Boreal Fibers: What We Do

At Boreal Fibers, any day, any season, we take inspiration from the natural world and instill it in our craft, both figuratively and practically. In the spring, summer, and autumn, we forage and collect dyestuff from the forests and fields of the north. We sustainably harvest plants that are plentiful in nature. Better yet, we often use nuisance species, like tansy and lupine, which aren’t meant to be here in the first place as dyestuff. We are moving towards using only locally foraged dyestuff, but if we do use natural dyestuff that cannot be found locally, we find sustainable, organic sources (e.g. logwood, cutch, cochineal). We strive to recreate the colors of nature the same way our ancestors have done for generations.

Boreal Fibers believes in doing things the right way. This means we source our yarn from sustainable producers within the United States. We are striving to source our yarn right here in the midwest in the future. By supporting American and midwest companies, we put your money back into our own local economy, and we minimize our carbon footprint. We use clean, clear blue Lake Superior water to dye yarn, and we only use nontoxic mordants (the chemical that fixes dyes to the yarn) that do not produce harmful wastewater. We utilize low-temperature dye techniques when possible to minimize energy use.

Lastly, we take our handdyed yarn and use knitting techniques that have been passed on to me from generations before, to create handknits with innovative, modern designs and color pairings inspired by the natural world.

In my day job, I study rivers and lakes. Dying with natural plants brings together many themes that are very interesting and important to me – fiber arts, color, sustainability, natural history, biology, chemistry, the list goes on!