Saturday, 4 February 2012

Onions, Onions lalala!

During my blogging rambles I came across a post about boiling fabrics in (red) onion skins as a way of dyeing them naturally and as I have been saving red onion skins for some time for just that purpose I decided to finally get the pan out and give it a go.

I've got an old aluminium saucepan that my father-in-law had finished with and put various pieces of folded and clamped fabrics into this and boiled it all up for about half an hour.  The clamps consisted of pegs, bulldog clips and also some plastic triangles to hopefully achieve some additional marks.  Everything was left in the water overnight (not with any heat under it!).

I was quite surprised by the colours I achieved and also by the intensity of the colours on some of the fabrics.  Above is a cotton hanky that was folded in triangles and clamped with pegs.

Above is a very pale offering of an old nylon curtain.  I'm excited to use this as an overlay.

What about this fabulous silk and silk dupion above! I couldn't believe how strong the colours are.

Above is a piece of gauze folded in triangles and held by a bulldog clip.

This piece of cottton was folded round 4 triangular pieces of plastic but the marks are not very strong.

Finally a small square of cotton held by a large bulldog clip and some beautiful vintage broderie anglaise. I also dyed some threads but sadly forgot to photograph them.

I had expected to get redder tones from the skins so all of these were quite a surprise.  I am thinking about using them in the International Quilt Challenge Archi-texture piece.  Watch this space! (I've saved the liquor from the onions to boil up again as it was pretty dark and may give some more colour yet).

And finally, all the while I was playing with the onions this little ditty was running through my head

 A toon from my yoof!


Gina said...

That is a real surprise as I've always got deep yellows/orange tones when ever I've dyed using onion skins... whether they are white or red onions.

Anonymous said...

Wow, gorgeous fabrics, I especially like the silk and silk dupion.

Angela said...

Looks good must give it a go, it's my kind of cooking.

heidi said...

For Easter I color my eggs with onion skins. To get really dark brown results on the eggs I have to simmer the skin in water for nearly 2 hours before I put the decorated white eggs in. Maybe you get the same result on fabric.
Hello from Switzerland

Heather said...

Fantastic results and such a wide variety of colours too. I've only tried the brown skinned onions - doesn't it take ages to save up enough skins for a dyeing session?!

imac said...

And I followed mopping all the tears

liniecat said...

What mordant did you use? It always amazes me how colours alter when the mordant is changed.
Fabric dunked in eg soy milk, vinegar, salted water, alum etc can all give different colours to fabric. And too the pan you use, eg a copper, steel or aluminiumn .........I like the serendipity of it all rather than planning a particular effect must admit.
I think youve some fab results there, looking forward to seeing what you do with them.

Jackie said...

Love knowing that one still uses this method to dye. Wonderful!!
(And so sweet of Stewart to mop your tears!)
Hugs to you both,

Dot said...

Delicious results Julie! Am loving the dupion silk too. I enjoyed your last two posts very much. Your collages are stunning and I am so pleased you had a special catch up with Maggi and the lovely Linda (and Peachy) . I am jealous!
I would have shopped up a storm at The Beetroot gallery too :)

sharon young said...

Wow what a great result and such a good range of colours love the dark red one and the one with the squares on worked perfectly.

Maggi said...

I love the way in which colours can be so varied when using natural dyes. The aluminium pot obviously played its part. Stunning pieces.

Emma said...

Love the strong colored ones - I'm trying to find the right second hand pot then i can get India Flint's book out, which I am fortunate enough to have but not used. I will, I will!

Fenland Textile Studio said...

Love your results. I am sure that your aluminum pan played a part in your results. Can't wait to see what you do with them. Hugs x

Linda said...

Love all the subtle patterns you achieved...and that olivey green is very nice. It always intrigues me how you get such unexpected colours from natural-dyeing.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

The second to larst wun looks like an alien!