Color to Dye For

Gray cat peeking out from behind balls of yarn.

Enrolling in a spinning and dyeing class while in college opened my eyes to natural dyes and the custom color combinations you can create by spinning yarn yourself. I continued exploring the possibilities of working with fiber and fabrics for many years, but life led me in another direction. In the past year, I’ve been blessed to reconnect with my love of textiles.

Isn't it funny how what sometimes seems like a small event can set you on a whole new path? One evening, I received an email from Mary Berry. A few weeks later, I'm digging out old dye pots that haven't seen the light of day in decades.

As if perfectly timed, Mary Berry asked to use one of my images and introduced me to Spin Off, a magazine filled with inspiring and beautiful photos and stories. I was happy to hear about her article, and pleased to share the picture shown on page 59.

Spin Off Magazine Cover

The current color-packed issue just arrived, making me want to create dozens of hues! I devoured every article, learning about the many elements that can affect color when dyeing wool, and how a tiny insect in Laos produces the most beautiful red dye. I also marveled over the story of Alabama Chanin, a sustainable fashion house specializing in handcrafted clothing and textiles made using organic and recycled materials.

Gerber's Investigative Method, a systematic approach to natural dyeing that involves sampling different mordants and dye combinations to explore their color potential, caught my attention. The Method delights with its infinite color possibilities, speaks to my desire to fully understand a system before breaking its rules, and offers me one more way to dive into the creative process hands first. It ticks all of my boxes!

Let me know if you would like to see the results of me dipping my toe back into dyeing. Or give it a try yourself. Spin Off magazine offers great guidance on any technique you'd like to try.

Read Time: 2 min
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Kate Smith
Kate Smith is an optimistic, expressive, artist, designer, writer and color fanatic. With her warm and witty style, Kate teaches you to clearly see, understand and be inspired by color. Then she guides you step-by-step to develop your own unique color sense-ability and achieve results you never dreamed possible.