Muddling on getting pigment from indigo leafs

During the night all the calciumOH-sediment has sunk to the bottom. I poured the liquid into my second container. This should have some pigment in theory and my quest today is trying to extract it.
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On Ravelry I got some good pointers about extracting pigment from indigo or woad leafs:

  • the leafs need temperature to release their pigments. 50-60 degrees for indigo leaves, way higher for woad. Merely pouring boiling water on them and leaving them for half an hour is one way. Shredding the leaves and keeping them in warm water overnight is another. The later is more precise and will give more pigment.
  • a dustbin liner filled with woad leafs will give just 3 tea biscuits worth of indigo pigment. My 50 grams of fresh indigo leaves will have crumbs, at best.
  • adding oxygen is so important. I poured the fluid to and fro for about 20 minutes. Using a kitchen aid whisk will work better. Using a drill with a whisk in a big tub is also a good idea.
  • indigo liquid will be way more yellow than woad liquid.
  • getting the pH up is really important. It needs to go up to 9?! test strips to test would be handy.

I added some more water to my calcium-drab and then left it to stand, trying to get more of the colourbits to float in the water as the sediment sunk to the bottom again. About an hour later I poured the liquid with the other liquid, leaving the drab behind.
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It does have that tell iridescent tale skin on top:
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But I have no clue what that means and what I can do with it.

I’m saving it, this calcium-sediment. Perhaps this is something I can use again to make a next thing less acid:
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Having poured the second bit of liquid with the first one I’m now ready to add in oxygen. The oxygen will bind the indigo pigments and they will clump together. I think I’m looking for specs of dark blue dust, like a gold miner.

After trying to add oxygen for half an hour the liquid is still yellow and there are no grains of indigo in sight. This magic is not working today.
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I made a cup of tea and read this tutorial by Teresinha Roberts from WildColours.co.uk Very interesting. There’s more to this indigo than just following a recipe…

Apparantly for the pigments to settle the liquid needs to be left undisturbed for three days. This is a problem, we are leaving for the city today. Won’t be back here for 5 days.

My choices are to leave it here for longer (shouldn’t do much harm I guess) or try and dye with it right away. There’s a tutorial on that too, over at WildColours.co.uk. Am reading it now.

No. This all is more than I bargained for. I simply don’t have the energy/stamina 😦

I’ll be leaving the jar and see if anything has settled when I return here next weekend. I don’t expect so because there’s no hint of green or blue in this liquid. It may well be that the growing of this particular plant is the reason this does not work. Too cold, too dark, too foresty, too late in the year. It’s the last days of October and they are in bloom… which is weird. Also I may not have treated the leafs the right way, not hot enough. Or not long enough.

Weird thing: when I was pouring the liquid to and fro in the very beginning, when the leaves had only met the hot water and were only just removed from the liquid, I did end up with little bits of dark blue sand at the bottom of the vessel. I thought it was merely plant debris that has escaped the sieve. But the amount grew over time, as I kept pouring and as the liquid grew more darker. One of these grains I crushed and it seemed to be a bit of dark blue powder. But as this was in the wrong stage of the process to yield indigo -the acid level had not been adjusted yet- I reasoned this could not be indigo. Looking back it might have been?

Hey. The Dogwood dyer blends fresh leaves with icecubes and dyes straight from that. Interesting.

Anyway.
The pot has been covered and will remain in the cabin for a few days now. The few hours remaining until we travel I’m doing something else… I’m following the recipe on p 241 of the book Eco-Verf by Anja Schrik.

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Eco-printing leaves on unglazed ceramics. Results in two weeks.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the Wrenna in the big yarn. In reality the k2tog or even k3tog are very bulky and the YO make very big holes. Not very pretty.
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I’m glad to frog this and use the yarn in stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch (= back panel Concrete)

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Strong urge to knit a cardigan

Every Saturday evening when I’m at the cabin and mentally preparing for travelling to the city the next day, I have the strong urge to start a new cardigan. I don’t know why.

I do know I already have 4 cardigans on the needles….in various degrees of finishing. All I need to do is get them out of the wool cabinet in my living room in the city and start knitting on them again. But I don’t.

