I was introduced to natural dyeing by our next door neighbour when I was in primary school (same neighbour who taught me to spin, and helped me to spin enough wool for a jumper for myself). I recall collecting onion skins, scraping lichen off trees, and using alum to prepare remnant carpet wool from the old Albany Woollen Mills for dyeing. Since then the only natural dyeing I have done is boiled eggs in onion skins at Easter time. Until this week, that is.
In the name of scientific investigation with the kids, we collected ingredients and brewed up various dyes in order to make.......PLAYDOUGH! Sophisticated, I know. Sorry to anyone expecting beautiful naturally dyed fabrics to appear in my next quilts... We followed the instructions from here, and used turmeric, blueberries, beetroot and onion skins. We would have loved to try out more ingredients, but there is only so much playdough you can have in the house. I look forward to unpacking my copy of India Flint's Eco Colour when we get to the new house, for more ideas and inspiration!
The playdough was made yesterday afternoon. Checking out the colour of each new batch was fun for everyone, and then this morning the kids played with it for three whole hours.