Friday, 16 September 2016

Apple Dyed Skeins

The National Exhibition of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in Killverton House is now on. This is my exhibit of Apple dyed yarn that was selected  for this by a panel of three judges. 

Each set of skeins is dyed with either Apple bark, Apple leaves or Apple 'core plus skin' . 

Dyeing with apple started at the end of last summer when I went to spin at an Apple and Sheep day at Oxburgh Hall, a beautiful National Trust property in Norfolk, along with 4 friends from Diss Guild. I thought it would be good if I could dye some yarn using apple to link in with the apple theme. 

I started with the bark and then thought I would try the leaves. Then I remembered a conversation with a member from Alsager Guild ( I used to be a member there when I lived in Cheshire) , she told me that the glorious spun yarn she had was dyed with apple skin and core, so I thought I would try that too. I love trying to get co-ordinating colours from one dye stuff ( see the Meadowsweet posts here!) so wasn't going to be content with just 3 colours. I also included a just mordanted skein as people frequently ask what the yarn was like to start with. The yarn is commercial Shetland yarn. 

So more information on the exhibition entry
Each skein is 10g and this was scoured with washing up liquid  and mordanted with alum and cream of tartar previously. 

 I worked at 200% for amount of dye stuff compared to the mass of the dry wool.  I chipped off small pieces of bark from twigs so I used the bark and not all the wood, and these were left to soak in rainwater for at least a week - we are in a hard water area. The leaves were shredded and soaked for at least a day and the apple core and skin was taken off the apples as we ate them, I think I made an apple crumble to to get more and they would also have been soaked for at least a day. Then each was boiled up, left to cool and strained. I did this over a period of a few weeks - Starting with the bark. 
I used a selection of modifiers selected from tin, copper and iron. The overdyes were selected from indigo, madder and cochineal. Having completed the apple bark set, I then decided what to use for the apple leaves set and then last of all I decided what to use for the ' core and skin set'. 

I am very happy with how they turned out and since then have produced a daffodil set and a ground elder set which you can find via the index.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Meadowsweet Skirt

The Meadowsweet Skirt
Earlier this year (2016) we had a wonderful holiday in the Hebrides. This included a trip to Isle of Harris, Harris Tweed in Tarbert, Harris. This is a two shop experience. The shop that interested me most what the one containing bolts of material- many bolts of material- and some yarn. We called early in out time on Harris to buy material for our two Ebay sourced chairs. These I planned to recover in Harris Tweed and we had chosen the material. This will be a winter project as the chairs are for our lounge which is currently being decorated ( by us). More about this later. 
So on trip two I bought the 'Meadowsweet' skirt wool and some more grey based tweed. Both were single weaving width - 75cm. Fortunately I had the jumper with me to check the material would work. 

Sample of the material

There are 4 colours in the warp and 4 in the weft, some are the same, some are similar - if the 'orange ' in the warp is a pure colour and the weft is based on this but ' 'heathered' - all very clever and worth taking the material apart to find out.

I planned to make another high waisted skirt similar to the one I made with my own woven wool material. However that was in 2012 and some modifications were needed. 
I decided I would try to refit the skirt using a 'full hip adjustment'. This picture from Pinterest intrigued me! 
This is not me but a diagram that makes clear what I mean - I hope! 

So although this increased the hip measurement quite a lot I decided to give it a try. However as I can no longer obtain  my pattern making fabric (Fabribaste) I stitched sheets of tracing paper together on the sewing machine! After back and front waist and hip measurements a new pattern was cut and a toile made. 

This fitted well but as usual showed up that my two hips are quite different and I was able to adjust the pattern by taking in the 'bulge' on the right hand side. The dart length and position was much as in the previous skirt. Fitting in this way shows  the advantage to making / adjusting a pattern to get a good fit. 

I made the modification to the paper pattern to save any confusion and decided that I had to mark left and right side on the actual fabric and lining so as not to get confused! 
Cutting out the fabric required great concentration and checking - ' check twice ( or three times) do once'! As the material is only 75 cm wide I had to cut one piece and then match to cut the other below it on the fabric. No room for error here! 
The front and back are single pieces -no centre front to the fold here! 

