Everlea Yarn's signature line of fingering, sport and worsted weight merino wool yarns begin as 100% organic merino sourced from New Zealand which is spun in Ontario and then dyed with plant dyes here in BC by myself, Janna Maria.
"The natural dye processes I use are the first dyes that I was introduced to in University in 2008. They are indeed labours of love, and they're worth every moment." ~ Janna Maria, Everlea Yarn
The dye processes that I use in my practice are mordanted natural dyeing and indigo vat dyeing; two vastly different processes. Indigo vat dyeing is how I achieve my blues as well as some greens, purples, browns and blacks in combination with other dye matter using mordant dyeing methods. Mordant dyeing is how I achieve all other colours as outlined below. For Everlea Yarn, I use only dyes which are proven to have colourfast properties.
About Indigo Dyeing
Indigo dyeing is a seemingly magical process whereby the pigments in the leaves of the indigo plant are extracted and bonded to fibre in a vat process which requires the absence of oxygen, a particular pH (depending on what kind of fibre you're dyeing) and often a warm environment (depending on the kind of vat you're operating). Once an indigo vat is happy, the fibres can be submerged. When the fibres are removed they come out of the vat a yellow-green colour, and with exposure to oxygen turn blue before your eyes.
About mordant dyeing
Mordants are mineral salts and metal salts which treat the fibre before (and sometimes after) the dye is introduced and are required to enable a colourfast bond between the fibre and the dye.
At Everlea my natural dyeing process is 4 weeks long, as I cure the yarn both in the mordant stage and the dyeing stage before it gets its final rinse. My research has found that these time-exhaustive processes are required to deliver you the most colourfast results.
The 4-week process:
- Plant matter is extracted in a 24hour wet extraction process.
- Our fibres are mordanted in a process which takes 3 days, including the 2-day curing process.
- Dyeing the mordanted yarn is a process which takes 24 hours.
- The dyed yarn cures for up to three weeks before it gets a final rinse.
- Some yarns undergo an additional dye process whereby the indigo dye process is applied on-top of the mordanted dyed yarn.
- The yarn is finally dried, skeined and labeled.