Dye Day #1 Results: Yellow Onion Skins
Foolproof. Easily collected. Non-toxic. Beautiful. Yellow onion skins are a very satisfying dyestuff. Definitely recommended for beginners—you’d be hardpressed to mess this up.
Dyestuff: Yellow onions
Part used: Dried outer skins
Source: My kitchen and the grocery store where I used to work
Yarn: Knitpicks Bare Superwash mordanted with 8% aluminum potassium sulfate and 7% cream of tartar; Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool unmordanted.
Ratio of dyestuff to fiber: I’ve seen anywhere from 1:1 to 1: .05 recommended. However, I used everything I had (and I’d been saving them for years!): 384g of onion skins to 160g of fiber. So, this means our ratio was over 2:1 dyestuff to fiber.
Extraction method: We stuffed the onion skins into panty hose and simmered them for 1 hr.
Dyebath: We left the onion skins in the dyepot, added the fiber and simmered for about another hour.
The results? Beautiful golden yellows and browns.
I gave the Fisherman’s Wool a second dunk to darken it, and at the same time, overdyed the birch bark skein:
And for added comparison, here are my friend Kittyraja’s skeins of glory:
Both are mordanted. The left is superwash. The white spots are where her yarn was tied a little too tightly. Lesson learned—making a resist on yarn while dyeing is EASY.
There was one more adventure in onion dyeing on Dye Day #1, but that story will have to wait for later. Until then,
Live happy, dye happy!