Welcome to Natural Dyeing, a special edition of the Crafternoon Treats podcast. In this episode I don’t even mention crochet, or knitting – its all about dyeing yarn with extracts made from plants. I did a natural dye day recently and wanted to share a bit about the techniques and processes and, of course, the results!
Here is the video – the timestamps and notes are below and I’ve included some links to other podcasts, blogs and books about natural dyeing if you want to find out more. I’m not an expert in natural dyeing – I’m just having fun exploring…
Natural dyeing: timestamps
Start to 2.31
Introduction – who I am, a little about my dyeing and what this video is going to show.
2.31 to 7.05
Back to the me of the natural dye day on Thursday 19th April as I explain the plan for the dyepots throughout the day.
7.05 to 15.14
Exploration 1 – dyeing with brown onion skin extract and black turtle bean extract. I add one teaspoon of aluminium sulphate (approx) to the dyepot with the extract then a pinch of tartaric acid (cream of tartar from the baking aisle of the supermarket). After a good stir the skeins of undyed yarn are added then brought to boiling point and simmered for 10 minutes. You can see the colour of each of the skeins in the dyepots.
15.14 to 20.06
Exploration 2 – dyeing with avocado pits and avocado skins. The same process is followed and you can see how the colours develop.
20.06 to 21.03
Exploration 3 – dyeing with extract from daffodil dead heads.
21.03 – 26.05
Exploration 4 – dyeing three skeins of yarn to create a variegated effect. The extracts are poured onto skeins of yarn in a gastronorm that has already been heated.
26.05 – 29.49
Important cautions if you are planning to dye with natural dyes at home. Remember that natural DOES NOT always mean NON-TOXIC. You need to take great care when using plants from the garden as they can be POISONOUS!!
29.49 to 50.15
The results! I filmed the skeins of yarn using my overhead set up so that you can see the range of beautiful colours you can get from natural dyeing.
50.15 to end
My conclusions and plans for future explorations with natural dyes.
When I was taking some photographs of the yarn, I put them all in a basket with my new shawl – made entirely of natural wool colours (undyed) and was struck by how well they go together!
Find out more about natural dyeing
As I said, I am not an expert but hopefully you will be interested to start your own natural dyeing journey. Here are a few links to explore…
Podcasts that talk about natural dyeing
Maria of the Ninja Chickens podcast (who I met at Edinburgh) has been doing some beautiful dyeing with sock blanks and whole leaves and flowers. See this really interesting episode:
Lindsay of The Wooden Nest blog and podcast has been experimenting with natural dyes and talks about them very eloquently on her podcast… This latest episode features her explorations with avocado… she also has just opened webshop in which she sells some of her natural dyed yarn.
The A Wooden Nest blog shows more about natural dyeing and features the most gorgeous photographs! Much more artistic than mine!
Websites and books about natural dyeing
One of the leading world experts in natural dyeing is Jenny Dean who is based in the UK. Her blog and website is crammed with fascinating information and she has also published several books, but only the one listed below seems to be in print.
Wild colour: The complete guide to making and using natural dyes
Other books that you might like to look at:
- Natural dyeing by Jackie Crook
The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen, and Cotton at Home by Kristine Vejar
- Natural colour: Vibrant dye projects for your home and wardrobe
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