Friday, 14 June 2013

Things I've Been Up To

It's been a while since I posted, so here's some stuff that's happening!

Firstly, I'm going to Australia on Monday and I'll be there for 3 weeks! Very excited, but really not looking forward to 25 and 30 hour journeys. I do have a crochet project to do on the plane though, here's my progress so far:

If you like the look of this pattern, you can find it here for free on Ravelry. I'm planning on making it an adult-sized blanket rather than a baby one though.

I've also bought yet another old film camera, this was one a great find, it was £30 for the camera body plus 3 lenses, a flash thingy, a strap, some other little accessories and a big case to carry it all in. It weighs a tonne though! Here's my camera collection to date (not including digitals):

The whole front row, including that humungous lense, is what came with the new camera. It's a Praktica LTL3 if anyone has any idea what that is! I must admit I hardly know anything about cameras, but I'm learning fast with this lot. It was so difficult to decide which to take on holiday though, currently I'm going with the Canon SLR and the Praktica with one lense, along with my compact digital camera! I'm visiting a friend but she's got a job so I'll have a lot of time to spend on my own, so hopefully I can use some of that time to take amazing photos! I'm not really much of a photographer, but I really enjoy it and I generally end up with one or two nice photos, and I think it would be nice to get some blown up really big so I can frame them.

Of course I'm working hard dyeing wool whenever I can, but I want to put that all together in one post. I've got a post started on explaining how to dye with madder root, because I kept getting orange and not red and I found it a little frustrating! Now I know how to make a redder red, I'll be able to share it with you.

- Kate

Monday, 3 June 2013

My Etsy Shop is Now Active!

So far I have created listings for these cute crocheted owls, and this week I will be adding bunting, cards and owl doorstops. You can find my shop via the link on the right-hand side of this post.

- Kate

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Important Updates!

I've just made a new Facebook page, go and like it if you want updates of what I'm making and selling. You can also message me on there if you want to ask any questions about using natural dyes and I'll be able get back to you more quickly than I would on here!

I've also made an Etsy account, which is not active yet but will have many of my creations available starting next week!

On Monday or Tuesday I'll be posting a pattern for this cute owl, it'll be free for a limited time only so watch this space!

(This particular owl is called Sam, and the colours are both from black bean dye).

- Kate

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Line Drawings

I'm trying to get into using a sketchbook for personal use, i.e. not for some kind of assignment. Here's some drawings of string that I've, for some reason, been slightly obsessed with this week! 

- Kate

Thursday, 16 May 2013

I Went on Holiday

And I had a lovely time! We booked a boat holiday on the Norfolk Broads four days before we left and managed to get it for the half the price we paid last year.

I've found that when on a boating holiday, I apparently become slightly obsessed with photographing birds...

- Kate

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Shop Sign Making

In a few weeks I'll be having my first ever craft stall! I'm really looking forward to it, and will be making loads of stock starting next week. I know I'll have a fair bit of stock leftover; I have no idea if anyone will even want what I make. SO, as soon as I've done the stall, I'll be opening up an Etsy shop. 

This means I need a shop sign! So here are a few ideas I've had :) Some of them are illegible, but I'm working on it!

What do you think? Which is best? Ignore the colours for now! I really like the last one, if I could just fix it to make it more legible (Kate's Yeven Kitchen anyone?), but an Etsy sign has to be long and thin like the pink one above it, and I'm not sure how I'd squish it down.

- Kate

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The WildArt Trail

You may of may not know that I'm at university studying Fine Art. This term one of our units comprised of sharing our work in the 'public realm' and documenting it.
My friend Robin and I, chose to exhibit some of our work at the WildArt Trail which is in a nearby woodland (I say nearby, it was pretty much inaccessible without a car!) I wasn't hugely pleased with the outcome, but thought I'd share some photos anyway because the woods themselves are beautiful.

Here's my preparation for the exhibition:

I made thirty crocheted leaves, some I made from wool I'd dyed beforehand, and some I dyed after I'd made them. The colours were pretty vibrant and really stood out in the woods when I first put them up (though I'm not sure the photos show it well); the weather was still pretty gloomy and miserable so the trees had no leaves and there was barely any colour.

