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  • Natural Dyeing With Kathy Hattori

    In past summers we were thrilled to host natural dyer Kathy Hattori for a series of classes at Jubilee Farm. Tolt Team member Rachel shares her experiences in these classes. This post was written in 2017.


    I felt so lucky to spend the past weekend learning about natural dyeing from Kathy Hattori. We started off on Saturday prepping some of the dyes Kathy brought; Cochineal, Logwood, and Madder. Then we headed out to the field to gather natural dyestuffs. We found Marigolds, Sulfur Cosmos, and what was probably a variety of Calendula. Kathy guided us, letting us know what kind of colors we could expect to get from various materials, but the class as a group chose what we would dye.



    After gathering buckets full of our chosen blooms, we prepared our dye baths. Then pre-mordanted and soaked yarn was added to each pot. The class was divided into teams to tend each pot. We carefully monitored the temperature and rotated the yarn to insure it would dye as evenly as possible. During all of this Kathy answered our questions about the process.



    The next day, Sunday, was all about Indigo. Kathy had some vats already prepared, and taught us how to create our own 1-2-3 vat. We also gathered fresh indigo growing at the farm. I was so fascinated to learn that indigo is not one single plant but rather a whole family of plants containing the blue pigment. The fresh indigo we collected was blended up like a smoothie, which on wool and silk creates a robins egg shade of blue.



    Once all our vats were created, we began to dip our yarn and other items students had brought. Kathy had some extra skeins from the Gathering Color class which we could over dye, as well as some blank skeins. Everyone also brought a great variety of yarn, fabric, and clothing to dip. 


    It is so incredible to see the great variety of colors that can be coaxed from natural materials. From the yellow golds of Marigold and Cosmos, the vibrant pink and purple of Cochineal and Logwood, to the range of blues from Indigo, there is a beautiful natural rainbow available to us. I am so grateful to Kathy for sharing her knowledge and can't wait to dye more yarn!

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