Two ladies and a whole lotta wool
Since my trip to Thailand I’ve decided it was about time I gave natural dyeing go. There were so many beautiful examples of the great colours you can get from nature, and of course I couldn’t help but make a few purchases 😉
But it was really the trip to Studio Naenna that sealed the deal. It’s based just outside Chiang Mai in a gorgeous traditional Thai house and the staff there are so kind and knowledgable. We were given a tour of the gardens where we met this old timer – an indigo vat that’s been going for 15 years!
And I got to see some beautiful indigo-dyed cotton:
As Naenna is all about eco dyeing and using the resources at our disposal, it really got me thinking about what I have in my kitchen here in Luxembourg – so my first experiment was with turmeric. I used 2 pints of water and 30 grams of turrmic for 100g of yarn. I scoured the wool, which basically means I washed it (very gently) with warm water and a tea spoon of washing up liquid. I then let it sit in clean warm water for a few hours to make sure the fibres were open. I brought the turmeric mixture to boil then simmered for an hour. When the dye pot was ready, I added the soaked yarn and simmered gently for a further hour (again being very careful not to agitate it to much, I didn’t want it to felt).
I was very happy with the results, and decided to give a few other colours a try – I even had a go with some indigo, though I must confess I used freeze dried crystals purchased from the internet, with soda ash and spectralite. I’m waiting for summer to arrive before I attempt my own fermentation vat.
I’m really enjoying experimenting with natural dyes, you can get such a wonderful array of colours from some unexpected sources. You see that dark grey yarn in the top right corner? That was from the water left over from soaking black beans! The light yellow in the bottom left corner is spinach with a vinegar mordant, though I’ll be honest this photo didn’t really capture the light green/yellow colour of the yarn that well. I’m also collecting onion skins and avocado skins so I’ll let you know how I get on with them.
Are there any household staples you’ve been dyeing with? I’m just embarking on the crafty adventure so would love to hear other people’s experiences.