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.

workshop Dyeing with Mushrooms, Day two results.

we did the greys, blues and reds and the light yellow in the lower left. I opted out of the beige that comes from the abundant native mushroom Aardappelbovist (Scleroderma citrinum)

Lots of drab, smurrie and sludge again:

Sorry, very tired. Two night with 5 hours of sleep total. Talk staccato, mkay?

Sitting now with colours all around me. Thinking stranded projects, shapes, combinations.
Knitsonik is very much on my mind.

Also this book: Poetry in Stitches. Old. 1997. Wish I had it. Very much so. De Schapekop had one in Norwegian, I was delighted 🙂 Looking for one like this for me: Dikt i masker.

Rukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek Solveig
Solveig takes heartfelt landscapes, historic textiles and cultural identities and translates them into stranded patterns.

Rukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek SolveigRukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek Solveig

Want too. This way of designing. Dutch things.

Thinking about these:

Puttertje by Carel Fabritius uit 1654:

Dutch tiles. Art nouveau. Snowdrops. (these are lilies, couldn’t find snowdrops. Don’t like lilies):

Winter almost gonepic by Atze Dijkstra

There are tiles on many buildings in my city and other cities I hold dear. There are also typical Dutch tiles in my house, behind the fire place. Won’t do blue and white though.

Would love to do a “pimpelmees” but don’t have the right blues. Another time, little friend:

Dutch traditional clothes. Colourful. Practical.
from Marken:
marken vrouw pic by Gwen the Monster
from Volendam (wouldn’t do Volendam though, it’s too iconical):
2011 Markenpic by Jose Gonzalvo Vivas
from Friesland:
pic by Theun
Nice colours.

For now I’m thinking light coloured vest with snowdrops, wrens and the checkered pattern of the “Kievitsbloem”. All early spring, end of winter symbols. Art Nouveau shapes. First time steeking.

Another project to use the warm yellows, the ochres, with the steel blue I bought to go with it. Perhaps wristwarmers, not a vest.

Another with the colours of the painting Puttertje. Those are the ones we dyed yesterday: the red, the blues, the greys both warm and cool. They don’t flatter the colours of my face but they are beautiful.

I wouldn’t depict the bird itself. I would only use its colours. Or it’s essential shape or combinations. It’s face mask for example. The streak on its wings. I found another painting, using the same colours as the Puttertje:

It’s not Dutch though, it’s French: Fleur de lande by Jacques Wely. “Flower of the land.” But I think it’s a Dutch girl. It’s from the Art Nouveau era.

I want one vest finished half way May, when there’s a Knitting and Crochet festival in the old town nearby De Schapekop and the mushroom instructor will be there again.

But first: rest rest rest. Got nice things to watch on the inside of my eyelids though. Knitwear designer things. 🙂

Workshop Mushroom Dyeing Day 1

Results of day 1, made with two species of mushrooms:

The one that dyes yellow was then modified with iron and gave the greens (“modifying” is fancy for “add a bunch of rusty nails”).

The colours are so beautiful! The whole workshop is fantastic. It’s really relaxed yet well organized. There’s no rush but everything gets done. The instructor has soooo much knowledge. He’s name is Chiel Noordeloos and he was a mushroom professor at the University of Leiden. Now he’s retired. On thursday he’s off to Oslo to give two lectures on mushroom dyeing. In Norwegian! I told him I speak Norwegian too, on account of having spent six months in Bergen. He said: “But then you won’t speak Norwegian, you speak Bergensk.” He’s so right haha!

He brought lots of examples, both of mushrooms and of dyed skeins and of knitted items. Lots of books too. It was wonderful.

The location is at woolstudio De Schapekop (The Sheepshead) which is also wonderful. Very hospitable. We are taken care off really well.

Here are some pictures:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

De Schapekop is a wonderful place. I’m not even showing you half of it:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

There was time to explore and to knit while doing so:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
First course of a wonderful lunch.

Examples Chiel brought with him:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Some of the books:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
Heehee, mushrooms are called “svamp” in Swedish.

Knitted clothing all dyed with swamps:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Look, he buys some of his dried mushrooms at Riihivilla in Finland:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
I don’t know which colour these give. Mushrooms are plenty in Finland, not so much in the Netherlands. Love Riihivilla. Leena keeps a blog about natural dyeing, it features mushrooms too. I recognize the smell of the purple dyes from a mitten kit I knitted.

In the afternoon we dyed purples and greens. This purple mushroom is toxic and it needs it’s pH value monitored to give purple:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Adding iron to the dyebath before dunking in the skeins:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Then dipping various skeins for various periods of time. It’s how I got the lighter colours. I was the only one doing that, the workshop provides three colourways for green. The first, most intense one pictured here and two lighter ones. I put in two additional skeins, the last one only for a couple of seconds. They are bottom right. As soon as it had the colour I wanted I took it out and rinsed it:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
I used two skeins I’m supposed to use tomorrow. This means I won’t be dyeing all the colours tomorrow. That’s ok, I don’t mind skipping out on corals or light oranges. We’ll see.

