Book Review: A Garden to Dye For

A Garden to Dye ForA Garden to Dye For:
How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers
by Chris McLaughlin

160 pages
St. Lynn’s Press, 2014
List price: $17.95

As is usually the case with St. Lynn’s Press books, A Garden to Dye For is a visual treat. But this is much, much more.

Chris’s warm writing style was such a pleasure to read. I sat down with the book when it first arrived in the mail just to take a cursory glance, as I usually do, and an hour later I was still reading. Not many books do that to me.

This is the perfect book for someone who has never dabbled in dyeing textiles before. There’s just enough information here to get you started, but not too much so that you’re overwhelmed by the process. Chris tells you how, gives you some sources for materials, and encourages you to experiment. There’s nothing too exotic (unless you want it to be!) and she uses more than 50 fairly common plants that you might already have in your garden.

I’ll admit that I’ve never even considered plunging into the world of dyeing fabrics, let alone with plants. I may never do it, but Chris McLaughlin’s easy-to-follow instructions not only made me kind of want to, she made me believe that I actually could.

Chris McLaughlin is a California garden writer and author who has been gardening and teaching others about gardening for over 35 years. She’s the home agriculture editor for From Scratch magazine, and the Homesteading Guide at About.com. A Garden to Dye For is her sixth book.

Read more garden book reviews.
Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre

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