);

Plant Dyes and Your Health

Did you know that textiles dyed with plant dyes can be good for you?
As a part of my personal search for a healthier lifestyle, I am on an ongoing quest to learn more about natural plant dyes, their uses and how to achieve the range of colours that plant dyes can produce. In this age of mass production, I fear that we are losing much of the knowledge that our ancestors had about how to make things using the raw materials that nature provides.

In my latest googling, I made a remarkable discovery (well, remarkable to me at least, as I had never heard of this before) Most natural plant dyes are anti-microbial. When yarns or fabrics are dyed using natural dyes and come into contact with bacteria, they prevent their spread.

Amazing, right? It is amazing to think that our ancestors who made and wore natural plant dyed fabrics, before the days of antibiotics or even much knowledge about germs, were also giving themselves protection against the spread of disease- Naturally.

Nature looks after us. The trees and plants clean our air. Roots of some plants clean up the soil, removing hazardous materials. Plants provide humans and other animals food to live on. Plants provide us with clothing (such as flax and cotton) Before the age of pharmaceuticals, plants were used as medicines. Plants also add colour to our clothing. And in addition to that, the natural dyes from the plants reduced the spread of harmful bacteria.

Yet here we are, purposefully destroying our whole eco-system that has sustained us for thousands of years.
We are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful effects of fossil fuels, of the use of plastics that pollute our rivers and streams, of the destruction of the rain forests. The problem seems insurmountable as our planet struggles with climate change.

I think to tackle part of this plastics problem, we have to start small, with the positive things that we can do within our own environment. Saying no to plastic bags, re-using and recycling whenever possible. Making changes to our buying habits. Shopping for locally produced foods and materials. Read labels – don’t buy products that contain plastics, acrylics, polyester.

As part of this, I think that textile crafters can play a huge part in this – choosing not to use yarns and fabrics that contain plastic content. Buy natural wools, cottons, linen, hemp, alpaca, mohair, silk and other natural fibres instead. Say no to superwash yarns. And in helping to revive the traditional crafts and skills of textiles, working with fibres, spinning, weaving, natural dyes. I know that it is currently quite difficult to source and find natural wools but a few are still available. Yes, clothes may need a bit of extra care when washing, but then you know that your washing machine is not flushing micro-plastics into our water systems.

Clothing is one of our major commodities and fabric and clothing manufacturing is a high polluter. If demand for plastics and synthetic fibres diminish, the industry will change. Knit, crochet, weave and wear yarns and clothing that have been dyed with natural plant materials rather than harmful synthetic dyes. Experiment with using and making natural dyes. Some of these dye plants can be found in your kitchen – such as promegranate peels, onion skins, turmeric and other spices. If you have space, plant some trees and a dye garden. The bonus of using natural materials rather than synthetics is, that your clothing will also provide you with some protection against diseases, reducing the need for antibiotic use.

Natural dyes are a good thing. In my research, I came across numerous research studies that have been done in the past several years about dye plants and their effectiveness against harmful microbes such as:
Escherichia coli
Sarcina lutea
Proteus vulgaris
Bacillus subtilis
Klebsiella pneumoniae
Staphylocccus aures
Enterococcus faecalis
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Candida albicans

Researchers have been investigating the anti-microbial properties of plant dyes in order to develop commercial applications to produce textiles for use in hospital and clinical situations to help reduce the harmful spread of bacteria.
Some of the plants were more effective against different bacteria than others. Also stronger dye concentrations had higher microbial effects. I suppose that if you wore clothing of different colours and dyed with different dye plants, there might be a synergistic effect, giving you better microbe resistance. Also perhaps overdye techniques could be used with the dyes, producing different colours as well as added resistance.
In addition to confirming that many natural dye plants have bacteria killing properties, they also tested the washability of the plant dyes and found that the dyes were wash fast and the anti-microbial effects did not wash out of the textiles when they were properly mordanted.
Potassium aluminum sulphate (Alum) was used in most of the studies as a mordant.

