Onions can be quite interesting!

I decided to give the natural dyeing a go!  Two of my lovely knitty friends, Su and Annie, have done it before – in fact Annie used to teach workshops on it – so they offered to come round last Friday and help me get to grips with it.  In the meantime I had to collect some things, namely onion skins, elderberries and ivy.  I think the chap in Morrisons thought I as a bit strange when I asked if I could just have the skins and not the onions!

Last Sunday Colin and I took the dog and went for a stroll along the local cycle path and finally managed to find an elderberry tree with berries still on it.  There was ivy everywhere so I collected some nice dark leaves.

Friday came and the girls arrived, and we got to it.  Pots, pans, mordants, soaking, boiling, straining and rinsing resulted in these lovelies……

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The three pinky reds are from Brazilwood chips.  Unfortunately you can get these anymore because the tree is endangered but Su brought me some of hers to try.  The two on the left went in together and the third one went into the pot after the other two came out so is paler.  These are all 25g mini skeins by the way.

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In another pot we did the onion skins.  The one on the left stayed in about an hour, the midle one about half an hour.  Neither of these two skeins were mordanted.  The one on the right was mordanted and put in the pot after the other two came out and then left overnight.  What a difference the mordant has made.

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And finally, the elderberry!  It was hard to show the colour accurately on this as it is a grey purple.  I love it.  This is a full 100g skien of 4ply so I think maybe I’ll make this with it.

We didn’t use the ivy in the end so I’ll try that by myself.  I had great fun and have now ordered a stockpot, some more undyed yarn and various natural dyestuffs from George Weil.  The natural dyeing process is much longer and more involved than just dunking in Dylon, but if the other colours are as lovely as those I’ve already done I’m happy.    Can’t wait to have another go!!

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