Of things to come (for the yarnies)

Since I really have nothing much to show yet of all my ideas (and sometimes they stay ideas because I get a new one for the same yarn), MotherOwl suggested that I just share some of my design ideas. Today, then, will be yarn. Another day perhaps something more painterly? And some plants are brewing…

So here’s a collection of things that you could get to see more of in the coming months, or a look into my brain. It may seem like a lot, but in fact it’s just a fraction of what I’ve planned and there is no deadline, things may get erased or changed along the way. I have a tendency to just write down my ideas rather than draw them, but if you find it interesting I may be persuaded to change that habit actually, because I think it would be a good practice. Perhaps working more on each project idea will help me weed some out?

Covering the halfdone warp on my large frame in the hope that the kittens don’t find it…loom06

I’m planning to make a small bag with this handspun yarn practising a specific tapestry technique for joins. Homemade bobbins! I just hope there’s enough yarn for the strap too, I’ve calculated and calculated, but since this is a new thing for me, you can’t really be sure to get it right.yarn09

Semi-solid skeins are to be dyed to go with each of these two snow dyed yarns. A dark red/rust (or a dark green – I’ll have to sample) for the one on the left and blue/marine for the right. The third skein I gave to a friend of mine who knitted herself an awesome hat and mitts!snowdye13


Making an inner hat from a soft yarn, then trying to decide which of my oldest handspuns will be the bulky outer hat.yarn01

Drachenwolle sock yarn. Houndstooth weave? Huge cowl/scarf/shawl? I’m not really a sock knitter.yarn03

Trying to make a fun design for the yarn below. Actually I’m not going to use the model shown, but I couldn’t find the other sketches. Still debating the basket weave however, to break up the stripes I’d get if I knitted the yarn. Possibly I’d get really horrible pooling instead. And in fact, after some sampling, this yarn frays way too much to be woven, it’s no good as warp at any rate, very sticky. So now I’m contemplating a linen stitch on large needles, alternating 2 skeins every other row, which is doable even if you work flat. I don’t like to knit the body in the round, then the yoke flat, because that makes the rows half as long = twice as wide when it comes to the width of the stripes = no look good. (imho) Or I could double the strands and mix it with a heavier solid, but I don’t want stripes at all, I also don’t want to have to do stranded colourwork, because then I’ll never finish. In fact this could have been a blog post all on its own…
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Fiber I mean to spin fairly soon:yarn07

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Oak leaves


Green leaves picked September 11th. Dried some, frozen some, to dye on silk, cotton and a sample strip wool only. The rest dyed immediately. Test also early summer leaves 2014 as well as brown self-dried.

4:1 fresh, 2:1 dry – oak galls 2% if colour not strong.

Those are my notes in short form. 😉 What that means is, I’ve dyed some wool 4:1 ratio, with and without premordant, and same with an iron afterbath. Then I did it again with oak galls in there too. You don’t quite see it in the photo below, but the dark skeins are actually a deep, chocolate brown, and the ones with iron minus oak galls are greenish.


The oak galls don’t appear to do much to the oak colour itself, it works with the iron. Don’t leave your yarn in there too long unless you are aiming for black!!! Half an hour the old books say. First dye for an hour, add iron, simmer another half.

Technically people use oak to get grey, a wonderful smoky/silver shade. I got all sorts of brown and grey shades, but not that one!

So I’ve saved a few leaves in the freezer as well as dried some to test later. Perhaps the grey is more easily obtained on cotton?


Then I had a stroke of genious if I may say so. Especially since I had not bothered to actually check what other people do, I just followed the book. What if I did NOT dye the yarn first, but plunked it into the iron/oakgall/leaf bath when it was squeaky clean?!


But I’m kinda glad I did follow instructions first, or I would never have gotten all those other shades. Of course now I’m wondering what happens if you just use iron and oak galls…..

Oh – and if you rinse and rinse and the water still comes out black as night – make sure you don’t have a piece of oak gall trapped in your fiber. 😉


De gamle bøger siger: egeblade vægt 4:1 friske, 2:1 tørrede. 2% galæble for at få mørkere farve.

Så det prøvede jeg. Man skal passe på ikke at lade det ligge i gryden for længe efter tilsat jern, med mindre man går efter sort, en halv time er vist passende.

Galæblerne gjorde ikke rigtig noget ved selve farven, de virker først sammen med jern, her var der en tydelig forskel på de “grå” nuancer jeg fik. Måske de flotte sølvgrå jeg har set, har været på bomuld? Indtil det faldt mig ind at IKKE gøre som i bogen, nemlig farve i blade først, og så putte jern i til sidst. Og det virkede. Men jeg er da ret glad for, at jeg ikke checkede hvordan andre gør, for så havde jeg jo aldrig fået alle de fine brune!

Jeg farvede både ubejdset (det er det, de fleste bruger) samt alun- og kobberbejdset, her var også klar forskel, så man kan let skabe sig en gradueret skala til brug ved flerfarvearbejde.

oak on silk


Rhubarb mordant part 2

I have long last concluded my first test of using rhubarb leaves as mordant instead of chemical ones. (even though they are in fact toxic, they are natural. Or, as MotherOwl points out below, even though they are natural, they are in fact toxic!)

