The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: January Wrap-Up

Posted by Kristine Vejar on January 31, 2016 0 Comments

Wow! Here we are at the end of January! Which also means we have completed month one of The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along.

Here's a recap:

This month, I set out to create and complete two projects from The Modern Natural Dyer: The Northwoods Hat and Sock Hop. Both projects provide a great entry into learning how to naturally dye protein- and cellulose-based fibers.

I dyed my skein of Quince & Co. Puffin a light shade of purple using logwood. For those of you who are would prefer to wear a cowl instead of a hat, using my light purple skein of yarn, I created a new pattern for you: The Northwoods Cowl.

Here is a list of other cowl and hat patterns you might enjoy:

Cullien Cowl
Gilsland Cowl
Kelpi Cap
Rubens Cap
Sporting Beret
Drop Stitch Cowl
Dottie Hat
Crow Cowl by 
Autumn Hat

I dyed with socks a vibrant shade of pink using cochineal. I used a bath of wheat bran as I prefer it when working with knit fabrics (as opposed to a chalk bath). Once my socks had been scoured and mordanted, I pinched the fabric, and secured the pinches using button and craft thread, following the instructions for the Waves Bandana. After I finished dyeing my socks, I untied the thread - revealing a series of organic polka dots. I love how the dots are slightly irregular, illustrating the beauty and organic nature of hand-made, rather than machine-made. Adrienne modeled my socks - she is a better dancer than I am ;). Feel free to make your own Sock Shop video! I'd love to see your socks in action!

My goal was to bring you along with me as I made these projects, I blogged about the process, documented my progress on Instagram, and held Q&A on Periscope. I taught a Natural Dyeing 101 class. I released two classes on Creativebug as another avenue for those of you who are trying to learn about and how to use natural dyes.

Thank you to everyone who has documented your process on Instagram and have used #themodernnaturaldyerworkalong - I search on this hashtag and see your dyeing and it absolutely makes my day. There are photos of people receiving packages of scour, mordant, and dye, steaming pots, and dyed goods!

It has been so wonderful to see everyone using the book and natural dyeing! I know I keep saying that - but really - I spend a lot of hours in my studio in my own bubble dyeing - and I spent a lot of hours alone thinking about how this book would work - how it could work - and hoping that it would provide useful instruction in the natural dyeing process - and would help motivate people to try natural dyeing. Kind of selfishly, because I love to use natural dyes and want to chat about it with others! To share a common language. As more of us learn this language and can speak fluently, the deeper we can go to trying new techniques, exploring new dyes, and documentation parts of the process that have little to no documentation. It is a very exciting prospect. So thank you for talking to me about it! I am thoroughly impressed by those of you who really jumped in with both feet! And for those of you who are still on the fence, I hope this discourse and visual journal will help you feel more confident to jump in!

In February, the focus of The MND Work-Along will be to complete The Wanderlust Bag. When looking at the shade card, there are a lot of colors that are missing - such as green. I will discuss how to combine dyes to create more colors - and more shades of colors. I am especially excited to add sewing to our repertoire. There are two classes at Verb designed to help you complete this project:

The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: Wanderlust Bag
Sewing the Wanderlust Bag

Jumping ahead to March - I am teaching a dyeing class dedicated to the Sandstone Shawl. And for you indigo-lovers, I am teaching Indigo Resist Dyeing at the UC Botanical Garden as part of their annual Fiber and Dye exhibit.

Thank you again for making January such a success. I look forward to working alongside you in February!  

-- Kristine

P.S. It is never too late to start working-along! If you are feeling inspired to jump in, we are offering 15% our Northwoods Hat kit, Sock Hop kit, and the Creativebug scarf kit through the month of February.

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The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: Naturally Dyeing Cotton Socks

Posted by Kristine Vejar on January 18, 2016 3 Comments

Wow! Here we are in Week 3 of The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along! The focus of this week's work is the project Sock Hop. I think of Sock Hop as the sister project to the Northwoods Hat.

