2/25/2017 – “Low water immersion dyeing” method

Laying out all the things needed….

Comment about Mordant from…

Nicolette Bonhomme A mordant is a chemical, like alum (safe to use), or chrome or tin (requires being more careful about safety). Usually you simmer the fibre in a bath with the chemical first, then put it in the dyepot. The mordant prepares the fibre to better take the dyestuff. Certain fibres, like wool and linen, are resistant to taking up the dyestuff unless it is mordanted first. You can get alum, and many many fun dye things, at prochemical dot com (I am NOT affiliated, just a long-time fan). They also have extensive dying instructions on their website to help you navigate mordants, dyestuffs, what to use for what type of fibre, etc. Note that many companies, like Jacquard and dharma trading, are just a repackaging of the stuff made by prochem, so going to their website is often cheaper, since you are buying it direct.



Using an iron, copper, or aluminum pot as a mordanting vessel is an easy way to make dyeing one step quicker.

Soak the fiber in water for at least 1 hour.

Place the fiber in a metal mordanting pot (either iron, copper, or aluminum) full of water, heat to simmer, and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the fiber soak overnight.

The ONION Recipe from Folk Fibers

The Recipe

onion skins (the more the better)
water to cover
bring the water to a boil and let simmer for an 1 hour  (I only simmered for 10 min.  Should have been an hour).
remove the onion skins from the pot (I suggest using a colander)
soaking the dyestuff a few days before is an alternative or aid in extracting color from dyestuff  – see Pot-as-Mordant process above. 

End Result

Note:  I did this before I learned about the mordant process.  Also, I did not boil the onion skins long enough.   Live and Learn.

First one is 32 count linen Oyster color from MGC Textiles  (20″ x 27″) – I only soaked it for 5 minutes. The color came out like the second one until I put it in the dryer for a few minutes, where it turned lighter and more yellowish tint.

Second one is 40 count Newcastle Soft Ivory from Wichelt.  I soaked it for 10 min. I like how it got darker.

The longer it’s soaked, the darker it gets.  The video says to soak for 1/2 hour.  I’ll do that for the next batch.  ALSO… best to surge the edges before starting or else there are loose strands from frayed edges.


I soaked the first one above for 30 more minutes.  It turned out much darker.  The light yellow in the background and the darker shade in the foreground.  Very nice effect.