Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Drying Dyestuffs - The Harvest and The Storage

When you are foraging or harvesting plants for dyeing you may only collect a few at a time.  Sometimes not even enough to make a dye pot's worth.  For example: I use at least 2:1 amount of plant material to yarn for any dyeing I do.   That means if I have a 4oz skein of wool yarn, I need at least 8 oz of plant material to do my project.  If I can't collect enough in that one day I will keep the plants material for when I do have enough.

The best way to do this is to store the material in a air tight container out of sunlight. However, whether it be flower, mushroom, leaf etc., it usually has some moisture content and needs to dry out completely before storing or it will mold.

Below I have listed my favorite ways to dry my plants and mushrooms.

#1 - Food Dehydrator - I put buying one of these off for a long time because of the cost - but I am glad I finally got one!  They are so predictable and fast. It takes about one day to dry materials which is great for storing your materials fast.

 #2. Hang to dry - This is an easy, low cost, and pretty way to display your plants and dry them for future use. I harvest a few items at a time and tie them with twine and hang them upside down.


 #3. Dry outside on a screen - it provides good air flow to dry the flowers quickly and dries a large amount all at once.

After drying your dye materials I suggest putting them in an airtight container. The cool jars below we found at an antique store.  These materials are now ready for dyeing and look nice hanging out until you do!

Happy Harvesting and Dyeing!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Presenting: The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

I am happy to announce the new book by Kristine Vejar!  Kristine has been working on this book for the past 2 years.  I am so proud of her for putting together her work together to share with the world.  If you don't know Kristine, she is a natural dyer, who lives and works in Oakland, California.  Kristine owns A Verb for Keeping Warm, a 1,700 sq. ft. brick and mortar space that is dedicated to natural fibers, teaching, and producing beautiful naturally dyed yarn, fiber, and fabric.  Half the space is a retail store that showcases yarn from various other companies that Kristine has curated and feels is vital to the beauty of hand making.  She believes in natural fibers, such as wool, and produces three different lines of yarn that are made from local wool and naturally dyed by her.  She is also invested in domestic manufacturing and small production artisans working in her community.  

The Modern Natural Dyer guides you through the dyeing process by introducing the many plants that give reliable and colorfast dyes.  Kristine then describes in detail, with beautiful how-to images by amazing photographer, Sara Remington, the preparation of materials to work as a foundation for your dyeing adventures.  The book then presents you with 20 different textile projects that exemplifies each skill needed for a successful natural dyeing practice. 

The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen, and Cotton at Home 
by Kristine Vejar 
Published by Abrams, STC Craft,  New York. 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61769-175-1