Last weekend I took a two day workshop at Wildcraft called Pattern Play & Natural Dyes.
Day 1 | Dye Paste Samples
The first day of the workshop covered creating dye pastes and three techniques for application. The pastes included alum and different percentages of iron. We got to make two 12″ x 12″ cotton samples at each technique station. It’s pretty cool how the different pastes would determine how the dye would adhere to the cloth.
These are my stencil samples that were later dyed in cutch and madder.
These samples were block printed and dyed in pomegranate and logwood.
The last technique was hand painting. These were dyed in weld and lac.
Day 2 | Immersion Dye
Our samples dried over night and then we dissolved the paste using a process called dunging. After the paste was removed from the cloth, the samples went into the dye pots along with blank cotton bandanas that were pre-treated.
I chose to dye my bandana in cutch and then we had a little time to design. I threw a quick sketch together and decided to use the stenciling process.
We again used different dye pastes that were painted on to the dyed cloth, but this time titanium and citric acid were in the mix. The titanium practically removed the dye.
We were sent home with dunging supplies and after my bandana dried overnight, I dissolved the paste and let my bandana dry. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
This workshop was a lot of fun and I would really like to try this at home.
Gray thing #1 is my just finished sweater, which took about four months to knit. The most challenging and time consuming part of this knit was the short rows, but once I got past them, it was smooth knitting. The instructions are great and clear, it was my brain that was the issue here.
This project felt just outside of my current knitting skill set, but it happened and I think I’m ready for the cardigan version. And yes, it’s just as squishy as it looks.
Gray thing #2 is this flight suit. The color I chose leans a little janitorial, but when it’s splattered in clay it leans artist. The fabric does wear a little heavy and I definitely overheat if I’m moving around a lot, but the details on this pattern are jumpsuit perfection.
SIZE: 8 with 3″ removed from leg and 2″ removed from sleeve.
And gray thing #3 is a sweatshirt I made entirely for this single quilt block. Okay, I already had the french terry and rib knit, but I was inspired to sew it up once I had the idea of slapping the quilt block on it. The block was made out of linen scraps and was very shifty, so I fused some knit stay tape to the turned under edges and had to use a sheet of tracing paper to stitch it onto the french terry to keep the fabric from stretching out.
This is a lovely pattern. The instructions are super clear and this whole thing can be sewn using your regular sewing machine. I am going to try using my coverstitch for the bands on the next one.
Sandal Making Workshop | Rachel Sees Snail Shoes
Finally snagged a spot in one of Rachel’s sandal making workshops. I didn’t quite nail the fit on these – the vamps are just too thick and the thick leather needed more shaping than my design allowed, so they kinda slice into my big toes. They still need to be sanded, which is why I only have in progress photos.
Sophie Scarf | Petite Knit
I knit a lot of this during my Japan trip and finally finished it a couple weeks ago. This is before blocking. This color is so nice.
Melon Basket | Wildcraft Workshop taught by Textile Indie
Attended another basket making workshop to make this cute little melon basket. The wrapping technique reminded me of summer camp crafts. I’m thinking about dyeing it with indigo.
I’ve taken a couple jewelry classes over the years, but had never tried lost wax casting. Wildcraft offers a two-day ring workshop hosted by Arielle Brackett that is such a good peek into the process. On day one of the workshop, we started with a piece of jeweler’s wax, which we carved into our desired shape and used a special wax cutting mandrel to size them. I wanted to create a simple signet ring that started off round, but then on a whim I shaved off the top and bottom. I’m glad I did because I think it turned into a pretty fun design.
Arielle showed us how to add different textures and prep the wax so that we’d have the least amount of filing and sanding to do once it was cast in bronze. Our rings were then sent away for casting at Tiny Desk Customs. Another local option is Castaway. This process took a couple months and it was hard to wait! The actual casting step of the process is still a mystery to me.
On the second date of the workshop we received our rings. They were already somewhat finished for us, like the sprue had already been sawed off, but we needed to create the satin finish through filing and sanding.
I am a little bummed that the face of my ring has a tiny hole in it. Arielle said that this sometimes happens and it’s best to leave it alone because there’s no way to know how far down that bubble goes. Other than that, I am pleased with my ring!
And now for a list of supplies if I ever want to attempt this at home:
Just got back from a whirlwind two weeks in Japan (Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka > Hakone > Tokyo) and thought I’d share some of the treats I brought back.
