Adventures in Natural Dyeing

If you follow Handcraeft on social media, you already know that I’ve been dabbling in natural dyeing the last months. It started with simple tea-dyeing, just with the tea I happened to have in my kitchen pantry. Black tea, rooibos tea, any tea. Then I started playing with cut flowers that I had leftover in the house, like daffodils. I used a bottle of wine that I opened and didn’t like, and ended up with with a muted purpley-red osnaburg that I used to make some appliquéd pincushions. I’ve used coffee. I picked dandelions in the neighborhood and tried that. And then I started saving avocado skins and stones.

I started following fellow dyers on Instagram to get inspiration, and eventually I read a blog and bought a book that made natural dyeing seem simple and something I could totally wrap my head around. In an earlier post, I told you about milk painting and dyeing with black tea. I’ve also tried it with Eucalyptus and loved the results.

As I mentioned before, I bought and have used the book Botanical Color at Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos and it’s already bent, waterstained, abused and most gloriously used. I have read it cover to cover and especially enjoyed learning how to dye with avocados. I’ve since tried dyeing with Eucalyptus, Marigolds, Hibiscus, Bitter Dock, Nettles, and probably some other things I’m forgetting.


I’ve been looking for classes that I could take locally, but to be honest, it’s a lot more work for my brain to take a workshop in Dutch. I have to spend a lot of energy just comprehending what people are saying, and in doing so, much of the experience is lost. So, with a lack of local workshops in English, I continue to dabble alone in my kitchen.

I whipped out a scrappy quilt one Sunday afternoon with scraps of my hand-dyed fabrics

I’m going home to Portland this summer to spend time with my family and attend my father’s memorial service. While we’re back in the great Pacific Northwest, we will definitely take my little (she’s turning five next month!) to the beach to fly kites, do our time in all my old haunts, play and eat well and drink good coffee and beer. BUT YOU GUYS, I also get to do some amazing workshops! I’m so excited! We’re only going to be in town for about three weeks, but I managed to sign myself up for three workshops. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

In the meanwhile, be well & see you again soon. I’d love to hear from you, and if you’re trying out natural dyeing, I’d love to see the results!

Thanks for reading, friends. 🖤


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