Category Archives: Make It Yourself

Hummingbirds, Knitting and Creativity

I love how the creative process gets the mind working and ideas keep popping up, some of which actually turn out to be useful!

I have a new knitting project on the go which I am very excited about. This is my own design and I have been playing around with it for a while. It all started because a friends Mum asked if I could make her a pair of speciality gloves. She needed to have warmth as well as dexterity. I must admit I thought it would be very simple to do! just adapt a glove pattern and we are good to go….well that is mostly true, but I needed to factor in specfic measurements. Well I have made a few proto types and I think we are on our way to designing something worthwhile, more on this soon.

second snowfall Hummingbird at feeder

Now for something quite different, here in South Western B.C  we have a hummingbird that stays all winter. That just amazes me, we have had surprisingly cold weather lately and this little bird will start nesting in February…brrr. The hummingbird is the Anna’s and here is some information about them from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.

annas_hummingbird_glamorThis is the male Anna’s, isn’t he just spectacular! The female Anna’s  has a stout body with short, straight black bill
central iridescent pink throat patch  Some females show several scattered pink feathers on face.  White above and behind eye.

We have a hummingbird feeder ( seen in the above pic,  Anna’s female is on it !) in our garden and have such pleasure from seeing two of these wonderful birds daily. They are quite fiesty and do not allow each other to drink at the same time. By the way the sugar water solution for these birds is one cup of boiling water and 1/4 cup of plain white table sugar. Mix up and allow to cool before placing in your feeder. DO NOT ADD FOOD COLOURING to this….it is not good for them. Also do not change the ratio because you think they may need more sugar, it can be hard on their kidneys and could kill them. The sugar solution should be changed regularly I clean my feeder out once a week in the cool weather and twice a week in the summer. We have the Rufous hummingbird here in the summer more about them later.

Have a lovely day and take time to enjoy the small things 🙂

 

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Eco Print Bundling and Dyeing

Using natural elements from my home and garden I started to experiement with Eco printing. I gathered leaves of varying sorts from the garden, previously solar dyed fabrics and a new item, an all cotton shirt. I have been reading India Flint’s book Eco Colour which is where this idea has come from. First of all I needed to lay out the leaves on the fabrics and then roll them up around a stick and tie up well with string. Then I soaked my fabrics in a mixture of St John’s Wort dye with a litte beet juice added, boiled them for approximately 10 minutes, it may have been longer but not much. My fire was very hot and the liquid almost boiled dry. Then I left said items for almost two weeks at which point I took them out of the liquid and set them to dry outside. Another two or three weeks has passed and I opened them up today. These are the results.

Felted Wool Birds Home Decor Valentine Gifts Eco Friendly Height 4″

Felted wool birds are the latest items in my repertoire. I am having lots of fun making them, I use Merino wool roving in a variety of different colours. Sometimes I add silk threads or maybe a little tussah which is a fine silk mixed with wool, it adds a lovely sheen to the item.

I also use some of my knitted UFO’s you know the ones …unfinished objects ! I felt them, then create a small wool bird from the felted fabric. I stuff some of them with polyester fibre fill and others I stuff with pure wool. Many of the wool coats and sweaters that I have purchased from the thrift stores make great birds, I even dye the fabric to make it more interesting.

What I love most about them is that no matter what I use to create them they all have their own character, sort of like our children. But I am not selling my children to-day ! Just wool felted birds. I do hope you will take a look at by bird family on etsy. More will be along soon.

Wishing you happy creating with love, remember Valentines Day is just around the corner and a little bird friendly company maybe the perfect gift.

Thank you

woolbrain

A New Year

Well here we are again another year. I feel as if time flies the older I get! I distinctly remember as a youngin’ that the days where long and I couldn’t wait to be a grown up and now it all flies by in a rush or is that just me? Anyway whatever the time frame I plan to crack on with my new years plans, not resolutions but plans! and always subject to change.

My hope for this year is to perfect my spinning skills, this will involve lessons and the hope of purchasing my own spinning wheel. My intention is to take some lessons and hopefully test run a few different types of wheels and go from there.
I would also like to dye some wool and fabric this year using environmentally safe products. All this of course combined with working, keeping up with household chores, enjoying time with friends and family and staying creative!

I have been working on a small felting project that I started back in the summer! As you may know I do most of my felting outdoors so the summer months are my busiest. I wet felted a large piece onto a grey mesh fabric and added some silk threads and tussah pieces. I really liked the colour combinations but not the overall shape of the design. So I took my scissors and cut it up into smaller bits and stitched them together to create a new piece. I worked some small hand stitched designs onto the project and now I am almost finished. I need to find a way to make some “cool” closures and a collar. Here is a sneak peek at the project.
The reveal will be soon!

Wet felting using mesh fabric base.

I wish you all a very happy and creative year whatever your endeavours.

Upcoming Craft Fair

My goodness what a lot of time has passed since my last (confession…) oops! blog post. I have an excuse, really I do …I have a new job and I am making regular money … so I don’t have as much time to felt, knit or blog. But I would like to share with you my upcoming craft fair date.

http://dunbarcentre.ca/special_events/craftfair.htm

I have lots of new items this year as well as some favourites. I look forward to seeing you there and hope you have a lovely day browsing and buying handmade. You will find the most amazing array of crafty wonders with over 140 vendors and all in time for your Christmas shopping. Please come an introduce yourself at the Woolbrain booth.

