Dyeing with Highland plants
Not really #FolkloreThursday this week, more folk skills!
About a month ago I ran a Storywalk with some tremendously lovely people, one of whom turned out to be Debbie Zawinski, otherwise known as the Feral Spinner.
She forages material to spin when out on walks (think bits of sheep wool stuck in fences), and spins it into yarn with a stick - the simplest form of spinning. She then dyes it using foraged material, and knits it into wonderful quirky creations.
Here's an example she showed me at the end of the walk: a knitted pocket dyed with materials such as nettles, yarrow, birch leaves, and various types of bark. There's so much around us which can be used, most of the year!
During lockdown I set myself up with an outside fire and attempted to dye white cotton strips with dandelion root, dandelion flowers, and dock root - but lacking any decent alums or mordants (turns out they're quite important!) the results are not even worthy of this page. Lots of fun and learning was had however. :)
Debbie's book 'In the footsteps of sheep: tales of a journey through Scotland, walking spinning and knitting socks' is available from a few online knitting shops.
If you'd like to hear more ways of life and folktales of Aviemore and the Cairngorms, join an upcoming short guided walk!
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Sarah Hobbs - read more on the About page.