Thursday, September 30, 2010

Color Variations of Black Walnut Dyed Yarn

I've been having so much fun dyeing yarn.  There is a bit of a mad scientist feel to it.  It's almost as addicting as knitting!
As promised, I'm back to show some before and after pics.  It is amazing how much variation can come from natural dyeing.  On one hand the possibilities are exciting.  On the other hand, it can be frustrating if you are trying to repeat a previous success. 

I started off with some Rowan Pure Wool 4 ply that came out beautifully.  The shawl I knit from it is being blocked right now.  I have been trying to match the color ever since.  I keep digging into my stash and dyeing different yarns.  My husband started to tease me, asking, "How much brown yarn do you need?"
But I really do have plans for all of it (including a sweater for him).

All of my yarns were pre-mordanted with alum, and most were already dyed once before.  So, technically most of what I was doing would be considered "overdyeing".  I am including leftover base yarn in the photos, along with the dyed yarn, for comparison.

Here we go:
Here is some Lorna's Laces sock yarn that I had previously dyed with porcini mushrooms.  I kept one skein in the porcini color, and overdyed a second one with the black walnuts.  The combination gave it almost a bronze shade.   I hope to knit a two-color shawl such as Whippoorwill or Daybreak.

Here is some Rowan Pure Wool Aran.  The skein on the left is the original "Paper" color.  I was going for some variegation with this yarn, so I deliberately did not turn the yarn over occasionally as I would normally do if I wanted the dye distrubuted evenly.  I plan on knitting my own Falling Leaves Hat with it.

This walnut dyed Kathmandu Aran is destined to become a stripe on a Klaus sweater for my husband. 

This Cascade 220 was the only yarn that was completely un-dyed to start with.  It took two trips through the dye pot to achieve this shade. 

These 2 skeins of Rowan Pure Wool 4ply were originally grey.  I dyed them with lobster mushrooms last year, and then overdyed the second one with black walnuts.  I am looking forward to using my new fair isle skills to knit a Selbu Modern beret with this color combination.

I have yet to successfully repeat my first batch of walnut-dyed yarn, but I'm starting to think it doesn't matter.  The mystery and surprises are part of the fun of natural dyeing.


  1. All those shades of brown are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your process. I can't wait to see the finished product. I'm super happy with my black walnut yarn!

  2. Very fun to see - love the variegation and the bronze tones. - Jeanne

  3. It is nice to see someone using their creativity and having this much fun in the process. Thanks for the post Shannon!