Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dying Yarn Naturally

On the day of my birthday, my friend Jan and I attended the MA Sheep and Wool Festival at the Cummington Fairgrounds. We had a great time visiting the vendors, checking out the animals and watching the sheep dog trials. While we were there, we saw a poster, and talked to a woman about a natural dying workshop she was having at her farm in Fitzwilliam, which is the next town over from here. A woman from Green Mountain Spinnery, who was worked there for 25 years, was going to come down and teach the workshop. It was fairly cheap, and you were going to get a hat pattern that she designed to be used with the yarn, and enough dyed yarn to make it. I thought I might like to go, but it was the weekend after school got out and I wasn't sure what was going on yet. *photo from festival

A few weeks later, someone on Ravelry posted about it in the New England Fibah-Heads group, and said there was one spot left. I emailed the lady who owns the farm, and snagged it up. I didn't know what I wanted for my birthday this year, so The Boy™ gave me the cash he was going to spend on my gift. I was able to use that to register for the workshop. I would like to note, that I was awfully proud of myself for this. Not one single person that I know was attending this workshop, and I was going to have to go alone, with people I didn't know (there were 10 spots), and I signed up anyhow. I am inherently shy around people I don't know, an this was big for me.  * the first yarns I dyed, drying on the fence

The workshop was yesterday, and it started at 9am, and lasted until 4pm. The woman who's house we went to raises sheep, llamas, alpacas, chickens and a turkey or two. Her farm was delightful and she processes wool and dyes yarn to sell. Her kitchen, which was huge and glorious, is mostly used for yarn dying. If I could only be so lucky. We learned about the kinds of things you need to treat yarn, and the process you have to go through to dye it, and set the dye, and then what kinds of natural things you can use to dye yarn. Remarkably, colored flowers and leaves of plants will make a yellow dye, and dandelion flowers will make a green dye. Similarly, we used some little bugs from Mexico, and made a beautiful pink, that if we had remembered and added citric acid to later, would've turned a glorious red. It was a fantastic day, and I learned lots of stuff, and have resources to dye my own yarn, if I choose, all naturally. What fun! * my yarns, once I got them home and wound up


Carly said...

I love this blog entry and the photos are beautiful ! Awesome.

Jan Jones said...

just saw this. sounds like the day was perfect. i may have to try this at come point in the future. met a woman over the summer who has icelandic sheep and LOTS of fiber in her barn. while i'm not interesting in spinning, the dying and knitting up later so interest me, so who knows? maybe in the future there will be an income possiblity?