Friday, August 2, 2013

delicious dyes: onions skins, avocado, and espresso beans!

Late summer is upon us. We're still harvesting Swiss chard from the garden and impatiently waiting for ripened tomatoes. Yes, it's been that type of summer (again) when the weather is a bit off. Happily, the gnats and mosquitoes are finally gone so the animals can lounge and graze in the pasture at their leisure. Thank goodness. Bugs were bad this year. I don't like bugs.

I, on the other hand, have been dyeing and spinning like a mad woman. I normally spend a lot of time making wool dryer balls--the bread and butter of our farmer's market business--but I'm getting a little bit burned out on making those ever popular wool orbs. So, I took a week off and got back to my true true true love of spinning, dyeing, and more spinning.

I received a shipment of new dyes and went a little color crazy. Perhaps I was inspired by the dyes  names: cayenne, avocado, pistachio, espresso bean, chocolate brown, cherry red, and honey mustard. Yum! Here is what I accomplished last weekend...

 Here is a shot of just the handspun.
 This is millspun yarn that I purchased and then hand dyed. 
Below, is a picture of more millspun yarn dyed using onion skins. I made two separate dye baths with yellow and red onion skins. I dyed half the skein in yellow and half the skein in red. I did not pre-mordant the yarn, but I did use something called an alkaline modifier. It is added at the end of the dyeing process. In this case, I used washing soda. Ironically, the washing soda made the color from the yellow onion skins browner and the color from the red onion skins yellower/brighter.
I am really happy with the dyeing results. For me, at least, natural dyes can be a little "iffiy"...there seems to be a lot of room for a human error when making the dye, preparing the fibers, etc.

Now I have a lot of new yarns for the market and Etsy. Additionally, our 2013 shearing just came back from the processor...over 30+ pounds of natural-colored wools. I see a lot of spinning in my future. A LOT!

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous! Those colors are simply beautiful! Well done.