When writing The Modern Natural Dyer, and having decided to include both protein (animal and insect)-based and cellulose (plant)-based fibers, originally I conceived of having two chapters spanning the use of natural dyeing extracts; one which focused upon working with protein-based fibers, the other focused upon working with cellulose-based fibers. When all was said and done in the editing process, due to the overarching way we organized the entire book, we decided to create only one chapter dedicated to natural dyeing extracts. That said, in the Natural Dyeing with Extracts chapter, the first half of the chapter does focus on protein-based fibers, and the second half of the chapter is dedicated to dyeing cellulose-based fibers. So, if you can envision pulling this chapter apart into two sections, as described, you will see that that projects pretty much mirror one another in design. The Northwoods Hat, due to its small size, is opportune for teaching people how to use natural dyes and the shade card for protein-based dyes. And Sock Hop does the same for cellulose-based fibers. Note that there are two shade cards; for this project, use the one dedicated to cellulose-based fibers, on page 98.

I think of this project as a warm-up project for learning the process of natural dyeing on cellulose-based fibers. All of us have a pair of cotton socks hanging around that could use an upgrade - so why not use them in this project - and learn a few new natural dyeing skills? If you have completed the Northwoods Hat project, you will see when approaching Sock Hop, that the scouring and mordanting materials and process is different than when working with wool. And though the dyeing process is similar, the amount of dye you need, and the color achieved from using that dye is different. This project is a great foray into learning how to naturally dye cellulose-based fibers, preparing you to work with linen, hemp, ramie, or bamboo.

Moving onto this week's project: Sock Hop

A few reminders:
+ use your dye journal to record the weight of the socks, and use this measurement to calculate the amount of scour, mordant, and dye you need.
+ wear a mask when measuring aluminum acetate. It is a very fine, easily airborne powder. Once you have dissolved the aluminum acetate in water, you can take off your mask.
+ socks typically weigh less than 100g, so when scouring, mordanting, and working with the shade card, just use a little less scour / mordant / dye. Refer to page 66 on pointers for adapting your dyeing recipe.
+ if using brand new socks, sometimes there is a crease from where the socks have been folded due to packaging, when scouring, mordanting, and dyeing, work on opening that crease by massaging the fibers. This will help apply the color evenly throughout the socks.

In the studio, Sarah, Lis, and I have scoured and mordanted our socks. I am going to spend a couple days in the forest hunting for mushrooms. When I return, Sarah, Lis, and I will dye our socks. So very soon, hopefully by Monday, we will post our progress. 

In the meantime, here are a few ideas in case you would like to personalize your project:

+ Choose which shade of color you would like to make by consulting the Shade Card for cellulose-based fibers.
+ Add your socks slowly to the pot of yarn, in 15-20 minute increments, and make an ombre pattern.
+ Clip your socks with clothespins to make square shapes. See how I did this on page 185.
+ Tie threads tightly around the socks to make rings and patterns on your socks, similar to the technique I use in the Confetti Cowl, page 128.

Sock Hop Natural Dyeing Kit by A Verb for Keeping Warm

If you have purchased The Sock Hop Kit - the scour, mordant, and dye are pre-measured for you. During the scouring portion of the process, you add all of the scour, during the mordanting part of the process, you add the mordant. Let's pause for a second in the dyeing part of the process. You have received enough dye to make the darkest shade on the Shade Card for cellulose-based fibers (page 98). If you would like to make a lighter shade, measure out the amount you would like to use to get the intended shade. No worries if you don't have a scale, you can use measuring spoons.

If you have purchased the MND Work-Along Phase 1 kit - or you have purchased scour, mordants, and dye a la carte, then you will measure each ingredient according to the instructions in the book. You have the choice of using measuring spoons or a scale.

Tomorrow, I have another video coming out on Creativebug where I teach you how to naturally-dye cotton socks. I love having the videos to accompany The Modern Natural Dyer, and the blog posts, because you can really get a sense of the action, and the camera picks up such great details.

Unfortunately, there is a misprint in the book - which I'm bringing to your attention as it has to do with cellulose-based dyeing - and since you are now exploring that section of the book. (For those of you who have purchased kits, this will not effect you currently, as you are working with wheat bran).

ERRATA - CHALK BATH p. 60

This bath can be used for up to 100g of goods.

Dissolve 28g chalk...(not 50g).

