I recently found a cone of white pearl cotton at a local thrift shop. The obvious thing of course was dye experiment. The usual oxalis and onion, woad overdye attempts were lighter than I’d like but sometimes that happens. (Noted the fiber weight and ratio for future attempts or avoidance.)
Then the incident with the Madder.
I’ve always been a sort of no-pastel zone when it comes to clothes or anything that involves color. In particular I dislike pink. So, imagine my surprise at finding a pot full of pink pearl cotton. I even tried longer soaking times – up to a week, adjusted the strength and still pink.
So I have pink yarn. Either it will be dunked in woad at some future or it will be a scarf for someone who does like the color.
I’m still collecting Woad seeds. When the one plant that had started going to seed took off I wrapped it in a tomato cage and will continue collecting seeds as long as they appear. Also on the to-do list is to start sending out seed packets to various fellow-dyers.
My idea of an enjoyable weekend: dyed more yarn, Woad and Onion peel pots and made a batch of Plantine and Lavender salve.
My idea of a really good day is getting things done. Winter solstice has passed and we are finally getting more daytime light. This weekend I managed my usual weekend laundry, garden weeding and did a small woad vat.
[left to right: yellow #2 exhaust bath, cactus fruit, woad, woad over-dyed with fennel.]
I’ve been working on onion baths, first one for the darker color – tangerine-orange – and exhaust the remaining dye for lighter yellow. [The pinkish-orange was my previously mentioned cactus fruit attempt.
[upper left clockwise: onion with a 15 min copper after-bath, onion #1 bath, cactus fruit, onion #2 exhaust bath.]
I’ve tried 1:1 (fiber:dye stuff) but have found that 1:.5) works well too even if I have to let it sit longer. First bath simmers for an hour, sits over night and then the 2nd exhaust bath is another hour of simmering and again cooling over night.
Not the most exotic sounding dye material but don’t underestimate the onions or the onion skin. For me it has been a reliable, versatile dye that I can use on both protein and plant fiber. So far I’ve dyed wool, cotton, and soy silk.
Above, pre-alumed wool dyed with onion skins. The green is indigo over-dyed in the same batch. The plant:fiber ratio was .5:1 but I believe that I could have used considerably less dye stuff. The onion skins and fiber had been simmered for an hour and left to soak over night. The next day the dye still wasn’t exhausted so I over-dyed some previously indigo-dyed wool.
Copper and Iron after-baths darkened the color but ended up with similar shades. The Ammonia after-bath brightened a bit.
Onion skins are easy to save up and store. When I am shopping produce I sometimes tidy up around the onion bin.