Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…

Green (or not)


A few weeks ago when we were taking down the decorations from the Christmas tree, I had a brilliant idea: I’m going to use the remains of the tree to dye some wool. After all, I had dyed with fir in Finland over twenty years ago when I first experimented with natural dyes. I can’t remember any more what the basic colour was (possibly olive green?), but I seem to remember that with iron you get a nice dark grey.

Because of the different climate, conifers are not nearly as common here in the UK as they are in Finland. Here in Kent you only really see them if someone has planted one in their garden, so getting hold of fir for dyeing is not that easy.  Now I realise the species of fir they sell as a Christmas tree here (typically Nordman fir) is not the same as the common fir tree in Finland (which is Picea abies), but I though it’s nevertheless worth having a go.

So I chopped up some branches and soaked them for a few days, then boiled them for about an hour. And this is the colour of the water I got:

unhopeful dye bathcolour  from Nordman fir

well it was worth a try…

Not very hopeful, is it? Given that there’s hardly any colour there, I think I will abandon this experiment and not even try to dye with it.


So instead of showing you some beautifully dyed yarn, I’m going to have to find something else to show you today. And this one sort of fits with the green theme. It’s a table runner that I sewed for my sister-in-law for her Christmas present. I made two of them so that you can use them instead of table mats.

Green table runners

The table runners I made for my sister-in-law

Green table runners, reverse side

The reverse side

The inspiration for these table  cloths came from my sister-in-law herself as she had sewn a similar set for me a few years ago. The material she chose was a great Marimekko classic, Tantsu (a similar fabric also goes by the name of Satula). I just love its strong and vibrant colours.

Table runners made from Marimekko's Tantsu fabric

The table runners my sister-in-law made for me, using Marimekko’s Tantsu fabric

The Tantsu fabric in more detail

Tantsu comes in several beautiful colourways, but this one is a vibrant mix of magenta and bright red


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

6 thoughts on “Green (or not)

  1. Those are beautiful table runners. I’ve only ever seen runners down the length of a table. I think I like them across like you did better. Very cool!

  2. So clever to use them in that direction so they can be place mats! I love the look of runners, but then it seems like you need to use place mats too and the table starts getting crowded. I love this idea!

  3. Well, thanks for saving me the effort of trying that! I also have Normanns on the property. I just put on a pot of cones that I gathered in the forest, from the Picea abies, so we’ll see how that goes. The dyebath at least is intense and the smell is not bad.

    • Yes Normann definitely wasn’t worth the effort, I was very disappointed with that. When I tried Picea abies I only tried the green bits, so I’m looking forward to hearing what happens with the cones.

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