Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dyeing with Yellow Onions Part 2

Last night I took the fabric pieces out of the dye-bath and put them through a rinse cycle in the washer.
Turns out after onion skin water has stagnated for 24 hours, it smells a little bit... yucky...

Hung them up to dry in the living room, went to bed, and was greeted by this scene upon waking!
(The rack was originally vertically oriented...)

Thanks a lot, Lefty!

The wool (at the top) seems to have hogged all the color, leaving everything else a sort of bland maize color.  The synthetic fabrics really didn't pick up much color at all.  Next time I think I will try not to crowd the dye-bath so much and maybe dye only wool, and hopefully get some more bold colors.  Still, I like it!  They're pleasant colors.

Special thanks to my helper, Lefty the cat.

Now... what to do with my maize-toned fabric bundle?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dyeing with Yellow Onions Part 1

Maura Ambrose is an inspiring quilter/dyer from Austin, TX, and recently on her blog, she posted instructions for dyeing with onion skins.  (The instructions for yellow skins found here:

Here's an example of a beautiful quilt she made with fabrics dyed with red onion skins:

Anyway, I thought I would document my process, FOR SCIENCE!

The folks at Rising Sun (the local produce stand) were nice enough to let a crazy lady like me rifle through their onions, collecting all the detached skins.  I had enough for a really dense dye-bath in one trip!

Add the water...

Boil boil... abandon, run back when you hear sizzling and smell oniony steam pervading the house...

Collect an assortment of white or whitish fabrics.

Keep a tiny sample of each for a before and after.  Hope that you will be able to tell which was which...

Pre-soak your white fabrics, strain the pot of hot, sopping onion skins through a colander into a bucket.
From left to right, the containers are: 1) pot formerly containing hot onion skin bath
2) pre-soaking fabrics
3) Strained onion water (it's so dark!!!) with some of the pre-wet fabric already added
4) Discarded onion skins

Wring out and add all of your fabric.  Here's the fabric stewing.

Within about 30 seconds the fabric was already picking up color.
White on white prints are interesting to dye, because the fabric tends to dye but the print doesn't!

To be continued...