my knitcrochet project…

recto-folk-sweater

recto

Done! Here’s my new knitcrochet project !

I’ve always loved folkloric motifs, I wanted to design something like this for years. Though it was a challenging and quite complex project, using 2,5 mm needles and sock yarn (seven colours) to make a sweater. Mixing knitted stripes, colourwork and crochet motifs which was really fun but also challenging to do. Started in august of last year, I’m happy it’s finally finished! I’m quite pleased with the result too.

new-crochet-design

European textile traditions are so rich in using all kinds of geometrical motifs, Estonian, Scandinavian, Russian, Sami, Fair isle, Irish knitting, embroidery and lace motifs, knitting and crochet motifs and weaving patterns from all European countries. Similar symbols are also found on ancient pottery and on several megalithic stone structures. These can be found in every tradition, with some variations, all around the world and are still in use by indigenous people wherever the old traditions are kept alive. These universal symbols were used everywhere with the same result in mind. They are not just for decorative purposes. Geometric motifs and signs are sacred symbols. Used on clothing, objects and houses for millennia, made by craftspeople, mostly women, with the intention to protect themselves and their homes and to promote fertility of the land. It was part of their rituals and religious beliefs.

work-in-progress-take-ii

When wearing clothes adorned with symbols, or tattooed on the skin, people could stay connected to their deities and spirits, often honouring ancient Goddesses. They protected the person who wore them, from negative entities and energies. Because these ritual folk-art motifs vibrate and thus resonate with powerful energy fields to the same frequency. Think of drawn symbols as amplifiers to resonate with the energy fields, as boosters to reinforce and project the hidden patterns. When drawn (or embroidered, knitted, weaved) they mirror and activate these energies. They are the rights tools to use in all sorts of rituals but also in daily life. Acknowledging that rituals also reinforces the power of symbols, the ancients knew the meaning of each symbol and what power they represented. These symbols are truly universal and when you decide to use them in your own work, you undeniably will feel their power. Their vibrations, their rhythms, will move you and change you for the best.

the-sleeves-are-nearly-finished

I truly believe in the powers of these symbols and I want to use them in all my work. The more these symbols and patterns are used, the more powerful they become. And we all could use some magic now, don’t you agree? I’ve added knotted fringes because knots are very powerful tools of protection too, every medieval “witch” knew that. Before actually wearing this sweater I will smudge it first with locally harvested incense plants and place it outside during the full moon to give it extra moonpower. Rituals are very important and we should be paying more attention to them because our world is lacking the right kind of power right now !

verso-folk-sweater

verso

I’ve made it an oversized/cropped sweater because I wanted to keep the design simple. It’s kind of trendy and also I love the feel of it, it gives freedom to move, drum and dance all around the place (and do rituals when needed). To be worn on top of a long and simple dress or any neutral background. It’s made with organic Merino d’Arles yarn dyed with plant-based dyes from Renaissance Dyeing. I sure do hope knitters, crocheters and embroiderers will start to use more and more yarn and fabric dyed with plant based dyes. Dye plants are organic and healthy and even medicinal in the sense that when you wear your garment, your skin absorb the substances from the dyes. Most of the plants we use to dye with are also medicinal plants. I never use toxic plants to dye my yarn with. I know these plants well because I’m also trained as an herbalist and I have worked with wild plants for over thirty years now. I respect and honour Nature. I know the importance of feeling healthy and having a body full of energy. When you wear synthetics and/or textiles dyed with synthetic dyes you are poisoning yourself, slowly but surely. Also the waste of these textiles are very bad for the environment. Please bear that in mind whenever you buy or make clothing.

verso-folk-sweater-detail

Maybe, some will ask for a written pattern, I’m sorry to say that I won’t write it down. Because I decided some time ago, not to be a knitdesigner again. It’s just not who I am anymore. I’m working on other projects which are very important for me right now and I need to give them all the necessary time and attention. Life is so short ! Also, I do love the idea of making OAK knit and crochet clothing. I consider knit and crochet work as a media, worth to be considered wearable art on the same basis as any other fiber art, wearable or not.

recto-folk-sweater-detail

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed this post.
Back to my dyevats now, my writings and a new knitcrochet project.

Marylene

folk-sweater

In the meantime…

coreopsis flowers

It’s coreopsis time! I’m harvesting lots of flowers, like hundred every day now. Leaving enough for the solitary bees to collect nectar and pollen. Having so much flowers I’m going to dry some too to dye with them, just to see if there is a difference in color with the fresh flowers. For now, I’ve prepared a dye vat to let the flowers ferment in their juice, placing the vat outside as we’re having warm days.

I’ve only just begun with harvesting dyeplants and I’m starting a few dye vats. So many other things to do. I will post more about it very soon.

