Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dyeing notes

Hello again, here's the latest dyeing piccys. I spent some time with a friend Sally using fibre reactive bought dyes-it was really fun and the dyes are certified organic so that's a bonus! I used lots of different dyes, dripped them on and while wet (and wrapped in plastic) squeezed the wool so the colours blended...it was so exciting seeing them come out of the steamer...gorgeous!

It's a really different process using natural materials-more guesswork and happy accidents...one thing I am doing is combining small amounts of blue food colouring with barks and gum leaves...with natural materials the colours are very subtle and the blue food colours very bold so pulling these together gets more complex results. This one above in ultramarine blues and olive spinachy green was a real favourite. It started out a yellowish brownish tone and was over dyed with different strengths of blue food colouring painted directly onto the wool then heat fixed in the microwave.

Above piccy is a beautiful orange shade from different gum barks and leaves, the kind of colour I wouldn't want to do anything else to :o) Apparently all 600 species of eucalyptus trees produce useful dyes so I am going to be playing with this stuff for years to come!
xo happy creating, 
tree hugger Kate

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tree brooches..

I have had some lovely feedback about my brooches lately. It is so special to know they are loved- I love making them too. It's a very eco friendly process, I hand felt recycled woollen clothing, cut out small shapes and piece together and embroider a picture on each one.  I used to do little plans first with drawings and paintings but now I make them up as I go and pull out the stitches if they don't look right...it's fun and peaceful all at once. These are my latest and are available at
-Reverse Garbage in Woollongabba,
-Cultiver in Ipswich,
-Village Life market, every Sunday 8-12, Northey Street city farm, Windsor
or this Friday 10-4 at a special market at Bleeding heart cafe and gallery on Ann Street,  Brisbane

Take care folks, xkate

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plant dyeing...

A friend Lesa and I have been experimenting with dyes created from locally found plant materials. I have used non toxic food colour to dye wool previously but I am keen to try 'going local' with my dye materials. 

The process is hit and miss, we tried using these gorgeously colourful silky oak flowers and got next to no colour :o) 
I really enjoy not knowing what will happen and learn best by doing and trying.

We found some lovely colours in mango leaves and bark and also lemon myrtle leaves and bark. 
(If you are keen to try using tree materials please remember barks must always gathered from small twigs not from the tree trunk, so as not to damage the tree.)

Here is some lovely merino, mohair and alpaca blend wool soaking up some lemon myrtle dye...

I love the scents released from boiling the lemon myrtle. 

The finished dyed yarns in skeins. 

I noticed tonight while looking through some photos taken at Stradbroke Island how similar the colours turned out to the tones in these Banksia pods. 

I will have a selection of yarns available at my next markets so catch me at the 
Village life market every Sunday 8-12 at Northey Street, Windsor
or the annual Brisstyle eco market on the 12th November 
or the Fairtade and Sustainable Fair at Peace hall, 
102 Macdonald rd, Albion from 10-2 this Saturday. 
Bye 'til then, happy creating,            

Monday, October 17, 2011


 I have been travelling again, this time the boys and I headed down to Victoria, where we went west and took in the beautiful Wannon falls...

and south to Griffith Island

We mainly went to visit our lovely family, including darling aunty Isabel.
She warms my heart and has inspired me all my life. She's a clever, creative, kind and a genius with wool...and she's my auntie-lucky me!

xo happy creating, Kate

Monday, September 12, 2011

Materialistic exhibition pieces

 Hello, thought I'd share my Materialistic exhibition pieces for you lovely readers who can't make it along. 

This is a medium sized sculpture made with driftwood branches, collected at my local beach and bound with some coloured threads. 

 The nest is attached to one of the three pieces of wood and is constructed out of linen thread, wool, doileys, buttons, shells, embroidery cotton and was made using free form crochet and embroidery techniques. I made it so it can be played with and arranged differently, it could even be added to.

In a similar vein are a few nest sculptural brooches- obviously scaled right down!

This little bird brooch features some wool felt and a scrap of antique kimono. The kimono piece is the red silk on the tummy of the bird and has some lovely gold paint on it. It was a tiny fragment left over from the works I made for the Hanasho Gallery 'Reincarnated Kimono' exhibition held in April of this year.

I will update with the rest of my pieces soon. 
If you are able to go along you'll find so much more than just my work on display-there are some truly gorgeous and unique homewares, accessories and cards created by some very talented locals...the commission of sales goes to Friends of the Earth too :o) 

Saturday, September 3, 2011


 August catch up...here's some of my favourites...

