30 Days Wild 2020 - Day 5 - Natural Dyeing

I thought that a great activity for 30 Days Wild is to use natural materials to make something!  A while back, I brought some rosehips and I decided I'd have a go at using them to do some natural dyeing at this time!  I'm using some yarn spun alpaca yarn that should take colour reasonably easily.  This isn't my first attempt at natural dyeing, but this is the first time I've used rosehips and the first time I've dyed alpaca!  Rosehips aren't in season right now, but here are some pictures of pre-rosehips - the flower beginning to turn into hips!


Dyeing Method:

  1. Mordant the yarn (this makes the yarn 'sticky' so the dye will bond better, I used Alum)
  2. Soak the rosehips overnight (this softens them up and starts bringing the colour out
  3. Simmer the rosehips for 2 hours (this brings out more of the colour to make the dye bath)
  4. Strain the rosehips out to get a pan of the liquid (so I don't end up with messy yarn)
  5. Simmer the yarn in the dye bath for 2 hours (to dye the yarn)
  6. Rinse and dry.

All sounds good when you write it like that, but sadly it didn't go according to plan.  Firstly, the colour was a lot more reddish brown than I was expecting.  This might be because of the hips themselves, the pH of the water I'm using or a number of other possibilities.  Secondly, the yarn didn't take up much of the dye at all.  It took a little bit.  But not loads.  Again, this could be the yarn, the dye, the mordant, the water, etc. etc. etc.  That said, I am very happy with the outcome of this yarn.  Its definitely not what I was expecting, but it is nice and I will definitely find a use for it even if it is just the best for more dyeing experiments!

Baby Alpaca Yarn