Tuesday, October 28, 2014

- Love potion #9: Red onion and alum


I'm thinking if I document my dyeing trials online I'll be less apt to open the canning jars before their time. So for the record, here's what I put into canning jar #9:


  • 1 tsp. alum dissolved in hot tap water
  • 4 used tea bags in the bottom
  • 8 pieces of muddy dyed linen wrapped around slices of a tiny red onion
  • 1 piece of muddy dyed linen wrapped around dry red onion skins
  • 4 used tea bags in the top
  • Boiling tap water to fill
  • 1 limestone rock and 1 block of wood to compress
  • Cap loosely and put in the sun
I can't possibly wait two whole weeks, so I'm scheduling this one to be opened in ten twelve days on November 9th.

Addendum: And what if I added a limestone rock and a block of wood to compress the contents? What alchemical magic might ensue?

- On the learning curve: More lessons in dyeing

I'm calling this a good first pass at dyeing experimentation since there were a lot of lessons learned, chief among them: save a piece of the original cloth for comparison (or look back at this post to see what the tan sheeting looked like ... or look at number 9, which did a whole lot of not much).

Photo taken mid-morning under an overcast sky
Note: the colors in the photos are somewhat less intense than in "real life"


The four cloths in the top row were wrapped in copper wire. I particularly liked the avocado pits, which almost look like they discharged the tan, leaving a pale lavender/pink in its wake ...


The red onion also did well with the copper, leaving soft greens and peaches ...


The cloths in the middle row were wrapped in fine steel wire, which left its mark along with the avocado peels ...

Likewise, the iron in the steel brought out stronger colors from both the yellow onion skins ...


and the red onion skins ...


The cloths in the bottom row were treated to a dose of grocery store alum, which did virtually nothing with the avocado pits and peels, but provided the most dramatic yellow onion skin results ...


and red onion skins results ...


I was less successful with my last minute stew of acorns, windfall lichens, tea bags, onion and avocado skins in a copper pot with a selection of vintage white cottons and linens ...


To my eye, they are a pretty unappealing lot, with the exception of a tiny patch of lichen orange ...


So it's back to the drawing board ...