An Experiment.

I have been interested in dyeing my own colors onto fiber recently.

Our Yarrow patch has been getting out of control as of late, so I trimmed it yesterday afternoon. I composted most of it, but I held some back for a little experimentation today.

// An Experiment. | The Sock Monkey.
The washed and cut yarrow.

IMG_3794IMG_3791 IMG_3789The yarn was handspun from my grandmother.

IMG_3800I left the yarn in the yarrow water for about an hour on a low simmer.

After it had cooled and dried a little, my little sister, the herbalist, made me about a pint of Elderberry water.

IMG_3802I massaged it in the yarn in the method called “handpainting.”

IMG_3808 IMG_3820 IMG_3819 IMG_3816 IMG_3813I wasn’t sure about the color at first, but it’s growing on me. I still need to set the dye, and I’m going to try to do that soon, so I can knit with it. I think I’ll steam it, but I’m not sure.

What I loved about this process was that everything was pretty much organic. The elderberries are certified organic, we don’t spray chemicals on the yarrow, the yarn is handspun wool, and I didn’t use any mordants.

I’m not sure that it will be lightfast. But I don’t really mind as this was an experiment. If it wears/washes out, I can always dye it again when I know more about making plant dyes lightfast and washfast.


In other news, our Sadelma KAL is started! I began my Kottarainen shawl. I’m using stash; Knit Picks Hawthorne in Slate and Knit Picks Palette in Tarragon, leftover from a pair of socks.

IMG_3822 IMG_3824 IMG_3823There are six stitches increased every two rows, so it is coming along quickly. I’m about ready to start the lace edging, and I want to get it washed and blocked by Saturday.

I’m going to be offline this weekend, so I’ll look forward to reading your comments and seeing your Sadelma shawl projects when I return!


Good knitting.



7 thoughts on “An Experiment.

  1. That handdye looks interesting, subtle, and also a little foreunner of what, I gather, comes with a lot of ‘dye’ plant matter – grey/beige. Sad but there we are. Apparently there are colours ‘out there’ too, and mordanting definitely appears to help.


    1. Mordanting does help. I’ve been thinking about getting some (non-toxic) alum and doing more experimenting. I don’t think that the photos showed the colors very accurately, as the color has more green and maroon than how it looks, but I do have some frustration toward natural dyers who only have grey and beige. 🙂 I really like the Camellia Fiber Company yarns–they have interesting colors that have been naturally dyed. Here’s the link, if you want to check it out. Thank you so commenting!


  2. I’ve not yet experimented with dyeing yarn, mostly because my stash is plenty big and I have lots of fluff to spin and I think if I bring another craft into the house, Husband may flip, even if it’s loosely related to the other two. ::sigh:: Oh well.


    1. Renee: I always love getting your comments! I think that we should always take worthwhile obsessions a step further … and your husband doesn’t have to know (do it while he’s at work!) … 🙂 I still need to learn to spin, so if you have any tips, please tell me! 🙂



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