I’m willing to try some dyes that are not in the classic dye histories, at least not in “western” use, but i never assume they are going to work, or last. Avocado peels and pits are the newest trend/fashion it seems, and i admire some of the gorgeous pinks people are getting. I’m not normally a fan of pink, but it *is* in the red family, so why not a little experiment?
I’ve tried avocados before, and the first time, i got NADA, the second time, an insipid languishing Victorian heroine pink. I did the time-tested huck-it-in-a-pot-and-simmer method, and used premordanted fabrics, but. Didn’t bode well for further experimentation!
I decided to really search online for information but take very little on faith, particularly from some sites i’ve visited. When most of them are written by blackbean/turmeric/beetjuice/raspberry aficionados, there’s a large grain of salt attached to the “results”. There is however, Rebecca Desnos, a person who has done research and much experimentation and has had marvellous results. The only problem i personally have is that she only “mordants” with soy milk. (Soy milk is NOT a mordant, it is a binder…. and yes, i know it is a valid method of treating fabrics, as the Japanese have done for millennia for indigo usage, but still not a mordant as indigo does not require one, being substantive.) I will never use soy milk again, as the results i had with it were ABYSMAL, stripping colour from logwood and even wreaking havoc on potassium permanganate (an inorganic compound), though i have friends who swear by it. Also, she never shows or talks about lightfastness!
Further research on my part has found that an alkaline soaking first will result in more colour being pulled from the plant materials, though i have also read that the colour is an anthocyanin, notoriously short on lightfastness. I’m not sure how long to leave it though in the solution, as it seems some are doing a couple of days, and others, several months.
I separated the skins from the pits, and these are the results after 2 days:
I didn’t chop the pits, so obviously it will take longer to extract any colour. The peels practically exploded after an hour, however. I’ll leave them until i think they are ready (how scientific is that? 🙂 ) , or until it looks like they might just be about to go funky.
And when i do use them, they will be on the correct cellulose/protein appropriately premordanted fibres, and lightfast tests will be conducted.
EDIT APRIL 30/19: subsequent discussions in a natural textile dye group, and my own lightfast tests, have concluded that avocado’s lovely pinks will gradually oxidize to browns, because they are more a tannin, than a dye.