The kindness of strangers

That’s a lofty title for a simple blogpost, I admit.

There isn’t a philosophical commentary on kindness and people to come, sorry…. I don’t think my boring style of writing would be up for the task.

Anyway, what I’m meaning to talk about today is natural dyes. And incidentally mention Freecycle.

The natural dyes have been kindly donated by a sweet elder lady through Freecycle (a site where one can offer or ask for free things). Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. […] Membership is free”. Isn’t Freecycle a wonderful thing? And there are local groups across the world, I believe. I’ve used it to give and get items countless times – it’s fabulous. Go check it out, maybe there’s a local group near you?

The lady was offering quite a few of colours, dyes and art supplies. I hope she didn’t have to relocate or downsize, but she was just tidying up her home. I didn’t want to be nosey and ask…

Back to the main topic, I’ve long been curious about natural dyes. The only experience with them was in my teens when I used some walnut powder to dye the dark squares of a chess board I was making.

I’d love to try them again. Two things hold me back though: lack of space and the desire to avoid any harsh chemicals. So I’ll need to do a bit of reading on the best way for me to fast the colours. And then I may need to wait to have space somewhere at some point to do the process.

This is what I was kindly given:

  • madder
  • quebracho red
  • pomegranate
  • logwood purple
  • teal
  • indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
  • woad
  • Brazil wood chips
  • cutch
  • sorghum
  • old fustic
  • cochineal
  • some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar

If you have advice on easy and gentle dyeing, please do let me know 🙂

PS I’ve just learnt that off Freecycle (wikipedia link), a new non-profit organisation was born in the UK: Freegle (wikipedia link). I think I’ll join them too!

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An end, a begin… and a mistake

The Old Shale Shawl is finished and awaiting to be blocked. I promise it will happen some day!

The pattern by Amanda Clark is free and really easy to follow. I’m very happy with the finished object and it took me only 4 years… yep.

Short after the Nurmilintu Shawl was cast on, because I just couldn’t wait to try that pretty yarn. It’s Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle, a British wool, 100% Bluefaced Leicester, in delicate shades of blues, greens and purples – very soft.

The first section before the lace is done

but obviously not everything could go well…

Sigh

See what happened?

That’s about 3/5 from the start. Mep

Whatever. It’ll get a lifeline (because this yarn is very slippery and would unravel to the next rows before I could blink) and hopefully I can recover from there. Not tonight though.

By the way, yes, I love blue and green, if you were wondering.

The weekend was overall quite productive and some tidy up was done, which leaves one with such a good feeling!

Some vintage yarn purchase also happened, because really, I need to build back some of my “collection”. And some antique silver – my new interest since I read some blog posts on silver items! Contagious. But expensive, so only done in wee bits. The best buy was a spoon with my initial engraved (well not mine originally but we share that letter), so now I feel very decadent to enjoy yoghurt with an antique silver spoon (1853) – that is when it arrives!

How was your weekend?

What next

I’m about to complete the Old Shale Shawl, after a long time in the making (and hibernating).

I cannot yet officially start projects for the Summer of Basics 2018 (aka Make your Own Basics), so this morning I’ve been perusing my Ravelry queue and picked up a couple of projects (this may be a wildly optimistic plan…).

The first is the famous Nurmilintu shawl, because it looks pretty and easy, and it’s also free. Plus I have a weak spot for Finnish (Nurmilintu means “sleep, sleep, little bird” from an old Finnish lullaby). I plan to make it with Natural Dye Studio Sock yarn in Dragonfly:

The other project is the Pixel Stitch Socks, a beautiful free pattern by Putl Soho, to be made in Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle HT Sock in Whitby Pool and Lynmouth – high twist yarn for longer durability.

I’m sure I won’t get much done with them until the end of the month, but it’ll be fun anyway!

What are you up to?

Have a lovely weekend!

It’s growing!

Just past row 132 out of 145, which is about 90% done.. I really look forward now to seeing it completed!

Not sure how I’ll manage blocking such a large piece as I have neither space nor specific tools. I’m sure I’ll get creative in the end – I think it won’t be a stylish solution but as long as it’s effective, I’m fine with it.

The colours are a bit hard to capture but the closest is the first picture.

I’m planning for the Super Birthday Sweater I mentioned in my last post, but won’t probably start until June for the Fringe Association’s Summer of Making – I’m thinking of joining in, but haven’t decided yet, I might take part even if I won’t be able to finish 4 projects in 3 months. So far I’ve short listed two jumpers, one summer top, a folk shirt I’ve been wanting to make for ages and a pair of simple cable socks (because never done cables, so that’ll be easy!). A bit too ambitious? I won’t stress wanting to finish it all.

Have you planned projects for your summer (or winter if you live on the other side of the globe)? Or will you just decide as time goes on?

Not a flowey sweater…

I’ve been looking at candidates for this beautiful vintage yarn that I got recently….

(About 1000 grams of bulky yarn)

I thought of something with cables but the yarn is too thick and I’ve never done cables. Plus the fabric would be too stiff.

Then I was eyeing In Stillness by Alicia Plummer, but that would require a more fluid wool.

I think I finally found a good candidate, though. The Super Birthday Sweater, done with some mods in the bottom part introducing some texture (gathered simple cables from a stitch pattern I found).

(The modified version as done by zialaura)

(The original pattern – sorry I haven’t got the link to ravelry at hand)

Here are some late night, awful light, unblocked swatches:

What do you think?

My first socks!