Some of the natural plant dyes that have been tested with positive results for their antimicrobial resistance are:

LATIN NAME – PART OF PLANT/COLOUR – COMMON NAME (links to Dye Recipes)
Rhamnus petiolaris –  Fruit Yellow-orange – Persian berries, Buckthorn bark
Juglans regia –  Green fruit- peel Brown – Walnut
Laurus nobilis –  Leaf, Light yellow –  Bay tree
Erica manipuliflora –  Above ground – Brown, yellow, – Heather
Vitex   Leaf Light brown, greenish –  Chaste Tree
Juniperus foetidissima – Leaf, Light yellow, -Juniper
Juniperus excelsa – Leaf , Light yellow, – Greek Juniper
Berberis vulgaris – Fruit, Yellow-Orange –  Barberry
Lawsonia inermis  -Leaf Red, Brown -Henna
Agrimonia eupatoria – Leaf, Yellow  – Agrimony
Cistus creticus –  Leaf, Brown Yellow – Cretan rockrose
Reseda lutea-  Flower, Yellow –  Weld
Sambucus nigra – Leaf, Yellow – Elderberry
Punica granatum – Fruit peel, Yellow -Pomegranate
Eucalyptus globulus  – Leaf  – Eucalyptus
Matricaria chamomilla  – Flower  – camomile
Pinus brutia –  Bark , Brown – Pine tree
Platanus orientalis – Bark , Red, Sycamore –  Oriental Plane
Cartamus tinctorius -Flower, Yellow ,- Safflower
Salvia officinalis ,Leaf  – Yellow-orange, green –  Sage
Verbascum orientale – Leaf, yellow – Mullein
Allium cepa – Dry outer leaf, Yellow-orange – Onion
Rhus coriaria – Flower ,Yellow, brown  – Sumac
Curcuma longa – Flower, Yellow – Turmeric
Olea europaea – Leaf , Yellow-green –  Olive tree
Quercus infectoria – Oak galls
Acacia Catechu –  Cutch
Rheum Emodi – Himalayan rhubarb
Rubia cordifolia –  Indian madder
Rumex maritimus – Golden dock
Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum -Shikonin –  Purple Gromwell
Alkanna tinctoria – Alkanet
Haematoxylum campechianum – heartwood, blues, grey, brown, black – Logwood
Butea monosperma – Flowers, yellow – Bastard Teak Flame of the Forest
Rheum australe – Rhizomes, oranges, yellow – Himalayan Rhubarb

With winter and ‘flu season coming up, perhaps it is time to knit a scarf using naturally dyed yarns?

References
Antimicrobial Activities of Some Natural Dyes and Dyed Wool Yarn
In this study researchers tested 25 natural dye plants for their effectiveness against micro-organisms.
Punica granatum (Pomegranate peels) Berberis vulgaris (Barberry), Agrimonia eupatoria (Agrimony), Rhus coriaria (Sumac) were effective against all bacteria. Sarcina lutea, Bacillus subtilis, MRSA and Enterococcus faecalis were sensitive to almost all dye extracts even at low concentrations. The dyed wool material tested with microorganisms, and maximum inhibition rates were obtained against S. lutea and MRSA of wool samples dyed with P. granatum and R. coriaria, respectively, while there was a drastic decrease in E. faecalis growth with the A. cepa (Onion skins) and R. petiolaris (Buckthorn).

Antibacterial Activity of Cationised Cotton Dyed with Some Natural Dyes
Madder, Logwood, Cutch and Chelidonium majus (Greater Celindine) were tested against common pathogens Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus favus and Candida albicans. Chelidonium majus dye was most effective and showed maximum zone of inhibition there by indicating best antimicrobial activity against all the microbes tested.

Antimicrobial activity of some natural dyes
Four natural dyes Acacia catechu (Cutch), Kerria lacca (Lac), Quercus infectoria (Oak Galls), Rubia cordifolia (Indian Madder) and Rumex maritimus (Golden Dock) were tested against common pathogens Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Quercus infectoria dye was most effective and showed maximum zone of inhibition thereby indicating best antimicrobial activity against all the microbes tested.

