How do you like my somewhat crude setup? Hey it works, and we are having California weather right now where I live! So nice, not sure what I will do however when winter comes. But delving into natural yarn dyeing I am.
In my dye pot: a skein of 75% wool, 25% nylon fingering weight in a cochineal bath. It looks like it would come out a dark purple right? But lo and behold not to be. See below. This actually looks pinker than it really is. It is more of a lilac color. For those of you who might be wondering, cochineal is a parasitic insect found on the paddle cactus that is laid out to dry and ground up into a fine red powder. Or you can even buy the bugs themselves and extract the color that way.
I am really happy with the color and on my first try! So encouraging and doing it outdoors is very enjoyable. Any other newbie yarn dyers out there? Or experienced ones too. I would love any pointers/tips.
Meet my newest plant acquisition acquired at the local grocery store: “Cheyenne Spirit” Coneflower (Echinacea). I truly adore this color, and would love to find a way to replicate it in a dye pot.
Nature’s offerings and being able to curate and replicate these wondrous hues to me is nothing short of miraculous! Some of these flowers could be possible dyestuff. To which can be added, different tree barks, avocado skins, onion skins, walnuts, the roots and leaves of many plants, too many to mention and on and on. My next venture will be with Indigo. So stay tuned!
[Update: the finished product:]
Woolful has featured several hand dyers of yarn in these podcasts.
Youtube video featuring Alternative Apparel’s dyeing process.
“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I think we knitters need a bucket list of knitting patterns we would like to accomplish sometime in our lives! Don’t you agree? This list could get pretty long, right? So I will try to be discriminate and weed through the many designs in my Ravelry library and list them here for you to compare, to inspire and to challenge. I will keep the list fairly short, say to maybe 10 designs? This list includes sweaters, shawls, a hat and mitt set, a cardigan, and a moebius cowl:
This design has great little details that make the whole finished project have a big impact. I especially like the detailing coming down from the neckline.
I have never seen anything come close to this in the design elements, the gradient color change, just the overall finished project.
Love the way the yarn shines through in the stitch pattern and definition. This is a Brooklyn Tweed design and the yarn is Shelter, a worsted weight. It has such a richness of depth, color and drapes the body beautifully.
This would be a great first-time color work project. Elinor used Plucky Knitter Primo worsted which I think was a great choice! Love the design at top of hat and around edge of hat and mitts
Here is another Brooklyn Tweed design from Wool People Vol. 3, knitted out of Loft, fingering weight. A classic, elegant but casual cardigan that is a must have for any wardrobe.
This was a pretty popular project on Ravelry, showing 130 people crafting it. Pinneguri always produces great color work. She has been at it a long time. Check her out here.
Everything about this called to me: the color, design, pattern. Elisa designs mostly hats, see her Ravelry page here. An errata page can be found here as well.
Brooklyn Tweed seems to have one thing in common in all of their designs: a very good classic sensibility with a twist. What makes them classic is the designs at times but also the yarn used. Not trendy yarns, but yarns that offer great quality, color and stitch definition.
This does look like turbulent waves in an ocean which has been achieved by using short rows and stripes. This very sculptural look is what definitely appealed to me as well as the color combination used.
What a great take on a three-quarter length sleeve and shirttail shirt! Add stripes and you’ve got a fun sweater to whip up in no time. It is a top-down raglan which shouldn’t be too hard. The last one I made knit up in a flash. I love just about everything Amy puts out.
It doesn’t get much better than Kate Davies and her great color work, not to mention the brilliant designs she comes up with. I bought this pattern and have intended to make this for some time now. What’s holding me back? For one thing, I procrastinate a great deal, and I get intimidated easily. I must do this, I must! This is one of my all-time favorites. LOVE the reversed patterning!
A list like this is almost impossible to compose but still fun to put together. I would really like to know what some of you would include on your list. Let’s compare, shall we?
Hello all, I have been on vacation, hence my absence last week! I thought I might be able to get a post in, but it was just too tempting to languish and do nothing but enjoy others’ company, the sunshine and my knitting. I’m sure you can relate.This is where I spent my time. Now you understand, right?
Now, for the designer of the week. Wendy Bernard has been a favorite for some time as I own most of her books she has published. “Ingenue” from “Custom Knits” was my first top-down sweater project and was a wonderful initiation into this type of construction. The pattern was easy to follow and execute. I loved the process and the final outcome.
Her designs are so well thought out, classic and feminine at the same time, while offering a chance to “make it your own”. For instance, with Ingenue she suggests you could make it an off-the-shoulder sweater and goes about telling just how to do that. If you are interested in “unleashing your inner designer” with improvisational techniques she instructs on that as well. “Custom Knits 2” continues on in the same vein. “Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary“, one of her more recent publications, is a wonderful compilation of more than 150 stitch patterns to use knitting top down, bottom up, back and forth and in the round. A great book with concise instruction, good choice of patterns and a few designs thrown in as well.
Just today I cast on one of Joji’s shawl patterns, Ley Lines. I think it is going to be a good one! What initially attracted me to this was the unique way she designed the directional patterning of the p2 k2 rib. I’m using the yarn I mentioned in my last post, love it so far!
