Onion Soup

Well, we really didn’t have onion soup for dinner. I finished my dye project that I mentioned in the last post. Here’s the finished yarn:


This started as “commercial” natural colored yarn, from my Nature’s Cauldron natural dye CSA. The wool is 100% merino, grown at Mary Vega’s Ranch in California, and milled at Yolo Wool Mill. In all there are 600 yards of sport weight wool. I put “commercial” in quotes, since although this is mill spun yarn, it’s not exactly a big commercial yarn business.

That color is pretty true to real life. Want to know how I did that? I didn’t get any photos during the dye process, since it was just a big mess of boiling onion skins.

I’ve been saving yellow onion skins for over a year. We use a lot of onions in cooking. Every time I would get out an onion to chop, I pulled off the papery yellow skin and put it in a bowl. When the bowl got full, I started putting it in a big bag that I kept in the garage. Last weekend I finally used them. I shoved them all down into my huge stockpot that I use for dyeing, and covered with water. Then I brought it to a simmer and cooked it for a little over 2 hours. I let it sit for about another hour with the burner off, then pulled out the onion skins and strained the liquid.

Then in went the wool. I prepped this the weekend before, using an alum mordant to help the dye stick. The yarn went into the dye pot, brought to a slow simmer, and again left to simmer for a couple of hours, then I let it cool right in the dye pot. Rinse, dry, and there you go. Bob’s your uncle, I have this gorgeous pumpkin pie colored yarn that I never would have expected from a bag of onion skins. And it is surely one of a kind. I’ve seen photos of the results that people get from onion skins, and it’s anything from a much paler yellow to a deep bronze.

Here’s another one of my do-it-yourself projects. I didn’t dye this myself, but I did spin it.


The fiber was from Cupcake Fiber Company, it’s a superwash merino/nylon blend, about 6 ounces worth of fiber. This was spun up on my Marie wheel, it’s a 2-ply yarn, mostly a sport weight. There are about 460 yards there.

And just because I haven’t shown a picture of the wheel lately, here she is in my little spinning corner.


We’re off to the farmers’ market! Have a great Sunday!


Onion Soup — 7 Comments

  1. Hope you bought more yellow onions at the farmers’ market — that color is beautiful!

  2. The only time I’ve ever dyed yarn was using Kool-Aid and the microwave. I did use onion skins to make “dye” for a classroom art project. The kids dyed shoelaces in onion dye and blueberry dye.

  3. Onion skins look good on yarn. At Easter I’d take my kids to the grocery store and collect the loose onion skins in the onion bin for egg dying. They would turn out a rich shade of brown.

  4. I love how both yarns turned out but I am amazed by the onion skin dyeing. I never would have predicted that color. It is stunning and so beautiful.

  5. Wow! It’s really pretty. It didn’t seem like that much of a “Bob’s your uncle!” project. More like an “Uncle Robert” project. I had an Uncle Robert, and he was the most adorable man. Just like your yarn.

  6. Wow! Great job on the onion skin dye. I’m not sure what the factors are in that, but have seen a quite varying range of colors from onion skins. And then I saw a batch processed in onionskins followed by indigo and it was the most wonderful green. Love your wheel. I have a Kromski Sonata. Not quite as large as yours, but more portable.