I do not have much of a success story with natural dyeing. I get this fanciful idea in my head that I can experiment and this usually ends in yarn the same colour as when I started.
Take my recent attempts with a cardigan I knitted.
Walnut Mary was knitted in pure undyed wool which I had a vision of dyeing with some lovely honesty flowers from my garden.
The water became a stunning shade and my hopes were high that I would get a beautifully coloured cardigan. It stayed in the pot over night and came out exactly the same colour it had gone in. But the water was beautiful!
Then I attempted some moss dyeing from a favorite tree which had fallen in the winter…
I tried to convince myself that the smell of damp, mouldy woodland that filled my kitchen would be worth it. Once again I was left very disappointed. I had a slightly greeny grey cardigan which smelled to high heaven.
Finally I decided to give in and try crushed Walnut shells.
My kitchen smelled divine and the colour which came from the warm soaking shells was stunning. Almost the instant that the shells touched the water a deep brown shade drifted into the pan. Just the act of stirring the concoction was a delight. It looked almost like velvet; thick and soup like and with such richness.
I dared not believe it would work – but this time, I seemed to have hit the nail on the head.
The moral of this story? Buy “Wild Colour” by Jenny Dean and actually learn about what I’m trying to achieve.
Have you had any dyeing disasters? What is your favorite natural dye? Which natural dyeing books would you recommend?
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