19 September 2019

My Dyeing Days

My favorite color is blue, but avocado pits and skins have to be some of my favorite hand-dyed colors. I've dyed so many gorgeous shades this summer!

Temptation won, and I stuck the onion skin-dyed T-shirt and the hollyhock-dyed T-shirt into the avocado pit dye. I don't know yet exactly what I will get, but neither overdyed shirt will embarrassingly change colors under my arms on hot summer days. Or hot fall days... Plus, the shades of red rock are much more complimentary to my skin and hair color. Ha ha!

I also stuck my wood shavings-tinted cotton yarn into the avocado pit dye. I dyed but never wound this mess all summer long at least two or three years ago. Although the off-white shades were nice, well, temptation swept me off my feet once again.

Wood is a mordant, and avocado doesn't necessarily need a mordant, so I didn't have to do anything to the yarn but stick it in the avocado dye, which is about a fifth dip now. The colors will be pastel, but there will be more color than the wood gave. The following photos will show the difference in wet colors and dry colors. Dry colors will always be two to three shades lighter than the wet color. I dry the yarn (not in direct sunlight) after dyeing to help set the color.

dry cotton yarn after one week in avocado pit dye, fifth dip

wet prior to wash

wet after wash

dry and wound

I have some really nice shades of cotton and wool yarn and cotton thread to use up this winter. I think it takes almost as long to wind an overdyed tangled mess as it does to solar dye it!!! Four hours to wind those last two hanks!

I stuck one more fat quarter in a jar of avocado pit dye, too.

Finally, it was time to take my cotton dress out of the avocado pit dye. I allowed the dress to solar soak in the dye for nearly four weeks. I then wrung it out, poured the (cooled) dye into the flower garden, and hung the dress (not in direct sunlight) to dry until it would no longer drip (because the avocado dye can stain concrete)(and rock paths, for that matter, but we don't mind if the stepping stones get dark spots), then moved it into the garage to finish drying. The dress was a little stiff when I stuck it in the washer (that's normal), but our lavender Meyer's Clean Day detergent and dryer sheets will take care of that. The final product will be a softer color than this, and that breaks my heart, but I've decided I'm going to do this again next summer, and a new dress (maybe even short-sleeved...) will go in the dye first, and I won't take it out until I get this rich, delicious cinnamon color!

My little neighbors saw me stirring my long-sleeved cotton dress and excitedly joined me, wanting to help. I decided to pick up a couple of little white T-shirts the next day at Michael's, scour them (washing them with Borax and not drying them), then make the kids a dye jar of their own.

They were SO excited!

They came over every afternoon to stir their jar after school. I had planned for today's blog post to be the final installment of my online summer natural dye workshop because we could get an overnight freeze at any point now, and it could come without warning. I want to give the newly dipped T-shirts a chance to absorb some good color, plus, one of my little neighbors has been under the weather and unable to wring out one of the shirts. So we are waiting until good health returns so the siblings can work together. If we do get a forecast for an overnight freeze, I will pull all the jars indoors and park them near the living room window, which gets pretty good sun in the mornings.

I will show off my newest dress, the overdyed shirts and the kid's shirts in one week when I wrap up this year's natural dye adventure! See you then!

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. That is just a beautiful dress - and how sweet are you to get them involved! I bet they loved it!!

    1. Thank you, Alycia! Yes, they are over the moon over their new shirts! Wore them all day yesterday! It's so cool to introduce kids to natural dyeing!


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