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 5. Alpaca Fiber: End to End
 Natural dyes and alpaca?
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56 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2008 :  09:51:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit fuzzybutts's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Has anyone tried these? I'm curious as to what you may of found that worked out the best. I have used of course acid dyes, but was just wondering what other unconventional methods anyone has tried.


3320 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2008 :  03:45:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit nyala's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I went to a natural dye thing on local plants from your backyard. Each of us was supposed to bring a dye pot of something from our yard. I did dandelion root (had the kids out there digging up dandelion for hours). Its supposed to make a red color. Mine didn't work well at all, some of the other dye pots worked pretty well. Most other folks were dyeing wool rather than alpaca and I don't know if that would make a difference or not. I'm trying to to remember which ones worked well I don't remember any that made colors I was really wowed by (there were lots of greens and yellows). some folks had used things like indigo and madder (not from their backyard) and those were very nice.

Here are couple sites for backyard suggestions:

I'm going to give it another try this summer.


D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Binghamton University
Ann and Andy Merriwether
Nyala Farm Alpacas,Vestal, NY
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685 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2008 :  07:24:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Alpacalady's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I did dye some alpaca yarn in beet juice, (boiled sliced beets in water, then alloved some of the water to evaporate). It came out quite nice, and would have become darker if I had concentrated the juice more before placing the yarn in the pot. Also used white vinegar to set the color.
Another one that turned out OK was from Basil, used most of the leaves to make pesto, then I chopped up the whole plant and boiled it to get a medium green color (again, it could have been evaporated more and may have given darker color to the yarn). I'll be trying some others this year, probably carrots, blueberries and whatever else I can think of. I have heard that yarrow-root produces a good color, that may be another one to try.


Graceland Alpaca Farm
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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5 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2008 :  09:20:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I use lots of natural dyes including plants from my yard and stuff I have purchased. There is a lot of info on the internet that you can use for a reference. It is important to mordant your yarn first and there are lots of options and depending on what mordant you use with what dyestuff you will get variable colors. Using distilled water can also make a difference on the final color. Lots of things can be used to dye with but may not be colorfast, this includes berries, beet juice etc. Onion skins make a convenient first try kind of item, as you probably have them handy. They can make a nice yellow. You would want to mordant your yarn first and then gently simmer it in your dye solution for at least an hour. Have fun.
Marcia MacDonald
Long Plains Alpacas
Buxton, Me.
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Claudia R Klaus

306 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2008 :  09:04:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Claudia R Klaus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I went to a class on natural dyes this summer. The instructor said she found that with alpaca, she had to increase the amount of mordant used, vs what she used for sheep wool to get a real nice color set. I don't have my notes here, but I seem to think it was almost double the amount. And don't remember if that was all mordants or just specific ones, I'll check my notes tonight and see.

Claudia Klaus
Maricopa, AZ
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