Flower Eco Printed Cotton Shirt

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For the 4th of July this year we decided to start a little project with some of the fresh flowers in our yard and a cotton t-shirt. I had previously prepared the shirt by following the directions for mordanting cotton with alum outlined in Wild Colors by Jenny Dean. Despite some excitement over the sumac tannin solution turning blue, that went well enough, and I’ll blog about that process at some other point.

We started with our prepared shirt, pre-soaked in cool water. Next came a garden raid, picking flowers and leaves. What all did we pick? Yellow prairie coneflower, roses, yarrow, strawberry leaves, hardy geranium leaves, calendula, yellow cosmos, zinnia, jewelweed, geranium blooms, mint, and bee balm oh MY!

I had read that you should cover about 50% of the space with dye materials but, well, we got carried away. The next step was tightly rolling the shirt and plants onto a stick, then tying in place. We used an un-treated cotton string.

We popped the shirt-on-a-stick into the steamer for about 2 hours.

July eco print shirt wrappedThen came the hardest part – waiting while everything dried and set. We made it about 2 days before we couldn’t stand it anymore and unrolled the shirt. The flowers had mostly faded, imparting amazing colors and patterns onto our cotton. We waited just a little more for the whole thing to dry completely, then held our breath and rinsed in cool water. There was less color leakage than I’d expected, and the patterns were still fantastic. We were amazed by the wide range of colors from our mix of flowers, especially some dots of blue. I’m still not sure what gave that fantastic blue. I think some of the iris stayed blue?? Anyhow, E loves her shirt, and proudly exclaims that she made it herself to anyone who asks. Three more cotton shirts… we can’t wait!July eco print shirt front

Have you used flowers to contact dye a shirt? How did it go? Any tips or tricks? Share below!

DIY Advent Calendar

Time for a timely post!

I made this advent calendar last year for my then 2 year old daughter… she loves it even more this year!

Materials:

  • Felt – A few different colors. Mostly I already had stuff kicking around, plus I felted an old green sweater. It gives the tree a nice 3D feeling.
  • Cotton fabric for the background – a neutral color or unobtrusive pattern works best.
  • Iron-on stiff backing material 
  • Sewing materials
  • Fun little treats and mini ornaments for the pockets. Sticky numbers for the pockets.

I’ll mostly lay this out in pictures.

 1. Cutting out pieces for the tree from an old sweater felted in hot water/air. Must be 100% wool or this will be a spectacular waste of time.

 2. Ironing on backing to my piece of background cotton.

 3. Arranging the tree. I like how the thicker sweater material pops up off of the background.

 4. Sewing the tree pieces on the the background. I went for a long stitch along the tall axis of the tree, but you can do whatever floats your boat as long as the tree doesn’t fall down.

 5. Laying out and sewing on pockets. I went for a pretty random pattern and assortment of shapes b/c that is how I roll, but you could make them all one color, or matching, or whatever. Just make sure you leave a gap in your sewing at the top of each pocket… otherwise it is not much of a pocket.

 I have a chronically “helpful” cat at my house. Bless.

 All stitched up and ready to apply the felt backing.

6. Final touches – I got lazy and used plastic stick-on numbers like you’d find in the scrapbook section of the craft store. You COULD embroider the numbers… if you are a SUPER CRAFTER. For the ornaments I scoured the dollar shelves and also used felt cut outs. Think of all the the options… this is the fun part.

Voila! This calendar is a sturdy piece of art – simply roll and store when you find yourself done with December.

Enjoy! And hey, if you make an advent calendar like this give me a shout and I’ll post a picture!

All images copyright Knitty Vet.

DIY Denim Heat Pack

We recently had a night that threatened frost… so this post is right on time!

What you need:
Old jeans. The softer the better, but not too threadbare or you may lose some rice.
Rice.
A sewing machine. Not strictly necessary but makes life easier.
Tea. Makes everything easier.

These jeans were the husband’s. They have a hole in an unfortunate location and so now belong to me.

And above is the tea. AWESOME TEA from Arbor Teas.

I trimmed the inner seam to make the heat pack a little more narrow than the full width of the leg. It ended up being about 7″ wide and almost 2 feet long.

Next I sewed the end shut and compartments for the rice so it wouldn’t all bunch at one end. I used yellow thread in a zig zag stitch because that’s the way I roll.

Next I sewed the cut edge partially, leaving holes into which I could pour rice. I poured rice. Mostly into the pack, but also on the table and floor. A funnel would make this a snap.

After the rice was in (not too full, you want a nice squishy pack), I finished sewing the edges. And continued to drink tea. About 2.5 minutes in the microwave (with a little cup of water) and the heating begins!!

And… pinnable!

Baby Wipes – Tutorial

We try to be reasonably green around here… and I like to keep the chemicals touching my baby to a minimum. We cloth diaper as much as possible and I wanted a way to use plain water to wipe the little baby bottom. Although we ended up with several baby washcloths from a variety of sources, I didn’t really like them for wiping. Most were just not squishy and absorbent enough to do the job.

I grabbed some 100% cotton WASHABLE worsted weight yarn and went to work.

This is the easiest knitting pattern. Ever. I mean, seriously, if you can’t knit a scarf but want to knit your friend a baby gift? THESE ARE PERFECT. And if you can knit decently, they’ll just go really fast.

I used size US 9 needles… I happened to grab my trusty dps, but straights work just as well.

Cast on 16… or 18, or 20. Your wipe will just be slightly larger.

Knit back and forth in garter stitch until the wipe measures 2 inches or your desired width. This is about 16 rows. No purling, just knit. See how easy?

The finished product! These wipes are also great for facial cleansers… not the same ones as the baby wipes of course… perhaps color code?

So they look pretty freshly made, but you may wonder how they hold up. The following is a picture of some wipes after heavy use and many trips through the washer (Hot water!!) and dryer (Hot air!). They actually become MORE absorbent the more they are washed… just like cotton cloth diapers.

Happy Wiping!