workshop Sammich Stitchin’/ Broodje Breien

Yesterday I was at the workshop Broodje Breien (=”Sammich Stitchin'”) at Wolop in Gouda. It’s a monthly inspirational course of 2 hours, accompanied with a lunch.

It teaches to find inspiration and translate it into knitting. Sources of inspiration differ every month and this month it was Nature. Previous months were “Van Gogh” and “Escher”. The concept was developed by Loret Karman and a baker in Amsterdam.

Translation of the inspiration into knitting varies too. The focus can be towards colours, textures, shapes, garments, stitches, yarn characteristics, anything!
It’s very fun to do.

This was my work halfway:

I took this picture as an inspiration and although I identified many things that could be translated into “wool” such as a haloed yarn based on the animal contrasted with a more bumpy yarn based on the wood, I chose to explore its colours.

Wolop provided a mountain of colours and with my picture in hand I picked out 25 of the colours I discovered and took 1,5 m (2 yards) of each of them.

There were many more colours in the picture than I saw at first glance. I started to look at them, truely look at them, and study how they influenced each other.

This is an approach that is thoroughly done in the Sammich Stitchin’s / Broode Breien about Van Gogh -and indeed all Karman’s courses on the painter- but when it comes to colour interactions I personally prefer the work of Bridget Riley.

Most people know Riley because she excelled in Pop Art in the 1960’s. But her colour work is equally groundbreaking. She’s a methodical artist researcher and I think she takes Van Gogh’s end point of colour studies and takes it to a whole new level.
Example of Riley’s work:
Tate Modern -7 Nataraja by Riley, 1993. Pic by Allan Harris.

The trick to view these massive canvases is to look at them how you would look upon a pond in a park. Just let your eye glance over and let the colour blocks shimmer as if it was light reflecting of the pond. Than something happens in your head. Different paintings of Riley result in different effects. Just by her changing the colour palette and sometimes the shapes.

It’s amazing that she can create that effect and that sentiment in the viewer with the colours and the shapes she chooses. She does extensive research in her lab, with many assistents colouring in the shapes. She actively accounts for eye movements and peripheral sight. Oh how I wish to visit one of her exhibitions.
Or own one of her paintings… to have a shimmering “pond” indoors to visit at any time!

Yesterday I wasn’t thinking of Riley.
I had a collection of subtle colours, in little pieces of string, and was trying to combine them to show myself their interaction. The aim was to make a little note of these studies, a knitted note.
One way to collect the colours permanently is in a square of 5 x 5 colours, as is done in the Van Gogh workshops. Each colour just 5 stitches long and 7 rows high. But that was very slow knitting.
So I ripped and tried stripes because that’s quicker. This was me at the end of the 2 hours:

Broad stripes of 28 st long and 4 of 5 rows high.

But I don’t like stripes much. And these show even less the interaction between the colours than the 5×5 blocks would have done.
So 15 minutes later, seated on the train back I had this:

All stripes ripped out and ready to try something new.
Small stripes, “knitting the picture sideways”?

When I had to change trains I was making progress:

(Also making tangles.)

Later that evening I finished the piece, with only a few strands of the most contrast yarns left because honestly, they had no place in this piece:

I didn’t change colour every row, some are 2 or even 3 rows high. Sometimes I ran out of yarn midrow and then just tied a new colour. But I purposefully did not try to recreate the picture. I did not make a dark blob in the left upper corner. No expressive gestures either. In short: no saori-weaving, I dislike that about as much as I dislike neat stripes:
Climate Change Action Banner pic by saoriweaver, it’s a banner on climate change.
A stunning piece if you do like saori, check out the link.
It’s a spectrum, I admit. I did use the picture as a guideline, knitting my way from right to left, looking at colours and contrast.

This is the end result this morning, blocked and the yarn bloomed and colour corrected:

A nice exercise! Just playing with colours and stripes, talking to myself in yarn, about colour interaction and contrast and colour families. I really like the middle and the right, where the contrast is more subtle. Colour in Fair Isle was also on my mind a lot.

Yesterday, after taking the first picture I stood over it and looked at the colours some more. Then I noticed something:

Heeheehee, it’s a good week for misty, nature-y greens!

