Fibershed Recipes


Serves 8

1 to 1½ pounds fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1½ cups shelled)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 leek, sliced and soaked in water until clean
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Bouquet garni with: 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig savory, 1 chile pod
Salt to taste
4 summer squash, sliced
2 cups of green beans, top and tail removed and cut into 1-inch lengths
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

For the pistou
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups basil leaves, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese or ¼ cup gruyère and ¼ cup Parmesan
¼ cup olive oil

Place the shelled beans in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook until tender.

Drain the leek. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender (without coloring), about 15 minutes. Add the leek, 6 cloves garlic, bouquet garni, and salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add squash, green beans, and tomatoes to the soup and cook 5 minutes. Add the shell beans and their cooking liquid and cook another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

To make the pistou with mortar and pestle: Pound the 3 garlic cloves with salt in a mortar. Add basil and pound it well, then pound in the cheese, stirring in the olive oil at the end.

To make the pistou with a food processor: Process garlic with salt, add and process basil along with the olive oil, and then add the cheese.

Serve the soup with a large spoonful of pistou in each bowl.


Carrot tops create gorgeous yellows on wool and silk fiber with an alum premordant, and with an iron modifier it yields deep gray/greens.

4 ounces (113 g) fiber
4 ounces (113 g) carrot tops

Process the fiber with an alum premordant, per recipe directions.

-Soak the premordanted fiber in water for at least 1 hour.

-Chop the carrot tops and place it in a pot full of enough water to cover your fiber. Bring water to a simmer, 180°F (82°C), and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the dye bath cool.

-Place the premordanted, wetted fiber into the dye pot, and bring the dye bath back up to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. For more saturated color, let the fiber steep overnight. While simmering and steeping, weight the fiber with something heavy (like an old plate) to keep the fiber submerged and able to absorb the dye color evenly.

-Remove the fiber from dye bath. Gently wash with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, and hang to dry.


Serves 8

For the crisp topping:

2/3 cup almonds
1 1/4 cups flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Toast the almonds in a 375 oven for 6 minutes. Chop when cool and then place in a bowl with the flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the butter to flour mixture, working it in with your fingers, a pastry blender, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, just until the mixture comes together and has a crumbly (not sandy) texture. Chill until ready to use.

For the crisp:

3 pounds ripe peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/3-inch-thick slices (There should be about 4½ cups fruit.)
1½ cups blackberries
1 tablespoon sugar (to taste)
1½ tablespoons flour
Crisp topping  (above)

Stir together peach slices with blackberries. Toss with the sugar and flour. Spread into a 2-quart baking dish and cover with the crisp topping. Place on a baking tray to catch any juices that might bubble over. Bake in a 375F oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the crisp topping is golden brown the fruit is bubbling in the dish. (Rotate once or twice while cooking for even browning.) Serve with fresh cream, whipped cream, or ice cream.


Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) is an inspiring dye plant to work with. Blackberry vines can be found in many urban and rural areas, and the berries and leaves are easily foraged in the late summer, early fall.

The berries of the blackberry plant create varying shades of pink, lavender, and dark blue-gray in the dye pot, depending on what mordant you use. This recipe is for premordanting your fabric with alum.

4 ounces (113 g) fabric
4 ounces (113 g) blackberries
-Premordant your fabric with alum and cream of tartar (see page XXX for instructions).

-Soak the fabric in water for at least 1 hour or overnight.

-Crush the blackberries with a mortar and pestle. Place the blackberries in a dye pot with enough water to cover your fiber, and bring to a simmer, 180°F (82°C). Simmer the blackberry dye bath for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the water turns a dark purple-blue. (If you are using a solar oven, heat the blackberry dye bath for approximately 2 hours in full sun, or let it steep overnight.) Turn off the heat, and strain the blackberry parts from the dye bath.

-Add your premordanted fabric to the dye bath. Bring the dye bath back up to a simmer, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the dye pot from the heat. Remove the fabric and set aside. (When dyeing vegetable fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp, leave them in the dye bath overnight or for 1 to 2 days.)

-Add an iron modifier and stir vigorously to assure the dye and iron modifier have thoroughly mixed.

-Place the dyed fabric back in the dye bath. Let it steep for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or overnight if you want a darker color.

-Remove the fabric from the dye bath, wash with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, and hang to dry.


Blackberry leaves and stems produce shades of yellow to gray-greens to dark teal-gray, depending on the mordant used. When you use alum as a premordant, you will get a vibrant yellow. When you use iron as a premordant, or after-mordant, the colors will be a steely gray-green.

4 ounces (113 g) premordanted fiber
4 ounces (113 g) blackberry leaves and stems

-Soak the premordanted fiber in water for at least 1 hour.

-Chop the blackberry leaves and stems. Put the chopped leaves and stems in a dye pot, and cover with enough water to immerse the fabric. Let the leaves steep overnight.

-Bring leaves and stems to a simmer, 180°F (82°C), and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the color disappears from the plant parts and the water becomes a yellow-green. Turn off the heat. If you are happy with the color, strain the leaves from the dye bath. For darker colors, let the leaves continue to steep overnight. (If you are using a solar oven, let the plant material steep in the sun for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.)

-Add the wetted fiber to the dye pot back, and bring to a simmer. Let the fiber simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fiber turns a light green. If you wish a darker shade, let the fiber steep overnight.

-Remove the fiber from the dye pot, wash it with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, and hang to dry.


4 Tablespoons of Alum Salt
1 lb of Dry Fiber

You can prepare alum mordant either by solar dyeing, cold dyeing methods, or heat extraction.

-Measure 4 tablespoons of alum into a cup and add boiling water

-Add scoured fiber that has been wetted down for at least a half an hour.

-Stir and add to the pot.

-Bring up to a simmer (18OF) and let simmer for about an hour to 45 Mins.

-Turn off the Burner. Allow fabric to sit in bath overnight if desired. Or take fabric off the heat and rinse.

-Rinse to remove unfixed mordant. Rinse fiber with ph neutral washing soap. Be very careful as to not place wools from hot to cold or cold to hot water as it will shrink, but let the fibers gently rise in heat with the temperature of the water as it rises.

-Dry fabric and store until wanted,

-Spent alum baths can be disposed of down the drain unless it is into septic tank, with plenty of water. You can also dispose of alum around any acid loving plants such as azaleas.


Before dyeing your silk or wool fiber, weigh the dry fiber and record the dry weight; the iron powder will be measured in proportion to the dry fiber weight. Iron powder can be obtained as ferrous sulfate crystals. You can mordant your fiber by heat, cold, or solar dyeing methods. When you’re working with iron powder, be careful not to breathe in the iron dust, which can be caustic to the lungs. It’s a good idea to wear a dust mask with iron powder.

4 ounces (113 g) fiber
2 percent (1/2 teaspoon) iron powder to weight of fiber

-Wet the fiber in lukewarm water for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

-Fill a large stainless steel pot with enough water to cover the fiber and give it plenty of room so it takes the mordant evenly.

-Heat the water to a simmer, 180°F (82°C).

-Put the iron powder in a cup, add some hot water, and stir to dissolve. Add the dissolved iron solution to the simmering water, and stir. Turn off the heat and let the water cool down.

-Remove the fiber from the soak water, and add it to the dye pot. Heat the mordant bath to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot to keep any fumes from causing irritation to your eyes and lungs. Occasionally remove the pot lid and gently stir the fiber, allowing it to absorb the iron evenly. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

-Remove the dye pot from the heat, and allow the fiber to cool before washing.

-Wash the fiber with pH-neutral soap, and rinse thoroughly to get rid of any remaining iron particles. Hang fiber to dry.