Dyeing Wool – An Experiment

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I told you last week I finally made my way out to Oakland to visit A Verb for Keeping Warm. Beside the lovely little selection of yarn and fabric, they also teach a bunch of classes. The one I’m most interested in is dyeing with natural, plant based materials. There is a small patio behind the store where they grow the plants for dyeing…they also have a cute Angora rabbit hopping around. So while I was poking around out back I saw a shelf lined with canning jars displaying the various material. I immediately spotted what I know now to be called oak galls or oak apples. I’ve always just called them oak balls and I have a ton of them in my yard. I was so exited to learn you can dye with them, I went home and boiled up some the next day.

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After spending time researching how to actually dye the yarn, I had a plan. The process is simple enough, a lot of soaking, simmering, and waiting. The one thing I will definitely do differently in the future is use alum as a mordant or dye fixative. I used vinegar which did produce a beautiful result, but also stunk up the house for hours. Boiling wool with vinegar is definitely smelly.  But look at the soft golden color the oak galls produced. So beautiful. It reminds me of the hills around here, which incidentally are home to thousands of oak trees. I was so excited to see that it actually worked, I walked around the yard to see what else I could use as a dye. Turns out my over grown eucalyptus tree can be use, too. I made a dye out of the leaves and another from the bark. I’m going to hopefully have time buy some yarn today and get busy dyeing again tonight.

The other skein of yarn is made with Kool-Aid. This process was a snap. I used some Cascade Eco Wool in Beige Taupe Twist so the purple and blue are slightly more tame. The sweet Kool-Aid also helped rid the house of the vinegar smell. Win, win.  Definitely a fun way to spend a few hours.

Linking up with Keep Calm Craft On

 

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3 thoughts on “Dyeing Wool – An Experiment

    • Thanks! It is a really pretty color. I have some yarn simmering away in a eucalyptus bark dye right now. It’s really addictive and makes you look at your yard or woods in a whole new way…

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