This Fall we hosted several volunteers from WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – wwoofusa.org).
Their project was to help us clear invasive and nuisance plant species that had taken over field edges and forests. We started on a meadow in our upper fields and with hand saws, clippers, a small chain saw a walk behind brush hog they took on the project with enthusiasm. They pushed back hundreds of linear feet of field edges by a minimum of 10 feet.
Plants that we targeted included buckthorn, golden rod, jewelweed, sumac, multi-flora rose and fern.
We quickly realized that while we considered them a nuisance many of them produced beautiful dye colors. Led by our fearless Farm Manager Christine, we started experimenting with natural hand dying of our wool using the very species of plants that we are trying to eradicate – or at least get under control.
We ended up with 22 experiments. Buckthorn, the biggest bane of our existence, turns out to produce a fascinating array of colors depending on the part of the plant and the mordant used. We hope you enjoy the colors as much as we do. Curious about how we got the colors we got? Take a look at our chart of the various colors.
Our volunteers hailed from Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, Kentucky. Most of them were just out of college and attended a variety of colleges around the country. The staff and residents of Morse Brook Farm also hail from or have spent significant time in many places including California, New York, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Montana. We also love our dogs. So, when it came to naming our yarn colors there are many inside jokes. Just ask us and we will tell you what they mean.
We hope you enjoy working your project with our colorful yarn as much as we enjoyed dying it.The dye lots are very limited and we don’t imagine we will reproduce the exact same shades next year. So make sure you get enough for your project. Mix and match it with our 5 natural shades.
Thanks Seth, Forest, Emma, Kat, Tiana and Marissa!
We couldn’t have done it without you.