Tag Archives: Viola

Hand spun, naturally dyed, hand knit and finished

I have finally finished the colourwork jumper.

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The design includes beets from Kate Davies‘ Beet Heid tam. It’s a variation on her Neep Heid pattern.  I love her designs, though to be honest I can’t picture myself personally wearing many of them (which is just not the same question).  And, I tend to knit simple. I am a long time reader of her blog: she is a lovely writer too.  But this application of her design is all my own strange idea, with the jumper knit–or at least I tried to knit–to measurements from one of the recipient’s hoodies. I see on Ravelry that one person has been moved to knit a neep cardigan, and there are a massive number of tams too, neep-, beet-, acorn- and radish-heids among them.

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I’ve knit this jumper for my fairy goddess son, who is a true admirer of gardening, vegetables in general and beetroots very much included. Those who are curious about the dyeing can find a bit of a summary here.

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He is a lover of colours too, and when asked his favourite colour in my hearing at any time, has responded ‘the rainbow!’ with a huge grin.  I knit this jumper from the fleece of a sheep called Viola and all these colours are from plants with the exception of the deep beet colour and the pink, from cochineal. I admit this rainbow is not exactly classic in colour and the woad colours are very pale in the zone of blue and indigo!

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I loved having so many colours to play with but took advice from one of my knitting companions in Wellington and kept the neck and shoulders simple.

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I dealt with the maths of the pattern repeat with some simple patterning under the sleeves.

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And now that it’s finished, I can give in to the urge to cast on all the small projects!


Filed under Knitting, Natural dyeing

Carrot tops and carding

When a moment arises and there is an opportunity for dyeing, I dye, my friends, I dye.  One such moment came a little while back when we had lovely organic carrots from our friends’ farm… and they came with lovely organic carrot tops, of course.


Fixing carrot top dye requires alum, but I am well prepared.  I have sheep fleece sitting in cold alum solution in buckets in my driveway.


Into the dye pot they went!  This went so well that I am doing it again as I write.


In the mean time, undyed fleece from the same sheep, Viola the pale grey crossbred, is also being prepared for spinning, because… I have an ambitious plan that will require some more undyed yarn…


Filed under Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing