Healing Handcrafting

exploring process and healing through fiber arts and handcrafting


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The Drone and The Chant

I am dyeing wool right now, after a bit of a break. Flowers that I placed in jars with water about a month ago to collect sunlight have been waiting to be turned into dye paths. As I sit outside next to my pots, I can appreciate the fact that they waited too long. They are generously sharing their riotous scent. Maybe odor is the better word. Wow. My cats seem to love it, but I think I might be smelling this in my memory for years to come. It will be an experiment. I dyed with marigolds earlier in the summer after a 24-hour sun soak. Will this dye bath produce different colors?

This is a heavy time. While sitting and tending to my smelly pots, I tune into the drone, drone, endless drone of the crickets and grasshoppers. I’ve really appreciated them this year, but today for some reason, I’m moved by a different feeling. Sadness and maybe a touch of apprehension. How long will this song go on, or as I think about it, I realize that I’m imagining the wrong song to be the constant.

I love bagpipes. When I hear them, I start to cry almost instantaneously. One of my favorite memories is of a time I was taking a walk with my son on the beach. It was a beautiful dusk, he was a baby, in my arms, warm and cozy. I heard bagpipes and turned and there was a man, facing the ocean, playing this ancient instrument. I made my way closer and sat down, holding my boy, rocking him to the sound of the waves and the magic music. I cried because I felt grateful and like somehow, in this moment, I was holding on to a rope, connecting us to our ancestors.

Most bagpipes have at least one drone and one chanter. The drone is what makes that one, long constant sound around which the chanter is played to make the melody.  It occurred to me today that really, what I’ve been considering the drone of grasshoppers and crickets is really the chant around the drone. That specific, hypnotic sound is part of the melody of summer and early fall. It changes in volume and pattern throughout the season, as does the chant of frogs, birds, water flow, energy and even life and death. These things I get so attached to and imagine as constant are really just the chant around the drone of something so much more constant. I suppose that’s where religion, philosophy or other things come in to play. I remember reading in college about an astronomer, Tycho Brahe I think, who believed that the planets all made their own unique sound as they rotated around their axes. That may very well be the one iota I recall from that class, but I loved it then, and it resonates now.

Anyway, who ever said that dyeing wool and working with flowers and raising children and thinking about life was straightforward?

Here’s some recent pics:

What is this funny bug nest on a willow leaf?

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Tiny willow branches in a warp/weft attempt.

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Then what happened…

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Collection of willow leaves and branches for my next dye pot.

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I’m starting to gather lichen from bits found on walks (not on live trees!) and from wood delivered for this coming winter.

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It takes a while to collect lichen. As it should.

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I had come to call this “our deer”. An orphan, we watched this deer grow up all summer, losing its white spots, enjoying the wild flowers in our field. I think I just saw it dead on the side of the road coming home from dropping my kids off at school, having been hit by a car. We always told each other when we saw it, keeping an eye out for it, wondering where it would go this winter. Just the other day, we talked about rehabbing our wearing out play fort to make a comfy spot for deer to sleep if it got really cold. I wish people would slow down when they drive, put their phones down, remember that there are animals around. I guess it was seeing our deer, dead and alone on the road that made me think of what chants are swirling around the constant drone. I know this is just part of it, but damn…

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink and End of Summer Turbulence

I’ll admit to being one very distractible and lack-of-focus afflicted person at present. It is hard to figure out why. Here are some possible reasons: the intense heat has made working with wool mildly unpleasant; the coming to an end of summer vacation fills me with a nagging dread and combating impulses – do as much as I can with my kids and make the remaining days epic-style awesome vs. relax and take each day as it comes and just make sure to swim; anticipation of having time to organize my projects, my work and my goals and a drive to get started, get to finishing, and get organized. I teach at a local college, have a small clinical private practice, I hope to bring fiber art and craft to more kids this year, and I have some writing projects I long to pursue. All of these responsibilities and goals, plus being a mommy to two young ones has me, well, a little all-over-place, and I think that is reflected in my project heap and book pile. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve recently finished, what I’m working on and what I’m reading with those of you who read this here blog of mine. Maybe you, too, find the end of summer to be a little, well, turbulent?

Azel Pullover

~ I finished the Azel Pullover for my daughter. I love it. I truly do. It is not completed just as the pattern was written. It’s a bit shorter, and I modified the cowl neck because the numbering of stitches was off and it was making it wonky, so I ended up just knitting in the round which made a great looking band around the neck. By the way, the creator of this pattern is wonderful, and responded to a question I had about it in a very short amount of time.

