Seeing as I’ve been foot powered for four weeks I’ve been tackling quite a few projects. Here is what is happening today:
Weaving in ends and blocking knit and crocheted pieces.
Prepping cotton pieces and yarn to be scoured, mordanted and dyed.
Reworking a crocheted prototype…different hook size and measurements. Sometimes you just “know” you can make an item more functional and better.
Working beads into crocheted pieces.
Breaking down yarn scraps to spin……
….and spinning them. The ball of yarn is growing. Quite frightening to think these scraps would normally just go to the landfill.
I have also started another stitched piece. Smaller. Experimental. Naturally dyed (as usual). Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, we’ll just see where it goes.
Crafted by Debra Hunter
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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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Just one more woolly post (I promise!) and then I will get back to more varied blogging.
Today was a day of weaving in ends, choosing buttons, and sewing on buttons. The stack in the picture above was only part of what I tackled. I won’t share how long this whole process took (forever!), the only good thing is it gave me an excuse to avoid reorganizing the studio (tomorrow’s dreaded chore!). I am amazed at how long it can take to choose the “right” black button; I swear I spent over an hour matching black buttons to different projects because all black buttons are not created equal. I still have eight pieces to finish up and then I can shoot the lot in the studio…….well after I reorganize it that is…….I’m avoiding the studio as I have 180 square feet of backdrop to iron. Fun. Not.
As a reward for the endless weaving of ends I decided to tackle recycled spinning again. I divided up the scraps of yarn.
Broke it down just a little this time, and mixed up the colors.
And spun. This time it is spinning much faster, it is less finicky and breaking less. Now the question is, can I have a big ball of this ready to go by Saturday when I take my daughter to knitting group?
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.
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.
Initially 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.
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.
I 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.
I spun seven small balls in total, enough to give me a taste of spinning with the spindle.
The 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.
I 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.
This post is just a little bit of math fun as a break from working on the “river” piece.
The other night I was prepping some yarn to mordant and dye for an infinity scarf. As the plan is to dye different sections of the yarn different colors I had set up two chairs to wind a very large loop. As I walked around and around for quite a long time my husband commented “I wonder how long that is?”.
The comment was all it took for me to decide to work it out.
Luckily I had everything at hand to work it out. I had an infinity scarf sitting completed so I was able to weigh it. I still had the label for the yarn which indicated how many meters were on the ball and how much it weighed. A quick bit of figuring and I came up with 210 meters of yarn.
Then to put the meters in context I compared it to where we live; the yarn for an infinity scarf would go just slightly further than half way around our city block.
Just so you know, I’m not completely insane, I didn’t walk the yarn around the block…….I run with a GPS and our block is bang on 400 meters to walk around.
……….and now back to working on “river”.……..I don’t even want to think about how many meters of thread in this piece!
the knit up dyed yarns
Naturally dyed yarns (from left): lac, logwood, cutch with iron, marigold and cutch
silk and wool yarns dyed in lac
dyeing in lac
The un-dyed wool yarn after being dyed in madder.
wool yarn dyeing in madder
undyed wool yarn
Busy, busy, busy is the best way to describe things at the moment. We have recently done a quick jaunt to the coast, and it seems as soon as my feet hit the snow back in Alberta I have spent day after day over the dye pot. I love dyeing, so that is a good thing, and you can actually keep yourself warm over a dye pot (which is even better!). I have been dyeing up wool yarns, and knitting them as soon as they are dry. I am working on a project. The best discovery of the week is lac; this dye give beautiful reds, I love it. More dyeing and knitting ahead for this week. It is a good project to settle in with for the winter.