Saturday, January 30, 2010

Me and you and a berry named blue....

I got a super sweet white woven wool coat at the thrift store. While debating if I was going to completely cut it up or not, I decided to cut up the sleeves and leave the 'body' whole for now. However, after this experiment, the whole thing may soon become fodder for this exciting process. This is by no means an exhaustive post on dyeing, but just a way to experiment with it.

You need:
Frozen Blueberries (unsweetened)
Glass container with lid that can go into your microwave (VERY IMPORTANT)
100% wool fabric, cut into managable pieces
Water (tap is totally fine)
A fork
Paper towels
Air Freshener
Clothes you don't mind getting some spatters on.

OK. So start by making sure your wool pieces fit inside your container, then fill the container with water. Microwave for 1 minute, making sure the wool pieces all get completely soaked. Drain off the excess water, being careful not to burn your hands!

Without wasting much time, dump some frozen berries on to your wool! I used about 3/4 of a cup of berries and frozen water that had accumulated in the bag. They started melting almost immediately in the hot wool, which is totally fine.

If you want to make sure your pieces are all dyed to a uniform color, add water to cover. If you prefer a more random look, do not add more water! Cover your dish, and place in the microwave. Nuke for 1 minute, let rest for 30 seconds, stir the berries and wool with the fork, and repeat. You will hear some of the blueberries exploding and thank yourself for covering the dish.

Be prepared for a funky smell. The wool smells like a wet dog, and then you get the high sweet notes of the blueberries. It's real, real weird.

If you have sensitive family members, spray the air freshener.
Then tell them to buck up, you're making art!!!!

If you want a deeper, more intense color, nuke one more time. Otherwise, you can carefully take your container out of the microwave, and fish out the wool pieces with your fork. Rinse the wool until the water runs clear. The color will change slightly as you rinse, just make sure you squeeze and scrape off all the berry bits.

Don't get rid of those berries in the container, you can dye another set to a more subtle
color using the same process!!!

I even left some flowers overnight in the leftover juice and berries, they gave me the lightest colored flowers you can see in the photo, which represents 3 different 'batches' of dyed wool.

The finished color of the wool gets lighter as the wool dries, but with luck you can get a good range of purples and blues. Don't eat the berries after you've used them for dyeing. They may look tempting, I don't think it'd be a good idea.

I have used vinegar in dyeing yarn before, but I didn't have any in the house so I skipped that step. But I am going to try this again with blueberries and vinegar to see how that affects the color.

I wouldn't recommend trying this with very large pieces, as you really need the wool to boil to really set the colors. If you try this, please link back and let me know how it goes!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Wanderland

Piggies! They are all at the Bibelot Stores, in time for Valentine's day! I doubt that I'll be making any more of these little guys, but you never know, do ya?

January is so. close. to being over.

But somedays I feel like the winter has just begun. It can get so blasted cold here. I usually wear long underwear or tights at all times. And multiple pairs of socks.

That new banner up there shows you a beautiful morning when the hoarfrost covered all the branches with a layer of frosted ice. The photo doesn't really capture the quality of light. It was a hazy, dreamy blue. The light out here in the country is really spectacular, all throughout the day and night. If it wasn't so cold, I would be spending more time outside in the moonlight this week. It is bright enough to read by, I swear.

In other exciting news, I hit the official 25 lb mark at Weight Watchers on Monday. I had to take off my glasses and socks to make it, but I did it!!!!

I am trying to only have items in my closet that fit, flatter, and are in top condition. Everything else has gotten donated or turned into rags or PJ's. Which means I have very few cold weather options right now!!!!

I know there aren't many pictures of me on this blog, since in the past I haven't liked having my photo taken, but as the winter ends, I will try to focus the camera on myself from time to time. This butterfly shall emerge from the cocoon of waffle-knit leggings and polarfleece zip-ups!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

for keeps

i had to keep this little guy.

something about his face.

his super long tail.

that little pout.........

i heard a story (perhaps it's an urban legend) that rivers cuomo (of weezer fame) has a notebook that he fills with data, analyzing successful pop songs of the last 40 years.

he looks at every aspect of a song, from the repetition of the lyrics, to the chord progression, to figure out what made a successful song. he uses the formulas to write hit songs.

i will use this monster for the same purpose. i wuv him so.....

