Paton and Daughter’s colourful wool yarns are achieved by using plants. Dyer Lorraine forages the country lanes in Sussex and grows dye plants in her garden. Sometimes we resort to using plant extracts such as logwood when homegrown plants are not available.
Although a natural dye, logwood does not grow in Britain. Logwood give a purple colour. However, certain lichen, which also renders purple can be found in Sussex woodland, particularly after a storm. This is when Lorraine collects fallen lichen from trees. “It may take one year to collect enough lichen for one batch of yarn, but it is worth it,” says Lorraine. There are also a couple of considerations to bear in mind when collecting lichen. It grows very slowly and may not regenerate if too much is taken from one spot. Also, the whole organism may die if part is removed which is why Lorraine only collects lichen which has already been detached from a tree.
Another colour which we stock in double knitting (KD) thickness is pink.
Pink can be achieved by using logwood exhaust or madder root. The madder plant takes a few years to mature and grow enough roots for the dye pot and so, much patience is required. Mixtures of colour, which is often referred to as colour-ways can be achieved by using more than one dye plant. Lorraine has experimented over time and has created some extraordinary colour ways. “Burnt Oranges”, double knitting wool yarn was achieved by using dock, cochineal and logwood i.e., orange, reds and purples in varying amounts. Madder gives us the colour red and it was used in “Rampant” as well as birch bark. “Rampant” has many hues apart from pink you will identify maroon and purple. The birch bark was used when a silver birch tree came down in a storm, narrowly missing the house and precious plants. Much time was spent backing off the bark in readiness for the dye pot.
Blue is a favourite colour of ours and is achieved by growing lots of woad. Woad has been grown in Europe for over 2,000 years but originally grew around the Mediterranean coast. Woad plants can be found in Britain on roadsides, the Norfolk Broads and a large amount have naturalised on a cliff on the banks of the River Severn. Cultivated woad grows quite quickly and likes rich, deep soil. The double knitting yarns which have been dyed with woad are very popular at Paton and Daughter, as the colours are soft and blend well with other colours.
If you are interested in purchasing some Double Knitting (DK) Plant Dyed Yarns then feel free to take a look at what we have to offer. If you have any questions about our plant-dyed yarns then feel free to get in touch. We would be more than happy to help. Send us an email to email@example.com or fill out our contact form, Lorraine will be in touch shortly.