The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar, photography by Sara Remington, pub. STC Craft, 2015.
This very thoughtful guide to natural dyeing captured my heart and my imagination. It explores various dyestuffs and encourages experimentation. It includes knitting and sewing projects as well as ready-made items. And it presents everything in an easy-to-use format without excessive page turning and cross-referencing.
The author is Kristine Vejar, of A Verb for Keeping Warm. She has worked in Washington, D.C.'s Textile Museum and traveled to India on a Fulbright to study natural dyeing.
The first chapter includes a glorious gallery of natural dyestuffs in various forms and used on various materials. A short paragraph describes each one, what it looks like and the range of colors it produces.
Sara Remington's photography is sumptuous, and Alessandra Mortola's choices, styling, and backgrounds all work together perfectly. The accompanying text is succinct yet informative, including tips on where to find plants and how to extract the dye.
Then comes a brief overview on choosing fiber. It covers animal, silk, bast, seed, and fibers manufactured from natural materials.
Chapter 3 is the heart of the book: Dyeing 101. The steps are outlined, as well as features of indoor and outdoor workspaces, recommended and optional tools, and the value of a dye journal (as well as what to record in yours).
Then each step is detailed, with supplementary photos. Natural dyeing seems a little like making tea . . . in an extraordinarily large pot!
The "Dyeing With Whole Dyestuffs" chapter includes several fetching projects including an adorable and useful sewing kit done with "eco printing." This involves rolling whole flowers up in the fabric before simmering.
The "Dyeing with Extracts" chapter features a couple of shade cards (one for protein-based and one for cellulose-based fibers) and volume-to-weight conversion charts.
There are also eight projects including the useful Wanderlust Bags and the beautiful Sandstone Shawl (below). Each project clearly states a list of skills you will learn as you work.
The next chapter explores indigo dyeing, an intriguing process which is different from other natural dyes.
The final chapter covers surface design: painting and resist dyeing. Resist dyeing interests me the most. It uses thread, yarn, and even wooden blocks to create color patterns.
Kristine includes a resource list, bibliography, and glossary, as well as an index. But this inspiring book is full of interesting trivia and gorgeous photography, even if you never put dyestuff to pot.
I recommend this book for lovers of color everywhere, as well as those interested in natural dyes.
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a review copy of this book. Kangath was not otherwise compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
The winners of my last giveaway, chosen by random number generator, are Chris D. Wareaglemom and Lucia. Congratulations! You have each won a ball of Daily DK from Willow Yarns---more than enough to knit the Faux Bow Baby Hat, featured in 101 One-Skein Wonders for Babies.
Lucia---I'm sorry, the way my blog comments are stored changed without warning and I no longer have your email address! Please send me a way to contact you by October 30.
Here's the entire list of sites on the blog tour. Feel free to take a belated tour! The bus will wait as long as you want. . . .
Date Name, Project Name, Website
9/14/2015 Robin Allen Happy Hat, 151 https://atexasgirlknits.wordpress.com/
9/15/2015 Joan Beebe Pop-Top Mittens, 184 http://ssknits.com/category/general/
9/16/2015 Lindsay Lewchuk Ruffle Bumpkin, 108 www.knitecochic.com
9/17/2015 Gail Gelin Sleeveless Baby Thermals, 50 www.knocturnalknitter.blogspot.com
9/18/2015 Kim Whelan Monarch, 212 http://www.bskg.blogspot.com/2015/09/bskg-1st-guest-post....
9/19/2015 Sarah Gomez Friendly Lizard, 234 http://www.alittlebittoknit.com/blog/new-pattern-friendly...
9/20/2015 Ranee Mueller Saint Catherine’s Cache-Coeur, 68 http://arabianknits.blogspot.com
9/21/2015 Rachel Henry Octopus Toy/Lovey, 232 http://remilyknits.com/2015/09/21/one-skein-wonders-for-b...
9/22/2015 Stana Dosova A Pair of Penguins, 218 http://stana-critters-etc.blogspot.com/2015/09/pair-of-pe...
9/23/2015 Debbie Haymark Lizzy Jane and The Perfect Baby Bib, 198 http://www.ipurl.blogspot.com/2015/09/one-skein-wonders-f...
9/24/2015 Kendra Knitta Best Friend Water Hot Water Bottle Cover, 257 http://missknitta.com/2015/09/24/a-childs-best-friend/
9/25/2015 Faith Schmidt Lace Edged Baby Bibs, 193 http://distractedknits.weebly.com/blog/one-skein-wonders-...
9/26/2015 Angela Myers Poseidon Mitts, 182 http://ramblingsofacraftaholic.blogspot.com/2015/09/here-...
9/27/2015 Terry Morris Smocked Lace Toddler Hat & Mittens, 10, Folded Lace Cuff Baby Socks, 176 and Scallops & Ribbing Baby Socks & Cap, 18 www.sailingknitter.blogspot.com
9/28/2015 Melissa Morgan-Oakes Wee Britches, 116, and Birthday Baby, 46 http://melissa-knits.blogspot.com/2015/09/babies-babies-b...
9/29/2015 Tonia Barry Tutti Frutti Bib, 200 http://blog.classiceliteyarns.com/2015/09/one-skein-wonde...
9/30/2015 Jenny Snedeker Diamond Vest, 59 http://cutiepiefashions.com/post/130199381598/one-skein-w...
10/1/2015 Jenise Hope Baby Crown Tee, 53, Screw Top, 138, and Seams Toque, 144 http://www.knitfitch.com/blog/designer-spotlight-jenise-h...