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~ As part of completing the above pattern, I acquired a whole bunch of new skills in the knitting department: the cable knit cast-on, picking up stitches, making button holes (not elegantly executed this first go-round, but I can get the buttons through them), and fixing big mistakes (I practiced understanding what stitches look like when you have to take out a few rows and get them back on the needles).

~ I also got to use the knitting needles my grandmother gave me. You can read about them here. I am so happy about that.

Circular Weaving

I just completed the circular weaving piece that I started a while back. You can read about that here. It was supposed to, in my imagination, lie flat, but alas, it does not and is currently awaiting a super modification that I am actually very excited about. The hoped-for meditation mat will turn into a bowl to hold organic materials I plan to use to spin into yarn or work into weaving pieces.

Sewing With My Kids

Both of my littles have begun sewing their own little dolls, which is truly wonderful. You know, it is one thing to practice slowing down and exercising patience when it’s just me I’m reckoning with. When I’m working on projects with my children, I’ve realized that it’s best if I have some project in my hands, but one I’m not absorbed with. Nothing kills creativity and learning like impatience from the guide. I’ve been guilty of that and have made a dedicated effort not to let my own inclination towards impatience that I so readily apply to myself destroy these quiet moments with my children. I think I’ve made headway in this department.

I recently read a book to my children called Cloth Lullaby, by Amy Novesky. It is about the artist Louise Bourgeois and especially, her relationship with her mother, who was a weaver and tapestry artist. Louise apprenticed under her mother and later in her life became a renowned artist in her own right. Her giant sculptures of spiders, who were inspired by her mother, are one of her hallmark themes. Spiders create thread and repair and build and, in one part of the book, the author describes how when webs are damaged, spiders do not get angry; they simply repair them. In this beautiful book, I was reminded of an important ideal~ steadfast and calm repairing and steadfast and calm teaching. I was grateful to have read it with my littles.

Organized My Fibers and Garage Space

I spent a good amount of time going through all of my materials and getting them organized in a way that will make project planning and gathering much easier in the months to come. I do plan on doing a fair amount of dyeing wool and experimenting in the fall.

Wool I Dyed and Carded

I’m not done with carding all of the wool yet! But here are the results of the washed, dyed and carded Shetland I wrote about recently. It’s so beautiful. Coreopsis is quite the dye plant and is shown on the right. On the left is Shetland dyed with marigold.

Books I Am Reading

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott~ I love the way she writes about every single thing. I need some writing advice and she’s my go-to for that.

Stitch By Stitch, by Carolyn Meyer~ I really want to know how to do rudimentary needlework. I’m struggling with this because it is a bit of a departure for me, and I’m not sure it’s wise to start yet another journey into another handcraft when I have so many I already love and could get much more proficient at, but have you seen this book –> Slow Stitch: Mindful and contemplative textile art, by Claire Wellesley-Smith. This book inspires me in a way that is almost painful. The colors, the textures and the soothing promise of slowing down is really speaking to me and I want to figure out a way to work this in to what I do both in my own handwork practice and with others.

Would anyone like to do a slow and consistent, chapter by chapter Stitch-Along with me, using Slow Stitch as the guide? Seriously. Write me if you do.

This summer has included many beautiful times with family and with friends, many bike rides and lake swims and creemees, lots of convalescing after some antibiotic side effect havoc, lots of chip eating and garden tending.

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Days have been long and night sounds have been welcome and wild. Temperatures have been hot and rain has been scarce. News has been painful and overwhelming. The Olympics have been awe-inspiring. And the days are going on and each one offers a new chance to get connected with the present moment, to breath and to not resist the passing of time. I think in the coming weeks before school starts, that is what I’ll be trying to keep in the forefront of my mind. To look and to truly see, to hear and to truly listen, to touch and to truly feel.

Yes. That.

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Let the Dirty, Smelly,Wonderful, Softening Labor of Skirting, Washing and Carding Wool Begin!

This week, I grabbed the bull (or sheep) by the horns (in my imagination), and started processing a whole lot of wonderful wool. After my son, then my daughter and then I got through strep throat this summer, I needed to really get in gear and re-find my focus. Knowing that this week would be hot and sunny, I decided to use the sun’s marvelous power to do most of the work of scouring for me. But I’ll get to that. I started with some lovely Shetland I picked up about a month ago from a wonderful couple who absolutely adore their sheep.

Here is a picture of some of the beauties with their summer do.

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When I first began working with raw wool and learning how to spin, I’ll admit to just jumping in and not doing a whole lot of homework first. I remember with my first fleece, I felt guilty about not using every last bit of wool, but for the very dirty parts. I washed and rinsed and washed some more, picked, flicked, carded and re-carded. I could not bear to waste it. I’ve since learned that there are different parts of a fleece that are much better than others, that seasoned spinners do not use every last bit for yarn, but might use the not wonderful parts for stuffing for toys, compost, insulation, etc… Before starting on these fleeces, I found a bit of literature that is so incredibly helpful on the topic of skirting fleeces. People who take the time to share this sort of expertise in such a generous way are really so kind. I am grateful to them for describing so well what they know. Check it out if you are looking for some skirting fleece information.

You can see below the pile of wool from one fleece, already skirted, and another two waiting to go.

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Then it was time to scour. I like doing this before carding and spinning, but I know many do not. I do not overly scour, I don’t think, because I love keeping the lanolin feel as much as I can, but I do want it to be clean. I wish I had taken a picture of my hands post-skirting. They were shiny and soft from the lanolin. I never grow tired from the irony of having silky, soft hands after doing the hard and dirty work of skirting a raw fleece. It is a marvelous metaphor, I think. We must get our hands dirty in life. We must fully dig in. Work. Feel. Love. Grieve. Get into the thick of it. We will be made softer, humbler, and maybe even shiny every now and then, if we allow ourselves to be hewn by the at times roughness of life.

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While I love hard work, carrying pot after pot of hot water outside to fill my bins in order to scour wool is not what I had energy for. It occurred to me that the sun could do most of the heating work. So, I filled the bins with hose water, plus two big pots of hot water to get a jump start, and then some soap. After the water rose to a lukewarm temperature, I added the wool and let it soak for a long time. Later, I passed it to the rinse bin of warm water and let it soak some more. I did this with all three fleeces and have to say, I see no reason to go back to another way, at least not while it’s so hot! With the lids on the bins, the water’s temperature rose very significantly, but slowly, making the scouring a gentle and simple process.

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I love the look and smell of drying wool. I see bits that will get shaken or carded out once fully dry. Mostly I see fingerless mitts, a hat and hopefully a big fluffy cowl to keep warmth and raw beauty alive in the midst of our stark winters.

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Oh, last but not least, I’ve started some solar powered dye baths using in one jar, marigolds and in another, coreopsis. I think I’ll dye up some of this white Shetland tomorrow.

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Knowing One’s Landscape

This summer, I contracted Lyme Disease. Mid-July, when I was feeling better than I ever have in my adult life, but for the achy joints and stiff neck, a big ole rash showed up on my back. I figured it was just a horsefly bite, but by the next day, it took on the tell-tale bulls-eye shape, and my symptoms went from mildly annoying and easy to pass-off as over-exertion from running and exercising to being really, fully and wholly awful. Before this, I was out in our field, our woods and our yard very often, looking for flowers and other things that I could throw into a dye pot. I have ridiculous amounts of wool to dye, and I made it my job to experiment with as much as I could.

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I don’t know where I picked the tick up. I didn’t know I had the bite and only recall asking my husband to see if there was something on my back a few weeks prior. He didn’t see anything.

Since then, I’ve been gun-shy about field flower-picking and woods walking. I look at my back woods and wish I felt comfortable heading into that beautiful place, to look for fallen branches with bark I can use, or mushrooms I can harvest and experiment with. Just yesterday, after cleaning my shed and periodically picking up hickory nuts to dye with, I picked a minuscule tick off of my ear. It’s so small, I can’t tell if it’s engorged or not, but I think it is, which means I likely got it somewhere else and not from my yard.

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Why share this whole story here? Well, because I’m aware of the possibility of fear getting between me and something I deeply long to do. I can tell you with all of my being that I don’t want to get Lyme Disease again, and I wouldn’t wish it on any other living thing. Ticks are this crazy, mind-boggling paranoia inducing creature. If I lived near leeches, I’d have the same issue with them. Remember that scene from Stand By Me? Oh no. I’d perish on the spot. Spontaneous combustion style.

