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Isn’t it wonderful how the deeper we go into knitting, the more we enjoy the process (as opposed to just the products) of knitting, and the more processes we add on to that process?

Most of us start out knitting yarn from a ball that we found on the shelf of a store. Over time, we start to wonder about that ball of yarn. What is the fiber? Where is it from? How is it spun? Can we spin it ourselves? How is it dyed? Can we dye it ourselves? How difficult would it be to keep a few sheep?

(No kidding. We both know people who started out knitting and ended up with sheep or goats. It’s a slippery damn slope.)

I’m no stranger to this adding-on of processes, but I seem to add on entirely new crafts—quilting, rug hooking, Alabama Chanin sewing, while resisting the siren songs of the spinning wheel and the indigo vat. I keep telling myself that those are whole new fields of skill and expertise. Other people have deep mastery of these processes, and I can support their work—by knitting its products—instead of dabbling in their worlds.


Kristine Vejar’s new book The Modern Natural Dyer, taps into this urge that some of us have to roll up our sleeves, put on rubber gloves, and make a big mess in the effort to make beautiful naturally colored fibers.

The book is a comprehensive how-to for beginning natural dyers, and also has inspiring projects to make with the dyed materials, including several beautiful knitting projects. But most of all, it’s beautiful.


This is the Indigo Wedge Cardigan, designed by Julie Weisenberger aka cocoknits. Indigoooooooo, come to meeeeee.

The Modern Natural Dyer was the darling of the book barn at Rhinebeck. The buzz was palpable; people were walking around holding their copy like a baby. I think this is a testament to the passion knitters and other fiber enthusiasts have for going deeper into the processes of making our materials. All we need is inspiration and a trustworthy guide, and Kristine Vejar has provided both in this book.


Northwoods Hat (in red, yellow or purple).


Flowers at My Fingertips sewing kit.


Waves Bandana.


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