Over the years, I have dyed yarn with dyes I made from plants just for fun. I love the element of surprise when I am dyeing with natural, plant-based dyes, never knowing for certain how the yarn will turn out. About a month ago, I caught the “must dye with plants” fever pretty strongly and realized that at the rate I was dyeing, I would need to sell the yarn!
So much goes into this process! I am very meticulous, and each skein has been dyed with careful attention to details. The yarns I selected to dye with are from a combination of sources, some commercially produced, others milled in Virginia by folks I have met and admired. I prepare the yarns for dyeing based on the plants I will dye them with. I gather my dye materials by hand (and sometimes with the help of many small hands) on our property or nearby and then extract the dyes, typically on my kitchen stove, but sometimes using only solar energy. After straining the plant materials from the dyes I am ready to dye my skeins. After they are dyed, I hang them to dry for awhile, allowing the dyes to settle in before beginning the process of rinsing and washing them by hand. All skeins are given a final soak in Eucalan, a wonderful pH neutral wool wash. After washing, my skeins return to the drying rack and once they are fully dry, I reskein them by hand using my table-top swift to ensure that there are no tangles in the yarn. The process is lengthy, but it is teaching me patience and it is very satisfying to see my finished skeins, each pretty and unique. I am offering for sale those skeins that I believe are beautiful, those that I would knit with myself.
With a few exceptions, I always dye in batches of at least two skeins, and I encourage you to buy all you would need for your project at once because I cannot exactly reproduce any of these skeins. I dyed larger batches of a few colors, so there are 4 to 6 skeins available for those listings. These are seasonal yarns: the flowers and berries that I used to dye them with are only available for a window of time. Available colors naturally change with the seasons.
Plant dyes can be very colorfast, some more so than others. The skeins I have dyed myself or purchased from other dyers using natural dyes over the years haven’t faded, but there are no guarantees, which only lends to the appeal of naturally dyed yarns, in my opinion. I think the best way to preserve your yarns and the objects you create with them is to store them away from direct sunlight, and when washing, always use a gentle pH neutral wool wash.
You can see all my yarns in my G. Sheller Etsy shop. Sold out! You guys!!! Thank you all for your support! Hopefully there will be more in a few weeks. 🙂