And I have to say, it’s not really worth the effort. Not only does it not help the wool take up the dye any more than an unmordanted skein, in fact sometimes I could hardly see the difference. It also doesn’t add to lightfastness, both of which are the whole point of mordanting in the first place.

I tried both wool and cotton and none had better results than the other for me.


Top to bottom and left to right: Alum + rhubarb simmer not boil, boiled rhubarb + iron, boiled rhubarb, rhubarb + madder, rhubarb + weld, rhubarb + french marigold.

The alum mordanted, rhubarb dyed skein was also a handsome yellow in itself for sure, although it has faded a bit in just a month even without light. Without mordant they are a varying shade of beige depending on how hard you heat the dyebath. The madder is also quite alright, although not any kind of red exactly.

It did have one redeeming feature though: I really liked the shade I got from overdyeing with woad. From historical textiles we can see that some yellows fade away, leaving a once green section of fabric blue, but I’m not really expecting anything I make to live for 600 years. I’ll be forgotten and the line will die out when I do. It’s a patchy dye job because the vat had too little water and too much yarn, so I believe the darkest strands are the “truest” had it been done properly.


Check also under comments in my first post for additional info.


Ikke den helt store gevinst efter min mening, hvilket vi også debatterede under foregående indlæg. Garnet bliver ikke lysægte eller optager farve i samme grad som med alun, de gule farver kan knap nok ses ovenpå selve rabarberfarven som bliver mørk beige hvis man koger den. Det brunlige garn på billedet er krap, og den er vel ok, den grønne er overfarvet med vaid, og blev ret god, bortset fra jeg havde for lidt vand i gryden, så den er lidt skjoldet.

Goldenrod – gyldenris

Plant dyeing season is coming to an end, at least the urgent part of it trying to use the fresh plants as they appear. I’m beginning to look at my paints and spinning wheel again, but I still have a few experiments to share.

I’m down to making 6 g hanks at the moment, but that also means I can add one more experiment to the log that I had thought to save for next year. It also means I can do more experiments with one single plant. It does not mean I’ll remember to include every single variety there is to try, but I’ll try.


I’ve seen 2 varieties of Goldenrod in the forest that bloomed one after the other, they’re brown now, but the ones in my garden are flowering, so I used those.

Flowers & leaves separately. Alum, alkaline after, iron after, exhaust bath, blue overdye, cochineal overdye.


The colour from the flowers turned out to be a lot more bronzy and dark than I’d anticipated, and I wondered if it was because I accidentally boiled the plants very strongly, then left to steep for quite a long time, THEN managed to also boil the yarn. The day after I scooted over to Riihivilla where I’d saved but not yet read her post on goldenrod, and this is what I was told:

The color may dull if the temp is too hot or the yarns cool in the bath, just like it does with weld.

Well, there you go. 😉 It’s something I’ve noticed happening with some yellow plants, if you leave it in too long, it goes brown. Others, like birch, seem to be able to last for a long time so that you can safely solar dye and still get brilliant colour.

Leaves were more green and not as strong in colour.


Luckily I had more flowers in the garden (I’m saving the ones in the freezer, from the forest, for later). So I did a very careful simmer and did the whole thing on the same day, no steeping.


Nothing extraordinary from this yellow, in fact I like the boiled lot best.


Sæsonen for friske planter til farvning er ved at være slut og jeg er begyndt at skæve til maling og spinderok igen. Men jeg har lige et par eksperimenter eller 4 jeg gerne vil dele før vi skifter kanal.

Jeg har besluttet at lave mindre bundter end jeg plejer, simpelthen for at kunne lave flere eksperimenter, der er så mange ting jeg finder på at ville prøve med surhed, vandtype, overfarvning og andet halløj. Men så blev der også lige mulighed for et lille ekstra gult indslag, som jeg ellers havde tænkt mig at gemme til næste år.

Jeg startede med at totalkoge blomsterne, derefter kom jeg også til at koge garnet, begge dele stod i øvrigt i badet i over et døgn. Farven blev en del mere gylden end forventet, og det kunne jeg så bagefter læse mig til på en anden blog, at for at få den kølige, klare gule skal det ikke varmes så hårdt og ikke stå for længe. Godt så! Jeg endte jo så med at også lave en portion som simrede ganske forsigtigt. Samt en portion kun med blade, det er de grønlige. Alle fik et dyp i jern, et bundt i cochenille bare for sjov, og et i indigo.


Motley crew

I’ve been modifying and dyeing a few skeins here and there which I can’t be bothered posting separately.

Lady’s mantle with iron. Since the two hanks I did earlier were so similar, I thought I might as well modify one, I can’t remember why I didn’t do so immediately, but here it is.

Watercolour solution, cold dyed. Tagetes and coreopsis. What I did after I was done testing was pop a hank of yarn into each jar with more iron, and it was so strong that they took up a dark colour instantly! No heat, just left them in there for a bit. Some rinsed out, but they’re still a lot different from my other yarns.

Another batch of reeds, this time only alum mordanted, no CoT, and from the freezer to see if that ruined the plants. Complete succes, so having an abundance of this shade I overdyed some with woad.

Blandet landhandeldanish

Lidt blandede fed, fra toppen er det Løvefod puttet i jernblanding, coreopsis og tagetes akvarelfarve tilsat jern og et forsøg med frosne tagrør og derefter vaid. Helt nederst alle dagens modeller linet op til fotosession.

Today’s models lined up for photoshoot