remade

More Yellow

For some reason I love the colour yellow at the moment. I’m buying and scavenging and dying all the things yellow. Well, that is all the things that aren’t already teal, red, grey or blue.

When I was growing up my mum had a biscuit tin that was filled with onion skins. She had been saving them for years in order to use them as a dye. As far as I know the onion skin collection is still there.

Obviously these things run in the family as for the last 5 years I’ve been collecting brown onion skins in a tin. It takes a very, very long time to save 100g of onion skins.

Finally the time was right – not only was my tin of onion skins full, but tidying up my yarn stash revealed a skein of off-white Finnish wool that my parents-in-law gave me after our travels coincided in Helsinki back in 2013.

I followed a couple of blogs‘ advice about onion skin dying.

It was a three day process! I mordanted the wool with alum (boiled and then cooled) to make the fibre more receptive to the colour. I boiled, cooled and strained the onion skins. Then once again I boiled the wool in the dye, then cooled it off and rinsed the now yellow wool. There was still a lot of colour in the onion skin pot, so I dyed a pale pink linen tshirt that I’d bought with the intention of dying and threw in some grey linen scraps too. I then added another piece of white linen that I’d previously dyed bright yellow with Procion MX. After all those years of saving onion skins and the days of boiling and cooling there was no way I was going to pour the remaining dyed down the sink after 100g of wool.

In the picture below you can also see a poly-cotton bedsheet and another piece of scrap linen that I dyed with Procion MX earlier in the week.

I loved the anticipation and process of dying with onion skins and I’m interested in trying out other natural dyes such as black beans (blue) and turmeric (yellow). That said, it is very labour intensive – so I’m definitely not giving up on my Procion MX experiments any time soon.

photograph of dyed fabrics on blue sofa cover.

unmordanted pale pink linen HM tshirt and grey linen overdyed with onion skins. Finnish wool mordanted with alum dyed with onion skins. Polycotton bedsheet and white linen dyed with Procion MX (lemon yellow:orange yellow 9:1 at 50%) left most piece of linen dyed in Procion batch, then overdyed with onion skins.
The sofa cover was a plain canvas slip cover from IKEA that I also dyed using Procion MX

Everyday sunshine

Everyday Sunshine - dyed vintage linen napkins.

Everyday Sunshine – dyed vintage linen napkins.

A day of waiting needed to be filled and so I finally dyed a pair of linen napkins as a belated wedding present. The napkins are a couple of pieces from a hoard of vintage linen that I inherited from my grandmother.

Tim and I have a set of everyday linen napkins which are made out of fabric  from IKEA. They are nowhere as glamourous as this pair, but having cloth napkins designated for everyday use has made most meals feel that little more special.  Hopefully the couple who receive this pair enjoy the splash of sunshine in their kitchen while they eat their muesli.

The linen was dyed with Procion MX dyes (5% of fabric weight – 1:1 004 Lemon Yellow : 010 Golden Yellow).