Here is a sneak peek at a design I am almost finished that uses 2 Victorian era stitch patterns to create warm and useful cuffs. This set will be made with chunky yarn and 5mm needles; directions will also be given for making them with worsted weight yarn and 4mm needles.
The Mahonia Cuffs are named for one of my favourite wild berry-producing shrubs, the Mahonia–or Oregon Grape. While the fruit is very sour raw and unsweetened, it makes a delicious and very flavourful jelly. The berries also make a marvelous dye for wool! I have obtained an amazing assortment of colour using the berries, alum, cream of tartar, vinegar, and baking soda–I can’t wait for next summer to experiment again!
Mahonia also has incredibly sunny, bright yellow flowers with a lovely scent in the early spring–and prickly, holly-like leaves!
The three twists of fibre in the first photo are dyed with mahonia berries, and the second photo shows some of it handspun. The yellow coloured unspun fleece in the background of the second photo is not dyed with mahonia.
The modern photo of the Mahonia nervosa is courtesy of: Great Plant Picks: http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/view/980
The illustration of the flowering Mahonia is from a book in Public Domain: Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, Or, Flower-garden …, Volume 68; published 1842