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For those of you who have purchased the kit, we have shipped you the first part, so if you have not received it, you should be receiving it very soon. And for those of who would like to join in on the fun - it is not too late to purchase the Phase 1 Kit.

Or if you would like a smaller start - there is a kit to make the Socks. In which you get all of the materials you need to prepare the socks for dyeing and the dye!

It has been so much fun to watch people's progress on Instagram! Remember to add #themodernnaturaldyerworkalong to your projects so we can keep up with you.

Happy Dyeing!
-- Kristine

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The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: Dyeing Silk on Creativebug

Posted by Kristine Vejar on January 12, 2016 2 Comments

 

 

Today, my first Creativebug video launches!

In this class, titled Natural Dyeing: How to Dye Silk and other Protein-based Fibers, I dye a silk scarf. This is an introductory class designed to show you the basic steps in dyeing with natural plant extracts. This video is a great accompaniment to my book, The Modern Natural Dyer. Just like all of my projects / dye recipes which I have published, the idea is to show you the basic steps, as a jumping off point, where you can make the exact same silk scarf as I have in the video, and with room for you to improvise and make your own variation. For those of you who have purchased the Northwoods Hat kit, the steps I teach in the Creativebug video using the silk scarf, are exactly the same for using yarn.

When thinking about how to get as many people possible natural dyeing, choosing what is known in the dyeing world as a blank is the most accessible. A blank is any "finished object" which is undyed - this could be a silk scarf, a cotton dress, linen placemats - anything where the sewing or knitting has already been completed. By using a blank, once the dyeing is complete, it is read to wear / use.

Learn to Natural Dye with Kristine Vejar on Creativebug

When faced with the decision of what size and shape to use of cloth to demonstrate natural dyeing. I most often choose a square shape. This shape reminds me of the iconic cotton bandana or Hermes silk scarf. Often times, instead of wearing my naturally dyed silk-scarves around my neck, I tie one in a loop around the strap of my purse, for a bit of softness. If it is cold, I can tie it around my neck. Or if I start a knitting project, and I am on the go, I can use it as a furoshiki, and wrap my yarn, needles, and in-progress project, to protect it while carrying it in my bag. And when someone comments on the scarf I am wearing, or I think they might like it, I give it to them, as I find them so simple, useful, and fun to create.

Learn to Natural Dye with Kristine Vejar on Creativebug

To make your own naturally dyed scarf, you will need a silk scarf.

You will need the following tools:
+ scale
+ spoon or small whisk
+ measuring spoons
+ liquid measuring cup
+ tongs
+ 3-5 quart stainless steel pot with lid
+ timer
+ thermometer
+ rubber gloves
+ bucket
+ dye journal (recommended)
+ apron (recommended)
+ access to hot water and stovetop (kitchen works well)

You will need the following dye ingredients:
+ liquid washing detergent (I use Ecover)
+ aluminum potassium sulfate
+ natural dyeing extract (I use logwood in my video).

We have created a kit for this class, to help you get started. In this kit, there are three silk scarves. There is all of the scour and mordant needed for three scarves. There is enough dye to create a vibrant, saturated color, though by all means, you could back off on the dye, and create a more-muted color. 5 dyes are included: madder (orange-red), weld (yellow), quebracho red (coral pink), cutch (caramel), and logwood (purple).

Here are some ideas for variations you could make to the scarves during the dyeing process:
+ choose a different dye to make a different color
+ use a different size silk scarf, a larger square, or a rectangle shape.
+ combine dyes to make even more colors.
+ add the scarf to the pot in 20 minute increments, to create a scarf with an ombre pattern.
+ tie the scarf into a knot and add it to the dyepot. This way, the dye can't reach the tied parts. Once you are done dyeing, untie the knot, and there will be a pattern.

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I am so excited to share my new video with you! I hope you will jump over to Creativebug and watch it.

A note to those of you who have purchased The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along Phase 1 Kit - we are in the process of shipping them to you. We are going down the list, shipping them in order of orders placed.

In case you missed it, yesterday, I released a new cowl pattern.

In the next few days, I will begin to post about the second project in The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along, Sock Hop, where we will hone in on natural dyeing plant-based fibers.

