Are you ready to create your more seasonal life? Get your Studio Club invite here

You’ve viewed

You haven't yet viewed any products on our store. If you've been here before, you may need to sign in.

Journal

Dyeing wool with onions

This is a brilliant way to begin dyeing with plants. It is frugal as you are using a waste food product; it is safe as all the things you are using are non-toxic; it is simple as the tannins in the onions mean that you don’t need a separate mordant. You can keep your dye for another batch of wool – add in more onions if you want the colour to be richer or simply repeat step 2-4 for lighter coloured yarn.

You need:

  • A big pan – big enough to take your wool and swirl it about.
  • A sieve for straining the dye bath.
  • A large bowl or tub.
  • A skein or two of natural undyed wool.
  • As many papery onion skins as you can get your hands on – save them from your cooking, ask friends or the greengrocer. The more onion skins you have, the deeper the colour.

Method:

1) Make the dye bath

Put all the onion skins into your pan, cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for half an hour and then leave to cool and let it steep overnight.

Take out the onion skins and put them on the compost heap. Drain the dye through a sieve into your tub.

2) Prepare your wool

While you are preparing the dye bath you can soak your wool 0 untwist the skeins and put them in cold water and leave to absorb the water over 3-4 hours. Gently squeeze the water to make sure it becomes evenly wet.

Drain the water off.

3) Dye your wool

Add the damp skeins to the pan and heat it back up very gently to below simmering point – you don’t want to boil the wool. Stir the wool around regularly to ensure that the coverage is even.

Keep it hot for an hour and then allow it to cool naturally. You can remove the wool from the dye pot at this point or leave it to steep longer for a deeper colour.

4) Wash your wool

Take the wool from the dye pot and rinse it until the water runs clear, then gently wash with a wool detergent and hang it up to dry naturally. Avoid tangling the wool.

I would love to know how you get on with dyeing your wool. Please tag me @snapdragon.life on Instagram or use the hashtag #snapdragonlife.

Comments: 0 (Add)

You must be signed in to post a comment. If you're already a member, please sign in now. If not, you can create an account here.

Snapdragon social

Thistledown is so beguiling. ⁠
The soft cream catching the light, waiting for goldfinches to alight. ⁠
⁠
I’m heading to Hawarden today to join the lively people at @thegoodlifesoc and teach about foraged colour and dyeing socks with all kinds of plants. I’m hoping to be able to harvest some thistles as they give a particularly beautiful mustardy yellow.
Though I grew lots and lots of straw flowers for Christmas wreaths back when I had a proper commercial flower business,  it was only this year that I slowed down enough to really see them. ⁠
⁠
I’d assumed that they wouldn’t be good for insects until fully out - flat dulled daisies, past the point of picking - but actually wasps seem to pollinate them when they are still tightly furled. ⁠
⁠
This patch was wasp central for weeks. ⁠
A few butterflies flitted about, but mainly wasps⁠
I am somebody who needs distance to see a bigger picture. ⁠
⁠
For the past couple of months I’ve been really struggling with where Snapdragon Life is, and how to get from here to where I want it to be. ⁠
I filled books and books with notes but was going round in circles - unable to commit to anything with the kind of conviction a small business needs. It was all too fuzzy somehow. ⁠
⁠
Now I am away from the Studio. ⁠
Right in the middle of two weeks of walking and eating and photographing gardens and meeting friends and suddenly it is all much clearer. ⁠
⁠
I now have 5 sentences written in my phone notes and a high clear soaring route to take. ⁠
⁠
The multi talented @katgoldin took this photo of me in the Studio before I left - part of a photo shoot that took almost three years to actually schedule because I will do almost anything to avoid being in front of a camera.
Stained glass as the light gets cooler and the sun lower. ⁠
Bright dahlias arranged in the Studio window last week. ⁠
Earlier this week I saw great swathes of heleniums and dahlias in the potager at @walthamplace so rich amongst the teasels so next year I think I shall move some of the smaller flowered ones into the studio meadow to shine out amongst the grasses.
A couple of weeks ago someone told me that I have too many photos of cats and not enough of dogs.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
So here is Dixie, the Studio Dog, in her chair.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Bored . . . . bored . . . bored
My dye cupboard in the Studio. ⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Jars of mordants and modifiers and dried plants.⁠⁠
Scraps of fabrics, too beautiful to throw out.⁠⁠
Skeins of yarn waiting to be washed.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
A place of infinite possibility.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
The lacy scarf hanging on the door is a pale yellow version of my Winter waves pattern which will be in the Seasonal Studio journal when it is published in December.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
It is such a lovely simple rhythmic pattern that I've packed a ball of alpaca/linen yarn - dyed a steely grey with tansy and iron - and taken it with me as my road trip knitting.⁠⁠
I'm not a naturally organised person. I am also very messy and the Studio table tends to get cleared in random waves of orderliness.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
Sadly this orderliness doesn't include actually being orderly, there is a lot of the
Euan and I have been sleeping in the airstream, officially as a glitch spotting exercise but actually because it is very relaxing.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
I wrote about it in my Tuesday letter to Studio Club members this week.  The lure of the tiny house.⁠⁠
⁠⁠
One of the interesting things is that you can see the Studio window, with its frothy pinks, from the other side.
snapdragon.life
FacebookTwitterPinterest

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

Learn more about why here

Loading