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Discussion Starter #1
Have any of you ever used things in nature to dye you fiber? What is involved? My new Fiber Mentor had scraped the Lichen off of the tree in her backyard and combined it with vinegar to create a dye for some of her yarn. The Lichen was sage / grey green, but the dye it produced was the most beautiful shade of lilac. Now I find myself walking around my gardens and driving down the road looking at plants and wonder if they could be used for dye and if so, what colors they would make.

If you have done this, what have you used and what were the results?
 

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Ummm, that would be me and I'm already running late to work....

Onion skins = differing shades of yellow
Elderberry = different shades depending on several factors (mordant, for one)
Pokeberry = antique rose
Tea = differing shades of tan from ecru to cocoa

I'll try to get a better list together later if the other gals don't beat me to it ;).
 

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mordant/
berrys of anykind will fade and should be redyed every year.
Goldenrod- yellow. wild growing along highways and fields.
marragolds-softer yellow.
osage orange- a orangy brown
black walnut hull and all - a nice brown
do a search on wild plants for dying wool
alot will come up
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow....you guys are awesome! Thanks so much. Can someone explain the Mordant aspect of it to me? I am dye illiterate, but am just fascinated with all the pretty colors thought admittedly a little afraid at trying my hand at the process.
 

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Mordant helps the color 'bite' into the wool. The workd mordant is derived from the Latin modere (to bite).

You can use mordant 1) before dyeing 2) with the dyeing 3) after dyeing. Mordanting before dyeing produces the brightest colors. Mordanting after dyeing will sadden or darken the color.

Different mordants will produce different colors with the same materials. There are many types of mordants: salt, vinegar, soda, cream of tartar, alum, brass, iron, tin, copper & chrome.

Too much of a mordant can be a disaster. For example, too much of:
alum and the wool is harsh & sticky.
chrome & the color is impaired.
tin makes the wool harsh & brittle
iron will harden and streak the wools.

alum (potassium aluminum sulphate) - look in gardening centers - it is used to make the soil acidic!

I have a couple books on natural dyeing, some may be out of print.
The Dye-Pot by Mary Frances Davidson is pretty good - no ISBN - it was copyrighted in 1950.

I have a couple dye links on my laptop - I'll get them posted tomorrow.
 

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blueberries + alum = a lovely shade of light sage green
used coffee grounds + alum (no kidding!) = a dirty yellow that I won't bother repeating
 

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tumeric plus vinegar= extremely bright yellow orange

that's the only natural one I've had success with so far, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks so much all :0) Now I just need to get enough spun to have some yarn to play with. Life just seems to keep getting in the way of spinning time :0) Aaaaaahhhhhh, but it's a good life.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ohhhhhh.....Good thought Cyndi. I am not much for waiting anyway.

I am a little confused as to the best way to do this and combine colors. Should I dye separate lots of roving in various colors and then spin them together or dye the separate lots and spin them separately, but ply them together?
 

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You could do either one or you could lightly card them together and spin.

The only rule is there are no rules!
 

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I was wondering if you were to make your own yarn and dye it yourself how would it hold up in the wash? wouldn't the colors run?

I am teaching myself to knit because I would like to learn to spin eventually. Is it hard to learn spin? Someone suggested learning the drop spindle method but at this point in time I just can't imagine learning another skill....

Thanks
Caren
 
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