Antibacterial Efficacy of Natural Dye from Melia compositaLeaves and Its Application in Sanitized and Protective Textiles
“Almost all these synthetic colorants being synthesized
from petrochemical sources through hazardous chemical processes
pose threat towards the environment and human body health.”
.
“Worldwide environmental consciousness coupled with increased awareness of environmental hazards of synthetic dyes has led to the revival of interest in natural dyes due to their non-polluting and nontoxic nature. Consequently, numerous researches in recent years have focused on development of non toxic and eco-friendly natural dyes for textiles colouration6. Natural dyes are being preferred over synthetics owing to their eco-friendliness i.e. they do not create any
environmental problems at the stage of production or use
.  Furthermore, in addition to their dye-yielding characteristics, some of dyeyielding plants also possess medicinal value. Some natural dyes have
intrinsic additional properties such as antibacterial, antifungal, moth
proof, anti-allergy, anti-UV, etc”

Melia composita (China berry) leaves were extracted into boiling water for 70 minutes. The extract was used to dye silk, wool and cotton. The fabric dyed with the natural dye was tested against gram
positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus epidermidis
and Bacillus cereus and gram negative bacteria, Escherichia coli,
Klebsiella pneumonia, Shigella flexneri and Proteus vulgaris. The dyed samples were evaluated against Ampicillin and Streptomycin. Ampicillin and Streptomycin. “The study led to the conclusion that leaves of Melia composita can be a potential source of ecofriendly natural dye with
remarkable antibacterial potency and the textile materials dyed with
this natural dye can be very useful in developing sanitized fabrics for
medical applications and protective clothing to protect users against common infections.

Natural dyes and its Antimicrobial Effect
Textile manufacturers are aware that there is a growing trend to natural and environmentally safe products.The International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) –Volume-42 Number-3 -December 2016 states that:
“In the early 21st century, the market for natural dyes in the fashion industry is experiencing a resurge.Westernconsumers have become more concerned about the health and environmental impact of synthetic dyes in manufacturing and there is a growing demand for products that use natural dyes.Completely capturing the market with natural dyed fabric is an urgent need to maintain a safe environment. “

Colour, health and wellbeing: The hidden qualities and properties of natural dyes
In the journal of the International Colour Association (2013), Kate Wells discusses the possibilites of the uses of natural dyes to improve the health and well-being of mankind.

More
No-Nylon Sock Knitting

Natural Dye Books

The Wild Dyer: A Maker’s Guide to Natural Dyes with Projects to Create and Stitch (learn how to forage for plants, prepare textiles for dyeing, and … from coasters to a patchwork blanket)

The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers

A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present

Natural Dyes: Sources, Traditions, Technology & Science

Flame of the Forest Dye

Flame of the Forest Natural Plant Dye
Butea monosperma

for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Flame of the Forest Dye Powder
Put Flame of the Forest into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

Flame of the Forest Natural Dye - Butea monosperma
Flame of the Forest Natural Dye – Butea monosperma

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Bleached Cotton
Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Please look for my naturally dyed yarns in my Paivatar Yarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Plant Dyed Sock Wool
Natural Plant Dyed Sock Wool

More about Naturally Dyed Yarns
Apple Leaf Dye
Madder Root Dye
Alkanet Root Dye
Brazilwood Dye
Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye

Natural Dye Books

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Thursday Feb-13-2020 21:06:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Natural Mordant for Natural Dyeing

$10.98
End Date: Tuesday Jan-28-2020 9:28:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $10.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Friday Feb-14-2020 17:03:17 PST
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Eucalyptus Leaf Dye

I gathered some Eucalyptus leaves during a recent visit to Corfu. Eucalyptus makes a wonderful dye, both from the leaves and the bark.
I dyed both wool and some cellulose fabrics (linen and cotton)

To make the dye, I used 50 grams of Eucalyptus leaves and put them into a dye pot filled with water.
I simmered the dyepot for +1 hour at 50 degrees Celsius.
I then added the mordanted wool and fabric samples to the dyepot.
I simmered the dyepot for +1 hour.
Then I turned off the heat and let the dyepot cool and left it overnight. I find that I get stronger colours when leaving the yarn to soak longer.

Eucalyptus Leaf Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Please look for my naturally dyed yarns in my Paivatar Yarn Shop on Etsy.

