Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)

artwork by Rima Staines
have a look at her wonderful website


Monday, November 11, 2013

le châle Camille - version Française

Désormais disponible en Français, le kit fiche-tricot/laine du châle Camille :
(here in English)

Un châle symétrique de forme triangulaire, Deux textures différentes, alternant côtes, rayures et point dentelle,

quatre couleurs différentes, obtenues avec des teintures naturelles : vert, violet, bleu clair et gris

Tricoté en Blue-faced Leicester, une 100% pure laine, douce et drapante,

vous aurez besoin de:

aiguillesà tricoter circulaires de 80 cm 2,5 mm ou 2,75 mm selon votre échantillon

crochet (optionnel) de 2,5mm pour la bordure au crochet.

Dimensions: Taille unique.

Longueur totale (au centre) après blocage et séchage à plat: env. 62 cm Largeur totale: env. 156 cm.

Le kit contient:
Une fiche tricot de 7 pages en FRANÇAIS avec les explications écrites et des grilles. Envoyé sous forme pdf dès confirmation d’achat.

Suffisamment de laine pour tricoter ce châle dans les coloris : Ciel(bleu pâle), Pewter(gris), Purple Passion(violet) et Dill(vert)

Friday, November 08, 2013


Here's my new crochet design

This scarf is inspired by the Bohemian Rhapsody wrap, one of my own designs. For this simplified version I used bulkier yarn and less color variations.

This colorful scarf is made in a infinity style but it can also be made as a classic wrap to be draped around the shoulders.

The squares are crocheted and immediately joined, thus creating the scarf without seaming.

It consists of 44 squares using two different crochet motives

7 different colors - one unit per color
This pattern suggests two color combinations

Crochet hook: 4,5 mm (US=G or H depending on gauge)

A lot of attention has been paid to the different color combinations and the amounts of yarn used. If the color sequences are followed as described in this pattern you will use the same amount of yarn for each color.

 more info here


Saturday, October 19, 2013

shades of late-summer berries... testing...

Dye News update

I did some test dyeing with late summer berries

pokeweed berries - brambles and elderberries

after fermentation of the berries I've put some lace merino for one day in the glass jars
I only used an acid dye-vat (with vinegar)

here's the final result:

dyed with elderberries (dark old rose)- onion skin (fantastic orange)- poke weed (purple)- brambles (pink)

I love these colours, they look great together !
what do you think? 

lace merino dyed with poke weed
not washed yet

the same yarn - after it was washed and placed in full daylight for one week, but no sunlight

I'm quite happy with the results !


We went on a autumn walk and we saw this cute little goat 


Monday, October 07, 2013

Here she is: Camille, my new knitting pattern...

While I was writing the pattern for my new shawl design for a kit from Renaissance Dyeing, (see post here)
I decided it was a good idea to knit the same shawl but in a thicker yarn and with different colours

Here is the result:

A symmetrical triangle shawl 
alternating ribbing, stripes and lace,

two versions: 

Fingering-Weight Medium                 and                Worsted-Weight Large

The fingering-weight - size medium:

the colours are: Purple Passion (dark-purple)- Pewter (grey) - Dill (green) - Ciel (light blue)
knitting needles: 2,5mm or 2,75mm (US 1½ or 2)

The yarn/pattern kit - size medium - is also available at Renaissance Dyeing 
(with the colours: dark purple/green/light blue/grey)
more info here


The worsted-weight - size large:

the colours are; grey, orange, purple and burgundy
knitting needles : 4 mm (US 6)

The pattern includes both fingering-weight and worsted-weight descriptions - more info here

I must say I'm quite proud of this new design

I'm very pleased with both my shawls

I've named the shawl Camille
after the french artist, Camille Claudel
(8 December 1864 – 19 October 1943)

She died 70 years ago this month


me with Camille at the Menhir du Cloître
Huelgoat - Brittany - France

how does one capture the colour changes ?
with a little help from the wind !


 I'm working on another new design,
a crochet scarf/cowl this time

very soon on this blog !


Saturday, September 21, 2013

...the troubadour collection

Reposting from my older blog

The Troubadour collection is inspired by Medieval Times but with a modern feel to it.
Knitted in six shades of an organic 4-ply Dorset Poll and plant dyed by
Renaissance Dyeing in the French Pyrenees.

These shades are dyed with the plants woad and madder
that would have grown wild and used for dyeing in the Middle ages.
The pattern descriptions are available in two colour combinations

now available as downloadable ebook,

The Troubadour Collection,
an eBook
three knitting patterns
a beret – a cowl/hood – a pair of gauntlets
two different colour-compositions

Three patterns for the price of two


The patterns are also available in separate kits containing both pattern and wool.
For more information see: Renaissance Dyeing


Sunday, September 08, 2013

...swedish inspiration

I'm going to delete my older blog soon, (Mary Lena's Blog) which I don't use anymore.

