Why I HATE to DYE reed


 Jill Choate Basketry

I HATE to dye reed.  It's time intensive, it leaves my hands different brilliant hues, it's back breaking work hauling water and dye pots (and Lord knows I'm no spring chicken).    With all that being said however, I do a REALLY good job at making dyed reed vibrant and therefore I offer it to my customers for a small duration of time.  

Here's what our customers are saying:

"The dyed reed arrived yesterday!!! The colors are delicious!!! Thank you" - Jennifer S.

"Thanks!  I really appreciate your prompt service and the reed is beautiful – very inspiring!"  Debbie P

"Thank you,  It is beautiful." - Doreen K.

"I purchased several boutique dye reed coils and OMG!!! The colors are brilliant. I loved them so much I ordered more colors. I can’t wait to use them in my baskets." - Jackie D.


So what is "boutique" dyed reed? 

The good stuff.   It takes two to three days to accomplish.  The dye, dry, and try again method until the beauty of the dye combinations reveals itself.  You need hot, dry, weather, and a little wind doesn't hurt either.  I only dye in small batches another reason the dye is dynamic.


WHY don't you sell in anything other than 1 pound coils?  There's more breakage when you starting dividing up a coil of dyed reed.  It's more work and it's one more thing during the day to get done.  Hence, one pound coils only.

WHY don't you sell dyed reed year round?

I only dye reed in the summer since it's labor intensive and the colors turn out MUCH more dynamic in warm weather.  PLUS I dye outside and I live in North Idaho.  Warm weather conducive to dyeing leaves the north around September.

Do you offer CUSTOM orders on dyed reed?

I've had inquiries into when (or if)  I'll be dyeing #2 RR or 1/4" Flat oval reed.  It really depends on time and weather.  If you are interested in a custom dye job I can do that.  Custom job requirements:  1)  4 pounds of solid color any size reed minimum 2)  $20 additional dye job fee.  So 4 pounds of one color dyed reed @ $35.00 = $140 + $20 = $160 w/out shipping for a custom dye job.  If your interested in tie dyed or space dyed reed the price would go up accordingly.

Your dyed reed is EXPENSIVE, why is that?

Dye is expensive AND with the COVID-19 shortages some dyes are beginning to be non-existent.  For how long - who knows?  We use a 3 to 4 day process to dye our reed so it's labor intensive but it's worth it.

How long will you be offering dyed reed for sale?

For as long as we have the ability to procure rattan reed, the dyes are available, and the weather holds out.

Does it bleed?  

Some dyed reed tends to bleed more than others.  Turquoise and reds for some reason but most do not.

What's that white stuff on my reed?  Is it MOLD?!

No, it's sodium (salt).  There's a couple of ways to get intense color.  Salt as a mordant and lower temps and then HOT temps.  HOT temps give you color but it also makes the reed brittle (NOT what you want).  Put the reed in some  warm water before weaving and it will disappear (pieces not the whole pound).









Jill Choate
Jill Choate


1 Response

Jane Stewart
Jane Stewart

May 13, 2020

I live in Kentucky and love weaving baskets. I do dye my own reed and you are right that it is time and labor intensive. I don’t think you are over priced at all! I just recently discovered your website on Pinterest and love seeing the pictures you share every day. Thank you!

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