Cover Image: Natural Kitchen Dyes

Natural Kitchen Dyes

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Member Reviews

A great reference book for using items commonly found in the kitchen to create your own dye projects. This is a wonderful book for those at any level in the hand dyeing process. Thank you!
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I have been interesting in natural dyes since I learned that you an avocado pit can make pink dye (I know!  It's true!).  However, this book wasn't as helpful as I would have liked.  I obviously love reading about what I can use as dyes and how they will look, but I felt like this missed some of the more technical aspects of dyeing, and moved on to the projects which require additional time and skills but the instructions aren't super clear so I was frustrated.
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What a beautiful book. This recipe collection inspires me to be more crafty and environmentally conscious! I enjoyed learning about how to use natural dyes and the included projects and recipes are incredibly useful! I will be purchasing a copy of this to put on my shelf for easy reference. 

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A gentle and approachable introduction to making your own natural fabric dyes. Hall includes lists of suggested equipment, kitchen scraps to save, types of fabric recommended, etc. There are recipes for making various colors, with lots of gorgeous photography. Plenty of tips to help you wash, maintain, and use your hand-dyed fabrics. Good for hobbyists and medium or large public library collections.
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Natural Kitchen Dyes by Alicia Hall
Make Your Own Dyes from Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs and Tea, Plus 12 Eco-Friendly Craft Projects

I remember dying a long white skirt and top when living in Jordan. I didn’t know then that one needs to set the dye so it eventually faded back to white. If I had been able to refer to this book back then the skirt, now long gone, would not have faded back to white…probably. 

The chapters in the book”
* Introduction
* Collecting (what and how to collect and store natural ingredients to use for dyes)
* Fabrics (natural are recommended with specifics included)
* Tools
* Soya Milk (I know…wondered about this as it is hard to find to buy locally…interesting what it is used for)
* Color Fast, Fugitive, and PH Sensitive colors
* Dye Basics
* Dye Recipes
* Ink and Printing
* Modifiers
* Other Dyes
* Gift Wrap
* Projects (12 of them)

The colors are much softer looking than the brighter ones often found in fabrics we buy in shops. I found a few that might work for me and do have a white linen shirt I could try a dye out on in the future. We will see. I believe that dying might be interesting and this book would assist if one were going to use natural dyes. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Pen & Sword – White Owl for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

4-5 Stars
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Natural Kitchen Dyes is a primer and tutorial guide for organic plant based dyes written and curated by Alicia Hall. Due out 31st March 2022 from Pen & Sword on their White Owl imprint, it's 152 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

The book is presented in a sensible progression, with chapters flowing naturally into one another: gathering (potentially large amounts of) dye materials, choosing fabrics, necessary tools and supplies, mordanting with soya milk, colourfastness, the actual dyeing process, surface printing and inks, and tutorial projects. Readers should be aware that the information contained in the chapters is broad in scope, but very short on actual concrete tips and usable facts. It would be quite difficult, I think, to take this book as a total beginner and have enough information to make colorants and dye fabric without having other resources or a teacher available.

The pictures are appealing and restful. The author emphasizes safety and (where applicable) organic and easily sourced ingredients. The included projects are very simple and most are appealing. Natural dyeing is an experimental and experiential craft. It is almost impossible to get consistent results and the author's writing style goes with that flow. The projects (to me) have a very hippy-style earthy vibe and will appeal to readers who enjoy a more natural decor. The included lunch bag/cutlery roll tutorials are wonderful and very versatile. Full size templates are included in the book.

The book doesn't include an index or links for further reading, or a bibliography. The measurements included in the tutorials are in standard (metric) measures. There is no conversion tool in the book. Text and spelling are UK/standard English and shouldn't be problematic in context for readers in the USA.

I loved the easy and accessible prose and the lovely clear pictures. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes
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Some incredible idea’s in here, and I love the fact that they are natural (yes I know, it’s written on the cover of the book!), but lots things that I wouldn’t have thought of, or parts of a fruit or vegetable to get different results. Just find it incredible.

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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A great introduction to natural dyes that covers the basic materials, ingredients and techniques to make permanent and semi-permanent natural dyes. Also includes up-cycling projects where you can repurpose old shirts, cushions and fabric. 

Thank you Netgalley for the eARC.
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I think you can do much better with a different book. This book seems to be thrown together without much editorial oversight or consultation with a dye chemist. The organization could be greatly improved, as could the discussion of dye chemistry. It is clear that Alicia Hall doesn't know much about silk. The recipes here are for small quantities. Most of the projects are not attractive.

