04 March 2021

Time for Me to Dye

A cranberry theme spontaneously blossomed on my blog this week, and I was trying to figure out something fiber-related I could add for today. I don't have any cranberry-hued quilting projects in the works, although the color family has been very tempting all week. But no more new quilt projects (except my neighbors' new baby at the end of this month) until I finish up a few more existing WIPs!!!

I did recently finish up a three-month avocado dye jar and a three-month avocado peel-dyed hank of wool yarn. Avocado peels and pits create a pigment sort of similar to the color of cranberry, at least before the entire natural dyeing process is done. I have six finished avocado peel- and avocado pit-dyed wool yarn hanks (shown above), and I'm hoping to finish six more, which I hope will be enough for a poncho design I've had in my head since about 2013. Hank #7 is almost ready to be wound into a ball; it's drying in the sun! I will begin the hank #8 three-month dip this weekend.

Natural dyeing with avocado pits and skins is a long process. I do all my natural dyeing via the sun. I use solar pigment extraction to obtain the glorious avocado dyes I use. In solar avocado pigment extraction and solar avocado dyeing, the longer you let a dye jar stew, the better the color will be. Some of my previous dye jars (not my current project) have solar-brewed for up to two years. Last year my jars got to enjoy the outdoors much longer than their predecessors because we didn't have extended overnight winter temperatures until about November. (I bring my jars inside when there's a danger of overnight freeze, then put them back out again the next day. I learned the hard way about nine years ago why you don't leave a glass jar full of dye outside -- or even in the uninsulated garage -- during an overnight freeze. So much fun to clean up!) Since November, my dye jars have been in my living room and bedroom windows, soaking up the winter sun.

The avocado pit and skin dye looks a bit like cranberry juice, right? It's amazing to watch a dye jar turn from clear to color in the sun in less than 48 hours.

Of course, the final fiber color is several shades lighter than the dye, so the finished color is not quite cranberry. But breathtaking, nevertheless. As far as I'm concerned, anyway.

I thought perhaps I could make something with some hand-dyed cranberry-hued thread. But, alas, my stash is seriously red-impaired.

Okay, so perhaps there's enough time to dye one hank of thread in the desired shade. I didn't have cranberry-hued dye, so I mixed a tiny bit of imperial purple with vintage red.

I solar-steeped for a day, then let the color set for another day. I washed the thread, and it dried all day Tuesday. Yesterday, I wound it into a ball. Looks a bit like boysenberry to me, but I love how the color crocked!

Still bent on cranberry, I hanked another 100 yards of thread and did one more dip. The second dip is always lighter than the first dip. The newest hank is not quite ready to wind into a ball yet because it's still drying. But I think it's pretty darned close!

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


  1. They all look lovely! When you finally make that poncho you can call it the Seven-year (or whatever number is accurate) Poncho!


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