Greytown Fibre Co - naturally hand-dyed yarn and self-striping sock yarn!
For the longest time I've enjoyed experimenting with colour. Having a dedicated dye space makes things a whole lot easier logistically. In the early days of yarn dyeing, I used to have a couple of crates with my dye supplies and tools, and bring them from the garage to the kitchen whenever I wanted to do some dyeing. What a pain that was! The stress of setting everything up, keeping the area tidy(ish), and packing up by dinner-time was a hassle. Many people manage to dye out of their kitchen, but the worry about making permanent stains and using kitchen-dedicated tools by accident subtracted from the joy that comes from being immersed in a creative activity.
At our small life-style block in the Wairarapa, we are fortunate to have many sheds. Previous owners of the farm had various businesses, including a meat-works. What once was a chiller now holds a lot of brewing kit and a few of Bruce's beers fermenting away. Around the corner from the brewing, and in the same shed, I'm very lucky to have a permanent place to do my dyeing. Bruce fantastically converted this space for me last year, and it contains a very long metal bench, lots of shelves, and a table with a couple of burners on it. My initial dye experiments where to make self-striping colourways (which is a lot of fun, provided I don't turn the very long loop into a huge, tangled mess!) Recently, due to the influence of one of my neighbours, I've gone down the rabbit-hole of natural yarn dyeing. It is especially fun to experiment with locally-sourced plants, and discover its potential as a dye. It's quite addictive: every time I see a plant, I wonder "can I extract a dye out of this?" A case in point is the pesky dock weed, on every gardeners hit-list. Did you know that you can get a lovely colour out of a weed? This brings me to my next bit of news....
I've christened my dye-shed with the name "Greytown Fibre Co", and I hope to continue to make, and eventually sell, the yarn that I dye. Anything that Bruce or I make by hand will be a part of Greytown Fibre Co. Most recently I've been harvesting calendula flowers and kawakawa leaves, infusing both, and turning them into Knitters Balm. Both calendula and kawakawa (macropiper excelsum) are well known for their gentle, anti-inflammatory healing properties. Both plants are used in the treatment of insect bites, rashes, dry skin and eczema. When you blend both with NZ beeswax you have a magnificent balm, which can be used liberally on your hands. I'll be bringing my knitters balm, as well as my self-striping sock yarn and naturally dyed yarn to this years Capital Fibre Fest!