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 husks 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 may trial and dye bases from offshore that I cannot find in NZ, and some yarns are NZ wool blended with Australian wool.
My non-treated Merino bases are farmed 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 spend many hours hand skeining naked yarn with my niddy noddy into 100g skeins ready to dye.
Small batch dyeing
This is where the magical fun really begins. I usually dye 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. In the product listings batches will be categorised in one group so you know it is from the same dye pot.
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) 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.