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Natural dyeing is something I have been wanting to try for a bit of time, but I had no idea how/where to start - and what was required of me. I have dyed wool (quite successfully) before, but not using natural dyes. As my readers will know I am totally committed to find organic and naturally dyed craft supplies - and of course one way to do this is actually do it myself. Easy to say... harder to put into practice.
I have been really impressed (jealous?) by Liesl who has had amazing results with natural dyeing, but every time I was wondering how I would manage to do this without Baby MiH going straight into the dye bucket, and in fact how to find enough of the natural dyes.
So when I found a natural dye kit on Etsy (from a British Etsy seller as well), I jumped at the opportunity to try natural dyeing without too much effort on my part. The kit contains the plastic jar (reusable) that you can see, the mordant, three natural dyes and the yarn (an organic merino blend sock yarn, around 400 yards of it).
I chose a brown/yellow dye kit as with the Autumn coming, these will be the colours I am going to be drawn to most probably and want to knit. Also I figured that it should go with any pattern I chose to knit - I am wondering if it will be my first pair of socks or maybe a beanie hat and mittens...
I opened the kit last Friday, and I know there are a few pictures here, but it took probably only half an hour to make it all - the longest part being to separate the skein into two equal parts to (hopefully) get a variegated effect.
And this is the colour I am seeing at the moment, the bottom is definitely more brown - so it should be interesting to see how it comes out. And this is one big lesson about natural dyeing, I have actually no idea how it will come out - I know the general colour scheme but not how it is actually going to look like once knitted.
On the instructions you are advised to leave the dye to work for at least 2 weeks - but I am already desperate to just open the pot and see how it is. However I do have a lot of WIPs going on and I have decided that I will leave the jar to rest until I have the capacity to start a new knitting project (so that is probably in 4 projects' time) - and who knows how the colour will be then. How exciting! I can see why it is so difficult to find companies that do natural dyeing on a larger scale though.
To help me through the process of naturally dyeing, and try to have more certainty about what is going I have bought Wild Colour by Jenny Dean. At the moment I am using it as an inspiration guide, and have not gone out to actually find the natural dyes. But I am really excited about this part as well.
It will be fun to try to identify the plants in the wild and experiment with the flower, leaves and stems.
I know some of you have already tried naturally dyeing, how did you find the process? Will you try again?
Linking up to Ginny's today.