My husband and I found ourselves at the Black Sheep Gathering last weekend, where i filled my brain with too much information and my shopping cart with too much roving. Both of these opulences make me very happy. Some of the information that is now housed in my brain has to do with natural dying, specifically dying yarn with a type of mushroom, log wood and cochineal (a type of scale insect.) We took a class on Saturday, taught by a woman who has been dying with mushrooms and other natural things for over 10 years. We learned a lot and got to take home some lovely yarn.
I was hoping to learn a little more about different kinds of plants, different kinds of mushrooms, and how to know what plants/bugs/mushrooms are good for dying, but i’m still happy we took this class. Maryka covered all the details of pre and post-mordanting the fiber, and walked us through the entire process from white to dyed yarn. I definitely feel confident that i can follow her directions and dye my own yarns using foraged plants, but will have to do a bit more research on what mushrooms and plants to pick for dying. More information absorption is in my future! I’m really fascinated by dying with natural/foraged materials, and love the subdued colors that result. I can’t wait to cloth myself not only in handspun, hand knit garments, but to have those garments also hand dyed using plants found growing just miles from my house. Cool, right?
Do you dye your own yarn or roving? Do you prefer artificial or natural dyes?