Also, how do you like my new yarn bowl? My super talented neighbor is a wood worker. I told him he should look into making yarn bowls. This was only a few days ago mind you, and low and behold last night he brought this to me. I am in awe. Isn’t it a beauty?! I think I first found Joji on Ravelry, then pretty soon started seeing her in other places. She just had a design (mimic) published in Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People Vol. 9 (see below). This t-shirt dress looks so comfy and easy to knit to boot! I know it is a top-down construction beginning with shoulder-shaping knit flat to the underarms and changing to circulars down to the hem. The great thing about top-down knitting is you can try on as you go and make it however long or short to fit your needs. What I love about her work is her classic sensibility, unique and interesting touches she sometimes adds as seen below in her “On the Road Again“, and just plain beautiful feminine designs. This is a removable cowl, how ingenious is that? See how the buttoned tab leads your eye down to the pattern? Love that! This is in my Ravelry library as a must-knit.
Other favorites …..“Opposite Pole“Her Ravelry page describes this is as a cabled cardigan with reversible collar and set-in sleeves, a circular shaped garment which can adapt and fit to your body shape. Who doesn’t want that?
I don’t know what has come over me. Is it the new Madelintosh “Dandelion” (shown above) and “Pashmina” yarn I just acquired? Or is it all of the great wrap and shawl patterns out there these days? I have this desire to knit either one and that did not used to be the case with me. I know for a fact designers like Brooklyn Tweed, Martina Behm, Melanie Berg, and Stephen West just to name a few, have certainly influenced me. I was never too excited about this type of garment in the past to be honest. More and more, however, due to great yarns and innovative designs, they have caught my attention. I’m thinking they’re just a great thing to always have on hand in the car, on a plane, a bus, the subway. If you are anything like me, you get cold easily and a little extra coverage is always a good thing, even in summer!Upper left: Exploration Station by Stephen West; Upper right: Drachenfels by Melanie Berg; Lower left: Tubularity by Martina Behm; Lower right: Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood.
As I look at these, I ask myself are there any similarities in these designs that are drawing me to them? I think moreover, it is the use of color, design and texture. I know for a fact I am not drawn to the more lacy, airy patterns. It has to have some oomph for me, whether it be a lot of texture, color, combination of patterns or a mixture of all of these.
Any shawl/wrap knitters out there? I would love to see what you are doing! Shoot me an email, send a picture. I am getting ready to cast on for my very first shawl with this:
Is this yummy or not? This is the Madelinetosh “Dandelion” in glazed pecan I mentioned earlier. It is a 325 yard fingering weight skein composed of 90% superwash merino wool and 10% linen. It has the most wonderful look and feel to it. You can see the little bits of linen coming through, lovely!
Hello all! Hopefully you had a happy and safe 4th of July!
Once again we meet and I get to introduce you to Kate Davies. Although I am sure most of you know about her considering her prolific and wonderful career thus far. She stands out in my eyes due to her unerring talent for color work. The fact that she lives in Scotland doesn’t hurt either – talk about inspiration!
Her Funchal Moebius is one of my all-time favorites. The genius of the reversible patterning and the simple two color combination. As it says on her Ravelry page, it is a surprisingly easy knit using a 4-ply fingering or sock weight yarn doubled. It can be worn as a wrap, scarf, cowl, or hood.
In her post about this pattern, she sites using an OXO pattern with strong diagonals. Beautiful! I own this pattern and have had the yarn to make it for some time but have just never gotten around to doing it. What does that say about me? I’m a professional procrastinator for one thing. Maybe I am a little bit intimidated by it? Whatever the reason, it has been my loss.
two-color stranded work
moebius that starts out as a provisionally cast-on tube, knit continuously up to your shoulders, then blocked flat and twisted and knit into a moebius.
versatile – can be worn several different ways
fairly easy, satisfying project
This design was inspired by the dragons-tooth pavements she saw on a trip to Funchal, the capital of Portugal in the Madeira region. I think we have inspiration all around us, we just have to be open to it and be looking!
Other well-known patterns of hers that are also some of my favorites:
This weekly feature will include knitwear designers that I am particularly drawn to. I will feature some of their designs, why I like them and links to their information as well. If there is a designer you think I should post about and really, really like, then please shoot me an email at email@example.com.
This week I would like to introduce you to Olga Buraya Kefelian of Olga Jazzy.
One of my favorite designs of hers is the Aranami Shawl which I have seen numerous times referenced on other blogs, Ravelry, etc. Olga blogged about it here. Aranami translates “stormy seas and raging waves” in Japanese according to Olga. The original pattern was done up in Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft yarn which comes in a whopping 32 colors! She used five tonal colors in a gradated move which is one of the things I really love about it. Also, the half-circle motifs used are genius. And you could easily change the color scheme as she recommends in her blog post even showing you different color gradations of Loft that would work. I have not knit this shawl but think it definitely needs to go on my bucket list of knits! So, let me review:
gradated in tonal colors
good portable project
visibly very pleasing to the eye
can be done in a variety of color gradations
You can find a very good interview with her here at Brooklyn Tweed.
The work she did for Jared Flood is so classic with a good touch of patterning added in inventive ways so that the design offers a timeless appeal with a twist. The cables and eyelet work are perfect added design elements. This is “Coda“, a cabled raglan and arched yoke pullover worked in the round from bottom up. While the upper yoke and sleeves are done in one piece from the top down.
Check out Ravelry for more information from fellow knitters who have made this. This pattern needless to say is for the more advanced knitter. I would be willing to give it a try, how about you? I like it that much.