Natural Dyeing, Winter – Sumac

My first choice of color for our yarn is it’s natural color.  I love the idea of tracing back who is who in the flock to the mittens, hats or sweaters we wear.  Oh, these mittens are from Milverton’s fleece, or this blanket was from Annie & David & Morris, and here is a sweater from Ruva, and so on.

My second choice is probably indigo, but I love almost all of the colors.  My favorite colors are the result of  when we overdye yarn that is browner or grayer.  Usually the colors are deeper and richer.  The strength of the dyepot is also a large contributor to that depth.

I’m so eager for harvesting lichens and mushrooms, flowers and leaves for the spring dyepots.  I’m rushing the season a bit by harvesting last fall’s Sumac seedheads that were mostly intact on the bushes out behind the chicken coops.  There were all of those beautiful deep maroon colored flowers that made it through winter, ready for the plucking.

Without mordanting any of the fiber, just wetting it, the color is “light rusty” upon drying.  It’s very pretty.  I’m going to give another batch a bit of mordant, maybe alum, and see what happens.  Meanwhile, enjoy the pics of this week’s folly:

Sumac growing in back woods

Sumac growing in back woods

Sumac berry preparation

Sumac berry preparation

Sumac picked off twigs and ready for dye pot

Sumac picked off twigs and ready for dye pot

In the dye pot

In the dye pot

simmering the Sumac

simmering the Sumac

adding 100% wool yarn to dyepot

adding 100% wool yarn to dyepot

sumac dyed wool

sumac dyed wool

 

Sumac dyed yarn next to undyed yarn

Sumac dyed yarn next to undyed yarn

2 responses to “Natural Dyeing, Winter – Sumac

  1. beautiful, farmer Tam!!! i’ve really enjoyed my mother knit with her blue yarn i got from you last fall. i don’t recall if i mentioned or not that since i was only able to get two skeins (a certain sweet somebody nabbed the rest before i got to it! ;)), she is mixing it in with some vintage Bucilla yarn in the same blue shade – quite similar, but of course not quite as rich. your yarn is being knitted into stripes for a vest border. it is so pleasant to watch her as she knits something from your sheep, and i remember my time there as i watch her hands work the wool.
    wishing you a beautiful easter weekend and a lovely, lovely spring. i miss being there…xo

  2. Lovely!

    I too love the fiber’s natural colors, though I must admit dyeing adds another dimension to an already deep and wonderful craft. I’ve recently picked up knitting again and started spinning about a week ago, and I’m interested in dyeing as well. Honestly I find all aspects of wool and yarn and knitting fascinating!

    Do you have workshops at the farm? Do you take in volunteers for the farm, like WWOOF? I would love to be able to visit a farm one day, one where the animals are loved and treated well.

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