Natural Dyeing with Tumeric

You might think of turmeric as the spice the turns your curry yellow, and you would be right, but it can also turn other things yellow- like yarn. I had some basic cotton yarn that needed an upgrade and I had read that turmeric could be used as a dye stuffs so I thought I would give it a try. 

Items you will need are a large pot, tongs, something to dye, two tablespoons to a fourth of a cup of turmeric (depending on how much material you are dyeing) another smaller pot and some vinegar. 

Notice that my yarn is loose hanks and tied in four different spots. The goal is to keep the yarn from tangling but also allow the water and dye to penetrate the yarn as much as possible.

For this recipe the vinegar is the mordant, or fixing agent, for the turmeric dye. For this much yarn I did two cups of vinegar mixed with four cups of water but your needs will depend on how much material you want to dye. 

I first brought the vinegar and water mixture to a boil, turned the heat to simmer and then put in my yarn. I left it in there for about an hour and then took it out. The yarn didn't look any different afterwards. 


While the vinegar and yarn were stewing I mixed up a batch of turmeric dye. 

Two tablespoons and about three cups of water were all I used to get this vibrant mixture. This mixture of water and turmeric is also brought to a boil and then simmers for about an hour. 

Once everything has cooked for an hour, pour out the vinegar mixture and pour the turmeric mixture over the material. I don't have a picture of this step because the turmeric mixture covered it up and you couldn't see the yarn. 

I let the yarn sit in the turmeric dye for about two hours. One hour probably would have worked but I had to run out to do something and just left it in there. When I finally rinsed out the yarn it took quite a long time to wash out all the excess dye. Turmeric is potent stuff. 

As you can see it came out a brilliant color and  I can't wait to knit it into something and show off what I have made. 

I don't know how well the yarn will hold the color but I am not too concerned. I think that having colors gently fade over time make them more interesting. And since turmeric is such a strong dye stuff I would recommend washing anything you have dyed with it separate from your other cloths for awhile until you are sure it won't bleed.

So if you have a couple of tablespoons of turmeric powder in your cupboard then you can vibrant yellow yarn or fabric by this afternoon.