Today is a very exciting day – we are releasing a collection of naturally dyed yarn with Quince & Co! The colors we have chosen for this project are 5 of our favorite colors from the shade card I created for The Modern Natural Dyer. If you would prefer to dye your own yarn, we have natural dyeing kits available - including 2 new colors!
I first encountered natural dyeing in India. Though it wasn’t until I was home in California, when I really began to dive in and focus upon learning the ins and outs of this amazing craft. I became obsessed with Rita Buchanan’s book, A Dyer’s Garden, and was fascinated by the idea of a dye garden. I began to turn my tiny postage stamp size of a garden, completely compacted and full of clay, into a little dye garden. I also began to experiment with natural dyeing extracts, concentrated powders made from plants and one insect, cochineal. I could find reference to which colors these extracts would create. Though I desired more detail. I wanted to know the range of shades possible and I wanted to know how much I needed of each dye in order to make that shade. I also was curious to how the colors changed, in relation to not only changes in quantity of dye, but also based upon type of fiber (cotton, linen, silk and wool). So I began to create my own set of color cards.
As I tested out the different dyes, learning and recording their nuances, I also needed to decide on a set of base yarns. I was deeply in love with a soft, fluffy, single, which right now, the name of that yarn escapes me, which I guess makes sense since it was ten years ago. Darn! Anyway, as soon as I dyed that first collection, the mill stopped making that yarn. So out the door it went. I’ve never really stopped thinking about that yarn.
When I set out to write The Modern Natural Dyer, I knew I wanted to create shade cards as the bedrock of the book. I created two; one for protein-based fibers (any fiber coming from an animal or insect) and one for cellulose based fibers (any fiber coming from a plant).
Then, I set out to create two projects to teach you how to use natural dyeing extracts and the shade cards: The Northwoods Hat and Sock Hop. When designing The Northwoods Hat I remembered that squishy single I loved so much back in the early days of Verb, I knew I wanted to use this kind of yarn. I instantly thought of Quince and Co's Puffin: fluffy, squishy, warm and made of US wool!
I chose to create a hat because as you may have noticed a lot of the colors on the shade cards are ones I don’t see a lot of people wearing a regular basis – like bright yellow! That said, a bright yellow woolly hat is very fun - a pop of color especially in times of grey-white winter. So for those of you who are like me and tend to wear a lot of neutrals, I hoped maybe you would incorporate a little bounce. I also felt this would be a fun gift - easy to dye, knit, and wear. You could also create striped versions!
Though, then, we have the folks who don’t wear hats. Fair enough. So last January, when we kicked off The Modern Natural Dyer Work-A-Long, I created the Northwoods Cowl. For the non-hat wearing types – or for those who would like to make a hat and a cowl!
Here is an adaptation of the Northwoods Cowl – featuring two skeins and two colors of Puffin! This is currently available as a kit on our website. To knit this two-color version, follow the Northwoods Cowl directions for size large.
Happy Dyeing and Knitting!