Did not get a chance to look into more links today but managed to find some fabric dyes that I had used for my batik projects 30 years ago! Need to check on some waste fabric to see if they survived all those years.
After examining the two nice books on natural dyes in my possession, I have decided that my adventure on this topic will be limited to onion skins, turmeric and other easier to access naturals! And these babies below will be my guinea pigs :) They are 100% Turkish mohair & merino blend. Got them from The Knit Box if anyone is interested.
While adding the link for "The Knit Box", came across this very interesting reading at Figen's blog where she is introducing one of her yarns, Sifa ...
Sifa yarn was not the result of months, or years, of research and experimentation. It was pure chance.
I've been working with a local yarn producer for several years now, and besides being a godsend and sourcing my fiber for me, they're a typical traditional Turkish family. Turkish people have a lot of superstitious beliefs and there are generations worth of natural healing wisdom built into their cultural make-up still strong today. Even my 18 year-old niece-in-law breezily tells me how to brew linden to relieve my cough.
So, it wasn't any extraordinary event for my yarn producer to add a little bit of real silver to untreated Turkish cotton simply because the wise women in his family said silver would help with their aches and pains. For me, in contrast, this was pure genius! For, to have yarn which heals, feels good and knits beautifully is extraordinary. So, what do these wise women know about silver? Is it just old wives' tales or is there really something to it?
Besides everything my spinner told me about the knitters who have found the yarn healing, particularly with foot fungi (which grossed me out a little), I did a little research of my own which I've compiled here. A big thanks to Burnsurgery.org, Breastfeedingheaven.co.uk and Wikipedia for useful and educational information. Apparently, silver ions and compounds really do have a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. The goodness of it is that it doesn't have a high toxicity to humans. Here are some interesting facts;
- Hippocrates wrote that silver had beneficial healing properties,
- the Phoenicians stored their water and wine in silver bottles,
- Ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages used silver to disinfect water and treat burns and wounds,
- Silver compounds were used to prevent infection in World War I before antibiotics were developed,
- The first silver mines were discovered in Anatolia, Turkey,
- Silver decreases wound inflammation and kills microbes on contact,
In psychic terms, it represents prosperity and money and it is believed that if worn while sleeping the wearer will have psychic dreams.
We all know silver is used in bandages, band-aids and antiseptic creams, but I never really thought about actually knitting it!
I had no idea such a modest yarn spinning family could actually spin silver into the cotton, but apparently silver is very malleable and can be shaped and stretched to any limit. It can be pounded into a thinness of 1/100,000 inch and an ounce of it stretches as far as 30 miles.Yet, it also takes wisdom and experience of a cultural kind; silver is such an inherent part of Turkish life, culture and heritage that they do not understand my astonishment and joy at the 'discovery' as they sit there knitting away at their silver shawls and bedsocks...