Thursday, 18 October 2012

Colour it with nature!

Yeah, that's what I did this summer at work! We dyed yarn using natural colours, mostly different plants. I already gave you a sneak peak in my previous post, but here comes some more pictures!

First we started with aluna salt to make the wool ready for the colours. Then, here's also a picture of our first "soup", i.e. onion.

During the summer we tried a lot of different plants etc. This was the first time I tried to dye wool, and I have to say I'm really amazed by the wonderful, beautiful colours I got. I mean, look at them!! Wow!

From the left to the right:
- cochineal, second round (kokenilli, jälkiliemi), on white Novita Wool
- cochineal + madder (kokenilli + krappi), on white Novita Wool
- madder (krappi), on beige DROPS Nepal
- onion (keltasipuli), on white DROPS Karisma
- onion, second round (keltasipuli, jälkiliemi), on white DROPS Karisma
- tansy (pietaryrtti), on white Novita Wool
- birch, second round + onion, third round (koivu, jälkiliemi + sipuli, kolmas liemi), on white DROPS Karisma
- birch (koivu), on white DROPS Karisma
- onion, second round (keltasipuli, jälkiliemi), on grey DROPS Alaska
- first birch + onion, third round (koivu + keltasipuli, kolmas liemi). Then later dipped in woad (morsinko), on white L.O.O.Y. Ekologsk ull
- red onion, second round (punasipuli, jälkiliemi), on white DROPS Karisma
- red onion, (punasipuli), on white DROPS Karisma
- first birch (koivu), then later in cochineal (kokenilli), and then a third round in woad (morsinko), on white L.O.O.Y. Ekologisk ull
- woad, very late dip (morsinko, hyvin myöhäinen kasto), on grey DROPS Alaska
- woad (morsinko), on grey DROPS Alaska

And here's a close up of what you can get by using mostly onions (easy to do at home): onion: first round, onion: second round, onion: on grey yarn, onion + birch: third round, red onion: first round, red onion: second round

I found it really interesting that the yellow from onion turned green when the yarn was grey. Then I also liked the woad very much, since it gave a blue colour, which you normally only get from indigo. It also was the magic key for my favourite dyed yarn from this summer: the bright green. First it had a rather dull yellow colour from the birch leaves, but then - voilà - dip it in blue and you have an almost sparkling, delicious green colour!

I only used superwash yarns, like DROPS Karisma and Novita Wool, so that of course also helped to make the colours really bright. But still, everyone told me I succeded very well with this for a first-timer. Maybe it was beginners luck? :)

However, I have one skein that didn't turn out that well. Or at least not as it was supposed to, but I guess it's quite funny like this too :) First it also had a dull yellow colour, then I tried to save it by adding cochineal to it, but something went wrong and the colour I got was an ugly violet-brownish shade of grey. With really dark violet spots. Then I tried to save it once more by dipping it into the blue woad, and this is the result:

I really hope I may continue experimenting with natural dyes next summer again at work, because this was really a lot of fun! The only problem is that now I have like 15 different coloured skeins, all of them only 50-100 g. But I'm sure I'll come up with something to do with all of them! :) One skein was actually already used for baby socks, but more about that later... ;)


  1. WOW. Simply wow! Where on earth did you get madder and woad? So gorgeous, I bet you'll knit something awesome with those.

  2. We had woad growing on the backyard of the museum (for this kind of use), and the madder we bought from a shop in Helsinki, specialized in natural dyes: Tetri Design ( They also have a web store!

    And yeah, I think I have just the right project in mind for these yarns... :)

    p.s now I also accepted your challenge to show something interesting from my stash ;)

  3. Uskomatonta, miten paljon eri värejä olet saanut aikaan. Upeita lankoja!

  4. Aivan uskomattoman ihana värikimara:)

  5. Ihania värejä olet saanut aikaan! ihan uskomattoman kirkkaita myöskin. Itse aloitin juuri sienillä värjäämisen ja tulokst ovat huomattavasti haaleampia sävyjä... Tykkään kyllä niistäkin mutta sulla on kyllä valtavan hienoja sävyjä !!

  6. Kiitoksia! Olen kyllä itsekin todella tyytyväinen saamiini väreihin! :) En olisi vielä kesän alussa uskonut että tällaistakin jälkeä voi tulla. Olen itsekin aikaisemmin nähnyt lähinnä aika haaleita sävyjä. Mutta ehkä tämä tosiaankin oli sitä alottelijan tuuria...

  7. Jättefina färger!
    Jag saknar att färga garn, har gjort det också bara en gång, i skolan, med det var superkul! :)

  8. Linda: det är ju egentligen inte så besvärligt att göra det hemma. Börja samla t.ex. lökskal över vintern så kan du ju färga redan nästa vår! :)