 

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The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along: Northwoods Hat

Posted by Kristine Vejar on January 07, 2016 4 Comments

The Northwoods Hat by Kristine Vejar

When setting out to write The Modern Natural Dyer, I wanted to create a project requiring only one skein of bulky weight yarn, weighing 100 grams. Quince & Co Puffin yarn instantly came to mind. Milled in the US, from 100% US-grown wool, its a very puffy and round, and seems like the epitome of a wool yarn. 

I wanted the yarn to weigh 100g because I planned this to be the first of three projects dedicated to teaching you how to dye with natural dyeing extracts. This is a friendly number, easy to use as a foundation upon which I would build the shade card which forms the basis of and is a key tool in learning how to create a wide spectrum of naturally dyed color. (Stay tuned for a math and natural dyeing blog post.) This means, that by using the 100g skein of yarn, you can confer with the shade card, and make any color in any shade on it, by using the named increment on the card.

I desired to design a project that uses only one skein, so it would only require a small pot in the dyeing process, making it economically efficient, knowing that for some of you, this may be your first dyeing project. I wanted to use bulky weight yarn, knowing once you dyed your yarn, and are at the knitting stage, it would work up quickly, so that you can start wearing your new, naturally-dyed project. I think it so satisfying to be able to use what you have made. One of the keys to success for people new to a craft, is to be able to finish that first project quickly.

The next question was what should I use this yarn to make. Every Winter, even though I live in the Bay Area, and it is fairly temperate, right around this time of year, as the fog lingers longer each day, and the breeze comes off the Bay, I desire a cozy, thick hat. Then, there is my Mom. She lives in the Northern Minnesota, an area lovingly referred to as the Northwoods. She sends text messages with photos of her pine-tree filled backyard covered in snow. So I thought we could both use a hat to keep warm, and decided to name it the Northwoods Hat. As I can finish knitting a Northwoods Hat in 3-4 hours, I imagined making a bunch of hats in fun, bright colors, transversing through the Winter woods, keeping the heads of my friends and family cozy warm.

So let's get onto this week's project: The Northwoods Hat.

Using a skein of Quince & Co. Puffin, this project guides you through scouring, mordanting, and dyeing with natural dyeing extracts. Then, there are knitting instructions so you can complete the hat.

A few reminders before beginning:
+ have a set of pots and tools used only for dyeing.
+ record your process, including the weight of the yarn, the weight of the scour, mordant, and dye, and develop an in-depth understanding of how to use natural dyes, and how you achieved your results.
+ you are working with wool. It can felt during the dyeing process. Read pre-cautions to take when working with wool on p.55.

If you have purchased The Northwoods Hat Kit - the scour, mordant, and dye are pre-measured for you. During the scouring portion of the process, you add all of the scour, during the mordanting part of the process, you add the mordant. Let's pause for a second in the dyeing part of the process. You have received enough dye to make the darkest shade on the Shade Card for protein-based fibers (p.96). If you would like to make a lighter shade, measure out the amount you would like to use to get the intended shade. No worries if you don't have a scale, you can use measuring spoons.

If you have purchased the MND Work-Along Phase 1 kit - or you have purchased scour, mordants, and dye a la carte, then you will measure each ingredient according to the instructions in the book. You have the choice of using measuring spoons or a scale. Just like we do in the dye studio here :)

The Northwoods Hat by Kristine Vejar

The Northwoods Hat by Kristine Vejar

The Northwoods Hat by Kristine Vejar

Lis, Sarah, and I decided to scour and mordant our yarn together. To start, each of us recorded the weight of our combined skeins of yarn in our dye journals. We then proceeded to follow the scouring and mordanting directions. When it came time to dye, we set up three hot plates in the front room of our studio, so that we could each have our own dyepot. Staying in line with what we have offered as kits, we chose from the current offerings: madder (red), weld (yellow), or logwood (purple). All three of us chose purple (which admittedly was very hard to photograph). However, we each chose three different amounts. I created the lightest shade, Sarah the medium shade, and Lis the darkest shade, which feels a bit like Goldilocks, but on we go...we used the sink in the studio to wash out the yarn, the washer to spin out excess water, and placed the yarn on a drying rack. Once dry, we each took our respective skein of yarn home to begin knitting. I believe Lis and Sarah are both knitting the Northwoods Hat. Though, I will report back once they have completed it. 

There are a lot of things you can do to personalize this project, such as: 

+ Choose which shade of color you would like to make by consulting the Shade Card for protein-based fibers.
+ Sarah put half the skein into the pot, allowed it to heat for 15 minutes, then added the second half of the skein to make an ombre dyed skein of yarn. By doing this, when knit, the knitted fabric will have more depth then dyeing it one solid shade.
+ Mary Jane Mucklestone, a prolific knitwear designer, who specializes in colorwork, divided her skein of yarn, and dyed each a different shade. She added a bit of colorwork to her Northwoods Hat.

If knitting a hat doesn't appeal to you, you could knit a cowl, which is what I decided to do. Here is a new pattern.

The Northwoods Cowl by Kristine Vejar

The Northwoods Cowl by Kristine Vejar

The Northwoods Cowl by Kristine Vejar

NEW! We have developed a second size using 2 colors - click here to see photos.

The Northwoods Cowl by Kristine Vejar
--> add it to your Ravelry queue

SIZES
Small (Large)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
28” circumference x 8" tall (28" circ x 15" tall)

YARN
Quince & Co. Puffin (100% American wool, 112 yards, 100g), 1 sk (2 sk)

GAUGE
In stockinette stitch: 11 1/2 stitches and 17 rows = 4”. 

NEEDLES
One 24” US #11 circular
Or necessary sized needle to obtain gauge

NOTIONS
stitch marker
tapestry needle

DIRECTIONS
Using long-tail method, cast-on 84 stitches. Place marker and join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Round 1: (K1, P3). Repeat to end of round.
Repeat for a total of 8 rounds.

Round 9: (P1, K1, P2). Repeat to end of round.
Repeat for a total of 8 rounds.

Round 17: (P2, K1, P1). Repeat to end of round.
Repeat for a total of 8 rounds.

Round 25: (P3, K1). Repeat to end of round.
Repeat for a total of 8 rounds.

SMALL SIZE: Bind off, weave in ends, and block.

LARGE SIZE: Join 2nd skein and repeat Rounds 1-32. Bind off, weave in ends, and block.

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Join in on the fun - The Northwoods Hat Kit -- and --  The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along Kit are available for purchase.

Scour, mordant, and natural dye are now available on our website.

Remember to tag any photos you post to Instagram about your process with #themodernnaturaldyerworkalong so we can see your results!

Tomorrow, my first Creativebug video comes out: Natural Dyeing: How to Dye Silk and Other Protein-based Fibers. This is a great way to learn how to use natural dyes!

-- Kristine 

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The Modern Natural Dyer: An Overview

Posted by Kristine Vejar on January 02, 2016 9 Comments

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

Happy 2016! 

This year I am dedicated to helping others create their own natural dyeing practice. And hoping to facilitate a community which can support one another's work and provide friendships and inspiration. 

To do this, I have created The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along. Each month, I will choose a project from my new book, The Modern Natural Dyer. My studio cohorts Sarah and Lis and I will each make our own rendition of this project, post it to the blog, and give tips and tricks. In January, we will be making the Northwoods Hat and Sock Hop. 

Before we dive into the projects, let's starts with an overview of the book. Below, I have listed the chapters, including a short explanation of the content in each, why I chose to include such information in the book, and how it matters in the natural dyeing process. 

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

HI! I'M KRISTINE. 
I grew up knitting and sewing. I always took fabric and yarn for granted, never giving much thought to how it was made, as if it just magically appeared on the shelf. It wasn't until I travelled to India to study Art and Architecture, when it seemed that every corner I turned, I ran into someone spinning cotton, dyeing, or weaving that my world expanded and I began to go deeper into the process of making yarn and fabric.

When speaking to dyers, I came to realize that some people used natural dyes - dyes made from plants. I loved to listen to their stories of how their families had been using natural dyes for centuries, their journey of collecting their dyes, and witnessing their process of applying minerals and metals to shift and capture color. Because their families had been practicing natural dyeing uninterrupted for centuries, their practice is quite cyclical. I had a hard time discerning where to start. This inspired me to learn how to create my own natural dyeing practice, to develop a way to teach others how to create their own practice, to create A Verb for Keeping Warm, and to write The Modern Natural Dyer. I desired to discover which paths I would take to gather my natural dyes, and who I would meet along the way. Plus! I was enraptured by the idea of being able to create my own dyed yarn and fabric so that each piece I created carried and communicated a deeper story of my journey towards making that piece. 

