Last summer, amidst the flurry of plantings, weddings, and markets, we saved plant material to experiment with natural dyes this winter. Marigolds hung from our rafters all throughout the summer and fall, rudbeckia heads were laid out to dry. Our neighbor Margot saved black walnut husks for us from the trees outside our window – her fingertips kept the signs of walnut for months.
This winter our kitchen was full of dye pots simmering away. It’s been so fun to play with the colors that certain plant matter and flowers contain. Marigolds give of a soft tan to golden yellow, black walnuts this deep, rich brown, and rudbeckia offers a silvery sage green when it’s simmered in an iron afterbath. We have a few skeins for sale in our shop.
I’m really excited to continue experimenting with natural dyes this season. Our friends Emily and Tatyana at Local Color Fiber Studio, introduced us to natural dyes when we lived on Bainbridge Island (they do a spectacular job). I’ve been fascinated with the idea of incorporating natural dyes into our flower farm ever since. We are constantly deadheading our flowers. We’re all about plant material most of the year, translating these plants into fibers seems like a beautiful and natural component of our farm.
The colors and textures of flowers are one of the things that captivate me the most. I love that these colors can be shared through fiber and textiles as well. Keep your ears open – we have a few fun natural dye adventures up our sleeves for this summer.