nature’s colors

June 22, 2010

Anna Baumann and I spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday dying wool with plant dyes. We are going to have a natural dying workshop at the store this Saturday, and we were going over some of the things that we were going to use.

We hacked away at an Osage Orange log, and chopped up some purple cabbage, to come up with 5 beautiful colors!

We started with locally grown sheep’s wool, spun into a lace weight yarn. Little sample spools to test the colors and mordants!

For the Osage Orange dyes, we started with wood chips. Into the dyepot with some water and the wool.

After gently simmering the dyes, we added different mordants to our color mixtures with varying results.

Brightening from the citric acid and alum, and darkening and dulling from the iron. All beautiful colors though.

Meanwhile, the cabbage was very gently simmering on the stove. We used three separate batches of yarn (two yarn, one roving) to test the different mordants.

The cabbage with iron,

with the magic of citric acid, turning the dyebath bright pink,

and with alum, keeping with the purple cabbage look.

We took the finished wools out to the driveway to dump the dyestuffs, and rinse. They looked beautiful all laid out amongst the rocks. The final wools kept different amounts of the original dyes. Some faded more than others…so exciting!!



5 Responses to “nature’s colors”

  1. heli-claire Says:

    They turned out beautifully! I wish I could be there for the class! It is going to be so much fun!

  2. Moni Says:

    love the colors…makes me want to knit…well that will be another time and place. Too much on my plate as it is.
    Cool idea and such a neat project!

  3. Heather Says:

    Nice stuff!!

    I got to see a demo from a women’s collective in Peru (different than the ones Anna was working with) when I was there in November. Really amazing all the natural things they use to get the colors, some you’d never expect! They were very cute and theatrical with their demo too. 🙂

  4. monica Says:

    This is amazing, wish i could have taken the class. i met a lady here in London that dyes her yarn from plants that she grows in her garden. She gave me a packet of woad seeds last time i saw her. They are gorgeous colors.

    • Torrey Says:

      I wish we could dye some yarn together! It is really fun, and way easier than it seems! Let me know if you plant the woad seeds. I was thinking of getting some too, but haven’t gotten around to it. xo


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