Monday, October 15, 2012

shades of summer

Here are my final dye experiments for this summer
I've cheated a bit, because I placed the dye vats next to the wood burner this last couple of weeks
to keep them fermenting.
Which works fine :)

The yarn is Poll Dorset from Renaissance Dyeing

Here's another photo. The exact colours are difficult to capture, they look more like this.
from left to right - dyed with:
 Brambles (Rubus fructicosus) - Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) - St Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Madder (Rubia tinctorum) - Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) :basic vat  - Elderberries :acidic vat 


the yellow Irisses were harvested in my own garden. They grow in abundance close to the river
I would never take the wild ones as they are quite rare
and they were replanted after taking away only a part of the root

sliced roots Iris pseudacorus

The roots hold a reddish colour which apparently gives a bluish grey dye 
with promises of more blues or maybe even some purples, if I had used more roots
I'm definitely going to try it again next year !

My conclusion is that the colours you get with the fermentation method are quite different from the bright colours of the synthetic dyes, much softer, but they are what I would like to call "vibrantly alive" and frankly I prefer these soft tones to the ones we are so used to see on clothing and yarn these days.

And, once you get used to work with these natural colours, it's not easy to return to the synthetic colours again. 
Well, I won't, anyway !

I think I will make a crochet wrap or maybe a cardigan, with these six colours


Friday, October 05, 2012

shades of madder

Dyeing with madder, Rubia tinctorum, has been a magical adventure for me.

It is magical because madder offers a colour palette from 
light to dark orange, red, burgundy, pink to dark pink.
depending on a acidic or a alcali-basic dye bath
which will give different shades.
(Orenburg silk mohair)

Poll Dorset yarn, dyed with madder
left : acidic dye bath - right basic dye bath

Orenburg silk mohair, lace merino, 
even the wall was painted with madder

You can use vegetal dyes for other purposes too. 
This orange wall was painted with madder

here's the recipe 

100 grams madder powder 

100 grams fine wood ash 

20 grams soap flakes 

50 grams beeswax 

Put the madder and the wood ash with water in a pan 

Warm up till just before boiling 

Filter this liquid in a cloth mesh 

add the soap and the beeswax, mix well 

keep this mixture warm in bain-marie, 

don’t let it boil ! 

when everything is well mixed you can used this mixture 

lukewarm to paint the wall 

the next day you can polish it with a soft cloth 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bastet crochet cowl

Here's my new crochet design

This multicolored cowl is crocheted with a houndstooth stitch and picot edging
It’s easy to make and it can be worn in several different ways;

Short or double loop, close around your neck or longer like an infinity scarf.
But you can also wear it wrapped around your head as a headband.

Bastet is the famous Cat Goddess of the ancient Egyptians

As the name implies the Bastet Cowl is a warm enveloping collar 
like that worn by the Egyptian feline goddess after whom it is named.

It uses 165g organic 4-ply Poll Dorset yarn from Renaissance Dyeing
in five different shades naturally dyed with weld, madder, cochineal, indigo, acorn cups and log-wood.

Crochet hooks: 3,5 mm (US:E) and 3,25 mm or 3 mm (US:D)

Level of expertise: Easy
both written and charted stitch pattern instructions

Available as a pattern: here

and also available as a kit from:  Renaissance Dyeing

The kit includes:

- A 5 page crochet pattern IN ENGLISH with with both written and charted stitch pattern instructions, e-mailed to you in pdf form.

- 5 hanks of exclusively dyed organic Poll Dorset yarn.


L'explication de ce modèle est égallement disponible en français
Vous aurez besoin de : 33 grammes de chacune des 5 couleurs suivantes: 
Light Beech Green - Dark Cream - Purple - Mid Blue Grey - Orange 
(vert clair - crême - pourpre - gris-bleu - orange) .

L’explication comprends des instructions écrites et un schéma
Ce grand col multicolore est crocheté avec un point pied de poule et une bordure en picots. 
Il est facile à crocheter et peut être porté de différentes manières; court et tourné double, porté près du cou ou comme une écharpe infinie. Mais vous pouvez aussi le porter enroulé autour de la tête comme un bandeau.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

as Fall is approaching fast...

it's time to work on warm and cozy knit and crochet designs.

As always, I prefer to work with 100 procent wool and hand dyed yarns. The Poll Dorset yarn of Renaissance Dyeing is a wonderful yarn to knit or crochet with. And the colours are amazingly bright and alive. Thanks to the skills of the very talented Andie Luijk
Here, I've choose five new colours to design a warm crochet cowl. The garment and the pattern will be finished by the end of next week. There will also be a kit available with yarn and pattern at the Renaissance Dyeing website.

LOVE these colours

In the meantime, I'm still dyeing some yarn, but I should now bring the fermenting dye-vats inside the house as the nights are getting really cold.

I found this interesting pdf on the Net about fermentend dyes, it's written in German and English:

After rinsing the dyed skeins in the river next to the house, they are now drying for the last time.
left - Poll Dorset dyed with St John's Wort = salmon pink
right - Some stash yarn dyed with Alder = dark honey


Thursday, August 23, 2012

shades of dyer's chamomille

Dyer's chamomille or golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria) is a perennial plant with aromatic bright green-bluish foliage and yellow daisy-like flowers.

It has no culinary and only limited medicinal uses. However, the flowers produce excellent yellow and gold-orange.
It has been used as a dye for a very long time, it provides the buff in Turkish carpets but in Europe dyers preferred weld instead as yellow dye.
The leaves give a light green dye.

one acidic and one basic fermented dye in glass containers
with dyer's chamomille

Using the fermentation method with dyer's chamomille
gave some light yellow on kidsilk mohair and buff yellow on lace merino


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Meet these two wild "Gitanes"...

Introducing... My new knit design Gitane, 
Colourful cardigan named like thus for its bohemian twist.

This cropped cardigan is knitted in a fine lace Merino and is available in two different colour versions,
the Mid Pink version and the Sea Green version.

Gitane is the French word for gypsy woman

Have a look:

with a big, big thank you to my wonderful models, Ingrid Anna and Valeria
It was great to work with you both, 
gracias - dankjewel


The patterns are available here:

The kits with yarn and pattern are available here

In the pictures,

Sea Green Gitane is knitted with 3,25 mm needles: size large or with a oversised look with only three buttons in front

Mid Pink Gitane is knitted with 2,75 mm needles, size small, with 10 buttons in front


Monday, August 06, 2012

new knit design

My new knit design, Gitane, is going to be released very soon
It's a colourful cardigan with a bohemian twist, knitted in a fine lace Merino, in two different colour versions.

One version is based on the colour Sea green.
So I decided to have some photos taken at the seaside

Have a sneak peek...
the sea green version, just me and the sea as models  :)

More pictures of both colour versions will be posted next week 

The knitting patterns and the kits with pattern and yarn in two colour combinations
will be available august 15th 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

shades of cosmos

Instead of fresh plants, you can also try to use dried ones and dye the yarn using the same method I'm describing on this blog: Fermented herbal dyes

Here I used dried Sulfur Cosmos flowers (Cosmos sulphureus) harvested last year

The yarn is Orenburg kidsilk mohair lace