Back in October, I signed up for a natural dyeing class at our local homesteading store. Jake wanted to come too, so the two of us walked up to the shop to learn more about the colors we can derive from the natural sources around us. I’m so fortunate to have a husband that is so supportive, and shows interest in things I’m interested in. He was interested for different reasons, but I love that we can both go to things like this class and take something away from it. For me, it was all about learning about the dye process, and what colors I could extract from local plants. For him, it was all about learning about the chemical process, and the history of natural dyes.
The class was a blast. I learned so much, and we each got to dye a skein to bring home. He chose madder root, I chose hibiscus flowers. They were completely different, and both so beautiful. Since then, I’ve been doing some experimenting with natural dyeing, and I thought I’d share some of it with you.
These are the most recent skeins I’ve dyed. The one on the left was dyed with ivy leaves, and the one on the right was dyed with alkanet root. I bought the alkanet root, but I harvested all the ivy leaves from our yard – that makes that skein even more special to me. I’m really happy with how these both turned out, even though the alkanet skein is a bit more variegated than I had hoped. I think it was because I put in some baking soda after the yarn was in the dye pot, and it didn’t reach all the dye. It’s still lovely though.
And here they all are. These are all the skeins I have that have been naturally dyed. From left to right are: madder root, hibiscus flowers (those two are from the workshop), marigolds, black beans overdyed with a tiny bit of hibiscus, black bean overdyed with ivy, ivy, and alkanet root.
I’ve been chatting back and forth with some local fiber enthusiasts who are also experimenting with natural dyeing, and we’re in the process of planning a time to meet up and do some dyeing together. I’ve been having so much fun with it, and would encourage you to give it a try if it’s something you’ve been thinking about.
I’m always excited about spring and all the flowers that grow in my yard, but this year I’m excited to use some of those flowers to dye with! I’ve been dreaming of a little dye garden for years, and am more inspired than ever to plant one.