Instead I bring a bucket full of white wool for a bodice and my green bouclé handspun for a yoke to the city. Or all the Norwegian yarn I had. All the Irish yarn too.

Each Sunday I’ve brought yarn for a cardigan to the city. Haven’t casted on though. Yet, today, I’ve gathered up all the dark handspun. I even spend hours deciding upon a pattern…

This is 134-17 Mist by DROPS design:

Large needles, fast knit. Koffieboontjes! The vintage Dutch lock rib, my favourite.

But upon inspection this pattern is knitted bottom up and seamless, which means you need to have gauge spot on. Also: I never figured out how to incorporate sleeves when going bottom up, and closing for the shoulders.

I’m rewriting this top down. Also I prefer the look and shape of Colors of Kauai: set in sleeves. So basically I’m rewriting Colors of Kauai for needles 10 mm.
With the DROPS pattern look and its koffieboontjes, because I do like the look of it (apart from the decreases at the top). Top down also means I can make it as long as I want to. I want a work horse for winter wearing.

I’ve tried to knit with this yarn before. I did nearly a whole Wrenna cardigan but I really don’t like the lace stitches in this bulky yarn. Mine is not as beautiful as the pattern picture:

pattern Wrenna by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes:

 

 

 

 

 

There’s also Iceland by Stephanie White:

Which I once made into a more fitted cardigan called Sidewind:

The special thing is that the leaves run sideways on the sleeves in accordance to the front/back panel even though it’s not knitted as part of those panels. Here you can see it all started with a rectangle that I wrapped around myself, then I added a part consisting of a sleeve, a top yoke (shirt sewing terminology, not a knitted yoke) and the second sleeve:

I started the sleeve with a gusset and half a sleeve. Then I worked to the wrist cuff, turned and somehow added the back part of the sleeve, having the leaves run the other way.

I’d love to reknit this sweater. Solve that problem of flowing leaves without knitting half sleeves sideways. But better not with the bulky dark yarn. That just doesn’t look good in YO stitches.

Well what do you know, another Saturday evening gone and I didn’t knit a stitch.

I did remember that there’s this pattern in my bundle called Love to Make it One Day:


It’sConcrete by Nicole Feller-Johnson
Easy to make, gauge not important. Start a square until wide enough to think about arm sleeves. Think about a warm neck instead: make it a bit higher, perhaps add a few decreases so the collar won’t gape.

Reminds me a bit of Drops’ Eskimo Shrug that I knit into a Franken-eskimo-vest before and which has inspired me before to knit that other cardigan that started with a panel on the upper back:

Those weird things happening at the armpit… knitted lines towards the apex of my bust.
With the weird buttonholes not matching up with the front panels.

I only wear this one when at the cabin. But not because of the weird things. Because I’ve gone off this colour completely. Turquoise, mint, bluegreen, teal. Don’t want it.
It feels like orange to me. Bluegreen is the new orange and I don’t want it.

Time to wrap this up. My Saturday evening is spend, cats and husband are milling around the room, hinting they want to go upstairs.

So: skip rewriting Colors of Kauai in a ridiculous large gauge. Start a back panel in the round, like Concrete. Get to the front. Remember to make it high in the neck at the back. Add some sleeves. Make it a good length. Add buttonbands and let them have koffiboontje mock rib like the DROPS pattern up top.
Need to make up a name for it.

Oh! I haven’t even told you about the yarn. It’s an oldie but a goofie 😉
400 grams, 700 meters. Short stapled organic fleece, akin to Zwartbles. All spun in one weekend back in January 2010 when I was fairly new to Ravelry and spinning and participated in a spin-along.

I spun it semi long-draw ON A LOUET S10 and Lillepoes was very interested:

Failed in getting pigment from indigo leafs

Today I tried the recipe from the book Eco-verf, page 196. It’s for extracting pigment from woad but Anja Schrik said it’s the same for indigo.

indigo plant extracting pigment book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik recipe p 196

50 grams of fresh leaves
about 1200 ml boiling water
following the recipe step by step. It is well explained and also has pictures so you know what to look for and why you are asked to do certain things.
indigo plant extracting pigment book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik recipe p 196indigo plant extracting pigment book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik recipe p 196extracting pigment from indigo leafsextracting pigment from indigo leafsextracting pigment from indigo leafstoo much CaHO2?too much CaHO2?sediment :( failedUntitled

Unfortunately it failed. It turned bright yellow when I added the lime/ Calciumhydroxide/ CaHO2. It was supposed to turn into green tea.

