My first natural dye book is at the publishers!

The front cover

I’ve been working on my first natural dyeing book for 18 months now and its finally at the publishers. It has been a really fulfilling commitment of time but I have really enjoyed all the research, experimentation, sample making and dye plant growing.

The process of getting my natural dye book to the publishers

The original inspiration to write a book about natural dyeing came to me back in November 2020. I was part of a very vibrant Facecbook group of women. During one of the zoom sessions we had with Kate Brassington of Zest coaching I was literally struck by the idea that I wanted to write this book. At this time I was reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert too. This book says that amazing inspirations are floating around waiting to settle on a host. If the host accepts the inspiration and works with it all is well. If the host doesn’t acknowledge and work with the inspiration it will be off to settle with someone more receptive. Perhaps a bit fanciful, but I didn’t want to take the chance of loosing this inspiration!

Natural dye plants

Month by Month, naturally dyeing

I started writing a plan; how the book would work, what topics I wanted to cover, how to explain natural dyes and dyeing, who my reader might be and what they would want. I explored lots of ways to set out the book so it would be ‘user friendly’ for you, the readers.

In January of 2021 I began the writing itself. A plan to write a chapter a month so that I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed seemed sensible. I wanted plenty of time to thoroughly research and test each part of the book as I wrote. I also wanted to grow dye plants (alongside dye pouches in the webshop) so fitted this into the plan too.

Each month I wrote a chapter, took photos, checked and reviewed, restructured and re-wrote. By the end of the year I had 12 chapters and over 28,000 words, nearly 100 photos and a lot of dyed yarn samples!

Natural dye, foraged dock root
Foraged dock root

By chance

When I was chatting with a friend about the book writing and she asked me about getting it published. I had thought about it, on and off. Initially I just wanted to write the book for myself to prove I could do it. As I explained more about the book, my friend grew more excited and told me I should get it published. By chance, she knows a local author and suggested I contact her for a chat. I contacted Lucy, assuring her I wasn’t some weird stalker and we met up over a coffee. She gave me great advice about how to contact publishers and how to make the next steps in publishing.

Bob at the publishers

Lucy suggested I contact Bob at You Caxton as he had been so helpful to her. I spoke to Bob on the phone, describing the outline of my book and set the publishing process in motion. Although the book is self-published, You Caxton don’t just publish anything. I was reassured that my book was worth publishing, not being published just because I was paying for it.

A draft copy, with photos was sent for review and then editing. It came back to me, and I have re-edited it and re-proof read it. (Its quite amazing how your personality shows in your grammar and use of punctuation! I seem to use a lot of !)

The book is now back with Bob. We have discussed the format, how the book will look and feel, hardback or paperback, paper, number of pages etc. We are now at the stage where a proof copy will be printed for me to check. I’ll make any last minute corrections if needed. It will also be technically edited to ensure factual accuracy. Then, it will go to the printers to be printed in quantity.

Timescale for the natural dye book

If all is correct with the proof copy after tech editing, (and nothing major needs to be altered), my book about natural dyes should be published and for sale by the end of September or early October. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it! Why not sign up for the Newsletter and keep up to date with all our news, including the book publication. You can also email me with the subject line “I’m interested in your natural dye book”. I’ll tell you a bit more about an early bird offer I’m thinking of doing.

Natural dye teacher and writer

Your Comments

  1. Look forward to your book. I heard of solar dyeing in passing and did what anyone does nowadays googled it. Your website and videos came up. I’m hooked. I have five projects on the go . Received the dyes I ordered from you and need to spin up some more wool and get more jars.
    Thank you x

  2. Hi,
    It was lovely meeting and chatting with you at Bishton Hall on Saturday! So nice to discuss failures and successes with a like minded dyer!
    I hope all went well for you at Wool Fest?
    Best wishes,

    1. Hello Chris, It was a really fun show, I had a great time. Lovely to meet you, I hope you enjoyed the show too.

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