Dye Garden

Well hello, it has been a while.

The last we spoke, I talked about spinning Shropshire on my spindle. Which turned out beautifully in all its imperfection!

Shropshire spun 2 ply on a drop spindle

I don’t know about you, but I struggled with spinning the perfect single. With time, I have learned to embrace the small bumps and the thick and thins. It’s part of the charm of hand spun yarn

Zinnia, the Shropshire ewe
Zinnia, Shropshire Ewe

Every once in a while, I had to stop to remove little neps that were created while I was hand carding the fleece into rolags. I realized I may have done one too many passes. A lesson to remember when next I prep a down breed.

Next, I turned my little copps of singles into a ply ball and continued to spin a 2-ply.

The yarn has not changed its mind; it still wants to be dyed an earthy tone.

It got me thinking that I should plant a dye garden. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have my own natural dyes for small projects like my Shropshire? And who would have thought there would be so much information about this very subject?

February is the perfect time to start planning a garden. It is the beginning of the awakening of spring; the days are getting little longer, it is the start of lambing season, and it is a time to “seed” your dreams so that they may grow into reality.

And so, I am planning (or seeding) a dye garden so that I can see it blossom in the summer and hopefully harvest in early fall.

spring flower, spring, tulips

Since I don’t have a huge backyard, I think I will only start with a few plants. Black Hollyhock for purples and greys, Safflower for pinks and yellows, Woad for blues, and Marigold for greens and yellows.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I saw Black Hollyhock seeds for sale at my local grocery store the very day I made my choices! Definitely a positive sign!

In the meantime, since I am too excited to wait, my Shropshire will soon be dyed with Earl Grey tea. Hopefully it will turn into a warm brown. I got the idea from Ply magazine in their Warmth issue.

Tea anyone? 

textile, wool, background

Written by Sylvie

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