An area I’ve been exploring off and on since this spring is eco-dyeing…using things naturally found to create dye baths. I’ve tried boiling kettles full of avocado pits/skins, red cabbage, coffee grounds, and the like with wonderful results. The fabrics used has included linen, cotton, and silk. As with everything I do, I tend to dive right in and do it…until something else catches my eye. This has been the case with eco-dyeing as well although I feel this is something I will keep developing.
Over the July 4th holiday week I decided to try a bit of solar dyeing. I picked three materials to use to create my dye baths: avocado dye that was left over from another project that had been stored in my refrigerator, dried purple carrot tops, and red onion skins. I place a piece of linen into each jar, added a rusty bolt or nails to each, added the materials and filled with water. After tightly screwing each jars’ top on, I place them on my back deck where I knew they’d get a lot of full sun. I’d check them everyday, giving each a gentle shake. Each jar got quite hot which wasn’t surprising…in fact the lids sealed themselves!
This past Sunday, July 22nd, I unsealed the jars and removed the linen swatches. I gave each a good rinse and hung to dry. I later used a hot iron to help set the color. Moving from left to right, the lovely green is the result of the red onion skins and rusty nails, the light yellow/beige is from the dried purple carrot tops and rusty bolt, and the dark purple is compliments of the avocado dye and rusty bolt. I’m really pleased with the results from my little experiment! I cut a narrow swatch from each and added them to my notebook so I can duplicate this in the future. The remaining linen has gone into my fabric/fiber tub for use in some future project!!