and over and over and over and
I have been blessed with the continued support of local New Haven businesses, particularly The Juice Box on Chapel St. Thanks to their help I was able to collect unimaginable amounts of avocado stones and skins—surely thousands of avocados. Special thanks to Laura, Alex, Willa & Sammy.
Over the course of 6+ months, I have been collecting these avocado stones and skins in preparation for en masse dye baths of bare and unprocessed wool and cotton skeins. So far, I have process nearly 10k yards of yarn in my tiny little kitchen.
Once the avocados are eaten, the stones and skins are thouroughly cleaned and scraped of remaining fruit particles and left to dry in open air. This light drying helps me pick which stones to use for a particular batch as oxidation/coloration of the tannins varies from stone to stone.
After picking which avocado stones and skins I think will give me the best color, I run about 2L of water and set on the lowest heat for upwards of 6+ hours. This runtime really softens the stones and allows the tannins to really diffuse into the bath. This is aided even more so overnight as the the stones continue to release tannins.
Meanwhile, I start processing the unbleached and natural yarns. The yarns usually come unnoticeably dirty—particle dirt attaches to the inner fibers of the yarn and have to be vigorously released so that the tannins can bind properly to the fabric. I hand wash the skeins aggressively and wring them out until the water runs clear. Then I’ll let them sit overnight too.
Once morning comes, the yarn will still have release some more dirt. Another wringing means I can just drop them into the dye bath. I usually set my stove to its lowest heat for about two hours so that the fibers can open up a bit more. Boiling the yarn can lead to felting, especially for wool, so the lowest heat is recommended. Then it is just a waiting game! I usually let the yarn sit in the dye bath for a full 24 hours before wringing it out and drying overnight.
see the progress ︎ ︎︎︎
Being able to pick between stones lets me achieve a far more consistent saturation of the tannin’s naturally pink and orange-bronze tones for the yarn skeins to pick up.