Six month old wombat in Hobart, being raised by volunteer wildlife carer

New cowl finished using Fauve Fibre yarns and forward post crochet stitches

 Completed nest brooch for Materialistic exhibition at Reverse garbage

Cute ancient roman coin from MONA collection in Tasmania

Bec and Bella in Cultiver, Ipswich

Lovely shop styling

Friends Veve and Blacky midnight.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hello all, its great to have a moment to catch up on here, been busy-lots to 'show and tell' ;o)

Firstly, I promised to show this side of the the brooch once it arrived safe and sound, and it has, phew, so meet little fairy wren.

I had fun making it, picking out the coloured threads and 'painting it'

It's embroidery -however- I find that such a fussy or dry and dusty sounding word!! So I'll call it a 'stitchy picture' like Lu, my son does :o)

And these nests have been dropped off to Reverse garbage, they won't be in the shop though as they are going to be part of the "materialistic" exhibition.

I am really happy with the items I made for the show, a few other bird stitchy pictures, a few nest brooches and a playful nest sculpture, using driftwood, shells, vintage buttons, doilies (and whatever was in my sewing stash!!)

I'd love it if you are able to get along to the show, here's the details.

'Course exhibition preps aside, I've still been busy creating crochet and textile bits and bobs for my weekly Village life stall.

I've been enjoying the great winter weather with the chilled out folk on the lawns.

This is a little guy made out of recycled knitwear and scraps of felt, a pocket sized owl.

And he's resting on a neck warmer, one of my favourite things to make lately.

The one below is a free form pattern and was made with some fine and lovely fauve fibres hand spun (my favourite yarn to use).

I tried to make it look textured like tree bark...what do you think?

Hope you've all been happy, healthy and having fun creating, xo Kate

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Making up a bespoke bird brooch for give away winner-spectacular fairy wren blog writer Robyn...it's all stitched in soft browns and creams. The bird she chose is commonly known as a blue wren, but the female is brown and it's really called a fairy wren. She has the most beautiful photo of one on her blog banner...so sweet.

So, anyway, I don't want to spoil the surprise for Robyn which explains why you can only see the back. But also the reverse side of embroidery fascinates me...such vitality and chaos, the backs are all 'Jackson Pollock' (expressionistic)...

I'm trying to work some more of this 'energy' into my style somehow-capturing something of the dynamic between order and chaos in nature and bird life.

My latest works have been accepted for the 'Materialistic' exhibition opening in September at Reverse Garbage, so I will share some in progress shots closer to the show opening for those of you who aren't locals. Check back in for the update with the finished brooch piccy once it arrives safe and sounds with Robyn, okay! :o) happy creating,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Honeycomb cowl

 This is my latest piece, a neck warmer, hot of the hook ;o)

For those 'in the know' about crochet it features FDPC and mostly shells and was truly enjoyable to make.It is a beautiful texture-its title is 'honeycomb' and I can really see it but I am not sure the photo here will give enough detail, I reduced it to sepia to try and show it better...

It's light weight, made in sock weight wool, which was lovely to use and results in a very supple and scrunchable end product..great for end of season wear but probably not warm enough for mid winter. Next time I think I'll make it in a thick natural chunky yarn to see how it looks-maybe a Fauve Fibre if I can get some this weekend at Village life.
I love it when Sally comes-her yarn is addictive, I think! What's your latest craft obsession?
xoHappy creating

Sunday, July 24, 2011

shadow shot

Thanks to harriet for linking up shadow shot Sunday again...
yesterday in the time between my first brown owl craft meet up (drinking tea, chatting and doing crochet) and my first fire twirling and eating workshop (avoiding setting myself on fire by keeping a flame moving) I took some pictures. Maybe to try and mentally bridge the gap.
Anyway, the shadow on the top leaf looks a bit like a cute weirdly shaped snail? Anyone else see it?
x Happy creating Kate

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Along the way to Bribie Island we noticed a little nondescript museum, 'the abbey' and decided to stop in.
Some helluva cool stuff in there, including some really old books with fantastically surreal religious imagery, this one represents the eye of god looking down at hands of the 'wicked'
its so funny (god looks a bit like a peeping tom), I'd love to have it on t shirt!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Give away time

Give away time! The birds convinced me it was time!

To enter you need to share 2 silly things about yourself and share this give away with at least one person, entered/shared by Friday...fair ?
So friends/family can enter but must share something I don't already know!!
You can enter by leaving a comment here or on my facebook page, if you comment here please make sure to leave an email contact.
And the prize?
A custom made bird brooch (your choice of bird); a mystery extra gift. Includes postage...

