Friday, January 24, 2014

Natural Dyeing with Red Onion Skins

The other day when I was chopping up red onions for soup, I saved the skins and put them in a pot, covered them with water and heated them on the wood stove for a couple of hours and then strained the skins and kept the dye.

(This picture made the yarn look lighter than it is.)

In the meantime, I soaked a bit of wool yarn in an alum bath.

Next, the wool yarn was added to the dye bath in a pot and heated to very warm and let sit for several more hours.  Finally, the yarn was rinsed out.

I love the color that resulted - a rusty brown.

Using the red onion dyed yarn in the middle, some natural yarn next, and then finally some yarn I dyed with bracken last summer, I made a granny square.  Next I made a square the same size as the granny square, all in the single crochet stitch.  Finally, I attached the two squares using the red onion dyed yarn with the single crochet stitch around adding a loop for hanging.

I am excited to continue learning and experimenting with natural dyeing.


  1. Oh Tonya...I love your Granny square!!!!! I don't know how to crochet but what you made is so beautiful it makes me want to learn. I also love love love dyeing wool with plants...I'm spinning up some single skeins for an indigo dyebath in a month or so. Happy weekending!
    xo Jules

  2. I love that! Do you sell these? In the fall you can try pokeweed - it's magenta!

  3. Very cool! Several years ago when I started knitting, I wanted to also learn how to dye using natural materials. I bought a powder dye and did one skein of yarn that I never did anything with. Just this week, I was looking through my yarn stash for something to make my little babe a hat. I chose that skein of yarn and it turned out great - just finished the hat this afternoon! Made me feel good that I dyed it AND knitted it.

  4. Granny squares are so much fun. I just bought a bunch of seeds to start a natural dye garden. I'm anxious to do this over the summer. I love how the colors come out.

  5. I so admire your dying, it's wonderful! Do you have any resources to recommend for someone just starting out with crochet?

  6. Oh, and I must of course comment on the hand-dyed granny square!! So lovely!!!