gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

naturaldyes One year after I began experimenting with natural dyeing, I now have a collection of yarns that is starting to look like a rainbow made of skeins of wool. Some of the plant material I collected from empty lots or roadsides, or dug up from the ground; others I ordered from a natural dye store. I’ve had so much fun with this particular learning curve — even as I’ve had some failures (or shall we say non-successes) along the way. There’s no better reward than this range of vibrant colors that I can now start playing with in my knitting. And knowing that all of them came from the earth is really pretty amazing.naturaldyes2

I’m keeping one sample skein of each color to have an archive of sorts, with little tags to remind myself which plant I used, on what kind of wool, specifying any mordants used or other special steps. These are the colors/dyes I’ve tried so far:

  • fennel — a range of greens, from soft sage to deep forest green
  • horsetail — pinks and tans
  • zinnia — supposed to yield buttery yellows, mine is very light yellow at best
  • cota — vibrant oranges and yellows, available for order here
  • madder root — strong reds; I dug it up in my friend Connie’s garden
  • logwood — blacks, purples, and lavenders
  • yellow onion skins — a range of yellows and oranges
  • brazilwood — very strong reds
  • black beans — blues and lavenders

naturaldyes3So… who wants a bright-colored sweater for next winter?

One thought on “Natural dyeing, one year in

  1. Pia says:

    Those yarns look stunning!

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