That's why I'm going to re-post a few of the most viewed posts !
This blog post is about two knit patterns inspired by a visit to Sweden

houses in Ronneby

Not only is Sweden a very attractive society to live in, 
there is also something everybody loves about the Swedish style.

A certain “je ne sais quoi”
the architecture, the traditional patterns, the colours...

300 years of Swedish textile design

Some 40 years ago my mom bought me this Dala horse when she visited Sweden 

a very old fashioned Dala

In the older days the Dala horse was mostly a toy,
but nowadays it is a symbol for the kingdom of Sweden.
The earliest reference of wooden horses for sale is from 1624 !
The pattern reflects a style of painting known as 'Kurbits". In the 19th century, Sticka-Eric Hansson from Mora introduced the technique of painting with two colors in the same brush. Today it is still a handicraft article, made of pine.

So I designed this beanie with these colours in mind 
Blue, white, red, green, yellow and brown 
and of course the Dala horse, the snowflakes...

I used the fantastic Organic Poll Dorset yarn
"Troubadour" from Renaissance Dyeing 
located in the French Pyrenees
Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi) 
Ecru, Puivert, Troubadour , Miraval , Narbonne , Os.

I really love this yarn !

Ingrid's Beanie is available as a knitting pattern and as a kit, 
more info here

A big thank you to the model, Ingrid Anna
photos taken at the winter beach
De Haan - Belgium

but one could easily imagine oneself
on the famous Island of Sandhamn
in the Stockholm Archipelago 

Strindbergs house on Sandhamn

To go with the matching beanie:

Ingrid's Mitts
I designed these mitts with the same colours:
Blue, white, red, green, yellow and brown
Organic Poll Dorset yarn "Troubadour" from Renaissance Dyeing
Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)
Ecru, Puivert, Troubadour , Miraval , Narbonne , Os.

these mitts are available as a pattern and as a kit -
more info here


Sweden is a wonderful country with lots of nature,
beautiful houses and very friendly people.

I hope I will visit it again soon !


Friday, September 06, 2013

... summer fruits

some fruit from the garden

I didn't do any fermentation dyes this summer due to circumstances, but now with all the wild fruits growing in abundance, Elderberries and Brambles for instance but also with the Pokeweed I planted last year which is giving some fruit now, I decided to give it another go, with promises of some pink or red or maybe even purple... who knows!

Pokeweed  -  Phytolacca esculenta
(here with the leafs of some Buckwheat - Fagopyrum esculentum)

Here's a blog post about dyeing with Pokeweed by Grackle and Sun

Pokeweed edible or not?
Here you will find information about it:    Can Be Deadly But Oh So Delicious: Pokeweed

Pokeweed - Brambles - Onion skins
It's such a fascinating subject, fermentation...


The labyrinth we painted along the riverside...

I'm really grateful that I live in such a beautiful place
Nature offers so much inspiration
each and every day


and... I'm definitely working on something new here

Monday, July 29, 2013

...a new knitted shawl

I've knitted this shawl with 4 different colours 

a mix of alternating stripes, lace and border stitch

The yarn is a 4-ply Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn from Renaissance Dyeing

Sunday, June 09, 2013 season again...

It’s been a while, I know…

Lots of work on the house right now, painting walls and stuff.

And working in the garden of course…

my poor walls !

Land Art in the back yard

the herbal garden

luckily I have a lot of help from Ingrid Anna


And… about dyeing: it's open season again, the weather is getting warmer so it’s time for me to experiment with all sorts of dye plants. First I harvested some common herbs to start with: nettles (Urtica dioica) and Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) which are now fermenting in plastic bottles.

Wikipedia : Geranium robertianum, (syn. Robertiella robertiana) commonly known as Herb Robert, Red Robin, Death come quickly, Storksbill, Dove's Foot, Crow's Foot, or (in North America) Robert Geranium, is a common species of cranesbill in Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa.

Nettles are known to give some green dye and Herb Robert is famous for its gold yellows !  
But with the fermenting dye method, you never know :) 
We’ll see !

I bought some strange dye plant seeds which I’m very curious about: Sunflower Hopi black dye (Helianthus annuus) which should give some black dye,  Amaranthus hypochondriacus or Prince-of-Wales feather (Amaranthus Hopi red dye) which should give some, well, red dye and Midnight Black Turtle beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) which should give me BLUE ! 

I’ll let you know how it went, 
but first they need to grow !