Notice the different colours of tailor tacks for the darts and position of the waist, hip etc. Getting the markings correct is not something to skimp over- experience teaches me this! 
As with my black and red dogtooth skirt I decided to apply fine iron on interfacing to prevent any 'bagging' of the skirt. Unusually for me I decided to use a plain lining. I would back the high waist area with firmer interfacing and form the inner with some firm black linen, this means that the lining is attached just below the waist line. This custom tweak seems to work well. 

Having stitched the darts, my next step is to insert the invisible zip. For many years I followed 'standard' practice and did this with an open right side seam. However I was never truly satisfied with the join up of the seam and the zip - my perfectionist streak showing here. A trawl through Google gave me an alternative method, insert the zip after the side seam is stitched. Detailed instructions were available. This gives me a much smoother  finish at the base of the zip. Unfortunately I do not know the person who wrote this but the title is 'Invisble Zipper and lining' 

This is the invisible zip. I like to leave a decent gap at the top of the zip- an opportunity to use a vintage hook and hand made 'eye'. 
All went smoothly with the construction, however getting 4 belt loops which matched their position on the skirt and themselves took some concentration. 

As in the red and black skirt I went for the minimum seams so left a slit pleat in the left hand seam below the zip. I added a button from my vintage button collection but finding one that was brown based was much more challenging than a black based one! This is interesting to me as getting brown dyes is easier than black dyes so I would have thought more brown based buttons were available. There is always something to think about, learn and research further. 

On the final 'try on' I was really pleased with the look. The full hip adjustment was a real success and the back fitment ( I have a really hollow back) was good. However, it appeared that the front  section of the side vent was longer than the back. The fabric at the back and  front matched exactly at the lower hem level and where they left the button so this was a puzzle. I had checked the position of the bottom really carefully as I mitred the side vent and bottom hem junctions. So I needed to sleep on this and work out what had gone wrong in the construction. We are talking less than 5 mm here but to a sewer's eye this IS noticeable. 

On sleeping on this all I could think was the beating down of the fabric during the weaving was not exactly the same. So I would try to correct it with steaming and a good tug on one and ease up on the other side. This did the trick. 
The finished skirt - I will try and get a picture of me wearing it ( which looks even better) 
 With the meadowsweet jumper ( minus the belt! ) 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Crofthoose Hat for Shetland Wool Week

So with the book cover finished then I could turn to the Shetland Wool Week, Crofthoose Hat. 

I really loved this pattern when I saw it but it wasn't until I had the meadowsweet dyed colours together did I realise that they would look good as the houses, but that I would knit the background using one colour, not two as Ella had suggested. 


I have knitted the body of this hat with the help of my punch card knitting machine. The pattern designed by Ella Gordon (1) had a widthways repeat of 12 stitches so this was easily convertible to machine knitting - each punchcard  width gives instructions to 24 stitches. 

I had converted the tension given for the patten  and used the stitch and row count given to work out the size of the hat. This would be too big for me - a common problem with hats for me. I must have a very small head! So by using the stitches suggested and the rows suggested, the crofthouse design would work perfectly and the hat would be smaller and it is likely it would fit! 

I knitted the crofthouse part on the knitting machine with waste yarn at the top and bottom. 

I picked up the waste yarn first at the bottom using two needles and worked this in corrugated rib worked in reverse, ie purling on the 'right' side to give the purl ridges in dark olive. I worked single rows of the contrast colours to do the stitches between. I then fastened off this rib with a very stretchy cast off. As it turned out this ribbed section is my favourite section of the hat. 


Having completed this then I was able to pick up the stitches from the waste knitting at the top of the Crofthoose section and knit the crown on a circular needle. I used all 6 contrast colours of the meadowsweet jumper yoke and paired them as effectively as I could. 


Not long to when I can wear it now, with the coordinating yoked jumper and then also using my crofthoose covered journal.

The look will be  completed by a Harris Tweed skirt I have been making to remind me of my holiday on the Hebrides too. More about the skirt later. 

See The Shetland Wool week web page for the pattern 

Friday, 26 August 2016

Crofthoose book cover in meadowsweet dyed yarn

Yesterday was the day for the Diss Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Challenge to be presented at the meeting. 
This year it was a lovely title - book cover! But why is it always a challenge that I complete at the last minute. Well, I did have a whole day to spare this year! 


I have been collecting ideas for the book challenge ever since the title was announced about a year ago. I decided I wanted a functional book that I would use often. I had thought about making a 'quiet' book for my 3 year old grandson. His elder brother inherited his father's ( our son) and I thought - well still think- it would be great to do a different one for Isaac. However, I didn't want to do just the cover for the challenge and haven't factored in enough time this year to do the whole book. It is still on my 'to do' list. 

This was not the only challenge I had on my mind. I need to knit this year's Shetland Wool Week hat.  Two years ago I used colours of seaweed from Skaw beach Unst (numerous  posts of Aug to Sept 2014) as inspiration to naturally dye my own Shetland  fleece (from  Jamieson and Smith) spun wool. The hat got lots of comments and in fact by sheer chance was shown on the front page of The Shetland Times newspaper! So I have something to live up to. I could not get any inspiration for an original hat. I loved this year's design - crofthouses by the patron Ella Gordon.(1) 

As I finished the Meadowsweet jumper I had inspiration for both the hat and the book. I would knit the hat and the book with meadowsweet dyed yarn, then I would have a matching jumper and hat to be worn during Shetland Wool Week and a notebook to match. These would all have their story which is what I love about the things I make. 

But this gave me a problem. I had only used  30 g of the separate colours for the yoke and although I thought it unlikely that all the remaining yarn would be used up by the hat I wasn't sure. ( More about the hat in a later post!) so I had to knit the hat first and manage to fit in making the book cover too. 

I decided I would make a knitted cover for an A6 sized notebook. This provided me with an opportunity to stretch my brain mathematically. So working from a tension square I had to work out how many crofthouses would fit across the book and how many repeats would work for the vertical. I didn't want any  crofthouses that were roofless. 

While I was waiting to finish knitting the hat I did fit in making a calico book sleeve to attach the book cover to. Fortunately a few years ago I made a cochineal book cover for an A6 book, so I had already worked out the techniques needed and the order of construction. 

The knitting was completed with the aid of a punchcard knitting machine in the same colour combinations as the hat. This piece of knitting needed blocking and drying before the next stages. These penultimate two stages, in my mind are crucial in any project - the weaving in of ends invisibly on the back and the edging details. 

It is much neater to split the yarn into the separate plies to hide in the knitting. It takes longer but the finished effect is easier. One of the yellow meadowsweet plies has been woven in here:

Both the bottom and top of the piece had 'waste knitting' to aid in picking up the stitches. I had employed the reverse garter stitch technique before and was happy with this again here. I use the term ' reverse' garter stitch because ordinary garter stitch with colour changes like this would show the colour changing row on the 'right' side of the piece. So some more planning needed to get the desired result. 

Finally the book cover was complete, with 24 hours to spare! 

I was glad I waited for inspiration for the book cover as I absolutely love the result, but I am determined to use it and enjoy it. 


One of the things I really like about MK is the uniformity of the stitches. However, MK makes knitting different and not easier! 

(1) Ella Gordon is Patron of Shetland Wool Week 2016. More about Ella and the pattern can be found on their website. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Meadowsweet Jumper - at last

