It's been fantastic to work with Shilasdair Yarns, collaborating to create our new tartan, Strathskye. We caught up with Tony from Shilasdair Yarns to find out a bit more about the processes that go in to creating the wonderful and vibrant colours, all from natural dyes.
From their own crop on the isle of Skye, Eva picks the fresh tansy and takes it back to the workshop. The tansy is then tipped into their dye extraction vessel, which linked to the open cabinet containing the dyeing hanks via a pump and pipework.
After dyeing, the hanks are dried in a chamber partly utilizing the waste heat from the cooling exhausted dye liquor dispersed by fans, energy conservation is very important to the Shilasdair operation for ecological as well as financial reasons. Aluminium salt (aluminum sulphate) is the mordent used to fix the dye.
The yarns are then wound into their individual skeins after drying. The below image shows some of the colour range of the Shilasdair yarns and the tonal variations possible.