Kim's Blog

Archive for Dyeing


Bluefaced Leicester (white) and Shetland (nature dyed, natural fawn and natural brown)

This is the fourth in a series of handspun hand knit shawls. Each shawl was spun using the forward worsted draft.

Énbarr is a white horse, owned by the Celtic sea god. Depending upon the source, her name is said to mean frothing, flowing mane or imagination. If you let imagination take you there, you can see the sea foam tripping over itself as it rolls onto the sand coloured shores.

Shorelines. Constantly shifting and changing. Re-shaped by time, the ebb and flow of the ocean and storms weathered.

….this is why I scour!

Water after scouring “clean” yarn.

If I did not scour the yarn, the spinning oils might interfere with how the dye adheres to the yarn. Cheers all!

ANWG 2019, Prince George

Confluences Conference : June 11-16, 2019

On-line Registration begins on January 27, 2019 at 9 am PST

The Prince George Fibre Arts Guild is hosting the 2019 ANWG Conference. I have posted the list of the seminars as well as a description of the Distaff workshop I will be leading under my “Upcoming Workshops” tab.

Further information regarding: the Conference Theme, the Event Schedule, Design Challenges, Conference Colours, Instructors’ Bios and last but not least and a full list of the workshops and seminars being offered can be found here.

The Conference is being held in Prince George’s downtown core. So as well as conference activities, shopping, the museum and some great dining can be found close by.

Look forward to seeing you there! Cheers, Kim

Upcoming Workshops 2019

Spinning and Dyeing workshops I am teaching in 2019 are now posted on my “Upcoming Workshops” page. Looking forward to another great year!

Gypsum Flowers and Lilac Blossoms

Hat Box


I had a hat box filled to the brim with nature dyed yarn samples. What a shame to tuck those astonishing nature dyed colours away in a black and white box. This was the impetus for the knitting of my Gypsum Flowers and Lilac Blossoms shawl. I wanted to find a way to use my small sample skeins, no one weighing more than 10 grams, in a project.


Once I took all the skeins from the box and separated them  into colour families, I was particularly drawn to work with the neutrals. Colours I often hear referred to as muddied, dull or “blah” colours. Yes, these colours may pale a bit, when seen next to a red, yellow, rust, or rich brown. But separate them out and compare them to one another and your neutrals will start to sing. These are the colours that hold the power to make or break a piece. These are the colours with both rich complexity and subtle nuance. These are the colours that have the potential to bring unity to your work.

Nature Dyed Neutrals

The skeins I decided to use had been dyed with the likes of logwood chips, black beans, magnolia seed pods, deep maroon hollyhock flowers, black-eyed Susan petals, Royal Sunset Asiatic lilies, birch bark paper, and Chianti sunflower petals. Once all laid out the bands of soft, warm, earthy colours reminded me of white basal sandstones and marine shales, muds and clays. Adding a single skein of a brighter, cleaner green dyed from lilac  blossoms (third skein from the right) completed the mix; lending the line up of colour just the right balance.

Then the knitting began… be continued next blog. ​ ​

Following Glimmers of Inspiration……

It is always so interesting to see where one wee twinkle of an idea can lead us.  As I set up for one of my workshops last year, I took a hat box filled to the brim with nature dyed sample skeins and spilled them all out onto the table.

The intent was to inspire; to help students appreciate the potential in those sprays of leafy branches and bouquets of flowers waiting to be dyed on the table before them. To give them a sense of some the beautiful, rich colours to be coaxed from nature’s bounty. 


Looking out over the table I noticed three distinct divisions of colour. There were: soft neutrals that went beautifully with the greens; a band of yellows and yellow golds that complimented the greys; and a vibrant series of reds, oranges and pinks. The jumble of a hundred plus 10 gram skeins morphed; distilling into three colourways and better yet, three potential projects.

Here is a photo of the first project. In the next few posts I will share the glimmers of inspiration the colours aroused, the steps I was compelled to take and where this simple shawl has led me.

Gypsum flowers and Lilac blossoms.

Mushroom Dyeing

Mushroom dyed yarn samples and Ann Paulsen Harmer's newly released book on dyeing with mushrooms.

Mushroom dyed yarn samples and Ann Paulsen Harmer’s newly released book on dyeing with mushrooms.

It has been just over a month since I attended a Fungi and Fibre Symposium on the Sunshine Coast just a short ferry ride north of Vancouver, British Columbia and my head is still reeling.  I was away visiting family for 3 weeks immediately following the Symposium but once I returned home I got right to work mordanting yarn, collecting and then drying mushrooms to prepare for some dyeing experiments after Christmas and then some more serious dyeing in the Spring (once I have enough wool spun for a project).

This was the 17th International Symposium (the first held in Canada) with 122 delegates from around the world in attendance.  It was a week filled with learning, foraging and the forging of new friendships.  In addition to daily dyepots and forays into the forests in search of mushrooms we were able sign up for workshops.  The three I attended were: an informative, well-presented “Basic Mushroom ID” workshop with Dr. John Field; “Exploring Lichen Dyes” with Alissa Allen and “The Chemistry of Mushroom Pigments” co-presented by Preben Sørensen and Jytte and Jørgen Albertsen, members of the Danish Mycological Society.  I feel most fortunate to have been able to attend and am thankful to the Organizing Committee, the host of Volunteers who worked so hard before and during the Symposium to ensure things ran smoothly and the Workshop Presenters for their generous and sharing  spirits.  It was an extremely well-run and thought out event and one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had.  A huge thanks to all involved.

Ashford Root Colours

No colour left in the dye bath after processing.  A sign of good technique!

Nice clear dye baths with all the colour pulled into the yarn after processing. The sign of a good dye run!

The jars in the first photo is of the root or base colours in the Ashford Dye Collection.  This collection of dyes are bright, fully saturated, in your face colours. Not really colours that many of us can wear.  That is because these dyes are not meant to be used right out of the jar, they are meant to be mixed. Below are some photos I recently received from a student who shared the results of her colour mixing experiments (using the Colour Compass module in the Downloads section).

Modulations of colour on silk.

Modulations of colour on silk



Quite a variety of colour compared to the root colours isn’t it.  Enjoy!


Modulations on wool using black, brown and the colour's complement.

Modulations on wool using black, brown and the colour’s complement.

Brazil wood


A snapshot of silk embroidery yarns dyed with Brazilwood.  Colour modulations obtained via different mordants and dye concentrations.  Enjoy!

Fall Colours

Some of the colours that grace our yard on this beautiful fall day…..



I think some of them may have snuck into the dye pot today when I wasn’t looking……

fall 1fall 2fall 3

For you dyers…these have been dyed using Ashford dyes and a direct application method.  Enjoy!