Lala’s Simple Shawl

08Aug2015 03808Aug2015 03607July18 122Cassie needed a project to use up the wool that she had spun using a drop spindle.  She had died it with Woad seeds.  We found a pattern on the internet for Lala’s Simple Shawl   lalasimpleshawl_eng-2 .  It is similar to the small shawls that we made before, but this shawl is much bigger and the pattern is a bit different.  I decided that I should make one too.  It seemed like a good way to use up some of the wool that I have spun and dyed.  I started out with a large ball of wool that had been dyed with onion skins.  Of course this ball ran out before the shawl was finished so I found another similar one.  It ended up that I had to use several different types and weights of wool with different intensities of onion skin dyes.

The finished sh08Aug2015 046awl has a striped look as each ball of wool was different.  I quite like the results.  The one picture shows Cassie wearing her blue shawl while working at Lang.  I thinkshe ran out of wool and had to spin more to finish.  Sammi also made her version of the shawl with wool that she purchased a while ago from Harrisville.  Of course she made hers in half the time it took me.  Candace has also started one with some lovely wool that she bought in Toronto.

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13 Year Quilt

13 year quilt Yup! There it is, my super red 13 year quilt, finally finished.  This baby began in 2002 when I was in theEYE program, spring 2002 EYE program at the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter.  We were encouraged to create some of our own programming, and I was looking to get some experience sewing, so one of the other members suggested that her mom might take me in at her sewing shop.  I went in one afternoon a week and sewed together strips of fabric into squares for log cabin quilts to be donated later.  In addition to this, I also was taught how to make a simple garment.  Lessons I learned in the back room of that sewing shop have stayed with me for many of my sewing projects since.  03Mar07 219

Following this experience, I decided that I’d like to make my own quilt. CassCanQuiltNanas_NEW I’ve always loved the combination of red and black and chose this as my colour theme.  I took my time collecting fabric, cutting strips and piecing the quilt.  I did it in the same style as those I had been working on in the sewing shop.  I can’t find many pictures from this time, but I’ll add more as I find them.  Once the body of the quilt was assembled, with mom’s help, I strung it up on an old quilt frame that my grandpa had made (I believe this was based on the one in the upstairs of the Fitzpatrick home at Lang Pioneer Village, which connects to how the quilt is finally finished).

The quilt frame was bulky and hard to work with, which lead to less and less 08Aug20_2013Lynn 146frequent bouts of quilting, and then the quilt eventually came off, with plans to find something my convenient.  Fast forward to 2013, I’m working at Lang Pioneer Village.  I snag one of the rug hookers’ hoops and put it on my quilt… presto! I’m a lap-quilter.  I was allowed to bring my quilt to work (which I’m super-grateful for, it may have been another five years) when I was stationed in appropriate buildings and was able to press forward with my quilt.  I worked on it one or two days my second summer at Lang and it was time for some outer edge-quilty-decision-making time.  10351725_10154562828465247_4604935370911182285_n

If anyone knows my family, they know that creative decisions can hold up a project for some time.  I finally decided how to do the border and finished it up by January.

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Mom and some kittens helped me with the final stages, then finally it was done, January17, 2015.  The cats all approved.  I”m pretty sure that my quilt holds on to all of the memories of the years it took to finish it, probably making it extra snugly and warm.


P.S.  If anyone from the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter comes across this, I’m looking for a copy of the super-awesome CD that we made as a group.  I need to hear it!! :)03Mar07 20501Jan31casscam 023


Fern Lace Shawl with Naturally Dyed, Hand-spun (not by me) Wool

Fern-lace Shawl

So, this is normally my mom’s territory.  This summer my job at Lang Pioneer Village I was given instruction on dying wool using plant-derived dyes.  Ladies (why no men?  Maybe there were some) from local weavers and spinners groups spun a whole bunch of wool this spring and I was allowed to run free experimenting with these natural dyes.  My mom has (Lynn) been into this for a long time and I have been on several excursions with her to collect Black Walnuts, Queen-Ann’s Lace, or whatever else we can identify that has dyeing properties, but this summer I actually got involved in the dyeing process.  Also, as I used up lots of the spun wool, I figured that I needed to learn to spin some as well.

I’m not going to go into the processes for this post (plus you can find all of this stuff online), but here are some pictures of all that.

My trusty work spinning wheel


Winding wool that I’d spun. In the background, mordanting over the fire.
Preparing a dye bath over the fire. This was full of Staghorn Sumac berries. It produced my greatest dye failure; a smoker’s-hair yellow-grey.


An array of colours produced by plants, some grown for their dyeing properties in the Fitzpatric garden at Lang Pioneer Village, others collected on the grounds.

The true intent of this post is my Fern-lace shawl.   After getting a sweet electric-yellow out of a bunch of goldenrod (Canada Goldenrod, Solidago altissima ?) I figured that I really needed to knit something from these cool colours we were coming up with.  Pauline Gillespie, the volunteer teaching us dyeing, had already instructed dying with apple bark and Marguerite.  One day she came by with knit shawls as gifts for me and my co-worker, Tara, and I told her that I wanted to knit with the dyed wool.   She said “Go for it!” and ran off to get the pattern for me.Fern Lace Shawl

The pattern seemed to indicate that it was something you worked on only when you had cabin fever, and although I’m pretty sure that knitting is one of the activities that gives you cabin fever (no, I’m not the knitter in the family), I began.  I wanted to start with my favorite goldenrod yellow, then I thought I’d finish with a heavily overspun apple bark, so as not to use up all the really nice wool. The pattern starts nice and simple, cast on five, then add at the beginning and end of of each row with some yarn-over action (YOLO!) in the centre.  The rows get longer and longer and then you (I) realise that the little ugly apple bark ball will not be enough.  I ended up pillaging another skein of really nice apple bark, so you can see a slight change in tone on the trim.  I don’t mind.

Fern Lace Shawl I wanted the shawl to be a little longer in the back than the pattern called for so I added more rows.  Of course when you do this, you have to make sure that the lacy trim at the end makes sense.  I tried a few times.  The first was totally off, so on the second attempt, which was closer, I made it fit.  I’m quite happy with the result.  Now I just have to find those times which require a shawl and then remember to wear it.  I think it will come in handy for coolish Autumn walks in the natural areas around my home.

Fern Lace Shawl