Getting crafty.

Hey friends.

This afternoon we’re going to poke our heads around a new corner, and embark on an adventure down a different street. You may have noticed that the tagline at the top of the page says “adventures in gardening, cooking and craft”. It’s hardly a secret that numbers one and three in that trio are pretty heavily overlooked, though in actual fact, they feature quite prominently in my day-to-day happenings. I spend many days in the garden, tending to herbs and vegetables for the kitchen and for sale at the local farmers’ market. Most other times are spent cooking or baking, or surrounded by calico, glue, and paper-making equipment.

Earlier in the year, I came up with this little plan to make things from recycled, found and foraged materials, and create an online store where they could sit, and hopefully find a home. Over six months later, I have finally taken some mug shots and escorted them to Made It – an online market for goods handmade in Australia (similar to etsy). Let me introduce you to twig & stitch.

At this stage, there are only three items, looking a bit lonely. But I’m hoping that making twig & stitch known will provide me with some motivation to pursue the crafties and get creative.

Have a look if you like, and enjoy your evening :)

www.madeit.com.au/twigandstitch

Dyeing naturally

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Welcome to my first (proper) attempt at natural dyeing.

My lovely friend came over the other day, and together we delved into the world of fabrics, mordants, botanical alchemy, hot dyeing, ice-flower dye and hapa-zome.

If you’re thinking this sounds a bit like a foreign language, you’re not alone. We sat reading India Flint’s ‘Eco Colour’ (somewhat of a bible for natural dyeing in Australia), exchanging puzzled glances and googling the concepts we struggled to grasp.

Learning the ins and outs of natural dyeing definitely feels like embarking on a completely unknown journey. There is too much to take in all at once, so it seems best to just throw yourself into it and see what happens. Luckily, the deep end was kind to us, and we ended up with some half-decent results. Sadly, a few hours later, much of the magic had faded, so at least we know what to work on next time.

The gallery above shows our attempts. We scoured the garden for anything that could make a dye; trying everything from eucalyptus to jerusalem artichoke leaves. I have to say though, my favourite of those that we tried was the trusty onion skin. I do really want blue though. Remind me to find an indigo plant. Or woad. I don’t even know what woad is! I have much to learn.

I do just have to mention hapa-zome though. It is essentially the process of beating the colour out of plants with a hammer. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this as a child! Such fun!

Here’s how it works:

Find a solid surface; concrete works well.
Lay down some cardboard or thick paper, then your fabric.
Arrange flowers, leaves etc on the fabric, and cover with another piece of fabric.
Lay another piece of cardboard on top.
Hit with a hammer or rubber mallet. I tried a wooden mallet and it didn’t work so well.
When you’ve got a nice print, peel the flowers/leaves off the fabric, and steam iron to keep the colour intact.
Apparently, the print can be washed carefully, but try and avoid it as much as possible. According to ‘Eco Colour’ it may only last a few washes.

So there you go. Hours of entertainment will now be provided via a hammer and some leaves.

The dyeing thing definitely needs some more work. At some stage, I’ll read the book properly and take it all in. For now though, learning by trial and error is suiting me just fine.