Posts tagged diy
kombucha talk

writer: Ona Rihu
Pictures: Ona rihu

I believe at this point we’ve all heard of kombucha and it’s health benefits. It’s believed to be originated from the north-eastern region of China, anywhere from 2,000 to 200 years ago. I like the idea of brewing my own, antioxidant and delicious kombucha, so I’ve been practising for a few months now.

At first, my batches of kombucha were flat, but fermented. There was not much flavor, and I had trouble finding ways to make it better. However, with the warm weather my kombucha has elevated to a whole other level! I added a second fermentation, where I add fruit juice and let the kombucha ferment in airtight bottles, opening them daily to avoid too much pressure building up. Now my kombucha is bubbly, flavorful and perfect to drink on it’s own or in cocktails or mocktails.

Now, as you can probably tell, i’m no expert. I’m here as an example of someone who is not very careful with measurements or fermentation times, but still made it work! So if you’ve been thinking about starting a little kombucha brewery in your kitchen, i’m here to encourage you.

Recipe: (3l)

Ingredients: Black tea, organic sugar, & fruit juice of your choice.
You’ll also need a large glass container (3-5l), a scoby, a breathable cloth, some yarn and a bit of patience!

step 1: Boil water and brew some strong tea. I use loose leaf tea, but if you’re using tea bags i’d say 3-8 teabags is good, depending on how strong you want it. Using flavoured black tea is also a good option since it gives the kombucha a deeper flavor profile. While the water is still hot, add your sugar. Honestly, I’m very bad at measuring ingredients but I use about 3dl of sugar in a 3l batch. And don’t worry, the scoby uses the sugar as “fuel” to ferment the drink so once it’s finished, the amount of sugar is not as high as 3dl/3l.

step 2: Important! Let your tea cool down before pouring it into your glass jar, since glass and boiling water are not a good mix (I’ve managed to make one explode, learn from me)

step 3: Pour your room temperature tea into a large (and very clean!) glass container, and add your scoby, along with a bit of kombucha from the previous batch it came with. (If you don’t have a scoby, i think you can order one online, there are also some starter kits sold in health food stores! ) I got mine from a friend. The thing about kombucha is that the scoby multiplies itself so every batch also creates another scoby, which you can use to make even more kombucha or gift it to a friend! Feel free to dm me and ask if i have any loose scoby’s in my fridge if you’re in Helsinki!

step 4: Cover the container with a breathable cloth, and tie some yarn around it to hold it in place. Place the kombucha somewhere where it’s not in the way and leave it for 2-3 weeks!

step 5: Once you feel like the kombucha has fermented enough (you can taste it!) pour it into glass or plastic bottles (a funnel is a friend here) and add your fresh fruit juice. I love to use citrus fruits and add ginger, but there really is no limits here. You can add herbs, berries, and make up the wildest combinations you can imagine! Again, I don’t really measure the fruit juice but i’d say i add about 1/2 dl per 0,5l bottle. I use glass bottles since I don’t like plastic, but here you have to be careful with the fizziness so your bottles don’t explode. Open them daily to let out the pressure and you should be fine! You can also use plastic if you want. Let the kombucha sit for 4-7 days, and once it’s ready, place it in the fridge and enjoy! There might be bits of scoby floating in the final product, so don’t hesitate to strain it before drinking.

The scoby can be stored in the fridge in a container that has some kombucha. It’ll stay good for maybe a week or two, until you’re ready to make a new batch!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. There’s also tons of information online, in case I left something out (which I probably did). Good luck!



