I am still very much enjoying experimenting with the humble avocado. Readers of my blog will recall previous posts describing my journey learning how to dye with Avocado skins.

This time I decided to make a dye by using the stones or pips. It was very effective and I’m very pleased with the result. I used the process described by Rebecca Desnos in her book Botanical Colour at your fingertips. The stones were washed free of flesh, placed in an aluminium pot, covered with rainwater then simmered for 1.5 hours. The mix was cooled overnight then strained into a bowl to remove any remaining flesh. This time I used a blue chux cloth as a strainer as it is supposed to have a finer mesh. The solution was certainly a lot clearer that my skins’ solution so there could be something to this.

When dyeing with avocado skins, the ratio of fabric to plant material is about 1:1. Rebecca has found that the ratio of fabric to stones can be a lot less, as the dye produced is a lot darker than from the skins, and has used 2:1 quite successfully. The weight of my fabric was 290 grams, meaning I only needed to use 145g of stones to make up the dye. This equates to about 3 stones. Hmm, I thought, I really want to use up all of my stones, of which there were 10 and weighed 380 grams.  So, this solution may have been much stronger than needed!!

Being a bit of a nerdy, scientific- type, I used fabric from the same sheet dyed with avocado skins so I could properly compare the outcome!

The strained solution was put into the slow cooker. The fabric was wetted thoroughly, by soaking in water for about 20 minutes, before placing in the slow cooker on the low setting, then cooked for 24 hours and left to cool overnight. The fabric came up a lot darker than dye made from the skin solution. I was quite impressed as to how much darker it was compared to that of the skins. It is great having the colour graduation because I’ll be able to use the fabrics together and they won’t clash.

Rebecca states in her book that using the stones a second time often gives you a darker dye again, because the stones have already been oxidised. I followed her advice and mashed up the stones in the water to expose a greater surface area of plant material. As I was not quite ready to make the dye, I covered the stones and left them overnight. In the morning I added some more water and heated it on low (the water was just simmering) for 3½ hours (1.5 hours will do, but I got side-tracked and forgot to set my timer!). Again, let it cool in the pot and then strain the dye into the slow cooker, add the soaked fabric, set on low. This time I left it in for 12 hours then cooled overnight. I was not expecting the fabric to give a darker shade as the dye solution appeared quite a weak colour compared to the earlier one. But, hey presto! I also found that this solution dyed the fabric a darker shade (the photos do not really do the colour difference justice).

I’m looking forward to using the fabric so I’m going to combine it with some of my iron dyed fabric to make a small quilt. Will keep you posted!

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