It is finished ... and  more importantly I love it. 
It has taken me a year - only last week I had a reminder from Facebook with a picture of the yarn dyeing in the pan. At that stage I just loved the colour of the meadowsweet. Then I had the idea that I would see what others colours I could obtain by using additives and overdyeing. So I dyed a trial set of colours and then from that I had the thought of doing a Shetland Yoked  jumper. I adjusted the colours slightly. 
Then I had to work out how much of each yoke colour I needed. From reading several yoked patterns I made a decision and dyed the colours, these can be seen on the blog post of 3 May 2016.
The next problem was the actual yoked jumper pattern. I wanted to knit the main parts using my knitting machine and then work the yoke stitches by hand. This is the way many yoked jumpers were knitted in Shetland in the past. I decided I would pick up the stitches for the yoke rather than graft a completed yoke to the jumper. So this gave me a number of challenges - matching the machine stitch size and hand knitting needle size and also having a number of stitches from the knitting machine that would marry up with the number of stitches required for the yoke pattern repeat. As it turned out I drafted my own pattern for the shapes needed and used a traditional pattern for the yoke with some variations.  All these challenges meant I definitely needed to knit a trial  jumper. More with pictures on blogpost of 10 Jan 16.
Once the trial  jumper was complete, it fitted well. The yoke 'sat' well and all in all it couldn't have gone any better. I got lots of compliments when I wore it and tried to stop myself saying - 'it's only a practice'! Machine knitters - or is it knitters in general- seem to find it hard to accept praise for what they do. Even though I know how difficult it is to achieve what you set out to achieve by machine knitting! It is a complicated activity but when you get it right the results can be stunning. It is a pity there are still knitting machines lurking in lofts and under beds because people perceived the skill too difficult and gave up.  So I was then at the stage of having the dyed yarn and the assurance that the pattern I had devised would fit me and be suitable for the task.  
So time to start the meadowsweet jumper. Although the yarn was different from the trial jumper, having knitted tension squares I was convinced the minor differences were not substantial and hence the number of yoke stitches could be the same. Headache one over. 
My plan was to knit the back, front and sleeves before we went on holiday to the Hebrides in June, then during the holiday I would knit the yoke. Well I achieved the first aim and took the knitted and steamed pieces with me. These were joined just at the start of each sleeve back and front. However, the thought that I could knit the yoke when I was away was wrong - too much to see and do. I did pick up the stitches for the yoked and get the stitches sitting right. The centre front and back needed a motif centred there, I needed the correct number of stitches on the needle and the transition to the yoke needed to be the best I could make it. 
Knitting the yoke was very enjoyable, changing the colours and seeing the pattern build up I was really pleased with my choice of colours. I tried the jumper on and the fit over the shoulders was good, all was looking promising. 

The yoke colours
The one thing I wanted to change from the brown practice jumper was the neck. I felt it should be higher and so decided to increase the depth of the rib. This led to another problem- getting the jumper over my head. This meant I investigated a number of rib cast-offs and decided upon a very stretchy one which worked well. 
So then there was the blocking of the yoke. I did this with a combination of cold water spray, a silk organza pressing cloth and a steam iron. I then put the jumper  on my body duplicate ensuring that the damp wool was not touching the fabric of the body duplicate. The jumper dried for 24 hours, first outside on a warm summer's  day breeze, then overnight. 
Jumper drying on the body duplicate

Now it was time to join the body and sleeve seams. My first preference is to use my normal sewing machine on a small stretch stitch, but I do join the welts by hand starting in the middle of the welt and parking enough wool to use in each direction. 
Using the length of wool left from the cast off never gives such a good neat result. This can be completed so that the join is virtually invisible.

Welt joined by hand
Ends need weaving in and my aim is to have the inside as neat as the outside. Splitting the ends into their remaining plies doubles or trebles the work but is worth it in my view. 
So it was  finished, but I was not happy with the hand knitting above the yoke. The stitches were too loose and did not suit my perfectionist streak. So I took it  back to the top of the yoke and the following five attempts were made to give a better finish:
1.      Double thickness yarn – too thick
2.      Knitting two yarns separately as in fair isle – this matched the thickness of the fair isle but was untidy
3.      Use  a smaller needle size – big improvement but still not perfect
4.      Use a smaller needles size and recalculate the decreases so that they are 3 tog over a centre stitch and so much neater.
So at the fifth attempt I had the jumper I wished for. This latter ‘messing around’ could have been avoided if I had done trials before hand. It all seemed to work so well with the brown jumper. This was because the brown disguised the decreases compared to the meadowsweet colour and there were far fewer decreases as I left a wider neck. 
Yet another case of perfect planning gives the best outcome! Or ‘fail to plan means plan to fail’. This is the polite version of it….

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Dyeing with ground elder

A lot has happened since the last post! We spent most of June in The Hebrides which was glorious and I will do a textile journal here sometime soon - internet connection was very poor there and I gave up trying to keep in contact with the rest of the world.

So now it is August and some serious dyeing has taken place. Towards the end of July I ran a workshop for 12 of my local guild, Diss Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

I decided we would be very local and dye from 6 wild plants ( weeds) from my or the village where I live. I had used them all before for dyeing of some sort. So we used: Rosebay Willowherb, Ragwort ( this one I did need to get from a neighbouring village!), Nettle, Silverweed, Dock, Meadowsweet.

