yarnwench (yarnwench) wrote,

Gathering Acorns

A few weeks ago I joined the squirrels in my yard and began to gather acorns.My yard has huge old pin oaks, some so  large that Kevin and I can't join our arms around the base of the trunk. With oaks come acorns every few years. It surprised me that oaks don't produce them yearly, but when they do, they rain down on our house and yard with surprising intensity. I've even joked about wearing a hard hat to go outside!

Anyway, my intentions were to dye some of my handspun yarn with acorns so I started filling a couple of mason jars with acorns and water and left it to sit a couple of weeks. I also put a small piece of steel wool in a couple of cups of vinegar in another mason jar to create a little rusty natural dye magic.

Today I decided to try my luck with what I had. I put the acorns and liquid in a stainless steel pan on my stovetop and brougnt it to a boil for an hour or so. I'd heard that acorns smell acrid but the smell that filled my house was sweet like the forest floor.

While the acorns were steeping I washed a skein of two-ply handspun Falkland along with a skein of commercial superwash Corriedale. Once the acorn dye pot had achieved a deep color I put the two wetted skeins of yarn into the dye pot and let it simmer for an hour or so.

The yarn took on a medium tan color. I was hoping to get something a bit deeper but this is a nice warm natural shade and I like it. I pulled part of the dyed tan yarn out and let it hang over the pot so as not to lose the tan color. I then began the magic part of the process - I added the rusty water from the dissolved steel wool into the dye pot. It instantly turned the tan acorn dye black!

 I allowed my wool to simmer for another hour until I liked the intensity of the color and then I removed it, allowed it to cool a bit and then rinsed.
The finished yarn is now drying outdoors and it smells amazing. I love the colors I was able to achieve.Here's a shot of the yarns drying in front of one of the oaks.

I'm not quite sure if I'm done with the dyeing yet. There are marigolds and tansy to collect in the garden yet and another layer may be applied. I haven't decided on that. I'm thinking I'm going to use the handspun to knit myself a cowl.

This was a pleasant way to spend a September Saturday afternoon.
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