wool dyeing party


yesterday a bunch of us drove 45 minutes west of the twin cities, to join my friend birdie for a wool dyeing party. as i mentioned in an earlier post, birdie has 8 sheep purely for their wool, and she has plenty of wool to share!

around lunch time, jackie, my sis, heather, anna, anna’s mom june, anna’s sister ellie, kathryn, kristen and i all gathered at birdie & ed’s hobby farm on a sunny but breezy day. first birdie taught us how to card the wool:

carding wool

we all had the chance to card. we went through a whole pillowcase of wool, which birdie says represents only 1/10 of the fleece from one sheep. it really is amazing how much wool they carry around.

birdie and her husband ed had the fire started before everyone arrived, so it was nice and hot when we started mixing the dyes. everyone had a chance to help weigh the wool and measure dye ingredients:

mixing dyes

adding wool to the mixed dye

once the dyes were mixed and the wool was added, the jars and pots were placed over the fire to set:

waiting for the dye to set

while the dye was setting we ate salads, fruit, and yummy cheese toast. birdie also made us rhubarb cobbler, with rhubarb from her garden. she told us she burned it, but don’t believe her — it was sooo good.

after about an hour over the fire, the dyed wool is rinsed and laid out in the sun to dry (the orange/rust/terra cotta dye is my favorite):

drying the roving

at the end of the day, we got to meet the sheep! they’re a bit timid, but definitely have personalities. they raced into the barn and then peeked out at us through the barn window…


outside on a sunny day, in the company of wonderful and talented women, eating good food, learning how to dye wool… the makings of a fabulous day. and we got to take some roving home! thank you so much, birdie!

18 responses to “wool dyeing party”

  1. Patricia says:

    Sounds like a great day!

  2. Anna says:

    It was a perfect day! I don’t mean to gush, but really it couldn’t have been better. And burnt? I loved the crispy, carmalized topping on that rhubarb dish.

  3. jenn says:

    Oooooo.. so sorry I missed it. Sounds like a great time. The sheep are so cute.

  4. lil fish says:

    what a purrrfect day for spending on the farm – and although the whole sheep/wool thing was great, i don’t think i’ll ever forget birdie’s rhubarb cobbler!

  5. Nicole says:

    What a great idea for a party!

  6. jenn says:

    fish – any chance birdie would share that cobbler recipe?

  7. Design for Mankind says:


  8. Birdie says:

    Was so wonderful to have such a great group of women visiting and playing with wool. Jen, you have awesome friends. Come again soon.

  9. fish says:

    birdie just sent me the cobbler recipe!

    Rhubarb Cobbler

    Combine the following five ingredients as you would for a pie crust
    21/2 cups flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup shortening
    2 egg yolks + milk to = 2/3 cup (save the whites)
    Pat 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9X13 pan. It’s very sticky and hard to deal with, you just have to do the best you can.

    Combine the following four ingredients and pour over the bottom crust.
    3 cups sugar
    1/2 cup flour
    6 cup rhubarb cut in 1/2 inch slices
    3 beaten eggs
    ( you can add a few drops of almond extract if you like, I usually do)

    Top with the other half of the crust. It’s even harder now, you have to sort of make patties between you hands and lay it on the filling patching holes as you go. (I once tried rolling it out like pie crust but it wasn’t near as good) Beat the two egg whites ’til foamy and spread it over the top. Sprinkle with sugar.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

  10. Jen b says:

    how fun! wish i could have joined you.

  11. Anna Y says:

    ohh,how much fun. wish my sunday was more exciting….

  12. Margins. says:

    Yay! That is SO cool! I absolutely LOVE this post. Made me happy and truly made my day.

    Wonderful pictures and words to share such a wonderful experience.

  13. kristin says:

    i can’t possibly thank you enough jen. it was wonderful! and it was great to finally meet you.

  14. Jackie says:

    What fun, and I’m so glad you shared pictures from the day! Obviously the cobbler was eaten too quickly for a photo. The wool turned out so beautifully!

  15. jen b says:

    sounds like you ladies had a wonderful time. wish i was closer because i would have made you take me too.

  16. Wool Dyeing Party « Three Sneaky Bugs says:

    [...] a more detailed description of our fine day see Jen’s post or Kristin’s. A big thank you to Jen for organizing the event and to Birdie for being a [...]

  17. Bee @ BeeDazzles says:

    Jen it sounds like you all had an amazing day – what fun!! And I agree, those sheep are too cute :)

  18. ramos b sousa says:

    your fleece dying party is very elucitative.
    im doing a project proposing a wool farm school for the faroe islands and your article helped me a lot.

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