Colour Your World!

The Canopy at Cathedral Grove - late October 2011

If you live anywhere coastal, northern or very far southern – you have somewhat colourless winters.  Many shades of white and blue for the very northern or southern area’s of the world and more shades of grey and green than you ever thought possible for the northern and southern coastal area’s of the world!

I am not trying to describe anywhere tropical – they are surrounded by colour all the time, with lush foliage and flowers to delight the eyes!  I lived in Malaysia as a pre-teen, and I still remember the vivid colours of everything, flowers, leaves, bugs – even the fabrics were more vibrant!

I live on the West Coast of Canada, on Vancouver Island.  Many think of Canada and think only of snow and cold, but here on the Island the climate is very temperate, not too cold, and therefore not normally much snow, but we get a lot of rain, and grey days.  We have evergreen trees and bushes, in every colour of green and because of our mild winters can even have some flowers still blooming in January, but the colours of winter are still predominantly green and grey!

Adding colour to a Winter day - Nov 26 2010

To compensate for the palette we like to add colour to our lives by knitting with colours or adding colours to undyed yarns.  I like to paint the dye directly onto the knitted fabric, others dye their yarns before they start knitting.  Some dyers use commercial dyes and others natural sourced dyes, but we are all in search of colour!

I have been conversing with “Cita” another blogger.  Her name is not really “Cita” that is just how I think of her.  Cita lives in Chile and is a Spinner and Weaver.  She knits as well.  Cita lives on a farm and has her own sheep.  She shears her sheep by hand.  Cita is a fibre junkie, just like me.  Lately Cita has been playing with natural dying and is using a solar oven to dye and set her yarns.  Check it out.  I thought that this was very interesting.  If we had more sun in the summer I wouldn’t mind trying that out!

So far my interest in natural dyes is limited to reading.  The book that I enjoy the most is the Dyers Garden by Rita Buchanan.  I think that growing the flowers would be wonderful, I am not so sure that I really want to play with the natural dyes yet.  Even the thought of the garden is a little daunting – the deer most likely would eat everything!

A regular visitor!

Another technique that I have tried is tea dying – as tea is something that I always have in my home.  I wanted to try it out as a dye.

My tea dyed yarns - ready for knitting.

I have been told that tea is more a stain than a dye.  Tea staining has been used to distress fabric and garments for theatre.  It adds aging and a natural, almost Sepia tone to fabrics.

This project, Afternoon Tea Scarf, was my first venture into natural dying.  There will be more, as time allows.

As you know time is one of those quick-moving, always disappearing items in our lives.  But as my interest grows so suddenly will my ability to find the “time” to learn and do more.

There are many dyers on the Island who offer workshops on natural dyeing, including indigo dyeing.  Those workshops are on my list of must-do’s – but not just yet!  There is still more that I want to do with the painting on knitting!

The finished Afternoon Tea Scarf, bright against the greens and greys!

How to you add colour to your Winters?  Do you work with vibrantly coloured yarns? Or do you paint your walls with deep colours?  Are you a winter gardener, coaxing the flowers of winter to bloom?

Happy Knitting


About letissierdesigns

March 2017 - My new site is now up and functioning. I can blog, share my thoughts and photographs, and sell my patterns! So much happening in my life and all is creative and forward moving! Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Sept 2015 - I haven't updated this in a while! Still knitting, always knitting, I still teach and work at Mad About Ewe Fine Yarns. I also have designed for Vogue Knitting, Koigu Magazine, Zealana, Jimmie Beans, and Malabrigo, As of the beginning of 2015 I also became creative director of the Buffalo Wool Co., a new job that just flows along with what I already do. I am a knitting teacher and knitwear designer. I work full time in my LYS, Mad About Ewe Fine Yarns. I recently was 1st runner up in a Vogue Knitting Design Competition called the Magic of Mohair. My design was featured in the Early Fall 2011 Vogue Knitting. I will have another design in the Vogue Knitting Winter 2011 edition. I have recently purchased a Canon Rebel Camera and have started taking way too many pictures. I love this site for sharing my thoughts and pictures. Life is good!
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8 Responses to Colour Your World!

  1. Enjoyed you recent email, but the link to the solar info did notwork >>> Lately Cita has been playing with natural dying and is using a solar oven to dye and set her yarns. Check it out. I thought that this was very interesting. If we had more sun in the summer I wouldn’t mind trying that out!

  2. Thanks so much for the mention and link, I feel honoured.

    I Have a thermometer in my oven and will have to make a note of the temperature, because it is not very hot here, (and I use them in the winter too). You may not need much of a summer for solar dyeing to work where you are.

    I recently saw another blog where the solar dyeing was done with bark in a jar, but left for months. I am not sure if that is still solar, but it worked, however with lots of patience!

    And thanks for the nickname, 🙂

    • Thanks Cita! I’m glad that you are OK with the nickname – spiders workshop wasn’t very easy to keep in mind for some reason – but I liked Cita!

      I would like to know the temperature that you get too with the oven I wouldn’t mind trying it out here! Have a great day!


      • My Global Sun Oven gets up to about 340 degrees.

      • Thanks Karen,

        Do you get hot summers? Or are they cooler? I am going to look for a solar oven next spring and try some of the dyeing!

        Happy Knitting


      • Hi,
        I am in Austin, Texas where it gets really hot, BUT the Global Sun Oven does not depend
        on the ambient air temperature. The oven only requires a clear day with no cloud cover across
        the sun. In the winter it may take longer to cook, but it will cook!
        I have to tell you that we have experienced cooking food with the oven this last summer and the food taste awesome.

      • Hi Karen,

        Austin Texas – I have never been there, except in books! I love the old Westerns, movies and books!

        I will be looking for an oven for sure! They sound very handy – for more than one reason!


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