Having read numerous 'how-tos' on the process of natural yarn dyeing utilising lichen, I felt the urge to experiment with a local variety of lichen and a small swatch sample of handspun.
|Lichen on Apple Tree (West Kent, UK)|
Before investigating natural dyes, I was aware of the existence of lichen and their particular properties as fungi. Yet, I had no idea of the longstanding history of fabric dyeing with these mysterious organisms. And even though lichen are omnipresent in everyday life, I hardly took any notice of them. I subsequently had my first conscious encounter with a particularly impressive variety in an old orchard in West Kent (UK) back in August 2014. More on this is available here. Shortly thereafter I came across several articles and selected blogs on lichen dyes and was naturally cursing myself for not having taken a small sample on the day to experiment.
|Lichen on Apple Tree, West Kent (UK)|
During a recent trip across Kent - this time to the Kent / Sussex border - I once again came up close and personal with another variety of lichen. This time I not only collected a very small sample (just enough to dye a swatch of homespun), I was also able to identify the variety: Cladonia Mitis.
You will require:
- 1 small swatch sample of undyed homespun yarn 12cm x 6cm (as pictured below)
- 1 small sample of lichen (as pictured below)
- 1 jam jar (to soak the lichen for one to two nights prior to simmering it together with the handspun swatch sample)
- 1 saucepan
|Homespun Swatch Sample|