This is one of the pieces Robin installed. There were about 8 of these photo collages, head over to her site to see more of these and some of her other work. 

Here's what it looked like after 12 days, including 2 days of heavy rain and 8 or 9 of bright sunlight:

I like the fact that a couple of leaves had been torn off, I think it must have been birds taking them for their nests, which is just lovely. 

And a close-up of the ant enjoying one of the leaves.

- Kate

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Unrepeatable Purple

I am SO pleased with this purple! So lovely :) It's made, unfortunately, with an unrepeatable technique...using a random amount of mixed berries from a 'black forest fruits' pack from Morrisons (a UK supermarket). I think it was a combination of blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and possibly morello cherries. The dye was quite concentrated and I soaked it for about 96 hours (it was stuck at uni and I couldn't get to it, so I was forced to be patient). It had sun on it for maybe a quarter of those hours and I think that probably intensified the colour. It's so pretty, I wish I'd made more! 

- Kate

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Bootfair Finds

Last week I went to a fab bootfair about 10 minutes away from my house. I spent £8.50 and got all these lovely things. It's been so long since I went to a good bootfair! (Non-UK readers - A bootfair/boot sale is a like a yard sale, but in a big public space like a field or a car park). I've already been again, and since it's every Sunday I plan on going every week til I move back home for summer. 

Pretty plates - £1 for the pair

Director's chair - £5

Apron - 50p

Lacy net curtain - £1

Purple...thing - 50p

Pot holder - 50p

This is what I bought this Sunday:

Ilford Sportsman Camera (1969 ish) - £5
Unfortunately doesn't seem to work, the bit where you wind the film on only works when the back of the camera is open, obviously not very useful when using film! Still, it's a nice addition to my very small collection.

Minolta Hi-Matic S2 Camera (1979 ish) - £2

I'm not sure why this camera collecting has started, but I intend to post my developed films up once they're done (which could be a while because I don't want to waste it). It could be really interesting to see the results as I suspect they will be less than perfect! Fortunately, less than perfect makes for interesting viewing. 

I also got a pretty bracelet type watch for £1.50 which it turns out is broken, but perhaps still nice as an accessory, and a glass bottle for 25p. 

- Kate

How to Make Blue Using Black Turtle Beans

When I first started dyeing wool, I thought that blue could only be obtained from indigo and woad, both of which I would have to buy on the internet. However, when I was trying to find a good way of making green, I stumbled across this blog, where a nice lady called Cynthia somehow makes a beautiful green dye using dried black beans. I used almost the exact recipe (apart from the amount of beans, which I just guessed), and discovered my first blue.

I can't be exact while describing how I made this colour, because I never weighed the beans or measured the amount of water I used. Silly me. However, after creating the second, darker type of blue (below), I realised that the concentration of the dye was more important than the weight of beans that I used. For both colours I used alum as a mordant. (See this post for a tutorial on preparing yarn for dyeing).

For the light blue, I used approximately 150g of beans and spread them across the bottom of a large tupperware tub (about 7" x 12"), then I added about an inch of water. I soaked the beans for 12 hours, drained the water and put it to one side, then added another inch of water. I drained this water also and used both lots together to dye 25g of wool. After about 12 hours I added another 25g skein of wool, and a few hours after that I added yet another 25g skien. The first skein was soaked for about 24 hours, with the others removed at the same time. They all came out almost exactly the same colour. 

For the dark blue, I used about 100g of beans in a much smaller tub. This one was about 6" x 8" (a typical Chinese take-away tub if you live in the UK) and only just one inch deep, so I filled it almost to the top and followed the same process of soaking the beans for 12 hours, twice. This time the amount of liquid I ended up with was just over a jarful, so not very much. I soaked a 25g skein of wool for 48 hours. The jar was also in sunlight for part of the day (when I made the other blue there was barely any sun) so this may have had an effect on the intensity of the colour, but I think it's more the fact that the dye was more concentrated. 

As usual, leave a comment if this isn't clear enough and I will do my best to help!

- Kate


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