I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts.
We planted an espalier apple tree 2 years ago when we moved to our new property. This year we had our first successful apple crop.
Every fruit tree needs occasional pruning. When you prune the small branches – do not throw them away. Both the leaves and the twigs and branches can be used for natural dyeing.
I separated the leaves from the branches and put them into buckets to store them for later use.
I filled a dyepot with some of the apple leaves (the rest of the leaves will be used later for another dye session.)
I added water and put the dyepot onto boil. I let it simmer for a few hours and then turned off the heat and let the dye solution sit overnight. I find that when working with plant dyes, it is better to leave them for several hours/overnight to allow more of the dye to soak out of the plant and into the water.
Apple leaves can be dyed without mordant as there are some natural tannins in the leaves.
I tested this by mordanting one skein in an alum mordant and leaving one wool skein unmordanted.
The following day, I reheated the apple leaf dye, leaving the leaves in the dyepot. I added the 2 skeins of wool into the dyepot and let them simmer for a few hours, stirring the pot from time to time.
I then turned off the heat and left the wool yarn to soak in the dye stock overnight. Again, I find that I get much stronger colours with natural dyes if I leave them in the dye solution overnight. Natural dyeing is a slow process, not to be rushed.
Both the mordanted and unmordanted yarns gave a lovely golden shade of yellow. I found that the alum mordanted yarn was slightly brighter in shade.
I am pleased that I still have lots of apple leaves for another dye project and that the apple tree bark awaits for another dye day.
Nalbinding is generally worked as you go along, measuring the circumference of your head, your foot, your hand, and trying it on as you go. The size and number of stitches to use, vary greatly depending on the yarn that you use, and the size of your thumb, (as the stitches are wrapped around your thumb during the needling). There aren’t a lot of detalied patterns available, but here a a few that I have found. I will continue to add to this list as I find them.
Being of Finnish/Saami origin, I am a great coffee lover. When I first got home from the hospital after having breast cancer surgery my husband offered to make me a lovely latte. But strangely, what I wanted, craved for instead, was celery. This craving was much like those I had many years ago when I was pregnant. I needed it now! And I wanted it with V8 juice.
We had a bit of V8 juice left in the fridge. My darling Robert poured it into a glass and brought it to me, but it still needed more celery. He rummaged through the fridge and found a small, rather wilted piece of celery and added it to my glass of V8 juice. Nope, needed more celery. He found some celery salt in the spice drawer. I quickly glugged it all down. And still wanted more. Robert went to the corner shop and bought some more V8 and fresh celery. I drank several glasses before I felt satisfied.
Later I started to think about that, and wonder why celery? I got onto google and googled celery and cancer:
“Preventing cancer. Celery contains a flavanoid called luteolin. Researchers believe that luteolin may possess anti-cancer properties. A study published in Current Cancer Drug Targets said that “Recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin.” Health benefits and risks of celery
So then I started to look for scientific research articles that have examined the effects of luteolin on cancer to see if there is any basis for this.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Although I wasn’t quite sure what type of breast cancer this was, the doctor thought it was probably Triple Negative Breast Cancer, based on the core biopsy that had been done the week before srugery. Triple Negative doesn’t have a good prognosis for recovery, because the cancer cells don’t have the hormone receptors that work with most of the current chemo treatments that are available.
These receptors are normally ER+ (estrogen)
HER2+ (Hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2)
In my case, all these were Negative. ER-, PR- HER2- Triple Negative Breast Cancer
So in my google research I decided to look for the effect of luteolin on Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). I did find a few encouraging articles, suggesting that I may be on the right track – perhaps foods can help to treat this almost incurable disease.
From what I can understand, it is thought that luteolin has some effect on preventing or slowing down the ability of cancer cells to spread to the lungs or other parts of the body.
Luteolin inhibits lung metastasis, cell migration, and viability of triple-negative breast cancer cells
“Most breast cancer-related deaths from triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) occur following metastasis of cancer cells and development of tumors at secondary sites. Because TNBCs lack the three receptors targeted by current chemotherapeutic regimens, they are typically treated with extremely aggressive and highly toxic non-targeted treatment strategies. Women with TNBC frequently develop metastatic lesions originating from drug-resistant residual cells and have poor prognosis. For this reason, novel therapeutic strategies that are safer and more effective are sought. Luteolin (LU) is a naturally occurring, non-toxic plant compound that has proven effective against several types of cancer….Our findings show that LU effectively suppresses the viability of TNBC cells and blocks their metastasis to the lungs.”
Luteolin is a novel p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) inhibitor that suppresses Notch4 signaling by blocking the activation of Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1)
“Herein, we identified the off-patent compound luteolin, has the novel ability to block RSK/YB-1/Notch4 signaling and thereby inhibit TNBC growth including TIC-enriched populations. Since RSK has recently been identified as a TNBC-specific target, we focused on screening for compounds that have the ability to block RSK activity. We used a dual approach of high-throughput and virtual screening, as these are complementary methods that can be integrated to improve inhibitor discovery . Notably, both screening techniques identified kaempferol, luteolin and apigenin that inhibited RSK1 and RSK2 at micromolar concentrations. Subsequent experiments identified luteolin as the lead compound as it suppressed growth in TNBC and inhibited RSK in cells. Consequently, it reduced phosphorylation of YB-1 and decreased Notch4 signaling, both of which are key pathways in sustaining TICs.