Writing this now I feel I like to think some more about stripes. Families of colour stripes. Not the two toned stripes I see in most knitted garments. Small stripes. Interacting stripes. Not too extrovert contrasts.

Just now, when I looked at the Creative Common section of Flickr for online share-able pictures of Riley’s work, I see she does stripes too. (of course she does!)

Praise I - Bridget Riley Praise 1 by Riley, pic by Brett Jordan

This painting is clearly talking about contrast (not too much, there’s no white/black) and about warmth of colours (warm yellows and red with cool blues). About repetition without repeats, although sometimes a colour gets sandwiched -heyo!- between two similar colours.

And it talks about vertical-ness very much too. The vertical stripes do something to my eyes… (don’t try to focus! You’re not supposed to focus.)

They make me consider that humans are very vertical orientated beings themselves and have a natural connection to vertical lined things. Trees, cathedrals, other humans, ostriches, giraffes, alien silhouettes in a misty scene.

I think boulders, corgis and piramids enchant us because they are very not-vertical-lines.
pic by fuzzyard

In 1999 Riley got some recognition for the giant that she is, British Post made a stamp:
Bridget Riley stamp pic by cuthbert25
Inadvertably showing that cropping a work that’s meant to be viewed as a whole communicates very different things. Here we do not get the chance to let the colours shimmer. Because their width is now significant in relation to their height we now see them as regular stripes. They now mainly talk about the colours close to them.

This could be a knitted pullover, viewed from the side. As a matter of fact I think I saw this in a shop last Summer? On a mannequin wearing a coral floppy hat and sunglasses, with a white beach bag besides her.

Quick! Let’s get back to shimmering stripes and making connections between all kinds of outlandish inspirations!

I’m starting to like stripes.

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The Happy Swap Blues

Did you know that I don’t like to knit with blue yarns?
It’s true. I don’t like to knit with blue yarns and I can’t explain why. I find it boring. Tedious. It makes me moody and cross.
While blue is THE colour to compliment my face.

Luckily we have the “Achterstevorenswap” in the Dutch Karma Swap Group and I love to offer to forfill people’s wishes and as a result get to post my own wishes regularly.
Just recently I wished for a pair of blue socks and another time I wished that someone would knit me a shawl with my own blue yarn.

Both wishes were granted!

These are my new, blue socks:
blue handknits
These are Ophidia socks, a design by Hypercycloid Designs. These were knitted by Helga, as part of Tour de Sock 2015. TdS is a different kind of international sock knitting competition than Sock Madness: “Ophidia is Stage 5 of the 2015 Tour de Sock, a six-stage speed knitting competition benefitting Doctors Without Borders.”

Beautiful blue socks! With cables and ribbing and *sparkly* red and pink accents. Things I could never make myself and now this pair is mine 🙂
blue handknits

Helga also send me some little balls of yarn in nice colours for stranded knitting:blue handknits
Marvelous!

Having forfilled my wish Helga got to post her own wishes and I offered to fulfill one of them and she chose my offer! So with the socks and the balls of yarn came a pair of knee high socks that needs to be overdyed. A bold adventure since the yarn is half wool half acrylic and acrylic does not take up dye. Also: it’s very difficult to dye an existing knit in an even way. For even dyeing you need to stir the pot and you can’t stir knitwear because it will felt.

It’s pretty daunting wanting to dye something this complicated for someone else but Helga is very gracious about it and about half of the time I feel like I know enough about dyeing to give it a try. I’ll make sure to start the dyeing project only when I feel like that!

My other swap wish was a shawl from my own blue yarn and I got it and I blocked it yesterday evening!
blue handknitsblue handknits
This pattern is Liliaceae by Angelika Luidl, a free pattern. I used this pattern once before, in 2010, to knit my mother a shawl in a very high end yarn:


This yarn is The Old Piggery Merino/Tencel Sock in the colour Sweet pea, 50% soft merino 50% tencel. Beautiful yarn! So soft en with such gleam. I bought it specifically to knit a shawl for my mother with, when I was on holiday, by myself, to Devon, to a knitter’s retreat, in 2010. It was a long weekend and it took me about a week to travel there because I had to make all kinds of arrangements because back then I could only travel for one hour and then had to lie flat for an hour. It was a wonderful weekend 🙂

It’s where I learned proper darning (Swish darning) and also carding with colours, from the inspiring Wrigglefingers whom I since have met again at Midwinterwol where she gives workshops in this technique and also: her daughter sells handdyed wool and I bought this green yarn at the last Midwinterwol for a Spring vest and it has indeed been cast on 🙂


Welsh Mule yarn by Shepherd Cat.

