Plant dyeing

Plant dyeing

I knew when I started South Downs Yarn that I wanted to be able to create a collection of colours that reflected the Sussex landscape from downland to dune. I also wanted to achieve a palette of shades that I couldn't find on the high street. Dyes from plant based materials provide both vibrant and muted shades that are in harmony with our landscape. I love them all!


Our colour collections

Chalk Path

Our natural, undyed Southdown wool is called Chalk Path after the distinctive chalk downland paths that cover the South Downs.


Code of ethics

As part of our commitment to practising

ethical and sustainable dyeing,

we follow a code of ethics based on the

principles developed by Karen Diadick Casselman.

Green collection


- Practice only salvage botany when foraging or gathering lichen

- Do not takes roots even of common plants

- Use only plants and materials that are conspicuously abundant

- Leave nine-tenths of plants and materials undisturbed at collections sites

- Do not purchase or sell salvaged material

- Do not collect at protected areas

- Do not use salvaged material for large textile projects (any that require more than 1kg of yarn)

- Avoid using salvage materials to make unexceptional dye colours

- Do not undertake group collecting

- Self-educate regarding conservation issues including habitat destruction and biodiversity

- Gather no more than we plan to use immediately

- Avoid wasting water by collecting rain water, exhausting, and combining dye baths