Dyeing with onion skins – result

Dyeing with onion skins Р what a good result!Dyeing with onion skins - results Have a look at the photo, which shows the bundle of dried fabrics and threads, before ironing.

The piece of fabric to the left, ¬†which is fraying in quite an appealing way, is wool crepe. This is an excellent fabric for picking up all the dyes I’ve tried so far. To its right is a piece of habotai silk which has taken up a very similar colour. In the background, out of focus, is a piece of lightweight linen which has come out as much more of a sunshine yellow. The threads in the foreground are (L) stranded cotton and (R) silk.

I’m really pleased with these results, especially as they are low cost as regards the dyestuff. Onion skins are a waste material, normally shoved into the compost bin chez Gowthorpe. After the dye has been extracted, the slimy bits of skin can go into the compost, so no loss there. The only ‘cost’ is remembering to gather them up into a paper bag while you’re doing the food prep. Now that I know how good the results are I’ll be much more inclined to be organised and do this.

And this isn’t the end of it. Currently drying on the rack in the kitchen is a second batch of fabrics and threads which were boiled up and left for 24 hours in the dye pot. These are much lighter in colour; paler versions of the colours in the photo above.

What’s next? Well… looking out of the window from where I’m sitting typing this, I can see a clump of very healthy-looking rhubarb. Last year I tried using rhubarb leaves for both mordant and dyeing purposes, and I’ll be continuing my experiments very soon. The drawback with rhubarb leaves is that the liquid they produce is highly toxic so it requires care in handling. More reports in due course….

The weather has taken a distinct turn for the better in England and today has been a gorgeous spring day – around 14C, sunny all day and a distinct smell of spring in the air. Very unusual, but all the more welcome. I hope this signals some better weather to come, especially for those who have been battered by storms and flooding. I’m now looking forward to another spring and summer of hanging out dyed fabrics and threads to dry in the garden. If you’re a reader of this blog and you have any thoughts or useful tips to share about dyeing please leave a comment.


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