This trio of vibrant wildflowers are known to yarn dyers and have their names linked to their purpose through history.
My favourite of these to crochet was the wild Tansy, and a very happy name it is too. I used ‘Tansy’ colour hand dyed yarn from Shilasdair yarns (Shilasdair is the Gaelic for the Flag Iris and ancient dye plant) combined with a bright crochet cotton.
Shilasdair and Eva Lambert who founded the company have used Tansy as a favourite, sourced locally and preferring it to the “old, smelly woad recipes – which required liberal macerations with urine”, yes I can see why. The colours at Shilasdair really do describe the landscapes of the Highlands and Skye, subtle but vibrant.
The bright green silk yarn was provided by indie yarn dyers Natural Born Dyers who are passionate about the wildflowers and plants they choose to colour their yarns.
It was so wonderful to receive this personal collection of hand dyed silk, merino and alpaca yarns this morning to include in my wildflower makes.
Jon and Claire suggested I crochet the Weld plant (aka Dyers rocket) which is a favourite of theirs in the dyeing process and somewhat easy to find in derelict and poor growing conditioned spaces. How could I refuse, the spikes of the Weld are architecturally beautiful and no doubt a firm favourite with bees.
Jon “Mostly I harvest it from derelict ground as when I have grown it in my allotment the colour is nowhere near as good as from plants growing in rubbish conditions. I also use bramble leaves(always available), oak galls, birch bark and occasionally tansy.
It is always interesting to hear about stories and heritage attached to wildflowers. In particularly discovering that Lady’s Bedstraw as well as being used for dyeing had a purpose stuffing mattresses, hence the name, and the coumarin scent helped as a flea repellent and smelt nice too.
Thank you to
For your personal handmade offerings of beautiful yarns and for sharing your techniques and stories.
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