Friday, July 15, 2016

The Beginnings of a Dye Garden

You start out raising a few sheep, and before you know it, you have more wool than you know what to do with. So it seems logical to buy a spinning wheel so you can spin that wool into yarn.

I love working with the natural colors that wool comes in. You get all kinds of grays, browns, and whites.  But after a while I wanted colors that you just can't get directly from the sheep. That is when I put together my small dye studio.

My first dye projects were with Natural Dyes; Walnut, Pokeberry, Sumac, and Goldenrod. Plants that I could find around the farm.

Visiting the fiber show in Ohio, I came across a vendor who was selling roving dyed with natural dyes. (plants). I loved the colors! I was in luck because not only did she have dyed roving, she had the dye plants for sale.

The beginnings of my own Dye Garden-

This plant is an annual that I chose to put in a pot.  To get enough for dyeing, I am pinching off the flowers as they bloom, and putting them in the freezer. Next year, I  plan on starting some from seed indoors and then transplanted outside after the last frost.

Saving the Cosmo Flowers

Some of these plants are perennial but not all. I am not sure if the plant I purchased is annual or perennial. It is in a pot like the Cosmos. The flowers are also being pinched off as they bloom, and being stored in the freezer to collect up enough for a dye project.
At the end of summer, I will put the plant in the ground and see if it comes up next year.

Madder Root
Right now, I have this perennial in a pot but it will later be transplanted into a garden bed. You have to have some patience for the Madder root, as it takes 3 years or more to use for dyeing.
I think the color is well worth the wait. The colors ranging from oranges to red.

It is a small garden, but it is a start!  I am hoping to add new dye plants each year.  The dye garden along with the wild plants that can be found in our area, will be more than enough to keep me busy.

Do you have a dye garden? Would love to hear what you have planted in yours!

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  1. Goldenrod and Pokeberry grow wild like crazy here. If I ever get myself a few alpacas, I'll have ample dye sources. Unless we buy a tractor and mow it all down for corn (for our own chicken feed).

    1. I really liked the goldenrod, it was one of my favorite.

  2. Oooh, what fun! I've dyed with pokeberry and ironweed, but I've never used coreopsis or madder. Can't wait to see how your dyeing turns out.
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Ironweed is available around here as well, I have not yet tried many plants on my list!

  3. That's such a great idea! I love the soft colors that results from natural dyeing and I'm excited to see your results.

    1. I like the colors too from the natural dyes. I am looking forward to trying these new plants :)

  4. I love this idea! Previously, I have dyed fabric with black tea, but I'd love to get into it with more plants.


    PS: I found you through the Strangers and Pilgrims link up!

    1. I would love to dye some fabric as well. So much to little time :)
      Thanks for visiting!

  5. Then before you know it you're making things with your handspun, naturally dyed yarn. You knit, crochet, but you want more and so you buy a loom. Soon your livingroom looks like a fiber studio. You have fleece in the bathtub, yarn hanging on the line, and a spinning wheel at the kitchen table.
    I think you could write a book along the lines of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie".

    1. Yes!! This is so true. Wool everywhere!! :)
      Thanks for visiting!!

  6. Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

  7. How neat! :)

    I’d love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, and tips:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  8. This is such a neat project Sandra! I love that your wool-work is such an art! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! :) It was nice to see you there this week!

  9. Wow, what a terrific idea! It should be fun to start this new project.

    Thanks so much for joining us on The Maple Hill Hop!

  10. Oh, wow! I love to garden and have dabbled a bit with dying, but I never thought about a dye garden! Thank you for sharing these tips! I'd like to feature this post at Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures


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