Creativity · Fun · Memoir · Yarn

In My Dye Pot: Logwood and Madder Root

Ah, finally back home, and not another trip in sight for a while. Whew.

The wedding was awesome. Beautiful, the perfect day. I’m looking forward to seeing how the photographer’s photos came out, especially the shots of Bethany’s shawl, which looked lovely. Danny and I had a good trip exploring New England last week, the week after the wedding. I’m currently going through all the pictures that we took while in Boston and in New Hampshire . So, I will work on getting some of those posted soon.

In the meantime…

Not too long ago, before some of the hecticness of travel began this summer, I had a dye pot day. I played around with some natural dye extracts, logwood and madder root, which I’d picked up at A Verb for Keeping Warm a couple of months ago. I dyed four hanks of wool yarn and a tank top.

First the yarn.


This was my first time dyeing with dye extracts and the prep for the dye pots was very easy.


The logwood made a lovely dark purple. In the photo below, the skein on the left is a thifted undyed natural colored yarn called Noro Cash Iroha, which I wasn’t sure would dye properly because of the nylon content (40% silk, 30% wool, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon), but I was happily rewarded with a deep purple. The skein on the right is a super soft lightweight tan alpaca, which I picked up at Lambtown last year. It’s a nice big skein of yarn (about 600 yards), and I think I might save it for the pattern, L’Enveloppe by Sally Melville.


In the next photo, the skeins are an off white alpaca yarn (on the left) and a natural undyed wool yarn (on the right). Both were thrifted and were dyed in oak galls on a previous dye day.


Each skein has its own character and shade. I find all the warm autumnal colors very calming.


This photo actually shows off the logwood yarn a little bit better (deep purple on the left).


The tank top I dyed with logwood had been previously dyed in oak galls and black beans. It is more of a grayish purple. I was trying to go for a kind of marbling effect and I think I got pretty close.


I still have a good amount of dye leftover, which I’ve stored in jars in the kitchen.

A very, very exciting development: This week, I am taking some sheep fleeces I have acquired over the past year (some of the original 3 fleeces plus three more fleeces I picked up this summer) and I am having them processed at Yolo Wool Mill across the bay in Yolo County. I am playing around with the idea of creating my own little mini line of local Northern California yarn. I want a good amount of the wool spun into yarn at the mill (bulky and sport weight) and a smaller amount carded into roving that I can play around with, spin, or felt myself. I plan on doing all the dying in small batches, some with natural dyes and some with acid dyes to create a variety of colorways.

Didn’t I tell you? So exciting!


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