I am a scientist who loves to knit and crochet, searching for softer, more natural yarn colours than was offered by commercial or synthetic hand-dyeing methods.
I have been a part of medical research into the effects of plant extracts on infection and disease for over 16 years. Now I apply those same research skills to finding new, attractive and sustainable yarn dyes.
Nature provides so many beautiful, complementary colours! I began experimenting with dyeing yarn using native eucalypts, berries, herbs, seeds, flowers and (gum)nuts foraged in my local area of Brisbane, Australia. To my surprise, most plants yield a full range of soft complementing and neutral yarn colours as the basis for any wardrobe.
Seasonal flowers, seeds and berries enhance these neutral colours and are appropriate for that particular season. Like eating fruit when it is ripe on the vine, wearing garments dyed in nature's seasonal colours is luscious and pleasing. These environmental colours have been provided for us; most also have both antimicrobial and moth repellent properties.
It occurred to me how sustainable this dye method has been throughout history and culture. Some of these yarn dyes are made by "weeds" in my local area whose berries or flowers are seen after rainfall. I was both helping propagate local plant species and harvesting colour at the same time!
Many of the locally-sourced leaves smell of natural eucalyptus, lemon or herb oils which is great for allergy/asthma sufferers. Each skein of yarn is given a final restoring soak in an Australian wool wash containing a combination of lemon myrtle and tea tree oils, which both smells beautiful and repels moths.
I use only Australian-sourced merino yarns and pot-dye these yarns directly with untreated crushed plant material.
If you would like more information about these yarns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on social media @gumblossomyarns or #gumblossomyarns. Information on seasonal produce is available in our blog.