I decided to contact  a local Artesan who has a studio in my area. Her name is Debbie Orr and her company is Skein Queen. Debbie dyes her yarn in her garage and then sells it online to diferent parts of the country and abroad. Debbie has just come back from Germany from a yarn fest and tells me that her stock is running low.

The studio is beautiful, it’s situated in the attic of a barn and it has great views of the English country side. Debbie made me welcome, I can’t help but think how kind she is for giving me her time.

I was Curious about the dyeing  processes and was disappointed to hear that dyeing  naturally can be just as bad for the environment. I had wached a video of Cara Marie Piazza on Facebook doing some beautiful dyeing with flowers, a concept that I always admired as its recycling flowers while protecting the environment, for me a win win situation.

In my small research I read that however natural dyes are offten neither safe or more ecologically sound than synthetic dyes. These are some of the downsides to natural dyes: 

  • Less permanent
  • More difficult to apply
  • Less wash fast
  • Most require the use of mordants ( which bond the fiber) some are highly toxic ( some derived from rhubarb leaves and are poison).
  • Another problem with natural dyes is the use of water and heat (information taken from dharma trading .com)

I won’t give up on natural dyes but for me it was an education and one that I will look into while still learning.

Debbie very kindly went  through all the differences in wool, what they where made off and the difference in plys.

I was reminded that she buys from other small businesses all over the country supporting British trade.

I also learnt about how Debbie presents her yarn and the technique she uses (so simple to the eye but it takes experience).

Silk, wool, mohair, cashmere, alpaca are some of the many components that are used to create these beautiful yarns.

Lace weight, 4 ply-sock, super wash, 4 ply fingering  wow! … Who new!

To end this lovely visit Debbie gave me some of her wool, I had a choice and I chose a silk merino blue and I reciprocated by giving her one of my hand made soaps. What a lovely experience!

Bellow a hand span yarn, I like to see the two plys became one.