A mending tutorial

Writer : Brynna Hall
Photography: Brynna Hall

Illustration by    Sarah Lazarovic

Illustration by Sarah Lazarovic

The clothes that we choose to adorn our bodies with carry meaning. Before they reach the consumer’s hands there are stories behind where the material was grown, the factory in which the cloth was manufactured, and the person who sewed the garment together. As a fiber artist and consumer, my goal is to honor the meaning behind textiles and add my own designs into the mix. The illustration “Buyerarchy of Needs” by Sarah Lazarovic defines a new paradigm in our consumer-based society.(1) Since seeing it for the first time, I have copied the words down in my own journal and begun to implement the tenets that Lazarovic promotes. For my art practice I am habitually adding fabrics to my collection by seeking out thrifted finds and second hand materials. It has been relatively easy and inexpensive to purchase only second hand or material off cuts for my work. However, buying nothing and relying solely on what I have and swapping with others has taken a few extra steps. One of the ways I’ve been able to abide by the tenets Lazarovic presents and continue to produce new work is by learning how to mend.

Mending techniques have become an important part of my design aesthetic that it is an effective way to add visual interest and added texture to existing garments. I’ve mended a hole in denim step-by-step to explain one of my favorite mending processes. The mending, or darning style, that I depict is bound by a basic woven grid structure. Because I work with these supplies often I was able to use a needle and thread I already had. My thread is sourced from Offcut Basel, a second hand material and art supply store in my region.

Supplies:
1 Sewing Needle, Embroidery thread or light-weight yarn, Fabric needing mending

Step 1: Clear away any stray threads or ragged edges from the hole.Thread your needle without a knot but leaving a long end that you can weave back in later. Choose your darning thread or yarn. I’ve chosen embroidery floss that is thicker than the denim material because it is easier to see the process, but for invisible mends I recommend thread that is similar in weight and color to the fabric.

Step 2: I prefer to outline the edge of the hole with a quick stitch, this isn’t necessary with sturdy fabrics, but with fragile ones it provides a stronger foundation for the darning stitches.

Step 3: Beginning on the back side of the fabric and above the hole, pull the needle through to the front. Create a small stitch by sewing back through to the other side. Don’t forget to leave a long tail on the backside ~ I prefer to weave the thread back in when possible instead of making a knot that could disturb comfort of the garment ~

Step 4: After you’ve created a few stabilizing stitches above the mending hole, pick up the edge of the hole, going under the edge, thread through and end by going over the bottom edge of the hole. Create a few reinforcing stitches on the other side of the hole.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve created vertical lines of thread going across the entirety of the hole. The back side of my work has diagonal stitches leading me to the next row.

Step 6: With the needle on the wrong side of the fabric, I chose to make some stabilizing stitches on the right side before I start weaving horizontally over the hole. It is also possible to immediately begin weaving through to the over side without these stitches. Alternate the weaving pattern with each row as you go over and under every vertical thread until you reach the other end of the hole.

Step 7: Weave in the ends on the backside in a similar way to how you’ve been working on the front. Weave over and under a few threads and turn the needle and do the same in the opposite direction for security.

With this basic understanding of how to create a new woven structure where one is missing, feel free experiment, break the traditional rules, and add your own aesthetic to future projects. For example, to complete this project I chose to colorfully embellish the surrounding area with the simple running stitch that we learned above. This piece is a part of my collaboration with the German upcycling brand, Planet Stetten. We are designing a capsule collection that combines hand-embroidery techniques with screen-printed text that promotes the importance of valuing quality clothes that have been discarded in favor of fast fashion trends.

If you’d like to give it a go I recommend listening to a podcast or watching a documentary while working as mending requires time and patience. Here’s what I’ve been listening to as I work ~

Clothes and the Rest - An Ethical Fashion Podcast
The True Cost” Documentary now on Netflix
Plastic Planet” Documentary

If you are not interested in sewing or mending by yourself (it can be time consuming, tedious, and knot-inducing!) I encourage you to seek out artists and designers that will alter clothes for you. Ripso is a U.S.A. based platform that offers customizations to its customers by pairing them with a designer that specializes in their chosen customization. These few tools can extend the life of the clothes already in your closet and add a layer of personal value to your garments.

(1) Rivetto, L. (2015). Thrift, Make and Buy: The Top Levels of the Buyerarchy of Needs. Available here