Harvesting Goldenrod

Ten years or so ago we decided to let the back acre of our property naturalize. We wanted it to be a haven for birds, bees, butterflies and all sorts of wildlife. We mow a few paths through it so we can enjoy it, too. I love to meander those paths in all seasons because there is always something new to see.


Today seemed like the perfect day to harvest some goldenrod for yarn dyeing. We have quite a lot of it, so it doesn’t take long to fill up a bag. There were many different sizes and types of bees enjoying the bright yellow blooms today. They didn’t seem to mind sharing some with me.

We have plenty of milkweed for the butterflies, too. I was lucky enough to see a few Monarchs today.

Such a perfect early fall day to enjoy the variety of color.


Stay tuned–I’ll be sharing the goldenrod dyed yarn soon. 🙂

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Wool Gathering 2017

I spent a beautiful day today with hubby at the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This is the 22nd year for this event. The crowd seems to grow each year for this free 2-day event and this year was no exception. The event, held at Young’s Dairy Farm, includes something for every fiber enthusiast.

Entrance to the festival


We entered the animal tent first. There was a sheep shearing demo underway and lots of folks admiring the woolly critters.

Sheep


Goats


Angora rabbits


Alpacas


Hubby befriending P-Nut-Butter, the woolly pig.


A baby alpaca sticking close to mom.

The majority of the event is held under two large tents. A few vendors were set up outside.

Hubby admiring the rug hooking.


View of the crowd inside a tent. So much yarn!


A yarn truck, similar to a food truck except with yarn.

This festival is a fiber-lover’s dream.  There are so many choices it can be a bit overwhelming. I made just a few purchases–a skein of free-trade Ecuadorean natural wool yarn and a rosewood shawl pin.

This is such a fun event–can’t wait till next year! 🙂

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Natural Yarn Dyeing

This summer I’ve spent quite a bit of time experimenting with yarn dyeing.  I’ve watched a few YouTube videos and read some good reference books and blogs to learn some tips and tricks.  The easiest way for me to learn a new thing is by doing it. I could take classes, but half the fun for me is trying to figure it out on my own.  I started with food safe dyes–Easter egg color tablets to be exact. I’ve also used McCormick’s food coloring. So far, I’ve had good results with food dyes. The results are quick and the color seems to be color fast.  I’m also fascinated with plant dyes. This has been more trial and error–I don’t always get the color I’m looking for, but it’s always a nice surprise. 😉

Here are just a few examples of my results dyeing with food safe dyes (the pink Zinnia below was for color inspiration–I didn’t use it to dye this yarn) …

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Dyeing with plant material requires a bit more time and patience. I used hibiscus flowers and instead of the pink I was expecting, the result was an olive green (which I speckled with food safe dyes).

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My next attempt was using Marigold flowers. This turned out exactly as I had hoped–a warm golden yellow.


My most recent attempt was using dried Echinacea and Rudbeckia flowers and leaves.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised with the lovely sage green result.


This is such a fun new hobby–it’s very satisfying to crochet with yarns I’ve dyed myself.  I sourced the plant materials from my own yard and I’m thinking about planting a ‘dye garden’ next Spring to achieve more variety of colors. If you want more details on how to dye yarn with the methods I used, I recommend watching ChemKnits on YouTube or pick up a copy of the book Wild Color by Jenny Dean.

 

 

 

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