There is one thing I know for sure, starting a new hobby is expensive. Like many makers, I was recently bitten by the natural dying bug. With all that goldenrod and poke weed just sitting around, why not collect some just to see what happens. Free weeds make any hobby seem like a bargain, but as you dig deeper into any new project you realize it's rarely that simple. If there is someone in your life with little pots and old jars filled with experiments, do her a favor and get her some proper tools. A few necessities from the hardware store gathered into a neat little package would make a great gift for the maker in your life.
1. The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar. Any new craft is best begun with a good instruction manual. I started dabbling in natural dye just before Kristine Vejar's new book was released. It is the third book I tried (not to mention all the websites), and it was definitely the most helpful. It's great for a beginner, and the beautiful images make it a great gift.
2. Scale. I am a trial and error kind of girl, and dye is a fun thing to experiment with, but if you want to get the same results twice a good scale (and good notes) is a must.
3. Really Big Pot. Even the roughest google search for natural dye recipes will tell you that you don't dye in the same pot you cook in. Dyers suggest a non reactive metal pot. I find that enamel is the most economical option, and available in the kitchen section of most big stores.
4. Prereduced Indigo Crystals. Indigo is a very popular natural dye because of it beautiful and iconic blue color. It's also nothing to be trifled with, and required fermentation to achieve the signature color. This is pretty advanced for the novice, buy you can skip the most complicated parts with indigo crystals that dissolve in water.
5. Rubber Gloves. The point of dye is to intentionally stain something permanently, but let's not stain our hands. Rubber gloves are a must.
6. Storage Bucket. When could a plastic bucket ever be a good gift?! When you use it to store the dye you worked so hard to make. Many natural dyes can be used at room temperature, or the dye liquid can be stored for extended periods. A simple 5 gallon bucket gives you plenty of room for the dye and a few pounds of yarn or fabric. The lid keeps your dye snuggly protected when you're not using it. The bucket also makes great gift wrap. Tuck all the supplies in the bucket and top it with a bow!
For more dye inspired gift suggestions check out the Novice Natural Dyer Pinterest board.