The demonstrations we participate in range from Medieval Europe to the American Civil War, so we like to choose dye plants that would have been available in those regions and periods.
The fibers used in these experiments and demonstrations are primarily wool, but we sometimes use silk or cotton.
Attendees of Blue Ox Craftsman Days examine sample yarns.
Yellow Onion Skin Dyebath Demonstration
We use common grocery store variety onion skins.
The wool is both hand-spun and commercial. It is pre-mordanted with alum prior to the demonstration. All skeins start out in the same dye bath, but after about 20 or 30 minutes when some color has developed, a couple of skeins are removed to the tin and iron dye baths.
Dhar stirs up an onion skin dyebath demonstration.
Above: alum mordant.
Above: alum mordant in iron pot or with water steeped with rusty nails.
Above: alum mordant with tin pewter coins or water steeped with tin pewter coins.
Down time during the dyeing demonstrations is an excellent time for spinning demonstrations.
Right: Holly spins up some wool at Blue Ox Craftsman Days.