 The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

THE DYES 
The Modern Natural Dyer opens with a twenty page spread of commonly-found natural dyes which have a history of long-lasting color. If you want to create color which will be long-lasting, these are the dyes I suggest to use. Sure, there are more obscure dyes which are fascinating, like mushrooms, but for this book, I really want the process of natural dyeing to be accessible to many if not all people.

Flipping through the pages, each dye is highlighted. I included examples of all of the different forms the dye can be found. For instance, in the madder photo, you can see the madder root and the madder extract, a highly concentrated powder derived from the madder root. I spent a year growing all of the plants featured in the book.

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The one insect featured in the book, cochineal, was culled from the backyard of Adrienne's parents house. Adrienne is Verb's scouring and mordanting technician, and my co-dye-gardener. Her parents live in Indio, California, a town about an hour from the border of Mexico. These photos are of Alessandra, my amazing stylist, taking cochineal and placing them into the vignette to be photographed for the cochineal dye page - and which ultimately made it onto the cover of the book. 

I created little packages of fiber, yarn, and fabric, which I threw into the dyepot at different times during the dyeing to achieve a variety of colors, so that each photograph would communicate the range and shade of color each dye could create. There is text describing each dye, including tidbits about the history of the dye, and where it can be found. 

FIBER TYPES 
In dyeing, the word "goods" is used as an overarching term to refer to things-to-be-dyed, like fiber, yarn, fabric, socks, t-shirts, etc. Before beginning the dyeing process, it is important to identify the content of the goods you would like to dye. There are two types of natural-fibers: protein-based (animal or insect based) and cellulose-based (plant-based). This section teaches how they are different, to identify each type, the variety of natural fibers available, and how each different type interfaces with natural dyeing. 

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar 

DYEING 101
This section in the book covers the general process of natural dyeing.  And the tools required and recommended to begin the process. I love that natural dyeing utilizes the kitchen, pots, pans, measuring cups - a space so familiar to most of us. 

There are a few steps to take before heading to the dyepot which will ensure long-lasting color. 

+ Weigh the goods. Record the weight. 
+ Pre-wash the goods - referred to as scouring in the dye world. 
+ Mordant the goods. This is the step of applying a binder to the goods. It is the binder which accepts the dye and holds the color. 

With those steps complete, it is time for the fun part - dyeing! This section of the book gives a general review of the natural dyeing process. 

Washing and caring for your naturally-dyed goods is also included in this section. 

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

PROJECT-BASED LEARNING 
In the second half of The Modern Natural Dyer, there are 20 projects each exploring a different part of the natural dyeing process. Some require knowing how to sew or knit. Other projects utilize white pre-sewn or pre-knit objects which are referred to as blanks. They are made with the intention that one would take them and dye them.

When beginning the task of starting to write my book, and faced with the question of how to inspire and motivate others to begin natural dyeing, I acknowledged two spheres of great influence: my experience helping customers at Verb and the influence cookbooks have had in my life. 

At Verb, we have a number of knit and sewn samples using yarn, fabric, and patterns we carry here in the shop, on display at all times. Time after time, I see people become very excited when seeing these samples, and set out to make their own version. This process has encouraged people to stretch their skill-set, and become better at their craft. My hope is the projects in the book will do the same. Perhaps you see a project you love, and decide to take the steps to make it. 

I love to cook and bake. I think of natural dyeing as the cooking of the fiber world. The processes are very similar. I owe a large part of my ability to do so to well-crafted cookbooks; those that have solid instructions and enticing photography.

When writing my book, I drew upon the format of cookbooks. One such favorite is Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This book is a wonderful balance of the history of cuisine in Jerusalem, recipes to make the food, coupled with mouth-watering photos of the dishes. Pretty much the moment I found this book in my hands, I got behind the wheel of my car, to make a trip to the grocery store in order to begin buying ingredients to make a Jerusalem-based dinner. When writing my book, I wanted people to feel this way; to feel motivated and take action. 