I’m wearing my first pair of own made socks and I love them!

Here a few quick shots just as I was walking out of the door…

I’ll post details and better photos later

I’m now working on a long-paused WIP – the Old Shale Shawl free pattern. I had stopped it long ago when I discovered a blatant mistake in the stitch alignment, but have since unraveled back and restarted knitting. Some old pictures of the shawl, which is pretty much as it looks now:

All is good! Have a lovely day!

Vintage sock… gorgeous yarn and much more (a long update)

A finished vintage sock!

Fear not, it’s not an old sock!

This is going to be a lengthy update, since I haven’t been around in a while. Grab a tea or coffee and read on..

SOCKS

In one of my usual charity shop stops I found some lovely vintage wool yarn, just a tiny quantity. The colours were lovely – you know, the kind of 50/60s shades – so I got it anyway.

Now, I’ve been wanting to make socks for a long while, but actually never gave it a go. Until, while reading my usual blog posts, a fabulous tutorial on sock making came up – just what I needed to motivate me to attempt the task!

Winwick Mum’s Sockalong is truly well done, illustrative and clear, with step-by-step instructions and tons of pictures. Just what a new maker needs! She has done a great job with this tutorial – if you plan to try sock knitting out, that’s an outstanding resource and I can warmly recommend it. Did I mention it’s free (including the pattern)?

After long – my spare moments are pretty limited – last night (wee hours) the first sock was ready… and fitted perfectly! I’m so happy with the results (thanks to WM’s tutorial). They’re not perfect but I think they’re pretty good – anyway, judge for yourself!

A finished vintage sock!

A finished vintage sock! (Ok, it’s not fully finished here… I forgot to take a pic after grafting the toe and the rib)

Sock-in-progress.. just the toe left

Sock-in-progress.. just the toe left. See the pretty vintage yarn?

Sock-in-progress, the heel is turned

Sock-in-progress, the heel is turned

Sock-in-progress, the heel

Sock-in-progress, the heel

Sock-in-progress

Sock-in-progress, with notions and notes!

Sock-in-progress, the heel flap

Sock-in-progress, the heel flap

My first sock, the beginnings

My first sock, the beginnings

YARN PORN

After the recent fire, I allowed myself to do some yarn shopping.. naughty of me, as I have neither space to store it nor budget, but sometimes, you know, one just needs to treats oneself to lift spirits… I think I deserved it.

So let me show you some gorgeous yarn…

Wensleydale and Shetland 4 ply by The Knitting Goddess, one skein each of Slate and Green (picture from TKG’s shop as I still haven’t the wool with me):

Wensleydale & Shetland 4 ply yarn by the Knitting Goddess in Slate

Wensleydale & Shetland 4 ply yarn by the Knitting Goddess in Green

The yarn, a blend of 85% Wensleydale and 15% Shetland, is grown, processed, spun and dyed in the UK, and has a high twist for extra strength. If I could, I would buy all of it (ok, maybe not literally ALL – there’s not enough room in the flat). Here you can see all of the available colourways.

One Farm Yarn, also by The Knitting Goddess, in Flower Power (of course, with such a name I couldn’t pass it):

One Farm Yarn 4 ply by The Knitting Goddess in Flower Power

One Farm is a genuinely Yorkshire yarn!

Here you can see the many pretty shades (variegated, solid or semi-solid) and the interesting story of the yarn and its (local) production: a journey of 72 miles in Yorkshire from sheep to dye pot. What’s not to love?

As you can see, I’m a sucker for blues and greens, although lately I’ve been lovingly looking at natural shades and tones of browns too. But budget is limited, so that was it for now.

NEW FIREPLACE

In other news, this week a new fireplace was delivered and now we need to get workers to remove the old and put the new one in. It’s limestone in Deco style. It was quite a (costly) adventure to get it from the curb side into the flat: we had to get helpers to lift and carry the dead heavy but very fragile limestone pieces. They were amazing, but it came to over £100 for less than half an hour work. There was no way we could do it ourselves, at about 100 kilos each side piece… at least, we got it cheaper because it was ex-showroom. Here you can see a showroom image of The Faulkner fireplace.

The Faulkner fireplace by Chesney’s

LAMP SHADE

Another charity shop find was a Laura Ashley lamp shade at a steal price tag, in just the perfect shade to match the curtains in the living room. The colour is actually more green than it appears in the photos.. it’s a sort of grey/dusty silver green (faded teal? a pale Jade? Persian Green? I’m sure there’s a more accurate name). Such a stroke of luck… What do you think of it?

Laura Ashley lampshade

Laura Ashley lampshade

Laura Ashley lampshade in the sofa corner

Laura Ashley lampshade in the sofa corner

Laura Ashley lampshade by night

Laura Ashley lampshade by night

BAKING

While ago there were over-ripe bananas laying around. Normally, I would eat them as my other half doesn’t like them ripe, but I’m on a low-sugar, GF diet. In order not to waste them, I thought to make some gluten-free loaves replacing sugar with some ripe fruit (there were bananas, self-picked blackberries, ginger and pears involved). The texture was not too bad for GF, but a hint more sugar would have been in order 😉 Hence the spoon of jam.

Enjoying a slice of GF, low-sugar loaf

Enjoying a slice of GF, low-sugar loaf

Gluten-free, low-sugar loaves

Gluten-free, low-sugar loaves

Well, that was it. Well done if you reached the end of this post! Thanks for joining.

How was your weekend?

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