The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar is a beautifully photographed and laid out hardcover book covering many of the commonly available and reliable dyestuffs. The "modern" in the title refers to the revised amounts and safer procedures that are used now that we are more aware of the toxicity of some of the the historical recipes. Also dye extracts have been developed for a number of plant (and animal, in the case of cochineal) dyes that really simplify the process and expand the options for applying colours.
Kristine herself grew many of the dye plants that are photographed for the book's intriguing illustrations but she uses purchased dyestuffs for her examples. I was a little surprised actually at how much I liked the projects included. That's not at all what I usually buy a book for! They really help to demonstrate the many ways natural dyes can be used in a fun way. If you're the type who likes to make things easy, kits are available through her shop, A Verb For Keeping Warm in California and you can follow along as she is currently demonstrating everything in more detail on her blog.
Would that I could afford Alabama Chanin - even their simpler machine-sewn line:
I know yellow is not many people's favourite colour but how can you resist the glorious yellows produced by natural dyes? So cheerful.
Then I'm particularly enamoured with this sweater:
It has a really fun detail in the back! And the painted fabric as well as the variegated yarn in this top:
The book also includes helpful dye charts like this one:
Formulas are on the opposite page and there's one for cellulose fibres as well as protein ones. So pretty, no? Detailed techniques for indigo are in a separate section including some simple shibori and an amazingly gorgeous quilt.
OK, I will admit to being somewhat of a dye aficionado. But this book wins for both information and inspiration! It won't replace Jenny Dean's more comprehensive books in my heart but I think it's a great reference for the beginner to intermediate natural dyer with solid and useful procedures. Damselfly's four wings up!
I will leave you with a photo from Thom - the undeniable hint that spring is coming soon to Vancouver!