I decided to give the steamer a break and make an onion dye bath in the boiler. Before bundling local and garden material around sticks, I rinsed each piece of silk in a dilute iron water solution (see Lesson 2 below).
Some of the silk pieces were rescued from worn /worn out silk garments. I learned a good lesson with these. Lesson 1: bundle up the softer plants only as tough stems rip the old fabric.
Lesson 2: Use more iron! I am reasonably happy with the results below although I think some of them would have been more striking if the iron solution had been stronger.
Lesson 3: the nature of the “bandage” affects the penetration of the dye into the fabric. Where I used cotton gauze to bind the bundles there was a greater contribution from the onion skins than in the cases where I used heavier cotton.
My next blog will record the result of adding a lump of scrap iron to the same bath as was used for the pieces above.