Mette Mehlsen’s Natural Plant Dyed Wool

Mette Mehlsen’s Natural Plant Dyed Wool

Have you noticed the beautiful plant-dyed yarn that appears in the banner slideshow for our online shop? We are very proud to be the exclusive stockist of Mette Mehlsen’s yarns, which are dyed with plants collected from western parts of Jutland, Denmark, where she lives and dyes.

Balls of plant dyed wools by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London

Susan (our lovely Loop proprietor) discovered Mette through her beautiful Instagram feed, and loved everything about what she was doing –  from the natural dyes, the colours achieved and the use of white and grey wool native to Denmark right down to the beautifully simple wrapped brown paper bands. We’ve been carrying her delicious wools at Loop since last autumn and both Mette and Susan still get so excited about each new batch that is made for the shop.

Each ball is unique. Although, they may visit the same dye bath, the process is subject to the nuances of plant dying, which mean no two are alike.

Mette Mehlsen dyeing her plant based yarns for Loop London

Mette lives in Holstebro, which is a city in the western part of the region of Jutland, in Denmark. She collects many of the plants she uses for dyeing there.

The Handcraft of Plant Dyeing

We asked Mette what drew her to the use of natural plant dyes.

I have a livelong passion for textiles and textile handcrafts. My mother taught me to knit, before I learned to read. Thus, knitting, embroidery and crochet have always been my creative driving force.

Plant dyed wool yarn by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London.

Besides dyeing yarn, I work with textiles at a museum. One day, at the museum, I worked with natural dyed textiles from around 1800 – I was truly excited, and I began to practice the handcraft.

Dyeing yarn gives me so many opportunities to use my creativity. It is the handcraft, that fascinates me and draws me to use natural dyes rather than acid dyes.

There are many interesting processes within the craft of natural dyeing:

I need to know something about the plants I use, where to collect them and when they are in season and can be harvested and used for dyeing.

Wool dyed with natural plant dyes by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London

Sometimes, I dry and store the plants, so that I can dye them in winter times, where there is nothing to harvest in Denmark, apart from heather, which can be collected all year.

A crucial process in my work is to cook colour soups and to decide how many plants to use to obtain the desired colour. The experience I have obtained in recent years makes it much easier to decide how many plants to use, and that gives me a kind of freedom in my work – I can play with the colours much more than before.

Mini Skeins of plant dyed wools by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London.

The natural colors are different depending on when in the season they have been harvested, which temperature I cook them in, and how long the yarn is cooked. The outdoor temperature also influences the result. I always dye outdoors.

During the dyeing process it is important to control the temperatures of the water and how the colours are developing. That’s why I dye in smaller pots and only 100 grams of yarn at a time.

A pot of natural plant dyeing with Mette Mehlsen for Loop London

I dye many times in the same color soup, so that the yarn will obtain different nuances – and of course to use all of the natural dye.

When the dyed yarn is dry, I decide, which batches I want to over-dye with another colour, or if I want to experiment with new methods or new over-dyeing colours.

The last process in my work is to wind the yarn into small balls and put on banderoles.

Mette’s Plant dyed yarns are sold in 5 gram balls of about 65-70 metre lengths. This makes them perfect for using in smaller quantities, in a spectrum of colours, such as for embroidery or crochet.

Yarn dyed with natural plants and crochet squares by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London

 

Her dye stuffs include; Wild Chevril, Blue Sapwood, Madder, Indigo, Tansy, Heather, Oak Leaves, Walnuts, Dock, Reed and Cochineal. Many of these are then over-dyed with Indigo or Reed. Gradations of colour are achieved through different strengths of the dye bath.

Yarn dyed with Alder cones by Mette Mehlsen for Loop London

Mette knits, crochets and embroiders with her own natural dyed yarns, which are lace weight.

“My fine yarn is especially good for smaller projects, such as scarves, wallets and bags.”

She lent us one of her stunning embroidered pieces, a hand printed and embroidered pouch.

Embroidery with Mette Mehlsen's plant dyed yarns at Loop London.

She also made this glorious crochet scarf.

Plant Dyed wool yarns by Mette Mehlsen at Loop London

Why not try her yarns with our free Old Rose Wrap crochet shawl pattern? Or buy a few balls to add a lace border to your next shawl project. They are similar in weight to our BC Garn Semilla Organic Lace, which could be used if a large plain area is desired.

Whatever you do with these beautiful yarns, I hope you will think of Mette enjoying herself “making colour soup” in her dye kitchen in Denmark.

As a special gift to you we are giving away three of Mette’s beautiful bundles to one lucky winner. Simply leave a comment below saying how you might use one of the bundles. For an extra chance to win, follow Loop on Instagram at LoopLondonLoves and either repost our pic or use one of your own with the hashtag #LoopLovesMehlsen

Entries close midnight Wednesday April 5th.

