Sunday, 2 August 2015

Natural Dyes

It's a great time of year to be outdoors and enjoy dyeing some wool yarn in the traditional and the natural way using plant matter in bubbling pots of  colour over wood and charcoal fires. I'm always so pleased with the many hues, shades and different effects of colour  my wools take on when using various methods of dipping, saturation and over dyeing.

As this was a group activity I tie a small pink flower buttons to my yarn hanks, so as when many are all mixed up in the dye bath I can find mine again.  

Hanks of wool  pre soaking while we boil up the pots of dye. 

We used lots of different plant matter, some well known such as madder. Others more experimental with flowers and plants from our own gardens.

We also did some Vat dyeing with Indigo. This produces a wonderful blue colour.

 As the un dyed yarn is dipped into the Vat it stays white. It is only when you  lift and  remove the yarn very slowly from the liquid that you see right before your eyes the yarn changing to green and then a deeper shade of blue as it is exposed to oxygen. This really feels like magic!
The more the dye baths are used the soft and paler the colours become. We then end up with an amazing collection of different yarns, subtle  hues, colours that blend and contrast but as always with Nature they all look so very lovely together.