Friday, February 13, 2015

It's Hand-Dyed, Natural-Dyed Farmstead Yarn

Yarn "cooking" in the dye vat

Since I've been away from the blog, a funny little thing has happened. I have become obsessed with fiber, yarn, and dye. I started buying local fleece, and turning it into yarn, and researching ways to transform that white stuff into lovely colors using natural and wildcrafted dye. It's turned into an actual thing! In November of last year, I officially launched Lost Coast Yarn with my own Etsy page. I'm pretty excited about it, and excited for the knitters of Humboldt County to have access to locally-grown and -dyed yarn.

Today, I was busy dyeing my first batch of my 2014 clip. This is a 75% wool, 25% alpaca sock or fingering weight yarn. Today's dye was made using black walnut hulls. My neighbors, Gail, Harold and Mimi, and Jane all gave me a collection of walnut hulls in the fall when they were harvesting their walnuts. I put the rotting brown outer shells into buckets of water, put a lid on them, and forgot about them, till yesterday.

I poured some of the fermented brew into my dye pot, and boiled for an hour or two, and then strained the dye. (I put the hulls back into the bucket to soak some more, there will be plenty more dye from them.) Then I added my washed and soaked yarn to the dye, and simmered at 170 degrees or so for about 90 minutes. The color came out a lovely coppery brown today. I was aiming for a little lighter, but hey! It's always an adventure with natural dye. I think it's quite lovely. 

 Skeins of Sock Yarn, Dyed with Black Walnut

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