Category Archives: Coast Colours

Fibreshed at the Annual Fibres Plus Sale 2017 – November 24th & 25th

Halls are decked with decorations resembling Christmas and after a long day of set-up, the Fibreshed team is ready for the public to peruse its display.


Local fibre is carded and hand-dyed with pokeberry, Japanese indigo, and other local plants giving a lovely variety of colours including yellows, greens, blues, brilliant pinks, and luscious burgundy shades to the rovings.




The rovings are spun into yarn which is then processed into a variety of saleable products by weaving, knitting, and or felting. All items are juried and only items made with local fibre, and hand-dyed with dyes made from local plants are qualified to receive certified Fibreshed tags.

It has been a successful year and even the ANWG bears are happy to be on display for sale.



Fibreshed goes to Fibre Camp 2017

The Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild’s Fibre Camp 2017 was held at Camp Sunrise on the Sunshine Coast of BC from Sept 7th to Sept 9th. Fifty fibre enthusiasts gathered to attend workshops, played with their fibre, shopped at vendor stalls, talked, ate and shared their stories.


The Sunshine Coast Fibreshed display featured local fleece dyed with local pokeberries.


The pokeberry was dyed using the solar method…aka…Sun Kissing.


Jars of solar dyed marigolds and onion skins produce bright golds and soft yellows. When overdyed with Japanese Indigo, various shades of green are the result.


On display at Fibre Camp was our Teddy Bears Picnic Blanket along with many items hand made by local artisans from local fleece, dyed with local plants…all invited to the picnic!


This Community Blanket Project was a joint effort by the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed and the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild. We gathered fibre from the Sunshine Coast, washed, picked, carded, spun, wove and waulked a brilliant picnic blanket for our guild booth display at ANWG this past July in Victoria, B.C.


After spending the day at Camp spinning, spindling, weaving, knitting we had an impromptu Tai Chi exercise session to limber up. Fun and relaxing.


One of the Camp workshops by author of Magic in the Dyepot, Ann Harmer, featured dyeing with local mushrooms.


The weekend offered Fibreshed ongoing opportunities to connect, share, learn and have fun with fibre folk from as far away as New York, across to Washington along the Pacific Coast, and within BC to Vancouver Island. Stay tuned for next year’s Fibre Camp on the Sunshine Coast, BC.

Submitted by Lynda Daniells,
Photos by Lynda and Merrily

International Earth Day 2017

April 21, 2017, international Earth Day was celebrated in Roberts Creek, BC by our local Sunshine Coast Fibreshed. The day started out dry with sunshine, always windy at the pier. We set up our colourful Fibreshed display with locally dyed rovings, plants for a Dyers garden and local sheep fleece for garden mulch….

We featured felting as a creative use of fleece. Ursula Bentz, master felter displayed her gorgeous felted pieces and then assisted folk to make something felted.

Young folk were engaged with Ursula, the fleece, the soap, creating.

This young fellow was very pleased with his felted flower and both children took home felting kits sold for $5.00.

Another young Creeker put finishing touches on this felted mouse.

Many children engaged in felting and let their creative spirit fly.

Everyone got in the spirit of the day….kids of all ages.

Fibreshed was displaying the dyeing  colours we can obtain by growing plants locally such as Pokeberry, Japanese Indigo, Marigolds, Onion Skins, also by gathering local mushrooms on the Coast. Merrily selling Dyers garden starters.

It was a great day in the Creek until wind and rain started to ruin our display. We packed up early and have everything drying by the home fire now.

Photos by Lynda Daniells & Merrily Corder,
Submitted by Lynda

Second Annual Fibreshed Day – Part 1

From Shepherdess to Knitted Dress

The Second Annual Sunshine Coast Fibreshed Day was held April 9, 2017 at Fibreworks Studio and Gallery, Madeira Park, BC. The focus was on our local Shepherds & Shepherdesses to show off fibre from their sheep and the steps of shearing through to finished product.

FS YR2_1 Wendy Gilbertson_Mojo
Wendy Gilbertson on her Wilson Creek farm with “Mojo”, a Blue Faced Leister breed.

FS YR2_2 Johanna Walker shearing Mojo
Wendy brought Mojo, and Rodney, a Romney breed to the event for shearing. Johanna Walker is shearing Mojo while Rodney, pictured here, waits his turn. Folks were very keen to watch.

FS YR2_3 Mojo's Fleece
Mojo’s fleece laid out by Johanna, ready for skirting. The not so nice bits can be used in the garden for mulch.

FS YR2_4 George Smith with Wendy
George Smith is talking with Wendy after Rodney and Mojo have had their haircuts.

FS YR2_5 Sheep Dog Paige on guard.
Paige the sheep herding dog guards Rodney and Mojo along with Reg.

FS YR2_6 Joan Reeves and Roberta Symons
Anna joined us for the day and took this Suffolk fleece to process for Joan Reeves and Roberta Symons, both spinners and knitters. In back is Lynne Sturm showing many other uses for fleece.

FS YR2_7 Picking Fleece Circle
If one doesn’t send raw fleece to a mill for processing then one begins washing, drying and picking by hand as portrayed in this picking circle. Picking removes bits of vegetable matter and opens up the locks to prepare for the next step. It’s a nice time to chat with friends or meet new ones.

FS YR2_7 Dorothy carding
Next step is to card the fleece using hand carders or a drum carder. Dorothy Thom is using an electric carder to make a batt for spinning or felting.