I probably added way too much CaHO2 as the recipe made me uncertain at that point by talking about “a cup of CaHO2” instead of grams. I’m also not sure whether I was to add a certain volume in regard to the volume of indigo-tea or in regard to the calcium-hydroxide-solution.

What do you think, did I interpret this correct?
translation p 202:
“The indigo fluid needs to be mixed with a CaHO2 solution. You need 1 part CaHO2 solution for 4 parts indigo fluid. For example: 1 liter indigo fluid requires 250 ml CaHO2 solution.
Prepare the CaHO2 solution: one cup of CaHO2 per 500 ml water. Add the CaHO2 solution to the indigo fluid. It should turn green.”

I had 900 ml indigo fluid so thought I needed just under 250 ml CaHO2 solution. I took 250 ml of water and added “half a cup” which I took to be 2 levelled diner spoons of CaHO2. I don’t know how big the cups of the writer are. It’s not a standard measurement of volume outside of the UK or USA. I was thinking coffee cups (not mugs).

I did a lot of trying to add oxygen but nothing changed, not in the colour, not in the consistency. It smells strongly of cement. When I put it aside there formed a sediment at the bottom (see last picture) and the tell tale “skin” appeared on top of the fluid. But it never got a hint of green or blue.

Now I am blue. I’d really loved this to go right today as I’m having a horrible brain chemistry/PMS day. I have not enough knowledge to know what I did wrong or what I could tweak to make it better. If it’s too much CaHO2 I could perhaps try to make it more acid with some vinegar. But I don’t know. I’m taking a break now. Please let me know if you have advice and I can try some things tomorrow morning.

Such pretty flowers:
indigo plant extracting pigment book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik recipe p 196
I gathered the seeds (and dropped half of them on the ground). Perhaps I can get them through the Winter and sow them coming Spring.

Bookpresentation and lecture “Eco-Dyes” by Anja Schrik

Viltworkshop Odijk has an amazing studio:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprintinglezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

The demonstration was awe-inspiring. 14 colours out of the same dye pot. Here are two dyepots, one from yellow flowers and one from cochinille. That’s 28 colours all together:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Another example, using dye from only one onion skins dye pot:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

There were about 30 visitors, all women, and all “wool women”. Everyone was wearing something art-full and no one was keeping in her stomach, pretending to be prettier, and being miserable for it. They all had a technical keenness.

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

14 plants made into 14 plant dyes:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

These dyes where then used to dye these tops:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Invitations for playing with stamps and tie-dying and eco printing:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Latvian easter egg dye technique. These were so vibrant in colour! The photos do not do it justice:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Another technique is hammering the dye straight into the cloth:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

The lecture was amazing! It addressed the history of dyes, from cavemen rubbing red earth on there faces right up to the synthetic dyes of the last century. In between there was given much importance to the wearing of colour, singling out monarchs, Roman emperors and church officials as the only ones allowed to wear red and purples. Setting up guilds and keeping the recipes very secret. But only after dyers were snubbed for centuries because they stank up the place, with their buckets of fermented urine. And you couldn’t trust them anyway, with their magical powers to change the appearance of something. And their chemical knowledge… Shapeshifting stinking magicians, the lot of them!

 Tyrian, royal, purple. $4.000 per gram 5 years ago. 11.000 snails needed per gram. 1700BC-1100AD

This mistrust and the fact that dyers weren’t literate caused their dye recipes to be lost over the centuries many times. Egyptian times, Roman times, pre-ME times, Aztec knowledge, Mayan knowledge, ME-times, Neanderthalers, Peruvian recipes, Afghan recipes. All lost.

They also got researched and reinvented many times and it is something that modern dyers still do, in my opinion.

Nowadays we use bright and light fast colour in our cloths and surroundings as common as if it was sliced bread. But, much like sliced bread, the common and widespread use of it is fairly recent. Before that we had to “make do” with the traditional skills. (which I love).

