(on the left: avocado pits. middle and right: avocado skins. The last photo is the most true color.)
The latest adventure in the dye pot was with avocado, much to the delight of everyone who lives with me and was getting rather tired of the stinky smell and therefore eager to see it on the stovetop knowing it would soon be over. I'll admit, avocado skins and pits soaked in ammonia and water for over a week is a rather stinky affair and then heating that up on the stovetop not that much better. But it wasn't terrible (says the woman who is in her prime allergy season and therefore can't actually smell a thing)....and definitely so worth it for the dusty rose and apricot colored yarn I got in the end!
To prepare, I'd been saving avocado skins and pits in a bag in our freezer, adding them one at a time (after cleaning them). We don't eat a lot of avocados, so it took quite a few months to save enough to warrant dyeing with. But when enough were gathered, or rather when I got impatient about wanting to see what they would do, I filled two separate jars - one for pits, one for skins - and covered them with equal parts ammonia and water and let them sit for a little over a week, giving the jar a shake when I remembered to. I've read about chopping the skins and the pits up which may have given stronger results, but I didn't bother with that. Alum was the mordant, and the dye matter soaked in the water for a while before i joined wool and strained dye water. Then I gave it all a good long 24 hours or so in the dye pot (equal parts dye to wool/cotton). I'm really liking the dusty rose that came from just the pits, and I'd love to make more of that. Which means I'm reinstating Thursday Taco Night! Mama's gotta get her avocado pits somewhere....
Next up? Oh so many things. Making a strong case for some kind of an outdoor dye set up, this is what my stovetop currently looks like. Tansy, comfrey and goldenrod, oh my! No one wanted to make themselves breakfast here did they?