Friday, 16 June 2017

Onion Skin Dying

I have been saving onion skins (just the dry, outer ones) for about a year and thought I had better pull them out from under the sink, and use them, before the summer heat and humidity made them smell.
I had limited success with dying with sumac leaves last year but everything I had read and heard indicated that onion skins were fool proof.

I added water (about a third of the pot) and, simmering for an hour and a half, made onion skin tea.

I lined a strainer with cheesecloth and, placing it over a bowl, poured the tea through, to get rid of the bits of onion skin. Those went into the composter.
I let it drip for a while into the bowl.

Then the tea went back into the dye pot with natural wool and yarn.
 I simmered that for about an hour and a half and then added half a cup of white vinegar. The blogs and sites on the internet indicated that a mordant wasn't needed but I decided to add it anyway.
Using metal tongs I transferred the wool from the dye pot, back into the bowl and (starting with hot water and gradually cooling it down) I rinsed the wool until the water  ran clear
and then hung it up to dry.
It certainly dyed the cheesecloth.
There was still some colour left in the water in the pot so I put in some more natural wool and left it overnight, with no heat, just as an experiment.

That evening there was a beautiful cloud formation across the lake

and the colours intensified

as the sun sank lower.

It made me wonder about hooking that scene using the onion skin dyed wool. The natural/original is on the right, the dyed wool on the left and the wool just left in the pot with the dregs, in the centre.

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