She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands. --Proverbs 31:13


Natural Dyeing

Despite a huge storm that rolled through the area last night, today things seemed to clear up just as I pulled up to the Murrell house for the natural dyeing workshop. And a good thing too, because who wouldn't want to learn to dye yarns that look like this?

Almost everyone that showed up, brought a propane burner and pots. So we had plenty to do. After the men got the pots set up we poured in the dyes that had been soaking for a few days, added the pre-mordanted wool, and let things heat up.

Once we got started, Margaret gave an excellent presentation on different types of mordant, where to get them, what plants dyed what color, etc. I really learned a lot. We had osage orange or Boise D'Arc (pronounced bo-dark) dye.

We also had, from top to bottom, left to right: walnut, red cabbage (it looked great in the pot, but didn't really set well because we didn't have the time to let it set) cochineal, red onion, and annato seed.

These are the finished fibers. on the top of the rack, in the back on the left, is the fiber dyed with the tumeric. This was a favorite with a lot of people, myself included. Next to it, back right, is the fiber dyed with the annato seed . I am not sure I am spelling that right. On the top front left, is the fiber dyed with osage orange. Under neath, in the back left, is the fiber dyed with the walnut husks. On the bottom front left is the fiber dyed with the cochineal, and next to it on the right is the fiber dyed with the onion skins. As the onion skins continued to soak though, we added more fiber, and the color became darker and darker. I don't have a picture of it, but it turned out a beautiful medium golden shade. One of the things that Margaret taught is that depth of shade depends on the amount of time the fiber spends in the dye bath. The longer you leave it there, the darker the color becomes. Since we only had 4 hours to set up, dye, and drain, nothing really spent a long time in the dye baths. Everyone took home plenty of fiber, and I can't wait to see what people come up with using this fiber.

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