Pomegranate + Avocado Peel

experiments with avocado peel and pomegranate

experiments with avocado peel and pomegranate

experiments with avocado peel and pomegranate

experiments with avocado peel and pomegranate

pomegranate on 100% wool (licorice twist base)

pomegranate on 100% wool (licorice twist base)

Over the holidays I came across a pack of pomegranates while shopping for groceries and immediately felt inspired to work with them in my dye pot. Pomegranates are usually expensive here so I don’t buy them often, but knowing I was using the whole fruit (snacking on the seeds and dyeing with the peels) helped me justify the purchase. And while I hadn't had any previous experience with pomegranates as a source of dye material, I remembered reading about their ability to impart a rich, buttery yellow onto fibers. I also read that they make a great source of tannins, which is especially useful in regards to cellulose fibers, which seem to benefit from a combination of both mordant and tannin preparations. 

avocado peel on baby alpaca-tussah silk

avocado peel on baby alpaca-tussah silk

pomegranate + avocado peel on 50/50 merino-silk

pomegranate + avocado peel on 50/50 merino-silk

I also decided it was time to make a second dye bath with avocado peels. This decision was made more out of need for freezer space than anything else, as the peels take up more room than my other kitchen scraps, but I also thought the two colors - the yellow from pomegranates and the pink from avocado peels - would work well together if I decided to experiment with twist-dyeing both colors onto one skein. Turns out, they do!

One thing I’ve noticed about my experiments with avocado peels versus avocado pits is that the colors obtained from the peels tend to be more intensely pink, whereas the pits tend to dye with more undertones of orange/coral. I think both shades are lovely, but it’s nice to know you can get a little variation by separating the parts of the fruit from one another. I experienced something similar when I worked with marigolds last year after separating the flower petals from the rest of the stem/heads (which I'll talk about in a later post). I'd be very interested to know if anyone else has experienced this from separating and isolating different parts of a plant for dyeing as well.

avocado peel on BFL

avocado peel on BFL

After dyeing with silk-blends in the avocado bath, I decided to add four skeins of non-superwash Blue Faced Leciester to exhaust any remaining color. I wasn’t expecting a lot because the silk (about 300g worth of fiber) had already absorbed so much of the color, and I only used 10 avocados-worth of skins for the whole bath, but the color that resulted on the BFL is that quintessential pink color that I associate with avocados and love so much. I’m really happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to cast on with the yarn.

And because I don’t need all four skeins, I’ve decided to keep two for myself and host a little giveaway in my Ravelry group for the other two. I announced the giveaway in my latest video podcast (episode 5), but I thought I’d mention it here, too, in case anyone would like to join in. I’ll be announcing the winner in my next podcast episode on YouTube, which will (hopefully) come out next weekend, so stay tuned for that!

Avocado Pinks

Left: superwash merino. Right: non-superwash merino. No mordant. Just slow processed in aluminum dye pots.

Left: superwash merino. Right: non-superwash merino. No mordant. Just slow processed in aluminum dye pots.

I can’t get over how beautiful avocado pink is. As someone who almost always prefers neutrals, these surprising shades from avocados stones and skins have been my gateway drug into a whole new world of color. Not only am I discovering newfound appreciation for every tone and shade that emerges from my modest kitchen dye pots, but I’m also finding myself incorporating more color into my clothing and home decor choices now as well.

Who is this person? Where did she come from?

Avocado Stone + Queen Anne's Lace | Twist-dyed on SW Merino 75/25

Avocado Stone + Queen Anne's Lace | Twist-dyed on SW Merino 75/25

Avocado Stone + Queen Anne's Lace | Twist-dyed on SW Merino 75/25

Avocado Stone + Queen Anne's Lace | Twist-dyed on SW Merino 75/25

One of the questions people frequently ask me when I share my natural dye experiments on Instagram or YouTube is, “Where do I start?”

And while there is no specific way to begin the process, I highly recommend beginning with kitchen scraps. Especially those that are known to produce colors that last, like onion skins, tannin-rich teas and coffee, pomegranates, avocados… Just start saving your scraps in the freezer until you have enough for a dye bath. In the meantime, pick up a book or two on natural dyeing and read about the basic process. That’s essentially how I got into this myself. Eventually I’d like to grow my own dye garden or wander out in the forest with my foraging baskets for natural dye sources, but the kitchen will always be a useful source worth tapping into.

Avocado Peel on Non-SW BFL | Third Exhaust | No mordant - Aluminum Dye Pots

Avocado Peel on Non-SW BFL | Third Exhaust | No mordant - Aluminum Dye Pots

Over the next few weeks, I'd like to retroactively record all my natural dye processes and the colors I've achieved here in this space. It's a great way for me to keep track of my results, especially because some of the skeins are no longer in my possession. Perhaps these recordings could also be useful for those of you who are interested in trying natural dyes yourselves.

Hover over the images if you're interested in reading a few quick notes about each skein of yarn.