RSK2 is an emerging therapeutic target for developing treatments for TNBC, for which there are currently no targeted therapies available . Our group identified that RSK2 specifically has the most potent inhibitory effect on growth in TNBC . Furthermore, we propose that RSK inhibitors could have application beyond breast cancer to include other tumors that express high RSK2 such as those that develop in the lung, head and neck, prostate and hematopoietic system .”
I am a weaver. I am not an expert on any of this and don’t pretend to be. I was fortunate to be employed in an administrative role in the field of medical research for a few years, so developed a bit of skill in reading through research proposals so am familar with a few of the terms and what to look for in complex and technical scientific summaries and abstracts.
None of the information that I am writing about is to be construed as providing medical advice. Please contact your doctor and oncologist for advice regarding your condition.
Every cancer is different. I am merely documenting my own cancer journey as I try to figure out best decisions and solutions for myself.
V8 Juice Recipe – My Fortified version
I purchased a juicer and I now make a V8 juice that has extra goodness added.
2-3 sticks of Celery
2-3 Beets (cooked or raw)
Handful of Parsley leaves
Handful of Spinach
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Mix this half and half with V8 Vegetable Juice.
Other Foods containing Luteolin
Below are links and books that have helped me with my cancer journey so far.
My Dear Fibre Friends,
It is difficult to write this but I feel that I must share my experiences as part of my healing process. In early July, I found a lump and went to visit my doctor. A mammogram, ultrasound and a core needle biopsy revealed that this was Stage 3 breast cancer. 6 Days later I found myself in hospital undergoing a radical mastectomy. 9 Lymph nodes were also removed during the procedure.
The lab results showed that this was not a standard type of breast cancer but an extremely rare form, called Metaplastic Breast Cancer. Depending on which study you read, only .02% – 1% of the population gets this type of cancer. The odd thing is that this cancer is not actually a breast cancer, but a type of Skin cancer that happened to grow within my breast. My doctor informed me that there are no known successful treatments for this type of cancer, therefore he does not recommend further chemo treatments. The chemo could possibly do more harm than good. I will also be meeting with my oncologist in a few weeks to discuss more details of this type of cancer and treatment options.
If there are no treatments that modern medicine can effectively provide, my best and only alternative is to look into holistic types of healing, using natural and organic foods, exercise, meditation and faith.
Due to the surgery, I have limited use of my right arm, so am unable to do any craft or textile work until my arm strengthens and heals.
I have had to cancel and postpone any workshops that I had scheduled. I closed my Etsy shop temporarily while I was going through surgery, but I have now reopened it. Products that I have made are available for sale. But I am unable to accept custom orders at this time until I regain the use of my hands. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Breast Cancer Research.
I will continue to post updates to my journey from time to time on my All Fiber Arts website.
If you would like to be notified of my next post please subscribe to All Fiber Arts Newsfeed or follow me on Twitter.
I have been working with reindeer leather for the past year or so, hand stitching and making small bags, purses and pouches. My interest in reindeer leather began when I decided I wanted to weave and work with materials from my Saami heritage. My grandmother used to make reindeer leather shoes, bags and other items that she sold to the Sami community in Northern Norway. Many of these types of items were embellished with hand woven colourful bands or pewter thread embroidery. After doing some research in online museum archives, I discovered that fish skins were also tanned and used to make bags and other items.
I first learned about fish tanning during one of the textile and dye workshops that I attended in Finland. I thought I would do a bit more research on the various ways to tan a fish and make it into useable leather.
Wear protective rubber gloves at all times when handling fish. This will protect you from any bacteria that may be on the fish, and will also prevent the fish from getting bacteria that can affect the tanning process.
The basic procedure for tanning fish leather is to remove the skin from the fish. This is easier to do if the fish has been frozen.
Using a spoon, scrape off the fish scales.
Turn the fish skin over and gently scrape off the fat and as much of the membrane as you can. With some types of fish, this can be quite easy to do and sometimes more difficult.
Rinse in clean water.
Soak in the tanning solution for 12-24 hours – sometimes longer depending on the tanning method you are using.
Soften the tanned skin by rubbing egg yolks and oil. This replaces some of the proteins and fish fats that were removed during the tanning process.
Let the oiled skin dry.
Then massage, rub, stretch and work the skin until it is soft and flexible. This can take several hours to do.
There are many methods and recipes for tanning fish skin. Here are a few, though I haven’t had a chance to try all of them yet.
Urine is often used to tan fish leather. The ammonia from the urine helps to break down the fats and fibrous cells of the fish skin. Urine Tanned Fish Leather
Among the ancient Inca, the Aclla Cuna or Virgins of the Sun were selected from girls aged 8-10 who had special beauty. They spent their lives in temple convents and prepared food, corn beer and tended the sacred fire. They also spun very fine thread and wove garments for the emperor to be used in special ceremonies and sacrifices.