Yeah. It was a special holiday for me back then, still being very ill, and it being all about knitting. I wasn’t carefree enough to buy myself quality yarns back then but I did for my mum.

Now, in 2017, I am better in buying luxury yarn for myself and I bought and dyed this:


The yarn is Chester Wool 4 ply Mulberry silk,  that I dyed myself just a few weeks ago.
This yarn is thinner than the pattern calls for and that’s why Anneke cast on for 19 pattern repeats instead of 17. She knitted with needles 3,5 mm and used 85 grams of the 100 grams skein. The shawl is plenty wide and high enough.

Now I have this lovely Summer shawl I would never have knitted for myself, in just the right colour. 🙂

Preparing to show off chopped mushrooms.

Tomorrow is the knitters’ festival in one of the tiniest an oldest cities in the country: Nieuwpoort. (yes, it means “new port” and it was a new port on the river Lek (“which means “leak” (we have no fantasy when it comes to naming places))).

The festival is organized by The Schapekop, the LYS where I did the workshop dyeing with mushrooms back in February:

I was so going to knit a stranded vest with the yarn and bring it to the festival tomorrow and be all glorious and marvelous!

But of course I spend weeks fiddling with the chart and never getting it exactly right so there’s no vest to show. I do have one wristwarmer though:

The colours are beautiful and exactly as I want them for a cool, February-kind of vest I have in mind. It’s a good swatch telling me about gauge, colours and contrast. Especially that last one needs a lot more chart fiddling in StitchFiddle.com!

The past two weeks I felt bad about bragging about a vest to the people who organized the workshop and then knowing I’ll show up tomorrow with nothing or just that one meager wristwarmer… Yes I felt so bad that I contemplated not going at all and spare myself the embarrassment. Which is ridiculous!

In fact, so ridiculous that I snapped right out of it and casted on for a stranded vest in totally different colours last Tuesday. Look at these colours!

So happy 🙂 So sunny 🙂

They are all dyed with mushrooms, apart from the blue which is a commercial colour and the white.

This vest and these colours I don’t need to get precisely right. It’s just bands and bands of motives, some borrowed and some made up as I go along. There’s a little bit of teeth gnashing when I get my contrasts imperfect but I give myself a pass for that. Overall I’m just knitting happy colours, straight under the radar of my perfectionism, and I’m just making metres and I already have something nice to show tomorrow.

Just now I had to stop knitting for a bit and learn about shaping and steeks. It seems you cannot just knit a tube and then cut holes in it for arms and head. Or can you?
I don’t know, I’ve never done a stranded, shaped garment nor have I ever intentionally steeked.

For this vest I did a provisional cast on (to bypass the ribbing at the bottom because I didn’t have much time to get to the good part and I don’t know yet which colours I’ll have left for the borders). Then I knitted a tube that fits my stomach.

At the level where my bossom starts I now have to decide whether to increase (how would that go in a chart?) or to insert a steek (cast on about 8 stitched which will be cut later on). Also there needs to given some consideration to arm holes I guess. I don’t know yet if they need decreases and a steek, I’ll be reading the pattern Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for that:

pic by Mary Scott Huff  pic by Interweave Knits

I’m using various patterns. The stranded Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang for looks and the Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for shaping and steeking. That last vest is free, from Knitty, and I understand what it says 🙂

Ooh, setting up for a steek is easier than I thought. Just park one stitch, cast on 8 new ones using both yarns and knit those eight in stripes. Decreasing for the front panels occurs on the side of this steek-flap.

I’ve started the set up right away. Pretty soon I’ll add two at the sides too, for the arm holes. Must not forget to add shaping.

After I have completed the toppart I’ll undo the provisional cast on and knit down wards. My tube is not that high yet and there’s room to add waist decreases right at the bottom.

So that’s the plan! Now I have two nice things to show the mushroom guy tomorrow so he knows his first workshop ever was very much appreciated.

I made some yarns.

One more silk ball spun into yarn:

74 meters out of 20 grams, fingering weight. Worsted spun.

