Natural Dyeing: Turmeric

I recently read a blog post by Mari at Gather and Grow, she had dyed with turmeric using solar dyeing and without any mordants. I had a look around in my spice rack and found a jar of turmeric powder that had expired four years ago. I decided to have a go with that. I used mordanted wool because that’s what I happened to have (alum and cream of tartar) and I also used heat. I heated the water and mixed the turmeric powder into it. When I added the wet yarn the dye immediately dyed the yarn and I only let the yarn be at the dye for 15 minutes. I used the the dye again and dyed another 100 g skein of wool and it came out exactly the same colour. Turmeric is strong stuff! I feel like a much less turmeric would have been enough and that I could still dye a lot of yarn with the dye. I have it saved it case I want more. The only downside is that the smell stays quite strong in the yarn, even though I rinsed it a lot.





9 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing: Turmeric

  1. It is nice to use things laying around the house for dyeing. I have discovered that the color lasts better if you dye first with pomegranate and then over dye with turmeric ( I tested it with 10 hot water machine washes while fulling a piece). I can’t remember where I read the info but it works. You could try a vinegar water rinse to reduce the smell.

    • How do you dye with pomegranate? Do you use the seeds and what colour do you get? Or does is act like a mordant with no colour? I’m curious about this. 🙂

      • I have been using the powder, but I believe you can also dye with the skins. It gives a duller yellow, a bit lighter than yellow ochre, however if it is used on grey yarn or white yarn post dipped with iron you get a lovely olive green. The pomegranate and turmeric mix gives an amazing yellow orange color. When I used turmeric on its own I found over the course of time it did fade a bit, but then I think we have to think in terms of natural dyeing being fluid and organic, that is some of the charm.

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  3. Hey! I try to write in English:
    What a beautiful colours you get! I have experimented with Turmeric and it was great, but the sun made the colour out in a couple of hours. I have investigated and I think it is because of the tannins. It has no tannin so it need them to protect from Sun. And, where are tannins? Oak gall (agallas in Spanish, Gallapfel in German). Now before the spring, is the best moment to collect them. Now I want to try dying Turmeric+”Agallas” and see what happens after being under the Sun.
    Thanks for sharing your experiments, that with black beans is my favourite! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Interesting. Natural dyes on general tend to fade on the sun. Tannin is really important mordant especially if you dye with cellulose fibers like cotton. I use both tara powder and alum with them. I dyed this wool yarn that I mordanted with alum six years ago and it’s still a VERY strong colour.😅 Has not faded at all.

  4. Ah, and that could be also a solution to fix better the beetroot. I will try it. (That with the oak galls)

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