Multicultural Monday: Natural Dyeing Part 2


Well, I have to admit, I was thinking about making Multicultural Monday a monthly thing. I feel like I have lots to share and never have the time to share it all, but then while doing research for my natural dyes, I found a great activity to share with you that tied right into my natural dyeing. (If you missed day one of my natural dyeing experiment, check it out here. Post 3 or day 2 is here.)

Besides of course the history you can share from China, Native Americans, Egyptian, as well as Europeans and the Colonists of America, I found this great short lesson/experiment on Teacher Vision. It has a nice introduction about how the Native Americans did natural dyeing. Then it has a short activity dyeing fabrics in plastic bags using carrots, beets and red cabbage. They have the student rinse and then use detergents to see which stays in the longest. You could also change it to different mordants (ie. white distilled vinegar, salt, alum). Some mordants will change the colors as well.

To make it even more educational, you can use this lesson from Teacher Vision titled Native Americans Contribution to American Culture. (Wow, some interesting things to think about there.) Also Folk Tales of Northeast Native Americans also from Teacher Vision. Here is a link to Teacher Vision's Native American lessons. (Can you tell I love learning about Native American cultures?)
1) Blackberries, 2) Sunflower Seeds/Blackberries/Beets, 3) Beets

Anyway, back to my craft. This is actually day 3 of my natural dyeing experiments. I wanted to share this one with you since it uses the carrots and beets from the activity mentioned above. To learn about my experience with red cabbage, you will have to wait until later in the week!

I did a lot of experimenting today with dyes and methods. I tried orange marigold flowers (from Hazel's fairy garden), sunflower petals and sunflower seeds, carrots, blackberries, and beets. Beets definitely were the most successful. Half way through the day I decided the sunflower seeds had not done anything, so I threw the yarn in with the blackberry mixture. At the end, the blackberries hadn't had enough time to do much to this yarn so I threw it into the beet dye and took it out maybe 10-15 minutes later. It came out a pale pink (see picture above--middle skein). The sunflower petals did not seem to be doing much either, so I added more and tried putting them in the food processor. At the end I threw them in with the marigold petals since it was a bit darker.  Oh, and our day started with breaking one of our big jars when we poured the beet dye in off the stove. Red dye all over my kitchen. Not fun!

I also experimented with method the past two days. Instead of always cooking the dye, I tried putting the fruit/vegetable or flower in with the mordant and then added boiling water. I did this to make it more kid friendly. Hazel just had to stay away when I added the boiling water. Today I did try to cook the beets, but as I explained I broke the glass so I went with the boiling water method.
1) Carrots, 2) Marigold, 3) Sunflower Petals/Marigolds
In this picture you can see the piece of original color so you can see all of them have a slight new shade. I think if I was to do this again I would let them sit over night in these dyes.

I will post Day 2 on Friday!! My mother has agreed to knit Hazel a striped sweater with all my home-dyed yarn!! She will actually finish the sweater unlike me!!

This is where I share...


  1. I think it's so cool how you are dyeing all your yarn and a good learning experience too!

  2. I am loving the results you got from the beets!!! So pretty!
    Thanks for linking up part 2 with my Super Link Party! :-)

  3. I did some experimenting once with natural dyes, and it's definitely a learning curve! Great images.

  4. Awesome experiment, I love the variation in colour.

  5. Fun to see more of your natural dye experiment! Can't wait to see the sweater made from this. :-)

  6. Interesting dying with naturals. I love that your daughter will receive a handmade sweater from this experience. It will definitely be an heirloom. You and your daughter are making memories that will be part of your family's history.

    Distressed Donna Down Home

  7. How fun! I love how they ended up turning out.

  8. That is great and what amazing colours they turn into.

    Thanks for sharing on fun Sparks

  9. I think the beets are beautiful too! Did any of the berries of marigolds come out scented? I'm so curious! Thanks so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday!!

  10. This is so amazing! We appreciate you linking up to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." We love seeing all of the great recipes and fun ideas! Hope to see you again next week! -The Sisters

  11. I'm so intrigued by natural dyeing. One day I will try it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Such vibrant colours and really even tone too.

    I'd love to try this but I can't be trusted to buy more yarn until I have actually finished a few projects first :)

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me at - I'm really looking forward to seeing what you get up to this month.


I love to hear your comments and ideas. Thank you for reading and contributing!