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A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics & Fibers Hardcover – May 1, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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  • A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics & Fibers
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Editorial Reviews

Review

If you love the outdoors and creating, we found your new favorite book: A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers by Chris McLaughlin!

Of course, one can argue that natural plant-based dyes are as traditional as it gets. But in the modern world, ready-made synthetic dyes have become the norm. It’s so easy to step into a craft store and find a rainbow of powdered and liquid dyes. However, if you’re a crafty person who appreciates nature, this title is for you.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, her book provides enough guidance and encouragement to get you going. And if you do? It’s an amazing, informative encyclopedia that’s sure to become a staple in your garden. (Kirsten Nunez DIY Lifestyle Magazine)

"Many of the artists and crafters I know are also avid gardeners, so “A Garden to Dye For” is likely to strike a cord with creative types." (Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood The Grand Rapids Press)

"If you are a keen gardener and a nervous would-be-dyer, interested in safe natural dyeing project to do with children, then this fun and attractive book will help you select a few plants, get necessary equipment together, mordant if necessary, and start dyeing using cold water, hot water or solar dyeing methods."

Book Description

Homegrown botanical dyes are in, and they’re part of today’s shift toward natural and organic living. “A new generation discovers grow-it-yourself dyes,” (NY Times 4/4/12). And you don’t have to have a degree in chemistry do create your own natural dyes. It just takes a garden plot and a kitchen. A Garden to Dye For shows how super-simple it is to plant and grow a dyer’s garden and create beautiful dyes. Many of these plants may already be in our cutting, cottage or food gardens, ready for double duty. These special plants can fit right in with traditional garden themes. A Garden to Dye For features 40-plus plants that the gardener-crafter can grow for an all-natural, customized color palette. A dyer’s garden can be a mosaic of flowers, herbs, roots and fruits that lend us their pigments to beautify other areas of our lives. The richly photographed book is divided between the garden and the dye process, with garden layouts, plant profiles, dye extraction and uses, step-by-step recipes and original, engaging DIY projects. This is the book that bridges the topic of plant dyes to mainstream gardeners, the folks who enjoy growing the plants as much as using them in craft projects.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: St. Lynn's Press (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985562285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985562281
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When Chris set out to write this book, this was her goal...

"The goal, therefore, is not to attmept to share every scientific formula that includes every possible outcome. Instead, I want to encourage every person who pics up this book to try dying with plants." (page xii - Introduction)

I think Chris reached that goal with A Garden to Dye For.

Here are a few things I LOVED about the book - this is coming from a seasoned gardener but a newbie "dyer".

~ Chris starts the book out with vocabulary because the hard part of learning any new skill is really getting a handle on the terminology, isn't it?
~ The photography is amazing
~ There are clear instructions for the projects
~ The projects appear to be very doable even for the beginner
~ There are growing tips for each plant
~ For each plant Chris tells you where to find the color
~ There is an extensive resource page - you know, so you can find play silks

Most of all, I love that Chris makes growing a dye garden and actually using it seem doable and fun.

I tried hard to find something to caution you about or complain about. I really did. But I couldn't find anything that I didn't like or that irritated me to share with you.
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Format: Hardcover
While there is a lot of information to digest for a newbie like me, Chris walks the reader through the process, making dyeing fiber an attainable goal. The photos are beautiful, leaving me completely intrigued and wanting to know how I can create such beautiful, vibrant color with the plants in my garden. Chris provides a great reference section on plants that can be used for dyes, as well as garden plans so that you can get the most out of the garden you plant. This book is a great reference for the new and seasoned dyer, and will serve the owner for years to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another winning book by author Chris McLaughlin. This book covers using natural plant dyes to color your world I am a fiber producer so I was awaiting the book's release in order to learn more about using natural plant dyes on my own fiber and yarn. But why stop there. Use the dyes to custom make a fabric scarf, or a fabric anything that needs a zip of color. Learn about which plants will produce a lasting dye and which ones are only a fleeting stain on the landscape of life. You can even use these dyes for water color paintings! So many beautiful thoughts are running through my minds as I get ready to make my first batch of dye. I am totally inspired and you will be, too.
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Format: Hardcover
I have the Weaver's Garden and I love it (my stepmother gave it to me with faith that I would someday learn to use it). I love the whole idea of being able to grow natural dyes. When Chris sent me the e-copy of this book to read I was so inspired! I'm very shallow and in order for me to learn well from a book, it has to have good graphics - this one does not disappoint! I liked how it was organized. I was reading the other review and agree with Chris that its organized more like a seed catalog would be. I was able to skip around from idea to idea as my brain pinged off this or that piece of information and not once did I get lost or confused. The book is simple and, my favorite part, written for gardeners. I've read a few of these books before but I always have to go to another book to figure out if its one I can grow or even want to grow but with Garden to Dye For, its all right there! Now, I'm off to put the mushroom dye bath we made today in the fridge so we can play with it for school tomorrow!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beyond the basic aesthetics of a beautiful garden, I've always put mine to good use and reaped as much food and cut flowers as I possibly could. But Chris' book adds a whole new consideration: put all those colors to work and create natural, gorgeous dyes! I'd never even thought about this before! To anyone new to the art/science of dyeing, I'm sure that the process can seem a little overwhelming, but Chris, in her no-nonsense-cut-to-the-chase kind of way, manages to demystify it entirely. Combine that with a dash of sass and a whole boatload of beautiful images--this book is an absolute joy to read.
No one's garden library is complete without A Garden to Dye For--I highly, highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am thoroughly enjoying A Garden to Dye For by Chris McLaughlin, I'll have to admit the name and the front cover got me right away, but once I stepped inside I was amazed. Being an avid gardener but totally new to the whole process of dyeing, I was very thankful to start out learning specific terminology right away. The book is exactly what I had hoped for, coming from a gardener/new to dyeing perspective. Now I feel as though my garden, NO my entire yard, can be utilized on another level and I'll get to enjoy another creative hobby! I can honestly say I'll feel at ease to start a project, with my book close at hand of course. The added bonus to this book (besides all the new found knowledge) are the amazing photographs and inspiration! Thank YOU Chris, it certainly is a book to "dye" for!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good basic book for the home natural dyer. There was a lot of chatty commentary in the front I could have lived without, and perhaps more dye plants could have been discussed.
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