deception/disappointment/disavowal in the avocado pot

Though i was intending to leave much of the test fabrics and threads in the dyepot longer, i couldn’t resist cutting a few pieces from them, and pulling them out. You’d think with the appearance of that pot above, that the colours would be a HELL of a lot deeper. I could have totally conveniently “forgotten” to post all this, lessening the chance of public embarrassment, but hey, it doesn’t work all the time, and usually because we don’t follow the instructions, so live, learn, laugh and take the lumps 🙂

CRAP, these are undeniably CRAP. Definitely not enough plant material in comparison to the fabics (WOF in other words)!  Admittedly, i had maybe a scant 50 grams of the peels………. I’ve been told the best ratio here is 2:1, so i was waaaaaaaaaay off base with that, duh duh duh. Strangely, the cottons seem to have better uptake than the silk and the wool this time.  The blotches are because they floated up during the night, and were exposed to air, the tannin then oxidizing. I think too, my pot is a bit too alkaline though, and that’s why i have browner tones. HOWEVER, there IS colour uptake, but undoubtedly, irrevocably, clearly, not enough peels.

The remaining stewing peels had a glug of ammonia added yesterday, and holy crap, there’s more colour left! I shook the bottle to show the colour splash 🙂

I’m assuming these then are Hass avocados, reputedly the best for colouring. So, i’ll combine the two extractions, and the first dyed pieces, trusting that the strange chemical mix will give me something 🙂  (If i don’t blow up the house.) I’m calling this experiment not quite a failure, but a learning experience: DON’T CHEAP OUT ON THE DYE MATERIALS. If it’s worth doing, do it right, otherwise all i can chalk this up to is a waste of water, time and effort.

The pits that are soaking are more weightwise, but need to stew longer.

Note: buy more avocados for lunch.

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.

As a side note about the importance of scouring, i thought i had done enough on a new thread, but when i put them in tannin, this happened:

GREEN?????? I contacted Maiwa, my trusted supplier, and asked if perhaps it had been the soda ash in the initial scouring that had reacted (maybe not rinsed enough), as gallnut is a clear tannin, and stays to the “browner” tones after being used and stored. Nope.

Hi Arlee,

This is rare but it does happen, but it is not from the soda ash. Fabrics are often pretreated and contain substances which can leach out or react with the mordant. When used on it’s own Maiwa’s gallnut extract is usually a clear/colourless tannin. I would suggest trying other cotton fibres from different sources and comparing the results.


So, obviously, i did NOT scour as well as i should have, and am thinking this could also be the problem with some fabrics i’ve had problems with, particularly new ones (not second hand, recycled, etc). I don’t generally use new fabrics, but maybe some of the stuff i’ve purchased second hand were new enough that these chemicals were still in them. Something to think about! I had noticed there was more “colour”/precipitate in the wash pot after, but thought all had been removed from the threads. I’ll be doing all the scouring from now on with fabrics/threads that appear in better condition then (ie “newer”) for 2-4 hours, as per J. Liles recommendation. (I scour PFD fabrics as well, as i don’t trust that everything has been removed!)

The green didn’t rinse out of the threads either!

EDIT: i decided NOT to mix the two extractions of the avocado peels. I’ve dumped the first “batch”, rinsed the fabric and threads, and put together in cleaned pot with the second extraction.


Your thoughts? (Spammers, good luck on that.)

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