About Butterfly’s Web Fiber Arts and Artisan Yarn
My first adventure with natural dyeing was with Martha Owen at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Thank you, Martha! As I progressed in my explorations I turned to synthetic dyes as well, and developed many beautiful colorways and yarns that I continue to sell locally. But in recent years, especially in light of the many environmental stresses and problems that have manifested, I have turned back to the Earth and now work mainly with her natural paintbox, channeling the creative energies so freely offered by Mother Nature. Many of the dye plants I use grow right here on the farm.
I liken commercial dyes to bistro cuisine – quick and tasty, with plenty of spice. Natural dyes are like slow food – lovingly prepared over several days, artistically combined, organically grown, and immensely satisfying.
From my studio to yours, I wish for you a delicious encounter with Nature’s own rainbow!
Wonder how we make beautiful yarns from natural materials? Here’s a glimpse into our process.
Many of the plant sources of natural dyes grow wild here on the Cosmic Zoo Farm, so the first step is to harvest the plants.
Some flowers can be dried and stored for later use.
Sometimes the fiber needs to be dyed twice to achieve the right color. This fleece and mill spun alpaca yarn were dyed first with Queen Anne’s Lace for a yellow base color, then overdyed with indigo to produce these beautiful teal and green hues.
Usually we dye the fiber before spinning it into yarn. The next step is carding the fiber to create roving. Pictured here is dyed roving with a little shimmer added and ready for spinning.
Then we take the roving and spin it into singles…
Hand spindles are fun and so easy to carry around.
Whether on the Great Wheel…
Or our beloved production wheel, the singles are plyed into yarn…
Such as this fingering weight Cormo handspun with sparkle!
Some colors need to be dyed again to achieve a particular color. This mill spun Queen Anne’s Lace yellow yarn is being overdyed with indigo to produce green yarn.
It’s so exciting when the yarn takes the dye and begins to change color!
Others are dyed again to produce effects like this
Once the dyeing is complete, the yarn is hung to dry
And twisted neatly into skeins like these, ready for you to take home…
…and use to make your own exquisite creations!
Ready to try Madame Butterfly’s naturally dyed artisan yarns? Still have questions?