Category Archives: Other craftiness

monogamous knitting

I’m back! I was traveling last week. I took two knitting projects with me. One was my Garland shawl, and the other was the beginning of a Filigree shawl.

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I guess I really am a monogamous knitter at heart. I only worked on the Garland shawl; I never even looked at the Filigree. I had been worried about trying to knit with beads on this trip, because we were spending a week on this 65 foot catamaran.

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(The Ouvea V)

Surprisingly, bead knitting wasn’t a problem, as long as I wasn’t knitting while we were actively sailing. Which is no time to be knitting, anyway.

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(hanging out at Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great snorkeling spot)

We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s significant birthday, and it was a blast. Our family of 10 spent a week in the British Virgin Islands on a crewed charter (captain, chef, hostess). It was a blissful week of sailing, snorkeling, and beaches.

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(The Baths at Virgin Gorda)

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(Above the Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke)

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(DH getting away from it all, Benures Bay, Norman Island)

And sunsets…

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I found a couple of these little shells on the last beach of the trip (Benures Bay, Norman Island). So cute!

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It’s a coffeebean trivia (false cowrie). They’re about a centimeter long. They look like smiles on the other side.

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I brought them home and turned them into the centerpieces of a little keepsake project. Ankle bracelets, one for me and one for sis-in-law. These remind me of sand and the color of the sea when the sun is shining on shallow waters. (I had to drill holes in them to string them; I did that with a bead reamer.)

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The instructions for these beaded bracelets (or necklace, or whatever) are in my free Victoriana Bracelet pattern. They’re made with a crochet chain with a few beads worked in. Pick some beads and make one for yourself, and one for a friend!

Back to my Garland, and real life…

Silk, dye, salt: magic!

I’ve been playing around with painting/dyeing silk scarves. I learned the basic technique at a workshop last year, and we’ve been using it for banners at church. The basic ingredients are liquid fabric paint/dye (Dye-Na-Flow from Dharma Trading), silk scarves, and coarse salt. You can use table salt, but it’s messier and is harder to get off the scarf at the end of the process.

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This one was done with the basic technique. You’ll want to cover your table with plastic to protect it. Wet the scarf, squeeze it out, crumple it into a ball and drop dye on it. You can use an eyedropper or a straw. The more you handle it, the more the colors will blend, which may or may not be what you want. Spread the scarf out on your protected table, and sprinkle it with salt.

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The salt draws the dye, and makes very cool patterns in the color. After the silk is completely dry, brush off the salt and iron the scarf to set the dye.

We tried a different method to create these Advent candle banners last December. We wet the silk and laid it out on the table, then used sponge brushes to create candles before salting the “painted” scarves.

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Here’s a closeup of the salted dye.

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I was really happy with how my candle flames turned out!

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We explored color at our Women’s Retreat last month. Twenty women participated, so there wasn’t a lot of table space. We had to use the crumpled ball method. I have a hard time with the randomness of the outcome with these. I wish I had handled it less, so that the colors were more distinct from each other. (Me, a control freak? Go figure. I’m sure there are life lessons in there somewhere.)

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Everyone got to make their own scarf.

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A little inspiration?

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And then we dyed some banners for Pentecost. We wanted flames, but these turned out a bit more pastel than we anticipated. That color blending thing again!

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We made a few more last week. I really like how these turned out. I laid out the damp silk and dripped dye on it with a straw. No handling, so no blending. Coarse salt as usual. I could see using this technique for a scarf to wear. They were a little subtle against the big glass screen. You can see these on the far left of the two bottom rows in the next picture.

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The finished display.

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I want to play more with this technique. I learn something new every time I try it. Do you want to try it, too?