And painters! We are so spoiled these days. Up until about a century ago every painter made her own paint. All through the renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age contracts were signed at the commission how much of the expensive Lapis Lazuli a painter was to use.

Those paints have faded… Only the most expensive ingredients may have survived. All tapestries and cloths and paintings have changed colour or have faded.

There was dramatic red in the sky of Turner’s painting when he made it. But he used fast fading reds and now we’re left with golden magnificence of a very different flavour. Artist’ prerogative? The link goes to an interesting article by 

Van Gogh used fading colours too. His irises were very purple when made. And his bedroom didn’t have these tasteful docile light blue walls:

They were purple! And the floorboards were maroon. Put that against the green strokes between the boards and your 19th century eyes would start to water:

Van Gogh was way more colour mad than we give him credit for today. A whole new world of Vincent’s colours is there to explore 😀

He lived in the time when for every colour a synthetic variety was searched. Between 1850 and 1925 the race was on, dear Watson. It was a chemical race. Practically all the large chemical concerns we know today started out in those times as small producers of one or two synthetic dyes.

 Today’s AkzoNobel paint testing site in Sassenheim, NL

Anyway. I imagine that through every century the farmer-women have happily indulged into colouring their wools and their eggs with the plants gathered around their stead. Playing with what are called the “little colours” because they may fade fast you can have coloured garments every day, as long as you’re willing to overdye once a year.

I did got to knit a little during the lecture, feeling every stitch blindly because my eyes were focused on the projection screen for Anja Schrik’s very interesting lecture. She will repeat this lecture in Haarlem, at Meervilt, on the 29th of October and the 1st of December. There are also workshops and all the dye stuffs from the book are for sale.

I haven’t even shown you the actual book. I’m very happy with it. For me it is very complete and clear now that I have seen the demonstration and the examples from the book. The lecture was extra information.

With the book I feel confident to start dyeing. As soon as next weekend as the indigo plants at the cabin are about to wither now that the frost is coming. Indigo is a whole different class from the plant dyes and the pigment dyes! I feel confident to address is. That’s really saying something about both the book and Anja Schrik as an instructor.

 

The book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik I compare to Eco Colour by India Flint, which is also on my shelf. Flint gives a lot of atmospheric inspiration, Schrik has more recipes and hands on. Having never done a workshop in this material I’ve always found Flint’s book intimidating. She is very good at it and I’d never be able to get her results. Schrik’s book Eco-verf is more user friendly, having a whole chapter of step-by-step guides to get easy and reliable results.

But like I said, by meeting the dyer and seeing her do a demonstration and seeing the examples from the book, the information ordered itself in my head in a way that suits me better than when just reading a book or seeing youtubes about it.

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Making plans for Sunday

The puzzle with the little squares was a bit hard to imagine with just the graph paper. So I put my engineer-degree to good use:
trust me, I'm an engineer
I’ll just call it “a 2D prototype” shall I? Please don’t sigh too loud, this prototype is not yet corrected for metereologic variables.

I’ve got some possible compositions for my blanket now and I cannot wait to get home to the city later today and lay it all out, real scale, on my living room floor. Why didn’t I bring the squares with me?! Now I have to wait. In the mean time I need at least another 38 of the smallest squares.

In other news: sometime during the day yesterday I wanted to make an offer in a swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It’s the Back To Front Swap where someone states three wishes and then various people offer to fulfill one of them and she chooses one of the offers. While exploring the stash in the cabin’s wool room for suitable laceweight I found this beautiful sock yarn:

It’s Gems from indy dyer Moonwise in the color Cassis. Moonwise no longer dyes for business but her yarns and designs are amazing:

This yarn I have won in the very same Dutch Karma Swap Group 🙂 It holds good memories. I’ve put it in my bag to take with me to the city, where I keep all my quality sock yarn. It’s a prefect colour for my winter palette, I want to knit with it asap.

Saturday I spend crocheting 38 little flowery blanket squares and in the evening I knit some on my sock in progress, the one from the sock blank. I’m just turning the heel on the first sock:

An hour before bed I realized I’ll be attending a lecture today and even though there will be only fibre people attending, it will be a bit strange when I take off my shoe every other minute to try on my sock to see how the heel is coming along. (Listening to a lecture = knitting time.)

