Black Walnut Project

This morning started out as any typical sunny, Autumn, Sunday morning — yard work. With the 20+ trees in our yard, we have to stay ahead of the leaves otherwise we get inundated with piles and piles. Of course, it’s not just leaves we’re after:

Black Walnut Project - Firewood

Now, given how fat and happy the squirrels have been, we knew our smallish black walnut tree had a productive year. It wasn’t until we reached that part of the yard, did we realize how much of a bumper crop we had.

Black Walnut Project - Black Walnuts

At about this point, our impulse control started to wane. We had sticks. We had walnuts. We had a fire pit that hadn’t been used in a while. And, we had some undyed yarn sitting in the house. Thus was born the great Black Walnut Project, conducted by two ambitious individuals (both recovering from colds – maybe that was affecting our judgement), who were quickly losing interest in the remaining chores around the yard.

So, we started a fire.

Black Walnut Project - Kettle on Fire

We gathered the juiciest walnuts and put them together in a cheesecloth wrap and steeped them in some boiling water.

Black Walnut Project - Steeping

We ate lunch.

Then, we fastened some cloth over another pot and strained out the dark, inky liquid.

Black Walnut Project - Dye Bath

Virginia did the honors, and dyed a couple of skeins of yarn, including some handspun stuff that had been languishing in the stash for a number of years.

Black Walnut Project - Dyeing

The resulting yarn was pretty nice – maybe not as dark as it could have been, definitely more interesting than what it was before.

Black Walnut Project - Yarn

And, I’m happy to say, the rest of the chores got done. (Well, most of them — there will always be another day for that.)

4 Replies to “Black Walnut Project”

  1. Barb Brown says:

    I did walnut once, from some I gathered at the nephew’s house. the yarn that I steeped in alum firt (I just use the same stuff you get for pickles) turned quite a pinkish tone.. very pretty!

  2. My husband’s family had a lot of black walnut trees. They would gather them, dry them them on their gravel driveway and then drive over them with a tractor to break open the hulls.

    I would do that for yarn dyeing but probably not just for the kernels. I have some flesh colored handspun dyed with madder to trade with you!

  3. I’ve never seen yarn dyeing like this so it was a great joy to look at your pictures!

  4. The yarn looks lovely and cozy, even if it’s not as dark as you were going for 🙂

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