Dyeing to tell you

For the last day of my trip to Scotland I had something special planned. I decided my holiday wouldn't be complete without a crafty day. So I searched the net and found the rather wonderful Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt Yarns. She is an indie dyer working in West Kilbride in Scotland and even better she does a dye workshop day. Her yarn looked amazing so I booked myself in for the day before we left for home.

The dye workshop was fantastic, it was like being a kid who had just been set loose in a room full of paint and told they could do what they liked. Lilith is a great teacher, she let me play around but she was also there to answer all of my stupid questions.

First I dyed some sample skeins and I got to try out different dye techniques, different colours and different fibers. They all change the result you get in the end. I also dyed some roving as I was keen to learn how to do that since I hope to dye some of my alpaca fleece.

After a quick lunch from the tasty bakery next door I decided on the yarn I wanted to dye for my main project. I picked out a lovely soft merino/cashmere/nylon blend and dyed two skeins of sock weight yarn. I'm hoping to make a clapotis shawl from it. I decided to dye it a murky brown colour and then over dye this with a lime green colour. The colour reminded me of brackish scummy water with bright green algae growing in it, in a good way though...

I also dyed about 100g of merino and bamboo blend top. This was a dark purple colour. The bamboo doesn't take up dye as it's a plant fiber (see all the things I know now after the course) so it gives these great white streaks running through the top.

In this picture you can see my dyed yarn on the top right. It's a lovely colour kinda like tree bark with lichen growing on it. Below it are the sample skeins. The bottom left is the roving which I can't wait to spin. Also on the bottom left is a skein of Old Maiden Aunt silk alpaca yarn in the colour way bracken. I couldn't leave without buying some! It was a really fun day, I learned loads and got to take home some lovely new yarn. Thanks a million Lilith.

In the top right hand corner of the photo above are some other crafty purchases from Scotland. I got some handmade soap with bog myrtle in it. I also bought a lovely nuno felt scarf made on the Island of Eigg. I picked up a lovely dress pattern for 50p in a charity shop. I try to buy crafts when I'm away, I can't afford to buy much but it's good to show some support for nice handmade things. Handmade things remind you more of a place especially if you get to meet the artist.

Rest of the photos are here.

3 Responses to "Dyeing to tell you" (Leave A Comment)

Luke McKinney says
July 27, 2009 at 6:49 AM

I'm a big believer in the "paying for hand-made things" vibe, though at the opposite end of the tech spectrum. I buy things online from people I know do a good job, and pay a little extra on every game I buy in Toronto just to keep the one cool non-chain store alive. Your purchases will work even better, combination support and memories all in one!

Glad to hear you had such a great time!

eddie says
July 27, 2009 at 9:50 AM

What did your good manhusband do while you dyed?!

Catherine says
July 31, 2009 at 5:50 AM

You were very productive! That info wil stand to you I'me certain. Thanks for showing the photos.