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

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the true shades of plants…

As promised, some pictures of my dye adventure of the last weeks

coreopsis-tinctoria

dyed with coreopsis flowers Coreopsis tinctoria

iris-pseudacacorus-dye-and-illustration

dyed with yellow flag, yellow iris root Iris pseudacorus

grey on merino and alpaca silk, more like silver really, but pink-goldish on silk

liriodedron-tulipifera

dyed with tulip tree leaves Liriodendron tulipifera

sambucus-ebulus-daneberry

dyed with danewort or dwarf elder berries Sambucus ebulus

drying-skeins-natural-dyes

some drying skeins…

All these colours are the result of a fermentation technique, that is to say, it involves a long process where no additional heating is involved, no metal salts and no chemicals are added. All you need really are plants and patience. And a passion for botanics and colours of course. The results are not what most people are used to, no flashing but vibrant colours. It’s the original shades of plants. It’s a whole new approach to dyes but at the same time it’s very ancient. And it’s a very feminine path too if I may say so…

More soon…

a summer of madder…

Irish sheep farmers still feed their sheep Rose Madder plant to tint the wool. (It’s so much easier than dying it!) And Rose Madder naturally turns the teeth and bones of animals who eat the plant a reddish color, which became a gift to 19th century scientists for studying bone growth and development.

http://www.belltowndesign.com/red-pink-paint-color/

I expected to dye a lot with woad this year but for some strange reason my woad plants didn’t grow that well, so…


my summer was madder shades of lynx

My summer was kind of madder

shades of madder on alpaca-silk hanging to dry

Alpaca/silk mordanted with Symplocos – dyed with madder – using lemon juice and washing soda as modifiers

I’m going to knit a oversized sweater with this yarn  🙂

The beauty of native plants

“To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

wilde peen

one of the most beautiful flowers to look at and the most photogenic

wild carrot, bird’s nest, bishop’s lace, Queen Anne’s lace

yesterday's wild harvest - life at Urd ar Brunnr

On my walk yesterday I found: Queen Anne’s lace, still blooming, wild plum twigs with lichen, St. John’s wort flowering for a second time, Blackthorn berries. All are great dye materials

Cantharellus

These common roll-rim mushrooms grow in my garden (Paxilus involutus). I want to try and see if it’s a good dye mushroom, probably it will give some yellow.

harvesting alder inner bark - shades of lynx

End of summer is a good time to harvest barks, there are plenty of alder trees here and one or two branches will give me enough material to dye with.

The magic colour of the Alder inner bark:

When you cut an alder branch and remove the inner bark the wood is white first, but very quickly it turns to a bright reddish orange.
To the ancients, the Alder was particularly revered, for it appeared to bleed like humans.

I usually let the bark soak for many months before I use it as a dye (without modifiers: dark yellow on wool and rusty brown on cotton)

alder, aulne, els, erle, aliso
(Alnus glutinosa)

“Of course, it’s always been known (especially amongst the old-ones) that alder trees in the most primeval, remote and wild sites, have fairy or elf doors in their trunks just above the water line, and these are entrances into faere kingdoms, gateways into the Underworld.”
http://www.ecoenchantments.co.uk/myogham_alderpage.html

harvesting Amaranthus hopi red dye

The last of the dye plants in the garden are being harvested too, like these Amaranthus Hopi red dye

preparing fermented dyes

But I still have a lot of fermented plant juices waiting for some yarn to be dyed with, I will show the results of my last dyes of summer soon