Best of luck and happy knitting (and crochet! and embroidery!)

And congratulations to Tricia Kidd, Wendy Morris and Vivienne Bell for winning a copies of our Spruce pattern. We hope you love knitting it!

All images copyright Loop Knitting or Mette Mehlsen.

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129 Comments on “Mette Mehlsen’s Natural Plant Dyed Wool

  1. I have been following Mette on Instagram for a while and always admire her yarns and photography. I think I would either use her yarn in a lace project, similar to Mette’s scarf or for embroidery on knitted items.

    • I would love to use some of Mette’s natural dyed wool in my new tufted wall pieces. They are based on the life cycles of British lepidoptera ( I know! Wool & moths!) but the point is, many arein decline- & there is a lovely link – most butterflies snd moths only eat very specific plants…heather, oak being just two

    • I think I would either finger weave or tablet weave it into a braid to trim a tunic neckline – viking style.

  2. Oh how gorgeous…those colours! I have some fabric that I am solar-dying leaf shapes onto, then I’ll embroider then and use crochet to combine into a purse…or a pillow…or a lavender sachet (endless possibilities). Those yarns are perfect for the job(s)!

  3. Many years ago I crocheted an afghan for my grandmother with many colored squares and black between them. I thought it was gorgeous, my grandmother was not like minded. She gave it away. Since then I have approached any crocheting with resistance and only when absolutely necessary. Mette’s gorgeous yarns seem to be calling me back. Plus now I have become a grandmother and a change of attitude might inspire or rub off on my little one….in a few years.

  4. So beautifull, I love them all!
    I think It will be nice for doing the “manchettes Ludmila” of “elle tricote”.

  5. I enjoyed this post so much! What a labour of love goes into these beautiful yarns! I would use them to embroider a yoke on a handmade linen dress or shirt.

    • What a great idea! I made a linen dress last summer that was lacking …. something. Embroidery with her gorgeous yarn would be perfect. Too hot in the American South summer for more than a touch of wool.

  6. I so love the crocheted scarf and if I had the chance I would make it. The colours are glorious and it would become a treasured object to wear

  7. I would like to make a natural or ecru shawl and scatter jewels of soft colour across it using this beautifully subtle yarn

  8. I would make a shawl in a natural or ecru colour and scatter jewels of soft colour across it using this beautifully subtle yarn

  9. What beautiful colours, gorgeous muted shades. I would probably make a cowl or scarf, so I could wrap myself in Mette’s beautiful work

  10. These are so beautiful – I would use them in my current projet which is an embroidered scarf inspired by the plants in my winter garden

  11. Would it be possible to recreate the crochet scarf? I live in the U.S. and can’t actually visit the shop but would order the yarn online. I would imagine it would be pricey but worth it!

  12. What an inspiring post and simply fabulous yarns. Thank you for introducing me to Mette’s story. I would love to use the tarns to make a delicate scarf and as I am visiting London in a few weeks time I plan to finally visit your shop in person – yeah!

  13. I have recently rediscovered a love of embroidery, and would use these beautiful wools to embroider & patch some of my beloved knitted items that are wearing through from so much use.

  14. If I win the lottery I would crochet a beautiful throw from all the colours, in the meantime a small hap with joyful pops of bright shades will be a perfect project.

  15. Beautiful beautiful beautiful! I think a pair of mitts would be my choice, since then I could admire the colours as I went through the day. Thanks for such a generous giveaway.

  16. These beautifully cooked yarns look good enough to eat, and I find myself fiercely coveting them! Such loving care going into every bundle; Mettle is unique.
    Our crafting group ( normally nattery knitters) are about to turn to crochet, so the imagination is taking flight………

  17. Hi! Thanks @looplondon loves and Mette for the chance to win some of this beautiful yarn. I am astounded by the kaleidoscope of colours that you can get from plant dyes. With this yarn, I would probably use for the heels and trim of a pair of socks and maybe a pretty cast-off edging on a shawl or a colourwork pair of gloves or hat. Honestly, the colours are just delicious

    • What beautiful colors!! When I see the colors I am reminded of a soft summer breeze. Keep up the good work and the experimenting, Mette. Some day we hope to see your yarn in the states.

  18. What beautiful colors. I would make a shawl, possibly the Harvest Shawl, to celebrate the earth and all its wonderful abundance.

  19. Having recently discovered the beauty of hand-dyed danish yarns I’d really love to win and discover another maker! I think I’d make fingerless mittens, in as intricate a pattern as I can find…. I so love a challenge.

