Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bug Yarn

The lovely shades of dead bugs
Over the weekend I went to a meeting of my local wool guild. It is one of two such guilds I belong to. This one is knitters and spinners of wool, the other one is spinners and weavers of wool and is a more organized guild, a chapter of the national hand weaver's association but more on that some other time. Sunday I had a wonderful time talking about wool with some like-minded enthusiasts, knitting together and listening to them talk about the pending lambing season about to get underway in their various barns. One of the guild members is also an entomologist. She found herself with a rather large quantity of certain kinds of insects she no longer needed for the study an agency was conducting. She is one of the delightfully creative people in this guild who seem always to be thinking, "Hmmm. . . . what could I make out of this?" What she decided to try was using them to dye wool! She ground up a dry batch of bark beetles in her blender (!) , then a batch of tussock moths, then a batch of yellow jackets, and lastly she ground up a batch of dragon flies in that blender of hers (mental note: no milkshakes or smoothies at her house when you visit).  She then boiled some length of wool with different kids of mordants (copper, zinc, table salt, and alum) and put the yarn by sections into the different batches of bugs after adding cold water to them. And look what she got! Evidently, bark beetles make yellow, dragon fies make mauve, yellow jacket make muted pink and tussock moth makes purple. Who would have guessed? Now she has a skein of wool yarn striped in lovely colors of bug dye. here's to creativity. . .and the insect world! 

1 comment:

  1. That skein is stunning and I just love those colors. I think that skein would knit up into a nice hat showing off those colors. I agree I think I would stay away from her blender.