After our trip to IsTex, we headed to Guðrún Bjarnadóttir’s home where she talked to us about her natural dyeing process. Guðrún is a biology teacher by day and dyes yarn as a hobby, or so she claims. She focuses on using plants and lichen that are available in Iceland. She does use some materials like indigo and cochineal which were historically for dyeing in Iceland, but she enjoys using local plants the most. Here she is showing different types of lichen that she’s gathered.
Here are some of her dye ingredients. Spring has just started, so her materials are still dry from the winter.
She had a lot of yarn brewing in her dye pots where she puts the yarn in directly with the vegetable matter.
The demo included showing us how ammonium enhances color. The skein on the left was dipped in ammonia for just a few minutes while the one behind on the right was not. You can see a definite color change.
Seems like she’s been doing a lot of dyeing for just a hobby. This is the yarn that greeted us in her living room!
I may have picked up some yarn and balled it right away to start knitting. The red is dyed with madder root. The yellow and green are both dyed with lupines. The beige is dyed with lichen. And the cream (which has a faint yellow tint) is dyed with daisies.
Besides the fabulous dyeing and yarn, the place was beautifully decorated with many textile-related items, including this antique knitting machine.
Also the view from Guðrún’s house was AMAZING. Her view was better, but this was the shot I got around the corner.
AND, she lives by a small farm with sheep and horses! These poor guys were scared of us and huddled to the other end.
These sheep were very friendly and eager to come forward to munch on food. You can see that they’ve just been shorn. Icelandic sheep roam free through the country in the summer and are gathered in the fall where they remain inside throughout the winter. They are shorn twice a year.
And here’s the first Icelandic horse I got up close to. They’re so cute and small and adorable.
I love this place!