All in Foraging

Acorn Dye

I grew up in woods filled with white oak trees. The big beautiful trees would drop their tiny capped seeds each season, covering the ground with a blanket of acorns. As I have experimented more with natural dyeing, I have discovered acorns produce incredible colors in the dye bath. On their own, they produce soft and rich shades of golden brown, and when dipped in a second bath of iron water, they produce stunning shades of gray, from soft and dusty dove to rich charcoal.

Black Raspberry Jelly & Dye

Summer in the woods is one of the most rewarding seasons for foraging. This July I visited my parents for a few days and we spent every moment we could gathering from the woods, even putting on ponchos and heading out in the rain. Each morning we would wake up early, sit on their porch and look out into the trees, watching and listening as the forest would wake up. As the sun would rise, we would discuss what we might find on the raspberry and gooseberry bushes, or on the forest floor or base of trees.

Black Walnut-Dyed Cowl Pattern

I am so thrilled with how my walnut dyed yarn turned out, and could not wait to turn it into a usable piece! I love the idea of having knitted items dyed with natural materials - it makes growing and foraging things seem resourceful and more tightly connected to nature. I know, a little hippy, but I am ok with it:)

Black Walnut-Dyed Yarn: Gathering Materials

This past November, we walked through my parent's woods to see how the forest was preparing for winter. Checking in on the trees is something my dad and I love to do together, making sure they are healthy and if they need any care. One of my favorite types of trees in my parent’s woods are the walnut tree. In the summer, their branches and leaves look amazing within the canopy, creating fans of pointed leaves.

Learning How to Make & Use Natural Dye

One of the things I was most excited to try and learn was the art of natural dyeing. Being a knitter, I am obsessed with finding the perfect color, feel and look of yarns for my projects. My husband can attest to the fact that I have stood in front of a rack of yarn for an exceptionally long time, holding multiple skeins trying to pick the perfect shade. Natural dyeing seemed like a fun way to use things I grow or forage to create new and unexpected colors. There also seems to be something so amazing about the process of creating color, and as a graphic designer, I yearned to give it a try.

Spring in the Woods

There is nothing quite like the woods in spring. There is still the hush of winter, broken by the chirp of birds, the crisp spring breeze rustling the last of the fall leaves and swaying the tops of the trees, making them creak and brush against each other. It makes you want to whisper and watch. We recently went home to help take down a few trees, and had the joy of watching the woods wake up from winter.