A Peachy Avocado

Our Silva Populi creatures are usually made from naturally dyed fabric which we dye ourselves. After seeing some beautiful dusky pink dye results from avocado skins at the hands of Ruth Singer, we decided to have a go at making our own for the plumage of the next family of Populi. 
 After a week or so of asking family & friends to save their skins & pits, we finally had enough plant matter to make our first batch of avocado dye (resulting from 7 large & 2 small avocados). After removing any last traces of pulp, the avocado skins were added to cold water & brought to the boil. 
Silk, wool & cotton fabrics ready for the dye pot
While the skins & pits were simmering away, the fabric to be dyed was given a good soak in warm water. Pre-soaking makes the fabric more willing to take up the dye and helps to give an even spread of colour.  A collection of natural fibre fabrics had been picked for dying - half of which had been mordanted using alum some time ago. Natural fibre fabrics such as cotton, wool & silk are more ready to absorb natural dyes than manmade fabrics are. However, both the dye and the fabric can be made even more amenable to this process by mordanting it first. Here's a definition from http://www.wildcolours.co.uk about what a mordant is: 
"A mordant is a chemical binding agent that adheres well to both the fibres and the dye. The word comes from the Latin mordere, which means to bite."

Within 15-20 minutes of boiling the skins the water began to show some colour
The skins were boiled for over an hour before the pre-soaked fabric was added to the dye pot and allowed to boil for a further 70 minutes. The great thing about this pot of dye was that it didn't smell too badly - unlike onion skin dye! Bleugh!
Both the fabric and avocado matter were left to cool in the pot overnight making sure, as far as possible, that all of the fabric was covered by the dye water.
The following morning the fabric was rinsed twice in cold water before being allowed to dry outdoors. It was interesting to note that the mordanted and non-mordanted fabrics achieved very similar results, however, over time the non-mordanted fabric may prove to be less colourfast. Here are the results...
A pale peachy-pink colour was achieved on a vintage hankie & child's vest
The colour range spans from peachy pink to pale toffee - like vintage silk stockings. Beautiful muted tones.
We're really pleased with the results. Definitely worth trying again. Now to get on with some making...


Jayne said…
these are beautiful, such subtle shades so delicate. must give avocado a try x
Lois Parker said…
what a delicious colour
Murgatroyd said…
Beautifully soft colours indeed. Do give it a try.
susan hemann said…
The color is lovely! I tried using avocado a while ago. I just did not have enough fruit because my fabric came out a cream color instead of a peach.
Murgatroyd said…
Hi Susan, that's a shame. Worth trying again though? I think the pits gave out quite a bit of colour but don't have any definite proof of this.
Leslie Lim said…

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