On Sunday afternoon I headed up to Hillswick with one of my best pals Amy to see a Natural Yarn dyeing demonstration and workshop. If you saw how much wool I own (in many,many colours) you would think I have no need to get invigled (Shetland word meaning caught up in something) with natural dyeing and you’d be right but my friends, I’m a sucker for anything wirset related!
I find natural dyeing really interesting but I also always thought it was quite complicated.. so I thought it would be great to see how its done. I spied it on the Hillswick Nature Sanctuary Facebook page so I asked Amy if she’d fancy coming for a look and like me she’s always been interested, so we did! I did a small amount of research into how one prepares yarn for dyeing so I wound some Shetland White Supreme Jumper Weight, 2 ply lace and some White Alpaca I had lying around… (you have no idea..) into hanks and took it up with us.
For our first time experiencing natural dyeing it was suitably ‘natural’, in a pot on a wood burner outside while we dodged into a shed to avoid lovely Shetland torrential rain showers. Bunchy of Spindrift Crafts was the one giving the demonstration and she explained to me and Amy a little about natural dyeing, we used Onion skins because its one of the easiest to use. She explained all about mordanting.. and other slightly complicated things about dyeing your own wool. (I plan on purchasing a book to try and understand it all a bit better..) but very quickly after a slight gas hob cooker explosion situation (no harm done) Me and Amy were preparing our yarn for dyeing!
it was amazing how quickly the yarn started to change colour! And from what I understand if we pre-mordanted the yarn (making the fibre very absorbent to the colours) they would be even brighter but for our first go we were pleased!
When I got home I rinsed the hanks under the tap and hung them up in the shower to dry.. there was a bit of an oniony smell so I’m glad Bunchy told me to rinse them.. a little bit of the colour did come out but I’m pleased with the finished wool! now to find something to make with it..
This is all the Supreme Jumper Weight hanks we dyed, the one on the left was dyed the least amount of time with the one on the right being in the longest
the 2ply Lace took on quite a nice orangey tan colour
and the Alpaca, i think because it was more of a dark creamy colour originally it went a bit darker, its lovely!
A splendid way to spend a Sunday!
speak soon! xx