And the winner is......

Deena from Minneapolis generously bid $100 on Henny LaRue. I will match that $100 and so we will send $200 to Haitian Earthquake relief. Look for another auction in 6 months and 1 year, also to benefit the victims of the earthquake.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


UPDATE: This auction is not through ETSY. You leave a comment with your bid price below, and I will contact the winner with the final total. Please be sure your comment allows me to contact you! If you have a hidden profile, I can't send you your confirmation! You can always reach me at duckie (at) .

You can pay through PayPal or a check. I will match the funds up to $100 with my own donation.

Also, here's a great article on the waste stream for clothing items. I know it's ironic that I used clothing to create this animal (as I do with about 90% of my creatures) but they are heavy woolen items, and have already been used by one or more folks before I get my hands on them!!!

To benefit the victims of the Haitian earthquake, I'm offering this one-of-a-kind chicken Duckie Ugling named Henny LaRue for donation! I will donate half the proceeds to the Red Cross, and the other half to Doctors Without Borders. In addition, I will match the proceeds (up to $100) with my own donation to the two organizations. And shipping on this girl will be free (within the US).

Ms. LaRue is 12 inches high, and made from a variety of materials including yarn, recycled sweater felt, upholstery scraps, and several different wool skirts. Her stuffing is from recylced sources (mostly other sweater bits) and she comes from a non-smoking home. She is not meant as a toy but rather as a collectors item.

If you wish to bid on Henny, please leave a comment with your price. If no-one decides they must have her, I will still make a donation to the RC and MSF. The bidding will end on Thursday, Jan. 21st at noon Central time so I can contact the winner and get Henny LaRue in the mail.

Bid away!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wrap up..and an auction!!!!

this week has been a whirlwind, and so I'll just give the high- and low-lights.

*food poisioning over (i think) but man do i hate being sick. especially when i'm home alone.

*electric fetus event a total win! they will continue to carry my stuff at the store, and through the end of the month it's all 10% off!

*super excited about my employee, Katy. She's been an absolute dream, and has helped boost my output by about 50%. i no longer need to work from 9am to 11pm to get my orders out the door. whew!

*am home alone while my folks visit the grandkids. my dad's birthday is today, we celebrated before they left so i forgot today was *the* day. sorry pop!

*found a page that lists the points in girl scout cookies. ugh.

*am once again so thankful for the safe, clean, and warm housing i enjoy based on my parents extreme generosity, support, and love for their 34-year-old artist daughter.

And now for the auction.....the situation in Haiti is so unimaginably bad, and inspired by the amazing Nina at Ornamental I am going to create a one-of-a-kind piece to auction off here, with 100% of the proceeds of the auction item going to Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. I will match the first $50 with a donation to the Red Cross and the second $50 (or portion of $50) to Doctors Without Borders.

Look for the auction tomorrow evening, I do need some time to make something fabulous and amazing for you all to bid on. I'm thinking a big chicken, like this one, with some baby chicks in a flock around it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


AWESOME!!! Finny Knits honored the Good Hat Day Hat with a sew-along this month!

So. Freaking. COOL!!!!

I love her fabric choice, her tips on the pattern, and her whole blog in general! She also loves to cook and experiment with the crafty side of life. Right on! She does swear a titch so be warned, fair readers!!!

I am thinking of whipping up my GHDH in wool for my deal at the Electric Fetus on Thursday. Got a super cute ruffley top and some super awesome Newsies-esque pants to go with them, so I don't want to get too costumey , so maybe the hat will have to wait for a different event.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Okay, Seriously? This is awesome....


If you are in Minneapolis next Thursday, come check me out!

I'm so excited to be the Featured Artist at the Electric Fetus, a Minnesota institution!

Things are happening so quickly these last few months, I will promise to keep up better with this blog in 2010. I thank you for bearing with me as my business and life continue to grow and change.....