My little dye garden is full of coreopsis, hollyhocks, two small loquat trees, and lots and lots of marigolds. Last summer, collecting the blooms every few days became an after-work ritual. Those twenty or so minutes of slowing down, snipping, noticing new growth, pulling a few weeds – I needed that. It was garden therapy.
I collected flowers deep into early winter, when the cooler weather finally finished off the last marigold plant. I finally had enough dye stuff to complete a long-held goal: knit a sweater using yarn I naturally dyed from flowers grown in my own garden.
I had a lot of marigolds. So many, that I created a dye using a 2:1 ratio of flowers to fiber, with flowers left over. My intention was to create the richest possible yellow, dyed unevenly to create texture and hopefully, some interest. There was plenty of dye for three skeins of fingering weight wool.
Picking the pattern was the hard part. I knew my sweater needed to have colorwork since stranded knitting is my favorite kind of knitting. What I didn’t know, was that after hours of searching for the perfect pattern, I would settle on one that would also teach me a new skill: lace.
I admired the Zweig sweater pattern from Boyland Knitworks many times, but that lace section intimated me. Lace? How could I possibly knit lace if I’ve never knit lace before? Right? Except. Knitting has taught me several basic life lessons, such as there’s only one way to know if you can do it: simply try it.
I took it slow, working my way through each line of the chart, marveling how it came together, and started to look, well, lace-like.
Before blocking, my rows looked wonky here and there, with a few mistakes hiding within those yarn overs. That’s more than fine with me. I gave up on knitting perfection a long time ago. I’d never endure the process otherwise, and I’ve found that it’s the process that I find the most rewarding. Knitting truly is my therapy.
The color. The pattern. The completed goal. This sweater isn’t just a sweater. It represents months of dedication, concentration, worry, pride, and finally satisfaction; all the emotions that I pour into each and every project. And that color. Cheerful, comforting, and calming. I am continuously amazed how a few flowers and strands of wool, when put together with my hands, creates a wearable dream.
Gorgeous sweater! I know that color well. I used your marigold recipe and made waaaay more dye than needed. I’ll be spinning gold forever!
So good to hear! Marigolds are an amazing little flower.
wow! Did you just use an alum mordant?
I did! Without a mordant the color was a brighter yellow.
How lovely, both in rich golden hues and in knitting technique! Your garden sounds amazing, too! Will look forward to seeing what you come up with next 👏👏👏
Thank you Denise!
Absolutely gorgeous, Myra! I am so impressed with your creative talent and expertise!!!
And from your own garden, too!
Really beautiful! I’m impressed at even the ribbing around the wrist cuffs! Since I don’t knit, I can’t even begin to fathom how that’s done.
Thank you! I swear it’s easier than it looks. 😊
It’s beautiful. I never tried knitting lace either – I feel a new project coming up 🙂 Like you I have the ambition of a “garden-coloured” sweater. Which marigolds are you using? This is – as far as I know – the name of more than one flower.
I typically use “French Marigolds” but I’ve used different varieties (can’t remember their names) and it seemed like the dye color was the same, or too similar for me to notice a difference.