Golden Colour

Our small world in the mountains is slowly changing. When early Spring was still cold and grey, nature is finally waking up. We see wild flowers in full bloom everywhere on our walks, the mountains are finally green again. The air is softly scented with gorse. I love this time of year!

There is a field in the middle of the forest not so far from our home. It is so beautiful right now because it is overgrown with wild flowers. There are so many colours and different flowers, which is so inspiring. I like to go there and bring my sketch book to draw up some sketches and ideas. Here and there I pick some flowers for my natural dye diary.

A while ago I experimented dyeing with onion skins, and I couldn’t be more happy with the deep golden colours. I thought I’d share my natural dye adventure with you.

The skins are high in tannin and because of this, the colour will bind to the fabric without the addition of any other ingredients or a mordant. Nothing so simple as to collect the onion skins at the bottom of the crate when you are on your local farmers market. You can collect yellow onion skins for rich yellow shades or red onion skins for shades of brown. You can mix them to expand your colour palette.

For this experiment I used equal parts onion skins to WOF. But you can also use half the weight of fibre to onion skins.

Add the onion skins to your dye pot and cover with enough water and leave overnight. The next day, bring slowly to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for about 30 minutes to one hour. During the simmering the water will give a red colour. Then turn of the heat and leave it to cool. Strain out the onion skins by using a sieve and let the dye bath sit for one night.

Carefully place your prewashed and soaked linen into the dye pot and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes. To modify the colours you can add iron to the dye bath to have beautiful shades of green and grey mauve.

When you are happy with the colour you can remove the linen from the pot and rinse it with a pH-neutral soap and hang to dry.

Happy dyeing!

x Claire