Dyeing naturally seems the best way to do it after Judy Hardman’s workshop demonstrated how much fun it is. I am really inspired and will be driving around roundabouts assessing the vegetation from now on – never mind the traffic. Natural dyeing is full of surprises but one can ‘modify’ the colour you get with a some ingredients I already have. Don’t have to buy anything now that I have some alum for mordanting. We over-dyed some skeins with indigo which puts a ‘layer’ of colour over the yarn, and made some lovely greens from the yellow weld batches. We dyed yarn, rather than fibre, as the bits and pieces of Weld or Madder root would be too difficult to remove after dyeing. As it was we just took the dyed skeins outside and shook off the bits onto a sheet which were then put back into the pot. There was no need to take notes – apart from to record a particular yarn – as Judy had prepared notes for us and her beautiful book ‘ Natural Dyes’ was on sale too. This is her second visit to SpinningSchool and we are already planning one for next year – probably August when vegetable matter is plentiful.
Judy worked incredibly hard, and brought with her a vast range or boilers – gas and electric – an old-fashioned spin dryer, drying racks, groundsheets, and even packs of buttons which we used to identify each students’ skeins. There were 12 students, each dyeing 8 skeins, and somehow everyone went home with their own – apart from one sad little skein marked ‘Weld’ I found lying on the floor. Must put it in the post to join its mates. The buttons all took dye to a certain extent so will be useful when the skeins are knitted into products.