Howdy, folks! I thought today I’c give a little roundup of my January 2023 crafting projects—finished objects (FO’s) and works in progress (WIP’s).
My crafting is a big part of my life, and I am very enchanted by traditional women’s crafts in my expression of feminist creation. Fiber arts has my heart, and I am quite drawn to spinning yarn and knitting (especially with this handspun yarn.) I like to experiment with different areas of fiber arts too, though— sewing, quilting, weaving, natural dying and acid dying, felting, basketry, wool shearing and processing fiber for spinning, and growing, foraging, harvesting, and using natural craft materials. I have even dabbled in constructing Fiber arts tools.
As an Imbolc exercise, I was thinking about what all I want to learn this year, and specifically in the realm of crafting. I was interested in learning nålbinding (an ancient, one-needle type of “knitting” or rather a technique using needle(s) to make fancy knots, creating fabric), needle felting (using a barbed needle to shape fiber ((like pottery with wool)) into any 2D or 3D felt creation), and Sashiko stitching (a Japanese embroidery technique, reminiscent of “zen doodles”). Oh I’ll throw in a witchy one for the witchy holiday—not that the others aren’t witchy—broom making 😍
On to what I finished this past month.
For gifts for people, I often do little fingerless gloves. They reach from the cuff on the wrist or forearm and go right up to the starts of the fingers, which I sometimes give a half-finger with the last two knuckles open, and always do a half-finger for the thumb. I did two pairs for some of my flamenco family, which started as a new year’s present, but ended up being a Lunar New Year’s present. I used the Mitt Envy pattern, which I had just completed an other pair with that same pattern, so I was pretty familiar with it. The construction didn’t trouble me too much, and I didn’t do any color changes, so it was very straightforward. More color changes, more ends to weave in—boooooo. I used a really nice color, Daguerrotype in the base Estrellita from my favorite bigger hand dyed yarn maker, Miss Babs, and it didn’t use maybe even half the skein. For the second pair, I used my favorite pattern for glovies, which I’ve made so many times, Pioneer Gloves, and Obsidian Miss Babs on the base 2-ply Toes. I followed the pattern (except for the cuff) pretty exactly (sometimes I alter it to match sizing for gauge) and it ended up looking really small. I think this is just because this pattern creates ribs, so it scrunches down when it’s not on the wearer. Both patterns can be accessed free on the Ravelry pattern search library.
I then knitted a replacement glovie in the Pioneer Gloves pattern for a pink one I had lost. I think the yarn was Spring Flowers from Miss Babs, but I’m not sure of the base. Done in a day! It’s taking around 5 consecutive hours to do one now.
I experimented with this Chinese watercolor set my mentor gave me, and picked the Shrimp exercise, creating “Uhhh, Srimps” in honor of my Nana, who loved “Srimp fried rice” 💕 sitting on our Matriarch altar in our home, The Cozy Cottage.
I completed a lot of natural dye—that kind of ended up being my main focus for January. Artichoke, avocado, turmeric, red cabbage, and a mix of orange, blood orange, mango, and cherries. Some, I changed the PH with baking soda, which made the colors more rich, even sickly rich. It turned the avocado from pink to deep rose, the turmeric from gold to dark orange, and the red cabbage from light purple to light green. I put in a lot, so that may also have an impact. I tried setting the colours in the dryer, which worked well, however, ugh. Rinse your turmeric well before throwing it in the dryer. I had to meticulously clean my dryer after realizing it left residue when my light purple red cabbage came out of the dryer with green sunbursts. Now, I liked the color I ended with from that red cabbage test, but I also wish I had an example to show of JUST RED CABBAGE. *rolls eyes. I used all of my fabric that was pre mordanted and mordanted, and had a lot of fun—it was a tragedy that I had no more fabric to dye… I ended the month by scouring and pre-mordanting some more white cotton from Joann’s craft store. I was able to use day lily, Iris, and pine needle spent leaves from my yard to create a tea for a tannin bath (which seems to have worked well with the previous fabric.) After the leaves had soaked and were supple again, I made some cordage and did a bit of basketry. Why not? On to more experiments!
I tested out my quilting skills by making another “Ravioli bag”, a design of my own creation, inspired by Vera Bradley quilted bags. My sewing machine only does straight lines, so I put on the fanciest stitch setting, which is a type of fancy zig zags, and make diagonal, inter-crossing lines, which end up looking like ravioli pasta. I used a batik fabric—my favorite type of cotton fabric— cotton quilt batting, and some satin blanket binding (for the straps). Very happy with it, however, my next bag will be smaller, cause I feel like I’m carrying a duffle bag. It’s nice for packing things, but I was wanting a purse. Maybe I’ll trace the shapes of a bag the size I want. Anyhow, I have ideas for different shapes in the future too. Learning, learning, learning with each project I do.
And the works in progress, I got some good work on the ribbed rim of my sister’s valentines present (it didn’t get finished or even started as a Christmas present), a “Hat for Joy” pattern hat. I did the test knit for myself, complete with mistakes galore and dropped stitches, and it took 60 hours and Possum, my cat, chewed up the circular needles and it just caused a lot of strife. It’s still my favorite thing I’ve made… so soon we’ll be matching—if I can get it done eventually!
I also started my own pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks (the first sock pattern I tried) with Jems Luxe fibers Texas Wildflower yarn on I believe their Luxe Sock base. Or light fingering? Not sure… I also used some Malabrigo Fortaleza on their Washted base for the cuff, heel, and toe. No picture yet, still casting on ha ha ha.
Finally, I also got work done on my Yo-Yo quilt (titled Royal Ladybird). Started in 2018, and still plugging along.
This completes my January work, just over here, getting things done. Let me know what you’re working on if you feel, I’d love to hear! Keep creating! Blessings blessings, August Lee
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Disco Chicken of Love
sTate fair ready!
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ky state fair quilt
A sustainability major at U of L, beginning farmer, crafter, and writer.