To kick it off-
1-I LOVE old musicals-the cheesier the better ('singing in the rain' is the best ever film for me! Good morning to you)
2- As a child I wanted to be an 'olympic' roller skater-dancer
(I can't believe there wasn't and still isn't a roller skate/dancing olympic sport...synchronised swimming and no disco skating-what is that?? hmm, shhhhh, keep this on the down low but maybe I still want to be an disco skater...) :o)

xoGood Luck
back to creative spaces here

Sunday, July 17, 2011

koala bag

Oh,I really, really love how this turned out.
It's a reversible bag made out of a vintage koala print linen tablecloth-beautiful but a little stained. It was part of a small cherished collection of vintage tablecloths entrusted to me to make into some special items. It was a good challenge to work around the marked areas by selectively cutting the fabric and 'hiding' stains with pockets!
I made a skirt (scroll down to june 30th to see it) and this reversible bag. The other side features a gum tree blossom and doiley pocket...

Happy creating, xo Kate

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

birds coming along...

I have been making some little brooches lately -the pink robin was inspired by my recently mentioned sightings of robins (and many other birds) while camping at Binna Burra.
I have always had a soft spot for kingfishers too and occasionally see them in the wetlands-such pretty colours...

Frustratingly, I lost one of the Kingfisher brooches when it just needed a backing to finish it, I felt so cranky about it I couldn't even look at the rest tonight!
So I made a bag instead of finishing anymore...
Thank goodness, I love how the bag turned out, sometimes crafting can really bring me down when I can't resolve something or when something takes ages to make and looks nothing like I envisioned it to...but this one is so good, I can't wait to give it to my friend (even though I wish I could keep it!) I just have to fix up the handle and it'll be done. Pics soon,
more creative folks here

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Binna burra

Aww. A little rose robin, spotted at beautiful Binna Burra.

I have been considering starting another blog for my nature and garden images...but as my habit of observing/loving nature inspires me so much, especially in making my art I really can't separate it out like that!

However; if you come looking purely for dash robin craft please feel free to use the label search!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello! Hope you're enjoying midwinter and keeping warm...I headed down to beautiful chilly Kyogle to visit a lovely crafty friend Rowena who along with making beautiful felt brooches and toys also co ordinates a art and craft market.

Held once a month in Lismore, at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium the cleverly named 'con artists market' is similar in many ways to Village life market(which I co ordinate in Brisbane), local, eco friendly crafters and artisan makers gathering.
It was great to hang out with Rowena and discuss all things market and craft-we stayed up 'til 2.30 drinking tea, crafting and chatting...we're calling it our 'nannas big night out.' We sleepilly attended the con artists market the next day! I enjoyed chatting to the other stallies, making a few sales of gloves and brooches and the experience of being a visitor...unfortunately I forgot to take photos so here's a piccy of some gloves I sold (at least 'til Rowena emails some through to me!)

Back in Brisbane I was excited to head along to todays Village life market as Northey street were hosting the ANTaR Sea of hands celebration for NAIDOC week. I always love co ordinating when there's something exciting happening and this was wonderful-the sun came out for us!

ANTaR organised banner painting, music, story telling, bush tucker presentation, welcome to country from Uncle Des and an installation of beautiful coloured hands. The sea of hands-represented 'hands up for native title and reconciliation...' What a beautiful colourful way to share a message!

Well, I hope you've all had great weekends, happy creating, xoKate

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hello! School holidays has been a bonus for creativity-I have had some time for creating and am inspired by the fun things my kids are doing. Here's a quick wrap up of my latest pieces...

I was able to finish this doiley and vintage tablecloth skirt for a friend-it's very special to work with fabrics rich in personal history. I have some embroidered hankies, stained with rust, given to me by my nanna...I'd like to try something inspired by these....

I have got this small collection of brooches finished and a big baggy of brooch backs ready to use, so more to create. I have such fun with these!

And, I am loving making crochet fingerless gloves-this wool is super soft and is actually darker and richer too. Such a great thing to work on during the chilly evenings!
Now off to see what others have been doing at my creative space.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This lovely little package arrived in my mail box last week. Talented NZ blogger and maker Rhiannon of 'remarqauble junque' made this clever rose brooch for me out of a zipper! So cute! I like the contrast between the softness of a flower and the metal of the zipper teeth-thanks again Rhiannon!

We both took part in a brooch swap, organised by Susie of Flowerpress, who matched us up with fellow swappers all over the country and even overseas. We all offered to make and send a brooch and in return be made and sent a brooch. None of us were straight swaps though so my brooch is off on it's way to its new owner in L.A! Can't wait to find out how my brooch is received...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hello, here's some pretty pictures of my latest custom ordered gloves...they were a special order for my very talented artist friend Chrissy Foreman Cranitch.
They were created from the yarn I dyed last week.

I reckon they look pretty awesome with Chrissys' beautiful peacock tattoo.
I am working on a scarf in this shade, its a really uplifting colour to work with so I dyed another batch of yarn up! Yum! I've got the blues ;o)