More about Naturally Dyed YarnsApple Leaf Dye
Madder Root Dye
Alkanet Root Dye
Brazilwood Dye
Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Thursday Feb-13-2020 21:06:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Natural Mordant for Natural Dyeing

$10.98
End Date: Tuesday Jan-28-2020 9:28:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $10.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Friday Feb-14-2020 17:03:17 PST
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

No-Nylon Sock Knitting

Since I had cancer last year, I have spent time examining how I live and what possible environmental effects could have had an influence on getting this disease. I have had to change many things in my life and to examine what foods I eat, the types of fabrics and clothes that I wear, the yarns, fibres and dyes that I use in my work. In addition to the air pollution around us from cars and factories, working as a weaver/spinner, we know that fibre creates dust and small airborne particles that we breathe. Those particles get into our lungs, our food, and everything we touch and can be absorbed by our skin.
As we know, in recent months there has been growing concern about the use of microplastics, that pollute our rivers, streams, oceans and invade the delicate balance of our world. The concern is not just plastic bags, plastic water bottles but also the bits of plastic particles that are in most of our clothing and fabrics.

So the gentle hobby of knitting that we enjoy also has an impact on our world. What yarns we choose to knit with and to wear can make a difference. Since it is November and the days are cold, I have been knitting some socks and mittens. There are many yarns and fibres to choose from – wools, mohair, silks, cottons,yak, alpaca, cashmere. A random Google search led me to a huge selection of sock yarns. When I looked at the fibre content of the yarn blends, most of them contain 10% to 25% nylon/polyamide. That might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up.
I begin to wonder, is nylon really necessary to add to the sock to give it strength? When you add up all the wools and other yarns that contain nylon, that adds up to a lot of microplastics.
When I knit socks that contain nylon, I find that they do wear out rather quickly at the heels and the bottom of the foot. I look at the yarn and how it has worn, and I see that the wool has broken and the nylon remains. I wonder if the nylon could be abrasive and causes the wool to wear?

I thought back to the days when my mother used to knit hats, mittens, socks, sweaters for our family. My Dad, my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews each got a sock, hat and mitten set every Christmas. She only used pure wool for her knitting. The socks were hard-wearing and almost never wore out. Our sock drawers were full of hand knit socks, made many years ago, though we did get a new pair to add to the collection every year. When the socks did get a bit worn, she would darn them with other bits of leftover wool. Make do and mend, and those socks would again be warm and durable.
I found some of my mother’s old double point sock knitting needles. I remember that she would use different sizes of needles for the socks – for the body of the sock she used a slightly thicker size of needle and a thinner one for the heel and foot of the socks. I measured her old knitting needles – and the fine ones were 2.0.

Sock Knitting Needles
Sock Knitting Needles

For socks that I knit, I have been using the recommended 2.5 mm to 3.0 mm for most of my knitting and the socks do wear out quickly. Perhaps the socks also need to be knit with a tighter tension to give the sock more strength. I will test this and knit with my mother’s fine needles on my next pair of socks.

As a hand spinner I am aware that the type of wool fibre that you use can make a difference to the durability and softness of the sock. And also how the yarn is spun – with a tight twist or a loosely spun one.
Wool spun for socks should be made from a sheep breed that has a long staple length and is worsted spun with a tight twist. Soft wools such as merino are not really suitable as the fibre is very fine, the staple length is short and I find that merino tends to break off and pill when it is worn. Merino is better suited for knitting lace shawls, hats or wool sweaters that don’t demand a lot of hard use.
I have some wool sensitivites and I find that many wools make me itch and can give me a rash. A sheep breed such as Blue Faced Leicester is my favourite yarn for knitting. Romney is also another favourite of mine, though it is difficult to find in the UK.
It is difficult to find a sock yarn that doesn’t contain some amount of nylon. Perhaps if we as consumers become more demanding and ask yarn companies to produce yarns that are nylon free, non-superwash, and use eco-friendly dyes and methods, this will change. For now, I dye my own yarns with natural plant dyes. Both for personal use and for sale. You can find some of my Indie dyed yarns in my Paivatar Yarn Etsy Shop. Please also support other Indie dyers and crafters who work with natural materials.

Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers
Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers

Comments from Readers
After publishing this post, I received this comment from a long time friend and All Fiber Arts community member.

I never did like the idea of nylon in our wool socks. I did not believe that it make the socks last longer; I just could never understand how it could. What I knew was that the wool would disappear and the nylon would remain behind — and we THOUGHT that made the socks stronger. It didn’t.

