Browsed by
Tag: dyeing with onion skins

Playing With ‘Natural’ Dyes

Playing With ‘Natural’ Dyes

Have you tried ‘natural dyeing’ or dyeing with things you commonly find around the house such as tea, beetroot or food dyes? I had a bit of a dabble this week. I made some camera cases out of felt which was made with natural white/cream coloured wools and fibres. I wanted to blanket stitch them with natural thread, but only had enough for one case and didn’t feel like spinning any more up. The white cotton perle 5 thread and white embroidery floss I had was super bright white. This is the Perle cotton with my handspun natural thread.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had lots of white embroidery floss, so I thought I’d see if I could colour them with what I had available. The first thing I tried was tea, I put a couple of used tea bags in a tub with boiling water and put the thread in. It looked too pinky, I rinsed out as much as possible but it wasn’t right. The next thing I tried was coffee, I left some ground coffee ‘brewing’ in hot water for a few minutes, then sieved out the grounds.ย  I just left the thread in a short time and rinsed well, it was more of a beige, but still on the pinkish side. The Coffee is on the left and the tea on the right, with a bright white for comparison.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI left another skein of floss in coffee for longer then tried some onion skins. I’ve been saving red onion skins for a while so I thought I’d give them a try since I was making a mess anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ I broke up some of the papery skins and added hot water, I put the thread in and left it while the skins ‘stewed’ for a while. It turned out a nice light pink. The onion skins is on the left and coffee on the right.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also left a skein of yellow in the brewed coffee for a while, to take some of the brightness off. There’s a skein of the original colour for comparison.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next thing I tried was turmeric. I know from making curries and dahls that turmeric stains plastic containers, so hoped a small amount would tint my thread. I sprinkled a small amount in a tub and added hot water, it seemed to dark, so I added more. And more. I dipped the end of some cotton perle 5 into the tub and rinsed immediately, but even this quick in-and-out stained it a bright yellow. I put the whole lot in andย  left about 30 seconds and rinsed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe turmeric was a gorgeous colour, nice and bright, but much more natural than the dyed bright yellow, the turmeric is on the top, the bottom is the bought dyed yellow:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know what to try next. I tried bleach on a cotton thread the colour of sweetcorn silks, but it didn’t change. I might just have to get the spindle out, but does anyone have any ideas for what I could try? Actually, any tips at all for ‘natural’ dyeing would be great, it’d be nice to be able to make some custom colours now and again ๐Ÿ™‚

Coming up on Monday we have a guest article from rosiepink about what running a small fibre business entails.

%d bloggers like this: