My dreams are made of wool...
I spend all of my free time (read: nonexistent) knitting. I am the definition of an obsessive knitter. It brings me joy. It gives me purpose. It is my happy place! So, it was only a matter of time before fiber came to play a bigger part in this journey than simply purchasing a skein at my local yarn store (which, incidentally, is another favorite pastime of mine).
I love working with wool. It is like no other fiber! It is soft and rough all at the same time. Malleable, but also sturdy and durable. And it is oh so cozy! And for us knitters it is our watercolor and our oil paint; absolutely essential to our creativity and to our making process. Just as I strive to find the best yarns for my own projects, similarly I strive to make the best quality yarn I can for all my fellow knitters out there!
Sustainably sourced and naturally hand dyed
But, not at a cost to the environment... I feel very passionate about sustainably sourced and minimally treated natural fibers. This is why I take great care when choosing the yarn bases I work with. It is also why I chose a dyeing process that leaves as little a footprint on the environment as possible.
What is the difference?
I am as guilty as anyone of buying heavily treated yarns, and I still own many superwash skeins in my stash. This is mostly due to ignorance on my part, I admit it. When I started knitting a year ago, I didn’t really know much about the superwash process, other than it made yarn washable. Very appealing, indeed! Over the course of the year, I became much more aware and conscious of all of the ways in which our consumption impacts the environment. That included, of course, our consumption of fiber. If you’d like to learn more, Ashley of the Woolful Podcast wrote a great article about this!
Why natural dyes?
Similarly, the advantages of using only natural extracts and plants are as follows:
- No toxic chemicals. This is both better for the environment and keeps the “wooly” characteristics of yarn intact (unless, of course, you boil the yarn!). It also means that I can dye in my tiny kitchen without worrying too much about unleashing harsh chemicals in my home (note: this does not mean that it is a completely safe process, because natural extracts can still be poisonous).
- Natural dye stuff is readily available in our homes, gardens (if you’re lucky enough to have one), the forest, and parks. You can use almost anything to make a dye bath!
- A great way to reuse and repurpose. I should know, my freezer is full of onion skins, avocado pits and citrus peel!
- Lots of room for exploring and experimenting! Of course, this can also be frustrating when you spend hours dyeing, and the dye doesn’t really “stick”.
- It is an ever evolving process. The same dye stuff may render a different color depending on where it is from, the water used in the dye bath, the season, and so on. This is really the fun part, because you never know the exact color you will get from any specific dye bath! I like to think of it as each resulting skein of yarn being absolutely unique!
To my delight, color is so abundant in nature, and botanical dyeing is absolutely fascinating! The possibilities are endless, and the more I experiment with botanical dyeing, the more I fall in love with nature. It is incredible the spectrum and intensity of color that can be achieved from the simplest of ingredients, and I am humbled each time I see the end result.
Due to the nature of it, I anticipate that the colors I dye will gravitate towards the specific seasons and the availability of dye stuff. Additionally, as I continue experimenting with different plants and extracts, there will always be new and different colors coming up in shop updates. Having said that, I will also make sure to have certain repeatable colorways that will always be available in the shop. Since hand dyeing, and, particularly, dyeing with natural extracts can’t be exactly replicated each time, even repeatable colorways will vary from dye pot to dye pot and from one dye day to the next.
For more on where I want to take my dreams of wool, read here.