O-Wool has always used low-impact acid dyes for its yarns. For a long time I've wanted to introduce a line of O-Wool that uses natural dyes - dyes derived directly from plants, minerals and, occasionally, insects. I've spent three years doing research, returning to grad school to do some textile and dye chemistry coursework, and simply trying to find some extra time. And finally, here it is! The very beginnings of what I hope will grow to a gorgeous array of naturally dyed yarns!
Balance Bulky is the very first yarn I'm using as the base for natural dyes. It takes the color beautifully and maintains that tweedy appearance I love. For now, I'm starting slow with two soft, warm, classic natural colors, at only $12.50 per 100g/106yd skein!
The very first color is this lovely reindeer-brown produced with a 50/50 blend of Cutch and Henna. Cutch is derived from the bark of the Cutch tree, which is native to Asia. Henna comes from (you guessed it!) the henna plant, which is native to Africa and South Asia.
The second color was dyed first with Osage Orange, then over-dyed with Madder Root. Osage Orange is a small tree native to North America, and the dyestuff is extracted from its bark. Madder is a small shrub that is native to Europe, America, Africa and Asia, and the dyestuff is an extract from its roots.
These are hand-dyed in kettles in lots of 5 skeins. Because they are hand-dyed, they have a subtle variation in color throughout the skein. They are somewhat limited edition - when they are gone, they will likely be gone for a little while, but I will post updates on new colors as they become available.
These dyes are color-fast and can be cared for in the same manner as regular Balance Bulky.
Here are some process pictures from O-Wool's Instagram: