Kia ora and thank you for visiting Good Wool NZ. I'm Rebecca, the dyer behind the good yarn dyed from natural resources. I'm mama to two youngsters who have a fine appreciation for 'the wools' and the products I make them.
I launched Good Wool in July of 2018 and love tinkering away at the dye pots in my studio.
I'm passionate about creating sustainable and purposeful products. Most of my yarn is farmed and spun in Aotearoa, I also import beautiful yarn I cannot get here. There's usually a story behind where my dye stuffs come from - foraged from our garden, neighbourhoods, council beds and the odd gardening 'job'.
Natural dyeing has been a curious progression for me from working with wool on many a crocheted item, to dipping my wool stash into peel bubbling away on the stove top. I dived deeper and deeper into my dye pots of possibilities, bloopers and magic.
I love to make things from things. Crochet, knitting, cooking, baking, preserving, sewing – general crafty everythings. Totally hooked.
Growing up, both my grandmothers entertained me and my sisters with crafts, Mum was a knitter who taught us the basic stitches which I remembered vividly when I picked the needles back up some decades later! Dad crocheted. In my early adulthood Dad taught me and my twin sister to crochet, and we recently found out Dad also taught our crafting extraordinaire Grandma too.
My husband (who may have a Good Wool yarn named after him) is a 'I can make that' kind of guy and fully mucks in bringing home truck loads (of otherwise green waste product) to be turned into beautiful natural dyes.
May it continue to our next generation!
Breathable, sustainable, odour resistant, hypoallergenic, compostable, comfortable and fully squishable - Wool is nature’s super fibre. I love taking naked wool and bringing it to life with colours sourced from the garden, kitchen, farms, forests and orchards.
Each skein has been hand dyed with natural resources – leaves, bark, roots, buds, husks, flowers and in cochineals’ case - bugs. I use mordants such as alum, copper and iron to fix and modify colour. There are so many fun parts to dyeing, it’s a long slow and giving process – I’m learning a lot about patience along the way!
I forage and find dyestuffs from a multitude of places. I get walnut hulls from my sister and brother’s farm, onion skins and avocado peel from our local pizzeria and ivy from neighbours.
I’ve rescued marigold flowers from council beds before they are due to be pulled up, sourced lichen from the South Island of New Zealand, grown the odd flower in our garden, and my husband, a green thumb extraordinaire, literally brings home truck loads (of otherwise green waste product) to be turned into beautiful natural dyes – everything from barks to harakeke flowers. I also import some dyes that have been used for centuries in natural dyeing.
I do my best to represent colours accurately in my photos, but they can differ, subtle differences are mother nature’s prerogative. Different computer monitors can also show colours differently.
I use beautiful New Zealand yarn as Good Wool bases. I am also importing yarn bases from offshore that I cannot find in NZ that have a unique blend - such as mohair, silk and linen.
My non-treated Merino bases are farmed, and spun, in the South Island of New Zealand.
Bases arrive to me as either pre-skeined or as a 1kg hank of yarn or on cones. I can spend many hours skeining yarn in preparation to hit the dye pots.
Small batch dyeing
This is where the magical fun really begins. I usually dye four-five skeins at a time to keep colour as consistent as possible. Small lot dyeing means colour and shades will differ from batch to batch, and often within the same dye lot – this is the charm of natural dyeing. Also random toning can transpire which is equally as charming.
I may start by mordanting yarn (to help fix dye to the yarn or shift colour), then depending on colourway it may have one, two or three baths in the same or different dyestuffs. There are so many possibilities and the process for one dye batch can take as long as a week to achieve its colour.
Some dye stuffs require days/weeks/months of soaking to unlock their potential.
When purchasing Good Wool yarn, it is best to grab what you need in one go. While some colourways may be repeated it will not be a perfect match to a previous batch.
I rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat until the dyestuffs are clear from the yarn. It is nature though and you may find some ‘bleeding’ when you gently wash – let it be. You may even find remnants of nature in your skein.
Crocking (which is a slight lost of dye - in particular Indigo dyed products) may also occur while working with your products. I do not recommend you try to ‘fix’ any bleeding or crocking with products and if you are unsure or worried please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Caring for your Good Wool
To keep your colour as long lasting as possible and to protect your yarn, always hand wash your Good Wool products. Even if it is a treated yarn ie. Superwash.
If it's an untreated yarn (ie. non-superwash) this will be indicated on the product listing.
Stick with a gentle cool hand-wash in pH neutral detergent.
Store skeins and your final hand-made products out of direct sunlight.
Colour fade may occur, naturally.