ONION SKIN DYEING

by Joan Moshimer


In this we will use no dyes. The colors are already present in the wool. All we are going to do is move those colors around a little, transferring them from one piece of wool to another. The color that is present in the ONION SKINS will enter into the wool too, blending and softening the colors and giving an indefinable “glow” to them all. The salt will set the colors and make them as colorfast as possible. (No color is completely colorfast.) Some colored wools are strong and bleed out more than others. For this reason, use them in lesser amounts than other colors.

Our colored wools happen to be new wools so are fairly uniform in size, about 9" x 12" (except the red which may bleed a lot so we will have that about 4 1/2" x 27”). We often use old wools too, torn pieces of wool skirts, slacks, sports coats etc. They can be any shape. Tweeds and checks are good to use too.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: LARGE white enamel pan, Uniodized salt, dry outer Skins of Onions, Ivory Liquid or something similar and about a dozen pieces of different colored wools. (see below)

We had red, dark blue, turquoise, burnt orange, rose, dull dark gold, medium blue, dull light salmon, dull celery green, light gold, light peach, beige and bone. (You will notice that we list them in order from dark colors thru- medium to light colors. This is the order that they will be placed in the pan).

First soak the woolens for a few minutes in hot water which has Ivory Liquid or something similar in it. This helps the wool to absorb the colors.

Without rinsing out the Ivory Liquid, lightly squeeze out the red piece and lay it in the bottom of the pan. Be casual about it, don’t try to lay it flat.

Next, take a handful of skins and scatter them over the wool then sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt over. Next, lay the dark blue piece over the red, add another handful of onion skins and another tablespoon of salt. Continue in this manner until all the wool is in the pan, putting the skins and salt in between each layer.

Next, pour hot or boiling water over it all, enough to cover, bring it to the boil and simmer, covered, without stirring for about 30 to 45 minutes.Published by W. Cushing & Co.

Kennebunkport, ME 04046 copyright 2002 ~ all rights reserved

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