Avocado Dyeing

I’m so excited to share with you my very first yarn dyeing tutorial on my new blog.. and it’s with avocado! I’ve been dyeing yarn for a few years now but only recently started natural dyeing. I find it so satisfying to get beautiful colors from food and plants vs just buying a commercial dye.

If you’re a guacamole lover, make sure you’re saving all those pits and skins! If you’re like me and don’t really eat avocado, I have my neighbor save hers for me! You can save the pits and skins over time by freezing them. Make sure to clean them really well. Scrub all the excess green flesh off and let them dry out on the counter for a little bit before sticking in the freezer.

What you will need:

  • Avocado skins and pits, I used 4.
  • Water (Tap is fine)
  • Containers for soaking (I used a plastic dish pan)
  • Large Pot (I use a 12 quart stockpot)
  • Natural fiber yarn (I used Knit Picks Stroll Fingering)
  • Alum (Optional, spice aisle of the grocery store)
  • Cream of Tartar (Optional, spice aisle of grocery store)

Dye Prep: 

Place your hank of yarn into a large container or dish pan, fill with enough water to cover and let soak for at least 30 min until yarn is fully saturated.

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Prepare your avocado pits and skins by cleaning them very well. You don’t want any of the green flesh left on them because it will make your dye bath cloudy and effect the color of your dye.

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This next step is optional, adding a mordant to your yarn. A mordant is what helps your natural dye stick to your yarn. Most natural dyes require this step but the pit of an avocado acts as a natural mordant, so an additional mordant isn’t necessary but it doesn’t hurt to do so.

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Fill your pot with enough water to cover your yarn. Bring the water to a light simmer and add 2 teaspoons each of Alum and Cream of Tartar and mix until dissolved. Add your yarn and let it simmer for an hour to let the mordant adhere to the yarn.

*If you’re using non superwash yarn, be careful not to agitate the yarn too much in the cooking and washing process to avoid felting*

While your yarn is in the pot with the mordant, prepare your avocado dye. I typically don’t measure anything when using natural dyes, but for this tutorial I added 1 gallon of water to the pot and added the pits and skins of 4 avocados. You can play around with the amount of ingredients you use to get different levels of color.

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Bring the pot to a low simmer and let it cook for about an hour or until your water turns a deep reddish color.

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Strain out the avocado pits and skins from your pot. I like to pour the water through a strainer lined with a kitchen towel so I can get all the tiny little bits and pieces out. Then add your yarn to the pot and let it lightly simmer for up to an hour or until your dye water has mostly cleared.

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Take your pot off the heat and let the yarn cool completely. Wash your yarn with your favorite wool wash or a little bit of dish detergent. Rinse the yarn until the wash water runs clear and then hang to dry! Yarn dries fast outside on a nice sunny day but you can let it dry indoors. I will sometimes put my drying rack in my bath tub and let it dry for 24-48 hours.

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Here are my results from 2 different dye baths. Your results may vary depending on the PH level of your water and the amount of pits and skins you use. I’ve seen some people get more pinky red colors. So far I’ve only seen these peachy tones. I plan to keep playing around and see what other results I can get!

If you try out this tutorial, please tag me on IG @wildwooddesignsme. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Please follow my blog via email. You can sign up on the main page and then you can stay up to date with all my new posts! I plan to post many more tutorials and free patterns!

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