If only I had a simple cuff to knit during that lecture…

This need for mindless knitting married my desire to knit with the Moonwise Gems and together they will have a cast-on baby this morning:
 pics by Christa Hartmann
The pattern is Butterblümchen by Christa Hartmann. It’s been in my favourites list on Ravelry.com for a long time now and it’s free!

Needles 2mm. I’ll borrow the ones that are currently making the heel in my socks. I will have a cuff and a bit of leg to knit during the lecture!

The lecture is about eco dyeing and making ink and paint from plants. It’s at Feltingstudio Odijk, (Viltwerkplaats Odijk) in the middle of the country. I will be driving there by myself and it’s the reason I drove to the cabin in my own car. Afterwards I’ll drive to the city. During the day my husband will bring his car and the two cats to the city. And my crocheted flowers. And the other yarn that stuck to me when I was visiting the wool room.

With the lecture comes this book that has been launched Saturday:

“Eco-verf” by Anja Schrik

I’m very interested and will tell you about it soon.
Now I will start my day by parking one sock and jotting down instructions for the next one. And baking pancakes. Pancakes for breakfast, for lunch and for travelling. It’s always pancake o’clock on my watch!

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A Short Sunday morning waffling about pancakes:

I’ve got this pancake thing down. I bought an RVS/stainless steel pan from IKEA. (I bought two: one for the city, one for the cabin.) Put in a lot of coconut oil (the size of a quarter of your fist), wait till it’s really hot (drop some drops of water in it, they should fizzle violently), pour in some batter (should be fairly liquid. I make it myself from flour, salt, 2 eggs and a lot of milk. Include some buckweed for the real taste.) First it’ll stick to the pan but in a few short minutes it will detach. They come out crunchy! It’s like crisp cookies (like Vegter rolletjes!). Best with ginger jam 🙂

I’ve got this little plant, it’s called a pancake-plant:

From a lovely shop, Werk aan de Winkel, who sell happy things and vintage plant species. They have recently started a program for the plants that are not good enough to sell. Because they grew skewed or failed to thrive for a while.

The shop owner cannot bear to throw these plants in the trash so people can now adopt these “kneusjes”

Foolishly trying to command fibre crafts.

This morning I played some more with a design for the crocheted squares:

I gave up on the random piecing together. It was just too hard. Instead I tried some rectangular designs:

Ohoo, the next one works, strips! Alternating strips of various blocks, reading from left to right, solves the problem I keep having with the second axis:

Happy with my solution I put away the squares and drove to the cabin.

I drove my own car and I thought about the blanket all the way. When I arrived in the little patch of forest I had come to the conclusion that although strips are nice and neat, I rrrrrrrrreaaaaaallly like the “randomness” of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket and the Babette blanket:
 pic and blanket by Olivia Rainsford, designer of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket

Right. My blanket needs to be “random”. Not strips. I’m ready for solutions.
Out comes the graph paper!

I’ve got 75 Large squares, 18 Medium, 25 Small and 38 of the adorable Extra Small.
This is how they fit together:
1 L = 2 XS
2 L = 3 S
4 L = 5 M

The difference between my squares and those of the two “random” blanket designs is that all their squares relate to each other and can be used to make squares, consisting of 5 or maximum 8 squares of various sizes. My M’s don’t play well in that regard…

Now thinking of upscaling them into SuperXXMs, like the one my pencil is pointing to. Both official designs use several really large squares.

They can be upscaled to an L easily, all I need to do is crochet one other round to them. But a XL might work better, seeing it plays well with both Ls and XSs. Besides, my Ls have a certain colourscheme.

Anyway. I’m at the cabin now and my weekend starts with pencil and graph paper. I brought the balls of acrylic and a bunch of little flowers with me. But I left all the squares in the city so I can’t play with composition nor enlarge M-squares!

I left them because I didn’t want “to make a mess in the cabin”.
How foolish of me:
Inside the cabin
Nope. Better not make a mess here. It’s so tidy, it looks like an IKEA catalog. Clearly neatly organized people live here! People who declutter daily. Is that a cat on the sewing chair? Again?!

