Monday, August 27, 2007

On onionskins and madder and alum and cutch

Well, not so much on the knitting front. My new needles (to finish my socks) still haven't turned up. I have a lot more babette squares. So many that I'm running out of yarn at an alarming rate. I grabbed some acrylic scraps at mum's last night, but I still need to go buy some more (wool) yarn. The acrylic because, well, hell it was free, and it was a startlingly good match for some hand-dyed yarn I'm running out of. Not quite as hot or pale, but it was two shades of pink and mauve in very short repeats. Not a bad match for a complete coincidence.

I'm also on a big search for naturally dyed yarns. Why? Oh, just because I can. They're not necessarily any less toxic than acid dyes, but I like the muted colours, and the depth, and the relatively limited palette. I think what attracted me was the yellow dyes. I detest yellow in virtually all its forms normally, but in natural dyes the yellows are quite attractive to me.

So far I've found some at NatureSong, and some at FreshIsle Fibers, while a few dyers over at Ravelry have assured me they're working on natural dye batches right now and will list them in the next few weeks.

And I'm dipping my toe (almost literally) in the natural dye caper myself, with onion skin dye. Apparently it isn't particularly lightfast, but it is the only natural dye that uses a common household foodstuff (vinegar) as a mordant. I'm just doing up a single ball to do toes and heels on socks, because I kind of like contrast toes and heels, and I don't want yellow socks. So they won't see a whole lot of light anyway.


Alison said...

As a child I spent many hours scrambling over rocks with an old kitchen knife peeling lichens off for my mother's wool dyeing. She also did onion skins, as well as all sorts of other odd (and smelly) things.

KnitXcorE said...

i've been wanting to try some onion skin dyeing! I can't wait to see how yours turns out.