  20. I imagine being hugged by a shawl when the weather get’s cold, that reminds me of spring and summer flowers and their soft colours picked from the hedgerows and woodlands. Just looking at your skeins Mette fills me with joy.

  21. Thank you for sharing the background story of these beautiful Yarns. I’d make luxurious wrist warmers……❤

  22. Oh those beautiful greens and pinks. I’ve just learned how to do color work knitting and Mette’s yarn would be perfect for that Thank you for such wonderful giveaway opportunities.

  23. I think that these beautifully dyed yarns would be perfect for experimenting with, creating forms based on nature and looking at details from the plants that she has dyed them with.

  24. I made a granny square blanket for my mother’s 80th birthday and I would love to make her a beautiful shawl for her 83rd. The colours are stunning.

  25. I am starting to use embroidery in some of my landscape paintings that celebrate the beauty of nature. I use lots of texture, pattern and colour to create Jewel-like surfaces and these beautiful yarns would enhance the canvases beautifully.

  26. Ah the alchemy of colour. I have made a Brighton Plaid from Tosh merino Light and loved the process so much that I would cherish the chance to make a Babette blanket in some plant-dyed yarns. Or perhaps Ysolda’s Inchgarvie using a few stripes of colour in the fan and feather section to maximise the treasured natural colours.
    It’s a pleasure just to admire the photographs and dream of dyeing.

  27. How beautiful! The colours are so gentle on the eye but with gorgeous depth. I would make a delicate scarf to wear with my favourite handmade grey linen dress.

  28. I would make a crochet scarf or striped hat, something that would show how beautifully the colours work together naturally.

  29. What beautiful shades! I have never liked primary colours, even as a child. All my life I have always admired fabrics and yarns in mixed hues. My friends would call something ‘not quite brown’, although to me it would be a wonderful cocktail of earthy yellows or reds and browns. Or they would call it grey but in fact my cardigan would be a gorgeous mixture of greens with a hint of grey. Plant dyed yarns have such amazing hues! Sometimes I feel that the human language doesn’t quite cover all the subtle shades and nuances in them. I would love to knit a small shawl or a scarf using these gorgeous little balls of wool – perhaps for a little girl who also loves subtle and soft colours.

  30. I have been wanting to make a small “Victorian” style crochet bag for ages I have a dear little clasp frame .It would be a pleasure using Mette’s Yarn for this project .If there is any left over I would make a necklace of different length narrow Icords in the wonderful toning colours .

  31. I would love some of Mette’s yarns. I have a vintage lace shawl pattern from my Danish grandmother. They would be coming home to make my pattern.

  32. I would use one of these amazing bundles in a Knit/Lab Safavid Wrap. The natural dyes would be perfect to reflect those of the Ottoman textiles on which the pattern is based.

  33. I would love to use these beautiful colors on the edging of a hap shawl…Someday I will get to your shop to see everything in person.

  34. I would love one of each Colour! Two receiving blankets are needed to welcome twins to the family. I’ve been thinking about Sophie Digards open work scarfs and wondering how I might work a crocheted layer onto a knit ground for each week being. These beautiful yarns would be perfect.

  35. I would love to make a delicate scarf for next winter. If there was any leftover I would use it to embroider one of my weaving projects. I just love the muted colours. They all seem to go well together so for someone like me who agonises over choosing colours, they are a dream! X

  36. Wow – how could I use them…. in all honesty they would be the kind of yarn that would sit upon my shelf and I would dream up endless possibilities for them…. I am just teaching myself crocheting so I would try to make a beautiful and delicate scarf

  37. The colours are so subtle and unusual, and what a labour of love! I’m full of admiration. I would make a pair of dainty fingerless mitts and add a lace cuff in one of these gorgeous shades.

  38. What talented woman and what gorgeous shades! I’d like to use them for a light crochet shawl or for a little embrodery on a jacket.

  39. Mette’s colours are simply gorgeous. If I won a bundle, I would make a bandanna. the colours really inspire me to crochet again,

  40. Absolutely beautiful and makes me want to add learning about dyes to my list of things I will do one day.. i would love to use them for textured knitted squares as part of a cushion for my wonderful aunt.

  41. I would use a chosen colour of Mette’s for edging around a scarf or cowl. The muted colours are so amazing.

  42. Beautiful, I would use the colours with a natural laceweight wool to add touches of colour around a lace shawl, blending another colour in sequence of undulating rows

  43. I love the concept of dyeing yarn using natural soup dye. It has inspired me to look into it more and to have a go myself. I would use a bundle to put a crochet fancy bottom edge to a plain round neck jumper knitted in a neutral shade.

  44. What a beautiful gift and thank you for highlighting such a beautiful Yarn. This would make the perfect crotchet shawl for spring.

