Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Dye Pot Dreams

Despite the fact these summer days are action-packed with the antics and activities of Chi-Chi and Muffy, I'm still finding the opportunity to steal of few moments with my latest knitting adventure. That yarn basket of mine follows me wherever I go. I've managed to sneak in a few rows at the pool side, the playground and the backyard picnic table. It's slow going, but I seem to be enjoying the leisurely pace of the project. Sometimes I favour larger projects over the "quick hits". With the end nowhere in site, I can just relax and enjoy the meditative act of knitting itself. That being said, I am pretty excited about the final result. It is a gift to myself! I'm knitting the tea leaves cardigan, which I first saw on Soulemama (of course!). Aren't these pottery buttons absolutely beautiful? They were made by my very talented potter/artist cousin, Sarah! If you happen to be looking for the perfect finishing touch to a special project, you should check out her Etsy store. So hard to choose! I've had these starfish tucked away for quite some time, and I'm quite excited to finally use them. Inspired by the buttons and summer beach days, I intentionally dyed the wool in an ocean inspired palette. I'm imagining this cozy sweater will keep me warm on those cold winter days when the ocean is a little less "friendly" in these parts.

While I'm working away on my sweater, my mind is also dreaming of upcoming projects for the fall. With school starting, I will be eager to make some new warm woollies for those cold days at the bus stop. Both Chi-Chi and Muffy truly enjoy getting "involved" in the creation of their hand knits. This is certainly the time of year to plan ahead, as our property is bursting with blossoms that are absolutely perfect for the dye pot. Queen Anne's Lace is in full bloom and the goldenrod is just beginning to splatter the landscape with it's deep yellow hues. I also did some planning back in the spring and planted several pots of marigolds. Over the coming weeks, the boys and I will be harvesting these blossoms to create a few special items - hats, mittens and a new fall vest for each of them. A little tip: I freeze the dye stuff if I am not prepared to use it immediately. All three of these blooms produce some beautiful yellow dyes. I often throw in a bit of tea to darken the color and add a more mottled texture to the yarn. The photo shows the goldrenrod/tea hat and mitten set I made for Chi-Chi last year. These were favorites of his, most likely because he assisted in gathering that goldrenrod with his own little hands.

I do enjoy tinkering with natural dyes. It's not something I would likely do exclusively as the color choice can be rather limiting. I was fortunate to participate in a natural dyeing workshop last summer at Deanne Fitzpatrick's studio. More than anything, it was fun and refreshing for Mommy to have a day to herself! Anyone who has been to Deanne's studio and shop will know what I mean when I say it is a wool lover's dream and truly an inspiring place to pass the time. The course was taught by the talented Joanna Close, and was fun and informative. I left feeling confident and inspired.

Anyone else doing some "lazy summer" knitting? What's on your needles?


Anastasia said...

I am working on my second pair of woolen soakers for my baby. They are the cutest design and he lives in the first pair I made. This time I am going to make them into pants instead of just 3/4 length skater style ones.....:) Would love to hear more about dying with flowers etc.......

The Wool Fairy said...

Oh, baby soakers are so cute! I never learned how to knit until after my kids were approaching the end of their diaper days. I missed all those cute little baby knits.

I put all the blossoms in the freezer, but I'll do a post when I get around to actually dyeing the yarn. It's super easy. My favorite is the goldren rod, which is not quite in full bloom.

Thanks for the note! Hope you are having fun with your goats (:


April said...

Love Deanne's shop - I'm a regular now as she's carrying Anointment products in her shop. She's awesome, I am looking forward to scouring her shop for supplies when I get into dollmaking again. You must also check out Heidi Wulfraat's shop in Lakeburn, NB just outside of Moncton, called London-Wul. It's AMAZING!