Talk about foolish: the trousers I was sewing stumbled into unwearable right at the finish line.
bad at sewing trousers... bad at sewing trousers...
Something went wrong, I think it was the linen stretching during sewing or something? The front is too wide and the pockets are ruffling. I laid them aside to show my teacher at a later stage.

So naturally I delved right into sewing a dress shirt.

I’m picked up trying to perfect my basic pattern again. Once it’s done I’ll be cranking out shirts that fit me perfect and in the right colours and that go so well under handknitted vests!

I had tried the ultimate self drafted pattern right before Summer, the result of a pattern drafting class I took about a year ago. Many months of frustration while I had to wait wait wait before we would address a dress shirt.

Finally we did and I bought some cheap 100% cotton in the right colour and made a real dress shirt, right before Summer. But it went very wrong because apparently I had bought the wrong fabric: a very slippery cotton which made the measuring, cutting and sewing not very precise. I took my shirt to the last class of pattern drafting and got a lot of critique. Lots of helpful critique but the shirt itself was a failure.

Based on the critique I made some adjustments to the pattern and am now resewing it in a quality cotton.

But you know. Sewing. You need a brain and some luck for sewing.

I got salad brain and pinguins instead:
Sewing collar stand shirtmakingSewing collar stand shirtmaking
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking
Gargl.

Besides repeatedly getting fabric caught while sewing, the neckline is too high and too tight. That’s a pattern issue! My Slippery Cotton Shirt was too low so I made it a bit higher. Even put in a zip (instead of buttons) which goes right to the top.

Now it’s too high. Because the slippery cotton shirt lied to me and my teacher.
Can’t lower it though because of the zipper. Well, I’ll manage to lower it a bit, right down to the top teeth of the zipper. This only gives me a mere centimeter extra. But perhaps it’s enough. It does mean I can finish this shirt and perhaps end up with something a little bit wearable. Or at least tell me things about the pattern. And then the next shirt will be perfect. If I manage to sew with concentration.

Lowering the neckline meant that this nicely executed collar is now too long for its collar stand:
Sewing collar shirtmaking
Hmpf.
So when I get back to the city after this weekend I need to do some collar surgery. Either try and take in the short sides of this one or sew a whole new collar. I do have some fabric left…

But I need it to cut a third sleeve. Because I sewed one sleeve placket on the wrong side. Sigh.
Let’s just say I’ve now got two left sleeves, from the elbows down. Not sure if I can get away with calling the draft vent on my right upper wrist “a design feature”.

We’ll see. I wasn’t kidding about the brain salad.
But at least I have penguins! And birds with hats and seals with mittens and handknit sweaters:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band
What do you think about that zipper? I’m working on a foot treadle sewing machine, a Singer, that only has the straight stitch, no button hole stitch. I thought this was a nice solution, a separating zipper behind a lap as wide as the button band. It also has a zip guard at the back, so the zipper won’t touch my skin.

Other solutions for people without button hole facilities are snaps and loops and buttons. Those last ones can be stylish too:

from the Collette blog

(I’m soooo procrastinating writing this to you. I should use my graph paper, think up smart wooly things for my blanket!)

my overdyed gloves

I overdyed a beautiful pair of gloves I own. They are purple now:

overdyed handknit gloves purpleoverdyed handknit gloves purple

The pattern is Glacier by Julia Mueller.

They were knit by the same friend who send me the TdF prize “Birch Batts” last week. It’s a pattern with lots of traveling stitches at a fairly tight gauge. Two aspects of knitting I can not accomplish myself anymore because of the RSI (shoulder impingement) that still troubles me.

The original colour was Kent by Zitron Trekking Hand Art, a warm red yellow colour:

pic by Lauramate who’s willing to sell this skein (USA)

I’m more of a purple girl myself and dyed them last Sunday with acid dyes (food colouring plus Ashford Dyes):

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I got these gloves as part of a wonderful KARMA day we built together in January 2014 in the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

That particular day most of the group members were at a meet to celebrate one of the members. But a few of us could not attend, mostly because of health or family.

One of these members spontaneously proposed we could do a one day online swap for handmade things. Right there in the group. It grew into a wonderful online community hug, where everybody wanted to pamper the others. It was special!

