My vision on yarn & dyes

In recent years, yarns have come on the market from just about every animal that has even a bit of fur. Yak, camel, all kinds of alpacas, goats of all shapes and sizes and much more. Rabbits, on the other hand, have fallen out of fashion due to the many stories about the often not so animal-friendly treatment. Ordinary wool from a sheep has long since ceased to be ordinary wool. Sheep also come in all kinds and breeds, each with their own characteristic features.

The demand for soft and washable wool has resulted in superwash. The wool is usually treated with a lot of chemicals and capped with a synthetic resin so that in the worst case you are knitting yarn with the properties of acrylic with a woolen core. More and more vegetable fibers emerge. From nettle to rosewood. Yarn is spun from virtually everything. Although this sounds very natural, many chemicals are often involved in this process.

It has not become easier to make a choice that is beautiful and at the same time sustainable.

I like beautiful, soft yarn and Ialso love nature. The choice for pure and  natural yarn is therefore obvious. However, this should not be at the expense of comfort and a feeling of luxury. The search for yarns that do not chafe, prick or itch and has yielded a number of yarns that are soft, beautiful, luxurious and pure. They have been selected with the greatest care from the best and most reliable spinning mills. The range will consist of a fixed section and limited edition yarns. I then dye  this beauty with dyes from nature. Water and energy are also used as economically as possible. Remnants of the plants that provide the color are composted. In time I hope to be able to grow the dye plants myself.

Natural dyeing is a craft, but it also looks suspiciously like alchemy and even witchcraft. Pots full of steaming indefinable and often strange-smelling stuff that simmers for days. Only dancing naked around the cauldron at full moon I don't do (yet) ;-)

Recipes for certain colors have been around for thousands of years and are usually well-kept secrets. Over the years, a lot of research has been done to bring these recipes back to the surface. Sometimes a recipe is as simple as making tea from certain flowers or plants, and other recipes require months of fermentation and contain ingredients like stale urine. Don't worry, urine is no longer a necessary ingredient these days. 

Some plants can be found easily and in abundance in nature, such as birch or oak leaves, but other materials require frequent and long walks to gather sufficient material. An example of this are lichens. These have been used for thousands of years BC to make mainly red, blue and purple dyes. Bog bodies have been found clad in red cloaks that were as bright red as when they disappeared into the bog. Lichens are very slow growing creatures consisting of a symbiosis of algae and fungi. They should only be collected from fallen branches or if they have become detached and landed on the ground. Without the substrate they have grown on, a lichen will die. Only then is it responsible to collect them. Some lichens provide magical paint. Fresh out of the dye bath it gives a beautiful pink, but under the influence of sunlight the yarn turns blue. This process stops as soon as the yarn is dry.

I collect dye plants from nature in a responsible way. No protected or endangered plants are picked or uprooted. That's why I don't work with mushrooms. Parts of plants that occur in abundance can be picked in small quantities. Collecting fallen branches, leaves and, for example, nut husks is no problem. I also buy paint. Madder, for example, hardly ever occurs in nature anymore, but is grown especially for the dye.

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