Knitting with Natural Fibers


Beautiful hand-dyed wools create wearable art.

It’s the time of year when I turn my attention to choosing a winter knitting project. I will probably spend most of the next six months feeding the woodstove and shoveling snow. Having a trunk full of luscious yarns will keep me happy in my little cabin in the woods. Who cares about freezing rain? I’ve got nowhere to go anyway.

I learned how to knit when I worked for my mother, who bought a wool shop in the 1980s. I started designing my own things from the get-go. Within two years, I had designed and knit the bodice of my wedding dress. I had grand ideas of becoming a sweater designer, my creations being featured in Vogue Knitting, and traveling the world for shows. Well, I have designed over 200 sweaters, but I never made much money at it.

I did have a design featured in Chatelaine magazine and two in Crafts Plus, but that was over 20 years ago. For about 10 years, I provided the artwork for Luce’s wholesale/retail store in Ottawa; they had my designs knit in China and distributed them across Canada under the Aston label. That dear couple closed up shop years ago, and now I just design the odd thing for myself or for presents.

A Multitude of Choice

Yarns today are nothing like they were in our grandmothers’ day. The choices are scrumptious to look at and therapeutic to hold. Having a good stash of yarn (as all true knitters succumb to) is better than money in the bank. Who knows when you might get stuck at home for an uncertain amount of time? If your stash fills shelves from floor to ceiling, you are increasing the R-value of your home. More is better.

There are bulky yarns that will enable you to knit a sweater in no time, and thread-like silks and mohair’s to create the most intricate shawls. There are a multitude of colours to choose from, and yarns that create a colourful pattern, all by themselves.

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