Natural Dyeing – Organic Wool Show and Tell


Okay, another busy work week has me behind on my craft work, so most of my yarn production has been involved in re-skeining the yarns I have already dyed to prepare them for the next show at the end of June.

One of my bases is a DK weight organic wool yarn.  Today I am going to show you the colors I have in that yarn so far.

The first skein was dyed using ground cochineal bugs – which gives me my wonderful pink/rose tone.

There is a tonal varigation in this yarn that you may not pick up so well in this light.

For the next skein, I did a varigated pink and purple using cochineal and logwood.

This is one of my favorites.  Again, there are tonal varigations in the yarn as well as color varigations.

Next is a skein using black walnut that came out fairly light in color.

I haven’t decided if I am going to keep this one at this color or use it as a base to add some varigation to it.  It was a cold water dye and did not pick up much color.  I was surprised by that.

Side by side you can see that Sandlewood gives a more rust/orange tone.

These pictures still don’t fully show the warmer yellow tones in the yarns.  Curse you cloudy days.

This one I may have shown you before.  It is the fustic base yarn overdyed using a tye dye technique with cochineal that Jesse suggested.  I like this one too.

And finally a brazilwood – which started red and rinsed out to a deep wine color.

Re-skeining takes time.  If the wool goes through alot of rinses and there is some partial felting it can be a nightmare.  Often I will start by taking the dried rinsed yarn, winding it into a ball and then skeining it into the hank that I will keep it in for display and sale.  I skein it using my Kromski niddy noddy.

One full round on the niddy noddy is 70″ so I multiply the number of times I go around the niddy noddy by 70 and then divide by 36 to get the number of yard of yarn in each skein.  I have mill ends so there are no set yardage amounts by skein because they vary.  It also takes longer because I think that the yarn shrinks by a little bit during the mordanting/dyeing/rinsing process.  I say this because I use my wool winder to create the original hanks of yarn that I then dye, yet when it is all done, the yarn is just a little too short to fit back around my wool winder for me to skein it.  It definitely goes faster if I can put the yarn back on the wool winder before re-skeining.  Hmm.  Something to ponder.

So that’s all for today.  I have to get back to work.  The good news is that there is currently plenty of work to keep me busy.  Yay work!!

Hope you like the colors we are getting with these dyes.  Makes me smile.  🙂

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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6 Responses to Natural Dyeing – Organic Wool Show and Tell

  1. Hello, I met Chip via Homespun Society on Etsy. He sent me here to check out your organic yarns. They are beautiful. Do you have a price list? Thanks, Carla

  2. Shelly R. says:

    Hi Carla,
    Most of the 100% wool yarns retail at $20 and the wool/cashmere/nylon blends are around $25. Some are higher due to the cost of the dye source – like the cochineal – which sell for $30. If you let me know what colors you are looking for, and what weight of yarn I can give you a better idea. With hand-dyers, alot of it is finding the right base. I have not yet found a worsted weight base I am in love with that is not way to expensive so right now I don’t have one to offer, though I have some in mind. I have a limited supply of this organic wool as I got it from a company that had discontinued it and I bought the last of what they had left. I still have some that is not yet dyed so if you have an idea for it, let me know. Sorry if this is fairly cryptic – its been a fairly hectic day today and I’m not as organized as I probably should be. I am really happy that you like the yarns.

  3. Danielle says:

    What’s the one on the niddy noddy…I think I like that one best. I also really like the black walnut one. Nice job with the variegated purple and pink!

    • Shelly R. says:

      That is the second skein of fustic/black walnut and cochineal that you liked before. It is in the May 16th post. I made two skeins of it and just re-skeined the second one last night so it was still on the niddy noddy this morning when I wanted the picture to show what I have been doing. Its on the Skinny Bugga base. I still have a lot to re-skein and marigolds that have to be be-headed tomorrow for this weekend’s dye pots. I love the pink/purple mix – that is from two dye pots.

  4. Ashling says:

    Curious–what show? Glad to see you finding some time to play!!

  5. Shelly R. says:

    We are doing the Fairy Fest which is somewhere near Binghamton. Chip knows the details – it is put on by a friend of his from the Renaissance Faire.

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