Anyway, I want to forage, pick and search for beautiful things to use to dye beautiful wool and I’m realizing that a very important mandate is demanding to be respected. Know the Landscape in Which I Work. I learned how to think this way while training at the Assisi Institute under the tutelage of Michael Conforti, Ph.D. He lectured frequently about how, when working with people, with dreams, with story and with symbol, that one must understand and be acquainted with the qualities and specifics to the given place, person, animal, landscape, etc. Know the landscape. This applies to all things. To teaching, to business, to swimming… Take swimming: the rules that apply to swimming in a pool are inherently specific to swimming in pools and different than rules that apply to swimming in rivers. And oceans. There are different mandates that apply to these different settings and one must honor them in order to navigate the waters safely and with success. Swimming in an ocean demands having an understanding of riptides, the sea-life specific to that area, tides and weather. One need not know these same specifics in a pool, but one must know about depth of water before diving, as well as whether it is salt water or chlorinated (some people are allergic to chlorine). These are not exhaustive lists, but you get the idea.

The same is true for gathering flowers and plants. One must know where one is in the world, what animals rely upon the plants one is gathering, how much of a plant can be taken without threatening future growth and what plants might have irritants (ever pick stinging nettle? That’ll ruin a couple of hours in a day if you don’t handle it properly). And, of course, when walking in nature, one must know of any possible dangers. I don’t live out west, but if I did, and if I were walking in very remote areas, I’d want to know about bear, cougar and snakes. Here, in Vermont, I want to know how to identify signs of bobcat and coyote. I know they aren’t likely to harm me, but they could do some damage to my cat who follows me everywhere on our property, and frankly, I’m not interested in running into larger predators with my kids. And ticks. I have to understand ticks and how to prevent tick bites, even when I’m not doing the typical things that one thinks of as being “risky” in terms of ticky situations.

I’m seeing clearly how much I need to respect my environment, and understand it, to fully enjoy its beauty and offerings. Maybe a full and comprehensive understanding will help me gently nudge my fear into caution.

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Summertime Dyeing, Part 2

In Vermont, it is still hot. Too hot. I never thought I’d say that, but maybe after all of these years, the longing for the change into winter has evolved and grown. I’m catching up now, with projects begun in the early summer and late summer months, so that I might get some things in order to prepare for the coming autumn. I have a lot to make for the Women’s Festival of Crafts at the end of November, and there are new things I want to try. I would love to attempt weaving again, and I would love to try to knit something a little bit complicated, with color pick-ups, maybe, where gauge matters. I do worry a bit about getting frustrated or feeling defeated, but I think that’s exactly why I should try these things. If I want to make it, I gotta learn how to do it!

Anyway, before I wrap things up for the summer months in this blog, I wanted to document and share with you more about my plant dye experiments with wool. And I guess, writing a post that includes a “Part 1” in the title suggests that more is coming on the topic, right? Well, here’s Part 2.

In June, I was gripped by the pull of flowers, trees and all things planty. I longed to see what came of what was all around me in my yard. Here is a part of my dye journal: 

“I am at a stage of dyeing wool where experimentation and flexibility are key. The mystery is so much fun, but I know that around the corner is more discipline and study. This morning as my children played with a friend, I wandered around our wet yard and gathered purple clover and buttercup flowers. I filled a small basket my mom gave me; purple on one side, yellow on the other. My daughter occasionally ran to me with small bundles of flowers. I saw little grasshoppers and butterflies and I breathed and felt the air and heard the laughter. I was aware at one point of my own hastiness and then remembered there was no reason to rush or to apply urgency to this job. Urgency is everywhere. I carry it on my shoulders like a silent, heavy monkey. Once I realized my company, I uninvited it with each little pick and pinch of the lovely weeds. I could feel my belly relax and gratitude enter.”

 What I did:

~ Buttercups with a few evening primrose flowers thrown in, plus stems from both. Mordant- alum.

~ Purple Clover, flowers and stems. Mordant- alum.

What I got:

It’s not especially easy to see, but trust me when I tell you that the buttercups made a lovely, light yellow, and the clovers made a very light brown. I was delighted with the outcome! 

Around this same time, I did an experiment with horsetail. With this, I just poured almost boiling water over a lot of horsetail in a pot and let it sit in my garage for a few days. It was the boiling of that in my house that resulted in my moving my whole operation out into the garage. It sure did smell bad. Real bad. I didn’t admit it then in the face of the rebellion on my hands, but it did. I’m sure the soaking weed worked up a bit of gunk in those few days. The results though, were lovely! I got another nice golden yellow with a brown hue.

