From the Learning Room ~ Homemade Dye and “A New Coat for Anna”


One of our activities last week to go along with our study of “A New Coat for Anna” by Alfred A. Knopf was to make a homemade dye, as they did in the story. In the story, Anna and her mother picked lingonberries to “make a beautiful red dye”. This was the first time I had ever heard of lingonberries, so I didn’t expect to find any, but I did have some fresh blueberries in the freezer that would make a nice substitute.

First I boiled a pan of water –


Next I added the blueberries (thawed) and let them boil for about 1/2 hour – until it looked like the water had turned a nice deep color –


I took them off of the heat and let them set for awhile to steep as much color out of the berries as possible. I then strained them through cheesecloth into another pan. I gave each child a swatch of white fabric and they each placed their swatch into the pan of dye. We pressed the fabric down into the dye with a wooden spoon and left it for awhile, while we watched our nightly “Little House” episode. –


When we came back to it, the white fabric swatches had turned a lovely shade of purple! We squeezed them out and laid them on waxed paper to dry.


Tommy’s finger here is pointing to the white swatch (hard to see) we started with, which shows the transformation –


I will be ironing these and then cutting them into the shape of a coat(s). We will then mount them on a piece of cardstock with the title of the book and they will be placed into the children’s notebooks.


Another short project that I did with the littles last week was to make these cotton ball sheep –


The olders and I read about sheep in the encyclopedia and we all took a short drive down the road to take a look at a neighboring farmer’s flock of sheep.

I shared these pictures earlier of the children weaving placemats to complement our study –



We haven’t played that game of “Made for Trade” yet, as I did end up taking Anna in to the doctor for an infected ear, but we did spend some time discussing bartering and, hopefully, we’ll be able to get that game in today.

If you’d like to see what other topics we discussed in relation to this story, click here.

Have a wonderful day!



One Response

  1. ooooohhh…that’s a pretty shade! Can’t wait to see the finished project.

    (at first I thought that was a big ole pot of black beans! LOL! )

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