I have always been obsessed with arts & crafts, stuff I can create with my hands, but lately it is getting ridiculous. I recently checked out a few (bajillion) books from the West Seattle library about screen printing, knit toys and home dyeing using sustainable methods.
The amazing book describing the latter is by an amazing woman named India Flint and her book is called Eco Colour: botanical dyes for beautiful textiles. I do not want to give this book back, no joke. It describes easy methods for using common weeds, compost, fallen leaves and branches to create incredibly vibrant colors and stunning designs. Since picking the book up at the library last Monday, almost every thing I see (grass, dandelions, ivy, dirt, old rusty pieces of metal, tulips) I want to slip into my giant bag and take home with me to experiment with. I find myself imagining various concoctions and wondering what the resulting colors would be. I have secretly been trying to find an old t-shirt of Remy's to experiment with, but unfortunately we got rid of all of our old clothes before moving back from France.
And then I got the perfect excuse: our good friends' Sam & Mariah up in Bellingham have the most adorable almost-two-year-old on the planet, and his birthday is coming up. I know it is an ambitious project, but I have decided to try to knit him two stuffed animals from hand-dyed yarn; a monkey (because that is his favorite animal right now) and a lion (because it is my favorite animal right now). I have a pattern for a bear family, and I figure that a monkey is just a bear with a tail and a lion is just a bear with a mane. We'll see if I'm right.
The first step, however, is choosing yarn and colors. The ladies at Seattle Yarn up on California in West Seattle were very helpful in showing me the organic options available today, and the yarn I ended up choosing is Lion Brand Yarn Organic Cotton. I chose this for its softness; because when choosing cotton, especially for anything children will touch, organic is the only way to go (conventionally-grown cotton takes up about 2% of crops world-wide, but uses 25% of the pesticides and insecticides used annually in the world and 5 of the top 9 pesticides used on cotton in the US are known carcinogens.); because there were no colors added - there were a few colors possible, from white to off-white to tan, all just from varieties in the natural color of cotton; and last but certainly not least, because it wasn't made in China (it's grown in Peru).
The colors I decided to try to concoct in my kitchen are a nice deep brown for the monkey and a nice golden yellow for the lion. I am in the middle of brewing / concocting right now and am so excited to show you the results!! Check back soon for an update!!!
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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