We learned to dye fibers naturally with plants a few years ago at the Griffin Dyeworks Dye & Fiber Retreat in Castaic, CA. What fun! Camping, pots of steaming dyes, people spinning and weaving, crocheting and knitting...kumihimo, lucet, Viking whipcord braiding, felting...fiber arts and fun! We definitely will be going to the retreat again this year (it's in May).
Natural dyeing is a wonderful way to use what nature provides while creating a rainbow of beautiful colors! We have dyed yarns, fiber and fabric with indigo, brazilwood, kamala, onion skins, berries, walnut shells, lichens, and more. During the 2007 retreat, we dyed a variety of our handspun and other wool yarns with natural dyes, brought them home, and then wove the yarns as a family into a beautiful table runner.
At home, we dye simply with herbs, plants, fruits and roots. This week, we dyed silk play scarves, silk ribbon, silk cord and wool yarn with tumeric (vibrant yellow), brazilwood (orange), and blueberries (blue/indigo). The brazilwood batch was initially red, and then we added a bit of vinegar to set the color and the batch turned a lovely light orange! Sometimes the color surprises that occur are the most fun. The blueberries dyed very well this time. What a treat! We've decided to share some of our dyed objects in our Syrendell Etsy shop. The rest are either serving as capes or forts or decorations around the house.