How We Create Our Natural Dyed Cotton Yarn

02.11.2021
A blog article by Shimena

About Natural Dyes

The concept of ‘Natural Dyes’ is by no means a new one and refers to all the dyes derived from the natural sources.

Ethiopia has a long tradition of using natural sources for textile coloration, and Shimena wants to maintain and develop this ancient knowledge.

Our natural dye stuff we collect by strolling through Arba Minch’s lovely countryside, foraging for the plants that we use to gain our colorful yarns, and the utilization of fruit and vegetable waste, like Avocado seeds or Onion skins, from restaurant kitchens.

A farmer of Shimena is collecting leaves to process them into dye.

Scouring

The first activity for the dye process is the scouring, where the raw cotton is cleaned from impurities and residues, followed by processing the yarn. The yarn is then washed, if needed bleached and pre-mordanted.

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Color extraction

To produce the amazing Natural Dye colors, the dye stuff is sorted out in our facilities, cleaned, washed, if required dried, then boiled in water to gain the color stock, and lastly filtered.

Dyeing the Yarn

To absorb the desired color, the prepared cotton yarn is put in a big pot, covered with water, heated until it boils and gently simmered. The precious natural color liquid is added and some lemon juice or vinegar is applied to support the color fixing.

Last Preparations

Finally, the beautiful natural dyed cotton yarn is washed, hanged in a shaded and airy place for drying, waiting to become one of our amazing handmade textiles.

Now the yarn is ready to be further processed into a scarf, shawl or blanket.

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