I remember many years ago, I had purchased a pair of socks, machine made, that looked sort of home-made. They were in a natural sort of uneven grey colour, and appeared to be warm. They weren’t. They were not even wool, but mostly a loosely spun acrylic! [I didn’t read labels very carefully back then!] They wore out very fast…. I perhaps only wore them twice, and they seemed to wash away! I had holes in the bottom of the heel and ball of foot.

So I darned them. I decided to do duplicate stitch. After all, I could see the stitches (in nylon) and the rest of the sock had vanished. So it seemed so easy to just stitch over the stitches as they were already there, and it would all be good! Famous last words.

It seemed to take so long to do! I used my own hand-spun yarn, and covered the hole with neatly made stitches just as they were. For a darning mushroom, I used a light bulb (remember those?). I stitched a little beyond the hole so it would blend in. The heel was done with short rows, and I followed the pattern, and discovered how they were made. I stitched under the ball of the foot, and then the toe, and any thin area. I never knew where to stop! I mean, should I go only up to this stitch, or should I include the one next to it as well? I really felt that I could have knit the socks from scratch with my own yarn faster than it took to darn them! But it was a very good learning experience.

[I do remember where I was living at the time. I was sitting in my kitchen, with the oven door open — it was very cold then in winter, and I had little heat. I was listening to the federal finance minister presenting his budget at that time as well. I remember very well thinking whether he ever has sat and darned his own socks! If he did, THEN he could talk to me about restraint and higher taxes!]

When I did a lot of weaving, I do remember reading somewhere that you should NOT use nylon as a warp when weaving rugs because it would cut through your wool weft. That was a revelation to me…. and I always remembered that. So putting nylon in socks seems to be counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t the nylon cut through the wool? Of course it did! But that only meant you would have to buy more socks sooner! [there is some sense behind their madness!]

I could never understand how the addition of the nylon, whether blended with the wool, or added while knitting, could make the wool last longer. All I could see is that the wool could disappear, but the stitch would still hold together… there could still be some fabric there…. and it would “last longer”.

I thank you for bringing this to our attention. I don’t like the prevalence of all these synthetics in our lives. I can’t believe they are doing us any good. I am so distressed when those ignorant knitters on the forum write that they HAVE to use acrylics for their grandkids because their children are too busy to be able to hand-wash any baby clothes. But they prefer to give them toxic clothes instead? Have any of you ever seen a baby burned by melting acrylics?? As you know, wool does not burn without a flame on it. Only one conclusion in my mind.

We need to be reminded of these things from time to time. We soon get caught in the ways of the world, and we forget. Until it is too late.

TG

Plastics and Pollution
I was very happy to see in The Guardian newspaper today a beginning of awareness that the clothing we wear has an impact on the world around us.
The Christmas Jumper, so loved by everyone in the holiday season, is causing harm to our planet.
Christmas Jumpers Add to Plastic Pollution
“95% of the jumpers were made wholly or partly of plastic materials. The charity said the garment had become one of the worst examples of fast fashion, now recognised as hugely damaging to the environment.”

The contribution of washing processes of synthetic clothes to microplastic pollution
Recent estimations have assessed that synthetic clothes contributes by about 35% to the global release of primary microplastics to the world oceans, thus becoming the main source of microplastics.

More
Plant Dyes and Your Health

Sock Knitting Books
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Patterns

The Sock Knitter’s Handbook: Expert Advice, Tips, and Tricks

The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime

Knitting Vintage Socks

Knit Like a Latvian – Socks: 50 Knitting Patterns for Knee Length, Ankle and Footless Socks

150 Scandinavian Motifs: The Knitter’s Directory

Apple Leaf Dye

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.

Espalier Apple Tree
Espalier Apple Tree

Apples
Apples

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.

Apple Tree Leaves
Apple Tree Leaves

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.

Apple Leaf Yarn
Apple Leaf Yarn
Apple Leaf Dyed Yarn
Apple Leaf Dyed Yarn
Apple Leaf Dyed Handspun
Apple Leaf Dyed Handspun

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.

