As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been gathering supplies for awhile to try out natural dyeing! As you can see above, my first attempt was pretty successful.
I dyed 10 mini skeins in total (20g, about 40-50 yards each). I mordanted all 10 skeins using alum and cream of tartar (7g of alum and 6g of cream of tartar per 100g of yarn) by simmering them in a big pot for 1 hour.
I dyed 5 of the skeins in simmering dye baths for 1 hour, using dyes made from onion skins, turmeric, frozen spinach, avocado pits (smashed open) and black beans (soaked for 12 hours). For the remaining 5 skeins, I drained off the leftover dye from each pot into jars and put one skein into each jar. I let them sit for 72 hours and they’re drying now.
Fortunately, the skeins dyed in a hot dye bath are well dried, so you can see the colours! I love the bright yellows from the turmeric and onion skins, and pink from avocado is so unexpected. The only dye that didn’t really take was the spinach- I think perhaps vegetable dyes might take better to fibre mordanted in vinegar. Maybe I’ll give it a shot, although I’ve heard it makes your house smell awful.
If you’d like to give it a try, here are a few of my favourite resources:
Liesl’s posts on natural dyeing
The Modern Farmer guide to natural dyeing
Kate’s very instructive post on dyeing
Kate’s tumblr posts of her dyeing experiments
Cécile’s natural dyeing posts
Have you ever dyed yarn? What are your favourite natural dyes?