Nicola Brown | Dyeing felt with turmeric, a Clasheen style diy project!
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Dyeing felt with turmeric, a Clasheen style diy project!

Dyeing felt with turmeric, a Clasheen style diy project!

Amongst everything else I got up to yesterday I had the strongest urge to felt one of Chrissie’s new designs from our upcoming book and then decided to dye it using turmeric from my larder!

Lovely yellow as I dip the felt into the liquid

At the time I should have been preparing 35 starter felting kits (yes, my 26 students multiplied magically) for our first CRAFTed session but I justified the felting by telling myself I could edit the relevant section of the book better if I actually had made the piece myself!!! For this piece I worked with a combination of white ponge silk and white needle punched felt from my stash and used a few torn strips of black silk chiffon for embellishment. Before I started the dyeing process I quickly checked a couple of good blog posts that I pinned recently to my ‘textile techniques to remember’ board, the posts I pinned were from red2white, Art Threads and PAGES FROM MY moleskine. I’m not going to spoil Chrissie’s surprise by revealing the garment design but here are the steps that I used to achieve a gorgeous warm yellow colour!

NB, I just dyed my nuno felt when it had finished felting but prior to drying but if you wanted to dye an already dry piece you would need to make sure it was totally wet through first. Now for my step by step process….

  • Mix approx 30g turmeric into a couple litres of hot water and stir, I use turmeric in Indian dishes so had it in my larder already!
  • Add a good glug of vinegar, I only had malt vinegar (the brown kind) but I added it anyway
  • Plunge your wet felt into the pot and submerge properly, use a wooden spoon to push it down
  • Leave for 15 minutes
  • Place the pot on top of the stove and allow the liquid to get hotter but not boiling, 15 minutes is what I did
  • Remove from the heat and leave to sit for about 30 minutes
  • Rinse in water that is the same temperature that you are removing the felt from, rinse until the water runs clear
  • Spin (not rinse and spin) your felt in a washing machine to remove excess water or roll it in a towel
  • Dry and enjoy!

Pushing the whole piece under the liquid

I love the final bright yellow colour!

Nicola Brown
  • alpacalindy
    Posted at 20:07h, 28 March Reply

    This turned out gorgeous, Nicola! Thanks for the directions, I’ll have to give this a try 🙂

  • Lois
    Posted at 04:58h, 29 March Reply

    Lovely shade.
    How will you keep the colour from fading? I tried turmeric once with wool and after a couple of hours in the sunlight it faded to an unattractive pale ochre.

  • Margo Duke
    Posted at 11:27h, 29 March Reply

    Nicola, your experiment was fun but read that tumeric was a “fugetive” dye and that is doesn’t last – if you’ve found a way to keep it that way, please let us know

  • kwinter12
    Posted at 14:48h, 29 March Reply

    That is truly a gorgeous colour!

    If the dye doesn’t last, how come I can never get the stains out after I’ve eaten curry?! 😉

  • cedar
    Posted at 14:55h, 29 March Reply

    I love the yellow, but I too thought it was fugitive, so when using turmeric I have added pomegranate to it and come up with a lovely gold which is not fugitive…yes, it is a mystery that some dyes are fugitive, but get them on a silk shirt and it isn’t…lol

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 02:06h, 30 March Reply

    What is a fugitive dye?

    The color came out just beautifully. Turmeric is supposed to be an Alzheimer’s preventative, so I’d better consume some before putting it all in the dye pot!

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