Stage 17 Pont du Gard - Gap 206 km

24 July 2019

A few more grams of Colours of Cambria : Coast from Hilltop Cloud. Again the heatwave has  made spinning wool difficult. However I have been experimenting with natural dying.

Earlier in the Tour de Fleece, Marce, from Instagram and  the HeyBrownBerry podcast, encouraged me to try natural dying. This is a fibre arts rabbit hole, I’ve so far resisted falling down. However, as I have access to an abundant supply of potential natural dye stuffs in my garden, I thought I would have a go. 

A few days ago I steeped some fresh walnuts, that had fallen into my garden, in boiling water. I left the mix for a couple of days before straining the liquid off and submersing a mini-skein of, what I think is, natural white Shetland, that I had spun some months ago. I left the yarn in the dye bath for a few days. 

Yesterday I removed it to see the results. The first thing I found was a crust of mould on the surface of the dye bath and part of the skein. With the exception of using boiling water, no heat has been used in this method and the dye bath (a cut down plastic water bottle) was left open in the garage. I rinsed the skein several times and then hung it out to dry. As the liquid had gone mouldy, I discarded it. After dying I was able to carefully scrape off much of the dried mould. 

I’m surprised and pleased by the colour - a rich golden brown. I have learnt from this initial experiment and will adapt my methods and try another batch in the next few days.