trailing of the sheep 2015.

This past weekend, we went to the Trailing of the Sheep festival in Sun Valley (ID), both to take classes and see the sheep. (Unfortunately, we left on Saturday, before they paraded the thousands of sheep down Main Street.) I got to take the Natural Dyeing class that they had (which took up Friday afternoon and a good part of Saturday), and my mother took the drop spindle class.

As a disclaimer, I’m going to put some photos here that aren’t the best; I didn’t want to fiddle around with settings and stuff while trying to listen to the instructor. The yarn that we dyed was from her Navajo-Churro sheep, and I think that it’s worsted weight, or somewhere in that area.

Mary-Anne measuring out Rabbitbrush (which I am allergic to :/). Her hands are stained with Indigo from a different natural-dye class she took. She was really fun and nice to be around.
Undyed Churro
Undyed Churro
The juniper dye-pot.
The juniper dye-pot.
Emmy and Mary-Anne wringing out the yarn from the juniper dye-pot

IMG_5655 IMG_5654

Willow bark. We added an iron mordant directly in the pot with the yarn in it.
Willow-dyed yarn
A candid shot of Emmy. I don’t think she realized I was taking her photo. πŸ™‚


Juniper yarn.


Emmy rinsing yarn.

IMG_5679 IMG_5678

Hanging yarn to dry.
Willow, alum pre-mordant.
Willow, iron mordant
An experiment in Hollyhock


IMG_5677 IMG_5673 IMG_5672 IMG_5671After the dyeing class, Mary Anne (a fellow knitter and knitting podcast nerd) and I walked over the the fair. This was my first fiber fair, so it was slightly disconcerting. But really, really fun.

Bagpipers with sheep bag … things … that goes on the bagpipes …

IMG_5694 IMG_5695At the initial go-around, and after collecting my parents who had been looking at quilts, they introduced me to a woman that they met, who runs an amazing magazine that is probably my new favorite thing on earth.

4 issues of the Wild Fibers magazine!
4 issues of the Wild Fibers magazine!

Linda lives in Maine, and she raised goats (from which she got cashmere). She is so knowledgeable and dynamic.

Linda Cotright

At the fair, I got some lovely DK/worsted from an indie hand-dye company here in ID, Blue Savannah.

IMG_5714 IMG_5716 IMG_5719I had loads of fun, and hopefully I’ll be there next year.

Willow: right, alum pre-mordant; left, iron mordant.
Willow: right, alum pre-mordant; left, iron mordant.
Rabbitbrush, alum pre-mordant
Rabbitbrush, alum pre-mordant
Juniper, alum pre-mordant
Juniper, alum pre-mordant
All the yarn!
All the yarn!

17 thoughts on “trailing of the sheep 2015.

  1. The neutral colors are wonderful πŸ™‚ Although I love bright statements as well, neutrals are much easier to pair with other things, and it’s so fulfilling to know that you created those colors yourself.


    1. I know! It is sort of weird, but now that I know that (well, I mean, I already knew, but now that I grasp) that plants have color, I’m plotting to try every plant in our garden just about. Which is good, because it’s fall and we’re in the process of buttoning up the garden. πŸ™‚


      1. You saw but did not observe πŸ™‚

        Let me know how that turns out, I’m really interested in how many colors you can make naturally. The world we live in has so many colors, we shouldn’t have to use man-made dyes πŸ™‚


      2. Exactly. I’ve dried a bit of foliage; hopefully that will convince me to dye in the winter! It is a scary thing, adding color to something so lovely without it. I don’t want to ruin anything, you know?


    1. Awesome shawl/stripe-y thing is right! A shawl might not be the best choice, since Navajo-Churro isn’t the softest (except if it’s just the undercoat, and this is the outer and undercoat blended together), so I was thinking a wall hanging of some kind. I don’t know. A good troll through Ravelry will solve my problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yarn dyeing is one of those things I have yet to try….though I do have a bottle of green commercial dye and some yarn to dye. I’ve just not made the leap quite yet.

    Between knitting, spinning, and design work…..well, let’s just say I don’t need another hobby πŸ™‚

    Also, someday you need to wander to California for Stitches West. It is quite epic.


    1. It certainly is a slippery slope, let me tell you. πŸ™‚ I’m slightly afraid to go to Stitches. Especially Stitches West. I hear that it is really, really huge and really, really overwhelming.

      But maybe sometime, I’ll be able to go and I’ll be able to also meet you! πŸ™‚


      1. Prior to moving to California, I’d only been to Stitches Midwest, which I thought was quite epic…..and then I went to Stitches West. It is HUGE. I swear, the marketplace is the size of two football fields…..and it’s very overwhelming. The first year I went, I had no plan other than to just go….because I didn’t know what I was getting into. This past year (well, February), I went through the vendor list and made a “sort of maybe this” plan….and it promptly went out the window (I blame yarn fumes). But, I had a better idea what I was getting into.


  3. Those yarns together – Fair Isle project?

    From what I’ve seen of others’ plant-dying experiences the colours are mostly muted. Which is ok, but here in the UK, in the winter when it’s grey, grey, grey and raining, you need bright colours!


    1. Yeah, plant dyes do give off a somewhat muted color. Which is appropriate in some instances. But I’m not going to stop loving those crazy acid-dyed skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn by any means! πŸ™‚


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