I am at the tail end of my locally milled wool supply from Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs, Alberta. Trying to eek out as much variety as possible from the last few hundred feet, I spent hours the other day naturally dyeing micro batches of wool yarn.
I started the day tackling the dried tansy that has taken over my desk since about August. I was ambitious in my adventures in collecting tansy out of the ditches in rural Alberta, but I had never though of just how long it takes to clip off every little flower head, and so my desk stayed covered for months.
I clipped off some tansy flowers, popped them into the pot to make a natural dye. I achieved a nice soft butter yellow.
In addition to tansy I also dyed the wool yarn in pomegranate, logwood, lac and turmeric dyes. Natural dyes have such earthy tones they almost always go together, so I will be able to knit many combinations from the yarn I dyed.
I have also recently decided to experiment with fulling for a project I have in the back of my mind. Fulling is basically taking a knitted piece and by combining heat, cold and agitation, the fibres start to break down and merge together creating a much more dense piece of knitting.
After several different variations I eventually found the stitch combination and needle size that will work best for what I am thinking.
I still have to decide just how much I want the stitches to disappear (how far to take the fulling).
This piece I chose to dye after fulling rather than before. The process is definitely unpredictable and uncontrolled, but that is probably part of the fun.