Join Anne-Marie Kavulla as we bundle dye yarn with materials found in your kitchen and compost bin. Bundle dyeing is a low-commitment, low-waste way to apply color by pressing natural dye materials into fiber and gently steaming. We will be using what are called compost dyes, which are food waste items that make excellent dye, such as onion skins, pomegranate rinds, and avocado stones. All that is required is a prepped skein of natural wool, cheesecloth, kitchen twine, and lots of food waste.
Before class, it is important to scour your yarn. Clean yarn will give the best results. This step can be completed anytime before the workshop, though if down to the wire, try to do the day before so there is ample time to cool down overnight. If not doing the mordant step, focus on onion skins and pomegranates, as they contain tannin, which will bond to the wool regardless of mordant. Although optional, mordant always helps make colors brighter and last longer.
Scouring Your Yarn
You Will Need:
4 ounces/100 grams natural wool (any light-colored undyed animal fiber will work)
Woolwash (such as Orvus paste, Eucalan, etc.)
Non-reactive pot large enough to allow the skein to move freely
Heat source (stove top or hot plate)
Extra bowl or bucket
Measuring cup or ball jar
Measuring spoons or scale
Please read the label of your yarn or weigh in case you need to make any adjustments with the amount of woolwash.
1. While collecting materials, put your yarn to soak in a clean bowl or bucket of tepid water.
2. Fill a non-reactive pot with tepid water and place on the stove.
3. Measure ½ teaspoon wool wash into the pot and stir. If using a scale to measure, the amount of woolwash is determined by the weight of fiber. In this case, we are using 2% woolwash to 100g of fiber. You will need 2 grams of woolwash. Adjust for your skein of yarn if needed.
4. Add wet fiber. Slowly bring temperature to just under a simmer (180°F). Stir gently once in awhile, being careful not to tangle or agitate the wool.
5. Keep at this temperature for 30 minutes. Once complete, let the yarn cool over several hours. (Overnight is fine.)
6. Being mindful to not drastically shift water temperature (that will cause the wool to felt), rinse the yarn in a clean bucket. Squeeze out excess moisture and lay flat to dry, or move on to mordanting or dyeing. Repeat the process if the water is very dark after scouring.
1 skein animal fiber such as wool or alpaca.
Alum and cream of tartar (optional mordanting before the class - instructions will be included in the class handout.)
Cheesecloth or clean cotton scrap fabric (approximately 15 x 30").
Cotton twine or rubber bands.
Clean work surface.
Pot with lid that fits with a steamer basket (a colander will work in a pinch).
White vinegar (optional).
Start collecting your dye stuff as soon as possible! The amounts listed are recommendations, more is always better, but less will work too.
Red onion skins (½ veggie bag or 30g)
Yellow onion skins (½ veggie bag or 30g)
Rinds from 2-3 pomegranates (rinse and dry, be careful to add airflow as they can mold)
Stones from 3-4 avocados (clean and store in the freezer until a few hours before dyeing)
Teas such as hibiscus, black, or chamomile
Tip: Most grocery stores are happy to give you loose skins from the onion bin!