Dyeing with Bloodroot

This project was done and written by Lori Kelley-Hannis.  She is an experienced natural dyer and longtime member of the SCA.  Her Etsy shop can be found here.

It’s A Good Day to Dye

It’s raining blood, sort of. I’ve spent ages the past few weeks looking at natural dyes thinking I want to do that but I live in an apartment. Let’s face it, some natural dyes really reek. I was looking at some of the herbs and roots I have laying around my apartment and came across my big bag of bloodroot. I picked that up and then set my wool to soak in alum. Then I got to work.


I started with 440 yards of Knit Picks ™ Peruvian Highland yarn weighing in at 4 oz or 100grams.


bloodroot undyed yarn

bloodroot dye in colander

Then I took two cap fulls of Alum and tossed it in the warm water, and let it soak. While the wet wool was soaking I started boiling the bloodroot. I know you aren’t supposed to boil; however, it was a good idea as the roots were hard and I needed to leech out as much color as I could. I strained the bloodroot through an aluminum strainer with a coffee filter within. Replacing the water and repeating this process three times.

Note from Kelley @slowyarn.com: Lori was using a whole, dried root form of bloodroot. The link I provide here is for a powdered form, which will give color with a simmer, not a boil.

After that, I placed the yarn into the dye bath sitting in a plastic Tupperware bowl. I allowed it to sit for about three hours, during which time I allowed about 4 oz of wool roving to sit in another alum dye bath.

The color yielded was this incredible rich orangy gold in the first dye bath then mellowing in a butter yellow through the second.

Bloodroot dyed yarn

Copyright ©  2015-2018 Kelley Adams.  All rights reserved.

All text, photos, and graphics are the property of Kelley Adams unless credit is given to an alternative source.

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