Saturday, April 25, 2015

Easy Masking Tape Art with my 2 year old!

I have been really wanting to do an abstract art piece with my 2 year old and I have found the perfect way to achieve a clean unmuddy look; MASKING TAPE! It is so simple and the sky is the limit with the designs you choose to mask out.

I choose a simple herringbone design and set to work placing the masking tape down. This part took about 20 minutes and was kind of tedious.

Next you need to chose 3-5 different colors of acrylic paint. I choose cool colors and a bright pop of yellow. WARNING: Acrylic stains, so cover the area with paper towels and have wet wipes ready! I chose acrylic because you don't have to worry about the paint flaking off later on and it looks a little more professional.

I then dabbed the colors randomly over the canvas, handed my daughter the paintbrush and let her go to town. After about 5 minutes she was done.

I then let the painting dry but before I removed the masking tape I chose a few rectangles to add gold accents. Easy Peasy! Then you remove the masking tape and Ta-Da, "Toddler-Made Art"!

A little bleeding when viewed up close, so next time I might chose a differnt painters tape:-)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hexipuff Mania!

If you knit you have probably heard of the famed Beekeepers quilt created by Tiny Owl Knits. This whimsical quilt is created by knitting many (MANY) smaller units, called Hexipuffs, together. The result is a gorgeous patchwork of multicolored yarn that provides tons of warmth.

Living in Southern California we don't really need warm blankets/mittens/scarves because it doesn't get that cold. So I decided to use the Hexipuffs to create a nice cushion for my Rocking Chair. Which is awesome because I only need to knit 30-35!

Here are a few I have already knitted up. I've been using Paton's Kroy Sock Yarn in Meadow and so far I adore the bright happy colors!

This really is a great knit for those who need something small that they can just pick up and work on for a few minutes at a time! Plus there are SO many cute designs and pattern you can knit into them! I'm thinking of adding some cute little hearts myself. Happy Knitting!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dyeing Yarn with stuff you find in your supermarket!

I had this idea to create a blanket that had 3 panels (which were actually just 3 garter stitch scarves) that were stitched together to form 1 blanket. The border of the blanket was left white (the original color of the wool).

1. Get your wool! The yarn must be WOOL for dying (or at least wool absorbs the color best). Your yarn will NOT absorb as much color if you use an acrylic blend. I have always been found of Patons. It can be found at most major craft stores and the price is right (in case you make a happy accident).

2. Get your dyes and mordants! Now this is the fun part. I went to 3 ethnic stores to find my dyes, an Indian, Mexican, and Japanese. I found 5 different fruits/veggies/spices that I thought could be made into a dye. Tumeric and the Cactus Fruit gave the best colors by far!

Mordants are needed to join the fiber with the dye. If you don't use a mordant your dye can wash out. I used Alum and Cream of Tartar which can both be bought in the spice aisle of most super markets, you can also buy more specialized mordants on amazon. You can reference the EarthGuild for more information on different Mordants.

I would actually love to use dyes found in my environment. I live in a desert-like climate in Socal so that could be really interesting! I just got this book which gives awesome plants/berries to use! Here is one of my new favorite natural dyeing books Harvesting Color!

3. Now you need to make a decision here. Do you want to dye the whole piece of fabric already knitted? OR do you want to dye the yarn and THEN knit it?

I think if you dye the fabric already knitted (like I did) you risk some areas not absorbing the color as much because of parts of the yarn not being exposed to the mordant and dye. However I really wanted to achieve a gradient of color by dipping the different parts of the fabric in the dye. This I think would be much more difficult to do if the yarn was not preknitted.

4. Before you dye the wool you must prepare it using the Mordant. Pre-soak your yarn for 1 hour. In a large seperate pot combine the proper amount of Alum and Cream of Tartar, boil and gently place yarn of fabric into the pot. I did this for about 1 hour. Do NOT swish or agitate the yarn or it will start to felt.

5. NOW for the COLOR! Your yarn is ready! Are you? Get your ingredients together and prepare to make them into gooey ooey mushes! I used a mortar and pestle to help along the way. I would smash until I started to get some good juice going, making it as concentrated as possible. Then I would put the mush through a mesh sieve and put the liquid into a small pot. Then I added as little water as possible to dye the amount of yarn I needed. I wanted the color to be concentrated. Below is Chili Peppers! SPICY!

6. Leave the yarn in the DYE for 30 minutes, the longer the better! Then take out and dry in a shady but warm area.

Well those are the notes I have for now! I am hoping to try some new dying techniques soon. I hope you'll give it a shot and if you have any questions just leave a comment or send a message! You can DYE it!