Earlier in the week I decided to have another go at natural dyeing. It actually started as avocado dyeing but as I did some reading on the internet I found that extracting the dye from the pits can be a little more labour intensive than what I’ve done already and would take a little longer. There will be more on that in a coming post! Anyway, while I was getting my avocado’s ready I thought it would be a great time to try the onion skins I have been saving! I used the exact same method as I did with the previous dyeing so if you are interested you can read more about that here.
In my last post I was talking about some of the yarn in my stash and in particular my goat yarn that I have been scared of for all these years because it is so rustic. The ideal candidate for my onion skins! I have two skeins and decided to dye them both at the same time. If there were labels on the skeins originally they have come off over the years so I’m not sure about the yarn weight and yardage and foolishly I forgot to weigh the skeins before I soaked them so didn’t know how heavy they were either. Ah well, all part of the fun of natural dyeing!
From the research I did on onion skins, they are apparently one of the easiest things to dye yarn and fabric with, giving colours from deep orange to golden yellows. It seems weird that you would get so much colour from onion skins but as soon as I put them in the water and turned on the heat the colour started coming out straight away! I simmered the water for an hour before removing the skins and adding my wool. As you can see I got a very light golden yellow. It’s hard to see from the pictures but it’s got lovely tones of a pale, coppery pink running through it. I think I got a pale colour for a few reasons, first my wool is super heavy, I think it must be bulky weight, and I had two skeins and only used the skins of 3 yellow onions so a lot of wool to dye ratio. Also, as I mentioned before, this wool is super sticky and almost waxy. It has bits of what I think is hay or grass so really unprocessed and even though I did a 2 hr soak before I started but there were probably still a lot of oils in there, but that’s what makes the wool so nice!
I love the outcome of the colour, but I am tempted to try over dyeing one of the skeins just to see what I get, either with turmeric or the avocado. I’d like to try kettle dyeing or painting it first then steaming so I don’t completely cover up the gold but just add some streaks of something different! Hopefully the bare wool I ordered will arrive soon and I’ll have lots more to share!