Natural Dyes

Learn about natural dyes and the natural dyeing process.

A dye is a substance that will create a molecular bond with a fiber, producing colorful fiber that is lightfast (won’t fade in the sun) and wash fast (won’t bleed in water).

Botanical dyes are dyes made from plants. They can be made from leaves, flowers, wood, seeds, etc, and are a sub-set of natural dyes. Natural dyes are dyes made with plants, bugs, or other natural sources.

For MO Fibers Signature Colors, botanical dyes are purchased from a trusted natural dye supplier. For SEASONAL + LIMITED items, plant materials from gardens and local Nashville restaurants are used to make botanical dyes, as well as special formulations of natural dyes.

Each skein requires a minimum of 2 days of work (preparation day + dye day), plus several days after fiber prep day and dyeing to dry. On average, your hand dyed skein will take about 5 days to make.

When you soak your finished objects, bleeding should be minimal to none at all. All yarn is thoroughly rinsed before drying and sending to you.

All MO Fibers yarn is prepared with a mordant before dyeing, creating the molecular bond needed to 'bite' the color to the fiber. After dyeing, fibers are rinsed until the water runs clear. Some minimal color bleeding is normal with the first wash especially with darker colors like reds, purples and indigo. Your non-naturally dyed clothes bleed too - often more than naturally dyed items. That's why you wash clothes 'with like colors'.

'Crocking', when a small amount of color rubs onto your hands while knitting, may occur with darker shades of fiber dyed with indigo.

Since your home's water is different than the water used to dye the yarn, you may notice more color in your soak sink than what I see when rinsing. This should not impact the color of your yarn. If you think the yarn is bleeding or crocking more than it should, please contact us at

You may find tiny bits of sand or plant like material while knitting or rinsing. While rinsing is thorough, some dye material might get stuck in the fiber. What you're seeing is the tiny ground roots, rinds, and leaves that make your yarn beautiful!

MO Fibers takes great care to properly prepare organic indigo vats. Unlike other natural dyes that chemically bond to fiber, indigo physically bonds to the fiber as it oxidizes. Indigo dyed yarn is finished with an acid bath and heat to ensure color and light fastness.

Indigo dyed yarn may rub small amounts of blue on your hands as you work with it. This is called crocking, and is a normal part of working with indigo dyed items. Minor crocking does not indicate poor dye quality. Indigo that rubs onto your hands or clothes while working will wash out with soap and warm water. After knitting/crocheting and rinsing, crocking should cease.

Avoid using wood and bamboo needles, as they may stain.

Fiber and Care

Learn about the fiber used and care for naturally dyed items.

Yes. All wool fibers are sourced from the US and South America and are museling free.

Sometimes. All wool and many other fibers will pill over time in heavy-friction areas.

The bases with silk, multi-plied bases, and 'high twist' bases are more pill-resistant.

YES! Alternating skeins each row is also recommended for larger projects to avoid color pooling.

Recipes are followed to maintain consistency of color and shade. However, no two dye pots will be exactly alike. Please note that minor variegation and pooling (slight color transitions) will be different for each skein and between batches, and is a natural part of small batch dyeing.

Sometimes colorways are purposefully created with more color transitions or variations. Many colors, or colors on certain bases are purposefully more variegated.

Dyeing is a science and an art, and many factors influence the end color. The natural dye source/batch, dye bath temperature, pH, water hardness, a slight increase or decrease in the amount of dye used, and the color may come out slightly different.

Natural dyes are naturally themselves, and I hope you enjoy the beauty and variation as much as I do!

For yarn and finished knit items, soak items in cool or lukewarm water with a little pH neutral soap or wool wash for 15-30 minutes. Gently squeeze to remove water. If desired, place between two towels and push down to remove more water. Lay flat to dry. Do not twist to wring out your non-superwash wool items or agitate them in the water, as they may felt.

Do not dry items in direct sunlight. Dry only in full shade or inside to prevent fading.

Do NOT add vinegar to you soak bath to 'set' the color. The high pH change may shift your naturally-dyed yarn color.

Minor fading and softening of colors may occur over years, particularly for yarn dyed with seasonal botanicals and food waste. If you notice rapid fading or color changes, please contact us at

Wool wash with lanolin is not recommended for cotton and silk scarves.

Orders and Returns

Learn about orders, shipping, and returns.

Payment is accepted via PayPal or credit card. If you would like to change your order or have a question, please email with your order number and the requested change.

After ordering, in stock items will ship within 3-5 business days. Dyed-to-order or pre-order items with ship within with timeframe indicated in the product listing.

All shipping is done by USPS. Shipping cost is calculated at check out based on weight and shipping speed. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer.

Modus Operandi Fibers is not responsible for lost or stolen items once shipped. After an order is shipped, it becomes the responsibility of the buyer. Priority Mail includes $100 insurance. Please contact USPS claims regarding lost or damaged packages or other issues with your shipment. Email if you'd like to re-order items after a claim has been filed with USPS.

Average shipping times within the U.S. is 3-5 days for Standard Shipping and 1-3 days for Priority Shipping, and international shipping is 6-10 days for Priority Mail and 3-5 days for Priority Express.

For international orders, the customer is responsible for customs fees or any additional costs. Packages may be held at customs for longer than the expected delivery time.

Returns are accepted if you were sent the wrong item or there is a quality issue with your purchase. MO Fibers is unable to accommodate other returns at this time.

If you would like to donate unused MO Fibers yarn, please check out the GIVING BACK page for more information!