Shop Updates

Laser cut all the things!!!

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Weeee! I am so excited!!!! I FINALLY had the chance to try my hand at laser cutting and engraving. This week, I took my fiancé on a date night to Factory Two, the maker space in Flint and it was the best date night idea I’ve had in a long time.

Before heading to the maker space, we stopped for tacos – our go to meal for date nights. Mmm tacos. After our bellies were full of deliciousness, we headed over to Factory Two. There we learned how to use inkscape (the program we would use to draw our projects), saw a few of our friends, learned how to run the laser cutting/engraving machine AND got a tour of the wood shop in the maker space.

The beautifully designed keychain above is what I made. I can’t wait to perfect my art and make a million more of them to hand out to people at market. 😉

People may think that Flint is a struggling community without a lot of resources – and they would be right. But we are also a struggling community with a STRONG arts/maker community. I’m so happy to be a part of that community and I can’t wait to see what everyone does next.

Makers Gonna Make

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Hand Dyed Yarn

Watermelon Daze

Another skein dyed! This one was supposed to be a peach color, but I wasn’t liking the way it was turning out. I threw in some red food coloring and now my skein looks a bit more like watermelon than peaches. 🍉 Oops! But that’s ok. It still looks delicious.

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And I love what they all look like together!

I can’t decide if I want to knit with it or sell it…. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Tutorials & Advice

Tutorial: Dyeing Yarn At Home – With Mulberries & Coffee

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A couple of weeks ago I plucked a bunch of mulberries from the huge ass mulberry tree in my backyard and headed to the kitchen to dye some yarn. I have been fascinated with dyeing yarn for a few years now. I love all the colors, designs and fun names that indie yarn dyers dream up. My favorite thing to do is browse #handdyedyarn on Instagram. I finally got tired of just daydreaming about making my own yarn and decided to jump into the yarn dyeing game myself.

There are tons of blog articles on how to dye your own yarn. And, of course, there’s a bit of variation to each one, so I’m just going to say here is how I did it:

Wash and rinse your bare yarn. Make sure not to get it tangled – so pay attention to where your skein is tied off. Make sure the yarn is damp when you apply the dye.

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Set the yarn aside. Put the berries (or whatever you’re cooking with) and some water into a small pot and stick it on the stove. Let it simmer for about an hour. Be careful not to burn your ingredients. Add alum and cream of tarter for a mordant. I used about 1 to 2 tablespoons of each, but the amount seems to vary in all the readings I’ve done. That’s something I’ll be toying around with a bit more…

Once your dye has simmered for about an hour or so, remove it from the heat. Honestly, dyeing with food is less of a science and more of an art when compared to using to acid dyes. In essence, allow your ingredients simmer until the color is vibrant and not watery.

Now, you see all those bits of mulberries in my dye? Yeeaaah. You don’t want that in your yarn. So, strain that shit thoroughly before you do any soaking. I just used a mesh strainer over a stainless steel mixing bowl, but you could use cheesecloth as well. The point is, you don’t want to be picking berries and other food stuff out of your beautiful yarn. So strain it.

Once your dye is strained, you can slowly drop your yarn into the dye. If you want to dye the entire skein, you will place your entire skein in the water. Now we wait. Let it soak as long as you like. The longer than more vibrant. I soaked mine over night.

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Finally, you will do a vinegar rinse to set the color. Remove the yarn from the dye. Squeeze the liquid out. Soak the yarn in one part water, one part vinegar for about half an hour. Next, rinse the yarn with cold water until the color stops running from it. Hang up your yarn to dry. And don’t freak out – your yarn will be a lot lighter once it’s dried. The first time, I hung my yarn up on a swift and put a towel down on the floor, but after that I just hung my yarn on the clothesline outside.

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Voila! You have hand dyed yarn! The steps are really simple. However, the process is time consuming and something of an art. Every skein will be a little different unless you make large batches. And if you want to create speckled yarn, self striping yarn, variegated yarn or anything using acid yarn, the process looks a bit different.

I repeated this process with left over brewed coffee as well and got what I call Blondie.

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Have fun! ❤

Shop Updates

Light Speed

Life has been more than hectic over the last 6 months. It’s moving at warp speed. Like a movie set in outer space. Astronauts cutting through the darkness of an unexplored universe with streaks of light surrounding them, created by the stars they pass at warp speed. That’s how life feels for me right now. Each star, each streak of light, a moment in my life, more important than the last.

Dramatic, right?

With home renovations, the adoption of a new dog, visiting family, birthdays, barbecues, career changes, engagements and babies the last 6 months have been beautiful – but have moved incredibly quick. They always say that time moves faster as you age. I didn’t believe it, but here I am already wrapping up June and I could swear that yesterday I was complaining about the harsh Michigan winters.

But here’s the thing: If you don’t make time for the slow moments, is it really worth the rush? Not in my opinion. So I’m slowing down as much as I can. I’m squeezing in time to be creative, read, spend time with my family, weed the garden and pet my dogs.

Over the next few months, I’ll be knitting, crocheting and applying for winter markets. I’ll also be moving into a new home and selling another. Not to mention everything that goes into the work I do in my day job. Regardless of all the excitement and distractions, I’m going to try and take the next 6 months day by day, moment by moment.

WIP Updates

Making All the Things… Except Socks

My February socks are STILL not done. It’s kind of hilarious at this point. Last night, Jen sent me a text asking me to remind her of our pattern choice for April socks. I laughed out loud and said, “You pick. I’m still on February.”

It’s really not my fault. You know how when you start a challenge like knit one pair of socks a month, but then you decide to darn a pair of socks for a family member, learn how to cross stitch, improve your crochet skills and sign up for two shows all while managing a full time career that requires a lot of emotional/mental energy and some odd weekend and night hours? Yeeaaaah.

AND I still made time for myself, my partner and our families, my friends and my home. There were birthdays and holidays and visiting relatives from out of town. Socks…. became secondary.

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Celebrated my Granny’s 84th birthday with my family!

On the plus side, I’ve finished a cross stitch project for the very first time. Yassss!!! I used this Subversive Cross Stitch book that I borrowed from a friend. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the finished product, yet. Keep it? It seems like a project I should give to someone else as a gift.

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Love how this turned out – even if it is teeny tiny. Next, I’m learning how to adjust the size of my cross stitch projects.

I also managed to crochet a halter top. It’s really small, so it doesn’t fit me and I have no idea if it’s comfortable or sits correctly on an actual human, but I made it! I have a friend who said she’s willing to model it, so I just need to make some time to connect with her….

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Teeny tiny halter top. So adorable.

Those socks are never getting done are they? 😭

Peace. ❤

Tutorials & Advice

How to Create the Perfect DIY Craft Work Space

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We’ve all seen those beautiful craft studios on Pinterest that look like straight up magazine photo shoots. You know what I’m talking about: the perfectly lit modern stark white craft room with little pops of color only provided by the craft, the wall art or the clever DIY storage system.

When I started my journey with PYC, I would see these gorgeous photos and think no way am I ever going to have that.

And you know? I was right. Wait. Hear me out. What I’m saying is no, my space DOESN’T look like those photos. But yes, it is perfect for me. My space is colorful, warm, inviting and functional. Despite being short on space, my craft room is perfect for me. Continue reading “How to Create the Perfect DIY Craft Work Space”