The Fair Series: Plant Dyed Yarns

This was a talk that I missed, and sadly so, but everything was still set up so that you could see what was done.  There is a fire pit or fire-box with a grate set over the fire to hold the cans with the dye liquid.  A bit of wood off to the side.  Being a Mainer however, I would never even consider using fire wood for a project like this.  This is something you would use sticks and downed limbs from around your yard or in the woods for.  Definitely not something as nice (and labor intensive) as firewood.  There is also a rack for drying the dyed yarns.

Sometimes I forget that equipment does not have to be anything fancy or even anything purchased.  My own dyeing equipment consists of an old enameled pot with lid (enameled because it is non-reactive with the acid in the dye bath), a salad spinner for extracting water from the wool, and an old window screen or two that either span the bath tub or are set up outside to take advantage of the wind.  But this set up makes my simple set up look positively modern and ritzy.  Everything here does the same job as anything you can buy or find at the dump or a lawn sale.

I am really sorry to have missed this presentation.  There would have been discussion around how long to soak barks and vegetation to extract the dyes, how long to soak the yarns in that liquid and what to use for mordants for each type of plant or bark.  I will have to work on this myself now.  With the aid of books and the internet, I should be able to learn this myself.

Something that I love that they have here at the fair grounds in and among their vegetable gardens is that they make dye gardens.  There are patches of garden growing with different dye plants, and each is labeled and separated by color.  There is a red garden, a yellow garden, etc.  I would love to have this at my home.  Instead of flower gardening for beauty only, I can imagine having a garden that is made up of all dye plants.  Definitely something to think about.


Marija sent me a book about natural dye plants that I am really excited to learn from.  Yesterday on our bike ride I collected some lichen (with the help of my book) and am hoping to get started with the natural dyeing with that.

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