The new colour turned out beautiful and it feels like I have a whole new pair of gloves again, with the sentiments of that KARMAday still in them:

overdyed handknit gloves purple

Sitting comfortably on fibre stories.

This is the chair I sit on when I make art:
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It’s a vintage stool from my youth. Sturdy, wood and a bit hard on the buttocks. At the moment my childhood blanky is on there, haha, because I only just got back to doing art a month ago and I needed something to sit on right then and there.
This stool needs a soft cushion and I am thinking wool.

I have another stool, my spinning stool, which has the same problem. Its cushion I made many years ago and it’s no longer comfortabel, it’s grown too flat:
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I really like this little cushion, I embellished it with some sort of free style knitting, following instructions from a book by knitting artist Mary Walker Phillips:
link to amazon
Her pattern on Ravelry Fantasy Yarn Over only has my projects as projects :s
I long to knit more of this pattern of her every year 🙂 but sadly I never do, because I cannot think of a usable end project.

Back in 2011 I used it to embellish this round cushion and two rectangular ones. Snoring critics inform me that the square ones are still comfy:
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I’d like to upgrade my spinning stool cushion. Not replace it. So I ripped open the seam: wow, the stuffing is all flat and felted. It’s some fleece I didn’t want to proces or spin of felt at the time but didn’t want to throw out either because it was organic fleece and of a special colour:
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Made in 2011 my project notes say! Been in use ever since.
I’m going to add stuffing and keep on using it.

Now for my crafting stool…
If I can find some sort of felt cover and stuff it with old fleece I’ll have a cushion that works. I could even add some of the freestyle knitting.

Looking around the cabin for a sturdy piece of felt I found my felted sheep bag, the one I made in 2012:

In 2016 it’s not so beautiful anymore as it was in this picture. It’s worn down. Withered. Bald in places. The locks have matted in other. This is no longer a nice bag.
But I find it hard to throw away something that’s handmade, something that reminds me of that awesome day of workshop we had at Wolbeest. Something wooly.

Now I can reuse it. It will become a cushion. I ripped the seams that held the straps:
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Then I plucked off the little sheeps head. This will get a special place in my house.
Then I turned the bag inside out, the sturdy felted side now sits on the outside:
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I’m stuffing it with the green Clun Forest that was left over from a handspun dress in 2013:
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That’s the Clun Forest Lillepoes has shown some love in every step of the processing back in 2013: dyeing, carding, spinning.



I love her little face 🙂 I cannot look at this fleece and not see that happy face inside the paper bag. It was one of the hottest days of that year and there she was, my little cat, stealthily snuck into a bag of wool while I was carding it into rollags, happy as punch.

The spun yarn was scratchy though and I seldom wear the finished garment. I certainly didn’t feel like processing and spinning the rest of the fleece. But I couldn’t throw it away either. Apart from it being good, functional fleece and the happy Lillepoes’ face it also was a gift from a couple who own a small fibre dye business, as a thank you for me being me and being enthousiastic even when I was very ill and inviting them to get a booth at the Country Fair. I can’t throw away wool with that kind of heritage. There are stories in these fibres!

So I used all the remaining Clun Forest to stuff the bag and my spin stool cushion:
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The bag is now a cushion for my crafting stool.

The spinning cushion needs to be sewn shut but I’ll do that next time because right now my sewing chair is in use:
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PS
Now I long again to “play with knitting” and do that free style sort of thing Mary Walker Phillips promotes!

If I can just think of a usable item that can handle a plain of freestyle knitting…
MWP “only” made wall hangings and I have no need for those.
There’s cushions but it’s not really practical because the embellishment needs to be handsewn to the cover, preferably all over, to remain in place and resist knitting needles and cat claws.
There’s this cardigan that could be an example:

It’s Middlemarch by Miranda Davies, free from Knitty. But I have many other cardigans I want to knit first.
I tried a hat and a scarf once but it wasn’t a happy match with the yarn:

And I did another cushion cover, with a halo-yarn. Which I hate to knit. What was I thinking.

I cannot think of something useful to make and I’m not the kind of person who just sits down to tinker with yarn, without a useful endproject in mind. I think I’ll end up sitting on this one for another year. Or do you perhaps have ideas?