Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dyeing with Natural Dyes

I tried my hand at dyeing with natural dyes the other day. I had a few skeins of handspun on which to try it. What I had on hand were two hanks of corriedale cross yarn, one hank of merino, one small hank and knitted swatch of superwash Bluefaced Leicester, and one knitted swatch of a superwash wool + nylon blend sockyarn that I had spun.

For the dye, I used a mix of dried goldenrod, dried calendula, onion skins, dried yarrow, and fresh marjoram.

I mordanted the yarn with alum and cream of tartar while the dyebath was being prepared. When the yarn was mordanted, I plunked it in the dyebath and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or so.

The lightest-colored yarn below is the merino. It was actually an afterthought and I put it in the dyebath after other yarns had been taken out, and I only left it in for about 20 minutes.

The corriedale cross yarn came out with a nice yellow coloring, although not what I'd call vibrant:

The superwash yarns were the surprise. They came out colored with a glowing, golden-brown which I really like:

I was really pleased. I talked with a lady I know who dyes using natural dyes. She said that the superwash yarns usually do take up the dye really well. Here's the sock yarn:

I'm planning on using superwash BFL to make a sweater for my daughter. I found a really cute pattern in a book. I'll be spinning the yarn before I dye the fiber. I won't be using natural dyes for the sweater, though, I'll be using acid dyes for the colors she wants. I wouldn't mind having a sweater in that luscious golden-brown, though. Or even just socks : )

I can't wait until the next growing season when I can gather more plants with which to dye. Some of the plants I already have in my medicinal herb garden are also dye plants. Yea!


Lyn said...

This is so clever, what a great craft, and I love the colour.

ICQB said...

Hi Lyn!

I can't wait to do more with natural dyes during the growing season!

jo©o said...

Happy THANKSGIVING and thank you for being a CYBER friend.

If you can tear yourself away from the woolcraft for a minute, come and visit.My thanxgiving post is HERE

ICQB said...

Hi Jo!

Thank you, dear friend, for your inspiration and your friendship, too.