A month and a half ago we participated in a little something called Spinzilla. We blogged and blogged about it and were blown away by the response we had to the event. One of our employees here, Paul E., was one of the people who learned to spin during the week. To our surprise and excitement he has taken off with spinning. For the last few weeks Paul has been taking classes from Maggie Casey at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins, our local yarn shop here in Boulder.
In the last class he dyed some of his hand spun yarn with natural dyes that run the gamut of colors and sources.
He used dyes that originate from walnut husk, cochineal insect, cutch bark and onion skins.
Walnut produces a beige-brown color and can be darkened by using copper; for an even darker hue, iron can be used.
Cutch bark creates a nutty brown. When used with alum it is nearly a peanut butter brown, then when used in tandem with copper and iron, the colors darken into a lovely chocolate brown.
Onion skins produce a dark goldenrod color when combined with alum, and then darken into hues of yellow-green and olive when used with copper and iron respectively.
Maybe the most stunning of the dyes used was from cochineal. A deep orchid purple was achieved by using alum. A grape purple resulted with a copper mordant and into a rich navy blue when mixed with iron.
If this gets you curious about natural dyeing, check with your local shop and start exploring the world of color. We suggest a class to start, particularly to learn about safe handling procedures.
We are very proud of Paul and impressed with how much he has learned in a very short amount of time. We look forward to seeing what he comes up with next! Paul has plans to learn how to knit and crochet, adding to his spinning and dyeing knowledge. We have a feeling Paul is on that slippery slope, where one craft leads to another, with a good dose of passion thrown in.