A Technicolour Story

3kcbwI’m a purple person. I put this down to my birthstone being Amethyst (if you believe in such things). I went to a school that had a navy blue uniform with yellow highlights. Not much inspiration there.

But I never really thought too much about colour until recently. (Well I say, recently…)

About 15 years ago, I went on a natural dyeing course (note the use of the letter ‘e’). We were instructed to bring small skeins of yarn; some brought commercial wool and silk, but being a handspinner I brought my latest yarn which happened to be from a Lleyn fleece given to me by a friend.

(Being a cold day I also wore my trusty handspun white hat, knitted a few years earlier…)

Anyway, we dyed with Madder, Cochineal, Turmeric, Logwood and Indigo (there may have been others,but my sample cards are elsewhere I think 🙂 ) As far as I remember, the mordants were None, Alum, Tin and Chrome – some nasty stuff in that list.

The colours produced were many and varied and we also made Saxon green by over-dyeing Turmeric with indigo.

Entrelac with natural dyes.A few years previously I’d acquired the SpinOff sock edition which had an Entrelac sock on the cover. I’d always fancied knitting that and with my small balls of coloured yarn I had the chance. Above is a sock leg – except that I got the tension wrong and it was too small for my leg. However, I adapted, cut it off at the heel and made a pair of fingerless gloves from it and its twin. And the socks – they’re still in progress. 🙂

What about the white hat that I wore to the natural dyeing course? Well, that’s now blue, having been tossed in the Indigo dye bath at the end of the day, when we were casting around trying to find things to use up the exhaust dye. And it’s still going strong at 20 years old!

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3 Responses to “A Technicolour Story”

  1. Evelyn 23rd April 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    My wedding ring has an amethyst stone in it which I adore. I love your post as I’m seriously thinking about taking a natural dye course — I’ve never dyed yarn before and am itching to try!

  2. SpinningGill 23rd April 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Evelyn. Your wedding ring sounds beautiful. 🙂

    Go for the dyeing course! Any kind of dyeing is great fun. We’ve done some rainbow dyeing with the little Dylon dyepots that you used to be able to get added to raw fleece. 🙂
    We’ve also recently dome some Indigo dyeing which was very successful.

    • Beth 23rd April 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      and lucky old me is doing a natural dyeing course here on the island in June. It includes going out to pick the plants. Really looking forward to it.

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