Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Dye Garden

This year I have lots of dye classes scheduled and I thought it would be great to have more of my own home grown dye plants to work with. So.... soon as the ground could be worked in April, I opened up (with help!) four new beds in front of the weaving school barn. My young apprentice, Lila, helped to plant the first bed, and we put in Tansy, Weld and Woad. Later we planted Alkanet and Dyer's Chamomile in the smaller bed. At my house across the road I already had four large beds of yellow yarrow and a bed of two-year-old madder root. This madder was an experiment and I was pleased to see that it has so far survived two Vermont winters!
This summer I will be teaching a dye workshop on August 7 & 8 , 2010 at the Twin Pond Retreat Center in Brookfield, VT that is going to focus entirely on home grown and locally harvested dye plants. In the past I have always relied on the three tried-and-true dye plants - indigo, madder and fustic - that I buy in extract form. This will be an exciting opportunity to start creating some new receipts from plants grown in my own back yard. For more information on that dye class go to and for more information on my dye classes at MSW go to

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