In the meantime you can now find me and my plants on Instagram too

See you here and there

Marylene

 

too cold to dye

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted something here. That’s partly because Spring has been too cold to start any dyevat. I really need sunlight to dye and my studio is not heated. I also realised that I have a lot of dyed yarn waiting to be transformed in pieces of art first 🙂

to dye or not to dye, that's the question

From the left: dyed from leftover winter vats with dahlia flowers (a yellowy-orange), ivy leaves and berries (a yelllowy-green), tagetes minuta leaves and flowers (which actually gave a very nice bright yellow) and yellow Iris roots (which was a disapointment because it didn’t dye that lovely grey color it gave the first time I used it). To dye or not to dye, that’s my question right now ! To tell the truth, I’m a bit bored with all the yellows and beiges.

 

work in proces -work in proces

I’ve started some fiber art projects and I will share some pictures on this blog soon…

Anyway, I’ve sowed a lot of dye plants including japanese indigo, amaranthus red dye, poppies, orange cosmos, coreopsis, woad, mullein and others. They need to grow now, hopefully the rain will stop and sunshine will appear, we all need it…

In the meantime I’ve started making some incense which is something completely different from dyeing, it’s also with plants but it smells much better !

I just love it…

preparing incense Urdkyphi - preparationKyphi - ingredients - shades of lynxkyphi cubes dryinga batch of Kyphi, from an ancient Egyptian recipe

I’ve also started experimenting with local plants to make watercolors or aquarel and inks which is something I really want to learn more about.

 

c'est pret !nos oeuvres d'art

Always collecting, harvesting or drying some herbal stuff
I’m a harvester-gatherer that’s what I am …

pine pollenpine pollen, great medicine !

harvesting magical stuffharvesting magical stuff (here some mistletoe berries)

appel flower bud tea harvestapple blossom flowers for tea

Calendula officinalis dryed flowersdried Calendula flowers for dyes, medicine and incense

and… there’s always something brewing in the kitchen

brewing elderflower wine

brewing Elderflower wine

So I guess this year this blog will be about all the things I do with plants and not so much about dyeing, but you never know. See you soon 🙂

 

The dyeing season starts again…

…slowly but surely

 

My friend gave me a Gunnera tinctoria dried flowerstalk with a lot of seeds in it. I’m told Gunnera tinctoria roots should dye black but I don’t seem to find a lot about it on the Internet. It’s worth a try but I need some full grown plants first, that will take a while, for sure. I found a few oaks galls in my garden which will come in handy at some point and I’ve started a fermentation vat with Ivy berries and leaves (Hedera helix). I’ve never tried dyeing with them and I’m very curious if it will give me the famous green I’m hoping for. Another smaller vat is filled with fermented juice of some rose hips I’ve collected in the Fall, the color is a very promising dark red but my guess is it will give pink on yarn. And in the smaller vat I’m testing oak moss (Evernia prunastri). It’s looks very promising so far, this lichen is very famous for it’s purplish dye. All fermented dyes of course!

More about this soon…

Ah! Spring is in the air !

Digging for madder…

madder roots

Madder roots 

It’s been a while since I posted something here. That’s because it’s winter and during winter I hibernate. Which means I don’t dye anything or harvest any plants, I just read and knit and read and knit and once in a while I write a bit too.

But basically, I’m waiting for the return of spring…

freshly dugged madder roots

freshly dug madder roots

But yesterday the weather was nice, the sun was shining and it felt like spring! So I decided it was a good day to harvest some madder roots.
It is said that the minimum age for harvesting madder is three years, but the best age should be five years. I have three madder plants, all of them three years old, so I dug one out, leaving some of the roots in the soil for new plants and I harvested about 300 grams of roots. I put them in a bucket full of water to loosen the soil and let it soak overnight.

Because madder root is hard to cut when dry I cut mine fresh in small pieces using a pair of secateurs after I have washed them thoroughly several times.

washed fresh madder roots

Now I will let them dry in a warm place before I use them, later in summer.
The colour of the roots is quite red as you can see. 300 grams of fresh washed roots should be around 45 grams of dried madder. That’s not much and to be honest I expected more, but I guess I will have to be patient and wait another two years to dig out the rest.

chopped fresh madder roots

chopped and ready to dry

Conclusion:  I will have to plant a LOT more plants if I want to dye with my own madder…

summer dyes – part one

There comes a time when autumn asks,
what have you been doing all summer ?


summer dyes 2015 shades of lynx

Dyer’s chamomile – Anthémis des teinturières – BFL
Coreopsis – silk
Tulip tree leaves – tulipier de Virginie feuilles – BFL
Dyer’s broom – Genêt des teinturières – silk
Poppy flowers – pivot fleurs – kidsilk mohair
Eucalyptus – BFL
Goldenrod – solidage – kidsilk mohair

Eucalyptus – silk
Woad – pastel – kidsilk
Goldenrod – solidage – silk
Goldenrod – solidage – BFL lace
Coreopsis – BFL
Queen Anne’s lace – carotte sauvage – kidsilk mohiair
Woad – pastel – BFL lace

Shades were obtained by fermentation
no mordants (except for the Eucalyptus :symplocos)
only lemon juice and/or lye water modifiers