I have loved the idea of natural dyes since I was in junior high. I did a science fair project testing how ph changed the results of each natural dye. It was fun! Now I only use natural dyes once a year on Easter eggs. I hope to try them out on yarn or fabric sometime when life is a little less busy.
This year the kids were more into helping which meant fewer experiments since each color took a bit longer. We used a few of our old standbys, frozen blueberries for the inky purple, red cabbage for the blue (we wished we had pulled them out earlier when they were a brighter blue), turmeric for golden orange, and tea for the brown. In each case, we boiled water with distilled vinegar and whatever we were using for the dye and let it simmer for about a half an hour. Then we let our eggs soak until we liked the color and pulled them out.
This year we had a lot of broken rhododendron limbs so we chopped up the healthy leaves from broken branches and boiled them in water with some alum. This resulted in pretty yellow eggs after a long, overnight soak!