Discovering natural dyeing

I recently followed a workshop on natural dyeing and I’m thrilled. It’s so bonding with nature and the result is like magic.

We learned about “Grands Teints” and “Petits Teints”. “Grands Teints” indicates that the color has proven to be sustainable overtime even when being exposed to light.

We mainly used “Grands Teints” material like walnut, onion shells, cochineal, madder root and reseda.

We first learned about the traditional and ancient dyeing technique according to precise recipes.

Another method was to apply the dyes directly and randomly onto the yarn with a table spoon, wrap the yarn and put it in the microwave or steam oven. Aren’t these two skeins lovely?


Cochineal and blue-wood.


Cutch, reseda and a few onion shells.

Finally, we did some solar dyeing.


Cochineal, walnut leafs, and – sorry for the latin name – Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ all went into the pot and then the sun could do the rest.

And here’s how it came out:


About a month has gone by and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I’ve been collecting stuff I could use (you need a lot!) and made others collect for me too.
I’ve ordered undyed yarn and mordants.

I think I’m almost ready to do my own natural dyeing.


20 thoughts on “Discovering natural dyeing

    • Thanks, I’m really happy about the colors too and would love to do much more of this soon.
      I never tried food colouring before but the results seem to be great too.

  1. Wow, those are awesome. I have dyed with Kool aid before. (which smells divine) but now I am so very seriously considering natural dyeing as well. The solar dyeing is amazing. Have to start on my research and collecting of stuff 🙂
    You inspire us to be different, thanks.

    • Oh thank you, I’m so happy to read how enthusiastic you are about this too. It’s very encouraging!!
      You know, it’s real fun and the colors are always so surprising and never loud. I’d like to do much more of it in future and I’m slowly preparing for it because there’s quite a lot of stuff you need before getting started.

      • It is indeed a stunning way to colour and dye yarns. I am making a list of “good” stuff that colours well, so I can collect as I go. Am going to get out some old big jars and use them again. I am sure it is going to be a lot of good fun. Thanks for this. I look forward to the solar dye, as we are moving into summer here, it will be nice and warm. 🙂

    • I liked it a lot and it’s fun to see what nature can do. But it takes a lot of time, it’s a bit like slow cooking. And it takes a lot of material (dyeing stuff, mordants, pots, loads of water, spoons, a balance, etc.) but the outcome is always like a magical surprise.
      Hope all is well. Have a lovely week!

    • Thanks, I hope to show you more soon.
      But my first and next new experience will be spinning. I’m very excited about that too. It’s something I wanted to learn for a long time.

    • Oh thank you! Yes, I agree, it’s nice, isn’t it. I’m still thinking about a pattern for this yarn, but I’m sure I’ll find something.
      Thanks for you comment!

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