In the Weeds

Hi folks,

A few weeks back, I showed you some yarn I dyed with natural dyes. Today, I have one of the pieces I made from that yarn to show you. This is In the Weeds:

In the Weeds | Webster Fiber Arts

I made a large mandala from my yarn. It is earthy and muted and I am quite happy with it.

I started my mandala on the computer. I drew a chart for several rounds of the piece, but I wanted to get to crocheting, so I didn’t draw out the whole thing, and even the part I did draw, I didn’t make a full 360-degree chart of—just the parts I needed to get me going on each round.

I made it six or seven rounds in before I started deviating from my chart. I love the look of the bullion stitch when made with a chunky yarn (those are the coil-looking stitches in light yellow in my mandala), so I made a bunch of them. This gave me a bit of waviness in my piece, which is not usually something you want in a mandala or doily, but in this case, I thought it worked, especially since I knew I was going to be mounting my piece so it could hang on the wall.

In the Weeds Detail | Webster Fiber Arts

My finished mandala is about 16 inches across, so I got an 18-inch square canvas to attach the crochet to. Mounting crochet to hang is something that I am still getting the hang of, but this piece was fairly easy to mount. I dyed some wool felt with tea to get my tan background color, then stretched it around the canvas and stapled it down with a staple gun. I had to put the canvas on the floor to do my stapling. I needed the support of the floor on the base of the stapler to work against as I squeezed the trigger because I don’t have the hand strength to just go shooting off a staple gun willy nilly (probably for the best).

Once the felt was attached, I stitched the mandala to the felt with beige all-purpose thread.

I loved working with these natural dyed fibers. I’ve dyed a few more yarns since, and I have almost completed another piece with those yarns.

Until next time,
Annie

Eco Dyeing with Weeds

Hi folks,

I hope spring is treating you well. I have been busy making things and working in the yard. I ended up with quite a few mosquito bites from my weeding and mulching last week. It is too early in the year for the number of bites I have, but I am now the proud owner of two tubes of anti-itch cream (one for the house and one for my purse), so I should now be able to find relief from the itching where ever I am.

I have also been doing some yarn dyeing, this time using nature to get my colors. While I have been weeding, I have been collecting yard waste, and have come up with some pretty cool yarns:

Eco Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

I am so pleased with the way these turned out! I have three skeins of 100% wool yarn there, one worsted weight and two bulky. I broke these into little mini-skeins for my dyeing because I didn’t have huge amounts of dye stuffs. I have looked at several books and websites about natural dyeing, but I referred to the directions at The Spruce while I was working this time around.

Some of my plant matter worked better than others, but I had (and am continuing to have) fun experimenting with flower petals and such. All of these colors are very muted, which is what I was expecting. Since I am usually so drawn to bright, vibrant colors, this is a big change for me, but I really do like these shades.

Grape Hyacinth, Tulip, and Tea Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

In the photo above, from front to back, I have grape hyacinth, red tulip petals, and a bag of Luzianne tea. Initially, the tea skein was to be dyed with little violets that I painstakingly plucked from the yard before Mike did his first mowing of the year, but those petals yielded no color in the pot, so I threw in the tea bag and I love it!

Dandelion Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

These three skeins are from dandelions. I popped a bunch of these babies out of our flower beds, roots and all. I separated the flowers from the greens for my dyeing. On the left is yarn dyed with the dandelion flowers, and the two skeins on the right are from the greens. I did not drain the plant matter away before I threw my yarn in the pot, which may account for the slight color variations in the yarn. I love the result, but cleaning the little bits of dandelion off the finished yarn was a pain.

Daffodil Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Last, I have this super awesome buttery, lemony yarn that I dyed with spent daffodil heads. This yarn was such a wonderful surprise! I love it so much. The color is so creamy.

I have been plucking dried flower petals and weeds this last week and have a bag of them in the fridge ready for more dyeing. From what I have read, flowers in bloom are probably a better choice than dried up ones, but I can’t bring myself to cut down a flower in its full glory to dye yarn. I’m such a softie.

Until next time,
Annie