Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dyeing for Gold

...and mint, terracotta and blue.

Despite living in the midst of the action, the recent Winter Olympic Games were like any other for me: I watched a lot of TV, cheering on Canadian (and other) athletes, and regretting not taking those skating/skiing lessons more seriously as a kid.

In the seven or eight years leading up to the big spectacle, I had -- and continue to have -- rather ambivalent feelings about the costs vs. benefits of my city hosting the "Games", and I'm rather glad the biggest part of the show is over.

Of the Ravelympics, however, I felt no such ambivalence. Piggy is a proud member of Team Canada who, if I may be so bold, put in a fairly impressive performance in the Downhill Dyeing event:

Downhill Dyeing - the lot!

If I were a fancy-pants fibre artiste, I'd likely come up with a veritable menu of names for the colours I ended up with. But I'm not, so I'm just calling my efforts kitchen dyeing, as all my dyes came from food.


Turmeric dyeing


Coffee superwash & alpaca

Avocado pits:

Avocado pit dyeing

Avocado peels:

Finsihed superwash wool & alpaca

Black Beans:

Black Bean Dyeing

And behold the reward bestowed upon me by Adonis Dionysius Bobicus Maximus:

DownhillDyeing medal

I'm basking in the glory of my medal, believe me. But I kinda wish the medal came with a $10,000 bonus, like Team Canada's Olympic athletes get. C'est la vie.

Fortunately for Piggy's bank balance, all these yarns were dirt cheap: the non-superwash wool and alpaca were from that estate sale I went to months ago, and the superwash is Nashua Handknits Creative Focus from Dressew, where all yarn is $1.99/skein.

And the dyestuff, for the most part, was also very budget-friendly. The black beans did double-duty and made a huge pot of soup, the coffee was of the dirt-cheap no-name brand variety, and many of the avocado pits and skins were donated by friends (big thank yous to y'all!).

I think I've caught the natural dyeing bug. Which isn't entirely a good thing, given my record of using up yarn...


  1. beautiful!!!! I love the tumeric!!! It always dyes my fingers that colour so it makes sense.

  2. how did you dye with black beans! I've never seen that done before. I'd love your "recipe" :)

  3. Wow, you've got some lovely colours. I love the black bean blue. When I have some time...

  4. Woah I wonder what other spices do.... like, PAPRIKA!