FS YR2_8 Pokeburry Pink Dying Kits
Dying with local mushrooms and plants can add brilliant colour such as the new hot colour of the season, Pokeberry Pink. Fibreshed was selling Dyers garden starter kits.

FS YR2_9 Rovings dyed locally and naturally
All these rovings come from local fibre which have been dyed by local artisans using local mushrooms and plants.

Dianne Lim is felting a sushi roll while Jean Pataky is felting a bird’s nest. What an animated conversation they seem to be having.

FS YR2_12 Muriel's Bears
Two teddy bears wearing their special KNITTED DRESSES; finished product by local artisan Muriel Prior using local fibre and natural dyes.

FS YR2_13 Doreen weaving
Doreen MacLauchlan is weaving a scarf with her homespun, hand processed yarn. Helene Nissle is talking about characteristics of various sheep breeds.

FS YR2_14 Yarn Display
Deanna Pilling displayed her hand spun, home processed Llama.  On the right is her Icelandic yarn and shawl made with ‘Katy’.

FS YR2_15 Table Display
Local Shepherdess Ann Fransblow of Roberts Creek, BC showing sheep characteristics and uses at the display table.

FS YR2_16 RefreshmentsFS YR2_17 Donated Quail Eggs

Local refreshments included homemade pickles, toasted kale chips, baked salmon, pesto cream cheese spread, local artisan breads, fresh local radishes and more…

Pat and Diane Walker of Christmas Road Farm donated quail eggs.

Coast Colours – Horsetail

Horsetail (Equisetum sp.) is a living fossil.  Those of us who find it as an uninvited guest in our gardens can be thankful it doesn’t grow 30 metres high like some of its ancestors in the Paleozoic forests.  It’s also called scouring rush as the stems are coated with abrasive silicates and the plants were used to scour cooking pots and mugs.


Combining the tasks of weeding and gathering for the dye pot, I picked a large basket of horsetail (sadly it hardly made a dent in my garden!).  I put it in my pot, poured boiling water over it and let it sit overnight.  The next day I cooked it for 5-6 hours and then let it sit overnight.


The next day I added my fibre and fabric and held the temperature below simmer for several hours.  I let everything soak overnight and the next day.  Top left is a wool roving and beneath it some cotton.  On the right is silk (which is actually more golden than shown in the photo).


In the exhaust bath I dyed some wool from Olivia who lives in Roberts Creek.


Heather Apple

Coast Colours – Dandelion Flowers

Despised by many as pesky ‘weeds’, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) have long been appreciated by herbalists for their valuable healing properties.  The 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper proclaimed, “You see here what virtues this common herb hath, and that is the reason the French and Dutch so often eat them in the spring.”  And indeed, dandelion leaves provide foragers with vitamin and mineral packed fresh spring greens.


Dandelions are also healthy for the soil, their long taproots growing deep into the earth taking up minerals that are made available when the leaves or plants die.  The flowers are a valuable early source of nectar and pollen for bees and their pollen provides early food for lady bugs.


I love gathering dandelion flowers in spring.  Their brilliant yellow colour and subtle sweet fragrance are a treat after a long grey winter.  When the first blooms started to appear I gathered a small basket from the roadside and ditches (my own mossy ‘lawn’ won’t grow them!).


I simmered them gently for a couple of hours and then added the fibre (pre-mordanted with alum) when the bath had cooled.  I held the bath just below a simmer for 2 hours.  It dyed a beautiful soft golden yellow.


In ‘Craft of the Dyer’, Karen Casselman says that to obtain a bright clear yellow (rather than a golden yellow) from fresh yellow flowers, they should be processed less than 45 minutes from the time the flowers and fibre go into the dye bath to the time they come out, and the temperature should be kept under 190F.  I followed this for a fresh batch of dandelion flowers.  At the end of 45 minutes the colour was clear yellow but paler than I wanted so I left them in the bath for 15 minutes more and then removed the flowers and let the fibre stay in the bath for 2 hours.  This resulted in a beautiful bright clear yellow.  You can see the difference in colour between the first bath on the left and the second on the right.


Heather Apple


Coast Colours – Apple Bark

The apple (Malus domestica) was brought to North America in the 17th century by colonists.  At one time there were thousands of varieties of apples with greatly differing sizes, shapes, colours and markings.  There were early, midseason and late varieties for fresh eating, varieties for winter storage and others for baking, drying and cider.  Sadly, many of these became extinct in favour of varieties that were suited to mass marketing.  Fortunately, however, heirloom apples have become popular and the varieties that were preserved can be enjoyed by people today.


Late winter and early spring, when trees are being pruned, are wonderful times to dye with apple bark.


My apple bark was given to me last fall by Kimberly.  I put it in a pot to soak for a couple of weeks.  And forgot it…  Recently, I wondered what one of my pots was doing sitting in a back corner of my deck and I took off the lid.  Oh my!

There was a strong sweet smell of fermenting so I boiled the bark for 6 hours with the lid off the pot.  I let it sit for a day and then added the fibre and fabric.  I heated the bath to just below the boiling point for several hours and then let everything sit in the bath for the next day.


When in the sun, the mohair roving shone like burnished gold.  The wool fabric (top left) and wool pre-felt (top right) were also a beautiful deep bright gold.  The cotton was pale yellow (darker than shown).  The brightness of the colour might be due to the long fermentation time or the fact that Kimberly had scraped the bark off young branches and twigs.

Heather Apple