This year I decided to create my own Holiday Gift Guides. The catch: the items must be local and handmade. Huge thanks to those I reached out to for suggestions. I discovered some new talent!
First Row (l-r): Hippy Do Da Creations creates Free Spirit & Bohemian Inspired Handmade Jewelry (I have several of her pieces!). Nana by Sally uses the highest quality of leather to create gorgeous bags such as the bucket bag above! Sebastian Harper creates one of kind clothing and accessories using sustainable techniques such as natural dyeing. I’m always amazed by what is created working with glass beads. Fanny Beads is no exception.
Bottom Row (l-r): Love this apron from By Farr Design. CHI Design studied Shibori in Japan and now makes gorgeous silk scarves that are dyed with indigo and other natural dyes; Loving this ring (And the double barrel detail!) by January Jewerly. Each Uniquely MC product is individually designed and hand-made to make a one-of-a-kind creation.
Stay tuned as I will be sharing gift suggestions for the fellas, children, pets, and the home.
This is one of the patterns I picked up while doing some thrifting. I thought I would make the drawstring tote first but I have been wanting a cute bag to carry around my knitting and crochet projects while in public (Vain, I know.)
The pattern was completely untouched and even had the iron-on alphabet letters that came with it. I was pretty estactic for this discovery. I wasn’t expecting them to still be in there.
Since I decided I was going to use the letters for the outside of the bag, I kept the fabric for the main exterior plain. I believe it is a linen blend.
First, I ironed on the letters . They didn’t go on too well but I didn’t have high expectations given this pattern is about 40 years old (and untouched). Plus, I like the vintage look it gives the bag.
The pattern suggests you use webbing for the straps but I had enough heavy weight fabric to make my own. I did have to reposition the straps on the bag to accommodate for the letters.
For the interior, I got a bit more colorful.
The final size of the bag is approx 18″ wide and 15″ long. Perfect size for holding a project or two.
This was a very quick made. I believe it took me around an hour to make. Definitely a project for a beginner.
If I make another bag I’ll probably add an interior pocket.
I might do a little reconstructing on this one and add a snap closure. But I’m not sure it’s necessary.
Natural Dyeing can be quite an adventure.
One of the main rules with dyeing is to always wear gloves. To be honest, it is a rule I never followed. For one, I’m stubborn. Also, I never really worked with any dyes (such as indigo) that would dye my hands for a long period of time. I knew black walnuts would easily stain my hands so I decided to push my stubborn ways to the side and use gloves during this dyeing process. So happy I did. As I started to take the husk off I discovered this:
They are Walnut Husk Flies and their maggots. Long story short: they like to breed into almost mature walnuts and proceed to freak me the F*CK out! They aren’t able to penetrate the nut and meat due to the hardness of the shell. I wasn’t plan on eating these nuts so that wasn’t an issue to me. The first few walnuts didn’t have any so when I did see this, ugh, I still get goosebumps. Some had none, others had a few, and some had a whole damn lot. If it was too disgusting (for my taste), I just threw them out. On the other ones I brushed them off.
This task turned into a one woman show with me screaming and flailing my arms around. I had to catch myself mid-scream just in case one flew into my mouth.
Once I was finished with that step I placed all the walnuts in a large bin filled with water and a little cleaning solution (just in case there was any little maggots hanging around).
My original plan was to crack open the walnuts and use the meat inside to make the dye but once I saw how dark the water was turning from just a short soak I decided to change it up and use the hull of the walnuts.
Besides, this was getting old very quickly.
I emptied out the old water and washed off the walnuts.
I placed them in a pot and added some water. Once the water started to boil I lowered the temperature to allow for it to simmer. I wanted to do a test run so I added a piece of unbleached cotton I had.
Stretch knit cotton. Mordanted with vinegar and copper mix.
Cotton scarf. Originally dyed with a madder root/acorn mix. I dipped the ends in the black walnuts dye.
It was quickly snatched up by this happy customer this weekend at Soda City!
Since I had so many walnuts I froze half of them. The other half if soaking in a jar filled with water.
I do plan to eventually use the walnut and the meat. I will share that process in another post.
Lately I’ve been playing around with mixing the dyes I already have to produce different colors.
I added the last of my log wood mix to the turmeric mixture and it produced a great dark mustard color (as seen on the vest on the left), and the bottom portion was dipped into an acorn mixture. The sweater in the middle and the tank on the right were originally dyed with madder root. I re-dyed them with acorn.
Love these scarves. Left: dyed with turmeric/logwood mix. Middle:dyed with acorns. Right: dyed with madder root/log wood mix.
Another fun part with natural dyeing is seeing how the different fibers take the colors. Above the items were made with cotton yarn. On the items below, I used 100% Virgin Wool. A lot of tutorials I read recommend you use animal fibers but as you can see above, cotton works just as great.
I used different mixes for mordants (to help hold the color). For some I mixed the fibers in pure vinegar, vinegar/copper/rust mix, and for others I didn’t use a mordant.
You can see these creations (as well as others) on my Facebook Page.