Monday, April 27, 2009

Fun with kitchen garbage...

But first, I wanted to show you the hat that I knit from the really bright skein of yarn in the last post. I intended to post this the very next day, since that's when I knit it...honestly I think the yarn was still slightly damp. My first Navajo Ply...a little over spun, but look! Handspun stripes. How stinkin' cool is that?
And now! Fun with kitchen garbage. I have a few personality traits that Manimal finds incomprehensible, and sometimes downright irritating...there are more, but I repress them. He has no idea how much garbage I haven't hauled home off the side of the road...I was thinking for awhile about scavenging couch cushions from all the nasty old couches that get hauled out to the curb...the couch is awful, sure, but there's probably some good foam in that cushion. I come from a long line of garbage pickers.

Anyway, for the last year or so, I've been saving my onion skins in a mason jar, much to his confusion, to say the least. He even asked, in a tone of voice that some might have described as derisory, if I was planning on transporting this jar of garbage to the new house with me. Of course! That's valuable dye stuff.

A long time ago, one of my mother's friends told me that the key to dying with onion skins was to have "a lot" of them.
Turns out that one mason jar, so packed full that you literally can not fit one onion skin more, plus another overflow jar, when turned out into my largest "common use" stock pot (not the mega five gallon stock pot in other words), is A LOT of onion skins. This is probably a 3 gallon pot, and it's two thirds full of onion skins.
But, oh lordy, look at that color! I'm still sort of flabbergasted by the whole thing, and I'm sure that the man of my heart will be disappointed to learn that I am not only going to continue saving my onion skins...but now I'm on fire to experiment with all sorts of other things that usually go down the garbage disposal.

Here's the quick and dirty if you want to try it at home. Apparently no mordant is needed when dying with onions skins, so all you have to do is put your skins in the pot, simmer for an hour (don't boil, as that apparently can ruin the pigment), then strain out the skins, and add your yarn. Simmer for another hour and then leave over night. Voila!
For comparison I brought out the skein that I dyed with walnut husks. I thought that was amazing at the time, and I suppose it still is for something I picked up out of my backyard, but the onion skins definitely take the cake.
"What? Are you taking pictures of something? You must be confused, because I was standing behind you, and obviously there is only one thing worth taking pictures of around here. Silly momma."

Ragnar...getting in touch with her crunchy granola side.


Andi said...

Love the yarn, but OMG, all of a sudden you have LITTLE BOY! I am continually amazed at how much and how quickly our babies change.

Mouse said...

Awwww.. your kid is CUTE -- and the color off of those onion skins is almost cool enough to warrant me buying onions. Husbeast is allergic to fresh onions, so I cook with the dehydrated ones.

Obsidian Kitten said...

I love the self-stripey...great hat, fabulous colours.

And holy cow, those onion skins produced some amazing shade!

I too come from a long line of garbage pickers, including a grandfather who fashioned a special tool designed for reaching into the Rite Aid dumpster to get the juiciest pickings. "You wouldn't believe what they throw out..."

Uhm, yeah.

There could a post in that somewhere...but it might have to be anonymous.