Probably the predominant plant in my garden, despite my efforts is ground elder. Wouldn't it be great it it was a decent dye - perhaps I would not hate it so much. So I decided I would dye 6 skeins of wool with this and use them to demonstrate with on the day during the afternoon when we were shifting the original colour obtained.

Half the plants ready for soaking

The weather was very hot indeed so I had to juggle my normal soaking times, but that all went well. Usually we have to worry about weather it would rain, this year it was could we survive being outside in the heat all day!

We had a glorious time and by lunchtime everyone had 6 dyed skeins from one of the dye plants.

But the afternoon was the exciting part, we had a range of additives and overdyes available and by the end of the day we had at least 36 different colours from the weeds! Everyone worked so hard and went home tired but happy.
Some of the skeins from the day

These are my 6 skeins from ground elder.
Left to right they are:
ground elder on its own, then plus copper, plus soda, plus iron, plus madder, plus indigo

I am going to make a knitted top from dyed ground elder. One of the good things about ground elder  ( probably the only good thing) is that it is around for a good part of the year! Not sure yet whether it will be a jumper or cardigan.

Many more photos of the day are on Diss Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Facebook page. If you are not on Facebook you can see some of the photos, if you are on Facebook you should be able to see at least 37 more.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Dyeing with madder, indigo/woad and weld

Here I am discussing it's place in history and my 'take' on this!

I am referring to dyeing wool yarn, but silk could also be dyed the same way.

 These are examples created for a dyeing workshop I led:

Dyes used are from the top: weld ; indigo ;  madder

                                          weld + indigo; initial yarn; madder + indigo

                                          weld+madder; indigo+tin; weld + copper

With these three dyes it is theoretically possible to get all the other colours of the spectrum. It is even possible to grow your own weld, madder and woad to make the process more sustainable and authentic. This is just what I love doing.

Here I will discuss the early relevance of these dyes and their link to the textile industry in Norwich. Why Norwich - well it is my town ( as far as the post office is concerned) but more importantly Norwich has a rich textile - and dyeing- history dating back over many centuries. Norwich and the surrounding area became extremely important in the Middle Ages and Medieval times - textiles being one of ( or THE main) industry leading to the city being the second city of the country.

The history of dyeing is fascinating and appeals to my scientific background. However, there are few records, textiles in general degenerate with time. Written records are also few and far between, dyers were master craftsmen and guarded their methods, often keeping the information in their heads. Also life was far from simple, there were many complications like wars that got in the way. However, I have had a good stab at verifying what follows and I hope you find it is interesting.

It is impossible to know when humans first dyed yarn. Dyeing is likely to have been discovered in different parts of the world at different times. Dyes are said to have been used in China in 6000 BC, but accounts of dyeing in Europe are found to (only!) go back to 1400BC. However, with developments in archaeological technology the dates get pushed back further.


Anyone who does any natural dyeing will know that many plants yield a yellow colour when dyeing. Many of these fade with keeping. Weld give a good yellow colour and also this is less fugitive(1) than many plants. It grows easily in sandy soils so can cope with hot dry conditions quite well and needs very little looking after. However, as with all plant dyes, the conditions it is grown in do affect the quality of the dye!
Pliny wrote about weld as a dye in AD 23 and it remains a useful yellow dye today. It is the simplest to use.
I usually boil up the plant material ( top of the plant) and strain it before adding scoured and mordanted yarn to the bath. If I am going to overdye to get orange ( with madder) or green with indigo I dye the yarn yellow with the weld first. Photo shows weld being added to madder overdye


There are records of this being known as a dye material since 1500BC and material dyed with madder was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Madder contains the dyestuff alizarin. We know it was grown in Central Asia. Recipes for using the dye have been found on a cuneiform tablet ( 1900 BC) and papyrus (about 1100BC). In Norwich, there is an area called the Maddermarket to this day implying that trade for it was important in the city. This implies that much of the madder used was imported and not grown locally. We know that Norwich had good trade links with Europe and countries bordering the North Sea up to the Baltic. In medieval times an area of Norwich was noted for Master Dyers and  is close to the River Wensum. This would have provided the necessary source of water. Red was a colour worn by the nobility, noted as the colour of power up to the middle of the 16th century and so important in cloth finishing in a wealthy city like Norwich.

