The Agony and The Ecstasy : "Dyeing As If The Earth Mattered" with Michelle Wipplinger of Earth Hues

Right: Mary Lynn (ML) Whitley, our very patient, very organized & very wonderful class facilitator and Left :  Michele Wipplinger, owner of Earthues,  our instructor)
I've just returned from the the most magical three day workshop with Michele Wipplinger of EarthHues (NOT to be confused with a company that has a somewhat similar name, 'botanical colors').  Fifteen of us began this glorious color journey last Thursday. This workshop taught me SO much in these few days! The occasional agony of having 15 people make decisions and then the ecstasy, joy, and amazement when we saw the utterly amazing array of colors that resulted from our collective labors. We dyed an assortment of wool, cotton and silk yarns. They arrived pre-mordanted (which was a really good thing) and ready to dye. The room was set up with a myriad of large, stainless steel dye kettles, propane burners (what a marvelous invention!), plastic covered work areas and tables and a mind boggling array of dye colors ready to to be 'brewed up'.

There was so much eye candy that I'll  have to break this post up into two parts which will provide you with an idea of what we enjoyed learning. I highly recommend Michele as an instructor. If you ever have a chance to take a class with Michele- jump on it! I'm really hoping that I will somehow be able to study with her some more. She's an amazing woman. Her mission, I believe, is to not only spread the word about dyes and sustainability but also to be a good citizen of planet earth. She's generous with her wealth of knowledge, patient, precise and fascinating. She's been through an experience which would, for many people, make them very dis-trustful, but Michele still seems to trust and enjoy getting to know the students that come to her to learn.
Our class room at Shaw Island Community Center - a wonderful place to be! We're all very grateful that they let use use their Center for our classes.
Michele Wipplinger's company, Earthues, sells a wide variety of dyes, extracts, raw materials, mordants and beautifully presented kits for both Indigo and plant based dyeing.
Dye kettle ready to roll - note the compact butane burners that use a simple butane canister. Amazing!

Michele displaying the beautiful Japanese cotton skeins that she brought for us to dye. The rings that we used to submerge the skeins into the dye are made from copper tubing covered with plastic tubing  - flexible and perfect. I have to get some materials to make a few of these.
Amazing cotton yarn from Japan.

Mixing some dye - Wow!

A myriad of color and texture to feast our eyes on - scarves, beautiful scarves. Michele told us that she would soon have some utterly beautiful scarf blanks for sale. I can't wait until I can order!

These super great, long sleeved, gloves were available for purchase and were the perfect tool for dyeing. They have an interesting past - originally used as arm protection for pruning roses in England, Michele realized their usefulness around the dye pot and now makes them available for purchase. You can contact her for information - they're only 19.95! Class member and class comedian, Ana Petrova, is modeling these gloves for us here. Ana is an amazing knitter and designer. She's on Ravelry with her designs as Banana Knits

This is a unique example of a several hundred year old tapestry. The image on the left shows the the original color - lichen dyed. The image on the right shows how the lichen dyes have faded to white over the years. I am working with some lichen dyes now and this image was an excellent, cautionary, note about the use.

Not that this isn't a color I would favor or anything is it! Weld, Osage orange and Logwood on that wonderful Japanese cotton yarn.
The dye for these wonderful colors looked like crushed raspberries. Cochineal and Logwood.
                 Early results delighted all of us !                                                                                            LEFT: Weld with Osage orange.   RIGHT: Weld, Osage orange and Logwood

LEFT: Quebracho Red with Cochineal and Logwood    MIDDLE: Quebracho Red  on wool    RIGHT: Cochineal and Logwood

Weld and Osage Orange on cotton an wool.

My dear friend Janet, fellow color and life explorer, motivator and organizer. Where would be without our close friends?

Fellow photographer and memory keeper, Pat Diviney taking in the sights.


  1. I've resisted ordering India Flint's books, but as so often, you write about products and experiences which are artfully tempting!

  2. The green yarn is about what color I am right now due to envy! LOL! What a fantastic class! I received one of their dye kits for Christmas and I am so looking forward to experimenting. The Japanese yarn is fabulous! Looking forward to the next installment. ;)

  3. I've used EarthHues dye extracts for years. We owe so much to the work of this amazing woman!

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