experiments in dyeing with vegetables and etc.

so. it is nearing the time where i freak out about the upcoming show and put my nervous energy into random and unnecessary experiments. the onion-skin silk-dying experiment was a success. the "i'm going to melt all the old candle bits down and make new candles" experiment was much much less successful (read: wax all over my kitchen counter, as it drained out of the poorly-constructed "molds"- resulting in two mildly misshapen blueish candles that may or may not burn correctly.) So! i will show you photos of the fun process of dyeing fabric with the dry crumbly skins of yellow onions. it makes the house smell like soup.
you start by gathering as many onion skins as possible- just the outermost layers. this is about a 24 oz. jar, stuffed full!
then you fill a pot with water, get it a-boilin', then put your onions in- you can see from where the spatula is in the water, it dyes the water almost instantly, but for a good dyebath, let your onions simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes - it turns an incredible red-orange color. then remove your onions- you are really supposed to keep them contained in a cheesecloth bag or the like, but who has cheesecloth just layin' around, right?
then you should rinse your fabric, and, while it is still wet, dip or submerge it in the dye- i used Habotai silk scarves, which already had rolled, hemmed edges. . . fancy!
I wanted a dip-dyed effect, so...i just dipped it in. this was my first attempt, so i didn't want to try something too crazy. let this simmer for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until you like the color- but remember that it dries a lot lighter.
and here they are! i did two- the first one is on the right, the second one i dyed twice, as its first pass was not dark enough for my liking. below are some shots in different light- the color turned out really nicely, i think- the top photo is the most accurate, color-wise. the scarf on the left now lives in Switzerland with my lovely friend Danielle, a bit of California sun to bring with her to the deep winter mountains! As far as permanence of color, we shall see- i didn't use any mordant (such as salt or alum) as most online tutorials involving onions said that it lasts well without fixative. i definitely won't be washing these in the machine, but...they are silk, so i wouldn't anyway. as a side note, the don't smell like onions, which is good. i rinsed them in cold water after their onion soup bath, and put a bit of laundry detergent in to get any extra dye out- it seemed to brighten the color a bit, which was nice.  

oo also i kept the remaining "dye", and, as mentioned before, its a beautiful color and i couldn't resist taking a photo in the sunshine.
in less onion-related news, here are some in-progress shots of some pieces that are almost done, yay!

 and, an obligatory Pocket photo.
she was not amused by the onion thing, and kept lying in my path.

the end. <3

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