Saturday, 22 November 2008

16th/17thC dyes

Today I have been refreshing my collection of naturally dyed yarn, mostly silk today, but a little wool as well. I've been working broadly from some sixteenth and seventeenth century recipes over at

So far I've done several skeins of madder, one of madder dipped in cochineal, one of cochineal and one of weld:

Now, I'm on a black dye recipe: 
Black Dye Take 1 part 
copperas, 4 parts ground gallnuts and boil with the wool yarn or 
silk for 2 hours. Take it out and let it cool. Put it back in until it is black enough. Finally rinse clean in fresh water
Marx Ziegler's Weber Kunst und Bild Buch of 1677 tr Patricia Hilts available online at 

Will report back in two hours as to the final colour

Monday, 17 November 2008

Fairy Horses Tam

With many thanks to those who test knitted the design for me, I'm pleased to announce that the Fairy Horses Tam is now available as a Ravelry Download priced at just $3.00

Inspired by the

 traditional ballad of Tamlin:  But tonight is Halloween  and the fairy folk ride,  Those that would their true love win  at mile’s cross they must hide.

First let pass the horses black  and then let pass the brown  Quickly run to the white steed  and pull the rider down  (lyrics from the Fairport Convention version)

Graceful horses, more sinuous than mortal steeds, gallop endlessly around the deep headband of this cosy, double thick, stranded colour tam worked in DK weight wool.

The tam is worked in a heavier weight yarn on the undyed version pictured, this balances the thick headband well, whilst the green model uses DK weight yarn throughout. Either is good, the choice is yours.

Tradition associates the fairy horse with the sound of small bells, my green bonnet is finished with a short ‘tail’ ending in tiny silver bells.

Please note, the stranded work on this has a lot of unusually long floats. This does require a little more attention than usual to avoid any tension issues. Apart from this, its an extremely easy hat to knit

Monday, 3 November 2008

Balmoral Bonnet

The Living History Fair was excellent this past weekend, so lovely to see so many friends, and I was very pleased to sell a good number of hats.

Whilst I was away I worked up the pattern for my version of the traditional Balmoral bonnet. This is a Victorian version of the Scots Bonnet and its works up fast on 5mm dpns in aran weight wool. Would make an excellent midwinter present for the kilt wearer in your life! You knit itin the round a bit large then full it down to size, so its a very relaxing knit without too many gauge worries.

Pattern is available through Ravelry downloads for just $3.00