The “bunny batts” that Gwen the Random Knitter gave me at the Knit&Knot Wool fair:
 Two skeins of 68 meters, each in a gradiënt.

I dyed 500 grams of a Merino sport in a nice cool light grey:

(Cake for white value.)

It’s for a Pumpkin Ale cardigan which will have a different cable motif on the back panel, I’m leaning towards the cables from A Floral Affair, by Hanna Maciejewska:

The dyed yarn is beautifully soft and bouncy. And round plied. Very good for cables. I dyed it in my big pot. 5 skeins of 100 grams can be swished around in it comfortably, ensuring a reasonably even dye.

The skeins for the workshop Mushroom Dyeing are properly mordanted now:

The wool bloomed beautifully. No spinoil residu. But they do feel a bit sticky because of the alum.

And I just finished plying this Merino Silk blend:

Dyed by Passe-Partout, spun into aran weight, 80 grams, 180 meters

This roving was fractal spun:

I took out some of the bright pink and also some of the bordeaux on the single with the short colour repeats. Because I wanted a yarn with a little less contrast.

The idea is to knit another Rikke hat, in a more greenish colourway:

Right, I’m off to set some twist.

 

Enjoying and dyeing colour in Winter.

Hello!
colour winter 2016 2017

Last week I watched two friends dye colourful yarn:
colour winter 2016 2017

Both are knitters who particularly use colours to enjoy themselves and to enhance life.

Their x-mas trees illustrate this beautifully 🙂
One friend always has seven peaks in her tree. And glass robots:
colour winter 2016 2017colour winter 2016 2017colour winter 2016 2017
The tree of the other friend, The Random Knitter, has miniskeins in it, the Wolop Advent Calendar:
colour winter 2016 2017

They both wanted a yarn that knits up a certain way: a basic colour with little bursts of multicolour. If you knit those multicolours purl wise you get something like this:

The Lemonade Shop Sparkle Sock (Stormy Day; no DL)

Yarn dyed by independent dyer Lemonade Shop yarn on etsy, colour Stormy Day.

Here are the results of our dyeing day, still wet:

dyeing Yarn party

And dry with better lighting:

 pic by Spectre120

They really knew what they were doing!

I’m going to just post the photos and let those do the talking.
I was just sitting there anyway, spinning and eating all the sweets and pastry. I’d brought some Bossche Bollen and I had two! At one time I needed a little lie down (possible bol-related) and the lovely old genteman cat Guus spotted the opportunity immediately.
Colour, knitters, pastries and cat cuddles? Perfect day.
dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn party

dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partyUntitleddyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn partyUntitleddyeing Yarn party

And a hike in the woods yesterday, wearing my red Bleuet dress and Wolop Advent shawl. This too was with a knitter and there was beautiful sunlight and we did knitting and pastry afterwards 🙂

colour winter 2016 2017

11 dec: the need for order & control

So today’s Advent colour is actually tomorrow’s colour. And the colour of two days later. The missing white is really making me stressed and I solved it by peeking at the days to come and finding two very light colours I can use to bring some light contrast into the shawl.


Yes, it’s cheating.
No, I don’t mind one bit.

This Advent Shawl is a game of pleasure and I want to enjoy my knitting.
I really like knitting stranded every day for a bit, thinking up patterns, trying them out in StitchFiddle, enjoying the flow of the quality yarn through my fingers.

And although I do like working within a pre-set frame of rules -it invites you to be creative- I’m not going to let one of the rules hamper my knitting pleasure.

Besides, I’m pretty stressed these days, feeling overwhelmed and incompetent with all the things on the to-do list that I’m not getting done. I don’t need the extra aggrevation of colour contrast troubles.

As an illustration of my need for order & control today I knitted little pink squares:

The next part are reindeer. Today’s the Swedish Julemarket in Groningen, a 3 hour train ride from here. I would have loved to have gone so much! But really I can’t.
So reindeer 🙂

Hopefully tuesday the white skein comes. I was contacted by the webshop owner late last night that she had read my mail and she would send the skein monday asap!
Until then she’s at the Swedish Julemarket, lucky her.

For the rest of my stress I’m telling myself: “Calm down already!”
Which is a useless phrase to throw at someone who’s stressed.

