I 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.
Crocheting and knitting by Debra Hunter
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I expect the occasional reader is going to look at this post and say “Huh?”, shake their head, and move on, but I am pretty excited about the outcome of this latest eco print.
I have been toying with mixing naturally dyed cloth with eco-printing. There have been some disasters and disappointments along the way. Sometimes an idea on paper doesn’t exactly work in the dye pot. This time I finally achieved a useable result. The fabric is dyed with marigold grown in my garden and madder, plus eco-printed with rose leaves from my front garden. The fabric is 100% cotton and measures 22 inches by 45 inches, so a decent sized piece of fabric to work with.
Interestingly, when I unbundled the piece there were tons of little spots that seemed to resist the dyeing and eco-printing in the very centre of the dots. I have no idea what created the dots, but I guess that is the joy of eco-printing, never knowing exactly what the final result will be.
This should be an interesting piece to turn into “something” in the coming winter months.
In the beginning of March I naturally dyed up a batch of silk. It was dyed in strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry, marigold and turmeric. I pieced a few strips of the silk together with an idea in mind, but as the weeks went on I realized it wasn’t quite right. The piece was too big, over 4 feet long, and just awkward when it came to my original plan. Two weeks ago I had my “A-HA” moment. First I came across an exhibition looking for submissions that would suit the idea of the piece well. The next day we were leaving for the coast so I had to make an immediate game plan. I chopped the original silk piece in half, backed it, and took the piece on the trip with me with great plans to spend a lot of time working on it. Well working on it ended up being maybe a half hour in total as things such as golf and beaches interfered with my plan.
Home I came and I realized I had to get busy as the submission date was near the end of April. Now I spend hours each day stitching and beading. I am beading four tiny seed beads at a time; the beads are 1mm in depth and 2mm in diameter. It is time-consuming work, yet peaceful in its repetitiveness at the same time. My guess is the project is nearly half way finished; it is at the stage where I can see it all coming together and know that I am on the right track. In between the beading I am natural dyeing tiny batches of silk, cotton and wool threads to be used for the stitching. It seems like everything about this piece is tiny. Tiny beads. Tiny dye batches. Teeny tiny elements all working together to make one very textured and patterned piece.
I will admit that I have recently been lured by shiny things. This is how it happened:
Last Friday I took out a naturally dyed and stitched piece I have been working on, to mount. For about three months I considered the piece finished except for mounting, so today was the day to finish it off. I took a final look at the piece and decided it needed more than just mounting, so I decided to add a border. Sounds simple. Well it actually meant spending Friday and Saturday twisting and tying and dyeing silk in marigold and strawberry hoping to get colors that would go with the original piece. The colors worked, the border was added, but it still needed MORE. Now I could have taken the easy way out and cut back the border to make it narrower and called it a day….but no. My answer to the problem was BEADS.
Now I do enjoy working with beads. I like the sparkle. I like the bling. I like how they sit above the surface on a stitched piece. The downside is beading takes time.
The beads I am using are roughly 1mm in depth by 2mm in diameter. Teeny.
6.5 cm by 9 cm corner detail of “Flower Garden”, currently a work in progress.
I am hoping I made the right choice to add the beads. A “finished ” project is now a long way from finished, and I have hours and hours of beading ahead of me. I originally had a plan for this piece and needed it finished by the 14th. Clearly that probably won’t happen now, but it will be pretty when it is done.
Onion skin eco-print silk leaf on arbutus dyed silk.
My decision to work on “little stitchings” has been a good choice of direction. It is allowing me to test different combinations of dyed fabrics together and play around with stitching patterns without making a big commitment. I am discovering some combinations I love, and others, not so much. The eco-dyed onion skin silk is definitely a favorite as is the other “mystery” piece of eco-dyed silk that I am using. I predict there will be a lot more bundling and steaming in my future.
Marigold dyed silk leaf on the “mystery” eco-print silk.
It is difficult to know how much detail to stitch into the leaves; I am tempted to do more but I am afraid it will be too much once it is all pieced together. Perhaps I should just plan to add more stitching once it is all assembled. Working on the “little stitchings” has become part of my evening routine. Once the children are in bed, my husband and I sit down to watch an episode or two of the British television series “Doc Martin” and I stitch. Downsizing the project has been a good choice.