I’m sure by now, if you’ve read my other posts, you’ve noticed a theme. I seem to keep coming back to the idea of slowing things down. Way down. Maybe some of you are not afflicted by the sense of busy-ness, rushed-ness and too much of everything-ness always shaping a day, but I find those feelings or experiences of life impact even the most peaceful of days if I’m not careful. It’s sort of an automatic way of thinking and behaving. I think the act of going outside, collecting flowers or plants to dye with, when you don’t exactly know what the results are going to be, is an ultimate exercise in combatting that daily life habit. 


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Marshfield School of Weaving- Plant Dyes for Wool

I had the great fortune to take a class at the Marshfield School of Weaving yesterday. This class was about dyeing wool with plants and other natural dyestuffs. Our teacher was Joann Darling, who is a weaver, dyer, soap-maker and plant expert (what is the word for that?). When asked what certain plants were, or what plant give which colors, Joann knew the scientific name; let’s just put it that way. Better put, our small group of five students was in very good hands. I think the best way to tell the story of yesterday would be to comment on each picture.

I left my home kind of early on Sunday morning to head down to the school, about an hour drive from my home. The front seat was full of food to bring for our potluck lunch, my sunhat, bags with snacks, drinks, notebooks and other essentials. It was a beautiful morning- dewey, quiet and kind of fuzzy around the edges. I felt a little nervous as I left, but more excited and curious about what was going to happen in the day. As I got closer to the school, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by, and grateful for, the beautiful views and the quiet. These are definitely a perks to living in Vermont. Oftentimes, where one must go to learn a traditional craft or skill is a beautiful place, set out of the way. Craggy land, full cows and swaying trees were balm to my eyes as I wove up these country roads I’d never been on before.

And here is the entrance to the school. I did laugh out loud with joy as I saw where I’d be spending my day.

When I approached the building, our teacher Joann was busy outside getting things ready. She showed me into the studio and I felt immediately welcomed into the beautiful school. As I looked around, I was so happy to see yarn everywhere! And one whole wall was yarn dyed with natural dyestuffs. It was so beautiful. The light was soft and round, and every which way I looked, I saw things I wanted to touch, understand and look at.

I wasn’t sure where we were meeting at first. I am so used to classroomy types of learning environments, so I made the assumption that there must be a place where we’d sit for a long time and take notes and get really official. I went upstairs assuming I’d find this. Instead, I found the studio. There were many looms of all different sizes. One gentleman was weaving at a very large loom (I don’t weave, so I don’t know what the different looms are called). And there were two women walking about, looking at things. We started talking and they were there to take the class, too. They are both weavers and were so generous with advice and knowledge about looms. I’m hoping to get a small one soon, and here already were two beautiful guides into that world. 

We learned soon that no, we’d not be sitting at tables taking notes. We’d be outside getting right into it with guidance from Joann. The other participants in our group were a sheep farmer and an herbalist. Within a short time, we found our rhythm and got to the work of collecting goldenrod, sorting mini-yarn skeins to be used in all the dye pots, chopping other plants, picking flowers, washing, tending to pots and listening.

I just love this barn board. The colors and patterns are so strong. 

Below is a picture of goldenrod going into the pot.

Here is a picture of Joann stirring the BIG pot~ I’m not sure what’s in there in this picture. There was a lot of boiling and a lot of rotating dye stuffs in and out. I love this picture. 

This is a student chopping up some flowers.

Once we got several dye pots going, we took a walk up quiet roads to the gardens of someone willing to share madder root and dyer’s greenwood. I haven’t gardened much this summer because of contracting the dreaded Lyme disease, so to get my hands in soil with a sweet purpose was just what the doctor ordered. The views and the quiet were also incredible treats.

Once back to the pots, we broke for lunch in the shade, and then got to making more dyestuffs and hanging our wool to dry. We also did lots of overdyeing experiments with indigo. 

I wish I had taken better pictures of the yarn on the line, but you can see many of the colors we achieved in our efforts, and especially our teacher’s efforts, over the course of the day. Every dye pot had samples of yarn, half mordanted in alum and half in iron, so we got two color results from the same plant, plus a third if it was overdyed with indigo. As we got our books ready, Joann was available for questions and stories, and as each color was added to my book, I felt more and more proud and impressed by the outcome of our work. 

