Natural Dyeing Workshop with Melissa Petersen

Fourteen ladies. Two hours. Seventy skeins of yarn. Saturday’s natural dyeing workshop produced a rainbow of colors from pounds of petals, bags of beans and berries, and a sack of (flower bulb) skins. With a quick overview of the process under their belts, gloves were donned, yarn was wetted, and the comfortable chaos ensued.   

We had eight stations, each with a different dyestuff to produce a particular color. Fresh and fermented pokeberries were squished and strained to make magenta and purple. Soaked black beans yielded a gray/blue. Cosmos and marigolds were simmered for orange and gold. Narcissus bulb papers were cooked for tan and beige. Bedstraw was chopped and simmered for a pale coral. And for the heck of it, we cooked up some non-local cochineal to give us a bright red. A few ladies ventured into double dipping — black bean over dyed with marigold to get green and marigold over dyed with cochineal to get burnt orange. If only we had had an endless supply of yarn.   


After much discussion about where their artistic endeavors would end up in knitting, crochet and needlepoint (and a few inquiries about “the next class,” which doesn’t exist yet), the workshop ended. Wet skeins of yarn in tow, each lady left armed ideas for colorful projects and inspiration for grabbing color from nature.  

- Melissa Peterson, Editor and Publisher of Edible Memphis

Photos: Margarita Sandino

Posted by Chantal Drake at 4:27 PM
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