First about the silk. I happen to know a lot about silk, having traded in it for a very long time, and I know some very famous professional silk weavers. I also know people who teach natural dying and who use natural dyes on silk and other fibres in their artwork. So my sources are very good.

On page 24 we read: Raw silk (which is created by allowing the silkworm to break its way out of its silk cocoon naturally) has a rough and textured surface created by the silk fibres breaking as
the silkworm escapes.

This is completely wrong, although you might be able to see where the misinformation comes from. Do a web search "what is raw silk". When I did it the other day, the very first entry gave that false info, followed by other entries that correctly identify raw silk as silk that has not been treated to remove sericin, the gummy protein that holds the cocoon together while the silkworm pupates. Silk from ruptured cocoons is something else entirely. All silk is lustrous including raw silk.

Sericin is removed by washing. The artist can decide how much to wash out. Fibres with more sericin are thicker and the silk woven from them is slightly coarser, but not necessarily more textured, although artists may want uneven texture and will handle the fibres accordingly. Fibres with more sericin take up dye differently from well-cleaned fibres. FYI Different strains of silkmoth produce longer or shorter fibres for their cocoons. When the fibres are short, more of them must be twisted together to make yarn and the yarn is thicker and more textured as each of the end overlaps is thicker and prone to unevenness.

Ms Hall writes of silk and wool as being delicate fabrics. Silk is not particularly delicate. It is boiled during production and plain silk fabric is unaffected by heat. You can wash and dry it by machine. Linings, art from special loom techniques or embroidery, and dyes, though, are not necessarily sturdy and those must be protected.

Wool fibres have cuticle, not follicles (p 56). Follicles are part of the sheep's skin.

Beetroot is listed in several places as a fugitive color but also on page 44 as a pH sensitive anthocyanin dye, which, in theory, should be colorfast. Beetroot is perhaps a fugitive pH sensitive anthocyanin color but it is not clear from the text. The discussion of anthocyanin and pH sensitive dye is insufficient.

I find most of the projects distressingly ugly.

There is better info than this online and there are better books to be had. Don't bother with this one.
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4/5     Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.  The following comments were written about the electronic copy a good month and a half before publication.

This book on Natural Kitchen Dyes is very clear on the dying directions, although I have yet to try it myself.  It was actually exciting to read how so many different colours could be had with regular kitchen ingredients.  It seems that a lot of care was taken to have so many lovely pictures.  So many different swatches laid out makes for interesting viewing, but having them labelled as to which material they are, and which dye and modifier was used would be more enlightening in a “how-to” book.  I loved the part of the book about actually making the dyes and dying the fabrics.

There are lots of hints on how to collect ingredients for your dyes, which materials to use, what tools you need (and how to find them inexpensively).  Also, specific directions on how long to pretreat your fabrics, dye them, when to rinse them, and how to dry them.

My problem came with the projects at the end of the book.  I’m not much of a crafter, but I didn’t think I was stupid.  I had real difficulty following the directions on a number of the craft projects.  There are pictures, but they don’t seem to be directly related to the wording below them.

WallHanging = the directions are a little challenging to follow, but OK

T-shirt Bag = OK, but why wouldn’t you just sew the bottom together?  Or should this be touted as a no sew project?

Patchwork Jeans = I could not follow the directions of how to get the patches neatly into the jean legs.  There is a cryptic description of how to do the corners with an accompanying photo which doesn’t seem to show much except for the sewing machine’s needle and foot

Raffia Basket = I could not follow the directions to actually shape the basket from the bottom to the sides and the pictures didn’t seem to be of the difficult parts.  The directions state that a crochet hook or large needle should be used, but there are no pictures of this except when doing the handles (which is a different method from the basket body)

Lunch Bags & Cutlery Keeper = I had to read the cutlery bag directions 4-5 times before I finally got it.  Why not say that it starts out looking like a long fabric bag?  Instead of sewing two 50x16cm pieces together on the short end, why not start with one 100x16cm piece?  Then yowza, it took me forever to figure out the triangles to make the gusset on the lunch bag.  Surely, there’s a better way to explain and show this with pictures

Floor Cushion = I would really like to see a picture of the whole cushion from a few angles, instead of pieces of the pretty top only.  Also, what is a large bin bag?  Or stuffing from 8-10 old cushions … of what size?  Perhaps giving a volume guesstimate for the stuffing would be handier.  I had real difficulty following the directions for this project.  If you sew something with the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other, wouldn’t your finished product have the seams and sewing on the “right” side?  I eventually gave up trying to figure this one out

In my mind, the project section needs a little more work; but the dying section (the thrust of the book), is excellent.  I can see many people trying out home dying projects as a result of reading this work.
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I love to craft with products of nature. This book did not disappoint and provided me with a wealth of knowledge.  I look forward to using the information in this book to dye some wool roving that I have acquired.  Thank you for the advance copy of this book.
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A wonderful book that gives not only recipes for beautiful natural dyes, but outlines the basic materials, ingredients, and techniques you will need to get started in a straight-forward way, perfect for the beginner.
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I absolutely love love love this book. The photos are amazing. I’ve always been interested in natural dyeing and this book is brilliant for the beginner, it has really clear useful text and uses ingredients that are readily available. It has some inspiring projects as well.

