Saturday, February 27, 2010

Planning your weaver's and spinners garden?

As you plan your weaver's and spinners' garden this Spring, don't forget that Joybilee Farm carries 3 varieties of fiber flax seed. (Hermes, an older variety; Ilona, and Electra - two newer European selections).

Sarah's woad seed, hand selected and bred for exceptional indigo production in our zone 3 climate, with two varieties available.

We also have several varieties of European basket willows, in 3 assortments, available at a special price (Canada only, please) for shipping in April.

Joybilee Farm specializes in naturally coloured wool, mohair and angora, raised on the farm, as well as natural dyes and linen education. Come for a visit and tour our natural dye gardens and linen culture demonstration garden. Visit with the fiber animals and enjoy a custom workshop or a farm tour.

We are in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada, on Hwy. 3 West of Grand Forks --
2 hours from the airports at Kelowna and Castlegar, 2 hours north of Spokane Washington. Just 5 hours from Vancouver, B.C. or 8 hours from Calgary. Plan a visit into your summer travels.

The 3rd Annual Linen Festival takes place in 2010 on August 7th. This is the only Linen Festival that takes place in English Speaking North America. We have visitors from across Canada and the US on this special day where we address the question, "Where does clothing come from..."
and engage experts on linen culture and production. This year we'll have an artisan market, too.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dyeing cotton with natural dyes

I'm teaching a second indigo dye workshop with the Sunshine Quilters this Spring. Natural indigo dyes wool, silk, linen and cotton equally well. But instead of indigo they want to add a mordant dye to their repetoire. The goal is blue from indigo and green using a yellow overdye. So I am needing to plunge in and learn to dye cottons with natural dyes. This is something I've avoided as it appears that it is terribly fickle and subject to many failures.

I started my quest with rereading Jim Liles book, The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing, traditional recipes for modern use. (highly recommended if you are dyeing plant fibers)

I learned that I need to scour the cotton fabric more diligently than I do wool, to get out the cotton seed oils and sizing. Then I need to mordant first with Tannin -- 1 1/2 ounces per lb. of fabric. That's about 2 tbsp. by volume. Tannin is mordanted cold. The fabric is worked through the vat and then it is left for 12 to 24 hours to absorb. The next step is an alum mordant -- using washing soda instead of citric acid, again, colder than for wool and again a long soaking. And 8 oz. per lb. of cloth. Yikes! That's like 50% weight of goods! I started with 4 oz. if it doesn't work I'll try 8 oz. next time. Then you need to get the excess mordant off the cloth before dyeing.

After the tannin the cotton fabric has a pink hue. Some of it changed to buff after the alum soaking. I think you might want to use myrobolan rather than tannin if you're after a green in the final hue, which we are. Myrobolan is a yellow dye rich in tannin that is dyed cold. It will leave a yellow hue which may/ or may not turn green in the indigo vat.

We will be using a chemical indigo vat which tends to strip off any previous colour before laying down the indigo. Not sure if it will work like this on natural dyes, though. Experiment!

Since the project is a shibori project, I have my fabric in 9 inch strips, cut the full width of the fabric bolt. I think this will be easier to dye in the indigo vat without so much white area. My project will be a shibori sampler with several techniques demonstrated on the strip. I think the quilt guild wants to dye fabric for quilting so will probably only adopt one or two shibori techniques per piece of fabric.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Valentine for you

Happy Valentines' !!!!

My first grand child is half way here and I'm so excited. I designed this easy garter stitch baby bootie for the beginner knitter, to celebrate. Enjoy the free pattern from Joybilee Farm.

Easy Garter Stitch Baby Booties (fits newborn to 3 months)

25 grams of sport weight 100% angora yarn
Size 4 mm knitting needles or needle to obtain gauge

Gauge: 6 stitches per inch and 10 rows per inch

Stitches used:
Garter stitch (knit every row)
Knit two together (decrease) (K2T)
Slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over (decrease) (Sl 1, K1, PSSO)
Slip, slip knit (decrease) (SSK)

Cast on 29 stitches
Knit every row until work measures 2 1/4 inches (6 cm).

Shape Heel:
Row 1- 8 : Knit 8, turn
Row 9: Knit 2, K2T turn
Row 10: Knit 3, turn
Continue Row 9 and Row 10 until 3 stitches remain.

Break yarn and hold 3 remaining stitches on spare needle, while working Rows 1 to 10 on the other side of the bootie, until 3 stitches remain on that side.

Shaping the heel gusset:
Row 1: With right side facing, Knit across 3 remaining stitches. Pick up and knit 6 stitches along the side of the heel. Knit across the centre 13 stitches. Pick up and knit 6 stitches along the side of the remaining heel and knit the last 3 stitches. (31 stitches)

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: K13, K2T, K1, SSK, K13 (29 stitches)

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K12, K2T, K1, SSK, K12 (27 stitches)

Row 6: Knit

Row 7: K11, K2T, K1, SSK, K11 (25 stitches)

Continue in Garter stitch on 25 stitches until 14 more rows have been worked.

Toe Shaping:
Row 22: K4, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K1, K2T, K7, K2T,K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K4. (21 stitches)
Row 23: Knit
Row 24: K3, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K1, K2T, K5, K2T, K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K3 (17 stitches)
Row 25: Knit
Row 26: K2, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K1, K2T, K3, K2T, K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K2 (13 stitches)
Row 27: Knit
Row 28: K1, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K1, K2T, K1, K2T, K1, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K1 (9 stitches)
Row 29: Knit
Row 30: K2T (4 times) K1
Break yarn leaving a 12 inch tail. Thread yarn through all remaining stitches and pull tight. Toe is formed.

To finish, use yarn tail and darning needle, to sew up the edge of the bootie, Making a seam at the centre back and centre bottom of the foot.

Optional crocheted edge. Work 29 single crochet along the cast on edge. Continue working in the round a picot edge as follow. *3 Single crochet, chain 3, slip stitch in the top of the last single crochet.* Continue in this manner along the top of the bootie.

Make a second bootie identical to the first.

Please note: When working with angora yarn, these booties will need to be handwashed and air dried. Angora yarn will provide extra warmth for baby while his circulation is maturing. Its suitable for hats and booties.

For items that may get soiled quickly--sweaters, pants and blankets, for instance, necessitating frequent washing, a super wash merino wool yarn is just as nice and will save the new mom some work.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Just checking in.

My neighbor, Su passed on this cartoon from a UK paper.