Monday, April 28, 2014

More Onion Adventures

So the fabric sat and stewed with the onion skins overnight and here are the results:

I used purple onions for one and yellow for the other, but if you guess which produced each piece of fabric, you will probably be wrong. The top fabric came out of the pot with the purple onions and the bottom one from the yellow. I was pleased with both colors, but the bottom one has a much stronger personality. The color surprise may be due to the amount of skins used: I didn't have as many purple skins so I will have to try again some time when I have had reason to use a bunch of purple onions and see if the color intensifies at all. 

I am not sure how colorfast these are. I did end up trying very hot water and synthrapol to get them to stop running but never fully succeeded so these are not candidates for any project that involves water. But I felt quite environmentally righteous as I finished up by composting the boiled onions. 

And, if you are still with me, thanks for the company on this natural dyeing adventure!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Easter fell in the middle of a visit from my son and his family (a bittersweet visit since they were saying good-bye to our house and land here in Pennsylvania) and I thought my six-year-old granddaughter might enjoy experimenting with me to see whether onion skins could really dye eggs. I decided to follow the method that involved making a nest of skins around each egg, then bundling fabric around that and tying it with a string--and you may already have guessed the connection between egg-dying and quilting. Continuing my goal of working with some natural dyes this year, I used PFD fabric and began my dying of perle cotton thread with some PFD thread to tie the bundles.

We made four egg bundles--two with purple onion skins and two with yellow, but all were cooked together so I am not sure how the color would change if they were separated. We boiled them for twenty minutes and had a hard time letting them cool since we were so curious about how they would look (I was not setting a very good example of delaying gratification). The results were exciting--nice strong colors and some interesting patterns:
I am assuming the one on the right was in the purple and the other in the yellow but I am not sure since both the skins turned rather reddish.

And here is the fabric and thread:
The color is a bit pale so it was difficult to get a good photo, but the fabric was in the water for only 20 minutes. More is on the way, a larger piece of fabric that boiled and is sitting much longer in the onion skin water:

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Word Watching

Paul Kingsnorth in his Orion article "In the Black Chamber" quotes Aldous Huxley:

"Reality as actually experienced contains intuitions of value and significance, contains love, beauty, mystical ecstasy, intimations of godhead.  Science did not and still does not possess intellectual instruments with which  to deal with these aspects of reality. Consequently it ignored them and concentrated its attention upon such aspects of the world as it could deal with . . . . In  the arts, in philosophy, in religion men are trying--doubtless, without complete success--to describe and explain the non-measurable, purely qualitative aspects of reality."