Dying with Avocados

Just for fun I decided to try dying with avocado skins. My daughters were visiting and they go through a LOT of avocados. Rather than throw away the skins from 8 avocados I scrubbed them clean and put them in a pot with filtered water. I brought the pot up to a simmer, then turned it off and let it sit overnight. In the morning it all went into a plastic container that formerly held pretzels, and I put it outside to steep for about 5 days. It gets pretty hot here (Florida) during the day but it rained all day every day so we had very little sun. When our visitors left I brought the container inside and strained out the skins. I stirred in two teaspoons of baking soda then added 4.5 oz of wool I had in my fiber basket… it was unlabeled but I THINK it is corriedale. I brought it all up to a light simmer, took it off the heat, put a plate on top to keep the fiber submerged, and let it sit overnight. The water had a deep mahogany color so I had high hopes I’d get a strong color when finished. I pressed the dye water out, rinsed about 5x until the water ran clear, then hung to dry. The end color is nice… the photo doesn’t fully capture the pretty dusty rose tint.

The fiber I used had a creamy color. Fine for an experiment but when I do it again I will use something bright white… I think the results will be nicer.

I have a question for professional dyers. Whenever I purchase hand dyed fiber, it is nice and fluffy. My heart sunk when I took my fiber out of the dye pot because I thought it had felted. I was able to pull the compressed fibers apart and fluff it up as it dried, and it is in perfectly usable condition now, but I’m pretty sure anyone who bulk dyes isn’t standing next to the drying rack fluffing up fiber all day. Do tell! What’s your secret?


Dyed fibers will look and feel alarmingly felted or compacted until completely dry, at which point they will once more let their fluffiness be seen and (un)felt(ed).

@FrogQueen Just curious why you added baking soda since wool likes an acidic environment rather than alkaline. I think I’ve read some about natural dyeing where something alkaline is added to the dyepot to shift the color. Wondering if that was the case here.

I usually premordant wool with alum when using natural plant dyes. Haven’t heard of using baking soda. Maybe that affected your color. I think it came out really nice. Very rich. I may be doing that baking soda next time.

Indeed that was the reason. I did a bit of research before trying my experiment, and one of the comments was to use baking soda to get a pinker, rather than coral color from the dye. It worked!

Thanks for the information. Your wool turned out very pretty! I’ve also read about using ammonia to change the acidity, but the smell of it is kind of hard to take.

Ooooooh, from the photo it looks like the color of a skinned avocado pit! Very cool! :sunglasses::avocado: