Natural Plant Dyes: Beet, Carrot Top, Black Eyed Susan

Left: Beet Root,  Right: Carrot Tops

Black Eyed Susan

Now that my sore hands have recovered from last week's adventure, I'm back in the fiber groove!  Here's what I've had in the dye pot this week:

Purchased at the farmer's market, last week.  I trimmed all the leaves off, and then quartered the root.
I've heard it creates a nice pink color, but mine turned out a lovely, soft sage green.  I may get some ph strips and play around with water levels to see if that makes a difference.

Carrot Tops:
Left overs from carrots I bought at the farmers market.  They smell delicious when cooking on the stove, too.  No surprise there with the color, it turned a nice greenish yellow.  Jake brought home a few apples he picked on his way home from the river and they were just about the same color!  Oh, the harmony in nature...

Black Eyed Susans:
This batch was a disaster.  I left the dye bath, in a sealed jar, on the counter for way to long.  When I opened it, it smelled like rancid water and fermented flowers (which may be the absolute worst smell in the world).  I should have gotten rid of it right away, but I really wanted to see what would happen!  I took it all outside by the road, dumped it into a pot and added the yarn.  I left it for a few days in the sun, until Mike stared asking what that awful smell was outside.

I washed the yarn in soap.

I washed the yarn in vinegar.

I washed the yarn in baking soda.

The smell was not coming out.  The yarn was a tangled mess by then, so I hung it in a tree.  Maybe the fresh air would get rid of the smell, like it does with wool longies?  Nope.  A bonus, though, the olive green color is light fast.  It hasn't faded a bit.  However, the birds won't go anywhere near it.  I'm giving it a week to refresh itself and then I'll throw it away for good.

I also ordered yarn from Quince and Co. for the first time.  It's bare Osprey from their limited edition collection. (which just means that the spinning mill messed up gauge and they're selling it for a discount)  Osprey is 100% wool, in their aran weight, but it feels more like bulky weight.  Either way it's wonderfully soft and squishy and I can't wait to play with it.  I'm thinking thick, chunky cables would be really fun with this yarn!

What fiber projects have you been working on this week?


  1. After a week in the sun, why don't you pack it in moth balls or cedar chips if it still smells bad. The colors are wonderful!!

  2. oooh, thanks for the heads up about the bare yarn!
    sorry the one set got a little nasty smelling, fingers crossed a week in the fresh air will make it lovely.

  3. What did you use for the mordant?
    Thanks for sharing your findings!

    1. You're welcome, Tonya. I used alum for my mordant.

  4. What fascinating results! I'm so surprised by the color of the beet-dyed yarn. Natural dyeing is something that I would like to dabble in someday.