Posts in dyeing
SHOP : Update (and aN Instagram Giveaway)

The shop listings have gone live! Somewhere in the shuffle, this lone skein lost its information. I know it's one of the ethical bases I tested out but I can't find the original label or narrow it via the process of elimination. Since I'm not certain of the info, I'm not going to put it in the shop but instead, give it away! I'm running the giveaway via my Instagram account, so you'll need to be a member to enter. All rules are at this post here.

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Waxing On About Walnuts

I know I just announced that the shop update is coming up (October 30th!) and showed a handful of walnut dyed goodness that was thanks to a dear friend giving me a million walnuts, but I have to wax on about those walnuts and what they've produced a little more. I think they are my favorite dye source. Not because I'm a huge fan of browns, but because they are so dependable. (Maybe it's the Taurus in me?) 

The two skeins in the 1st photo are going to be hard to part with. Normally, I have an unspoken rule that I can only keep what I call "seconds"--yarns that have a few problems, like inconsistencies, dark spots, etc, or ones that are too rare or sentimental to not keep. But, occasionally, there are perfectly sellable skeins that I want to slip, quietly into my own personal stash. It's going to be hard to ship these out but someone out there will enjoy them.

Then there is a shot of about half of the walnuts I was given.

The 3rd photo shows most of the new bases I'm debuting in this update. Yarns from New England, New Mexico, and out West; from angora goats and specific sheep breeds; organic, gently processed, etc.

Then there is a shot of the varying shades of walnut you can get--depending on fiber and amount of walnuts used.

The 5th shows nearly all the skeins I'll be adding.

Since the walnut baths were still going strong, I dropped in three skeins of mystery yellow yarn I've had for years. I caked it up and am tumbling around ideas on what to do with it.

And then there's a puppy. Because, you know... a puppy.

Now, to start an avocado bath so I can, hopefully, get some other colors besides brown in the next update! Have a great week!

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Shop Update Reminder (and a Treasure Hunt Giveaway)

Just a quick reminder that the shop will be updated Friday, August 14th at 9AM US EST.  

(Seen above are yarns dyed with cosmos, black hollyhocks and blueberries.)

I'm also running a little "Treasure Hunt" Giveaway! To participate, after the listings go live, simply hunt through the shop to find a hidden clue. (You'll know it when you see it!) Then come back here and fill out the form below. All entries with the correct answer will be entered in a drawing for a $30 gift certificate for the Buckaloo View shop! The winner will be drawn randomly on Monday, August 24th, 2015 at 9AM US EST.

All orders over $50USD (before shipping) will receive a free Buckaloo View project bag. You also qualify for a free Lavender Sachet with every order over $50 (once again, before shipping charges.) Simply enter the code LAVENDER when checking out! (You'll also get a $0.01 discount since that is the only way I can override the discount settings.)


Buckaloo View Yarns (And Other Fiber Talk)

I should start by saying this post is not a "grand opening" announcement!  I just want to address some things on Buckaloo View yarns and indeed let you know when they will be available. As well as talk a bit about fiber, in general.

Right now is a powerful time to be involved in the fiber world as it seems the "slow" movement is gaining momentum here. More and more knitters and fiber lovers are going back to traditional yarns, pure fibers from small farms that are dyed naturally, spun by hand or processed minimally in smaller, independent mills. I think we like that our fiber has a story, that fiber has a history.

Ashley of Woolful has been pretty great in getting the word out about superwash (and slow fiber, in general.) I've come across a lot of knitters who are purging their stashes of superwash by selling or donating it, after they learn the truth behind its production. I personally have some superwash as well as wool/synthetic blends in my stash and don't plan on parting with them so quickly. And, in all truth, I'll probably still buy the occasional superwash yarn in the future. I know some of you hardcore purists might not respect that, but that is what feels right to me now.  First, there are a lot of indie dyers I'd like to support. But mostly, I'd like to start knitting more for family and friends but what often holds me back is their reluctance to have a 100% wool product to care for (or to wear against their skin.) For myself, I'm usually drawn towards pure, natural fiber. But since I've been knitting socks for well over half a year, I see the need for hardier yarn. Reaching for something superwash or with a bit of nylon in it is the easiest option. However, I do hope to challenge myself to research more breed-specific wool*, find ones known for producing fiber that is more hardy and long-lasting. My personal fiber journey will no doubt evolve as I redefine what I want and what I stand for, both for myself and for my stash.

