Back to dyeing

I thought it was time I got back to dyeing, as I haven’t done any for a while. This is partly because of other priorities, but also because a little dyed fabric goes a long way when you’re handstitching. You really don’t need that much of it. I’ve had occasional notions of perhaps trying to sell any surplus, maybe via Etsy, but I haven’t yet done anything about it. I’m probably too busy with work and household things to start even a small-scale commercial enterprise. And besides, I don’t have a clear idea of whether there’d be any demand for it.

A prompt to get started again was reading about dyeing with avocado stones. A few weeks ago I bought a copy of ‘Quilting with a Modern Slant’ by Rachel May, in which there is a brief instructional section on dyeing using avocado stones. We don’t eat a lot of avocados, so it took me a while to save up half a dozen stones. I followed the instructions, added the cloth…. and, well, it was disappointing. Maybe I didn’t boil them for long enough. Maybe they’re the wrong variety of avocados. Whatever the reason, the fabric emerged very little changed from the way it went in to the dyebath. Avocado is supposed to produce great pinks and purples. Not for me.

So, I turned to my rather substantial collection of onion skins. I had a large bag of plain brown onion skins, and a much smaller supply of red onion skins. What, I wondered to myself, would happen if I used both? (I didn’t have enough of the red ones to use them by themselves). Well, this is what happened – a rather lovely selection of pale browns: Onion skin dyeing

Not quite what I was expecting, but then that’s the lovely thing about dyeing with vegetable dyes; you just never quite know what you’re going to get. These colours are much more muted than the yellows I got a while back with dyeing with the plain brown skins only: Dyeing with onion skins - results

Both are lovely. Both add to my stock of colours and both are reproducible to at least some extent.

What I need to do more of, now, is logwood dyeing as I’ve practically exhausted my range of greys. I’ll report back if and when I get round to it.

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