14 September 2011

dyeing again, natch

(As promised, a brief chronicle of the onion skin dyeing experiment)

30g onion skins
150g superwash merino yarn (fingering weight)
100g salt
1/4c? (very approximate) white vinegar
big ol' nonreactive pot (I used an enameled Dutch oven)
small squirt bottle

Here's what I did.  Do keep in mind that it was a pretty by-the-seat-of-the-pants operation, based on a combination of vague and varied advice found on the interwebs and what was in the house/seemed like a good idea at the time.  It should also be noted that Munich's tap water seems to be made up of about 30% dissolved limestone, so who knows what color this recipe might yield in water of a more...shall we say...conventional pH.

Moving on.

Brought onion skins to a boil in enough water to cover.  Reduced to a simmer for about an hour - till skins were floppy and translucent.  While onion skins were boiling, soaked yarn in a bowl of warm, briny water (with aforementioned 100g salt dissolved in).

That's what 30g of onion skin looks like, as it turns out.
Once onion skins had given up their pigment, strained dye liquid and returned to a heavy boil to reduce down a few, concentrated ounces - transferred into squirt bottle (in this case a clean Sriracha - i.e. cock sauce - bottle because this is a classy household).  Cleaned remaining goop out of pot.

Refilled pot about 2/3 full with clean water and a tablespoon or so of vinegar; after checking that the temperature of this and the yarn bath were in the same neighborhood, introduced the yarn to the party.  Set over a low burner to bring to a bare simmer, then cut heat.  Using squirt bottle, added dye to four or five strategic locations in the pot.

Just after adding the dye
No stirring!  The whole point of the concentration exercise was to achieve a nice kettle-dyed effect.  After letting everything hang out undisturbed for about half an hour, checked for dye absorbance.  The water was just about clear, so I pulled the yarn out for a bath in the sink with another tablespoon of vinegar.  Finished with a second bath in a little bit of Soak, then squeezed the hank out thoroughly, rolled it up in a towel and walked on it, and finally hung it up to dry and walked away.  This is what I found the next day:

The result is a more pinky-peach than I'd expected.  It's also way more colorfast than I'd worried it might be.  It'll be interesting to see how (much) the color changes over time, but the salt and vinegar fixatives really seem to have done the job.  And now I'm craving chips.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Love the colors on this yarn. If I ever want to try to dye, I might try this. Love it!