Eco Elements flower in rocky ground

Eco Elements Je Ne Sais Quoi

Lindsay Lewchuk Announcements, Eco Elements, eco world, Je Ne Sais Quoi MKAL, MKALs, Pattern Related, Puddles, Q&A, Yarn 2 Comments

As the MKAL wraps up and the FO thread populates with all your stunning attitudes, let’s explore the eco element Fair Trade feature design, Je Ne Sais Quoi.

Eco Inspiration

new growth & frozen droplets
Winter was WILD here – stressed out with the septic issue that resulted in months of 18th century living. When Spring first showed her face, Puddles and I took a romp down the steep mountain trail. On the woodland floor these gorgeous mini flowers grew through the rock bed. Their wild determination inspired joy for me! In a correlative design experience, this yarn was originally designed to complement the top down short-row swing construction of Awakening in a plain stitch pattern. However, the shape just wasn’t working. To add insult to injury, not only did it have a horrid “mustache” (not nearly as great of M. Poirot’s), I lost yarn chicken, attempt after attempt. I put my designer’s hat back on for Je Ne Sais Quoi and let the yarn determine the direction instead of forcing the stitches into a structure they didn’t want. Like those determined buds, Je Ne Sais Quoi wanted to be a pattern that was a little quick knit that inspired joy.

heart in tree and Puddles
Through shining beads, beloved picots, and unexpected stripes, the shape reminded me of so many photos of my adventures with Puddles. From icicle picots on the Plum tree’s new buds to the picture of Puddles and I took year’s back of “I saw a heart and then my heart appeared.” Mixing dainty with bold, the design transforms to match the attitude you bring to it through yarn, bead, and colour choices!

cast on snow fall
When knitting my sample, the great surprise for me was the unexpected snowfall marking the end of the septic trial with joys of enjoying a winter wonderland in April much like a Heavenly reward perseverance. So while I was looking forward to shooting my WIP pics near those first spring flowers, I was ecstatic for another opportunity to strap on the skis with Puddles and return to stitch by the fire after hours of wonderfully crisp cold fresh air!

Eco Elements Materials

puddles modeling cowl

Ravellenics “Cowl Curling” while watching curling – Puddles nailed the pose!

In the quest of which came first, Je Ne Sais Quoi grew out of lovely stash yarn leftovers! I picked up the Capella in late Fall 2017 and then discovered it was discontinued early in the New Year. I try not to design yarn specific patterns with discontinued yarn, so popped it into my “fun” stash. Some of it was destined for the Ravellenics to learn Brioche from 10hoursorless‘s excellent “Harmonic Hologram” pattern. But I had significant leftovers and couldn’t believe how incredibly soft the yarn was… and beautifully, with those natural dyes! So onto my needles it hopped!

Je Ne Sais Quoi blocking in the setting sun

Je Ne Sais Quoi blocking in the setting sun


Heidi, at Vegan Yarn, used Logwood and Myrobalan & Iron to dye the two skeins used. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Logwood is obtained from the red heartwood. “Heartwood extracts of the logwood tree, Haematoxylon campechianum, yield hematoxylin, which oxidizes to hematein during isolation.”¹ Wild Colours (website) adds that Logwood produces dye colors of purples, greys, and blacks depending upon pH and other dyeing factors. One interesting factoid about items dyed with Logwood – in order to maintain the rich color, store your knitted item away from the sun! Apparently with this dye source, the sunlight will fade it over time.² Whereas Logwood dye is sourced from the wood of a specific tree, Myrobalan dye is sourced from dried fruit off of the Terminalia chebula tree. This particular dye source may be used without mordant. The color variety available from myrobalan is extensive from yellow to teal to orange and even greens and greys!³
Arcturus leftovers (next to tea) and full skeins of Capella ready for the 2018 Ravellenic's "Challenge Yourself" challenge with taking on brioche for the first time.

Arcturus leftovers (next to tea) and full skeins of Capella ready for the 2018 Ravellenic’s “Challenge Yourself” challenge with taking on brioche for the first time… and since all athletes need fuel, an organic blueberry galette.


This base (used in Arcturus as well as Capella) is EKO Certified Organic by USDA, GOTS, Control Union, SKAL & Certified Fair Trade by Control Union Fair Choice!


¹ https://www.britannica.com/technology/logwood-dye link
² http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/logwood_dyeing.html
³ http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/myrobalan_extract.html

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Comments 2

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      Aw, thanks 10hoursorless… I blush at your compliment and then share it with camera dad who served as my editor prior to posting yesterday.

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