  45. I really enjoyed this interview, talented lady! I’m currently travelling in New Zealand with limited Knitting and being bowled over by the landscape every day. I’ld use these pretty colours for the lacy edging on a shawl- they need to be shown off.

  46. What beautiful gentle colours, so pleasing to look at – I would make wrist warmers with this yarn: busy hands balanced with natures hues. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

  47. I think the use of these lovely natural colours would look beautiful as a table runner, or place mats, crocheted just like Mette’s scarf, in small granny squares.

  48. Delicate and subtle, I find this yarn really draws the eye. Because of the natural variations I cannot imagine that the maker or owner of anything made from Mette’s work would get bored with it. I would use the yarn in a gift I am making for my daughter, Sophia, who is soon to move into her first home with her partner.

    Thank you for running such a lovely giveaway.

  49. I would love to make a linen project bag and embroider using these wonderful yarns…something to treasure always x

  50. I would knit a jumper for my son’s new baby and embroider it with the alphabet and flowers and birds (like a sampler). Don’t know yet if it is a boy or a girl, so a mixture of colours will be perfect!

  51. I LOVE the color palette of these yarns and I would definitely make a crochet wrap in the same style as her scarf above. It’s beautiful!

  52. Such glorious colours. I would make something with granny squares, not my usual technique, but the subtlety of the colours looks like it makes this style sing. A scarf perhaps.

  53. Wow!What gorgeous colours.Faced with all of those beautiful colours how are we able to make a choice. Impossible!
    I have made linen bags for my twin granddaughters and have used embroidery thread. But this time I would use this gorgeous yarn.
    .

  54. As winter is approaching here in the Southern Hemisphere I would like to embroider a garden of flowers on cream blanketing to use as a knee rug.

  55. Beautiful! I would love to embroider on linen with Mette’s yarn. I would make a storage bag for heirloom handkerchiefs from my grandmother and aunts. The possibilities for Mette’s yarn are endless!

  56. This yarn is so beautiful, the colours are just stunning, I would love to make a chain of posies from the making flora magazine or some colour work mittens

  57. As a gp in a seaside town in north Wales I listen all day to multiple complaints and woes! With the mekke yarns I would knit myself a beautiful stripy scarf and wear it every day to cheer up my poorly patients! Hihihi! No more antidepressant prescriptions then!

  58. The lovely crocheted scarf is so beautiful I have it as my screensaver on my iPad. Having done some plant dyeing for Navajo weaving I know how time intensive the process is. I am in awe of the many gorgeous colorad!

  59. Such exquisite colours… I would want to knit on very fine gauge needles, a stole which appears like a necklace, using ‘gansey’ textured stitches… yummy!

  60. I love everything I have seen and read about Mette’s yarns and her process – truly artisanal in every way. And I love how you promote those qualities in every aspect of your business…

  61. I just love this beautiful yarn! I would love to crochet a scarf in some kind of granny squares – if I win :-)

  62. I have been loving Mette’s instagram! I love the idea of showing off her colors, as many before, as edging on a scarf or shawl. I’ve also been thinking about a pair of simple hand/arm warmers. Embroidering onto those would be great, too!

  63. These are so beautiful. She is a master of this art. I would crochet a floral inspired scarf, or maybe a little bag.

  64. Just seen them today in the shop.
    They are beautiful and bought some.
    Would love to win as I want to make a scarf similar to Mette’s .
    Also could use for some embroidery .

  65. I am making a quilt for my middle one’s 21st birthday this year. I’d like it to be mixed textiles so would really love to stitch in or knit in some of these beautiful natural colours. My middle child has been through some utterly hellish times and has experienced more grief and trauma than anyone of their age should ever have to go through. I want to make this quilt to demonstrate my enduring love.

  66. The natural dyes produce such stunning colours. Each one more beautiful than the last. Any project would be twice as striking in these lovely colours.

  67. I love naturally dyed yarns so much, and Mette’s colors are perfect. I got to see some of her yarns in person while visiting Loop last month. I would love to embellish and embroider my knits and thrifted apparel items to add special touches with one of her bundles of yarn. I would also love to try my hand at making some unique crocheted jewelry.

  68. What can I say… I am completely smitten with Mette’s hand-dyed yarn. The subtle variations in color that she achieves with her plant dyes, and especially the over-dyes, are perfection. I am a designer, metalworker, and fiber artist who creates multi-media remembrance brooches that incorporate photographs, found objects, and mementos along with the techniques of metalworking, crochet, knitting, quilting, and beading. I plan to use her yarn in my next brooch.

  69. The colors are just lovely! I can’t ever remember seeing such colors come from natural dyes! I’d love to use some for an embroidery project!

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