Dyeing with Onion Skins - DIY Kit by Kalea Turner-Beckman
The DIY kits include undyed wool, mordant, and dyeing instructions. BYOO: Bring your own onion skins!
1 - Finn Fingering 2-ply, 100g undyed skein.
100% Finn wool from Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Woolen spun at Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs, AB
10g Alum Mordant
2g Iron Mordant
Printed Instructions - How to Dye With Onion Skins
My name is Kalea Turner-Beckman. I'm a knitter, natural dyer, and hand spinner, living on Treaty 6 Territory in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I source breed-specific wools and dye plants from as close to my home as possible, as a way to connect with my local land base.
As a white settler Canadian of Scottish, English, Welsh, and Swedish heritage, I draw heavily on the knitting traditions of my background, gravitating towards Fair-Isle and Scandinavian colour work and cables. I’m fascinated by how we communicate culture and gender identity through clothing and textiles and am inspired by the natural world around me.
After studying Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and Communication for Development at Malmö University, Sweden, I returned home to Edmonton and turned to textile production as a concrete way to put my ideas into practice. I create yarns, patterns, and art that tell stories about the kind of world in which I’d like to live. My feminism, queer identity, and background as an environmental activist all show up in my work.
On a never-ending journey to deepen my skills and knowledge, I have recently completed Level 1 of the Master Spinner program at Olds College, and am slowly working away at a master's thesis exploring the intersections of knitted graffiti, feminism, and post-colonialism.
Photo by Yaroslav Veremenko
Weavers and sewists benefit from the artistry and labour of so many people who contribute to creating our yarn and fabric. We couldn’t weaver or sew without farmers, mill workers, spinners, dyers, and designers. Everything we weave starts with fibre. Local spinner and natural dyer Kalea Turner-Beckman know that better than most! Her commitment to sustainability lead her to explore how she could source yarn and dye from her immediate environment as a way to connect to her local land base. For many years now, she has worked with Custom Woolen Mills to source locally-raised, locally-milled, locally-dyed wool yarn. Staying local does more than just reducing a yarn’s carbon footprint. It allows Kalea to build relationships with farmers, so that she can ensure that the sheep are raised humanely and the farmers are paid fairly.
And after all the work that goes into sourcing and processing wool, Kalea starts working her dye magic. She both gathers plants that grow locally and uses food waste to create a stunning palette of yellows, greens, and browns. For Gather, she’s produced a cheerful gradient using onion skins. It’s hard to believe that onion skins can make such lovely yarn. If you’d like to experience the magic of natural dyeing yourself, you can also pick up a DIY kit from Kalea and try it in your own kitchen. The DIY kits include undyed wool, mordant, and dyeing instructions. BYOO: Bring your own onion skins!
See more from Kalea: kaleatheluddite.ca and @kaleatheluddite on Instagram
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