is available, but NOT in stock.
We will dye it and ship it in 1 to 4 weeks. (To reduce the load on the postal service, any in-stock yarn in your order will be held and shipped once your order is complete unless otherwise requested. These orders receive priority in the dyeing queue and will usually ship faster.)
100% organic merino wool
280 yds (256 m) / 2 oz (56 g)
Heavenly softness meets earth-friendly beauty in this delightful fingering-weight yarn. Earth Mama is hand dyed using plant dyes such as madder, weld, indigo, woad, tannin, and tree bark; some comes from companies who responsibly source the materials, and some comes from our own backyard dye garden (the tree bark comes from the Official ATK Husband, who is a hazelnut and dogwood breeder). We use aluminum potassium sulfate to mordant the yarn; this is the exact same "alum" you find in the grocery store.
In our entire dyeing practice we take care to minimize waste and water usage and maximize energy efficiency, and natural dyeing allows us to further reduce the carbon footprint of our dyeing. Some processes can be done at room temperature, reducing energy consumption, and using plant materials in their natural, raw state means minimal energy is spent processing them before we receive them. Many times dye and mordant baths can be reused, conserving water. Our goal is to grow as much of our own dyestuff as possible, which is as close to carbon neutral as possible.
A couple of notes about natural dyes: while all dyes will fade somewhat over time with washing and exposure to light (including chemical and industrial dyes), the natural dyes we use have good to excellent light and washfastness. We recommend hand washing in cool water with a pH-neutral soap and laying flat to dry out of direct sunlight.
Indigo is a unique dye that is insoluble in water and forms a physical (rather than chemical) bond with the fiber. As a result, it is completely normal for some weakly-bonded dye to rub off while first working with the yarn. Indigo that rubs off on your hands will wash off easily with soap, however it may stain wooden/bamboo needles and hooks (which is only a problem if you don't want blue needles/hooks, it won't do any damage to them). Typically the process of working with the yarn is enough to remove all the loose dye, and your finished item will not turn anything else blue. If indigo does rub off onto something else, a thorough washing with soap and water will remove it.