Skip to main content

Windfall Scarves

Windfall Scarves
Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.

In among the pressures of work and family and personal health I have been finding time for a couple of things. The Mathematician's Shirts project has a deadline of early November so it's the major draw on my creative energy - see it's own blog for updates on progress. However I did make some work for Felt United - the International Day of Felt - which will be posted later and I've gotten interested in "slow textiles".

A few months ago I discovered the work of India Flint and have been inspired to try some of her techniques myself. The process that intrigues me the most is the "ecoprint" - which uses the whole leaf for dyeing and leaves an imprint of it's shape and texture. Being Australian her work involves a lot of eucalyptus which gives great results. I've done some successful sample pieces with that and with red onion skins. So it's time to do more experiments.

In Edinburgh we are blessed with lots of native and exotic trees in public parks and private gardens. I've been collecting windfall leaves now that it 's autumn and most of them are now in these bundles:
- eucalyptus leaves from a garden tree that overhangs the street near our house
- Japanese acer from Princes Street Gardens
- red oak from the site of the 18th Century Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (a more recently planted tree though)
- common oak from the grounds of Craiglockhart Church where the Edinburgh Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers meet.

The dry leaves were soaked in hot water overnight. I dampened white silk scarves in the soaking water, then laid out the leaves on top and rolled up the bundles. The soaking water was put in an aluminium pan (my grandmother's jam pan) with some lemon juice and salt and a few onion skins for an autumnal background colour. The bundles were boiled up in there for about an hour and left to cool in the liquor. They're now in plastic bags in they airing cupboard where they'll stay for at least a week for the colour to mature.

Watch this space for the great unbundling!


  1. That sounds like an intriguing dye method...hmmm... You work and your blog are beautiful. I think you have finally tipped the scale in favor of a 2 column for my blog! Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Debra. It's great to know someone out there likes what I'm doing. In fact it's nice to know someone's reading this at all!

    The unbundling of those particular scarves was a bit underwhelming but there are more on the way - pictures soon.

    If you thinkk a two column blog is good then you should see my three column one :-)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The giving season!

[update: One scarf sold this season so I decided to pay it forward and made a donation of £95 instead of £9.50.  The scarves will go on sale again later in the year and if I sell more than ten I'll donate again.]

Yes it's that time again! The time when we arts and crafts folk hope you'll give creative handmade things to your nearest and dearest. I'll be giving back too -  fifteen percent of the sales of my Waterfall Scarves at Open Studios or the Arts Market will be donated to Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) who do life-saving voluntary work providing healthcare in conflict zones, at natural disasters and fighting epidemics around the world.

Hand-dyed yarns make these scarves are unique.  There are lots more colours in the collection than you see in this photo. They come in two sizes - long and narrow or shorter and wider. The fibre content is varied too - some are  traditional wool/nylon sock yarn, some are pure Merino wool and some are a mixture of…

Live nerdy knitting!

A quick blog post to let you know that I have a spot at Event Horizon 12. It's Edinburgh's monthly science fiction night and there's music and readings too. The theme of the evening is Star Trek is 50 and I guess I've been a fan for almost as long so expect some trek knits in the slide show at least.  Mostly I'll be talking about  my current projects, Botanica Mathematica and hacked knitting machines.You find  Event  Horizon in the Blind Poet pub on West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh,  starting at 19.30 approximately, on Monday 3 October. Come in and geek out -or you'll forever be a Herbert!

New Year To-Do List - Old Stuff, New Ideas!

Happy new year from Knot Unknot. I'm not one for seasonal resolutions but I've heard that setting targets is helpful. I think it's more giving hostages to fortune but I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it. To that end, I'm listing a bunch of studio-related stuff I want to get done soon. There's a lot more on the personal to-do list but, well, it's personal!
Exhibitions for Botanica Mathematica
Last autumn Jo and I sorted out all 75 trees in the Botanica Mathematica specimen collection and created taxonomy with species names.  This means the project is finally ready to exhibit so I'm making enquiries with likely hosts this month.  The main things I need for this are time and old-fashioned display cases.Learn to use new equipment
Towards the end of last year I bought some second-hand kit (a ribber for the hacked knitting machine and a linker) and a new overlocker sewing machine.  They all need a bit of setting up and some practice but once they'r…