What are natural dyes and why are they important?
Natural dyes are dyes that come from the earth--plants, flowers, bark, mushrooms, lichen, and insects. They are the first sources of color, and archeologists have found traces of natural dyes that date back to the Neolithic period. Synthetic dyes were invented in 1856 during the Industrial Revolution, and quickly became the industry standard due to their ability to be scalable and repeatable. Synthetic dyes are petroleum based chemicals that combined with synthetic clothing production are the second largest waste producers behind oil. The harm that synthetic dyes do to the earth, the water, communities, and textile workers is irreparable. Natural dyes and natural fibers are biodegradable and compostable--so unlike synthetic fibers and dyes, they can be absorbed by the earth without causing harm.
Are natural dyes lightfast?
There are endless natural dye sources, many of which are not light fast. While we believe that all natural dyes have a time and place, we only sell products that have been properly mordanted and dyed with tested light fast dyes. We will always cherish dyeing with some of the common non light fast materials and some kitchen dyes that are less lightfast--adding more life to things that were headed for the compost is approachable, sustainable, and fun. You can read a post where we discussed this here. That said, even lightfast natural dyes will change over time, just like synthetic dyes. You can prolong their life by avoiding placing naturally dyed items in direct, strong light for extended periods of time.
How do I care for my naturally dyed item?
While the majority of our fibers have been heated to high temperatures and would be fine if you did so during washing, you can prolong the life of all textiles and colors by washing by hand in cool water and avoiding exposure to strong, direct, prolonged light. For wool and yarn, air drying on a flat surface will prevent stretching and sagging. For fabric, we recommend line drying to conserve energy and prolong the life of the piece.
Do natural dyes bleed?
We have thoroughly washed and rinsed all items, but some dyes--especially indigo--may "crock" a bit. Indigo needs a bit of pressure to fully adhere as it is more similar to a paint than a dye, and your use is helping with the final bond. Some slight crocking is not indicative of poor dyeing or a low quality item. You may notice some dyes will rinse out a bit upon washing, and this is normal. If you spot something egregious during the use of your product, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do you source your materials?
All yarn has been sourced from US fiber farms and mills with particular preference to Pacific Northwest farms and mills--most of which are women owned and run. Due to the history and nature of cellulose fibers (being imported and/or heavily sprayed with pesticides), we offer cellulose based yarns on a limited basis, usually from small batch releases from US farms. We are continually looking for sustainable and local sources, so if you are a fiber farmer who is interested in selling your undyed product to us, please reach out at email@example.com. All of our dye materials have either been grown by us, foraged sustainably by us, or purchased directly from farmers. Our dye seeds are all non-GMO, practice organic pesticide control, and are sourced from US seed farms.
How to you minimize your carbon footprint as a business?
Minimizing our footprint is one of the top concerns we have. Natural dyes inherently use less water than synthetic dyes. We reuse water, mordant, and dye baths as much as possible, as well as having a 250 gallon rain barrel that we use for watering the dye garden and for our fermenting vats. We compost all spent dye materials. Growing and foraging our own dye materials minimizes shipping packaging, transport fuel, and benefits the community and environment we live in. We reuse shipping packages when we can, and when we use up our stash, we source our shipping supplies from Ecoenclose, a company that only produces compostable, biodegradable, recyclable, and recycled shipping materials. We do wrap our seeds in their recycled plastic bags to prevent potential water damage, but do not seal them intentionally so they can be reused. If you prefer to go plastic free for shipping, please let us know when you order and we will not package our seeds in this bag. We are constantly looking for ways to minimize our footprint, and if you have any suggestions for other ways we are always open to hear them.
Do you teach classes or workshops?
I love the curiosity and excitement about natural dyes, but I no longer teach classes or workshops. Natural dyes have deep traditions, and for many cultures, the practice of natural dyeing is rooted in their religion, spirituality, and cultural identity. For me personally, teaching classes without addressing the history and cultures behind natural dyes feels exploitative. As a white woman, I feel that financially profiting off of teaching another culture's spiritual practices and cultural heritage is culturally appropriative and problematic. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns or questions about this, but this is something I am firm on.
Does the sponsorship program have an end date?
As long as bedhead fiber exists, the sponsorship program will be an ongoing program. You can contribute funds or goods at any time, and you can apply for sponsorship at any time. Please read more here about our sponsorship program.
What is your return policy?
Due to the handmade, one of a kind products we make, returns are by case by case basis unless an error was made on our end. Please reach out to us if you have any issues with your order. We will not accept any returns past 7 days of delivery confirmation. Buyers will be responsible for shipping costs. Sale items are final sale. Due to the perishability of seeds, they are not refundable. If your items were damaged in transit, photos of the package, damage, and any other applicable documentation will be required in order to file a claim with the post office.
All items ordered within North America will be shipped via USPS First Class or Priority Mail. Please reach out if you'd like expedited shipping. You will receive confirmation with a tracking number once items are shipped. If you do not, please email us at email@example.com. We only ship within North America as we find it conflicting to focus on sourcing and creating locally made products to then ship abroad.
I really want a specific color/pattern/yarn. Do you do commissions?
Depending on our show schedule, yes! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
What does the bedhead in bedhead fiber mean?
It's an homage to Kelli's perpetual bedhead. Bedhead forever!
Phew! You made it!