Frequently asked questions

Natural Dyes

What are natural and botanical dyes?

A dye is a substance that will create a molecular bond with a fiber, producing colorful fiber that is lightfast (won’t fade in the sun) and wash fast (won’t bleed in water). Botanical dyes are dyes made from plants. They can be made from leaves, flowers, wood, seeds, etc, and are a sub-set of natural dyes. Natural dyes are dyes made with plants, bugs, or other natural sources. For MO Fibers Signature Colors, botanical dyes are purcased from a trusted natural dye supplier. For SEASONAL + LIMITED items, plant materials from gardens and local Nashville restaurants are used to make botanical dyes, as well as special formulations of natural dyes from the distributer. Each skein requires a minumum of 2 days of work (preparation day + dye day), plus several days after fiber prep day and dyeing to dry. On average, your hand dyed skein will take about 5 days to make.

Does naturally dyed yarn bleed?

When you soak your finished objects, bleeding should be minimal. All yarn is thoroughly rinsed before drying and sending to you.

All MO Fibers yarn is prepared with a mordant before dyeing, creating the molecular bond needed to 'bite' the color to the fiber. After dyeing, fibers are rinsed until the water runs clear. Some minimal color bleeding is normal with the first wash especially with darker colors like reds, purples and indigo. Your non-naturally dyed clothes bleed too - that's why you wash clothes 'with like colors'.

'Crocking', when a small amount of color rubs onto your hands while knitting, may occur with darker shades of fiber dyed with indigo.

Since your home's water is different than the water used to dye the yarn, you may notice more color in your soak sink than what I see when rinsing. This should not impact the color of your yarn. If you think the yarn is bleeding or crocking more than it should, please contact us at contact@mofibers.com

Don't be surprised by a little vegetal matter in the wool, particularly for the super bulky hand spun yarn. You also may find tiny bits of sand-like material while knitting or rinsing. While rinsing is thorough, some dye material might get stuck in the fiber. What you're seeing is the tiny ground roots, rinds, and leaves that make your yarn beautiful!

What do I need to know about indigo dyed yarn?

MO Fibers takes great care to properly prepare organic indigo vats. Unlike other natural dyes that chemically bond to fiber, indigo physically bonds to the fiber as it oxidizes. Indigo dyes yarn is finished with an acid bath and heat to ensure color and light fastness. Indigo dyed yarn may rub small amounts of blue on your hands as you work with it. This is called crocking, and is a normal part of working with indigo dyed items. Minor crocking does not indicate poor dye quality. Indigo that rubs onto your hands or clothes while working will wash out with soap and warm water. After knitting/crocheting and rinsing, crocking should cease. Avoid using wood and bamboo needles, as they may stain.

Fiber + Care

Is your yarn museling free?

Yes! All animal fibers are ethically sourced from the US and South America and are museling free.

Should I purchase enough skeins to finish my project?

YES! Alternating skeins each row is also recommended for larger projects to avoid color pooling.

Recipes are followed to maintain consistency of color and shade. However, no two dye pots will be exactly alike. Please note that minor variegation and pooling (slight color transitions) will be different for each skein and between batches, and is a natural part of small batch dyeing. Sometimes colorways are purposfully created with more color transitions or variations. Many colors, or colors on certain bases are purposfully more varegated.

Dyeing is a science and an art, and many factors influence the end color. The natural dye source/batch, dye bath temperature, pH, water hardness, a slight increase or decrease in the amount of dye used, and the color may come out slightly different. This is especially true when dying with leaves and flowers from my garden or food scraps from local restaurants for the SEASONAL + LIMITED colors.

Natural dyes are naturally themselves, and I hope you enjoy the beauty and variation as much as I do!

Does your yarn pill?

Sometimes. All wool and many other fibers will pill over time in heavy-friction areas.

The bases with silk, multi-plied bases, and 'high twist' bases are more pill-resistant.

How do I care for my yarn, scarves and final objects?

Soak items in cool or lukewarm water with a little pH neutral soap or wool wash for 15-30 minutes. Gently squeeze to remove water. If desired, place between two towels and push down to remove more water. Lay flat to dry. Do not twist to wring out your non-superwash wool items or agitate them in the water, as they may felt.

Do not dry items in direct sunlight. Dry only in full shade or inside to prevent fading.

Do NOT add vinegar to you soak bath to 'set' the color. The high pH change may shift your naturally-dyed yarn color.

Minor fading and softening of colors may occur over years, particularly for yarn dyed with seasonal botanicals and food waste. If you notice rapid fading or color changes, please contact us at contact@mofibers.com.

Wool wash with lanolin is not recommended for cotton and silk scarves.


I have more questions!

Email us at contact@mofibers.com.


naturally dyed with leaves, roots, flowers and seeds in Nashville, TN


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