Monday, 25 February 2019

Experiments in natural dyeing in a slow cooker

So a few weeks ago I decided to try some natural dyeing with some onion skins I had been saving but having asked my husband to go through the shed to find my dye pot and discovering it wasn't there I had to come up with a Plan B.  So Plan B involved a slow cooker which I had bought several months ago specifically for fabric dyeing.  I placed the onion skins, first batch were red, into the ceramic pot in the slow cooker and covered them with water and switched it onto high and left it for about an hour or so until the liquid gained a good colour.

 I strained off the liquid, putting the onion skins into the compost bin and returned the liquid to the slow cooker.  I then added some damp cotton, silk velvet, silk chiffon, muslin and a small skein of perle cotton and a small skein of wool, without any mordant.  I switched the slow cooker onto high and left them in there for about another hour, then switched the slow cooker off and left the fabrics in until the liquid was cold.  I then repeated the same experiment using yellow onion skins and a similar range of fabrics and threads.

So, having had some success with the onion skins I looked at the vase of daffodils which were just starting to go over and decided to see if I could get any colour from them.  Having cut the heads off I placed them in the slow cooker and repeated the process used for the onion skins and once they had released enough colour the flowers went into the compost bin.  I then selected a similar range of fabrics and threads but this time added a couple of teaspoons of alum as I happened to have some in my stash.  I left the fabrics in with the slow cooker on high for about a couple of hours and then turned it off and left the fabrics in there until the liquid went cold.

The daffodils gave a very delicate, almost Springlike shade of yellow.

Well, considering I do not usually use natural dyes I am pleased with the results and will be trying other natural products to dye more fabrics.

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