Okadaya Shinjukuis a multi-level shop that carries SO MUCH CRAFT STUFF. I somehow managed to miss all of the fabric they clearly offer, but did have a lot of fun wandering the floors of buttons, notions, yarn, sewing machines, etc. I bought some bias and knit tapes and some cute embroidery stickers (top row).
WALNUT Tokyo + Kyoto are stores by the brand Amirisu. I bought a couple skeins of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn and then one skein of this baby yak yarn that I thought was DK but is actually worsted weight… oops (bottom row).
Pigment Tokyo is a really cool art supply store that also hosts workshops. I refrained from buying all the things and just walked away with this little paint dish (bottom row).
Nippori Fabric Town is a whole dang district of textile stores. Truthfully, I get very overwhelmed in stores like these, so I didn’t end up buying any fabric on this trip. These are some pics of fabrics I thought about though.
I bought these little money envelopes near the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. They’re from the early Shōwa period (~1930s) and I think they’ll look cool framed together.
We also took a very guided ceramics workshop at Kiyomizudera Studio near the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. We’ll get our goods in 10 weeks!
I packed a mostly me-made suitcase that featured this new waffle Marlo cardigan, Shop pants, Drew headband, and multiple Orlando tops. I also made 3 Dawson tops out of Merino jersey for the trip.
We did a lot more, but I’m limiting this post to making-related stuff… except I’m gonna tell you to go visit the Asakura Museum of Sculpture before I end this post!
Welp, I had two sweater projects going at once, all while my knitting supplies are a complete mess because of this project at the bottom of the post. I have misplaced some needles and I’m big mad about it. But anyway, about the sweaters…
I started this Petite Knit No Frills Sweater in December – using the most expensive yarn I’ve purchased to date – and then signed up for a 4 week workshop at Ritual Dyes for the Ozetta Lakes Pullover. Before starting the Lakes, I got all the way to the hem on the body and then didn’t feel like tackling the sewn tubular cast off. I’m glad I didn’t, because I learned about some set up rows while knitting the Lakes that really helped with sewing the super fine to almost bulky yarn during the cast off.
I still have to visualize short row instructions with diagrams and notes. The BOR marker being at the center back really tripped me up.
I got a head start on the Lakes Pullover before the workshop began and I tried something out that I’m still not sure was the best idea. The construction on this sweater is so interesting – you start with the saddle shoulders and then build the sweater down from there. Because I’d need to pick up the same number of stitches for the neckline as the short ends of the saddles, I decided to use a provisional cast on instead of a long tail cast on.
The pros of this approach are that it made picking up those stitches super fast. Prior to this workshop, I didn’t really understand how to read the stitches and pick up in the “correct” spots. Thanks to the numerous tips from the instructor, I feel pretty good about that task now.
The cons of this approach are that it made picking up the first few stitches along the long edges of the saddles a little challenging/hard to see and it required more ends needing to be woven in. But hey, I can crochet a chain now.
In this workshop I learned how to knit a swatch in the round, how to calculate gauge, a neat trick for keeping track of sleeve rows, and so much more. In-person knitting workshop are so valuable.
The instructor recommended twisting stitches on the 1×1 rib by wrapping the yarn clockwise on the purls, which I tried but it felt so awkward I tinked back and did regular purls. I want to try this again on my next sweater since I want really tight hems and collars but don’t want to stress out my hands.
GAH! Look at this sweater! I’m so proud of it. Such a cool pattern and I feel like my skills are really improving. Just look at my first folded collar on the Towns Sweater. I think I might actually redo the neckline since I don’t wear it very much because it’s so… rustic.
I accidentally used a size US 6 needle for the body (remember my previously mentioned supplies mess?) when I meant to use a US 7. The recommended US 8 produced a pretty loose fabric that I didn’t like the look of on my swatch, so I sized down. After realizing I’d accidentally knit a lot with the US 6, I figured it would be fine since that’s the size I had used for my popcorn sweater and the fabric was looking nice.
The only changes I made to the pattern was to crop the body by an inch and half and I created selvage edges on the parts that were knit flat. I’ve worn this a ton and I’m just the tiniest bit bummed that we’re approaching warmer weather here in Portland.
Once my Lakes was blocked and on my body, I could work on the No Frills sweater again. This was the project I finally understood how to read my sleeve stitches and use those locking markers. This method meant I could knit anywhere without dragging around a row counter and obsessively taking notes on a piece of paper.