Results of today are drying. Wool for tomorrow is already sorted. We’ll dye greys, brown, blues and reds.
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

It’s wonderful to be able to participate a whole day. I’m not even that tired. How far I’ve come 🙂

On the way back the landscape inspired me to think about colours and stranded knitting:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Preparing to dye with mushrooms.

Just before the sun hits the snow this morning:

I’m at the cabin for six days of rest and crafting. Yesterday I arrived here with Lillepoes and about 19 projects to work on. Knitting, sewing, spinning, embroidery.

Instead I’ve been doing some homework for a workshop Dyeing with Mushrooms I’ll attend at the beginning of February. This is Shetland Lambswool from LYS and wool studio De Schapekop:

I need to make these into 14 skeins of 25 grams and 5 of 10 grams. Then they need to be mordanted with alum. It has to happen this week because I won’t be seeing my dyeing pan or the alum after that. So here I was last night, skeining up the cakes, counting the rotations of my Louet winder.

The workshop at De Schapekop will be fun and interesting. This is the picture they show:
screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-10-54-27
Lots of colours possible with mushrooms!

It’s a two day workshop, with mycologist (= professional mushroom-o-logist) Chiel Noordeloos. A mushroom expert who happens to love knitting and has brought these two fields together.

The first day we’ll dye yellow, green and orange-reds. The second day greys, purple and browns. At the end I’ll have 350 grams of dyed yarns. That’s a stranded vest!

I knew of dyeing yarn with mushrooms from Finnish dyer Leena Riihelä from webshop Riihivilla. They have locally spun Finnsheep yarns, all dyed with plants and mushrooms. Their mitten kitts are excellence! I’ve knitted three (and a half) of them.
 pic by Riihivilla

In Summer time they sell them on the market Kauppatori of Helsinki:
Willow Herb Mittens

My mittens, the first I ever knit:

They put so many yarn in one kit that I knit three mittens. The first one was too tight, you can see the difference in the first picture. There was enough yarn to knit two extra mittens. It was my first stranded project.

Here are some pictures of the finished product, I only took these last year, after 7 years of wear:

Still look good eh? I wear them often. When I made them I put the year on it, as it was the year I learned to knit.  Since then I wanted to date a knit each year but it’s only now that I did it again: the Wolop Advent-shawl has “2016” on it.

These are the Finsheep mittens I knit for my husband and my mother. All Riihivilla kits and they both still use them too.
robertmittsroz mitts

And here’s the kit I bought in 2011 and have knitted a bit on since then:

The light orange is mushroom dyed for sure! Since I bought this kit my colour preference has switched away from orange and I don’t think I’ll ever finish it. Which is something I feel guilty over because I’d really like another pair of Riihivilla mittens. Wonderful company, wonderful yarn. Finnsheep is in my top 3 of favourite breeds.

I wish I had bought the kit for this colourway instead:

Shipping costs are preventing me from ordering them now and have done so for years…
Instead I’m dreaming of visiting Finland one day. Buy the kit in person, on the market. Also see Finnish wool people. And try to find an old Finnish spinning wheel to take home, restore and use. I already have a Finnish slanty wheel and would love to have an old one. One used by a Finnish wool woman.

Back to dyeing with mushrooms. All colours above are done with plants and mushroom. The grey-green in my rose mitts is from mushroom. And the orange and pink in my mother’s mitts too, if I remember correctly.

Leena of Riihivilla keeps a very interesting blog about her dyeing: Riihivilla.blogspot.fi

Annakika is a dyer in Sweden with a beautiful Flickr account:

dagens skördResultat av svampfärgningen / Mushroom dyeing 16 juli 2012
Pics by AnnaKika who dyed these skeins with mushrooms (notes in Swedish)

Now I’m off to tie up some more skeins. Tea is gone, cake is gone. Let’s get to it.
The tying needs to be done in a certain way, so the dye fluid can reach every part of the yarn. For this dyers tie a string in a repeated figure 8 across the strands of the skeins.

Every skein has to be marked too, so I’ve put a wooden bead on them. And tied two knots in a string, should the bead break and go missing.

Lastly I’ve used a knot that is more easily loosened than a straight forward knot. Before putting the ends through the loop I run them once behind the “root”.

Here’s everything together: bead, figure 8 across the skein and a slightly modified knot at the end:

Also: this yarn contains spinning oil and I must be careful not to rub it on my face. I think I did it anyway because I had insomnia last night and I’ve not yet shaken off the brackish feeling that comes with that. A little walk outside first, I think. Than a snort of cat tummy. And then wool homework. Then wash hands and yarn and hopefully tonight peaceful dreaming of mushrooms.

Mushroom Garden pic by Nelo Hotsuma