More About Natural Dyes
How to Scour and Mordant Cotton and Linen
How to Make an Alum Mordant: how_alum_mordant
Brazilwood Dye

Natural Plant Dye Books

The Art and Science of Natural Dyes: Principles, Experiments, and Results

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles

A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers

Natural Dyes

Handspun Yarn on EBay

Nalbinding Patterns

Naalbinding Patterns
nalbinding, naalbinding, needle binding, nålbinding,knotless netting, nålbindning, schlingentechnik,nålebinding, nålbindning, nålning, påtning, sömning, naaldbinden

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.

Gingerbread Man
Make a Gingerbread man using nalbinding stitches.

Candy Cane Ornament
PDF instructions for making a naalbinding Candy Cane ornament using 2 colours of yarn.

Nalbinding Small Tote Bag
PDF file for stitching a small tote bag using the Oslo Nalbinding stitch.

Spots and Stripes
PDF instructions for how to add spots and stripes to your nalbinding project.

Nalbound Bag
Pattern for stitching a small bag using Oslo Nalbinding stitch.

Sock Construction
Instructions on how to construct socks using nalbinding.

Nalbound Socks
Nalbinding socks based on the Coppergate sock using Oslo stitch.

Nalbinding Headband
How to nalbind a headband.

Nalbinding Shawl
A free Ravelry download. Pattern by Ulrika Andersson worked in Sport weight wool yarn.

Nalbinding Mitten Patterns
These are outline patterns for making mittens using naalbinding.

Fingerless Gloves
How to instructions for making fingerless gloves.

Nalbinding Hat
Nalbinding Hat

More About Nalbinding
Nalbinding Stitches
Nalbinding Iphone Case
Naalbinding
How to Make a Russian Join

Nalbinding Needles and Cases

Bone Wood Nalbinding Needle Case
Bone Wood Nalbinding Needle Case

I now sell Naalbinding needles and cases in my Paivatar website.
as well as in my PaivatarYarn Etsy Shop.

Nalbinding Needles
Nalbinding Needles

Nalbinding Hat Kits

Nalbinding Hat Kit
Nalbinding Hat Kit

Nalbinding Yarn

Revontuli Naalbining Yarns
Revontuli Naalbinding Yarns

Hand dyed yarns that are suitable for nalbinding can now be found in my PaivatarYarn Etsy Shop.

Nalbinding Books

Nalbinding – What in the World Is That?

Nålbindning – The easiest clearest ever guide!

New Age Looping Guide To Getting A Great Start

Nalbinding Made Easy

Handspun Nalbinding Yarn
I now sell many of my Handspun Nalbinding yarns via Ebay.com (Moomin53)

Piece of Celery

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
Hmmm… Luteolin
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)
PR+ (Progesterone)
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 [51]. 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 [11]. Our group identified that RSK2 specifically has the most potent inhibitory effect on growth in TNBC [10]. 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 [52].”

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.

If you would like to be notified of my next post please subscribe to All Fiber Arts Newsfeed or follow me on Twitter.

Celery and Cancer
Celery and Cancer

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 Carrots
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
Celery
Parsley
Thyme
Broccoli

Below are links and books that have helped me with my cancer journey so far.

Links
Chris Beat Cancer

Recommended Books
Anticancer: A New Way of Life

The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods That Help You Fight Back

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Chris Beat Cancer: A Comprehensive Plan for Healing Naturally

[sc name=”Amazon-Bottom”]

Armus The Evil Villain

Every evil cancer must have a name. I called mine ‘Armus’

‘You say you are true evil. I say what true evil is – it is to submit to you. It is when we surrender our freedom, our dignity, instead of defying you.’

My battle with Armus, my breast cancer began on July 12, 2018.

Cancer never goes away. It is never cured. It is always with you, waiting to pop up again. So we must continue the battle and strengthen ourselves and our immune system to prevent its return.

Given the type of cancer that I had, I chose to have a mastectomy (just get this thing outa me!!) and to treat it holistically.

If you would like to be notified of my next post please subscribe to All Fiber Arts Newsfeed or follow me on Twitter.

Links
Chris Beat Cancer

Recommended Books
Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Chris Beat Cancer: A Comprehensive Plan for Healing Naturally

[sc name=”medianet300x250″]

[sc name=”Amazon-Bottom”]

Your guide to all fiber arts