Showing posts from September, 2012

'Tis the Season for Walnut Dyeing

Time to harvest these To achieve this As with pretty much all my friends in the Northeast, it seems, right now I have a walnut tree nearby dropping nuts all over the place. For tree huggers like me who want to know more: the Black Walnut Tree is also called "Stinkweed" when it's small, because it grows fast and just about anywhere, refusing to yield to weeding -- and when you do manage to pull it up, it stinks. These trees are wonderful, however, because they produce a great hard wood. Also, you can make dye from the hulls of the fruit. You can even eat the nuts, although I found it hard to get much food out of them. You can stain wood with the hulls, as my Dad did with a salad bowl I bought years ago. The walnuts are high in tannins, which serve as a mordant and make for a very potent dye. Just look at my gloves: I recommend you wear gloves Here's a brief pictorial essay on making dye from black walnuts. I did mordant my fabric, by the

Next on the Loom, Something Simple: Indigo-Dyed Cotton Rugs

Warping from the back, without tension After working with hand-dyed warps of 60/2 silk and filament-like overtwist weft, it's time for something very simple: cotton rugs! I need a bathroom rug and so does my daughter (I think), so I'm warping with "Newport" pearl cotton from Henry's Attic, 830 yards per pound, sett at 8 epi. The warp will be about 30" wide on the loom, aiming for a 2' wide rug after some shrinkage. We'll see what happens. The weft is also indigo-dyed, also from Henry's Attic: Pigtail (on the right, at 175 yards per pound) and cotton chenille (on the left, weighing in at 500 yards per pound, which sounds like I'm announcing a prize fight). I'm planning on weaving alternating stripes. The rugs should wind up about a 2' x 3' size each. Again, we'll see what happens!

New on Etsy: Half Moon Jacket and "Fleur de Laine" Scarf

The credit goes to Noro Silk Garden Lite -- a yarn that works magic with colors, in a soft blend of wool and silk -- as well as to the creator of this wonderful sweater pattern. It's the "Sunrise Circle Jacket," available from Kate Gilbert at The scarf in the photo was crocheted using the same yarn, but the pattern is my own. I call it a "Fleur de Laine Scarf," as it's composed of dozens of small, medium, and large "flowers" crocheted in a circle, just as you would a yarmulke! I'm giving a course on the technique this fall at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center. (See "The Center" at or check out my page on courses in this blog.) A few more views of this jacket, which I knitted using size 6 circular needles. It's a size large to extra large, following the directions for size 38 in the pattern.   For many more versions of this wonderful sweater, check out Ravel