For the XL, you’re supposed to repeat the sleeve rows 21 times, but I had to stop after 16 for my short arms. The sleeves have a slight balloon to them because of that. I had 65 stitches and needed 52, so I *K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3* before starting the 1×1 rib. I was pretty pleased that made all the decreases perfectly spaced.
I like this yarn a lot but holy hell, I overbought. Like I could almost make an entire identical sweater overbought. The pattern only gives the amount in grams so I estimated 6-7 skeins. Under the guidance of a LYS, I purchased 8. I used 4.25. 💸💸💸💸💸 Guess I’m making a matching shawl?
I sewed some black elastic thread into the neckline before blocking because it was definitely a lot wider than I wanted and knew it would only get bigger once wet. I think if I make this pattern again, I will do a folded collar following the instructions in the Ozetta Seasons Pullover.
And here they are all together! I have two almost finished sweaters in these, plus yarn for my next project.
And I’ve been working on an ultimate needle / tool case to replace the hideous things that came with my Chiaogoo needles. I’m still noodling on one of the page designs, so it’s been taking longer than planned. VERY excited about it.
My husband is very particular about his clothes and will only wear this one hat he bought in college. So when he asked if I could recreate this unicorn hat, I thought it might be a fun puzzle to solve. After all, even if I could find a pattern for a similar style, the odds of him liking it would be pretty slim.
After a lot of counting, I was able to write up a simple pattern, but I had my doubts. Did I actually get the yarn weight right? Is my math correct? If it’s not an exact copy, will he even wear it?
I’m sharing the pattern here mainly so that I can reference it later. Feel free to use it but I’m not responsible for the outcome!
It only took a few hours to knit up and it’s pretty darn close to the original! The original also has a micro fleece band on the inside – one of the reason’s he loves it – so I’ll be stitching that in as soon as my order arrives.
I am pretty pleased that I was able to look at a knit object, read the stitches, write up a pattern, and achieve a very similar fit. I have another skein to make Version 2 and I’ll make the following changes. All of these changes are reflected in the pattern above.
Use a smaller needle for 1×1 rib. I used US 6 in Version 1 and it looks too loose.
Add in the 5 rounds that were omitted in Version 1 (3 in the 1×1 rib, and 2 in the body). These rows were omitted because I miss-measured while knitting.
Pull the 9 stitches at the top of the hat together tighter. After blocking, the opening relaxed a bit.
In 2017 I tried making a Misha & Puff style popcorn sweater. I had ordered a We Are Knitters kit (no longer available), even though I hated the color options, and gave it a shot. It went fine, but I made a teeny tiny error, didn’t have any idea of how to fix it, and gave up.
This is as far as that sweater got. The construction was not great (flat, seamed, no neckline shaping), and in hindsight I’m glad I stopped the project here.
Well after a year of knitting sweaters, I finally have a M&P style sweater, in a much better color too!
Even with six sweaters under my belt, I signed up for this lovely 4 week Wildcraft class with the pattern designer of the Louise Pullover. Short rows were, for some reason, deeply confusing to me and I thought some in person coaching would help. It was a great 4 weeks and I now feel like I can knit anything.
I practiced wrap and turns a lot before deciding to use German short rows instead. My wrap and turns were quite holey and the process felt a little more complex than German short rows. After completing the neckline shaping, I wanted to practice again while it was still fresh and started a second sweater. I don’t love the color of that yarn though, so we’ll see if it get used.
After knitting to a size 3, I decided to go up to a 4 for a more oversized fit.
I also decided to crop the sweater by 3″.
I decided not to use a smaller needle size for the neckline ribbing because I was using a worsted weight yarn instead of DK, and I knit pretty tightly. I wish I had though because after blocking, all of the ribbing stretched out a lot, especially the waistline. Knitting is some unpredictable magic.
I started this sweater on November 9th and finished it December 10th. I’m so fucking proud of it!
I cast on on a flight home and had nearly half the body knit by the end of the trip. I only brought two cakes with me, so I had to stop working on it near the sleeve split.
Once I was reunited with the rest of the yarn, knitting the front and back panels went quickly. I was able to seam the shoulders together without throwing in lifelines, which felt like a huge accomplishment!
Visualizing knitting instructions has been the best way for me to learn. I wish more patterns included visuals, or even just more descriptions. It really does feel like learning a language. Ozetta is really good at responding to Instagram DMs though!
The I-cord cast off took a REALLY long time.
The slipt hem ribbing is so nice. The pattern’s sample photos really hide this detail and I was surprised and delighted to see them take shape.