in which promises are fulfilled



The first time I filmed with Craftsy, they asked me to get a manicure for the camera. This time around, they understood how futile that was. 

FRIENDS, the rainbow explosion has happened again. You can find my second Craftsy class, Next Steps in Yarn Dyeing, right here*, and that link actually gives you 25% off because you’re a blog reader and that is special to me. (*Mandatory legal language cut and paste: Get 25% off the full retail price of select Craftsy classes taught by Sarah Eyre. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires October 27, 2017.)

There’s a bunch of new techniques in here: handpainting, self-striping, fiber dyeing, and more. I know, it very specifically says yarn dyeing, right? SURPRISE. I know- spoilers!- but I thought some of you might want to know.

And if you haven’t taken my first class, Professional Yarn Dyeing at Home,  or if you haven’t ever dyed before but you’d like to give it a try (and you really should, it’s a blast) you can find that here, too!

I’ve been filling my time waiting for the class to release working on natural dyeing. I’ve been working on dyeing cloth samples for the homeschool collective I’ll be teaching in the fall; I’ve been working on cotton fat quarters and quarter yards, which is incredibly gratifying- they are so FAST and I need so little in the way of dye materials! I’m still doing my odd silks, as I mean to use those with the children as well, but we will primarily be working in cotton twill and jersey, so I’m mainly focusing there.


natural dye - 6

Cotton twill mordanted with alum, dyed with onion skin, hibiscus, elderberry, currant, raspberry, blueberry.

I’ll be taking some of these pieces of cotton and making a few things for myself & others with them, I think- I have more than I need, it’s good fabric, and I love the patterns left behind by the organic materials.


natural dye - 9

Cotton twill, alum mordant, solar dyed with turmeric and blueberries.

Years back someone anonymously sent me several pounds of organic turmeric. (Thank you, random stranger!) I’ve been using one of the containers to make turmeric teas, but I’ve been meaning to crack the other and do some dyeing for a while now- it’s a famous older dye and I’d heard the yellow it gave was impressive. IT IS.

Sam had some blueberries that were about to go over in the fridge- most were squishy enough that they wouldn’t be enjoyable to eat- so I repurposed those as dye materials, too, hoping that they indigo- blurple would translate well. I smashed them directly into the fabric with my fingers, hoping for pretty much what I got- irregularly placed, blurple spot-smudges. This is by far my favorite of the natural cotton dyes and I’m going to be playing a lot more with turmeric— I have a thrifted cotton sweater in a mondo jar of turmeric and alum on my counter right now, actually, and I can’t wait to pull it out in a few days and maybe work some details into the sleeves with a different color. (My wardrobe is about to get all kinds of Carol Kane weird and I am EXCITED ABOUT IT. What else is 40 + textile skills good for?)

I really love the idea of using things that would otherwise be useless, like those blueberries that are about to go over- and onion skins, come to think of it. I’ve been going over everything that comes in and out of our kitchen with a fine-toothed comb lately, making certain that we aren’t wasting anything I could possibly use to dye.


natural dye - 7

Cotton twill, alum mordant, dyed with onion skins, apple, hibiscus blossoms, rosehips, strawberry, and beet. 

I have a few cotton jersey shirts going at the moment, too- tanks and a long sleeve- but those are still in the bath or the drying process, so I’ll need to show those to you later. It’s a super addictive process, especially once I realized that I pretty much always have materials on hand- I’m more likely to run out of cloth or white clothes to dye. (That’s worrisome, minorly. I may actually end up with no white clothes at all. Is that a problem?)

I’m headed out to a couple of estate sales this afternoon to hunt for nasty cast iron pans. I had terrific luck recently- I found an old, half- wrecked cast iron Dutch oven a few weeks ago, and restoring it has been a lot of fun (I took pictures, naturally, and I’ll share that soon but this blog post is already too long!). I’ll be using that for natural dyeing, but now that I know how easy it is I’d like to do it a little more. What is everybody else doing this weekend?




  One thought on “in which promises are fulfilled

  1. AnnaMarie Zurawski-Lubow
    July 29, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I’m going back to my SCA family and my favorite garb is linen. I’m going to be processing a lot of onions this week and I’m saving all the skins. I hope I can use them to dye some linen or kirtles. Linen is a PITA to dye but I’d love to get at least some color on the white that I have. I find myself wanting to buy ALL THE BOOKS again but alas… budget. The library will get my IILL request soon.

    Congratulations on your new class! I’ll definitely be taking it soon. I always learn things from you.

    • July 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      I haven’t taken linen on yet but OH that sounds so good. You’ve got a ton of options, too— beet comes to mind immediately, it gives that gorgeous pink. (Also, pokeberries are about to turn in about 2 weeks- pinks, corals, purples, you NAME IT. You have to wear gloves, it’s toxic, but so gorgeous.)

  2. July 29, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Besides waiting eagerly for this blog post, I’m camping and knitting the Starting Point shawl with five of my own hand-dyed yarns that I learned how to do from you!

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