Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, No Trouble

When I was out visiting the children this spring, I picked up a bag of walnut husks that had been sitting under the trees in their yard all winter.  The husks were black and brittle, but I thought that they might give some kind of a dye.  Years ago, I was able to mail order black walnut husks and loved the rich browns and blacks I coaxed from the husks into my wools.

I've spent the last few days dyeing with the husks, using up old skeins of white fibres I spun way, way back when the earth was cooling.  I stuffed the husks into pieces of nylon pantyhose, ground the dyestuff using a mortar and pestle and let the package soak in hot water overnight.  I then boiled out the dyestuff in a stainless steel pot.  I added my wet skeins, brought the dyebath to a simmer and then turned off the heat, allowing the skeins to cool in the pot before I washed, rinsed and dried them.

The colours are not as strong as I used to get, but considering that the husks were old and I didn't have more than about 60grams/ 2 ounces of them per pot, I'm pleased with the results:

From left to right, we have 2 skeins of chain plied merino yarn, 2 ply wool with an iron mordant and a skein of chain plied angora/silk, also mordanted with iron in the dyepot.  I particularly like the angora skein; this is not a colour I use or wear, but it's a pretty taupey-grey that I think will work well in a cowl or a wimple.  It's a very "bunny" colour.

All the  colours are subtle, much like the markings on this guy:


  1. Ohhh, I love muted colors such as these! They speak to me with a whisper instead of a shout. Very beautiful I live in the middle of a wooded mountain and have walnut and oak trees all around. You just might tempt me to try dying. :)