Anyone who has handled madder will know it is the root that leaves a red mark on the skin! But we can only guess how it was discovered that madder works best below boiling point of the dye bath, but even early fragments of cloth dyed with madder give the impression that this was known. Besides fresh root, both chopped up root and powdered madder are available today. Using the powder, in particular, allows 'solutions' of known concentration to be made and thus the colour can be more or less repeatable. (2)

Indigo / woad

I have put these two dyes together because woad contains indigo, it is just that it is in a much less concentrated form and could be why wool dyed with woad is often shown a paler blue than that dyed with indigo. Indigo is first noted as coming from India. The leaves are used but extracting and using the dye can't be done as easily as with weld.
Again it is interesting to speculate how the method evolved, but as the materials available were plants, animals and minerals in soil it must have been chance or trial and error - early science.

Indigo is insoluble so trying to dye by boiling the leaves with water won't work! The dye needs to be dissolved in alkali and with a reducing agent this forms a colourless product which can be used to dye with - in the absence of oxygen.

Only when the wool is taken out of the dye bath and the oxygen re-enters the yarn does the indigo colour appear. By dipping the yarn back in the bath the colour can be built up in the yarn. Experienced dyers often build up the colour over many dips rather than one longer dip as it gives a more even and stable colour. Some have found that Indigo can have a tendency to leave the fibre and coat your hands, although fortunately I rarely have this problem. Again the whole process is sensitive to temperature and each dyer will develop their own variations on the method to enable them to get the shade of blue required.
It is stated that Boudicca was aware of the colouring properties of woad. She and her Iceni tribe used woad as face paint before battle ( c. AD 60-61).
So was locally grown woad the main source of indigo used for dyeing in Norwich? Or was the indigo like madder imported and traded in these times. Blue was the colour of clothes for the peasants for much of that time period. It is likely that woad was imported into Norwich. Edward 1st (1281) laid down rules for assessing the quality of woad which implies it was an important dye. Norwich being the textile centre it was, it seems likely that the dyers used this imported dye source. Disputes in the following years meant a dirth of woad imports. The situation could clearly be improved if woad was grown locally. As the dyeing of blue resulted in stronger and more even blues, blue became a more popular colour such that by late medieval times woad was the most used dyestuff particular for wool.

For these dyes to work, the yarn needs to be well scoured and mordanted first(3). When this is the case the dye takes up well and is a 'faster' (less affected by light and washing) dye. It is interesting to speculate how alum came to be used as a mordant. Early dyers would have realised that just boiling the dyestuff with water wasn't really successful so what could they try to improve it with? Anything from plants, animals or the ground would have been readily available. Alum has been found in fabrics from 2600BC and is mentioned in trade records from 1300BC. The Romans were able to purify the ore to obtain alum and we know that Bruges was the centre of a trade in textiles ( wool, dyestuffs, finished textiles) from the 9th century. East Anglia was well situated to be part of this trade and it is possible alum was involved but there were constant political interruptions in Europe. It's not certain that alum was being used by English dyers but when considering the good colours being achieved perhaps they were using alum. In 1540 an Italian metallurgist in a book (published posthumously) he  noted ' alum is no less necessary to dyers of wool and woollen cloth than bread is to human kind.' The alum used was mainly coming from Papal and Spanish mines during the 16th century and by the mid 16th century alum was one of the most precious cargoes traded across Europe. Combined with the expense any trade would prove difficult with Henry VIII in conflict with Rome. The search was on for English alum. In 1607 some was found in North Yorkshire but it was proving difficult to produce enough for the large textile industry and there were large financial losses. By 1635 1800 tons were mined and imports of alum could be banned but it wasn't until the 18th century that alum production began to be more profitable.

If you look carefully at the initial picture you will see two additional dye colours, indigo + tin (very little difference !) and weld + copper

The combinations and concentrations to try are virtually endless!

There are more pictures of dyeing with these three core dyes (and my dyeing using other dyes) on my website: under dyeing.

(1)        A fugitive dye fades- particularly in the light

(2)        If you have ever tried to dissolve madder you will know that ‘suspension’ is perhaps the more accurate term to use

(3)        This is not strictly true of woad/ indigo, but if like me, you have ready prepared scoured and mordanted yarn it is fine to use it in a woad/indigo vat.