Tagged: nature dyes

Nettle blanket and elderberry socks

So I finished the first of the blankets, I’m happy with how it came out and needless to say learned a lot for the next 4 or 5 blankets to come. As I haven’t got my 10 dent reed yet I used a 16 dent reed which worked fine but I’m not going to start on the next one’s until I have the new reed which will make beating much less of an effort than it was with the reed I used. I was too nervous to full the blanket in the washing machine, so I did it in the bathtub with a lot of really hot water and arm-powered agitation, it is amazing how quickly it happens, but it makes SUCH a difference. The handspun wool I used in the warp appears very faintly and the nettle mixed in with the natural is pretty subtle on the whole but I like it. I brushed the blanket while it was still wet to bring out a bit of the nap, it is amazingly soft now, heavy and super warm.

I also finished a pair of Woodsman’s Socks using the elderberry wool.

The shawl I made last month made it to Germany and to it’s new owner and then got taken for a walk in the sun to have it’s picture taken. The majority of the warp and weft is the handspun wool that we dyed in August, the black walnut made that beautiful rich brown. The green and blue stripes are Briggs and Little and the grey vertical stripe in the warp is Drops alpaca. I’m really pleased with how this shawl came out with the spacing of the stripes and mixing natural dyes with saturated colours.




New tool, new loom, secret shawl

I joined the Greater Vancouver Guild of Weavers and Spinners last spring and finally had time to make it to one of their meetings last week. I think it was one of the friendliest groups I’ve ever walked into not knowing a soul and their library is a TOTAL treasure. I am going to do some volunteering for them in the library as their collection is extensive and has been well maintained since the Guild’s early days (it was established in 1934). The best thing about the Guild so far seems to be the pipeline into equipment that is for sale, I came home with a ball winder for $30, which in tandem with my umbrella swift is pretty much my new favorite tool. I had to stop myself from balling every skein in the house, it’s so efficient.

I’ve just finished a really beautiful shawl out of the handspun wool from Germany, but it’s a gift so I won’t post pictures of it not wrapped till it makes it to it’s new owner. No matter how much washing I did of that wool beforehand it was still SO greasy when I got it on the loom, which gave the lifting of the harnesses some trouble. Once it was off the loom I washed it in Dr. Bronners and I think this is now the way forward, it came out really soft and seemed to remove most of the lanolin. I’m going to use Dr. Bronner’s from here on in with this wool, because it seems to work much better than regular dish soap, which from what I’ve read is generally suggested.

AND, I am going to be the owner of a Leclerc Mira this coming Monday (!!). I’m not ready to part with my Nilus, but I imagine once the Mira is put together I may have to reconsider keeping it around.

Summer Dyeing Part 3: Blackberries and Rusty Nails

We found just one blackberry bush nearby and picked all the ripe berries, leaving us with about 100 grams to dye with. The colour came out beautifully, more on the blue side of purple. I dyed some of the sock weight wool we had with blackberry, golden rod and black walnut; I brought my umbrella swift with me so clamped it to the porch and balled up all the sock wool we had dyed.

We also dyed with rusty nails, which actually gave us a quite pleasant shade of brown. We boiled the rusty nails, strained them out and then left the dye bath, before dyeing the wool later that day.