Have I got a treat for you!  A giveaway – a chance to win the sensational new book The Modern Natural Dyer and a natural dyeing KIT of your choice to go along with it!!

I’ve been patiently waiting for this book to come out. Kristine Vejar is such a wonderful warm sharing person – I knew her book would be the natural dyeing book we all want. She’s been studying natural dyeing for years, since she was first bitten by the bug while studying in India years ago.  Passionate and curious about the art, she’s got endless interesting stories to tell. In 2007 Kristine started A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland California, a gorgeous retail shop with with indoor and outdoor studio workshop spaces and her garden for growing dye plants. Destination!!! It’s where she conducted the research for this book.

The book is fantastic. Of course it is. The pictures are so gorgeous, you really don’t need any interest at all in dyeing to want the book. The first two chapters introduce us to different dyes derived from nature,  followed by a look at various fibers and how and why they react to dyestuffs. Chapter three, Dyeing 101, is one you’ll refer to over and over again in your future dyeing projects, because …. once bitten you won’t want to stop!

After that the book is broken down into 4 sections, dyeing with whole dyestuffs, dyeing with extracts, dyeing with indigo, and surface design.

The subjects themselves are project based, which at first I wasn’t sure about. I thought … oh right … publishers always insist on projects…. I found myself being like one of those people I complain about who say “but I don’t want a red sweater” when they look at a pattern, oblivious to the fact that it could be knit in a different color.  But reading through the projects, I realized that it is a perfect way to introduce the topics covered, instead of a lonely generic way. Take the first project dyeing a 100% cotton onesie (43g)  with tea… ok I have no babies (wait my nephew has two – count ’em 2 new ones!)… but you don’t have to dye a onesie, you could take any cotton of similar weight, and follow the same recipe. At the end of each project Kristine has a little TRY section with ways you can further explore the technique covered, in this case, your pantry.

NorthwoodsPackage_ NorthwoodsYarn_

Kristine generously supplied me with not only a book but a kit. I chose the Northwoods Hat Kit with madder as the dyestuff, which means I would be following the Dyeing With Extracts section. This section has my favorite four pages of the whole book, the shade cards for protein based-fibers and cellulose-based fibers….dream of the possibilities!!!

The Northwoods Hat Kit comes in 3 colors red (madder), yellow (weld), and purple (logwood). I love madder. I love the idea of madder. I want to take a madder-adventure traveling to where madder grows wild! Cloth dyed with madder was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, it has been cultivated in Central Asia since 1500 BC – the Vikings used it!


Because I am me, I had to try and get two colors with my madder. I wound my yarn into one large skein and one small skein. The small one being about 8 yards…from right shoulder to left finger tips is  about a yard – that’s how I measure.

Then I went through the steps in the book.

Scouring (1 ½ hours)

Mordanting (1 ½ hours)

…and finally dyeing…for me 3 hours because I wanted two colors. I deviated from the instructions here. Looking at the shade card, I decided I wanted the small skein to be a light pink, so I only used an eighth of a teaspoon of madder extract. I felt like a mad scientist measuring it out. Then I followed the directions, using both skeins, heating slowly and stirring as long as called for and I got the most delicious pink…coral…salmon? An amazing color and an amazing feeling – energizing! I helped madder make that color! I took out the small skein and cooled it, rinsed it and set it to dry. Then I added the rest of the vial of madder to the dyepot with the large skein still in it. It immediately sucked up the new dye! I processed it as before, only now I was having a hard time keeping a low enough temperature on my wee stove top. To my dismay after I let my mind wander, I found the dyebath simmering! Ghastly! So beware – my yarn was slightly felted in a couple of places.

When the yarn was dried I quickly knit up the Northwoods hat.  I shortened the ribbing by an inch and inserted a small simple fair isle pattern (#75 in my 200 Fair Isle Motifs book). I also made the body an inch longer before I started to decrease. I have enough yarn left over to make a big pompom if I wanted. I only wish I’d used a more solid fair isle pattern because I like the pink so much. I think if I filled the pattern, instead of just the outline of diamonds…I’m tempted to rip it out…but hey…I could always get a kit and make another!

The color in real life is more like the image of just the yarn – not the silly selfie.

So dear readers…you’ve got the chance to win The Modern Natural Dyer and your choice of a natural dyeing kit.

FlowersKitNorthwoodsHatKitSocksHopKitWaves Bandana Indigo Kit

Clockwise from top left:

Flowers At My Fingertips : Dyeing with Whole Dyestuffs – you dye both cotton and wool fabric directly with flower blossoms, and then sew the fabric into a sewing kit. Includes seeds to grow your own dye plants.

Northwoods Hat Kit : Extract Dyeing Protein-based fibers – you dye Quince & Co Puffin wool yarn which you knit into a hat.

Sock Hop Kit : Extract Dyeing Cellulose-based fibers – you dye ready made organic cotton socks.

Waves Bandana Indigo Kit : Indigo Dyeing – you dye two white cotton bandanas, trying bound resist dying to create a pattern.

Click on the links to read more about each kit.

If you’d like to be in the running for this fantastic prize, comment below which kit you’d like and why. In a week, Friday November 6th, I’ll be randomly choosing a winner.

The Modern Natural Dyer and the series of natural dyeing kits which accompany the book – are all available through the A Verb for Keeping Warm website.

You’ll have other chances to win, follow the blog tour!

Oct 20  STC Craft

Oct 23  DIY Network

Oct 26  Mason Dixon Knitting

Oct 28  Leethal

Oct 30  me!!!

Nov 2  Very Shannon

Nov 4  Make Something Blog

Nov 9  Heather Ross

Nov 11 Tolt Yarn and Wool

Nov 16  Made by Katrina

Nov 18 Ysolda Teague

Nov 20 Jen Hewett

Thanks everyone!!! The comments are now closed.

Congratulations to Katie Emma who got the book and the indigo kit@