Useless, unless they’ve been handed the tools to calm down. Which I have. So here I go, calming down:

1. I’m safe, warm and nurtured. If I connect to my body and ask if we have any reason to be stressed it will respond: “noooo?”.
If I connect to my body I can enjoy some time with it and experience how happy it is, being safe, warm and nurtured. This will lower my stress levels fast.

This is what Mindfullness or a hot bath or Reverse Therapy or sitting in the garden with a cup of tea all do. Very important life skills to have.

If you do them a couple of times a day, let’s say two times a day, the calming down becomes a habit and you can enter that state with just one breath, anytime. No more “Fight or Flight”.

I myself was amused to discover there’s a whole other way time can pass. Not in seconds. Different.
I suspect this is what cats and cows experience when they’re peacefully resting.
just relax pic by Christian Pichler

2. Soooo….all stress I perceive today is mental stress, every subject brought on by myself, chosen to deem important.
That means I can pick and choose from this list. Ban some of them to the back of my mind, or even just ignore them. My husband proposes the need for making and sending x-mas cards as the first item to scrap. I’m not there yet, I want to create things.
Another one is not subjecting myself to the way news is reported. It’s all so manipulative and fear mongering and enticing. This one has been pushed out long ago. I follow investigative journalism and documentaries instead.
Subjecting yourself to the emotional format a Disney film follows is another one. I don’t need an orchestrated cry 45 minutes into a movie.

Other to-do items I can lump together and allow a time slot: “Tomorrow morning, 20 minutes, to do some of those administrative things that have been looming.”

3. Thirdly I chose two things each day to put on top of my to-do list. A useful, grown up thing such as reviewing the painters’ offers or health assurance reassessment. And a thing that makes me happy, such as sewing or taking a bath. There’s not much time for anything else really, with the time it takes to maintain my body and my household. So if (any of) these two things get done I’m glad and accomplished for the day.

And that’s how I handle stress.
In theory.
In reality I don’t do the “sit still for five minutes and notice how your body is safe and happy”, not even once a day. But I will today. Sit still. Except for hands, let them move, holding yarn.

Yeah, that’s what I’m doing today. Sit in my living room and knit for a bit, enjoy the advent things on display, the tree, the moose, the snoring cats. Have a cup of tea. Five minutes of not having to do anything in particular. Just breathing and noticing my body is safe, warm and nurtured.


internet meme from comic Gunshow by artist K.C. Green

First of December: celebrating Wolop and its Advent Calendar

December the first!
Day one of the Wolop Advent Calendar. AND I went and visited Wolop because today it is one year that the company is in business.

I wore my city outfit. With this fantastic vintage bag.
UntitledUntitled

It had knitting in it. And felted clogs. People on the train must have chuckled.
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I got several compliments while walking through the old city of Gouda though 🙂

But first: the Wolop Advent Box! This is how it looked this morning:

I’ve added some basic colours in the same yarn baseL white, blue, dark brown, grey and the left over of my light purple sock blanket. This way I can combine whatever colour I get into a piece of stranded knitting with enough contrast.

First colour of my Advent Calendar: PINK!
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Happy Birthday Wolop!
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Afterwards I had a little wander around. The whole city of Gouda was decorated for Saint Nicholas. It was a delight to look at the lights and the old buildings. I also did a little shopping:
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Preparing for Advent

This year I’m going to enjoy the month of December in the city. By now my health is well enough that I can make an effort and keep my home tidy and pleasant on a daily (ok, ok, weekly) basis.
advent
This December I’m really going to keep it up and enjoy my home life.

I want to mark every day. With yarn. Enter the Wolop Advent Calendar!
It is a mystery box with 24 miniskeins of soft, fingering yarn in unknown colours.
Wolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwolWolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwol
The colours are a surprise! Every day is a secret. I don’t do well with surprises at all but I’ve decided to enjoy this. I want to knit with a new skein every day although I won’t know what colour I’ll get.

So I’ve been looking for ideas to use yarn every day, regardless of the colours you get:
tinekepin1
These are just a few ideas from the many on this pinterest board, all gathered by Tineke from Atelier The Green Sheep.
I made a bundle on Ravelry with pattern ideas.

This week Wolop started her own group on Ravelry and it too has a bundle with patterns for the adventsbox.

