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.


  1. I went to see this exhibition yesterday, it was so interesting and there was so much to look at and read that we missed lunch in the NT cafe.
    I noticed your yarns and thought this is something I can try being a bit of an apple fan and there are quite a few wild apples around us being in a cider area. Anyway I was amazed at the quality, variety and depth of this exhibition and such a lovely setting as well.

  2. I am glad you got to the exhibition and enjoyed it so. I was sorry I could not get there, it was too close to Shetland Wool Week and in the opposite direction!