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the beauty of natural dyes

August 26, 2021

warning! – this entry is all about weaving, handspun silk and a lot of natural dye colours

the end of the warp is near – it’s great to finish but then you have to decide what to weave next?

the construction of a loom prevents a weaver from  weaving to the last few inches of warp threads

what is left is called thrums and is either wasted or used for stitching or something creative

because I had finished weaving the lengths I needed these are a little longer than usual – 40 inches (approx. 111.5 cm.)

too much to waste considering the amount of time spent spinning and dyeing

I no longer knit so I’ll have to think of another way to use them

I always twist the fringes on a scarf, especially when the yarns are handspun

a quick and easy way to make sure they are all the same length

pin the two ends together, comb them straight, tape the cutting line to a firm straight edge and cut

the twisting goes quickly because you don’t have to constantly check they are all the same lengthand it looks neat

I always hem stitch the start and end of scarves while they are under tension on the loom

it’s quick, easy and again, makes a neat finish

bonus – I wove the sample for my September colour challenge

there wasn’t enough red silk so I used some wool in the weft – it created a little more texture

a little surprise, something I might use to advantage in the future

the blanket was woven on a pin loom with wool dyed in the same natural dye pots

the colours are very similar but each small block of the scarf is a blending of 3 weft colours and 1 warp colour

it makes the colour look much softer – that is what I wanted when I choose the polychrome crackle pattern

Betsy, the studio mannequin need some fresh air so she is modeling in the garden


22 Comments leave one →
  1. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    August 29, 2021 7:38 am

    Some lovely things in this post Jean. I love the way your natural colours and ways of combining them give very subtle hues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 29, 2021 10:14 am

      Sue – the crackle weave used for blending colours was a good choice. A couple of the natural dye colours are quite garish, I almost didn’t use them but they look fine in the blend. Not sure how I’m going to use the remainder. I love the surprises of plant dyes, each year they are a little different.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. August 28, 2021 5:13 am

    I vote for beautiful long tassels with your luscious thrums. The colours are so wonderful, and tassels are so versatile for decorating things…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. August 28, 2021 12:58 am

    totally “love” – having been a weaver up until about 6 years ago, with looms. I know what is what with a loom…and of course thrums. I’ve made “chenille” with thrums and then woven the results into fabric again on the loom – I rewoven both from really thick yarn, through to rather fine – with the fine, put quite a few rows of single finer yarn, so that it’s not too bulky once the fabric becomes a garment or whatever.


    • August 28, 2021 9:05 am

      Catherine – I have woven chenille years ago but never anything fine enough to make clothing. Still using several small mats/rugs, they wear surprisingly well and are nice on bare feet.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. August 27, 2021 1:19 am

    so lovely. I know you said you no longer knit, but could you join the threads together using the russian join method ( and create one long multicoloured yarn, that would be enough for a whole project? It would make a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift for someone who does knit or crochet.


  5. Jane E Herbert permalink
    August 26, 2021 6:15 pm

    These are so lovely! Now I’m itching to get out the dye pot!


  6. emilysuzanna permalink
    August 26, 2021 2:56 pm

    A beautiful scarf! And so is the blanket; was each square woven individually?


    • August 26, 2021 9:55 pm

      Suzanne – the blanket squares were woven individually on a 4 inch pin loom and then all slowly stitched together. Did you receive the tea towel? if not I want to send you a replacement. Let me know. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • emilysuzanna permalink
        August 27, 2021 7:12 am

        Oh I dearly love the tea towel! The colors are so soft. I am very sorry not to have told you that it arrived. A neighborhood event threw me off course, and I neglected to do things I meant to do. That is no excuse for causing you to worry I know; I love the new addition to my collection and would like to order another, if there are any left, for my 12 year old grandson who is showing an interest in natural dying.


      • August 27, 2021 10:21 am

        Suzanne – happy to hear it arrived. Thanks for the email and pictures and now I see you did say how old your grandson is – he should enjoy the book. There are still towels available, I can send a picture if grandson is interested. Useful is always good!


  7. August 26, 2021 2:33 pm

    How utterly beautiful & you are so talented 😍


    • August 26, 2021 2:48 pm

      Vera – thank you, I’m blushing. It has all been a obsession of a life time and just keeps on and on. I love the natural dyes, they always offer a surprise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 26, 2021 2:49 pm

        I love love following your blog. Makes me want to try as I love creating as well.


      • August 26, 2021 2:52 pm

        Vera – thank you again, it is always encouraging to hear that someone finds inspiration in my work. I love encouraging others to find joy in creating.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. August 26, 2021 2:24 pm

    I liked seeing the scarf next to the blanket squares – really interesting how the colours softened! Hope Betsy didn’t get sprinkled on!


    • August 26, 2021 2:43 pm

      Kjerstin – I should have included the cotton tea towels – the difference in strength of colour is significant. Betsy and I did a little dance in the few drops of rain and then headed indoors.

      Liked by 1 person

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