Saturday, September 23, 2006

Onion Dye

My husband was gone this afternoon so I thought I would use the time to dye some wool. I looked at a couple of recipes and decided on Onion.

I purchased 8 pounds of yellow onions ($5.49), cut them up whole, and put them in a pot to boil. The recipe stated that it should take about 30 minutes of boiling to get the dye out of the onions. I am supposed to know they are done when they are weepy. That didn't happen for 90 minutes. Perhaps I should have cut them up into smaller pieces.

I put alum and cream of tartar into the dye bath, added cool water, and dropped in the damp wool. The wool came out a beautiful yellow. Surprising coming out of an onion.

Now I am making a batch of indigo. I can't believe that I have to let it set and ferment. You have to ferment the whole batch too, not just a little bit and then add to a dye vat. I am supposed to know it is finished fermenting when it is really stinky and has a scum on the top. How do you dye wool in something that is stinky? Today we can use rubber gloves. What did they do in the 18th Century? Not sure where I can put it where it won't be in the way and get spilt.

Surprising, there were two recipes for the indigo dye vat. One was to mix it with urine. I didn't use that recipe. I can't image collecting my urine and then fermenting it. Mmmm.

1 comment:

Benson said...

I should put you in touch with my sister. She raised sheep for awhile and has had experience with lambswool and dyeing.
She is retired now and her blog is:
She gave me some of her wool yarm for crafts and the colors were beautiful. Good Luck with your craft.