I dye yarn using natural dyes that I collect in the area around where I live, or I purchase them online. These dyes can be plant based (like woad, weld and madder) or animal based (like Lac and Cochineal). I am also looking forward to trying Fungi and Lichen dyes later in the year, if anyone lives in or around the North of England and want to join me on a foraging trip, let me know.
I buy most of my dyes from www.wildcolours.co.uk as either the dried form of the plant or as an extract. Its economical and results can be reproduced should I want to. I have also been experimenting with growing some of my own dye plants, particularly Woad, Weld and Madder. I love it! The picture above shows Woad seeds, dry and ready to either re-plant or dye with. I’ve also just harvested a miniscule amount of Weld tops. Its surprisingly rewarding to grow the dyestuffs next to my veggies and bee-loving flowers. All in a tiny West Yorkshire yard!
So I have a few pets, a dog and two cats. They usually stay out of the way but every time I get the camera out to take product photos, Angus the cat wants to be in on the action.
Way back at the beginning of my dyeing experiments, one of my darling cats (Rosie I think) decided to knock a skein of Dock Root and Iron dyed sock wool off the airer and onto the floor, then proceeded to pee on it. I discovered a whole new wool modifier that day when I saw half the skein had changed colour (from dark grey to pale yellow grey if you are interested).
And as for the dog? Any attempt at gathering berries involves watching her consume her entire bodyweight in brambles at the same time. One for the dye pot, one for her…
Here at Tinctoria we will soon be offering a series of Themed Sock Knitting Boxes. Each kit will include enough 4 ply yarn to knit a pair of socks, either Double Pointed or Small Circular needles, stitch markers and a great pattern to follow. Themes will include Rainbow Stripes, Moorland, the Seaside, the Seasons and Yule. If you have an idea, let us know and well give it a go!
Just listed here at Tinctoria we have a skein of lace Weight yarn dyed with Lac, RASPBERRY LACE. This super soft, fine wool has the most subtle of colour variations throughout, offering an opportunity for a unique piece of knitting or crochet. Cool dark pink/red, this dye result is truly lovely.
We are so pleased here at Tinctoria to offer some sparkles at last! We will most definitely be maintaining a good variety of these from now on.
Our first skein to be listed, INDIGO SPARKLES is a beautifully hand dyed skein of merino in Lace Weight Wool. This Indigo blue skein is shot through with silver sparkles and would make the most gorgeous shawl, wrap or stole. Like a starry night, this is really lovely and super soft to touch.
Our second skein, BURGUNDY SPARKLES has been dyed with Lac. Shot through with gold sparkles, this 4Ply Merino wool is a beautiful burgundy red and is my new favourite colour scheme ever.
Just listed today, Tinctorias new Indigo Gradient, packs of 5 mini-skeins in a beautiful Indigo Blue. Each hand dyed 25g mini-skein is totally unique, naturally dyed with Indigo. From the loveliest deep Jeans-Blue to sky blue, each skein has its own variations along its length making for a super scarf, hat or wrap! Two sets are available now, with another batch coming very soon.
Oh we had such fun here at Tinctoria last week hand dyeing a batch of multi-coloured yarn using natural dyes!
Just listed in our etsy shop is SUMMERS DAY, a super bright skein dyed using Onion Skins and Indigo. Using a gradual colour change from yellow through green to blue, this skein of 100% Merino wool just shouts happiness.
Our second multi-coloured skein COOL BERRIES, was dyed with Lac and Indigo, the colours from cool read to blue with purples in between. I can’t wait to see what you can knit up with this one!
Our third multi-coloured skein RASPBERRY RIPPLE was achieved with successive dips in Lac, this has created a range of cool reds and pinks. Just beautiful.
As a quick demonstration we’ve knitted up a square and crocheted a flowery granny square to show just how wonderful a variegated yarn can be. The yarn we used was Blue Faced Leicester Wool, Double Knit. We dyed it with Onion Skins, modified with copper. As you can see, both knitting and crochet show the colour variations wonderfully, I would be so pleased with a full blanket of these squares!
I was reading a book recently (Shalloons and Kerseys, Aspects of the 18th Century woollen and worsted trade in Halifax. Ruth Bean, 1979) and came across a diary entry from a local farmer regarding dyeing the woollen cloth he had woven, dated January 10th 1775. The entry is as follows:
to dey black worsted an asortment for 2 peses. In the first place bunch up your wersted very hard and put it in a Tub with hot Water but not scour it, and to stay till almost Cold. Then take 14 lb of Logwood, 4 lb of Shumack and boyle them up an hour, then cole down your lead, and not to lett it boyle at all but keep it quite hot, for the space of 2 hours, but in the middle of the Time take up your Worsted and turn the Strings. For the saddening part take your Worsted up and cole it straight, then take 6lb of copperas melt it in your liquer, then put your Worsted in for the space of an hour, then take it up and cole it very well and then turn the stings and in the Time of Cooling boyle up your Liquer a little, then cool it down that it will not boyle for the space of an hour, putting your Worsted in as before. For the last wett take 1/2lb of raspt Fustick and boyle it in your liquor very well wilst your worsted is cooling, then put in your worsted when it is cooled down for the space of an hour, then take it oute and cole it before you hang it by all Night, 4oz Tallow to put in with the Fustick. You must observe that your Lead never boyle, when the Worsted is in and also that you lett it hang all Night and take it to a Stream to wash it.
This was written by a man who was a farmer and also a weaver, in Halifax this was a common combination at the time. His farm was part way along a hillside with a stream in the valley bottom. He would weave and dye the cloth pieces and then carry them into Halifax to sell on. He clearly had access to buy large quantities of imported dyestuffs, then had to also make time for such a laborious dyeing process.
Now does anyone fancy the challenge of recreating this?!