Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yarn Dyed With Prickly Pear Cactus

I dyed some yarn with prickly pear cactus. Here is is hanging to dry in my bathtub. In order to get this color you need to let the yarn ferment for 2 weeks.

Here are 2 balls of yarn I wound. This yarn was a bare sock yarn from KnitPicks. It is a superwash wool with 25% nylon. Those little flecks of color are in the wool that I purchased. The small bit of yarn in the foreground I also threw in the pot to see if it would take the dye differently. The smaller yarn is 100% Peruvian wool, also from KnitPicks. It appeared to dye a bit brighter and darker than the nylon blend wool. Like I did with the fabric and tee-shirt dyeing, I saved the prickly pear cactus fermented juice and tossed in 3 skeins of bulky weight wool yarn to ferment for a couple of weeks and I think I might end up with a light pink shade...stayed tuned and we'll see what happens.
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  1. Daryl, I just love the natural dye. Much better than the kool-aid I tried several years ago.

  2. Hi Daryl,

    Can you tell me if the yarn faded over time?

    Thank you!

  3. Lizzy I hope you come back here to read this because you are a no-reply blogger which means I have no email to contact you directly. I made a scarf out of this yarn, so it doesn't get washed often and I haven't worn it outside that much either so it has not faded.

  4. May I ask how many pears you used and how you went about handling the pear. Did you slice it open? Juice it? And did you use a mordant? My neighbor has a cactus that has these growing on it and he let me pick some today but I'm not sure of the how. Thanks so much!

  5. An easy way to get the juice from the prickly pears is to freeze them in bags for about a week. Then take the frozen prickly pears or tunas out of the bag and place in a colander. The beautiful juice will drip through and the pulp, skin, seeds, and spines will not. To get a clean juice I then strain it through a wet pillow case. Don't worry the color will unfortunately easily rinse out of the case.


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