Now, Sturbridge represents a village in the 1830s, well after the time my usual historical recreation studies, but watching the dyeing process here certainly added to my overall plan of understanding "all things string."
There was a table displaying some of the natural dyes used, some wool both dyed and undyed and some yarn from the dyed wool. This day they were dyeing wool. They explained that at the time (1830s) one had to balance dyeing the uncarded, unspun wool verses the extra fee at the carding mill for taking wool with color. The mill would have to clean the equipment both before and after carding dyed wool, and would therefore charge an extra fee.
Here are some of the natural dyes they had on the table. Of course, I was so sure I would remember them all.
I think this was calendula (marigold)
These two I don't recall.
This one I remember, cochineal. The interpreter poured some out for me so I could get a better shot. (right)
The dye pot they were working with was sage with iron for mordant. It was explained that iron would make the color of the dye "more so." Here it is bubbling away.
Another area of the village has a permanent dye exhibit, with more examples of natural dyes. Below are photos of some of them, with yarns dyed with them.
There were a number of other activities for wool days, including sheep shearing, with shears rather than modern equipment, picking and cleaning wool and carding. I got to try carding and was dubbed "a natural" and got to keep my bit of carded wool.