If you are interested in naturally dyed, unspun wool roving, silk and other protein fibers as well as art batts, rolags and fiber arts, this is the place to be.
For nearly 14 years I have been fascinated by what nature provides for the creative realm. The idea to dye with natural dye substances was inspired by my close connection to our local Waldorf (Steiner) school. Influenced by German naturalist, biologist and poet, Wolfgang von Goethe,and deeply steeped into the seasonal cycles, this school system provides an indepth understanding of how colours are created and how they effect us on every level of our being.
Unlike synthetic colours, which are mono-chromatic, natural dyes create a variety of colours in each dye bath, and our imagination creates the shades that we want (or need) to see. And unlike synthetic colours, each shade goes harmonically with every other shade, never clashing.
Here in British Columbia, Canada's Pacific Northwest, we are blessed by mild temperatures year-round which allows me to grow some of the dyes in my own garden. We are equally blessed by the proximity of some good sheep breeders. Fairy Tale Wool sources its wool mostly from Saltspring Island, the biggest Western Canadian Gulf Island. There is a long tradition of excellence in the quality of wool and the variety of breeds. Maria Horback at Wet Woolies Farmis my main provider, augmented by Margret Thomson's herd of Cotswold sheep at Windrush Farm. and Brenda and Bill Hamilton's Alpaca farm in Nelson, BC. The latest addition to the team is Mohair wool from Cole's Farm in the Cowachin Valley on Vancouver Island as well as from Cedar Grove Ranch in Southern Oregon, and local alpaca from Roberts Creek, BC.
My deepest gratitude goes to Dorothea Fischer in Germany who has been my greatest inspiration and teacher. Her ongoing research into natural dye substances is outstanding, and thanks to her you are now able to enjoy over 30 different shades of dyed wool!
Make sure to visit the 'Natural Dyeing' page to check out my Natural Dye Recipe of the Week!
After washing endless amounts of white alpaca fleece and sending it off to our local fiber mill Inca Dinca Do in North Saanach, BC, I'm now extremely excited about receiving back yarn in different weights to be naturally dyed in the near future. I absolutely love the feel of it and how the natural dyes bring out the shine of the fiber!
I'm very happy to announce that I've started experimenting with all-naturally dyed multi-coloured, speckled yarns. The first 2 are now listed in the shop, lace weight merino super wash. It's interesting to see the different effect of the colours on the differently wound skeins. Check it out in the shop! Another round of Phatfiber contributions went out, themed 'Purple Haze', my contribution being rolags called 'Prince would have liked it', an extra-soft fiber mix of all-naturally dyed alpaca, merino, Romney and tussah silk (see picture below, left) These are surprise boxes, supporting and promoting small fiber businesses, an ingenious way for fiber enthusiast to receive samples of beautiful and sometimes one-of-a-kind rolags, art batts, skeins, stitch markers, patterns, buttons, kits and even lovely goodies such as tea, bath crystals, candy, etc.! Take a look at my contributions in the Etsy shop, marked with 'Phatfiber'.
And I've been interviewed for the first time! Madeleine Rosenberg of Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium is offering wonderful podcasts, chatting with producers like myself and fiber enthusiasts about anything under the sun. In my case, it was about the obvious: natural dyeing and the 100 mile acquisition of fiber, and much more. The podcast will be launched at the beginning of February at www.ballyhoofiberemporium.com