As Jared set out to develop Ranch 01, the yarn’s origin story and the mission to support Climate Beneficial farming guided him to seek a dyehouse that could create a palette using only natural dye materials. In a moment of kismet, a young enterprise called Green Matters Natural Dye Company reached out to Brooklyn Tweed with a proposal for a dyeing project. A special collaboration was born, and today we profile Green Matters’s work in developing the colors for Ranch 01.
Green Matters Natural Dye Company was founded by two entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact on society and the environment. Winona Quigley, after several years of working for luxury fashion houses in New York City, realized her calling was to explore sustainability and natural dye processes within the realm of fashion. Tyler Stoltzfus, a consummate problem-solver who likes to get his hands dirty, shared the same passion for the environment. Together, this duo decided to channel their experiences in winning college entrepreneurship competitions to address the water pollution caused by the garment industry.
In establishing a natural dyehouse, Winona and Tyler aim to discover new ways to incorporate plant dyes in an industrialized world. They grow or forage as many of their dyestuffs locally as they can, compost all their exhausted dyebath matter, and source more exotic materials from fair-trade partners. They have also formed a network of relationships to help their clients connect with producers of sustainably farmed fiber. In 2015, Winona received the Tishman Scholarship for Sustainability to create a zero-waste, locally sourced, naturally dyed knitwear collection.
Green Matters’s vision for environmentally responsible fashion made them the perfect partner for our Ranch 01 project. To create the custom palette, Winona first presented her own distillation of Brooklyn Tweed’s aesthetic by presenting color swatches in the form of yarn pigtails. The palette arose from the possibilities available in nature, using sources abundant enough to support dyeing an entire yarn line. Jared selected the final colorways, choosing hues derived from marigold, indigo, madder root, lac and cochineal insects, tannins, and iron.
Natural dyeing captures the beautiful irregularities of nature itself — just as wine imparts the flavors of terroir along with the native characteristics of the grape and the artistry of the winemaker, plants yield different colors depending on soil, weather, and other environmental factors. The dye strikes the wool more strongly here, more gently there, to produce rich tonal variations. Fabric knit from Ranch 01 will have subtle streaks and shifting depths, so we recommend alternating skeins for a smooth blend in larger projects. Because all the colors are naturally occurring, there is harmony across the palette that invites unusual color play.
Knitting with Ranch 01 gives us a new appreciation for the range of colors that skillful artisans like Green Matters can capture from natural materials. We hope you’ll love watching the soothing ripples of these beautiful hues, knowing that they’re easy on the earth as well as on the eyes.
Welcome Ranch 01 with us next week on April 20.
The photos in this post are courtesy of Winona Quigley and Madelyn Snow at Green Matters Natural Dye Company.