10/2/2015 Janice Bye Sail Away with Me, 71 http://www.ravelry.com/designers/janice-bye
10/3/2015 Sarah Grieve Claire - A Baby Hat, 163, and Elizabeth - A Springtime Cardi, 91 asarahgrieveproduction.com
10/4/2015 Karen Marlatt Claredon Baby Vest & Hat, 21 http://takeeachdayonestitchatatime.blogspot.ca/
10/5/2015 Carol Sorsdahl Lace Baby Top, 62, Confetti & Lace, 124 http://junebugknits.bravejournal.com/
10/6/2015 Ruth Roland Faux Bow Hat, 156 http://kangathknits.weebly.com
10/7/2015 Mone Drager Little Sweetheart Sleeping Sack, 259 http://www.ravelry.com/designers/mone-drager
10/8/2015 Reyna Lorele Tuck Me In, 202 www.yarninyarnout.blogspot.com
10/9/2015 Lisa Chemery Entrechat Shrug, 65 http://frogginette.wordpress.com
10/10/2015 Noel Margaret Toot the Bunny, 220 www.noelmargaret.com
10/11/2015 Pam Sluter Welcome Baby Layette, 28 http://pamsluterdesigns.com/
10/12/2015 Andrea Wong Daisy Hat, 153, Japanese Sideway Socks, 170 and Easy Baby Booties, 175 https://andreawongknits.wordpress.com/
10/13/2015 Jessica Miller Fat kitty , 248 http://hillvintageandknits.com/?tag=jessica-miller
10/14/2015 Cathy Campbell Cabeled Baby Hat, 148, Circus Rings Baby Hat, 164, Circus Balls, 235 crystal palace yarns website (link to come)
10/15/2015 Ellen Harvey Warm Heart Baby Vest, 56, and Into the Woods Baby Poncho, 104 http://www.ravelry.com/designers/ellen-harvey
10/16/2015 Gina House Snowbaby Legwarmers, 189 www.ginahouse.net
10/17/2015 Grace Akhrem Little Ballerina, 179 http://graceakhrem.com/
10/18/2015 Anna Smegal Half-Pint Hootenanny Hat of Owls, 159 www.aersknits.wordpress.com
10/19/2015 Ouchi Izumi Baby Atelier Pants, 110 www.izumiknittingdesign.jimdo.com
10/20/2015 Diana Foster Old School Baby Soaker, 112, Katarina’s Angora Mitts, 186, kitty Kat’s Leg Warmers, 188, Pretty in Pink Bath Set, 253 http://www.designsbydianafoster.com/AboutUs.asp
10/21/2015 Julia Swart Graphic kitty , 224 weesheepknits.com
10/22/2015 Myrna Stahman Falling Leaves Blankie, 203 http://www.myrnaaistahman.com/
10/23/2015 Lynn Wilson Baby Rattles, 237 and Blue Sky Cotton Baby Bib, 195 www.lwilsondesigns.com
10/24/2015 Evelyn Uyemura Greenleaf Hat, 141 www.lostthethread.blogspot.com
10/25/2015 Katherine (not a contributor) http://katherinemisegades.wordpress.com/
One-Skein Wonders for Babies, edited by Judith Durant, photograph by Geneve Hoffman, pub. Storey Publishing, 2015.
This is charming book has 10 chapters: Little Ensembles, Little Tops, Little Bottoms, Little Dresses, Little Hats, Little Socks & Bootees, Little Accessories, Little Blankets, Little Toys, and Little Miscellany.
That last chapter includes "Mom's Stress Reducer", an eye mask to wear while Little One naps. The others cover practically anything you might want to knit for an infant or toddler. All 101 patterns are thoroughly tech edited by Edie Eckman, so you can knit them with confidence!
I love Cathy Campbell's Circus Rings Baby Hat shown in the top right corner of the cover. It uses a long-stripe variegated yarn to achieve stripes of horizontal ribbing.
The Elephant Blanket Buddy by Gwen Steege (also on the cover) is one of three adorable blanket toys included in the book. It might be my favorite, because of the trunk which is good for holding onto or sucking.
The Sail Away with Me top (at left) by Janice Bye has a delightful sailboat detail in purl stitches on the front. The water ripples are echoed in the sleeves. As is common in this book, the pattern is only given in one size. I imagine this is because of the one skein constraint.
Sidebars such as "Babies and Lace" and "Toy Safety" encourage crafting which is mindful of the intended user (and therefore more likely to be used!).
Vicki Byram's Vertical Lace Baby Cardigan (at right), Jenny Snedeker's Diamond Vest, Evelyn Uyemura's Greenleaf Baby Hat, Lindsay Lewchuk's Ruffle Bumpkin, Sarah Gomez's Friendly Lizard, and Andrea Wong's Easy Baby Booties were a few of the patterns that caught my eye. But it was extremely difficult to choose just a few! Nearly all the patterns attracted my interest---and that very seldom happens.
Another design of note is my own Faux Bow Baby Hat (below). The bow "loops" are double-knit, and the ties are I-cord.
And now for the giveaway: Leave a comment by October 20 saying to whom you would give a Faux Bow Baby Hat. This could be an existing or expected baby, a charity, or something else! I'll choose two random entries and send them each a ball of Willow Daily DK courtesy of the folks at Willow Yarns. That's enough for a hat plus some!
The pink hat is Willow Daily; the other hat is the buttery Green Sheep Sport in the Tide Pool colorway.
Lastly, a few more patterns from the book:
Ingenious rattles by Lynn Wilson, each featuring a different knitting technique; Debbie Haymark's take on Mary Jane shoes ("Lizzie Janes"), and Ann Faith's Montana Moccasins.
I recommend this book for anyone who's knitting for babies or toddlers, or just wanting a quick project. There's a wonderful mix of cute, clever, and sophisticated designs!
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a free copy of this book. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
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