Tag Archives: onion

Dyeing roving with onion skins

I soooo loved theĀ  craftster post about dyeing roving with onion skin, the golden/yellow/peachy brown is a lovely colour. So I gave it a go yesterday! I had been collecting onion skins for the last two weeks, I ended up with about 50g. When I did some research i found that most people suggest to use as much onion skins as you have wool, so 100g wool need 100g skins. I just did not want to wait so long (going on holiday tomorrow for ten days – yay!), so i just went on and used 50g onion skin for 100g nice BFL roving. To avoid onion skin bit sticking to my roving I sewed a little bag out of muslin, it was easy to store the skins in it beforehand and I just threw the whole thing in a bit stainless steel pot, my dyeing pot. I covered it with about 2.5-3L cold water, added a gulp of white vinegar and boiled everything up briefly. Whilst I let it sit to cool down again, i soaked the roving in lukewarm water.

It seems that onion skin is one of the few dyes you don’t need a mordant for because the yellowish colour from the skin attaches to the fibre without any help. But you can use one and it seems that most people do. Note that different mordants seem to change the tone of the colour you get from dyeing with onion skin. I just used a dash of white vinegar. There is a whole thread on ravelry about dyeing with onion skins and outcomes and colour variations.

Back to my roving. When my onion broth had cooled down to lukewarm, and it was very very deep brown by that time, I added the wet roving to it. I left the onion bag in the pot as well. I just dipped the wool under, did not stir much to avoid felting, put the heat on and brought the pot to a boil again. As soon as bubbles came up i switched it off, put a lid on and let everything sit overnight. I did not weigh the fibre down, hoping to get a bit colour variation in it.

The next morning i took the fibre out of the pot, rinsed it once in a big bowl of clear fresh water and hung it up to dry.

It dried quite quickly overnight and the colours came out looooovely. Nice variations of some light yellow and bits of deep peachy brown.
I’m not too sure yet what i’m gonna do with it spin-wise. I’ll see how a single looks like and if I want to ply it with itself or with something else or just use it as a single.