The similarity between the examples of the samples in the shop and cookbooks like Jerusalem: they are both styles of project-based learning. So I decided to create a project-based book.

In addition to my hope that the projects would inspire and entice, there is the fact that each project works as a tool to teach a different part of the natural dyeing process. By framing the process within the a project, I was able to teach more in-depth skills as I am referring to an exact example of use - rather than a lesson based in theory. 

My book includes instructions on how to naturally dye protein-based (animal / insect) and cellulose-based (plant) fibers, how these fibers affect the natural dyeing process, and how to work with each fiber in order to get the best results. Protein- and cellulose-based fibers are very different from one another. Because of the inclusion of both types of fibers, projects once again helped to frame lessons in learning how to work with them.

Through the projects I hope to impart what natural dyeing could look like in your life - in both process and product - like a naturally dyed dress or sweater, or even as a simple as a pair of vibrant naturally-dyed pair of socks.

The second half of the Modern Natural Dyer is dedicated to teaching you about the different types of natural dyes available and how to use them. This section is divided into the following chapters: 

 The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

WHOLE DYESTUFFS are dyes found whole, so things like flowers, roots, leaves, bark, and bugs. To use whole dyestuffs, the color must be extracted from the plant material. Some dyes are only available as whole dyestuffs - like goldenrod - and are likely to only be found by growing them in your garden or foraging for them in the forest. 

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

NATURAL DYEING EXTRACTS are highly concentrated powders derived from plants and cochineal. To use extracts, they are measured and dissolved. They are easy to store, available for purchase, and are the easiest way to create a wide spectrum of color.  

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

INDIGO has its own chapter, and is separated from the other natural dyes, as the process of dyeing with it is quite different than all the other natural dyes and requires special additional steps. 

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

The final chapter in The Modern Natural Dyer is dedicated to SURFACE DESIGN. The idea behind this section is now that you know about the dyes and how to use them, now let's use this knowledge to create patterns. Once upon a time, there wasn't fancy machinery that could print fabric. Instead, to make designs on fabric, there were groups of people dedicated to manipulating fabric, into forms like tucks, pleats, and folds, to create patterns. Sometimes this person would also be the dyer, and sometimes this would be the person's sole job.

In this section of the book, you can learn how to paint on fabric and yarn. There are also four styles of resist-dyeing taught. Resist-dyeing is the act of binding the fabric, so that when dyed, dye cannot reach the bound portion. Once the dyeing is complete, the binding is removed, and a pattern emerges. In Japanese, the overarching term for this is shibori and each type of resist applied has its own name. In The Modern Natural Dyer, I teach how to create resist-dyed fabrics by wrapping the fabric with thread, stitching fabric with needle and thread, pleating the fabric and binding it to a pole, and pleating the fabric, adding blocks, and applying pressure with the use of clamps. 

And that is The Modern Natural Dyer in a nutshell! 

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When designing the projects for the book, I worked to create things which are simple, classic, and easily modified to reflect your personality - like using a different dye to achieve new color, or applying a resist-dyeing technique to create your own unique pattern. While writing my book, I spent hours envisioning how you might take these projects and interpret them, and imaging how fun it would be create these projects along your side.

I am so excited to embark on this journey with you!

We are busy as bees in the Verb dye studio. 

For those of you who have purchased The Modern Natural Dyer Phase 1 Kit, we are preparing the kits to ship to you. 

I am teaching a three-week Natural Dyeing 101 course at Verb, starting next week. This is a thorough introduction to the natural dyeing process and will include dyeing on protein- and cellulose-based fibers. There are still a few spots left! 

And in case you missed it, we are currently offering FREE SHIPPING on copies of The Modern Natural Dyer

If you are working-along with us, use the comment section to introduce yourself, and to link to your blog or Instagram feed. And remember to tag your photos with #themodernnaturaldyerworkalong so we can follow your progress. 

Sarah, Lis, and I have begun the first highlighted project, The Northwoods Hat. In the next few days, I will post our progress. 

On Tuesday, January 12th, my first Creativebug video is coming out - and will teach you how to naturally dye a silk scarf!

See you soon! 

-- Kristine 

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