I’m clipping the end of the week here, but going along with my new desire to share more with you about the yarn I chose for my latest pattern revisit, Leaf Stole, I’m squeezing this in before the busy weekend!
I first approached Cynthia, of Brambleberry Yarns, almost a year ago with the idea to collaborate on a pattern. I came to know of her via the blog Small Things, and always admired the colour and natural tone Ginny’s projects carried. Brambleberry Yarns are all naturally dyed, and she uses only the most exquisite natural fibers. The swatch I worked up using fingering weight, rather than the worsted Leaf Stole was originally written for, was initially 100% wool. It had a great stitch definition but lacked the drape I wanted for this summer stole. Cynthia suggested her Loganberry base which is half silk, half merino, which would add a lot more fluidity to the finished knit. The result is perfection. Leaf Stole has the ability to look just perfect anyway it falls.
Similarly to me and my natural dying approach Cynthia uses plants from around her house and home to dye her yarns. She loves to experiment and see what pigments can be uncovered, and her results have so much depth and beauty, her work is everything I love about plant dyes.
To connect you even more with the yarn I used, I asked Cynthia to answer a few questions to share more about her work.
Annie : Firstly, can you tell us a little about Brambleberry Yarns, what it does and why it exists?
BBY : Brambleberry Yarns came to be as a gradual progression over the years. I have always had a love affair with plants and gardening- herbs in particular. Growing herbs and studying all their amazing uses was (and still is) a fulltime passion of mine. I was attending school for horticulture while working at an herb farm over ten years ago (yikes!) when I took up knitting during a stressful period in my life. Very quickly I learned how I could dye my yarns for my knitting with herbs from my garden and I was completely hooked. It eventually got to the point where I had more yarns than I knew what to do with from all of my experiments! On a whim I decided to try selling a few yarns and was very pleasantly surprised by the reaction I received from others. Brambleberry Yarns just took off from there.
Where do you get the inspiration for new dye plants and colours?
Inspiration mostly comes from just looking outside or wandering through my garden. I cannot look at a plant now and not wonder what color I might achieve from it if I tried using it as a dye! I especially enjoy gathering noxious, nonnative weeds and putting them to use in my dye pots. Japanese knotweed for example, is just horrible when it comes to taking over where I live but I discovered from experimenting that I could obtain a really nice rosy color from its roots.
I love the drape this silk/merino blend we used for this leaf stole – what other bases do you carry?
A major staple in my yarns is my organic merino base that I carry in both worsted and fingering weight. I also carry a blend of silk and merino in lace weight. I am always experimenting with new bases though so what is in the shop is always evolving.
Where can we find your yarns?
Occasionally I will sell my yarns in local open air markets but mostly my yarns can be found online through my shop www.brambleberryyarns.com
Finally, do you love to knit or crochet? Where is your favourite place or time of day to do it?
I would say I love to knit and crochet! There is always something on my needles or hooks or spinning wheel – mostly I have too many projects going at once! I love to knit in front of the fireplace during the winter months but for the most part I love to knit or spin where I have a nice view of the garden or tress. As far as to a time of day that I enjoy these pastimes? Pretty much whenever I can manage to squeeze in the time is my favorite time!