple slices would be worth a try. It sounded like a fun snack, plus something we could pop in the kids lunches.

We started by slicing the apples as thin as we could as we were aiming for crispy apples at the end. As we had read different variations of drying apples some we cored and some we just sliced to test which result we liked best. I also chose to leave the skins on.

After slicing we let the apple slices sit in a bowl filled with 4 cups of water and half a cup of lemon juice for about a half hour. The next time I will use a bigger bowl and twice the liquid measurement…..of course we did dry a lot of apple slices.

apples slices on parchment paperWe then lined the cooking pans with parchment paper and laid out the apple slices.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInto the oven the apple slices went. 200 F for 2 to 4 hours, turning the slices on occasion. The time it takes to dry the apples seems to depend on the thickness they are cut, how many apple slices are in the oven, and how crispy you want the slices to be.

dried apple slices

The result is yummy dried apple slices.

dried apple slicesOne thing we did discover is the texture and taste of the apple sliced we cored were much better than the ones we just sliced. We also discovered coring them after slicing made for less breakage of the apple rings.

dried apple slicesThe apple slices were a big hit. This weekend we will be making more as every single apple slice from the last two batches has been eaten. It is great to find a healthy treat.

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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

 

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.