November 26th Saturday 10am -5pm Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada

Gluten Free Bread Machine Recipe

Here is a great recipe for gluten free rice bread to make in your bread machine. Now not all bread machines are the same so I can only speak for the one that I use: Black and Decker All-In-One Horizontal Bread Maker

1 cup of buttermilk (I often use soymilk or Almond Milk and add a tbsp lemon juice.
1/4 cup of butter or oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of rice flour ( I change this up every now and again and use one cup of quinoa or cornmeal plus the one cup of rice flour, for a different texture and flavour)
1/3 cup potato starch flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp of sugar ( I use brown)
3 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp bread machine dry yeast

Mix buttermilk,rice,vinegar,butter and salt in the bread pan. Mix all the dry ingredients except the yeast in a bowl and whisk well. In a separate bowl beat the eggs lightly.
Place half the dry ingredients in the bread pan. Add the egg mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients; sprinkle the yeast on top. Select Light Crust setting and press Start.

Watch the dough in the kneading cycle and add more flour if needed using a rubber spatula to assist.
I have found that if I change to flour mix sometimes I need to add a little more flour to the kneading cycle.

1/4 cup of strong cheese grated adds good flavour. I like to add a teaspoon of dried mustard with this combination.

I hope you will enjoy the pleasure of making your own gluten free bread. This loaf freezes well if you slice it first.

Happy baking 🙂

Market Bag- Alabama Studio Style

Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.

The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)

I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.

As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!

I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.

Side to Side Knitted Cardigan

At last I am wearing my creation. Although with all the work and effort I am a little dissatisfied with the end result. I really do believe that I enjoy the process far better than the results. Funny ‘eh!
I know that there are things I would change, for example one sleeve is slightly longer than the other and the same goes for the front bands which I knitted in moss stitch. I think if I knitted the front bands with a slightly smaller needle then I would not get the “drag or pull” on the front. The reason the sleeve is longer is that I knitted one sleeve separately because I wanted to be sure I had enough of the different yarn choices included in it. I should have transferred the knitted sleeve stitches again as I added it to the last side. Instead I just joined it on with a three needle cast off. Experiments….that’s what this is all about.
The cardigan is lovely and warm and I love the colours. I used two yarns that I would not use again or better still I should have used doubled, they were to thin on their own. I love the moss stitch collar front bands BUT not the way it drags downwards. On my next one I will change this part of the design and only use the moss stitch for part of the collar and front.
I look forward to the next one or even two !

The many yarns that I used in this project : Cascade 220 Heathers and Plain. Chunky Mochi by Crystal Palace Yarns. Ella Rae Classic. Patons Classic Wool. Ultra Alpaca from Berroco. Tekapo Pure New Zealand Wool by Ashford.

Have you knitted anything similar? do you have any helpful suggestions?

De-Stashing Yarn A Knitted Project

My latests de-stashing project is a knitted cardigan using various odd balls of yarn. I used to buy yarn one ball at a time, I would see something great and think OH! goody what can I make with one ball from this gorgeous colour. Also it was affordable BUT not very economical or smart. Nevertheless I have a few balls to use! so begins my side to side knitted cardigan. I have admired other knitted side to side projects that I have found on Ravelry and thought surely I can do this too ! I have knitted from the top down, making a sweater with Barbara Walker’s helpful guidance. So I felt sure I could use a little help from Debbie Bliss to make my side to side cardigan. This is it so far…


I am surrounded by these colours in my world…the greens of the garden, the blues from flowers, sea and sky and the purples from the flowers in our garden.

Are you inspired by your surroundings ? what have you made ? would you like to share ?

Earth Day

So here we are my Earth Day slippers. I did not end up using the tie, it was not the look I wanted but I do think that the bias binding idea from old ties is a very workable option. I will work on it at a later date.
For now though I am working on some small eco friendly change purses. I am using small scraps of handmade, hand dyed fabrics using the string quilting process. I think they have turned out really well, I love the more muted tones. I believe this is from using plants such as madder,indigo and marigold. No matter which fabrics I put together they all look lovely. Such is the way of nature….I really must pay more attention to her !
Still cool and blustery here but I have at last managed to get my laundry to dry outside on the washing line, how I love that smell when I bring it in to the house nothing beats it for me.

The Procrastinator Dyer's Diary

A Journal of Observations

rosiepink

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

The Creative's Tribulations

From the perspective of a frustrated creative.

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

lil fish studios

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

Attic24

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

FeltUnited

Uniting the world wide felt community

feltingandfiberstudio

An international collective of felt and fiber artists

dyefeltsool

documenting the process

tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site

The Procrastinator Dyer's Diary

A Journal of Observations

rosiepink

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

The Creative's Tribulations

From the perspective of a frustrated creative.

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

lil fish studios

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

Attic24

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

FeltUnited

Uniting the world wide felt community

feltingandfiberstudio

An international collective of felt and fiber artists

dyefeltsool

documenting the process

tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site