Monday, April 16, 2012

When Life Gives You Onions...

...make onion-ade! Well, you might not want to drink it, but you can use it as a natural dye. With the help of my mother, I've been collecting yellow and red onion skins for a couple of months. Here are some of the yellow skins steeping steamily in my dye roasting pan:

Prior to dyeing the yarn, I soaked it in a bucket of hot water with a mordant. In this case, I used alum  (as the mordant) so that I could get a nice yellow color.
Viola! I now have two big, fat skeins of onion-dyed yarn. (The color is actually a little bit darker yellow than it appears here on the computer. )

I also tried dyeing with dandelions, using vinegar as the mordant, which is supposed to produce a lovely purple color. But it turned out to be a total flop. Nothing happened except my yarn turned a little gray. I even tried twice. Nothing. Arrgh.

I didn't have the patience for a third attempt at the dandelion dye, because I am having an affair with my new drum carder. Not kidding! I'm totally in love with this baby!

I've been carding up some wonderfully fun batts...

...listing them in my Etsy store, uh, then pulling them off so I can spin them up myself!
I've also carded straight mohair batts so that I can spin a 100% mohair yarn. My very first skein is from my Angora goat, Walter. Here's Walter after his spring shearing. He has a great personality and very nice silky fleece.

Walter's yarn turned out amazing. But, again, I'm faced with the dilemma of selling it...or knitting it. Decisions, decisions!

1 comment:

  1. In the past we colored Easter eggs with natural dyes. Using red onion skins alone will result in a bluish/purple color you might like. Celery leaves create a lovely light green/yellow shade. Carrot tops create a nice green color. I did not use beets but I imagine they or their roots will create red dye.
    Love the multi colored yarn, Cassie.