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Dyeing wool yarn with marigold

We are working on collaboration with the Welsh Fibre Company here in Wales to turn amazing Welsh native breed wool from the farm into amazing wool garments. The objective here is to produce natural and sustainable wool products which keeps nature and eco-friendliness at the core, and where the carbon footprint is kept as low as feasibly possible.

As we sell a whole range of natural dyes, our weaver requested a gold coloured yarn to combine with the natural wool colours yielded by Lleyn and Black Welsh Mountain.

Taking the lovely, soft and lofty Lleyn wool yarn, we throughly scoured about 500g in Synthrawash. This is a neutral detergent, perfect for stripping any oils or dirt out of the fibre, which is essential prior to natural dyeing. Using ALUM as the mordant (this is the Aluminium based mordant for protein/animal fibres) we set up our mordant bath at about 10% Weight of Fibre (this is 10g Alum for 100g of yarn). Please note the mordant bath can be re-used - just add a few grams extra when you top it up. Stir the Alum into the water, then gently add in the fibre - give it a good stir, and then leave to heat up to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat then leave the whole put containing the fibre to cool - we leave ours overnight. Afterwards we set up our extraction bath for the marigold - using marigold crushed flower powder, we added about 20% WOF (100g for the 500g of wool), to another pan, covered with plenty of water, then popped on the heat to again simmer for up to 1 hour, then removed from the heat and again cooled off overnight.

The following day rinse the yarn with clean water to remove excess Alum - put the Alum pot aside for future use if desired.

The next step was to set up the marigold dye bath. First sieve the marigold extraction into the dye bath - we ideally pass this through the sieve a couple of times to remove any residual plant matter. Top up the dye bath with water to fill up to about 2/3rd full. Then gently add the mordanted yarn, stir and then place onto the heat again to bring to a simmer for an hour. Stir a couple of times throughout.

You can see the lovely rich gold yarn forming as the marigold pigments bind to the Aluminium from the mordant which by now has also affixed itself to the yarn. Once an hour has passed remove from the heat and leave the whole pot containing the yarn to cool. Once cool, wash the yarn gently with Synthrawash, and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Don't over-agitate or change the temperature dramatically as this could felt and damage the wool yarn.

The yarn is now washed and ready for drying and weaving into some beautiful handwoven garments.

All the dyes (marigold), mordants and Synthrawash are available from our website -

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