The latest episode of my podcast is now live.
I participated in the first Nature’s Shades Along in 2016 as well and it certainly galvanised my love of natural shades. Like other participants in the original KAL I also realised how effective, striking, beautiful… it can be to add a single colour to natural shades. Maylin (aka Blithespirit on Ravelry and @blithespirit4 on Instagram) uses this approach with wondrous effect, e.g. in her interpretation of the Coinneach and Bressay sweaters.
For this KAL I knit the simple but stylish Hap Cowl, by Shetland designer Ella Gordon to use up some remnants of Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight wool, but the KAL also got me thinking about natural shades more generally. The environmental and ethical aspects of embracing natural shades, the scope (if any) for using fabrics in natural shades (like tweeds from Cambrian Wool or Ardalanish or undyed linen or cotton) in my sewing and the psychological reasons for embracing natural shades in a world of colour.
Adventures in trousers
After some pondering about the gaps in my wardrobe during #MeMadeMay, I decided to tackle trousers again. I used the Jenny Overalls and Trousers pattern by Closet Case file as the starting point as well as this blog post on fitting on the pattern company’s website.
I talk about how I went about fitting and making a pair of trousers that fits me and why I don’t, or rather can’t, by-pass the toile process. Prompted by a discussion I had with Leigh of the Louleigh podcast, I also suggest joining me for a Toile-along if you want to tackle a trickier garment that involves some fitting but are feeling daunted. If you find toile making a bit of a slog, disheartening, frustrating…, join in for some fun and encouragement, either in the podcast Ravelry group or on Instagram under #trickytoilealong.
As autumn has well and truly arrived in England, I have spent a lot of my free time foraging, both for preserves and the dye pot. I share some of the delights of this pastime and some resources I used to get started with foraging, including: Richard Mabey’s classic Food for Free, Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Forager and the website British Local Food.
My general advice though would be to check for local publications (if possible) as they are likely to provide better coverage of local species, growing patterns and laws and by-laws. Any good resource will however include guidelines for good foraging practice to ensure the ongoing health wellbeing of the forager, the local habitat and the wildlife it supports.
I have been enjoying @engagedweaving‘s Instagram feed, not just for his simple, elegant weaving projects but for his mindful musings on slow making and making as an embodiment of our history, social values, cultural traditions and human evolution.
A materials podcast hosted by Anna Ploszaski has also caught my attention. In ‘Rial Talk Anna, a material scientist and engineer, talks materials with practitioners specialised in hands on work with the material in question. The podcast covers materials as diverse as cotton, clay, steel but also wood, lime and, would you believe it, chocolate!
* Photo of Maylin in her interpretation of the Coinneach cardigan: property of Maylin and used with her kind permission.