News From the Farm | November 16, 2020

Full Belly Yarn Gift Box available on our ‘Shop’ page  —

Here at the farm, it’s pretty easy to notice the changing of the seasons.  People move a little slower, we plan around the weather, but most of all… we have time for side projects! These projects are often the type of thing that don’t need to happen immediately but make life easier and more enjoyable in the future. This could be pruning the fruit orchards, mending broken equipment, or cleaning the iris beds.  Just last week, however, I was able to use my experience with natural dyes and I made the time to dye some skeins of wool that will soon be available in our on-line Farm Shop.

The day right before our first hard frost, I picked the last of our marigolds (thankfully!) and used them to dye a bunch of our Full Belly Farm Yarn a beautiful marigold yellow.  If you’re interested in grabbing a skein for yourself, keep an eye out on our on-line store (it should be available by the end of this week), or any of our farmers markets to check them out!

For those of you who are looking for your own winter project, I thought it would be fun to share with you how to make your own plant dye from regular kitchen scraps. If you’re up for a bit of an adventure… consider buying some of our white (cream-colored) yarn and trying to dye it yourself!   Here is a recipe…



Yellow Onion Skins from at least 4 Onions

1 Saucepan (approximately 4 quarts)

100% natural fiber item (t-shirt, bandana, Full Belly Farm white Yarn – 100% natural fiber means it should be 100% made from cotton, silk, wool, or any other animal fiber.

Step 1

Fill the saucepan ¾ full & heat until it simmers (as if you’re making pasta)

Step 2

Pour all of your onion skins into the simmering water and stir so that all onion skins are submerged.

Turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour

Step 3

Drain out onion skins, so that you only have the liquid in the sauce pan – that’s your dye!

Step 4

Place your item to dye into the pot and stir.

Let it continue to simmer in the dye for 30 minutes.

Step 5 

Rinse in the sink, wash preferably with a Dr. Bronner’s or Mrs. Meyers soap product, and let dry

Step 6 

Show off your new wonderful treat! Look what you made!

Now that you’ve played with natural dyes a little bit, try out some tie-dye! Experiment with other plants! What else can make a color?

This is a great way to dip your toes into the world of natural dyes.  If you’d like to experiment more, I suggest going to a Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland or Dharma Trading in San Rafael to purchase supplies that can help enhance colors, and help colors to stay on your clothing.

I love working with (and talking about!) natural dyes so please feel free to reach out to me!

— Sierra Reading

Educational Director