Archive | Natural Dyes

Planting, Dyeing, Baking, Knitting etc…

This little flower pot used to be filled with spinach and various bulbs, I thought a change would be nice so we planted the pot with two different varieties of lavender, I think Charlie approves… (Photo taken with Instagram)

Now for some early morning baking with Kye…

I just used a simple butter biscuit recipe and we made 1 kg of dough into plenty of little shapes. I decided to bake in bulk and freeze into rolls whatever was left, but we baked it all. I have plenty for our family and have given some away as gifts already… I love to eat a biscuit with my tea don’t you?

That onion dye bath dyed up quite a few skeins of wool, this is the last one drying, it is a super wash Merino and I am going to knit a cowl with it.

Can you spot the colour variations, the skein on the right was done in an exhaust onion bath, that’s why it’s so light, I am really happy with the colour.

I knitted up Henry the Camel over the weekend, thank you all so much for the name suggestions. We have called him Henry because when Richard was travelling through Egypt quite a few years ago, he bought a beautiful wooden, carved camel and named him’Henry’. This time spent overseas was a special time in his life and I wanted to honour that, so ‘Henry’ he is.

Henry will also be available in the E-Book, ‘Knitted Animals from Africa’ that will be published soon. Just a hippo and I think a snake to go and please I am open to suggestions, if there is an African animal you would like to see in the book, please post your suggestions in the comments for me:)

Enjoy your week!

PS If you haven’t entered the wonderful Armadillo Dreams giveaway yet, it is still open.


Natural Dyeing with Onion Skins

I have really been enjoying all the knitting that has been going on around here and felt I really wanted to knit a cowl with naturally dyed wool with an autumn theme. I have been saving onions skins in a packet in the veggie drawer and I finally had enough today to dye some wool. It is such fun watching the colours develop in the dye pot and attach to the wool. So if you feel you would like to give natural dyeing a try, I took some photos of the process to share here…

About 5 handfuls of red and brown onion skins
Stainless steel pot used only for your dyeing
Merino wool

Wind your wool into a skein if it isn’t already in one. Soak the skein in a bowl of water for a few hours, making sure the water reaches every part of your skein. Then place some vinegar in the water and leave this to stand for another hour or so.

I love the look of these onion skins!
Fill your pot half full with water and place the onion skins in the water. Push the skins under the water and turn on the heat. Bring the pot to almost boiling point, don’t let it boil as I find this ruins the vibrant colour. Then turn down the heat and let it cool a little. It is always a good idea to let the wool and the dye bath be the same temperature when the wool is placed in the pot so that it isn’t ‘shocked’ as this will negatively affect the colourway.

Lovely rich colour.

Place the skein of wool in the dye bath and allow the pot to simmer gently, don’t let it boil or the colour will become a dirty brown and the wool will felt. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes until there is a beautiful rich colour on the wool.

When you are happy with the colour, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

When your wool has cooled, remove it from the dye bath and rinse it in a basin of water.

Gently squeeze out the water from the skein and hang it out to dry.

And that’s all there is too it:)

PS. this embroidered tea towel is one I sewed when I was in primary school…

Happy wool dyeing! ūüôā


Natural Wool Dyeing with Rooibos Tea

I have been needing to dye up some Rooibos Tea Merino wool for a Labrador dog that I am going to knit for someone and I thought I would share the process with you. Dyeing wool is such fun and I enjoy natural dyeing because I am using something from nature and that makes it very special to me. 
So here we go, just grab some wool and tea and we are off…:)
Some  Rooibos tea bags, I used about 6
100 grams / 3.5 ounces of wool
First I soaked my wool in some warm water and added a little liquid soap, I left that to soak overnight and then the following day, I squeezed the water out of the wool and placed it in another basin of water and added some vinegar, this helps the colour to stick to the wool. I left the wool in the vinegar water for about an hour.
On the stove, I heated up enough water to cover the wool (once added, not yet) and added the tea bags, brought the water to the boil and let it simmer to release the tea from the bags. Once the water was a lovely rich tea colour and had cooled down quite a lot, I squeezed the water out of the wool in the vinegar solution and added the skeins to the pot. You can remove your tea bags if you wish, but I always leave mine in the dye pot. I slowly heated the dye bath until it was very hot but not boiling and then I turned it down to simmer for about an hour or so. I removed the pot from the stove and allowed it to cool, I usually leave my wool in the dye bath for a few hours and then remove the wool from the pot and place it in a basin of water to rinse out the remaining tea. Keep rinsing the wool until the water runs clear and then hang up to dry.
And there you have it, lovely golden Rooibos tea skeins of wool! Such fun:)

I had a few extra skeins, so I have added them to my shop:) The wool is DK and can be knitted with 4mm / 6 US needles.
Happy dyeing,


Gardening and Dyeing Yarn Naturally

Yesterday, Caiden started a new Spring¬†homeschooling block all about gardening, planting, insects etc… The block can be found on this wonderful Yahoo group called Waldorf Home Educators, it is an amazing¬†homeschooling resource that is freely available on the internet. It is Marsha Johnson’s beautiful Yahoo group. If you haven’t already joined as a member, it really is a wonderful place to visit. You could quite easily put together your own curriculum from everything she offers in her ‘Files’ section, under ‘Age Specific Curriculum’.
Caiden decided to plant his own veg garden, he chose the veggies that he wanted to grow and then I found some craft sticks. He labelled each stick with the plant name and the date of planting and put these at the end of each row of veggie seeds. He really enjoyed planting his own garden. Now he will be able to know by looking at the date on his sticks, when a good time will be to plant again for succession planting. He is also going to save some seeds for next years planting.

Labelling his veggies…

I was so excited to discover this little Lady Bug on one of the broad bean plants. All the beans are healthy and there is just one that has aphids. Sure enough, this little bug was there getting rid of the aphids from the plant and restoring balance. This was such a lovely learning experience of how nature swoops in when she is needed without us doing a thing


Today, I custom dyed some mohair yarn for someone to be used as Waldorf doll hair. I dyed my yarn with Eucalyptus bark. It has come out a lovely honey blond colour. I am going to dye up some more for the shop too.

I just had to share this beautiful bear with you. My brilliant and very talented friend, Heidi has designed this wonderful African Flower¬†Bear Pattern, the bear’s name is Lollo, isn’t she just gorgeous!!! The pattern has just been made available¬†for purchase¬†on Ravelry, I love it!!¬†The pattern is so detailed and wonderfully written, I can’t wait to start this project:)

I am off to start preparations for my mom’s birthday tomorrow, Caiden’s 10th birthday on Thursday and our trip to the farm…

Take care

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