We have some exciting new ranges planned for the coming months, all to do with linen, of course.
First up and just arrived is this luxury linen thread, fil au chinois. It is slightly waxed and has been cabled, to produce and exceptionally strong and abrasion-resistant thread in rich colours with a deep sheen. It is ideal for leather stitching (it is actually used by Hermes) and book binding or jewellery making, or for any craft where a strong, rounded stitch is desired. The name "fil au chinois" dates back to when the brand was created in 1847 in France, when all things Oriental were fashionable. It refers to the illustration of a Chinese character that was chosen to represent the brand on product labels. Otherwise, this prestigious thread has nothing to do with China, and is still made in the North of France to this day.
Click here to find this thread in shorter lengths on thread cards to make it more accessible to try out.
We've all been through some difficult times recently. I hope you have been able to find some comfort in your creative crafts while keeping safe. Personally, I discovered that my new-found interest in gardening was quite therapeutic. Fortunately I had ordered some seeds before lockdown (without knowing what was ahead) so I was equipped for trying my hand at some new plants. Some of these were with the aim of creating my own dye garden: weld, woad and rosemary, and even artichokes (yes, apparantly you can dye with artichokes, but I haven't tried yet). None of these are mature enough for me to harvest any dye material yet, but maybe later....... if I manage to keep them alive!
I did cut back a rather large rosemary bush whose branches were falling over, and after stripping off the leaves and fresh sprigs, I heated them up in a dye bath. I was really pleased with the results on both linen yarn and the Alpalini alpaca/linen blend. Out came a very bright yellow, which I then modified with a dip in an iron bath to create a beautiful soft olive (now in our shop). All skeins are pre-mordanted to ensure colour-fastness, and I only use dyes that have proved to be colour-fast over the centuries (eg Weld, Cutch, Madder, Sweet Chestnut) You can dye with many different plants (eg beetroot, red cabbage, berries) but many are fugitive dyes and tend to fade.
Photos below show the original colour of the rosemary dye bath, before I modified it to olive.
You can purchase plant-dyed linen yarn here.
One of my goals this year was to launch a new yarn, Alpalini.
After many months of tests and collaboration with a local spinning mill, our new yarn is finally here.
Not only is it a unique, luxurious base, composed of 50% smooth, long-fibre European linen, and 50% soft fine alpaca from the UK, it is also only dyed using plant dyes to create the colour range, giving a truly natural product. The intertwining of the soft fluffy alpaca with the lustrous, strong linen makes for a versatile, trans-seasonal yarn, suitable for all types of stitches, cables, lace and colour work.
We have just published a second linen top design called Tribord. "Tribord" is the French word for "starboard". Inspired by coastal landscapes on the Isle of Wight, where sand, sea and sky merge together in beautiful hues, this pattern will allow you to play with different colourways, which are knitted in bands that blend in to one another.
It is designed to be a loose-fitting, easy-going top, with lots of comfortable ease and drape.
Our 2 samples are each knitted in 3 colours: Beetroot, Pewter and Rhubarb for the pink version and Anchor, Vanilla and Seabreeze for the grey/green version ((all in the LinenNaturals range except for Vanilla).
It can also be knitted up with 2 or 4 colours, or even plain, since the textured bands add interest.
There has been lots of dyeing here at eco-stitch over the Winter months. Our focus has been mainly to develop the range of colours available on natural linen yarn (unbleached). This range is called LinenNaturals. Due to the already naturally strong colour of the yarn, beige/grey, it is of course impossible to achieve pastel colours. However, we have managed to come up with a series of lighter colours, which look beautiful together, teamed up with the Natural or even the darker colourways.
There are now 5 shades of grey in our shop. Cloud, Steel and Kohl are dyed on a white base. Pewter and Anchor are dyed on a natural silver/beige base. They are all semi-solids. The newest addition to the family is Kohl, our darkest grey.
In this line-up, from left to right: Cloud, Pewter, Anchor and Kohl.
The following photos show the greys next to their respective yarn bases.
A very happy New Year to you all, wishing you health and happiness for 2019.
I have finally returned to my dye pots after a few weeks off from dyeing. The weather in November and December here on the island was very grey, wet and windy, with little sunshine, not at all conducive to producing hand-dyed yarns. Below is the colour that I have been dyeing this week. It is called Anchor, a beautiful mid-grey on a natural linen yarn base. If you look closely, you can see the silver/beige undertones of the natural yarn showing through. I have a feeling this colourway is going to be popular this year. As soon as the skeins are dry, they will be added to the shop.