It was hard to leave this beautiful place. You know, the people going there to weave, to dye, to spin… I can only assume are not in a rush. Maybe I am projecting, but I think it must be true. Towards the end of the day, when I knew it was time to hit the road to get home to my family, I felt the first twinges of urgency, but that was only to do with my own inner need to reunite with my littles. There, in this extremely beautiful and entirely functional setting, I felt as if the sun and my stomach had become my clock. When the big beautiful tree covered us in lovely shade as we ate, it marked the natural passing of time, the pots simmering away with their unique and seasonally affected color potions.

On the way home, I could only daydream about following up on things I want to learn about, and experiment with. I think a forever student I’ll be.


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Summertime Dyeing, Part 1

I cannot remember why I started the process of learning how to dye wool with plants. I did not arrive at the decision because of a strong opinion about synthetic dyes or because of an already held skill set. In fact, I hadn’t tried it until this summer because I found the whole thing to be rather intimidating. There’s a whole lot to it, especially if you’re going for a certain color. I find precision to be an anxiety-provoking requirement of any project. That is why I haven’t gone further with sewing. It really does matter if you measure correctly when you’re making pants, right? Anyway, I decided to relax into natural dyeing and just experiment and to allow myself the freedom to see what happens, which was also an exercise in patience, flexibility and managing expectations. While I’m not great at precision, the fantasy of perfection is a constant nagging companion, and reckoning with perfection’s shadow side is an important job for me.

The first round of dyeing experiments started with an early morning walk with my daughter. We collected willow tree branches and leaves, and some long stems of some false indigo. We sorted and picked and plucked. It was quiet and kind of chilly. The birds were doing their early morning show and our cat was making his rounds around our home’s perimeter. Eventually, we put the plants in their own dye pots and started the slow process of simmering in water.


(Note: early this summer, I did my dyeing in the kitchen, but guess what? It’s stinks! Not to me, but to others who are not similarly obsessed and just want to eat their breakfast in peace. Now my operation is in the garage, which is fully aerated, and I have the company of a gigantic spider.) 

Once the dye pots were cooling, I got my creamy wool simmering in the mordant bath (alum). For the willow and false indigo, I used some border leicester wool I have on hand. Finally, it was time to introduce the wool to the dye baths! If I had to choose one aspect of dyeing with natural dyes that is so important, and on its own a wise teacher, it would be the demand for patience and for overcoming the urge to rush a pot. Too rapidly boiling the plants can damage the flowers and alter the color; too rapidly boiling the fiber can damage the quality of the wool. Not simmering fibers in the mordant for long enough will lead to a weaker uptake of color and not letting the fibers sit in the cooling dyepot long enough will do the same, plus you can hurt yourself! And in this case, the wool I used for these dyepots I received in its raw form; it had to be skirted, picked through and washed before it could even be dyed.

Breathe. 

Putter and check. 

Think and wonder and hope without attachment. 

Eat some snacks, drink some coffee. 

Do a chore, write a note.

Don’t forget to check the pot.

Look out the window and wonder about that flower and if it too could bring color.

Open up to learning about plants and their names.

Don’t panic about not knowing.


Here is what we got:

Weeping Willow Tree: leaves and twigs & border leicester wool; uncarded locks and carded batt. 


And the False Indigo leaves, stems and flowers & border leicester wool: 

Remember that whole thing about precision and my aversion for it? Well, if you follow directions really well and have the time and ability to focus on what you’re doing, I understand it’s possible to get blue. That is in my future. but for now, we got:

A wonderful first go at natural dyeing for me. And a funny thing has happened on the way to the natural dye pot. My eyes have opened up a bit more, and curiosity has expanded exponentially. Walking through my yard, or through the woods or in a field, I now see bits of color everywhere, some of which I overlooked in other days. Now I look at bark on a fallen log and wonder what it would do with some attention from heat and water. And how’s about those berries? Can I share them with the animals here? The tension between wanting to dye everything with everything I see now and knowing that time and patience are necessary ingredients of any dyeing experiment is a gift in its own right. 

I’ll share more of my summer experiments in posts to come. In the meantime, I want to share my go-to books right now on the natural dyeing process:

A Garden to Dye For, by Chris McLaughlin

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes, by Rebecca Burgess

The Craft of Natural Dyeing: Glowing Colours From the Plant World, by Jenny Dean

What kinds of things do you do that allow you to slow down, exercise patience and enjoy curiosity?