Lichens are the sign of an unpolluted environment and so thrive in the pure, soft air of the North & West of Scotland. Many lichens found in these parts of Scotland are unequalled anywhere in Europe and are of international importance. Sadly, along with the effects of global warming, we are now noticing the disappearance of certain species of lichen.
Historically, lichen has been used for dying yarn in Scotland. On the islands, the lichens were scraped from the rocks using everything from spoons to seashells and then boiled over fires in three-legged pots. The commercial industry in Glasgow processed 250 tons of lichen each year, providing considerable employment in the Highlands and giving rise to the Scottish saying, ‘Cattle on the hills, Gold on the stones.’
One of our favourite natural yarn dyers, who do workshops on the beautiful Isle of Skye is: https://shilasdair-yarns.com/