Naturally dyeing merino tops with extracts

Written by [email protected] on Feb. 6, 2009 in Natural Dye Extracts

Naturally dyeing merino tops before spinning or felting can be a scary undertaking because of the wonderful ability of merino to felt at the slightest provocation.

After simmering for an hour in the mordant and then once more in the dye liquor, even with the most gentle care the delicate fibres have often felted, which is after all why you bought it in the first place, if you are felter.

Our popular spinners and felters kit, does away with the angst attached to producing your own naturally dyed fibres and leaves you free to abandon yourself to Creative Coloration with capital Cs.

The following images are of the same piece of wool at various stages in its metamorphosis into an original pair of socks.


Not very appetising is it? The colour combination doesn't seem very inspirational! Perhaps after it has been fixed you will be able to guess which natural dye extracts I have used?

Ready for fixing

Even less appealing now? The little parcel on the left is a knitting sample.


The naturally dyed 64s merino top, the fibres are still loose and unfelted, it has been rinsed and is ready to spin.

On the bobbin.

On the bobbin.


A fine silk thread dyed with the same natural dye extracts.

Silk and spun top plied

The silk and naturally dyed merino top plied together.

This is a blog post of work in progress. After spinning, I would like to dye a different type of yarn with the same extracts before plying. So keep checking in to see how this sock opera develops. You can also learn how to do this for yourself on either the natural dye extract or sock knitting workshops.

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Ellen Maisen

Ellen Maisen on 02/15/2009 2:58 a.m.

Wow! It's really interesting to see how the beautiful yarns that we are seeing now are actually created. I think its GREAT to see how these things are done. Makes me appreciate them even more.

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