However, this is all in regard to my own personal stash. When it comes to Buckaloo View yarns, I've drawn a clearer line. A while back, I made the decision to not dye any of future yarns with superwash or any other synthetic materials. It seems a little counterproductive to me to go through the process of dyeing yarn naturally on not-so-natural materials. And once I get footing, I'd like to dye on locally or ethically sourced yarn, perhaps yarn that I or another individual hand spun. (And perhaps someday, way down the line, I can offer my own plant dyed, hand spun, home raised fiber. That'll be quite a while though!) 

Right from the beginning of my natural dye journey, I've been getting my color straight from plants. It never occurred to me to buy dyes, even if they were natural. What interested me most was throwing a handful of flowers or walnuts in a pot and getting the color directly from them. So, in the past and in the future, I will always dye directly from plants. In the beginning, I thought of limiting myself to only using plants and materials that I sourced locally, things that I or my neighbors and friends grew or gathered. But I've decided I'd like to keep my options (and palette)  more open and include kitchen scraps such as avocado pits and onions skins. Once again, this is a process I'll grow with, seeing how things are received, how I feel in my heart about my choices, how much dye material I can get my hands on this coming season, etc.

Some of you may have seen a few fellow bloggers and knitters playing around with Buckaloo View yarn. I sent a small handful of skeins out into the wilds to see how they do. As of right now, I'm aiming to open the shop on the Spring Equinox. It seems fitting. So, March 20th, the Buckaloo View Shop will open! I'll have some of the 2014 Collection available right away, and hopefully have some early season yarns available. But after they are gone, you'll have to wait until I can dye new yarns.

PS: Thank you for all the Henny Hat love! I've started a Henny KAL if you'd like to join in!

*I'm really excited about this challenge and hope we can all share sources we've found, as well as our experiences and opinions on different breeds. There is a "Yarn Talk" thread at the BV group to do just that!

Winter Dyes : Avocado, Berries and Turmeric

Back in December we had a surprisingly pleasant day and I happily spent it working in the barn while tending to dye pots. That day, I chose to work with avocados, berries, and turmeric. All of the fibers were mordanted with alum and cream of tartar.

The avocado was dyed with a deliciously soft skein of Ton of Wool Cormo. The result turned out much different from my first avocado dye last spring. I'm sure it's due mostly to the fact that the first was dyed with a superwash yarn. But I also wonder about the dyestuff. Although I used a higher ratio of avocados to fiber this time around, it was dried skins and pits, the latter of which were pale inside. Last spring, when I cracked the (frozen) pits open, they were a rich orange color. Regardless, the soft peachy beige color is a beauty.

The turmeric and mixed berries were done on a basic merino wool yarn. (A super cheap eBay find. It's not my favorite yarn, but it works well for testing out new dyes.) It might seem a little blasphemous to be using berries in dyeing instead of eating them, but most of them were "seconds," ones that were over-ripe or fallen to the ground. The result was a lovely plum color. Berries are notorious for not sticking to fiber very well and are less likely to be as lightfast over time. I've had luck so far with the former and only time will tell with the latter.

Finally, turmeric! Most of us have turmeric in our pantry and if you don't it's easy to get your hands on some, so it might be a great place to start if you're interested in natural dyeing. As could be expected, the final color is an orangey yellow. 

A lot of people have been emailing and commenting here, asking if I have any how-to's or tutorials on natural dyeing or if I can suggest any sources so they can learn, too. I am, slowly but surely, working on a series of dye posts, explaining a bit about dyeing and listing resources, and a hope to get them up by the spring. Many of you have also been asking when Buckaloo View yarns will be available for sale and I will announce that very soon.


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