Tuffsock Knitting: Indigo dyed Suffolk

This post is part of the Tuff Socks Naturally project, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion on this blog or on the blog of the fabulous Rebecca at Needle and Spindle or on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.


You may remember this yarn.  The fibre is Suffolk, one of the traditional sock knitting Downs breeds, in this case from Kangaroo Island, off the coast of  South Australia. I dyed it in a fructose based indigo vat as flicked locks, then carded and spun it three ply with a tight twist.  


I am not sure that this yarn will work for everyone.  It is not silky soft, and the factors that make wool comfortable for one person and prickly to the next person are very individual. On the other hand it is robust, springy and feels resilient–I love that kind of springiness in  a sock personally.  So I had a conversation with a couple of friends about this issue and settled on one who was delighted at the prospect when she had the chance to hold it in her hands.  It was midwinter here so she received these socks gleefully!


I have had trouble capturing the blue in photos.  It’s truest in the top picture of the wound ball.  I think these will be very robust and very warm socks and I’ll have to wait to see how the reviews from the recipient pan out!


Filed under Knitting

12 responses to “Tuffsock Knitting: Indigo dyed Suffolk

  1. Lovely socks!! I have similarly “scratchy” gloves, made by a Scottish knitter. I have spare ones and offered to a friend, who kindly declined once she touched them 😉
    Just today I was donated some natural dyes. It would be nice to try them, although I’m a bit held back because I know nothing, have little space for the experiment and wouldn’t want to use aggressive/acid materials to dye…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this compliment–you need the right wearer, there is just no doubt about this! Judith, how can you resist those natural dyes? There are some very good, sensible, low toxic books on natural dyeing that you can depend on to guide you. I can recommend–if that would help. Public library networks will be able to get them in for you. If you’d like, let me know what you have been given and I’ll check where guidance is available. And you don’t need masses of space. There are creative ways to do this… if you have a friend who knows how maybe they could come with you for the fun?


      • Hello! Many thanks 🙂
        If you know any books or resources suitable for a beginner with little space, I’d love to hear about them! Someone mentioned solar dyeing. I’d like some method that uses as little harsh materials as possible.
        The only place I could do some dyeing is in the kitchen, I think. So it should not produce dangerous fumes. Also I wouldn’t want to dispose of environmentally bad residuals.
        I have listed (with pics) what I have been given in my last blogpost, let me see if I can copy/paste it here.
        Many thanks!!


      • This is what I was kindly given:
quebracho red
logwood purple
indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
Brazil wood chips
old fustic
some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar.
        Thanks for your kind help, it’s very much appreciated 🙂


  2. PS I’d be happy to send you a pair of the (fair-isle) gloves, if you like that type of wool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca

    These look wonderful. I agree though it is so hard to capture the colours adequately. Our eyes see so much better than a camera. These socks look so bouncy, like they are just holding energy ready to release.

    Liked by 1 person

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