Sunday, January 24, 2016

falling into place

I have been thinking about planting a dye garden for a few years now. It was a dream, and then I said it out loud a few times, and then I started doing some serious reading about it. Taking some deep inhalations of courage, this past Friday and Saturday I participated in a two day workshop at Vermont Technical College,  just a quick drive down the road from us. Part of VTC's effort to engage more folks in ongoing education, they have developed an "Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems". The workshop I signed up for, "Art and Science of Natural Dyeing" was taught by Jane Woodhouse.

The workshop centered on dyeing wool, and the classroom was filled with an intergenerational group of women involved in knitting, weaving, animal keeping, crafting, gardening and dyeing. There was so much warmth, cooperation, good cheer and creativity in that room! And I am now quite sure that I can translate many of the things I learned from all of them into dyeing fabric.

The first day started off in the most wonderful way. I was sharing a dye pot with two women, Vee and Tammy. As we were getting to know one another, Tammy and I figured out that we had a friend in common, who turned out to be Gretta's new mother-in-law.  When Tammy said, "Oh, you're Gretta's mom!", my face lit up and we hugged. 

Tammy is the magical force behind Wing and a Prayer Farm in Shaftsbury, VT. She took many wonderful photos and created two fabulous blog posts, filled with details about the workshop. If you check them out here and here, you will discover what a delightful person she is. And you may want to go stay in her neck of the woods soon. Tammy is hosting some fine workshops of her own this year.

It may be cold and snowy here in Vermont, but I am now thinking concretely about planting a garden filled with plants that will enable me to take my next steps into my sew and sow life.



  1. What a blessing these possibilities, people and opportunity are and have been waiting for you to join in at this place and moment in your sew and sow life, colouring it happy and not only that!
    Hugs and love,


  2. This is really wonderful, Karen. I love that you're finding more and more exciting possibilities in your new life!

  3. How wonderful! Would you share what plants I should nurture in my garden in order to get a shade of green on cotton? I've been experimenting unsuccessfully.

    1. Hi Vivien,
      I will be sure to email you as well, but I thought I'd answer your question here. I am not sure there is any one garden plant that will give you a green color (there may be some lichens that do that). We dyed some wool with madder first (it's in the bedstraw family and gives a yellow color). After it was rinsed and air dried we put it in an indigo bath. I'm guessing you already know this, but when using two different dyes in this way, the fiber is called "overdyed". Hope that helps!