This is definitely one that I will be buying. Thank you for the advanced copy it’s brilliant
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Okay I suppose. I feel like in several sections, the information was just mentioned and not actually explained in any detail. The projects aren't that thrilling and I really couldn't care less. That's not what I want a book on dyeing for. I guess it's an okay book if you're just gonna do one natural dye project and you're okay with one of the few recipes the author provides.
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I received a copy thought NetGalley for review.
I will post a review publicly if it ever appears anywhere to put it, but it is not even listed in Goodreads for me to do that. You guys might want to work on getting that done, so we can give feedback.

Having enjoyed dyeing myself and read many natural dye books this one really left me wanting.
It didn't cover all that much. And the book felt more project based than actual usefulness for people that are looking to get into it. But even if I was a new natural dyer this still gave me boarder line vague in information.
I wish it had a better break down on mordants, and oxidizers, which is important. There weren't any visual breakdowns. There were photos of dye samples but they weren't really laid out in a way that told people what they were looking at nor were they labeled. Or what the differences were in using or not using mordants. 
It was the same with kitchen items you can use for dyes. A few were spoken of in passing but didn't show the range of colors in a way that you could really see it. Just little adjustments would have made a huge difference.

The same for the projects. I had a hard time seeing what the steps were clearly because in photos the steps were talked about bit skipped over in the photos, they covered some of them, but the step-by step weren't clear in the photos. Some were lacking dimensions or patterns for them. And the the dye fabric also photographically made it harder to see what was going on. It was visually distracting.
I feel like the ideas and the meat for this was there, and could have worked with labeling and a bit of photo editing or adding things. But it's probably too late in production to really fix the things that would have made this a great dye book.
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I usually get very excited to read books like this one, with promises of beautiful results made to look easy, then I will realize that it is not as easy as I thought! 
Natural Kitchen Dyes however is a genuinely accessible book about dyeing fabric using all kinds of easy to get hold of ingredients. I really like how clear the instructions are as well as tips to gather your supplies, not many of us will have 20 avocado skins all at once, so Alicia advises freezing them until you have enough for a dye bath. 
There is also lots of useful advice about fabrics, and the effects you can expect from each.  
Using natural dyes can be a fickle beast but the descriptions, beautiful photographs and inspiring projects have got me inspired. 
I can’t wait to see this book on our library shelves, I know our patrons are going to love it!
Now, who wants guacamole!?
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A fantastic guide to natural dyeing! 

Alicia Hall has produced a brilliant resource for experienced and beginner dyers alike. The book covers everything from ingredients and where to collect them, to fabrics, tools, recipes and projects. She literally covers everything you need to know. The writing is clear and easy to read, and the photos throughout are gorgeous. 
I have never used natural dyes before (I’ve only used acid dyes) but I’ve always been very interested. The colours that you get from natural dyes are so beautiful. This book has definitely inspired me to finally try it so this evening I will be dyeing yarn with onion skins! I can wait to see the results. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is such an interesting book.  Alicia Hall gives so much detail and information on the entire process of dying from kitchen scraps and more. The book is organized and easy to understand.
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This book is beautiful !

I am so looking forward to trying out all of the new techniques and the book really goes into thorough detail about what dyes you can use from left over waste such as avocado stones or even onion skins.

The techniques that this book teach you can be used on most textiles including yarn, which will enable you to make some absolutely fabulous yarns or fabrics

I would highly recommend this book to any fiber  artist 

*a big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc copy in exchange for an honest review *
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I have been natural or Eco dyeing for years, and always love it when I find a new book of dyeing. This one is very, very good, the information is excellent and to the point - easy to read and understand. As for the photographs, they are stunning. The chapters are divided into area of  -Collection, Fabric, Tools, Soya Milk Color fast & Ph Sensitivity dyes, Dye basics, Dye Recipes, Ink and Printing, Modifiers and Other Dyes. There are also some projects at the end to use the dyed fabric for.  
This is a great book for both beginners and experienced dyers. Dyeing is so much fun, the results always magic, and with natural dyes very friendly to people and envioroment 
I recommend this book very strongly..
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