Dyeing with Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


I have lots of Rosemary. Even sharing it, making incense and medicinals there’s lots left over. At some point it does have to be trimmed back so I tried it out as a dye plant.


The bottom row is what I started out with, my standard Bartlett yarn ‘natural white’, light gray, medium and dark gray. Cotton was unsuccessful.

For the dye stuff, starting with Ida Grae’s suggestions* I used fresh Rosemary 1×1 and 3×1. Simmered the Rosemary for an hour and let it cool over night.

Here are a couple of sites that describe Rosemary as a dye.

Naturally Dyeing: <http://naturallydyeing.blogspot.com/2011/05/rosmarinus-officinalis.html>

Dyeing Fabric with Culinary Herbs: <http://www.motherearthliving.com/garden-projects/culinary-herb-goes-dye-crazy.aspx>

Ida Grae points out that most cooking herbs will produce¬† yellows. If I can eat or use something as a medicinal I tend not to dye with it but the Rosemary here is so plentiful it’s worth trying. Same probably goes for Lavender but I haven’t tried that yet.


*Ida Grae / Nature’s Colors: Dyes from Plants, 1979.


5 Responses to “Dyeing with Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)”

  1. 1 Ellen B. August 1, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I LOVE those gray tones, Jamie. Nice work!

  2. 2 lynn d August 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for the post. Recall making a large pot of rosemary (we seem to grow a lot also) for hair rinse and noticed if let sit in

    pot it turned towards reddish brew. Have you seen the Natural History Museum Friday evening happenings? Wanted to go but not sure how to get back home on public transit later or where inexpensive place to stay (maybe AYH).

    If you go let me know how it is.

    Stay well and keep experimenting.


    • 3 jmjamison August 5, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      I haven’t been to the Friday evening events. Usually by the time I get home from work I’m too tired to much of anything.

      That aside, the Metro Expo line () stops there. Tell me again – where are you coming from?

    • 4 Lynn D August 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Sorry, never got your reply. From Ventura county in Moorpark. Thanks for the Expo line hint. Decided not to go, even though still seems fun, as no transit back that time of night and checked airb&b for places that not too expensive or icky to stay. The Anderson Estate sounded interesting.
      Havnt trimmed Rosemary yet to try. Do recall when made a large pot of”tea ” for hair it turned reddish after sitting in the pot all day(not on burner). Wondered how that would effect fiber. Noticed some things will color wool different color than cotton. Have a Good weekend.

  3. 5 jmjamison August 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    WordPress seems to have erased my link to the expo line schedule. Google for ‘los angeles metro expo line’ and you will get the schedule.

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