This yarn is part of the LinenNaturals range (hand-dyed on a natural base). Although it is a sport weight yarn, it can also be knitted or crocheted as a DK yarn.
2019 will bring more new colours in this range. Watch this space!
Our hand-dyed sport linen is currently £12 for a 100g skein instead of £14.40 until 31 August.
On top of that, the newly-released Simplicitee pattern is FREE if purchased with eco-stitch sport yarn.
Time to cast on for a new project?
Shown below are our 2 latest colour ways: Pumpkin and Parma Violet (semi-solids).
As its name suggests, this is a quick and easy knit, giving you a comfortable, loose-fitting garment with lots of drape. The colour combinations for the stripes are endless. The top is knitted bottom-up and the pattern gives you the option of knitting flat in 2 separate pieces which are seamed to finish, or knitting in the round in one piece resulting in no seams.
The pattern is FREE if purchased with eco-stitch hand-dyed sport linen yarn to make it (4 - 5 skeins). Coupon code SIMPLICITEE.
The sample you see below is made with Seaspray and Serenity and is knitted in the round with eyelet side increases (one of the optional design elements of the pattern).
Would anyone be interested in test knitting?
I have just finished knitting 2 linen tops to a dual-level pattern I have designed, called Simplicitee.
The first (Easy level) is made with plant-dyed yarn (avocado pits) on white and natural linen and is knitted flat and seamed. The second is made with Seaspray and Serenity and is knitted in the round with short row shaping (Easy Plus). Instructions for both versions are included in the pattern, which will be published towards the end of August. Details on my Ravelry group page here.
Lindsay Lewchuk (aka KnitEcoChic) has just released a beautiful shawl pattern called Awaken.
Here is her sample made out of eco-stitch linen sport yarn in the colour Hot Pink. The shawl can be made in 2 sizes and is an ideal Summer knitting project. You can find more details about the pattern here.
Here is LIndsay's own introduction to the design:
"Awaken to fresh stitches! Sunrise, sunset, whatever your time of day – enjoy an awakening of your spirit in the beauty of the rising or setting sun while clicking your needles away. Toss your knitting needles, yarn, and pattern in a chic knitting bag and prepare for a joyful encounter with the sun. Then marvel in some breathtaking moments while awakening your stitches into your Awakening shawl.The tech edited and test knit intermediate level pattern is fully written and fully charted."
Heidi Kirrmaier has just released a stunning pattern knit with eco-stitch linen yarn in the colour way Serenity. It takes 4 or 5 skeins of our hand-dyed sport weight linen, depending on your size.
You can find her pattern here on Ravelry.
What colour will you choose to make this lovely top? Here is my colour choice below: Cornflower.
We now have 10+ colours available in our new LinenNaturals range. These are all hand-dyed on the natural silver/beige base colour. Here are our 2 most recent additions. Beetroot and Anthracite, and below them the natural base colour of the yarn. Look out for new later additions to the range!
During the run-up to Christmas and New Year, I've been busy making linen spa mitts for gifts. I decided to practise my crochet skills (which are not very developed) rather than knit them. I tried out a new-to-me block stitch, which I was quite happy with. I chose the natural sport weight and the Bliss pale blue colour way. Please contact me if you're interested in the pattern.
Happy New Year to you all!
We finally moved in to our new home end November. We are now living on the beautiful Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, a few yards from the sea on top of the cliff in Sandown. Here are a few photos taken down by the sea a short walk from our house. It wasn't very sunny on the days these were taken, but you can see the steely blue of the November sea and the moody skies. I will try to post some brighter, sunnier photos in the Spring and Summer.
And finally, a few of our hand-dyed linen yarns to add a splash of colour!
After living in limbo for one year, we are finally moving house. Hopefully by next weekend we will be in our new home. We are leaving Cheshire and heading South. I will not reveal where we are going yet, as I'd rather wait until we are finally there before announcing it, but here is a clue: it will be very close to the sea.
I am sorry for any inconvenience this will cause during this week in getting orders shipped out.
One of the very first tasks in our new home will be to build a brand new dyeing studio. After a rather frustrating few months, I will finally be able to concentrate on dyeing up this marvellous natural linen fibre.
In the meantime, here is one of the many ways you can put linen to use in your home. I whipped up some linen scrubbies on the knitting machine and they are great for washing the dishes. When they need a clean, just throw them in the washing machine.
We are offering a very generous 25% off our undyed soft white and natural sport weight linen yarns until the end of October 2017. If you want to try dyeing linen yarn for yourself, we recommend the soft white here.
For a 100% natural yarn in all its splendour, try the natural undyed with its silver beige colour here.
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