I’m looking for a daily thing to knit, crochet, weave.
Specifically things to weave intrigue me. I love this shawl by Dreamersplace!

Absolutely love it. There are accent wefts, in the colour of the warp. And she divides mini skeins so she can use that colour again a second time.

This cloth was woven last year, using the Opal Advents box (which had 20 gram skeins):

How about making a little square each day on potholder looms?

Here too, I’d reserve parts of the daily skein and use it on a later day, to bring coherence in the end product.
A project like this would really show off the colours Wolop chose… which I don’t know… which is driving me bonkers… because I really like to be in control when it comes to colours! 😀

Making a little finished item each day is also very nice. I looked for items that only take 10 grams (40 m) of fingering yarn:

These patterns can be found in the Wolop Adventsbundle, I put them there.
But I don’t think I need 24 little cats or elephants. I’m too hung up on usefulness. It’s ingrained into me. I’m culturally and historically burdened! Calvinism! “Thou shalt be useful.” Calvinism everywhere! Without a playful tiger paws from Hobbe….

…oooh….

I only now see what Bill Watterson did. That clever man!

“Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher.” wikipedia

Love it. I already admire him for his art work (that brush virtuosity!) and compositions. Now this. Clever man.

Ah. Well. Not trying to fight my ingrained tendencies I’ve also been looking at combining unknown colours and usefulness.

Which logically leads to stranded knitting:


That last one is Lorix5’s Favourite Things shawl.

The pattern is ‘My Favourite Things’ Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee and it is free. It basically says: “cast on 72 stitches, choose a motif each day that makes you happy, continue knitting until reaching desired length, kitchener together.”

Yes please!

This enhances what I want for December: live and mark each day individually. Each day I’ll open one of the mystery packs from the Wolop Advent Calendar, see what colour it is, get inspired towards a certain subject or motive and knit that. Perhaps even make a little drawing to accompany the occasion. Salute mr. Waterson 😉

I won’t fret about colours not being to my taste. This shawl will not be about my colour palette, it will be about the experience of December 2016. Marking each day and, hopefully, being a testament to a month in which I again leap forward in health and mental robustness. Or have a fun month regardless.

I can save a bit of the colour du jour to use it later, as an accent or to bring more coherence into the shawl. I’ll also can knit a bit of “bland” stockinette stitch and go back to it later and duplicate stitch onto it with a colour that is released later in the calendar.

I’ll cast on 211 stitches (or something). The 72 mentioned above is for bulky yarn.

And I’ll have a few basic colours standby from the start so I can knit stranded from day one. I have a bit of white, grey and blue so I’ll have enough options to knit in desired contrasts.

Yes, really looking forward to December and I’m already preparing the house.
The first few days are about this guy:
advent
Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on the 5th.

Around the 16th of December I’ll assist at Winterwol fair again, with Wolop, in the very north of the country.

21st is the shortest day which marks the start of the lengthening of the day.

24th is Christmas, which for me is the start of the “12 days of x-mas” which is the “time outside time”. From 24 until 6th of January (or perhaps 12th) I’ll be spinning. Together with Frau Holle, or Hulda, the pre-celtic goddess of nature, farming, spinning and cats. I mentioned this winter = spinning = weird time a few years ago. I’m glad to give it some attention in my life again.

But that’s all for later. Today I’m putting together the DIY Advent star:
advent

It’s an antique design, by religious group the Hernhutters. Just carton and split pins (cotter pins). The Hernhutters are do-gooders from 18th century Germany, they are also known as Moravians. I have no affiliation with them but grew up near their settlement in the Netherlands and their goodwill towards people permeated the whole town.advent adventsster hernhutters

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

Weird Wool Wednesday: back in the city, feeling coordinated.

werk aan de winkel: armbandje en vossenblik. Shirt en zijde geel geverfd met rietpluimen.

It’s like I made all this on purpose.

PS. what’s this colour called anyway? A clear light yellowish green. Or greenish yellow.

According to Scheepjes Yarns this is colourway “Leiden” but Leiden is a Dutch city with most certainly not this colour.
“206 Titanium Yellow” suggests Schminke Horadam Aquarel, the watercolours I lust over at the moment.
Watered down chatreuse?
Pantone 393? 393 PC? 930?

Uhm. What am I looking at internet colours for? I’ve got some crocheting to do.